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Old 01-13-2013, 08:42 AM   #1
moches
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Default on the current SM difficulty system (also relevant to FFRCP4)

so I'm going through the 90+ files in FFR Community Pack 4 so far and I'm thinking of ways to set the difficulty...at first, I noticed that a lot of the files were rated according to (roughly) NPS, yet a LOT of them are much harder/easier than that number suggests.

for instance:
Abandon by Valor. 1266 notes in around 3 minutes should be, in theory, a low 7 (the actual file is rated a 9). yet the file's chockful of incredibly unforgiving dodgeball sections, 32nd/24th bursts, and some really rough jumpjacks. I sightread it and got an A, to my surprise.

compare and contrast to

Guitar Hero by, once again, Valor. ~1850 notes (with a few tweaks by me) in roughly 3.5 minutes, right in 9 territory (again, the actual file is rated a 9, right where its NPS is). the actual file is super easy, though. it should be a sightread AAA for most proficient players barring like two mines.

obviously there has to be a system in place so that we can fudge numbers up/down where they belong, but how would one standardize the system?

I was thinking of the way FFR handles its difficulty ratings and got a rough sketch of how we might do things. divide things into around 6 tiers of difficulty as such:

NPS +/- up to 5 difficulty points on this scale depending on external factors

1-3: beginner files. 4ths/8ths galore, consecutive 16ths are incredibly rare or nonexistent. patterns made to be as friendly as possible
4-6: lower-tier intermediate files. more complex rhythms or patterns might appear, but these should still be manageable.
7-9: edging into advanced territory with nothing really off-limits. you might see, say, 150BPM 16th jumpstream with some liberal use of jack theory and a few mines in this range. struggling on how to separate these files from files in the 10-12 range, though. anybody got any ideas?
10-12: either difficult/draining files or files designed to trip people up. AAAs should not come easily, even to advanced players.
13-14: unrelenting, intense files. AAs should not come easily by this point.
15+: forget scoring on these files since you'll be lucky to even pass them.

if anybody has ideas, I'm all ears.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: on the current SM difficulty system (also relevant to FFRCP4)

I definitely wouldn't mind seeing this. Though, I wouldn't use a 1-15+ scale though.

I feel that a tier (13-14) that's only 2 difficulty points wouldn't be all that accurate. A difficulty scale should be used to be as precise as possible, and giving a very narrow range for a particular "tier" of a difficulty would defeat the purpose of the difficulty scale.

For example, let's say you're trying to compare say, Rave7 Oni. Using that is a baseline 14 (example, like I said, but it fits the description of being difficult to AA, and it's harder than most files that are difficult to AA). Then using Robotomy as an example; seeing that the highest tier is 15+ (nearly impossible to score on), Robotomy isn't nearly impossible to score on per se, but it's still much harder than Rave7. Would you put it as 15+ or put it as 14, albeit a very high one?

Basically I think the difficulty tiers are fine, maybe except for the 6th one. Just that the ranges need to be expanded a bit more, probably 1-20+.

Something like:
1-3: beginner files. 4ths/8ths galore, consecutive 16ths are incredibly rare or nonexistent. patterns made to be as friendly as possible
4-7: lower-tier intermediate files. more complex rhythms or patterns might appear, but these should still be manageable.
8-11: edging into advanced territory with nothing really off-limits. you might see, say, 150BPM 16th jumpstream with some liberal use of jack theory and a few mines in this range.
12-15: either difficult/draining files or files designed to trip people up. AAAs should not come easily, even to advanced players.
16-19: unrelenting, intense files. AAs should not come easily by this point.
20+: AAs should be almost impossible, even for the most seasoned Stepmania players. Advanced players should have difficulties trying to A files in this area by this point, and most average players would be lucky to pass them.

Sorry if I sound confusing, I'm just really tired. I'll write up a longer/clearer post tomorrow.

Last edited by EzExZeRo7497; 01-13-2013 at 09:26 AM..
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: on the current SM difficulty system (also relevant to FFRCP4)

i use a 10+ scale for my packs
basically every file should be at least difficulty 10, and I just bullshit some number thus not giving the file an actual consistent difficulty :3

That's just me though, I just look at the bpm and listen to the preview for like a second and that usually tells me what i'm in for haha
The best actual grading system I think is NPS with fudge factor based on if the file contains anything difficult. So a 20nps file that has jacks could be a difficulty 23 or something because it has jacks and 20nps
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: on the current SM difficulty system (also relevant to FFRCP4)

bumping. great suggestions so far.
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Old 01-13-2013, 05:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: on the current SM difficulty system (also relevant to FFRCP4)

My personal NPS scale I've used roughly translated to this, although it's not all that accurate in the first place. Admittedly, many of the NPS ratings I gave to files are inaccurate and bullshit because I was strapped on time to meet deadlines and didn't have time to -thoroughly- play through everything, checking to see if my scores were consistent enough with the NPS rating I gave the files. I'd have to do this thoroughly with every file to make sure it was passable enough as a rating zzz

1–3: Sparsely used 4ths/8ths with very minimal jumps, holds, and 16ths or above. Should have a lot of spacing between notes to prepare the player to hit the note. Shouldn't have any hand or mine placements at all, though very rare exceptions may apply depending on the usage in itself.

