I acquired a Quest 2 back in September, and took to Beat Saber like a fish to water. Since early Sept, I've played ~130 hours mostly through Steam.
The timing for starting to play was great: I was in the final stretches of in-office physical therapy for my shoulders, and BS is a solid way to improve my shoulders' stamina and assess tightness. I could only play 15-20 minutes on easier difficulties when I started. Now I can play 60-90 min of Expert+ on an average (pain level) day.
Anyway, I don't know if I'm *good* at Beat Saber, but I do know that I like playing new-to-me custom songs, I like beating songs that are juuuuuust at the edge of my skill range, and I'm inclined to keep working at a song until I beat it.
Given all of that, I thought it might be interesting to share a map or two I was charmed or frustrated (or both) by in my session on any given day. Might even record a little video or two, although I'm still tweaking my OBS settings for this.
I experimented with recording my map du jour; the audio balance is off, but I think it's watchable. It's a song by Bad Computer called "U2", and it's the coolest use of bombs I've seen since the official Halloween song "Spooky Beats".
I'm stuck at 90% speed on this one, despite a couple hours of trying. I've beaten it at 95% speed twice, and I made it to the final 15s once at full speed. I adore the song and map, so I'll keep at it. https://irrsinn.video/w/1KoUoe4DnLpy8RT1cdTAWT
Alrighty, so I beat that "2U" song today (incorrectly named on the BeastSaber page 🤔) after another 25 min of working at it. Felt good, and I worry that I may never beat it again. That said, today's a meh shoulder day.
I puttered around with a few other songs, but let me toss out this as one of the maps I enjoy playing every session, sometimes multiple times: "Don't Stop" by Kuuro: https://bsaber.com/songs/d608/. It's full of big, fun swings with nice tempo shifts and good flow.
Today's session was delightful. I'm a sucker for swingy music and mappings, and so the first segment of "Midnight" by Caravan Palace (https://bsaber.com/songs/1ee3b/) thoroughly hooked me.
...then it got hard. 🤯
I'm not good at extended one-handed work in BS, and this song has plenty after that lovely intro. I failed my first try at the 1:20 mark, right after where I drop to a B in my second try: https://irrsinn.video/w/iNNTu9DKPeQKviXXMCUozs
Definitely a new fav. And peep that cute moon in the background!
Saturday's session brought another of my favorite levels: a fitbeat level. My last few sessions focused on practicing levels that don't really get the heart pumping, so I threw one in: Stefflon Don's "Sixteen Shots", mapped by Irahi, who generally makes tech maps that are difficult and require Too Many Squats. 😍 Love it, even though I still fail this one a lot: https://irrsinn.video/w/1J8Ek562g1cjs6XeuNYEJH
Oh, and another swoopy map I'm loving right now is Grime's "4AEm": https://irrsinn.video/w/9TM1LQVy6ew7S8XJqy78Tt
So today I decided I wanted to start working on (i.e., practicing in order to beat) the Expert+ version of "Midnight" by Caravan Palace (https://bsaber.com/songs/1ee3b/). No recording from me of today's effort, but I spent about 35 min working up to a very shaky 80% speed on this 20-second segment and its counterpart in the back half of the song: https://youtu.be/MztpQd0lDE0?t=76
My brain just does not want to separate left- from right-hand action that much, esp with the angles thrown in. 🤯 #beatsaber
My last two sessions have been pretty focused on beating "Midnight"--I've got it at 95%, so I'll get it at full speed tomorrow.
Since that's boring (unless you want a failure clip 🤭), here's the fastest song I've ever beaten: "Formula" by RL Grime & Juelz (https://bsaber.com/songs/9ac9/). Y'all, the first time I beat it, I literally made a playlist called "holy shit" just for it and two other songs. 😅
Here's a rando playing "Formula" better than I ever will: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI_FN-DV7Wk
Thursday's lunch session did not include succeeding at "Midnight", but *did* include warming up with what was my first "real" tech map: "Sound Chimera" by Laur: https://bsaber.com/songs/f988/.
I can still only beat this song on its lowest two difficulties, and the song feels very chaotic and stitched together, so it's not always what what my brain is in the mood for. Here's a rando playing it on the hardest difficulty, which I've never even attempted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuxMmhPLsok
At whatever difficulty I am striving for on "Sound Chimera", it is always the segment starting right about 1:00 in that is the showstopper until I get faster or go learn some new technique or skill.
