Welcome to today’s article of our “Mapper of the Week” series featuring Skeelie! We hope you enjoy getting a peek inside these mapper’s heads (and eyes, in this case!) and discover some fantastic new maps in the process!
Q. What inspired you to start mapping?
I am the mapper for the indie rhythm game Old School Musical, and I truly started mapping with this game. With that project being finished, I started mapping for Beat Saber because it was the game that had me hooked the most at that time, even if I didn’t have a VR headset yet.
Q. What are your preferred genres of music to map?
EDM, dubstep, trance, origin can be western or eastern, I don’t make a difference. Also I’m really not restricting to these genres, it’s just what I have the most in my maps. I listen to all kind of stuff so my map genre is very diverse
Q. Are there any other things besides mapping that you’re involved with in the Beat Saber community?
Q. Which of your maps are you most proud of or is your favorite?
Happy Halloween by Yuikonnu & Ayaponzu is probably my favorite; it’s the first map where I told myself “this is exactly how I want this song to be played”. All patterns in that map follow the intensity of the song. Every movement conveys the feeling of the vocals, melody and beats, or at least how I perceived it. Looking back at it (it’s more than eight months old now), there’s a few things I’d change or adjust. So maybe I could give it a small rework some time to push it for rank? I would also add two more difficulties so that it’s a full spread.
Q. Do you have a signature pattern that you use in all/most of your maps?
There’s this small set of two notes that I tend to use at least once in my recent maps, on paper it looks bad and to any beginner mapper would probably feel very weird to use, but it adds that spice of not using only down hits while being played like a double crossover with 2 downs.
Q. What does your mapping process look like? Do you use timing notes? Do you light first, or map? Be as detailed or as short as you’d like.
If I could only use one word to describe it: chaotic.
It really depends on how I’m feeling; sometimes I make lights first, sometimes I do one difficulty then lights. The only time I use timing notes is when I just want to time a song and then decide afterwards if I want to map it. There are tens of songs that are completely timed in my WIP folder that I won’t ever map, so they’ll just continue to get dusty in there with a big row of red dots, F.
Q. Let’s talk a little bit about lights. You have made quite a name for yourself as an epic-level lighter. What would be your pitch to convince players to turn off their static lights and experience the wonder that is Beat Saber lighting in-game?
A. It’s like lights at a concert, but in your VR headset at home! So grab that Chroma mod (Editor’s note: available in ModAssistant!) and play for fun while enjoying all the beautiful colors and flash. I would even say that if lights distract you too much during game play, use the Chroma mod “lightshow” option that gets rid of all notes and just enjoy the show. It’s definitely worth it.
Q. Is there a particular lighting job that you’re most proud of? How long did it take you to do the lights?
A. Oh boy, there’s a lot that I’m proud of. I guess I’ll talk about three of them. A year ago, the custom platform mod was working well and so with AaltopahWi and Liquid Popsicle we started to use platforms made for lighting, with extra events that would put the number of usable basic events up to 11 (not counting ring spins and laser speeds). Which means that with MM Mk5 (Mediocre Mapper, at the time), we had to use 3 different files to create a whole light show, and that it needed to be merged afterwards in a single file. We had no preview of what was happening, everything made without knowing if it would truly work like intended. A perfect example of that is this light show, which was never released publicly on BeatSaver (it’s only on my YouTube!), but is one of my proudest creation of that time and one of the few light show where I restricted to certain palette colors :
And while we’re in the custom platform times, I have to talk about the Overkill light show I made which is my most popular to this day. It’s the first collab I made with Kolezan. He wanted to do a one-handed version of this well known song and I wanted to make lights at some point for it. The show got quite popular on the BeatSaber subreddit and has been recognized as “Awesome” by Split in the comments of the video:
Born of Blood took around 8 to 9 hours of active work to make and Overkill took around 12 hours, if I remember correctly. And both have around 40k events
Leaving this area of custom platforms with custom lighting events, which are now unusable due to the game updates. I focused on using the new environments that was added in the game with the new released. The Panic Environment being my new favorite, I recently made lights for a fast and nervous song:
I do think I used this environment potential to its maximum with this light show. It is quite explosive and very fitting of the song. It took around 9 hours to make and has 37k events.
Q. With Chroma 2.0 now out, what do you think is the next frontier of lighting?
A. Chroma 2.0 offers a lot of possibilities which aren’t very easy to use as of now, you can have ring lights lit one at a time, same for spinning lasers, you can decide of the direction and speed of rotation of the rings, lasers can accelerated and stopped completely in their movement without resetting their positions, and last but not least, official environments parts can be removed at will. It’s mind blowing what can be done with Chroma 2.0 but I’m waiting for a tool that can exploit this stuff easily before jumping into it (ChroMapper soonTM)
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?
“Hey, listen you, this map is trash! Now read the wiki and get an understanding of what flow is.”
Q. I playtested your Daijoubu map a few weeks ago and it was pure witchcraft in terms of flow. I’m a solid expert/low-end E+ player and the sight-reading on this was terrifying BUT you left my arms so perfectly positioned with each swing that it was magic. What’s your secret sauce to capturing that fantastic flow?
A. Secret sauce huh, what’s that? Haha. Since my mapping is made by going with the flow, I listened to the song and just went with what would feel right. I don’t really have to think about parity anymore as it goes naturally, I’ve put bloqs, air-played it a bit, trying to figure out if there were any possible arm tangles and voilà, patterns are made.
Q. What, in your opinion, is the single most challenging thing for a new mapper to master in order to be successful?
A. Understanding what parity is and how to exploit it to perfection. Being a support in #mapping-discussion, I can see it’s a concept that is really hard to grasp for a lot of people, not only new mappers. Once that concept is mastered, though, breaking flow by mistake is almost impossible.
Q. You’ve said that you’re on ScoreSaber’s ranking team, what would you say to encourage other mappers to consider ranking?
A. While ranking a map is a tedious process at first, it’ll make you less prone to mistakes in the end. Within the modding process, you’ll eventually refine all your mapping abilities to their maximum potential. It will also give your maps a lot of visibility and plays, way more than curation on bsaber, especially for obscure and not well known 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. Bombs! Used well, bombs can force tons of movement that you wouldn’t be able to create with only blocks.
Q. Do you have any tips or tricks for intermediate mappers looking to step up their game by using bombs in their maps?
There are two main types of bomb patterns that can be used:
- One that blocks movement; it doesn’t get in the way of sabers, but makes the player hold their current position. This is the easiest one to use. Basically, just put the bombs around half a beat after the notes on the opposite side. For example if you hit a down, bombs go in the upper lane. This blocks any further movement from the player, and they must hold their position.
- One that forces player movement; this is mostly forcing arm rotation in order to lead to the next hit. This one can be tricky to use, as the path of the bombs has to direct the movement. To simplify, the bombs should represent the circular movement you want the player to do, but offset by around half a beat (can be adjusted on a case-by-case basis). Then, the drawing of the bomb path has to follow the speed you want to induce, so be careful with your beat divisions. I should add that most players will always avoid bombs with both of their arms, so it’s very tedious to create a movement for only one arm.
As a final tip, air playing your bombs with your arms (not only your wrists!) can be a great help in figuring out if they will stagger the player or if it’s smooth motion. Also, playtest often when you start using bombs.
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?
Expect more bombs and tech in the future.
Thanks for reading! Have a question for Skeelie? Hit them up in the comments!
This article has been lightly edited for spelling, grammar, and clarity.