Mapper Profile: Checkthepan

Welcome to the inaugural article of our new “Mapper of the Week” series featuring Checkthepan! We hope you enjoy getting a peek inside these mapper’s heads and discover some fantastic new maps in the process!

Checkthepan mapping infographic

Checkthepan mapping style diagram


Q. What inspired you to start mapping?

A. Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero were my favorite rhythm games, and I had always wondered what it could be like to play to my own choices of music. After getting a better appreciation for music of my own tastes, I started finding myself listening to music and imagining what it would be like as a level. Beat Saber gave the perfect avenue to try it out, and I was hooked!

Q. Which music genres do you prefer to map?

A. EDM, Dubstep, Chiptune, Chillhop, Rhythmcore, Rock/Ska, Rap

Q. Are there other things you’re involved with in the Beat Saber community besides mapping?

A. Mostly just mapping, but I do playtest some and have started as a student for the Scoresaber ranking team.

Q. What does your mapping process look like?

A. The first step to mapping is just understanding what you want your final product to be. Do you want to make a dancey fun map to groove along to? Do you want a challenge to be overcome? The approaches for the two are very different—I always bookmark, then work front-to-back on songs looking to identify what motions fit the song’s energy. For dance maps I pay less attention to timings and work on creating a motif to dance along to and learn. For challenge maps, I pour over the timings before representing the song’s energy with note positions and angles.

Q. Which of your maps are you most proud of?

A. My map of 6:24 by Danger is what I’m most proud of. It started my love for bombs in maps, and was a big testing ground for a lot of new patterns that I hadn’t used before. It was also my first Chroma-lighted map, which was a blast to try (even if it turned out a bit dim in the end).

Watch Pan play through his favorite map and talk through his mapping choices!

Q. Do you have a “signature pattern” that you use in all/most of your maps?

A. I find myself using a lot of side-to-side swaying patterns. My personal go-to is a pattern which alternates down hits on one side’s two lanes but with up hits always in top corners

Screenshot of mediocre mapper patterns
Pan’s special sauce pattern

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. Triangles! Breaking parity can work so well for emphasizing motion, creating dancey movements, or simply challenging the standard up-down flow present in most maps. That being said, triangles (like many other patterns) can be done very very incorrectly, and need more attention than just the surrounding notes. Parity breaks need (relatively) distant spawn offset, slower NJS, arm-play context, and timings that allow for the extra movement required to hit a triangle. They are not a high-speed pattern, and do not fit for wrist-heavy maps. When it comes to dance, they are a pattern that unlocks a huge range of new motions, and is the best way to suggest leaning and full-body movement.

Q. Wait a minute… you’re telling me that the mapper who wrote the guide on parity thinks triangles are underappreciated? What made you want to put all that down on virtual paper?

A. Parity is such an interesting concept. Swings alternate forehand and backhand unless there’s something that forces the player to do otherwise. That “otherwise” is an enormous design space of patterns, mostly untapped. I wanted to write out all the thoughts I had on the topic to better understand why Beat Saber plays the way it does, and to discuss and share that understanding with others. Breaking parity can end so many different ways due to how hard it is to prescribe motion—two players can end up playing the exact same pattern completely different if it contains a triangle. Conversely, standard parity-following flow is exact and clear. There isn’t any ambiguity as to how parity-following flow plays, but as soon as it is broken the player has a wide range of ways to repeat a forehand or backhand swing.

Q. What, in your opinion, is the single most challenging thing for a new mapper to master in order to be successful?

A. Something that I think is difficult to master would be balancing innovation with playability. Often times new (and experienced) mappers will try to push boundaries and re-invent the wheel when the song/verse doesn’t support it. Mapping is about representing the music through gameplay, and not every section of every map needs to break new ground. Once patterns break convention, it’s important to understand what works for that pattern and what works against it.

Q. If there was an “Recommended Mappers” section, who would your name show up next to?

A. If you like my content, you’ll also enjoy maps from Teuflum, CyanSnow, or Ruckus.

Q. What else would you like the Beat Saber community to know?

A. I love getting constructive feedback and hearing what people think could be better. Same map new song is something I want to avoid, and my discord DMs are always open to people who want to chat feedback. My favorite thing to do in Beat Saber is to understand and learn what actually happens as a result of those notes, bombs, and walls we place—not just to lay out the levels.

Thanks for reading! Have a question for Pan? Hit him up in the comments here!

Is there a mapper you’d like to see profiled? Message HelenCarnate or Pyrowarfare here or on Discord and we’ll find out if they’re interested!

Comments (3)
  1. noxn says:

    I always look forward to playing one of checkthepan’s maps. Great to see some of his insights. I love how he utilizes bombs and interesting patterns/motions. Any mapper can learn from him. Thank you for doing this.

  2. Brentastic says:

    When I first started playing, I avoided Checkthepan’s maps, as they always seemed a tier or two above my skill level. Today, I look forward to seeing his name show up when I’m doing my searches (even though a few maps are definitely still beyond my abilities).

  3. While (1); says:

    I very much appreciate Pan’s map’s. His patterns are pretty exotic, refreshing and mostly catching as hell. Not all of them, but he made some of m most beloved tracks e.g. “nerds trying to dance” 🙂 . . . That triangles!

    Pretty good mapper!

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