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Saturday, November 16, 2013

I don't think I'm going to participate in this beatmapping contest.

Well... yeah, I've decided that. I'm not going to enter the beatmapping contest this time, so, with that.... I effectively disappear completely from the community.

So yeah.... I thought long and hard about it. It wasn't an easy decision - ever since I started mapping I've been interested in entering every single time, because I love mapping. It's not like I'm tired of mapping (come on, that's never going to happen), or because I'm a bad loser... I still think I have a chance, besides that it's fun to see how I do compared to others, but... well, there's mainly two reasons:

- I've disliked the song selection lately. Mapping something takes me a while, so... why should I spend so much time mapping something that I may not like? Now that I realize, I have need doing it only for the social factor and I don't really enjoy the mapping, which is... pretty vital, you know. I enjoy my time much more finishing my offline maps, and I prefer doing that.

- I've disagreed with the judging in the past, so in the end I become more frustrated. I think it's because... the mapping community so far has grown more and more with their own standards and habits, while I've been working standalone in my own world, so we can't comprehend each other as much as we'd like to.

Even then, I'm not saying I think my map should have come as winner last time or anything; in fact, you know that feeling when you see one of your past works and you see ways to improve it, things you didn't see earlier? Yeah, that happens to me too. I can't say I've dominated mapping... not by far.

Even then, I recognize something: I can map stuff in a different way than everyone else. There's a really, really deep science on mapping, and even though I can't say I'm the master, I feel capable of studying and mastering it further. I would say I've progressed towards that goal. It's something really deep and complex, that I could achieve if I put hours of my time studying mapping.
I'm actually kind of enthusiastic about doing that - I'm going to end up doing it sooner or later. Perhaps that's what I intended to do in my "osu! Beatmap Design for Dummies" book, so... yeah, the idea's been floating around for some time now, just that it might not be for dummies anymore.

I need to free myself a little bit so I can take a look at this; until I can get myself a new computer, I'll focus on what's important in my life right now.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Okay, PayPal DOES suck.

Following up from the previous post, I called today at around 6pm, and well, it was pretty straightforward. I mean, the guy kinda wanted to treat me as if I was dumb, but I understand why. I recieved the e-mail, the code, yadda yadda, and finally I was able to set a new password. Yipee! Time to forget about this.

So I think "I'll just input the same password I use for everything... why didn't I do so in the first place?" and so I try to do it, BUT...

"PayPal has detected an error: You cannot use the same password you have active right now. Please choose a different one."

WHAT?! I swear to god, I tried to input that to login hundreds of times!! What in the hell happened, why couldn't I log in if it was the correct password? I didn't recieve any kind of fraud warning or login attempts warning or... anything like that. God. That sucked big time. So now that I had to put something different, NOW I'm more prone to forgetting the new password. That's just genius, eh.

Well, at least it's over. I have a whopping $136.5MX in my account <3 hahaha.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

DMCA, leave me alone. Paypal, you suck. Adfly, good to see you back.






Jesus, this is stupid. Why in the world would you...?! Oh wait, that's right, it's not people who send this kind of stuff, it's just crawlers and spiders digging info. Yes, it's very stupid - because it's not file sharing. Granted, I'm technically not allowed to use the music like that, but it's still not file sharing. It doesn't affect the artists. At all. And you know what makes it even more stupid? That over here at my other blog, I haven't received a single DMCA complaint. And that's where it's like supposed to happen. It's incredible how stupid this system has gotten.

That makes me think the DMCA is carefully looking at what I do on this account because of my past blog... so it might be wise to tread a little bit more carefully. I might have to encrypt the MEGA links of my own maps... ugh, how annoying.

Hmm? Yeah, that blog is still alive. MEGA is absolute love~ it doesn't take down my links, not even for inactivity, which is amazing. Indeed, things are going well with the blog! Now that I can sit on the computer more frequently, I hope I can pick up some of the pace again, to do some more uploads and share music.

That reminds me, I reached another $5 over with my adfly account last month - whoopie! This time it didn't ask me any confirmation, so it went directly to my balance - and now I have a whoppin' $10 on PayPal, hell yes... but oh, the disaster.



As I tried to verify it and see the number on my account, I tried to login, but failed. So it looks like I forgot my password... since I tried every combination possible and nothing worked. Makes me think I had to use a different password because of the restrictions... but whatever. So I try to recover it using the default options - they don't work either. Damnit! To recover my password by e-mail I have to answer two security questions, of which I don't know the answers. The recovery by phone doesn't work because it tries to reach another phone - even though I remember very well I put my cell phone there.