On Easy, I could learn it simply through repetition, but I was super new to E+ patterns at that time, so my mind was a sponge. For Normal--which is now easy enough to be a warm-up--I had to go just get faster and better muscle memory on basic E+ stuff to be able to relax in that segment.
On Hard, I just clack my controllers together and cry. 🙅🏾♀️ I can slow it way down to 60% and beat it because I can read it, but I just can't hold the pattern in my head with the right kind of looseness to be able to really play it. So I put it aside until I get more expertise with fast fluttery patterns.
I'm about there with "Midnight" E+, too. It's a big leap in my skill with separation of left and right hand, and I might need to close that gap more gradually than just this one song. 😥
Friday and Saturday's sessions bubbled up a fun song with some real "elbows up" energy. A fun category of map, but hard ones can be brutal on my shoulders.
I found "Naked" by Jonas Blue & MAX (https://bsaber.com/songs/c4d3/) just lying around (naked) in my custom songs. It's tricky and intricate enough to be engaging, but not so hard I had to practice it, and the mapper made some clever decisions on what to highlight from the song and how.
A solid play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM4JEw6Tbd4
I played "Sunset Jesus" by Avicii (https://bsaber.com/songs/7dd2/) today in my warmup, and even tho I often only play the first 2 min, it's a real good map. I'm weirdly tickled at a clever little bounce they do with a diagonal block on the left hand in the gif and at the 1:14 mark in this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAi_NQLJPGw&t=70s
That little check isn't mimicked on the right hand, even when it later could be. Coming up with a lot of asymmetical variation in a map on a repetitive song has got to be tough.
Today's session was very "meh" and sluggish in terms of my mood and performance, resulting in some silly "oh noooo what is this pattern?!" failures, like this first attempt at Itro's "Light and Blue" (https://bsaber.com/songs/5cc6/). I *thought* I recorded my mic today, but OBS did not comply. If you've seen me stream other games, you can imagine my squawks at that pattern, I'm sure.
Second map of the day is "Walls Down" by MEMBA (https://bsaber.com/songs/5332/), which does a super good job at fitting the bouncy vocal style and heavy bass hits. No really intricate patterns, but it has lots of diagonals and every swing feels very intentional.
(You can also see here how easily I'm defeated by said diagonals and some walls. 😅)
I have an essay percolating in the back of my head about the fun of failure in BS, but I need to do more background reading to finish shaping it...
Somehow, in 5 months of playing Beat Saber, I'd never run into a poodle map. WTF is this wild business?!
I played "Enemy" by Imagine Dragons (https://bsaber.com/songs/1f459/). If you play it, just put on "no fail" first. Don't even bother trying for real unless you already know the gimmick.
So fucking cool. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJacbH8iuEo
I'm definitely going to give it a whirl without "no fail" tomorrow.
Today's map of the day is the *other* Bad Computer "2U" map: https://bsaber.com/songs/19049/. It's very good, and notably easier than the bombfest of the previous one I tried (no shade!), but has super good patterns. I love an intricate pattern, even if (especially if?) I have to practice it.
The fun pattern starts around the 48 seconds into https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=850GK_ks49U and there's an easier matching segment at the end.
My Beat Saber schedule has been thrown off due to an unusual and tiring schedule the past week, but I had a nice little lunch session today! The highlight today was a fav from day one of its release: "Playground" by Bea Miller, mapped by Joetastic: https://bsaber.com/songs/1e3d7/. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2w1AkJlmh2I is a nice playthrough.
It's got some things that seem like classic Joetastic techniques... although maybe I haven't played enough of their literally 1000 maps to be able to say that. 😵
Morning workouts are generally unpleasant for me: my shoulders are tight from sleep and my brain is sluggish. I had a tight window while dinner rolls were proofing, tho, so I got in a 30 min session that was *also* plagued with technical problems. 😅 Good gravy.
Anyway, the highlight was a song I've mentioned before: Itro's "Light and Blue", mapped by CyanSnow (https://bsaber.com/songs/5cc6/). I was in such a mood for it that I played it three times around other songs. 😍
I had not played BS since Tuuuuesssday. 😭 This week was so busy, even beyond the construction project in my house. I put in a very nice 90 minutes today.