4–6: Heavier usage of 8ths with 16ths sparsely thrown in which are often triplets or broken streams that are very spaced out to again allow the player to prepare. Heavier jump and hold placements, with very conservatively used mines and some hands. From my personal perspective as a player, I should be able to low SDP effortlessly or AAAA after a few tries.

6–8: This is pretty much where 16th streams and more complex notes come in. Slow and/or light jump-stream would be around the end of this spectrum. The "average" player in this community would typically fall here. From my personal perspective as a player, I should be able to SDP after a few tries or AAAA after several tries.

9–10: Denser jump-streams and light hand-stream. Overall dense files that are fairly easy to full combo for the "slightly above average" player in this community would typically fall here. From my personal perspective as a player, I should be able to get low teens or twenties on these kind of files, with some minor issues with FC'ing consistently.

11–12: Pretty much a 10 but has much more difficult scoring factors such as mine dodging, denser jump/hand-streams (such as 8th jump/hand-stream), dense hold streaming, jackhammers, trills, and the like. Would be much more difficult for the "slightly above average" player to full combo. From my personal perspective as a player, I should be having trouble FC'ing as well.

13+: I never really had a set criteria for anything above this, lol—this was purely based on scores I personally got from playing files. If I couldn't FC a file (keep in mind, I did actually have a decent amount of speed and stamina), it would fall around this range. The more trouble I had on a file, the higher the rating would be at this point.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: on the current SM difficulty system (also relevant to FFRCP4)

I used peak NPS or 16NPS for Sirius MP
Basically find the 16 measures that represents the most dense part of the chart
Calculate NPS
gg
or use a program that does it alone xd

It's more relevant than global NPS
I used to do global NPS on Sirius MP and I couldn't get anything higher than 15/16 global NPS
By using 16NPS difficulty increased overall but not in the same manner
Some sub15 GNPS could had a higher 16NPS than some 15+ GNPS
This happens because songs are not consistent and same goes to the chart
Using GNPS on a song like Pink Nightmares will make it very low because of the quiet and empty part in the middle
The idea behind using 16NPS is that the value represents the required skill to play the file
Everything easier shouldn't matter to the player if u can do the hard part

However just like GNPS this doesn't take in account holds, mines and patterns
But the basic idea of using NPS for difficulties is to make unbiased difficulty ratings and there nothing better than that

So u can do your idea but use 16NPS instead of GNPS
u shoez
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:12 AM   #7
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Default Re: on the current SM difficulty system (also relevant to FFRCP4)

Quote:
Originally Posted by EzExZeRo7497 View Post
Sorry if I sound confusing, I'm just really tired. I'll write up a longer/clearer post/elaboration tomorrow.
Welp, incoming long post.


The main two factors for determining difficulty should be scoring and passing.
For non-technical files (straight forward streams, handstreams, jumpstreams, such as Heavenly Spores or Disregard), it should be emphasized more on passing than scoring. The file would be very difficult (albeit straight-forward) in structure to begin with, since it requires more physical movement (keytaps) compared to technical files. Although you can just mash your way through files and pass via good rushing, I'm only talking about passing by hitting most of the file as it is, aka no mindless mashing. You can manipulate patterns for example hitting a roll as jumptrilling however.

For technical files (colour files, difficulty spike files, swing files, dodgeball files, etc.), I'd USUALLY emphasize more on scoring than passing. Technical files (such as Usatei, Swear Words and Darkwing Duck Theme) are usually rather tame in structure, which makes it easy to pass. However, the difficulty comes from how difficult it is to score on.

For example, you can't just hit Darkwing Duck Theme as normal 8ths/16ths, otherwise you'd get perfects for being off rhythm. In order to score well on that file, you need to do a gallopy/swing rhythm. Doing a swing rhythm is obviously harder to do compared to a normal constant rhythm, but it gives you a better score overall. You can still get a decent grade (AAA) on it by just doing a constant rhythm, but your score would be pretty bad in terms of perfect count.

There are some exceptions such as Vortex (Choofers' version) since there's really only one hard part in the file and the other parts of the file are just scoring fodder.

Another example would be Died This Way, since mines would reduce your lifebar by quite a bit, even if you hit only one. If you make one mistake in that file, you'd most likely hit more one mine, and your lifebar would reduce significantly. When you pass it, you'd usually get an A/AA or so.

