Slowly and steadily, I seem to be orbiting more and more towards osu! once more - which is something I myself did not expect at all, since I thought I would never have time for it again. There's a reason all this may be happening.
In truth, all this change comes from the fact that there were recent changes in my life that may be aiding the cause - for example, just last month I fractured the little finger of my left hand, due to an accident with my motorized bicycle. That may sound like ouch, but hey, it was a really small fracture, and considering I had time off for 4 weeks, and the harm done was for the finger I use least on the hand I use least, well, I enjoyed the time I had off work (though admittedly, it still hinders you big time). By the third week, I was already in good shape. That may explain why you suddenly saw me uploading 4 or 5 maps all at once, but even yet, I don't consider that I took full advantage of the free time I had - most of my days were just eating shit and watching TV, spending time with my girlfriend doing nothing, or stuff like that. Still, a part of it was reserved for my artistic self, and not just speaking about beatmapping - I pondered long and hard about the work that I was doing.
Additional to this, as hard as it is to admit, at least during this semester, I won't be able to enter school, due to lack of money - and a ton of shit has happened as well, lots of things that I haven't written here. In February, as I wrote earlier it was part of my plans, my girlfriend and I finally moved together - and I'm proud to say that, since it has been difficult but we have managed to achieve it.
I have also changed jobs, so I no longer work for Netflix, but rather now for Atos - all based due to necessity, since on Netflix the overnight shift was closed, and eventually the English Chat campaign as well. I was transferred to the Spanish Chat campaign however, I didn't want to lose bilingual practice, they didn't pay previous bonuses I had, my schedule was really obstructive (causing me to stop going to school mid semester), and overall it wasn't as cool. Here on Atos, I am back to working overnight which isn't something I really like but, I can earn more. And since I took a loan back in February, so me and my girlfriend could accommodate in our new place (plus also, the opportunity to travel together with her family appeared, and I used the loan for that as well), that's what has now caused me to be submerged in debt. What? I'm not complaining - specially if at least for this semester, I can indulge in my passion, beatmapping. It's not like I'm off school forever, after all.
Now, onto what really matters - where am I going in my mapping career?
Well, it's no secret that during all this time, osu! hasn't left my mind at all; although I may be doing other things, that'll always remain a part of my life. However, I am rather speaking for the game itself - not the community. Not that I have something against it, I think it's an awesome community built around a very awesome game mechanic- but, on second thought, I may have something against them.
So far, during all these six years, what I've been doing is mostly on my own - mapping for myself and my own delight. Mapping songs I like for myself and myself only. During this time, interestingly enough - at a certain point, I was worried I would get stuck or be on a standstill, wondering if I couldn't improve without external input. But the truth is, I think I have also improved working on my own, and my beatmapping has become more mature than what it was back in 2013. Of course, while I know there are still plenty of things that I may be able to improve with external input - reason l say this is because, now that I had the chance to practice and focus myself solely on the beatmap design, without any sort of connotation or compromise as to what other people might think of it, I can see now what's really important when creating a map. Previously, I always thought it was fun for sometimes to disregard spacing entirely, if the song called for it - but looking back at it, I don't think I always made the right call. Now I lean more towards having reasonable spacing if the song doesn't call for it (perhaps it's my own perception of songs what has changed, but I think that is a topic for another day).
The reason I have always pushed to upload them, even if it was off the grid, was because I believed that I was doing something different than the rest, and it's worthy of showing off. This idea slightly faded away, but has still remained with me - that's because as of recently, I really had no idea if maps were still looking the same as they did back in 2013. I was a little bit hopeful that the community had taken consciousness and had evolved mapping even more so in the right direction.
But things are still the same. In fact, things may have gotten worse. Ranked beatmaps all still look the same for the most part (anime backgrounds everywhere, what), and they now blend in each one another even more so, while what I always look for is something different.
Now, I know it's not a good thing to generalize - in fact, I don't think I can do that this time, since by looking at a single map or just a few maps, I can't determine if all maps are the same. There are just a few factors I can base myself in, for example, the general perception of the community towards these maps, which is still generally favorable, but it doesn't give me a full picture of the beatmapping scene as a whole. Besides that, I know there are people who get what I'm saying - there are people who do understand more about what beatmapping is about, can recognize the maps that stand out from the rest, and most importantly, is beatmapping differently than the rest. That's what I am interested in - different views and perceptions in beatmapping.
So what's this "I'm thinking of pushing my maps for ranking again" thing? All I really wish for, I can say is just a little bit of exposure. I admit it, and I can say it's something we all yearn for at some point - and the reason I thought about this was, I can't get my word out or try to influence others by staying "off the grid". At first, I was okay with just a few people understanding what I was doing, but now l want more people seeing what beatmapping is about. After all, if I think I have something cool, I'll only want to share it with other people right?
Even though I wished to have exposure, it was still a bit far off for me to think about returning back to the community - since I just still wouldn't have the same time availability as before, as well as that, there were more so many changes to the mapping/modding scene that I felt catching up would be a chore or too time consuming.
That's when l found pishifat's videos.
These videos are partially what I once thought myself could do - analyzing carefully the aspects of beatmapping in an insightful, visual way allowing everyone to understand them easily. While of course, that feeling of "I could've been him" feeling may be there, honestly, he has done such an amazing job, and he has such a good voice for the job he's doing, I think he was really the one most fit to cover this task - in his place I would've just done a poor attempt of a video, I think, even if the idea was the same. He also explains so much of the mapping scene, the community, modding, as well as the general changes in osu! that just by watching the videos I feel I've already caught up on everything I needed. His videos are so engrossing that although I only wanted to watch a few at first, I have now watched most of them without even noticing (they really don't feel like 10 minute bits!) - and suffice to say, on a few things we share the same perspective or values on mapping, yet at the same time, on over things they're different but equally interesting viewpoints. Thanks to him, I can see the values or concepts clearly within a modern map, which would have been hard for me to see on my own. There are still differences in our mapping values, which I still think is worth exploring - so there is still a purpose in doing everything I do.
One thing I didn't like back then, with the whole beatmapping scene, is that it slowly started to become all about hard maps and how a map can farm you points. From what I can see, nowadays it is still the same, it's just that instead of score, now it's pp - so another reason I originally distanced myself from rankings was this, that people were mostly looking for maps in this fashion, rather than taking a look at them for their design or even the song, which also makes people focus too much on other things. But now I'm thinking, from that to having no people playing the maps at all, it's worth a shot right?
Right now, this is all happening and I'm still not decided fully on where all this is going - mostly for the time consuming factor and the commitment it takes. But what I'm thinking is that, if I really want to make an impact, then I definitely need to get my name known from within the community, and not as an outsider. I'm also thinking as well in regards with my position in modding, and am pondering possible ways in which I could contribute, while them still not being regular mods.
I have lots more things I could keep writing about but, I'm thinking that's enough for today.