Song of the session was definitely "Atlas (modus. Remix)" by Punker & Intrex, mapped by Jamman360: https://beatsaver.com/maps/1256a I think I have a decent vid of me playing it, but while I'm pondering whether to clip and post, here's a full combo video that's better than mine in every way except their color choices: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTpGVSoc8TI
I've missed more Beat Saber workouts this last week or so than I've managed. Since the issue has been scheduling, it's not even like I was swapping in dancing sessions. I'm hankering for some interactive music time!
I did get in short sessions Tue and Wed. In practicing a pattern in officialMech's "2U", I noticed that I'd been focusing too much on one hand—and thus not catching what's happening on the other—reminding me that I wanted to keep working on ambidexterity. Whoo.
Once I can get an A, I bump the speed 5%. If it's just a matter of having been able to read the segment properly, I'll bump 10%+, or just play at full speed.
So here's a bit of an early 75% speed practice of "Angel Voices". A couple more tries had me ready for 80%, but this is rough. 😅
Hey, you know what feels weird? Posting about fun shit in the midst of a heavily publicized war. I've gnashed my teeth over that for a few weeks, so... here we are.
Like the rest of the player base, I've been having a go at OST 5. First impression was: love the mappings, don't care for the songs.
I've warmed up on them a bit since then, although I still can't fuck with Camellia songs other than "What the Cat!?" Just entirely not my jam, musically.
Beat Saber, medical
The first song, Schwank's "$1.78", was a hell of an intro to the OST. It's been a minute since I had to play a [non-Camellia] song on Hard on my initial play. 😅 I'm still chipping away at E+. Currently sitting at 90% speed, first attempt from Tuesday here: https://irrsinn.video/w/pTHzgoP3gq3J41rg2BXpa4
I noticed in listening to the original voice track in that video that I had some strong wheezing going on! I've got mild asthma, but haven't had or used an inhaler for years. I've felt "fine".
Beat Saber, medical
I've just been rolling with an "exercise is hard!" mentality re: my out of breathness for the last 6 months of playing BS near-daily.
Anyway, one message to my trusty doctor later, and I have nice little albuterol inhaler. I only got to play for 30 minutes today, so I didn't have the opportunity to put my lungs through their full paces, but I was definitely breathing less hard than normal. A weight off my chest I didn't know was there, I guess.
Today's session was fun! Courtesy of the new OST, I'm spending more time in base game songs than usual. I'm not sure if I managed any useful OST 5 footage today, and I'm too tired to riffle through my recording tonight. I can beat all but the final 5 seconds of Tanger's "Firestarter", tho! 🤩
I had this fun little moment with a mapping of Weird Machine's "DROELOE" (https://bsaber.com/songs/5d2b/) where I went, "Why is this in my favorites? I don't think I like this song." And then this:
So last Wed I decided to try changing my controller grip to a claw grip, played a short session, and then had to take a full week off. Played a little yesterday and made it all the way through my warmup before I remembered I'm supposed to be trying a new grip. 😅
Using https://bsmg.wiki/grips-and-tricks.html#oculus-rift-s-and-quest as a reference, I moved from a standard grip to an underhanded reverse claw (basically just choking up on the controller) right after moving to Expert levels, and have used it until last week.
My troubles on E+ levels with corner diagonals have led me to try switching it up again. Swatting down at blocks with the claw grip feels like much less effort than the underhand grip did.
With only about 90 min of practice at it, my accuracy is still even worse than normal, but corners are easier, and so-called "streams" or "piano streams" feel like I'm just patting at the level lightly. I like it. The wrist angles feel unfamiliar, though.
Oh, and I might try making a map soon?
My couplefew weeks of work shenanigans were followed by two weeks of a cat health crisis. I finally knocked the dust off a bit Saturday on Gregory's older... Vive? Index? Whichever.
Y'all, those controllers are *so heavy* compared to the Quest 2's! I've prolly only played an hour total with them, but there ain't no quick flick of the wrists with those. Failed so many songs that are in my regular rotation. 😅
Felt very good to play again, though.
Today I managed two shorter, more normal sessions, including a dab of multiplayer! The Beat Together mod is available for testing, so Gregory and I kicked the tires on it.
With the hard things happening recently, #beatsaber is in a bit of easy mode for me: songs I can't beat, I just enjoy playing in Practice mode slower and/or NF. I'm playing favs instead of pulling down new songs, and practicing tricky segments just a few times before moving on.