This is how I'd classify files in difficulty, but this is just an example. I'm also going to use 3 people (with varying skill levels, one who can barely AA Quasar (Person A), one who can barely AA Disregard (Person B) and a top-tier player (Person C))

1-3: Files in this area should have a lot of breathing space. It should be mostly 4ths and 8ths, 12ths+, hands, quads and mines are usually extremely rare if not non-existent in files like this. Players B/C should be able to AAA/quad this almost effortlessly, but Player A might require some effort to AAA it.
Examples: Most DDR Light files (1-3), almost every ITG Beginner file, most ITG Easy files (1-3)

4-7: A heavier use in 8ths, there should be less breathing space to prepare for the next note, short bursts of ~120-150 BPM streams/triplets should appear here. Jump/hold placements would tend to be more difficult compared to the first tier, but the usage of hands and mines would still be rather rare. Player A should be able to full combo this with some effort, but the other two players would still require little to no effort to AAA/quad files in this range.
Examples: Most DDR Standard files (4-7), some DDR Heavy files (5-7), some ITG Hard files (5-7)

8-11: The use of 16ths should be more common here. From 8-9, somewhat long slow streams (8-10 measures?) would be fairly common. From 10-11, slow (140-150 BPM)/light jumpstream, long fast streams (170-185 BPM) and very simple fast bursts would be fairly common. This is also where most complex rhythms start to come in, light colour theory/gentle swing rhythms would start here.
Player A should barely AA most of the files in the lower end of this range and mid to high As in the higher end with some effort, Player B should be able to AAA most of the files in this range, but might require some effort at the higher end of this tier and Player C should still be able to AAA in this area effortlessly. Quadding might require some effort however.
Examples: Cooking By The Book (8), Darkwing Duck Theme (9), Quasar (9), Endless Dream (10), Raindrops and Puddles (11), Air (11)

12-15: This is usually where constant fast (160-175) (light) jumpstream/slow dense jumpstream would come in. Long streams at 185+ BPM or so would be common in the lower end of this tier. In the higher end, long streams at 230+ would be common and most files at this range would be rather dense overall. Even more complex rhythms would be in this difficulty and this is also some dodgeball files would be in as well.
Player A would be able to pass files at this range with a lot of effort, Player B would be able to FC files (albeit with 2-3 greats) at the higher end with some effort and Player C would be able to AAA the files at the higher end with very little effort.
Examples: Emerald Sword (12), Right Back (13), Beyond the Earth (13), Crow's Ghost (14), Shihen (14), The Dark Eternal Night [Oni] (15)

16-20: Basically a file from 14-15, but with even more dense layering and more aggressive overall. Technical files should be much harder to score on compared to files in 12-15 as well. Player A should not be able to pass most of the files in this range. Player B should be able to barely FC files in the lower range and barely A files in the higher range and Player C would require a lot of effort to AAA files in the middle range, and would require a lot of effort to FC them in the higher range as well. Most technical files go up to this tier at the most.
Examples: Psyche Planet (16), Universal Mind (16), This Dying Soul (17), Piano Forte (16/17), Stinger (18), We Luv Lama [Heavy] (18/19), Gate Openerz [Oni] (19) We Luv Lama [Oni] (19/20), The Hypocrisy (20), Abyssal (20), Robotomy (20)

21+: Files at this range would be ridiculously difficult. There isn't any set criteria for files in this tier. For files at 20, most top tier players (Zyphoror or me for example) would still be able to AA files at this area, but it might require some effort. Scores might be messy however. Any files higher than that, they should barely AA/get high As on files (usually 22), if not barely A (23+).
For players like Staiain and Isaac, they should be able to score well on files from 20-22, but they should be barely AA-ing files at 23, and barely A-ing files at 24.
Examples: Thru Our Scars (21), Connect 1986 (21/22), COCORO (22), Wish I Had An Angel (22), Conspiracy of Silence (23), Rave7 [Edit] (23), Maniera (23/24), The Big Black (24)

The main problem with a difficulty scale like this is that it's mainly subjective, but the basic idea of this difficulty scale to have a general idea on where this file stands compared to the other files.


blargh i'm done

Last edited by EzExZeRo7497; 01-17-2013 at 03:41 AM.. Reason: formatting consistencies
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:41 AM   #8
moches
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Default Re: on the current SM difficulty system (also relevant to FFRCP4)

lots of good ideas in here (especially Roar's idea, I like that a lot). I'll post back to reply to everything in a few days after I give this some more thought.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:06 AM   #9
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Default Re: on the current SM difficulty system (also relevant to FFRCP4)

Quote:
Originally Posted by moches View Post
lots of good ideas in here (especially Roar's idea, I like that a lot). I'll post back to reply to everything in a few days after I give this some more thought.
Sorry for bumping, but any updates?
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:10 AM   #10
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Default Re: on the current SM difficulty system (also relevant to FFRCP4)

sorry this is late! I was so busy with the graphics/nudging that I forgot about this hehe

honestly I think your descriptions + Roar's usage of peak NPS will prove very helpful. I'd adjust the tiers a little because there still has to be some tie to overall file density, so I'd use this scale

1-3
4-6
7-9
10-12
13-16
17+

I imagine we'll have a much clearer idea of whether this will work after we playtest, but the above scale should be fairly close to how the final scale will operate

Last edited by moches; 01-19-2013 at 06:13 AM..
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:56 AM   #11
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Default Re: on the current SM difficulty system (also relevant to FFRCP4)

I'm all for using a more accurate scale
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