So yeah, that's a huge blunder from my part... and it seems the only way to fix it now is to call the help center directly. I hope I can get around to it this week... I already set up Skype to do it, since I think I can make free calls from there too, and it'll be more comfortable.

Gee, so everything sucks, I know. Even adfly, last month, was acting pretty weird - I had a sudden drop in visitors in ummm... august. Who knows why. Dropped from ~60 average to ~10 - that's pretty noticeable, you agree with me. I barely did $1 a month - so it dropped to a few cents, which is very, very low. I presumed it was Google's fault, since it must receive a lot from takedown requests from that blog too.
I was already giving up on building something promising, but... surprise! I hadn't noticed last month's visitors had gone back to normal! Well, sort of.

Why did that occur, though? Particularly during those days, I don't remember uploading or doing anything special. But who cares, it's back to normal! Now, it's been just half of November and I already did another $1, yay. My hope is back up.

I know, counting just $1 isn't much. I just hope I can pick the pace to upload more albums, get more visitors and make a little money in the future. I'm building something, and it's going to be big - I just gotta keep working on it.

Friday, October 4, 2013

And here's the reason I call these maps "fast-food" maps.

The osu! society seems it's come to accept a general standard for maps - of course, maps they think are very good, maps they think they deserve the praise. This standard... well, I can't say it's bad they want to play good stuff, but... the way I see it, they seem to think it's awesome to play the same map over and over again. I think people have started to reject maps that aren't in this standard because they seem weird, just because they're not mapped the way they expected to. Weird stuff is often considered by popular culture as ugly because it's not understood; it's just not fair.

The process repeats over and over again, from mapping that anime song, getting modders, getting it ranked... god, it's become so incredibly repetitive. I've complained in the past how people seem to map the same thing again and again, and now I'm complaining about how they map it the same way again and again. The sad thing is, people over at osu! enjoy it this way and don't complain.

But first, an important question has come to mind: why is it I think this way? Is it just because I have a stick in the ass, because I hate the new generation of osu! mappers, or...? It might be because I think so highly of my own maps, then I present myself with other maps and I think "this is nowhere near as good as I thought it would be", and I admit that's then just a matter of ego. But I believe I have legitimate reasons to think lowly of these other maps, reasons I'm about to present here.

Ever since I heard it from Egoraptor (awesome video, I recommend you watch it if you haven't), I have always remembered the metaphor where... one compares fast-food to high-quality food. He uses it to compare videogames, but it can also be applied to many other things, one of those things being beatmaps.
The heart of this metaphor is, there exist two kinds of quality, the fast food one and the high quality one. People can enjoy both, but they're really very different: the fast food quality centers its focus on quantity, effectiveness to produce and time used to consume, while the refined quality doesn't. The refined quality will always be better though; even though it's harder to produce, even though there might be less, and even though it might not last much, this one will always leave you a bigger satisfaction feeling, while the fast quality always makes you reach for more.

It might have been just me, but somewhere between 2008 and 2009 I started to recognize in some maps what I started to call "chinese style". I admit, that's silly, but honest, that's what I called it, and it's because I believed those maps were always created by chinese or asian people. The thing was, they looked kinda the same. And then it started to become more popular, with also affecting the hitsounding and stuff like that. You can almost be sure you can press Random Beatmap in osu! and you'll get a map that looks chinese. And this "chinese style" is what I'm calling now "fast-food style", because mappers from other regions have started to imitate this style too.

First of all: why? Well, basically, what I said earlier becomes true: these maps are easier to produce and easier to play. That's why.

Why do I say it's easier to produce? Basically, these chinese maps all go similarly: similar flow, similar spacing, you get me. They all started to get very fast pacing as recently, but it's still the same. And how are these maps built? I presume it goes something like this:
"Okay, I'll place a beat here. The next beat must go here. The next one here, and then I'll use a triple here, because it sounds nice. Oh, oh! An intense phrase is coming up! Let's create a stream then~ oh, and I guess I'll increase the distance snap multiplier while I'm at it." Let's keep in mind this is, of course, using distance snap. All mappers love distance snap, and while it's a very useful tool, using it this way is not right.

What do I think is the problem here? Basically, I presume all mappers think this on the fly. And they decide the general direction of sliders and the flow very randomly; like, there's really no solid, recognizable shapes around. While the mapper may have the necessary skill to hitsound the map in a good way, and give it a solid structure, spacing and flow... it's not the same as a high quality beatmap.

Let's also keep in mind, most asian mappers don't follow the lyrics; they prefer to map the drumline, which means it's even easier to produce - you don't have to listen as many times to the song to learn the proper drumming rhythm. And this means using triples everywhere, which reduces the originality even more.

