For Mapper Monday this week, we sat down with Building Blocks 2020 competitor and Eastern music mapper ETAN.
Q. What inspired you to start mapping?
A. My little brother gave me the bright idea to put the “YATTA” dance in the game back in early 2019. I said “surely someone has mapped that already.” And sure enough, when looking for the song up on BeatSaver it was nowhere to be found. It was surprisingly well received despite being my first map. And even more surprising was the amount of dance videos surfacing of my map on YouTube. The feeling of satisfaction of seeing people enjoy my map is what drove me to map more and more. Even now, I am still trying to grasp that feeling again.
Q. What are your preferred genres of music to map?
A. Anime OSTs, Jpop, Jrock, Future Funk, Future Bass and other EDM (eventually)
Q. Are there any other things besides mapping that you’re involved with in the Beat Saber community?
A. I’m just your average, run-of-the-mill, mapper, unfortunately, but I wouldn’t mind any opportunities to help out around the community.
Q. Which of your maps are you most proud of or is your favorite?
A. Utena is the map I’m most proud of. I feel as though I managed to emphasize all of the sass and swagger that Reol intended for the song with my crossovers, walls, stacks, windows, bombs, and sliders without any of it being overbearing/overmapped. The Chroma lights had defining themes throughout the map that decently accented how intense or calm the music was (I broke some of the ring prop lol.) It is by far the most “perfect” map I’ve made by my standards.
I didn’t expect to win Building Blocks 2020 with this map because there were so many other amazing maps that took a great deal of effort. I’m glad people enjoyed my map and hope that I can impress up to the standard that I felt when looking at the other maps in the pool. Please check out KivalEvan, Bloodcloak, and zilianthegreat.
Q. Can you talk a little bit more about what it was like to compete in Building Blocks 2020? What was the competition? What made mapping for this different than everyday mapping?
A. Building Blocks 2020 was an anonymous Beat Saber mapping contest held by woops. To put it simply, all contestants had to whip up a map out of a 6 song map pool and the time frame was from May 3rd to May 17th. 6 Judges would review maps based on their creativity, flow/readability, and fun factor. After judge reviews finished, the qualified maps would be judged by the community. The top 3 highest scoring maps get a cash prize out of the total $1000 prize pool.
Mapping for this was both fun and stressful. Fun because mapping under a time limit is exhilarating in and of itself, but the competitive aspect really gets your heart racing once you realize you will be ranked against other maps. It pretty much forces yourself to be the best you can be.
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. Learn what a difficulty spike is, idiot. I’m looking at you, my Haikyuu maps.
Q. If there was an Amazon.com-style “Recommended Mappers” section, who would you show up under as “If you like [so and so], you’d also like [your name]”?
Q. Do you have a signature pattern that you use in all/most of your maps?
A. I love horizontal crossover hits. They add sooooo much emphasis and are very fun to play. Way more fun than your average front-hand downward hits.
For the last crossover hit in this image, make sure blue is an underhanded swing and resolves upwards.
Q. What, in your opinion, is the single most challenging thing for a new mapper to master in order to be successful?
A. Emphasis and consistency between patterns to certain sounds. In order to represent the music, I feel like only certain patterns can really bring out the true colors of the experience. Finding these patterns and adjusting the map for these big parts is probably the hardest thing about mapping. This also includes having the same or similar sounds matching up with the same patterns throughout the song. To this day, I’m still trying to perfect this.
Q. What style of maps do you most enjoy playing when you play for fun?
A. Old maps like Hexagonial’s “Teo” and cheesydream’s “Walk This Way.” I don’t know why I enjoy early 2019 mapping as much as I do. Also check out eku’s “P!NGPONG QUEST” map. Eku’s patterns in this one are right up my alley.
Q. If you’ve mapped for rank or are on the ranking team, what would you say to encourage other mappers to consider ranking?
A. I’m currently working on ranking a map as of this interview. I don’t have much advice to give other than that the ranking team seems to be doing their best to dish out the highest quality of maps for rank and that you shouldn’t be afraid to put effort into ranking a map.
Q. Do you believe that the mapping ‘meta’ is currently in a healthy state? If not, what do you feel would help to bring the ‘meta’ to a good place?
A. Wow there’s a lot of tech maps out right now! The meta is changing drastically and unconventional patterns are popping up left and right. I feel like the meta for a long time used to just be speed so I’m happy to see tech is starting to take its reign.
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. 90 degree hits. There are some that follow parity and are fun to play. But there are some that also follow parity and are very uncomfortable to play. It really depends how you use them.
Q. Are there any practices from “Ye Olde Days” of mapping that you’d like to see make a reappearance?
A. DOUBLE DOWN META DOUBLE DOWN META
Q. What does your mapping process look like?
A. I first decide if I want to mix a short version of the song in audacity. It depends on how repetitive the song is or how good of a map it would make. Also how willing I am to map a 4+ minute song or not. Once I’m in MM, I divide most of the map with bookmarks. I start mapping the beginning of the song and if I encounter any sounds I think would fit a certain pattern, I usually map that pattern first and readjust the entire map to fit these specific patterns. These specific patterns will define the personality of the map so I make sure to properly adjust the rest of the patterns for these climax moments. The climax patterns take priority over some of the other patterns, but a good map will find a way to make the “filler” patterns as fun as the “important” ones.
After the rough draft of the map is done, I head over to the lights (usually using Chromapper). Lighting allows me to re-listen to the song and think about even more patterns or changes to the actual map. I often make changes to the actual patterns while doing the lights.
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 would be down to collab more but I’m bad at socializing. My DM’s are always open on discord. My mapping style is slowly evolving from dance to tech or a mix of both. So if anybody wants to do something fun together, let me know!
Oh and watch Haikyuu. That is all. Thanks for reading!
Have questions for ETAN? Hit them up in the comments!
This interview has been lightly edited for spelling, grammar, and clarity.