BS as comfort food, I guess. 🤷🏾♀️
I've still been chipping away at OST V in #beatsaber, and it's grown on me a lot over the last month. I finally beat "$1.78" on E+ a couple sessions ago, although I failed it on my next try. 😁
I wrote previously that I could play all but the final bit of "Firestarter"—that was a whopper of a typo. That was "Curtains", which has a tangly part at the end. It's been a very long time since I've lived in Texas, but is it weird that "Curtains" reminds me of Tejano music? Anyway, it's fun.
Next is Camelia's "Final Boss Chan", which hasn't grown on me a bit.
Now Tanger's "Firestarter" is an absolute fav, even though I can't beat it on E+ yet. I love the early tempo/pitch play, especially. I can beat every part of the map except for the two diagonal flurries of notes around the 0:35 mark and somewhere in the back half. A redditor suggests moving ones' hands in circles instead of trying to flick the wrists, so I'll give that technique a go soon (https://www.reddit.com/r/beatsaber/comments/tgt23b/tips_for_firestarter_e_segment_at_35s/i14fk54/).
So the above technique seems to be a winner—I was able to beat the segment at 85%, which is a big jump up.
Today was really a day for Camellia's "What the Cat?!" on E+, tho, which I've been nibbling on for months. It has one of the funnest endcaps on a difficult segment in any of the base songs, and I finally nailed that section at 95% speed with an "A" today. 🏆🥳💃🏾
I had a brief thought that I should mess around with my controller settings (x/y/z position and rotation), and made my way to a highly respected guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4V0rMTblR8
Are you kidding me? That is *so much work*. 😹 Hours of time that you're *in* the game, but not *playing* the game. 🤯
...Now that the idea's been planted, tho, I give myself ~3 months before I start the process. 😅
I only had about 35 min yesterday, so I mostly splashed around rather than practicing anything hardcore. I discovered that one of my favorite maps, "Walls Down" by MEMBA/mapped by Izzake (https://bsaber.com/songs/5332/), has a single-handed mode!
I don't normally fuck with single saber stuff, since my shoulders are already imbalanced, but I wanted to see if I could do it. (I could.)
...then I wanted to see if I could do it with my left hand. (I could.)
When I started BS in Sept last year, I was doing another round of in-patient PT on my shoulders, and I couldn't complete the easiest single saber levels in the campaign tree without being in pain for hours. I had surgery on my left shoulder years ago, and if the handy too-many-stats mod is correct, it swings a full 20 km/h slower than my right arm.
Once I was in left-handed mode yesterday, though, I figured why not keep doing it? I've read about folks switching sides to get better. 😁
I only did a few songs, and enjoyed both the brain issue of everything being flipped, plus the switch in difficulty. For instance, on "Balearic Pumping" (E+), it was a little easier when my right hand was doing some of the complex asymmetrical shit, but the slowness of my left arm made the cross-body swings real tough.
I guess I'll keep playing around and see where this goes. 🤷🏾♀️
The highlight of my last couple of sessions is definitely "a.i.ngel (Become God)" by Virtual Self (https://bsaber.com/songs/5d71/), which I stumbled upon in the Anniversary Pack playlist last night. I haven't been able to beat it on E+ yet, but holy shit, I'm having fun trying. 😁 Highly recommended. #beatsaber
Monday's session heavily featured the aforementioned "a.i.ngel (Become God)" by Virtual Self (https://bsaber.com/songs/5d71/), which I did beat on E+, and "Weight of the World (JVNA Remix)" (https://bsaber.com/songs/5d1f/), which is incredibly fun.
Both of those maps also hold up at their easier difficulties, although the Expert "a.i.ngel" map was maybe too hard for that label? That's okay, Hard was still good. "Weight of the World" has a great one-saber mapping with some good fast bits on E+, too.
On a semi-related note, sometimes it's really nice to see a playthrough of a song by someone that isn't perfect.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J-t7UCVbEM is a play of "a.i.ngel (Become God)" by someone who does great (they get an "A") and who fucks up in exactly the ways I do. 😂 I have to move my body a lot more to land some of those hits, but it's interesting to find out which segments are also difficult for other people. My essay on failure in BS will need to touch on that feeling of isolation... 🤔
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