Now, why do I say it's easier to play too? Building on what I just said, these maps look the same and follow almost the same rhythm. By just understanding how one is built, you can play several; you don't need to listen or know the song beforehand, because you can read the similar spacing and play the similar rhythm. If you have a fast-pace style dominated, you can almost always get S on any of these maps.
This easy playability was accepted back then because farming was the main factor of ranking up; now it's just accepted because it's what everyone else does, so it's become the main standard to make maps people like.

Okay, so this wise-ass is blabbering a lot about my favorite maps; if that's not a quality map, then what is?  A high-quality beatmap is the contrary of this; it's a well thought beatmap, with thought-of beforehand and well designed shapes. A beatmap that follows the most unique attribute of a song: the vocal line. A beatmap that represents this vocal line in the most creative way possible. That's what I say.
Why do I say this? Because the other maps are very forgettable, because the other maps may feel messy (because they lack design), because the other maps don't give you that satisfaction feeling. All these maps rely on their song and structure to provide fun, but they lack the most important artistic aspect, creativity. Often, I feel those maps don't do justice to the songs, because they represent the song as "whatever". Creating well-thought out beatmaps, instead of doing it on-the-fly, is what true beatmap design is about.

There are very few creative mappers out there now, but there still are. I often attribute myself as creative, even though I may lack heavily on other technical aspects like flow or spacing, so it's like I'm the contrary of chinese. Well, I encourage you to be the judge, whether creativity is better or you prefer fast-food!

God, I always manage to write a lot about these kind of things. And I just realized this probably should be on my other blog... but well, this is more like a formal complaint rather than a mapping lesson. Teehee.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mapping is such an art.

I just love to write about beatmapping, don't I? I just can't help it; I realized beatmapping is such a beautiful art, and it's the one I love doing the most! I'm definitely sure I'm never going to stop it, since it's made such a huge impact on the way I live. I'm not kidding. Even though I'm not logged in most of the time, whenever I get a chance at wasting time I browse my WiP list. I notice the evolution of osu! along with my maps, how much they've changed and improved... and how I can keep improving. It's something very relaxing for me; I can spend hours doing it, as I've done so in the past! It might be a weird thing to say my favorite hobby is beatmapping, but it's true; it's even above playing videogames and listening to music, which are two of my favorite things.

So here we go with my philosophy again. Why, exactly, is it I say beatmapping is an art?

There's many kinds of arts people say to exist. You often see people speak about the "art of massage" or the "art of running", just to say a few examples. I think, what they mean when they say this, is that this activity is something you can become an expert at, or practice the correct way. But then... isn't it the same to say it's a "skill"?
Now, even in this context the definitions are a little bit different; skill is something you can measure, while the "art of something" speaks about the correct method to do it. This can go even further, like saying it can mean it's a very well defined activity, creating and perfecting your own methods for it, or that it has sub-activities that stem from it. Stuff like this can make the definition more complex... but well, that's not the point I'm trying to make here.

I don't think that's the true definition of art. Now, I'm not really checking into any sources or documentation here because I'm lazy, but I think there must be a more appropriate definition of the word.

To me, art speaks about the subjective method to do something you create, not simply... do. Art is about creating stuff. This narrows down the things that are "art", by a lot. For example, now you can say cooking is an art, but eating is not. Acting for the TV is art, but watching it is not. In the former, you create art; in the latter, you simply consume it.

So, there's still some theory holes left, like... if I say creating is art, then even taking a dump is art, is it not?! Of course not, stupid. I think what makes the difference here, is that art is designed specifically for people to consume. It's something you create, for people to enjoy. So, speaking would be an art, as you're creating a speech, but making weird noises with your throat is not. Playing a musical instrument is a complex and beautiful art, but randomly mashing stuff around you to create noise is not. No, I don't care what artists say, that's not art.

So we have that art is something you create, and people consume. I think there's another factor to consider here, very important to the definition of art: it varies greatly from artist to artist. In other words, it's very subjective; there are no hard rules enforced for it.
It's very common to say, when speaking about art, to first learn the rules and then forget them. This is very, very true - you first have to grasp how to create something good, and once you do, you're free to experiment with whatever you want. The rules you had to follow to create something at first, you won't follow them for the rest of your artistic career, as it's human nature to feel curious and experiment with other methods.

Besides that, every artist will unavoidably have their signature feeling to their creation; you can easily distinguish paintings from famous artists, for example, or songs by the same composer. I don't think we can ever hope to perfectly imitate another artist's creation, or radically change our style. There will always be a certain something you can feel with someone's creations. Every mind thinks in a different way, artistically speaking at least.

