BARKLEYNO was the first (and probably last) song I mapped for osu!. This song was a space jam remix of BACCANO's opening theme, Guns & Roses. To be honest, my map is pretty awful, and on normal circumstances, I probably wouldn't put this up here. But some of the events surrounding the map creation I think are worth talking about.
In the first quarter the osu! club started up, it was pretty tough thinking of events to busy members with. Just attracting members for a somewhat unknown game was difficult. We probably only had maybe about a half dozen or so people in a typical meeting, half of who were already officers. Member counts didn't really bother us, though. We made the club because we just wanted to play the game together more, which is what we spent most of our time doing at meetings.
But regardless, it's not much of a club if all we're doing is just hanging out each week and playing games. We wanted to do some more general activities related to the game. I started doing a tutorial series where I taught a little snippet of the game each week. This, however, turned out to be pretty useless because all the other members were not only a lot better than me but probably knew the topics much better than I could teach them.
One activity I definitely wanted to get into though was was making beatmaps for osu!. I knew it was something that probably wouldn't interest everyone, but with support from the club, I'm sure some people, myself included, would want to take a stab at it. That quarter was probably our most successful in terms of getting people to contribute beatmaps.
The idea was that we would all work on our own maps and at the end of the quarter, submit them all together to make a compilation. I'll talk about the making of the compilation later but for more info, you can visit our beatmap link: Various Artists - osu! UCI 2015 Winter Compilation.
I've always been somewhat of the creative type, and with myself now playing a lot of osu!, it was kind of natural to give beatmapping a shot. By myself, I probably wouldn't jump into mapping alone, but since I had the help and support from the club, along with an end goal of the compilation to look forward to, I started working on a map a little ways into the quarter.
For my song choice, I wanted something that was short, ideally around a 90 second TV-size. Short songs are easier to map because of length. And I also wanted something that maybe had some kind of theme to follow. This eventually led my way to BARKLEYNO. I'm a huge fan of space jam remixes, and BARKLEYNO was definitely at the top of my list for really well done mixes. Not only did I think the song was just made better and funnier with space jam added in, but the video was just top notch quality.
The plan was to use the first 90 seconds only as the map. One of the cool things about the original opening was that motion was an important part of the animation. All the different scenes were connected via overlapping actions, and I wanted to somehow capture that. So I thought I'd try and follow that same feeling through the beatmapping, matching my notes to the background video and original soundtrack.
Unfortunately, this didn't practically work out all that well. A lot of it was just inexperience mapping from my part. I don't think I ever got the timing of the song completely correct, and this started affecting everything overall. Part of it was because the remix kind of threw me off since there were two songs to keep track of. For the most part though, I think everything looks okay, but I ended up mapping some really weird notes on off beats.
I felt like my map played really weirdly at times. It made more sense if you had the background video enabled and followed along with the instrumental, but these weren't things I could automatically expect of a player. Most people, for instance, played with video completely off, and the map then felt like just following a single line throughout the whole song and trying to hit to the rhythm.
And hitting to the rhythm wasn't exactly intuitive. In a space jammed song like this, the space jam theme definitely had an overbearing precedence, but I chose to map the brass instrumentals instead. Someone who played my map pointed that out to me, and I didn't really account for that since I'd always thought to map the instrumental from the beginning.
Some aspects of the map, I don't really know how to explain, but they just felt weird coming from a player's perspective. A lot of the odd quadruplets and doubles and streams that popped up were strange, to say the least, for even me, the maker, to play properly. Maybe it was the fact that the song was so slow (133 BPM) or maybe the notes just didn't fit correctly. I'm not really sure. I think if I mapped a lot more, I'd probably get a better grasp of how to fit notes better together.
The worst of my problems, however, were slider velocity issues. I originally made the slider velocity very high to match some motions in the video, but after some feedback, the velocity seemed too much to handle for normal play. By then I already finished a first draft of the 90 second map, which took a super long time by itself.
I don't know what it was, maybe it was because I was doing very careful matching of notes, but it just took forever for me to get a few seconds done at a time. I did a lot of my work in short spurts, and just the first draft took me probably a month or so. So having to change the slider velocity for the entire song almost made me cry.
Because you see, if you changed the slider velocity for the entire song, all the sliders in the song become longer, and I essentially had to go through the whole song again to readjust the slider lengths. Very grueling and tedious work. It may have honestly been better for my time/sanity's sake to just start on another map, but I was too far committed to making this work.
Eventually I fixed those issues and decided that's probably good enough mapping, maybe forever. As a whole, I don't know how I feel about mapping. It's not unfun, I would say, but it is a lot of work. And it is quite unforgiving if you make a mistake early that you want to change throughout the map. I would say there're other things that interest me more or that I have more expertise in, even within the beatmap process itself, for example, working on a skin/storyboard to add in.
I worked pretty hard to add in a skin for this map. To hone in on the space jam theme even more, I cut out a bunch of different Barkley heads and put them on all the notes. Even the slider and spinners were all converted to heads as well. Finding heads involved just googling Barkley images and then carefully cutting out his face. It's far from a complete or usable skin, but it was fun little addition that I liked.
And of course I had to add in the video for the background. This was a bit more complicated than I expected. I used some YouTube ripper to get the video, but I ran into some problems trying to upload it along with my song in osu!. Apparently, osu! has some pretty strict size limitations, probably for good reason, and because my video was too big, they wouldn't let it through. So I went in and cut out the sound for the video since that wasn't needed and also downsized it even further. It looks a little worse but at least it's online now.
For this project I didn't work on a storyboard for it. I already had a video anyways that would be more important so I felt like adding in extra stuff wasn't necessary. By this time it was the end of the quarter already so I probably wouldn't have time either. Not to mention, I didn't really even know how to make one. I was interested in learning though, since I've heard word that there was coding potentially involved.
But oddly enough I actually got a chance to do storyboards during this time, though not on BARKLEYNO. I think about week 9 into the quarter, we started compiling all of our songs together to get ready for our last week's meeting. We actually got quite a few submissions, most of which, funnily enough were from Justin, who submitted something like 3 and a half finished songs. I submitted my map, and we got another three from Haoming, Nina, and Brad.
Justin, Brad, and I were put in charge of putting the songs together. Brad mixed all the mp3 songs into one long track with short pauses between them. Justin handled timing the beatmaps correctly. I worked on making a compilation background and, also at this time, a storyboard to switch backgrounds when different songs played.
This storyboard didn't take any coding. I just did all the background changes within the editor itself, which took a bit getting used to. Most of my difficulty, however, just came from finding images corresponding to the maps. Overall, everything looked decently nice by the end of it. The quality of maps was... questionable, but I don't think any of us expected much with a rag tag group of inexperienced mappers.
This about concludes BARKLEYNO. I wouldn't say I had super amounts of fun making my map. I made a ton of mistakes, as I imagined, but learned a ton about the mapping process as well. I was excited to continue working on mapping projects, and this would lead into our group project for next quarter, Silicon Heart.