with your host, Professor Mudkyp
To Calculate Stutters:
While the "magic number 15" is nice and all, I don't really like referring to that. For one, it just throws a number at me and doesn't tell me why it works. For the logical mind, I wanted to know what the math is behind stop values and how would I be able to create a formula that anyone can use, for any distance of two arrows at any BPM.
Here is that formula:
Stutter Formula wrote:[60/(BPM*Q)*(1-1/m)]
BPM = Beats per minute
Q = desired quantization of stutters per beat. So if you're doing 16th stutters, multiply the BPM by 4. 32nds? By 8.
m = Rate of stutter. 1.5 is surefire awesomeness, but for harsher sounds, go with 2.0. With subtle appearing stutters, go with 1.25, or sometimes 1.33
Confused? Understandable. It's a lot to think about, but if you go about this approach, you'll get the perfect number every single time, as well as develop a real understanding as to why this math works. I find it really fun to play around with, and it has helped me develop a lot of the highly entertaining gimmicks that I have implemented in my charts while still keeping a comfortable amount of legibility intact, which is now a minimum requirement for "fun factor" in our community. Playing things like Silikon after learning these numbers will make you vomit in disgust, btw.
Anways, let's say your BPM is 130 and you want to do 16th note stutters using a 1.5x rate. This is the most common gimmick, and is found in many simfiles.
So let's work this out. 60/ (130 * 4) = 0.115384615
Honestly, this is the hardest part. It's not even that hard, is it?
Then you multiply that by [1 - (1/1.5)], which is 0.3333333
(This is the easy part. If you do a lot of stepping, you can remember this value and keep it in the back of your head, as well as the values for 1.25 and 2.0 and you're basically golden. Just remember what to do on the left side, and what number to multiply it by from the right side, and you'll start doing this from memory with a simple calculator)
1.5 stutters? multiply it by 0.3333333
2.0 stutters? multiply it by 0.5
1.25 stutters? multiply it by 0.2
These are the numbers to know for the right side.
It makes a lot of sense once you figure it out.)
So what's your stop value for 16ths? 0.038461538
but you're not done...
NOTICE: You must account for rounding issues. Stepmania only rounds to the nearest thousandth, so if you have a stop value that is 0.0085, you need to alternate stop values of 0.009 and 0.008. If the stop value is 0.503333, you obviously need to have two stops at .500 and one stop at .510. Use your brain, and figure out a way to keep the syncing as consistent as possible.
So you have 0.0385 basically. I tend to round to the nearest ten-thousandth, and then alternate those to get the thousandth that is being forcefully rounded by SM. That way, you can keep the sync correct. So here I would want to have my stop values be 0.038 and 0.039. And obviously if I have 20 of them, I would want to do 9 of them at 0.039 and then 11 of them at 0.038, since 0.03846 is a lot closer to 0.03845, and I hope it's obvious as to why I would want to do that. (you'll average 0.03845 exactly, which is even closer to your perfect sync while being realistic)
Also, you don't want to cram all of your higher stop values in one section and your lower ones in the other. Keep alternating so the sync flip flops from going ever so slightly late to every so slightly early. If you lump values from one group in one section of the chart, it may drift by a few milliseconds, and yes, that's noticeable (to me anyway)
Example of "Cannibal" from Mudkyp Mini Pack 2
(notice, it's rather obvious that the stop values have doubled consistently with the distance between the mines. It went from being a 16th apart with 0.040 stop values to being an 8th apart with 0.080 stop values (not actual stop values, the real ones are in the .sm)
Well, that concludes the stutter tutorial. Now on to what everybody really wants, the bounces and waves (cue the dubstep?)
Waves and Bounce Gimmicks
Like stutter gimmicks you have a ton of options here with your BPM's. If you plan on stepping dubstep charts, wave gimmicks are much better than stutters, as they are much more legible and accent the wobbly bass sounds of the genre a lot better. These kinds of gimmicks are heavily noticeable in my chart for "Call Your Girlfriend (Feed Me Remix)" by Robin. They are also found in zimlord's "Hey Sexy Lady" by iSquare and "Alejandro (Skrillex Remix)" by Lady Gaga. These are three of the top dubstep charts that come to mind when executing a variety of wave and bounce gimmicks that are legible and appropriate (in my own modest and completely humble opinion). Look to these files for reference points and examples as to what to do. mute also does this all over his files (Last Burning, Lament Configuration, etc)
So what are your options? Let's start with my personal favorite. I call it the quarter-slice. It's tacky, I know, but the idea is that you're going to have a sliver of the gimmick be a quarter of the distance between the two notes (with the other portion obviously being three quarters). This gimmick, using 1.5x BPM and .5x BPM is one of the most efficient and useful wave gimmicks ever. I find it extremely easy on the eyes, and very good for accenting those "woosh" sounds.
So, here's how you do it...
Note: When I say "distance of the gimmick" I mean how long your "woosh" is, as in the time it takes for you to go off the base BPM and then return to it. If you want it to be an 8th note long, then divide that into quarters and you know to use the 32nd quantization to place your BPM's
If you want to have your wave gimmick start slow and then "woosh" up:
Drop the base BPM in half for the first 1/4th of the distance of the gimmick, and then multiply it by 1.5 for the other 3/4ths.
If you want to have your wave gimmick "woosh" up and then brake:
Multiply the base BPM by 1.5 for the first 3/4ths of the distance of the gimmick, and then drop it in half for the last 1/4th.
Example from "Dirty Harry" from Mudkyp Mini Pack 2
These wave gimmicks are littered throughout this file, and with an easy and whole BPM like this, it's a very good image to show that gets the point right across.
Hopefully from the instructions, and the photo, it is blatantly obvious what I've done.
The next one is the half-slice, and is used in Alejandro (Skrillex Mix).
Basically, it's like the quarter-slice method, except the BPM changes that occur in either rush-brake or brake-rush methods are both going to occur at the mid-point. (oh so you're slicing it in half! That would make sense!)
If you want it to rush and then brake:
Multiply the base BPM by 1.5 and then at the halfway point, drop it to .75
If you want it to brake and then rush:
Drop the base BPM to 0.75 and then at the halfway point, multiply it by 1.5[/b]
Example from "Alejandro (Skrillex Remix)" from The Legend of Zim 4
So there's two examples of what you can do with these BPM's to create wave gimmicks.
You can experiment and play with other values that are higher or lower, just think about what kind of effect you want and then play with it. If it's super harsh, go with some wave gimmicks that would make Printer Jam look like it's cmodded. Go crazy, just do your absolute best to keep things legible and fun. As an aside, there is a threshold where it becomes pointless to increase the value of BPM stutters in order to achieve a desired effect. Having the BPM be ONE MILLION THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND with a bunch of 32nd stop values is pointless when you could achieve the same effect staying under 8x BPM gimmicks. "Licky" from the MWOK and Jimbo's pack comes to mind here. In fact, it gives me a migraine. Don't do that, ever.
PROTIP: There are some instances when the arrows are simply too far apart for any wave or stutter gimmick to be fun. Try having a stutter gimmick cover only half of the distance between the two arrows, and then at the halfway point, have it return to base BPM and scroll as it would normally. I do this in my Programmed Sun file and it works out great while keeping things smooth scrolling.
Example from "Programmed Sun" from Mudkyp Mini Pack
Remember, gimmicks are like art, they must be done tastefully in order to be enjoyed to the fullest.