And of course, the skill here comes as a factor, not the definition. You can get better at recreating yourself, with whatever you want. Everyone is a beginner at first, only with practice one can get better. As I said on my other post, an inspired, but beginner, artist, doesn't have the necessary expertise to create exactly what he wanted; there's always something that looks bad about your creation, but you don't exactly know what it is, and don't know how to fix it. It's not until you become an expert at it that you're able to pinpoint what it was. And as an expert, is when you enjoy recreating, and feel fully realized as an artist. As art is a subjective topic, though, there will always be room for improvement - you can never hope to achieve the perfect composition because of the nature of art itself.

The way you start developing this skill is, most naturally, by starting to imitate someone else doing that thing. Monkey see, monkey do; everyone does it. If we wanted to become as good as random stranger is when composing music, for example, we would have to analyze in detail and try to copy his songs. But that's how you can start to discern what you can create as an artist - you can't be copying someone else's work the rest of your life, because you wouldn't be creating your own stuff.

What does all this apply to, then? Well, I can mention a few ways to express yourself through art:
-Cooking
-Design
-Composing
-Painting
-Acting
-Writing
-Origami (paper-folding)

Etcetera etcetera. There are many ways, and they all have the freedom one needs to express himself. Of course, the main point of this post was to prove that beatmapping is included in the above list (perhaps as stage or game design, but it's design of some form).

Not sure why? Just take a look at the checklist of everything I babbled about above!

Beatmapping:
-is to create beatmaps.
-is designed for other people to enjoy those maps.
-is very subjective from mapper to mapper; has rules you can forget later.
-has a signature feel for every mapper.
-can be developed with experience.
-starts when you imitate someone else's style.

Am I right or what?! Yeah, you know that's right. Sad thing no one reads this.

But there's still something left to discuss. What does beatmapping exactly involve? Beatmapping can be seen as just placing circles somewhere, but it's really far more complex than that.

What beatmapping does... is link two things: bi-dimensional space on a grid, and time. So, at a specific instant, a specific bit of the screen is used. That sounds complex enough?
When you place circles around, you're selecting many spaces of the grid, and the approach circle of all these indicates the time. But it's not only that - when you place several circles, one after the other, you're also indicating a direction to go. A specific sense, a specific path to follow. This last property is not explicit, as you can only notice it if you follow the circles in order. So, what we do when we play, is follow the indicated path while also clicking at the indicated times.

Here's where the fun starts: the magic of this concept is that, it's designed to be synced to a song. Without the song, it'd be too dull and confusing. The times when you have to click can be followed with the rhythm, so when playing along with a song it's much easier to play and understand, because of the straightforward rhythm and structure. Besides that, if you like listening to that song, you'll enjoy playing that map a lot, because you're playing while listening to it again and again without getting tired.

Okay so, when you beatmap, you create these two dimensions of the beatmap and link them. Is there any way to create these two properties the proper way? As beatmapping is an art, I can't say there's a wrong or right way, but I can tell you there's a worse way and a better way.

The times where you press the button, that's more of a property of the song, although you are free to choose whichever melodical line you wish to map - whether that's the vocal line, the drum line, the melody or countermelody, etc. The vocal line is always the one I go for, since that's the catchiest part of the song and the one that makes it unique to the rest. The skill here comes in when choosing when to use which object - circle, slider or spinner, they're all to your total freedom... but of course, you need to choose wisely every time.

Talking about the space: you are free to put the circles in the grid anywhere you like! That's where the creativity in beatmapping comes in! This is really the most important attribute of beatmapping. Since you can select both a space and direction, with that path you're creating, you can make it as if you were waving a baton in a concert, for example, supposing you're used to touch controls or you like to wave your finger around. If you're following the vocal line, for example, you can indicate at certain phrases, things such as abrupt stops, sudden changes, repetitions or pitch changes, or anything else that comes to mind! And if you're doing it right, that musical line will be represented exactly as you wanted to, and the map will be as enjoyable as the song.

Now, waving your finger around is not something people usually do (if you're playing on a normal PC of course), so it might sound stupid, but that's really the beauty of beatmapping. You're not, per se, creating a musical line, but representing one, but the way you represent it is what it's about. Maybe you like to represent certain phrases of the song with a bit of copy-paste, making symmetrical patterns, or by pacing the general flow of the map, who knows, everyone thinks and appreciates music in different ways!

