Wednesday 11 May 2016

DDR and dance-related games

As a MUG lover you must have encountered this one of the earliest rhythmic games available as an arcade machine - DanceDanceRevolution (DDR). Of course the choice of songs are quite different from now, and that is reasonable considering the change in composition of arcade players that time to now. They realized this before making one of the many sequels DDR Nova so it revives pretty well and remains to be one of the legendary MUG that remains in the arcade center. Other MUGs whose ages are more or less the same meets similar problem as well. Some fixed it and some did not so they rise and fall, like teams in the Premier League...oh this is off-topic now.

So since when I was addicted to this game? I can't really tell. I am of course an Osu player specializing those modes but on the arcade side I used to play taiko primarily then jubeat and beatstream (yes that is rather new, and I do have a rather shallow arcade experience too). But one day my wrist is not feeling well so playing taiko and jubeat would probably be a bad idea [of course, playing DDR with damaged wrist is an even more stupid idea that I didn't realize at that time] and I saw some random player playing caramelldensen [the original one] and that instantly reminds me of the strawberry cake dance from the remix. [Yes the machine is that old!]

So I just gave it a go and never get out of it again. Of course, unless there's absolutely no DDR machine nearby that I can do nothing, like now. Luckily I have my own DDR pad at my home so that I can do some regular minimal practice. Playing with pads definitely weakens the experience you can get from playing the arcade. The difference in hardness [or the spring coefficient] gives you some hint on your positioning without the need to figure it using some extra senses. On the other hand the pad is just simply too slippery at times, so it still takes time for me to fully master that.

A clear substitute would be Pump It Up (PIU) one would say, but I don't really like it. The 5-button setup is a natural choice as a dual for the 4 arrows, but the mapping theory is not very consistent and sometimes forcing awkward movements or maybe I'm just too weak to realize them; choice of music is of course important: SHK and ESTi are not bad. I've been cooperated with mapper for these two composers for quite a long time already -- but if you will the song list with, say, 20% of them you're lacking variety. You can see the choice of songs are quite well-spreaded in terms of the genres but within the same genre they lack variation. It's a wow to see vocaloid and touhou songs --- you do see the might bad apple in both PIU and DDR, but if you compare between the two you can tell PIU's map being unrankable straightaway [using the term from Osu]. For sure you want hardness for competitiveness but that is not for every damn single song. Bad end night for sure go along with dances properly, but are you sure you want a lv23 on this song? That sounds like a group of nuts cramping on the ground. That brings up another issue: the difficulty spread is just stupid. Not only inappropriate levels are assigned to different songs, but the difficulty curve is not well-designed as well.

Poor song selection - mapping - evaluation combines to give a downward cycle in the overall quality and that we have seen numerous time in Osu already...that takes a lot of work for them to capture my heart into it, but I am sure that they'd rather capture others' interest instead. Oh just two more physical complaints -- the inherited light is too hot and the the machine itself is too loud that annoys me seriously on/off the machine. Have to say that the above are all personal opinions so...don't go too hard on me :)

Let's back to DDR. It is kind of interesting that it is a 4K 2-dimensional game [4 inputs with two dimension: notes in the space of 4 arrows and time. Who cares about its topology?], but I am just not good in any of the other 4K-wise game. IIDX, SDVX [should be 6K+2 non-traditional input but well for beginners it is almost 4K]...but I can play DDR and I don't understand why :/ I guess that is associated with one's ability to visualize the theory of a song given all the notes and element played/showing up. I can do that in Osu, taiko and CtB --- all with large hitting objects so maybe that's the key.

If only I can watch my replay, I would be able to analyse songs and mapping using my theory but since I do not have Paseli that is not going to work. So I guess that is all for today -- some shit talk without evidences, just expressing my thought on such essential component in the world of rhythmic games. Here is a little record to remind me how good I was and where am I going to --

DDR: Consistent on lv.15, passing some lv.16. Similar absolute accuracy [in ms] but looks poor in DDR [in grade]: B or C for lv.15 and consistently A or above under lv.15
PIU: Successful attempts around lv.15 but only bothered to play in a relaxing style around lv.6, or sometimes aiming for a perfect --- I've never get a single excellent on jubeat but I can do consistently on PIU songs steadily so you can see how loose the judgement is...
ITG [in the groove, 'fake DDR' or 'stepmania arcarde']: lv.11-12 which converts to high-10 or post-10 in the old DDR scale, but you know these high level songs are not official and they do not tell much. The only thing I can tell is, they are really streamy -- can you imagine a short version of Kokoro with 750 notes and サラマンドラの踊り子 with 730 notes? Don't forget these are low BPM songs meaning that the map is filled with 1/4 and 1/6 mix throughout!

If there is a goal of mine that would be the mighty dancer miku, but that is still too far from me...

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