This week’s featured mapper, KikaeAeon is coming up on two years in the game and boasts more than 200 maps across several genres. Take a peek inside his mapping brain along with a nifty “behind-the-mapper” video!
Q. What inspired you to start mapping?
A. Playing my favorite songs and how others mapped theirs as well!
Q. You’re about 6 weeks away from your TWO YEAR mapperversary. How did you get started with mapping when the game itself was so new, never mind the Beat Saber community?
A. It’s crazy to think it’s almost been two years since I started. At the time I wasn’t even aware when the game came out really. I just bought my first VR headset (Oculus Rift aka CV1) at the time. I enjoyed playing the OST a lot when I just had 10 hours into the game. I was browsing on youtube and I came across a video where someone played a song that wasn’t in the official game. I can’t remember what song it was but I found it weird that I could not find it in the game. I looked a little more and saw that there was a Discord called BSMG where they had instructions on how to apply custom songs.
Afterward a good amount of downloads. I wasn’t satisfied with how the songs were mapped. Although mapping was at its infancy, I still wanted to see my favorite songs in the game and enjoy them as much as I enjoy listening to them. This was my first time doing editing or modding something into a game I have played. This was before Mediocre Mapper was introduced. I also didn’t know many shortcuts that would have saved me countless hours. My first map took about 4 hours and all I did was one difficulty being Expert and no lights because I did not know that was a thing.
One day I decided to stream myself on Twitch. I got that Idea because I streamed other games at the time. In my first stream I saw this person – I think people have heard of him or something – his name was Joetastic. He had popped up and asked to play one of his maps. I said “sure! Just put it in the queue and I’ll be happy to play your map”. The map he requested was Bullet Waiting For Me (James Landino remix). I was impressed how fun that map was at the time. So I played it about 10 times after the stream and said to myself “If he can do it. I can do it”. So I decided to do more maps after my first one.
Over the years after taking references from other mappers such as Joetastic, Saut, Aggrogahu, and Hexagonial I finally came up with my own style where I didn’t need to have references anymore. This took me about the whole year of 2019 to get it. Back then I was also a “speed mapper” where I had a goal to catch up to Joe. The closest I’ve been was 100 maps away to reach him – now I’m 400 behind. But that didn’t bother me. Now I just map and take my time to think about the players’ enjoyment of the game. Not trying to be the number one mapper in the community. There are way more other talented mappers that are lesser known and it would be fun to see them grow and be known like us early mappers have risen through the ladders.
Q. Which music genres do you prefer to map?
A. It had changed through the years. In 2018 and early 2019 I was mapping J-Pop a lot. In mid to late 2019 I mapped a lot of J-Rock maps. Now I 2020 I am addicted to EDM songs. So who knows what I would be mapping in 2021!
Q. What style of maps do you most enjoy when you play Beat Saber for fun?
A. Dancy, relaxing maps.
Q. Do you have a current favorite map that you like to play?
A. It’s difficult to answer because of how many good maps I played repeatedly and got new ones to play over and over. But if I had to answer my current one. It would be WWW (feat. Edoga-Sullivan) by Moe Shop which I mapped earlier this year.
Q. What was it about that map that gives you a sense of accomplishment? Were they really difficult? Extra effort on lighting or level design? Do you have one in particular you’d like to include a video of?
A. My most difficult maps are probably my K-Pop maps. I always have a dissatisfaction when they don’t fit the theme of the song or the choreography. My most challenging one and accomplished one would be Stuck in My Head by Twice Just because at the time I didn’t see any choreography or haven’t thought of a theme for it. So I had to make my own as I mapped. It took about three hours just to get an idea of what I wanted to map. But the outcome came great, so I am very proud of coming over that challenge.
Q. If you could go back in time and give your new mapper self one piece of advice, what would it be?
A. Don’t be scared to try new patterns if you enjoy them. Don’t worry about ranked rules. Don’t worry about pumping as many maps as others.
Q. What is the most challenging thing for new mappers to master?
A. Being consistent at bringing new patterns and new ideas on what parts to map in a song.
Q. Do you have a signature pattern you use in your maps – something that says, “Yup… this is a Kikae map”?
A. I only have 3 that I like to use in my maps. I called them the “cross ups”. I mostly implement them at the chorus and the end of the song as a pose and recently I’ve been breaking a little of the rules adding double downs and double ups in certain songs.
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. Top row streams and down directions on the top row. I would also add bombs. Still rarely seen or touched.
Q. What does your mapping process look like?
A. I start with bookmarking the structure of the song. Then I map the sections in pieces. Lights come last but can be simple or difficult depending on the structure.
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. Speaking of Joetastic, according to bsmappers.com, you are in the Top #5 mappers in total map count with 210 maps. What is your secret? What is it about mapping that has held your interest over so long with so much output?
A. I don’t really have a secret. I just put a lot of effort on the maps I put out. Unfortunately I have been slower putting out maps because of my current job taking me about 75% of my day. Back in 2018 and early 2019 I was a full time college student with a lot of time in my hands. But as of this summer I have been better managing my time with beat saber and my current job. So my goal now is to release at least one or two maps per week.
What has kept me interested for so long is the amount of music I have left to map. At first I had to map all the songs I own in my library, but the issue is that my library also is growing exponentially, haha. So I guess there is no end to it with how much I listen to new songs and how I work with other people’s requests as well.
Q. You’ve said that you’d like to inspire newer mappers and see more rise up? What should the community be doing to support those new mappers and help to get them some visibility when they show promise?
A. Well it’s hard to pick and see which ones are good, have potential, or even made it without being known because of how biased the community can be. This might be a little harsh, but the community’s genre selection has been set on popularity such as Japanese music, EDM, and fast BPM songs which is kinda sad because it limits how people also like lesser known genres. But on the other hand, I’ve seen groups of people on BeastSaber release packs of rap, 80s music, and other genres. So it’s good to know those individuals are not mapping what we are used to seeing from the community.
Thanks for reading! Have a question for Kikae? Hit them up in the comments!
This interview has been lightly edited for spelling, grammar, and clarity.