Of course though, just one last note: even though your mapper self may sometimes tell you to do silly stuff like overlap sliders or put two circles at the same time, impossible-to-play stuff like that, please remember that this beatmapping business is for a game, it's for people to play. Sure, you may think that something like that represents the song better (and it might do), but you need to design your maps so people can play them, not just watch them. As I said, when you create art, it's for everyone to enjoy, not just you.

Phew... well, I guess I'll leave it like this. As I've said in some occasions before: I love videogames, and I love music, so music+videogames=addiction. This has proved to be true many times in the past!
Thanks for reading, I hope you appreciated this post. I would've liked to add some graphical aid to this post to make myself clearer, but meh, I'm lazy and I don't have the necessary knowledge to do stuff like that.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Life update: 09/13/2013

Hello guys. Sorry for not being so active over here... important personal issues have been happening over here recently, so I hadn't given myself time to write. Hectic life, this one has always been. So what can I write about?

I bet you missed that.

No, really though, I'm sorry for not writing all these months, but I guess it's normal, I'm not that much of a multitasker; I noticed, every time I focused on stuff like this, I became careless with school and my "social circle", and viceversa. So that means I've been focusing more on those things, which is good... I guess. But in any case, I must try to keep a more balanced life.

As for important life events, I graduated from high school and entered college, isn't that awesome? Well, it's not what you'd say the biggest achievement in my life, but everything's going perfect.
Well, I started going two weeks later which is a bit too late, and I still have like four debts I need to take care of. But besides that, everything's going smoothly. I have plenty to complain about my college, though, but that'll be another day. So everything keeps on going.

As for projects I've started to create recently (you know I'm always someone to have a "project" in the works), there are two important ones I've been working on.

I've been reading too much "For Dummies" material (I downloaded a compilation torrent of the ebooks). I love it! The texts are so friendly for the brain, and they can talk about almost anything, and I really mean that. Each book contains lots of information about whatever that book's about, and it's fun to read, and easy to understand. You really can learn a lot with those books!
And the idea struck me. As I was reading my other blog about beatmap design, I for a moment mistook it for one of those books. It was then that I realized it's possible. Imagine seeing on a book cover "osu! beatmap design for Dummies", or "osu! for Dummies". It's completely possible! And I'm capable enough to write it. I just need to pour hours and hours of my time to do it, but it's completely possible. I have already thought about the full table of contents, and one can easily reach the 300 page mark.
Of course, if I keep progressing through this idea, when I finish it I wouldn't be able to publish it legally like all the others, so I would release it for free, but in a few years it might be possible. It's a lengthy and complicated process, but no doubt it's possible. I might even have to travel to the US for that, but that doesn't sound like a very bad idea.

So that's one. The other one is a secret. I have other mini-projects in mind too, but I'll keep them under wraps for now. Perhaps I'll reveal more about them in the following weeks. Not like there's someone actually following me or anything... I'm not famous. The main difference is that... my projects are not too ambitious now, like they used to be. So I can definitely see the goal mark this time.

As for the use of my free time recently, I've been into mapping again! Very very soon, I will publish another one of my offline beatmaps on my other blog, and if I can I'll keep working on all of them. I just love my babies so much! I might even start playing again, who knows!

So I guess that's it for now. This is where I write an empty promise to keep writing here. Haha!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My maps vs. The rest of the world

There's something I've been wondering for some time now. Why is it that I like my maps so much? I mean, it's pretty normal if a talented mapper starts to like his own maps, but I feel I've gone way past that... like, I don't like maps other than my own. Is it some kind of ego deep inside myself? Or is it a consequence of holing myself with only working for my maps?

This is a complicated question; let's break it down to understand it. Starting with a more basic question: why is it that people map?
That answer cannot be objective, everyone maps for different reasons. Some people, believe it or not, map because of the recognition, some map for the feeling of "contribution" to the community, and true mappers, those who truly enjoy their works, map because of the songs.
It sometimes infuriates me to hear someone say "man, I have nothing else to map, someone give me something". Besides having such poor music taste, there's something else to worry about: are you mapping for the songs, for people to have a good time with your maps, or are you mapping simply just because? I am not exactly sure, but that just tells me you're not mapping the songs you like, so you're not mapping for the songs.

Sure, everyone likes recognition. Everyone likes to be told "you did an amazing job"... everyone likes to believe they're doing something awesome. Some people like searching for this kind of praise, including the people who try too hard. But as a true mapper, you don't really care about those things. The joy of mapping, for those people who get it, isn't about getting your maps played by others, it's about creating them and playing them yourself.

