Q. What inspired you to start mapping?
A. I love being able to express music via different mediums. I was also involved in the custom song communities for Guitar Hero and Rock Band.
Q. Which music genres do you prefer to map?
A. JPOP, KPOP, and some CPOP. Though anything with a rhythmically driven beat is usually good enough.
Q. Are there other things you’re involved with in the Beat Saber community besides mapping?
A. Bsaber admin (though mostly only for editing tags and post management). Moderator for KPOP Beat Saber discord, and some simple platform/environment and custom sabers. Also converted some MMD models to avatars.
Q. Which of your maps are you most proud of?
a. Harajuku Iyahoi because even though it’s a very easy map and seems simple on the surface, there was a lot of thought put into each and every section.
Take a peek into Aggrogahu’s mapping mind with his “Behind the Mapper” video of Harajuku Iyahoi!
Q. What style of maps do you most enjoy when you play Beat Saber for fun?
A. Anything where the song is a bop and can make me feel a connection with the music.
Q. If there was an Amazon.com-style “Recommended Mappers” section, who would your name show up next to?
Q. Do you have a “signature pattern” that you use in all/most of your maps?
A. One pattern I used to always have was what I called the Cervantes A+B, which can only otherwise be described as a dual sword windmill. Another pattern I often use in some variation is the triangle-looking stream at the end of the final chorus is Saut’s Setsuna Imitation — which, for the record, is not a true triangle/parity-break in my book as long as you transition into and out of it correctly.
Q. Is there a mapping practice that most mappers frown upon that you happen to think can be used really well in the right hands?
A. Besides atypical transitions, I think bombs still have a potential to make for fun game play moments.
Q. Are there any practices from “Ye Olde Days” of mapping that you’d like to see make a reappearance?
A. I just wish more people weren’t afraid to break parity when possible/appropriate.
Q. What does your mapping process look like?
A. I usually bookmark each section of a song first, which will usually be something like, intro, verse_1a, verse_2b, chorus_1, bridge, dance_break, outro (naming conventions that I picked up from making custom songs in Guitar Hero). Then I’ll start mapping from the beginning, and sometimes skip around if I feel like I’m stuck creatively. I’ll also jump to lights if an idea comes to me at that moment.
Q. I “met” you through playtesting your Meant to Live map back when I was a little Hard skill level player. Talk to me a little bit about the value of having people who actually play at lower skill levels test your maps.
A. To talk about a map where I didn’t have lower difficulty players playtests: for my map for Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, I skipped including a regular Expert difficulty because I asked several people if 140 bpm 1/4 streams was too much for Expert or not, and they said it’d be fine. Cue players asking me to make an Expert version because Expert+ was too difficult and Hard was too easy. Basically as your skills as a player improve, you forget the kinds of patterns that used to give you a hard time before, so what you think is easy often ends up still being too difficult for people at lower skill levels. Having people who actually play at those lower skill levels ensures that the map is actually appropriately scaled back.
Q. If you could go back in time and talk to yourself as a new mapper, what is the #1 piece of advice you would give?
A. I don’t regret where I am as a mapper today, so I’m honestly fine with what I did as an inexperienced mapper, because all the things I know now I was able to learn in due time. Also, even if some patterns I may have used back in the day might not be patterns I’d reuse now, Beat Saber still has plenty of new players at different skill levels, so those older patterns will still be enjoyable to someone out there at any given time. A map that I made in 2019 with 5 months of experience under my belt will be relevant to someone today if they started playing 5 months ago.
Q. What, in your opinion, is the single most challenging thing for a new mapper to master in order to be successful?
A. Creativity; coming up with interesting and new patterns to use will always be a challenge no matter what your experience level with mapping is. Obviously things like correct timing are fundamental, but to become relevant and gain attention as a mapper is about making a map that somehow sticks out of the crowd.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like the Beat Saber community to know about you, your mapping style, or your thoughts on the game itself?
A. I also map for Audica. I even did the mapping for one of the official DLC releases! It’s a vastly different game than Beat Saber, but I recommend it to anyone looking for a VR rhythm game experience that is fun but also rewards accuracy (spatially and temporally). I’m typically a pretty competitive gamer, but my love for Beat Saber is now strictly on a more of a casual basis. Beat Saber’s emphasis on swing angle in scoring means that High-level maps require way more (unhealthy) physicality compared to other physical rhythm games where you can minimize/optimize your motions so that you’re expending as little energy as possible. Though some of my Expert+ maps are more difficult for the super casual audience, I never get too deep into the wrist breaking challenge style, and always offer lower difficulties maps that still try to convey the essence of the song.
Q. That’s really cool that you map for Audica, too. What would you say to convince Beat Saber mappers to give mapping for other games a try?
A. If you feel like you’re getting burnt out or are running out of creative drive, then it’s nice to switch to a different game for a change of pace so you can refuel so to speak. The varying mechanics of different games also let you represent a song in ways you couldn’t with Beat Saber. Maps for chill songs like Shelter by Porter Robinson and Madeon walk a fine line between being too boring and then being too busy and overmapped, but the song works amazingly well in Audica because you can utilize sustains and chain targets to keep the chill parts simple yet engaging.
Thanks for reading! Have a question for Aggrogahu? Hit them up in the comments and don’t forget to wish them a two year mapperversary coming up on the 21st!