Mapping is a form of art. Using metaphors: a child that likes to draw, that spends most of his free time drawing, does he go around the street showing a certain drawing to everyone passing by? Does he print it and put it on the newspaper, or tries to publish it on the internet? No, a child doesn't do that. True, he may show it to his parents and asks them what they think, but if he really likes drawing, despite the possible answer, that kid is going to keep drawing. Most of his drawings, he may not show around; he just draws anything, anywhere. Because he just likes it, he just enjoys it. Mapping, I believe, works exactly the same way as any other form of art.

Those who enjoy mapping, they do it because they can picture a map while listening to a certain song, and they do it without thinking it. It comes naturally. They imagine the way it would be, and think "this would make for an amazing beatmap!"... in other words, they get inspired to do it. Inspiration, it's what it's all about. It allows you to catch the unique feeling of the song. Of course, there's people who map without any inspiration, just like there are painters, and composers; keep in mind that, just because I say there are, doesn't mean it's right.
There's a certain satisfaction, a certain pleasure, you can't obtain anywhere else when mapping. I'm talking about, getting all inspired to create a map and being able to do it successfully, catching the true essence of the song. It's the same as getting inspired for paintings, or getting inspired for composing a song, and being able to do it exactly the way you wanted to. A beginner almost always won't be able to; but after hours and hours of practice you start getting the hang of it. And it feels so nice, because you're proud of what you created.

This is why, my job as beatmapper is never going to end - as I keep expanding my musical tastes, I discover more and more mappable songs. I get inspired a lot, and as a result I have lots of WiPs, works which I've tried to release bit by bit on my other blog. But I can do without online rankings and all that stuff; it doesn't hurt me that my maps almost don't get any views. Just as long as one person discovered them and enjoyed them just like I do, I'm happy.

To answer the original question... I enjoy my own maps so much because I'm experienced enough to place my ideas exactly as they were on my mind, on the screen. Making the "this would make for a very fun map!" idea, reality. Mixing that, with the challenging fun of osu!, and the addictiveness of the song, is everything I truly enjoy about this game.
It is true, I don't like many other maps, but there still are other talented mappers I respect out there. There are other maps, made by other mappers, I enjoy as much as mine.
Something I've noticed is that... most maps I like and enjoy, were for songs I had also discovered at the same time (in osu!, while modding or playing), while many other maps I don't like, were for songs I knew from somewhere else beforehand. You might think it's just because it's not mapped they way I wanted, but this is not true. Once I become familiar with a specific song, and as I take a closer look at the map, it might not look as awesome as it seemed; and for not so great maps, I might realize how awesome it actually is. It's happened a few times before. In the end, it all comes down to how the beatmap is structured.

How does modding affect this perspective?
It affects it greatly. Why is it that people go through this frustrating and time consuming process, only for it to have online rankings? Is it really that important?
People do it because, since online rankings exists, people only play maps which are ranked, and as anyone would, people want their maps to be played. That's why they consider it so important. But is it the right thing? What modding does to maps, is "improve them". Modding is a required thing to pass through if you want your map to get ranked, and it theoretically makes sense; if you're going to make many people play one map, let it be a good one.

There's the objective improvements: the timing, the folder, technicalities that one should be aware of to make the map playable. You wouldn't have a ranked map with two circles at the same time, because it's not possible. Not very very hard, just not possible. You wouldn't have a ranked mapset with just a very hard difficulty, since there would be many people who wouldn't be able to play. I agree with these kind of fixes, as there's no excuse to not fix them.
But then there's the subjective stuff. The "this jump doesn't make sense", the "add a beat here to make it more playable", the "move this to the right to make it more symmetrical". At the beginning, I thought, this was to avoid potential mistakes, unwanted things the creator didn't intend to keep, and sometimes it works like that. But many other times, the modders want to improve the map from their own perspective. Sadly, this is what happens the most, and it shouldn't be.

When you say "this jump is too sudden, make it closer so it can be more readable", that's because you think it's sudden, but the mapper may not think the same way. Essentially, you are trying to modify someone else's map. More often than not, the mapper is open to suggestions and if the mapper agrees, everyone is happy and the map gets ranked. But is that because the mapper was unsure of what he wanted, or is it because the mapper just wants to get it ranked?
The attitude may vary from mapper to mapper, but mappers with pride do not want other people modifying their maps to their liking. Sure, that jump may not be so intuitive, but you want it to play that way; you're fully aware of it and don't consider it a problem. You like your map as it is; rather than changing it to other people's comfort, you want people to learn to play it the way you wanted to. I don't think there's anything wrong with that; in case a stubborn mapper thinks his map is great but most people don't, let it get ranked and let the ratings prove the point.

Is making the map as readable as possible the solution? Heck no. In fact, I'd incline myself more to the unreadable side, but of course, I'm not talking about impossible-to-read joke maps. By making them readable, you're also making them easier to play and easier to digest, easier to pass by unnoticed.
A talented mapper won't make the map unreadable "just because", however. A talented mapper knows what he's doing, and if he wants a certain jump there, let it be. People can choose by themselves if they want suggestions or not.

What should be the correct approach? Now that the pp system has been in place, there's no more farming, so no more "playing to rank up"; people play the maps they like. People choose them, and stick to them. It's up to the mapper to make something competent, not the modders.
We may think a map"isn't so good". But as modders, is it really our place to change the map to make it "more awesome"? No, it shouldn't be. A beginner mapper may learn one thing or two from the mods he receives, but he won't become an Elite Mapper overnight. I say, stick to technical stuff, and let the ratings, favorites and beatmap charts speak for themselves. Don't try to make it your own map; it's someone else's map, period.
Imagine a visual artist, presenting to you some kind of painting or model, telling you with all his pride "I'm finally done! Please take a look!". What he wants to hear, most probably, is praise. But if he instead receives suggestions, like "I think this is kind of crooked", he's going to take a hit. Sure, we all need to be open to constructive criticism, but there's a difference between saying "Look what I created!" to "What do you think is missing?" or "Any suggestions, anything?". It all depends on what the mapper is asking for, and if you want to get your map ranked, it's become a "take suggestions or get screwed" thing, which I don't entirely agree with.
In my personal case, if I receive constructive criticism from someone unexpectedly, I'd take it all and recognize my mistakes, but still wouldn't like to change the map. I would only consider those suggestions for future maps, which is also perfectly valid. But the work I submitted is a finished one, and I don't intend to keep changing it around.

It may sound drastic that I keep saying we're changing everybody else's maps, but the moment we make a non-technical suggestion, we're doing it. Okay, so it's just a suggestion, and the mapper can agree or disagree; but the very fact you're doing that suggestion is because you want to change it, and that already deviates from the mapper's original perspective and puts him in doubt. There are many times the mapper agrees because of the pressure of getting it ranked, or maybe because he doesn't like to say no, but that shouldn't be the case. The map is perfectly playable as it was created (most of the time anyway), and it should be kept that way.
Yes, I'm saying, don't even make suggestions. If the mapper later realizes something should have been different, it's mostly his fault, and that would only happen for lack of expertise, so he probably wouldn't be an "experienced mapper" yet.

But in any case, I know, I'm not the community manager or anything, I can't enforce all this myself. I know the idea of approving every kind of map isn't very appealing, and on the technical side, not approving so many maps is a benefit, but... the reason why I stopped submitting my maps for approval, is because I don't want my maps to be changed anymore, and the ranking process is way too tedious for me now. With my offline maps scheme, I am happy.

...wow. Whoever you are, thanks for reading. Yes, seriously considering to rename this to my ranting blog.

(Keep in mind, even though I complain about a lot of things here, I recognize I've committed lots of these mistakes too. I can only try not to incur on them again from now on).

Friday, May 31, 2013

I created my cave.

I know that title might seem a bit weird at first, but if you think about it it makes sense.


Yeah, it's just another blog.

Why did I create this, you ask?
Well, I wasn't satisfied with having all my maps collected in just a regular blog post. Having a blog this way lets me organize each map with a post, which is much more handy, in my opinion. I can also get way more detailed with each post with videos and stuff, instead of just a text paragraph only. Of course, I have to keep working on it, but at least all my offline maps are already there to download. Keep an eye on it for any new maps that pop out!

Besides that, well... I haven't posted here as often as I'd like to. Perhaps you already realized, but the one thing that allows me to post here is... holidays. Yes, I'm about to finish my last high-school semester. Hooray! It just looks like I can post here every time I start or finish a semester.

Now that I have more free time, it's a matter of organizing it. I'm already working through my dead blog Music Hood Re~! again, and my video and music libraries too. It's all going well, it's also just a matter of keeping myself consistent with activity.

Oh yes, the osu! beatmapping contest #4 is here, and this time I am fully prepared to enter. Nothing stands in my way! Oh yes, I totally am going for those $75, hohoho. Well, it's not really about the prize... it's exciting to see how well I fare with other mappers.

Hmm, well... I guess that's it for now. Nothing super-exciting has happened in my life, but in case there's anything remotely interesting, I'll be sure to post here.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

New One-Difficulty Beatmap: Two Door Cinema Club - Handshake [Insane]

Download!

Been months since my last difficulty! Wow, it feels refreshing in some way.
150+ plays on my Winamp library, so I guess it's self-explanatory. I swear, everything TDCC composes is so mappable for some reason. I like how this beatmap turned out, although it may not be one of my favorites... but still, it's one of my children and I can't turn my back on it </3 the song makes up for it all!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

MediaFire: Seriously?

My pizzahutch MediaFire account was taken down. What?!

That was the legitimate account I wanted to keep! I understand they took down like 3 of my other accounts, but not that one! What about all the packs, the skins, my stuff?!
The last file taken down was a Two Door Cinema Club map... like, seriously Alexa, screw off! You're always the first one to act :<

That's it... for personal use I'm going to start using Mega. Now I need to reupload everything I had... and I don't remember very well what it was. Oh dear... anyone who finds one of my legitimate links down, notify me as soon as possible. I'll start reuploading the offline maps...

DeathxShinigami... reupload every pack I uploaded, if you haven't!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I had forgotten to blog a little detail here...

I completely crushed DeathxShinigami in a game of Advance Wars. :D Does that mean I'm getting better?

Well, in any case, I haven't played much recently, specially this week; started another high-school semester, yadda yadda bing bang boom. What I've been playing recently is Super Hexagon and... just that, and that's just because the mobile version came out. I've become kind of obsessed; already beat Hexagonest, just for a few days of playing. I like games based on skill like that... reminds me of osu! in a way. Which reminds me... I should play osu!mania again.

I've been wondering about one thing recently; should I upload game footage of myself playing, even though it's nothing special and tons of other people have already done so? The secret behind the "Yuki says daisuki" video is that no one else had uploaded it yet, so I'm not sure if my videos will get any views at all. It's not the case of my osu! offline beatmaps videos, since there's no way anyone else has uploaded them.
It's not like I upload videos for popularity, but... since there's nothing special about them, what's the point of watching them?

I... should play stuff like, right now, since I have free time.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Music Hood is now Music Hood Re~!.

And it's on a separate account now. You can see why I did it now, right?

Right. It's better to keep using a main Google account for legitimate purposes, and another one for illegitimate ones. That way, I can keep a mostly-clean record, and if an account gets busted, it'll be the less used one. I should have done that from the start...

Oh well, at least that means I get another chance at reorganizing everything neatly. It's coming up nicely, this time with no adfly involved. I'm also almost done reuploading everything... well, only halfway there. You can see the new site at http://music-hood-re.blogspot.com/.
Why "Re~!", you ask? Why, it can stand for many things at the same time! Reboot, revival, reenergizer, you name it!
...yeah, I'm no good with names, I know. I need to get better with that.

I sure hope these links last this time. After failing to find a better filehost than MediaFire, I decided to start using mirrorcreator, so there's multiple choices available. I'm also uploading anonymously, so they can't take down everything at the same time, and send me DMCA notices or whatever. Put that together, along with CAPTCHAs and passwords, and hopefully you'll have online links for more than a month. All I need now is people to visit it.

Piracy is not dead! Piracy will never die! ...Mega will revive and it'll be the best thing ever!
...damn it Kim, get out of my head.

I have a Twitter account now.

Even though I'm not sure I will keep using it. I gotta first get into it, I think. My avatar is still an egg thingy, and my timeline is still empty... mainly because I don't know who should I start following. I'll get some people though.

My account is @GensHaze... I love how Gens can be already taken, but GensHaze never is~ You should totally follow me so you can see all the boring stuff I can tweet.
I'm not sure how should I link my account using this, (using the cellphone at the moment) so just search for me.

Seriously though, why would I need so many social services... I'm already having trouble keeping up with Facebook.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

So I've been enjoying my holidays.

So umm... there was no end-of-year post, there hasn't been a post here in some time, in fact. I finished this semester and stuff kept happening. Main reason why I haven't done anything productive is... I've been lazy. That's all.

Yeah. Waking up to play videogames all day and lose time... it feels nice for some time, though I've always been feeling guilty about not doing anything productive over the last month. Time's over, though; next monday is the start of a new semester. I gotta get ready for everything, and I promise I won't be so lazy anymore.

About the stuff that's happened, umm... I think the most important are that I now have a smartphone and I have a TV, after like three years of not having one. It's been great, and I'm eternally grateful to my brother, since it wouldn't have been possible without him.

Just until some days ago I had the brilliant idea of installing the blogger app for android... now that my pc's become more of a media center (I have it hooked up to the TV), I've had less time to use it, I guess... to use it on a more personal way. I can pretty much do anything from my cellphone, so it's alright.

I won't promise anything, but I may blog here more often now.