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Old 05-25-2011, 10:14 PM   #1
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Default Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

This is not a guide to step well, just a guide to step using DDReam Studio's full functionality to sync and step.
So far I've used DDReam for syncing these tricky songs, not counting all the normal ones:
Fast Turtle (multiple constant bpm sections), Little Bitch (drifted slightly here and there), Ni Pensarte (drifted slightly quite often) for www.thirdstyle.com/play
Meat Golem (Piano Version) (drifts and has sections at different bpms), Carmeaty Burana pt. 1 (had a slight slowdown at the end) for Super Meat Boy Pack, available here: http://www.flashflashrevolution.com/...d.php?t=117799

Download DDReam Studio here: http://www.mediafire.com/?82al94e5ot6sfy2

If you prefer videos:


0: Before you do anything
BREAKING NEWS: When you're not using DDReam, minimize it! This prevents two things:
1) DDReam tries to use as much CPU time as possible when open. When minimized, this stops.
2) DDReam tries to use your keyboard input when open (e.g. you can't type B into any window without DDReam popping up an annoying dialog). When minimized, this stops.
Thanks to Zero for informing me of this!


Understand this now: DDReam separates the syncing and stepping components into two different modes. It also uses 'beats' as an abstraction of syncing instead of BPM changes - you place beats over a waveform, and it does some calculations to figure out what BPM each part of the chart is.
'Tab' or the menu under 'L' will swap between sync mode and stepping mode.
While you are in sync mode, some commands work differently and you operate on the beats instead of on the arrows. While you are not, you operate only on the arrows and cannot change the sync.
Because most songs are constant bpm or have constant bpm parts, DDReam has faculties that allow you to work with BPM.
See section 3 for more information on all of this.

The .ds, .dsx and song you are going to step (must be .mp3, .ogg or .wav format) as well as any graphics you include later (banner, background, cdtitle, background/foreground animations) must all be in the same folder or it won't know where to look.
The mp3/ogg/wav's extension MUST be in lower case or DDReam won't read it. Rename it if it isn't.
If you're going to step for a certain flash game then you should be using an mp3 with bitrate between 128 and 192. Transencode it using audacity/sony vegas/goldwave/whatever if it isn't, and while you're at it make a cut if it's a reptitive song - your audience will thank you later. (To make accurate cuts, calculate how long a beat lasts using the song's BPM - 60/BPM - and cut exactly that length. That way, you won't end up with syncing artifacts!)
Listen to the song all the way through once or twice while actively thinking about it. The more times the better.
When you save the file, choose 'Single BPM' if the file has only one BPM, and don't choose it if it does not!
By the way, you can resize the window to any shape and size. Full screen DDReam!

1: Moving around
Spacebar: Toggle whether the song is playing or not

Up, Down: Move by the current selected note interval upwards or downwards
Left, Right: Change what note interval is selected. Red is 4ths, blue is 8ths, etc. Nothing is unquantized and snaps to the nearest pixel
Page up, Page down: Move a measure up/down (or in unquantized mode, by a specific number of pixels)
Home, end: Jump to the start/end of the chart

Scroll up/down: Equivalent to pressing up/down (or in unquantized mode, moves a specific number of pixels)
Press scrollwheel/press middle mouse key: Creates and dismisses a scrolling widget. When active, scrolls the screen at a constant rate towards your cursor. Can be easier on the finger than scrolling normally.
Click (Sync Mode): Moves target to where you clicked
Click and drag on targets: Shifts where the target appears on screen but not where it is in the song e.g. so you can see ahead or behind it
Click/click and drag on scroll bar: Move rapidly through the song
ctrl+G: Go to a specific time (in minutes/seconds or in beats) of the song

2: Changing what you see
Ctrl+up, ctrl+down or shift+plus, shift+minus: Change scroll mod, expanding/contracting chart visually
Ctrl+shift+left, ctrl+shift+right: Change which chart you're looking at, including different kinds of charts (once you look at all dance-singles you'll end up on dance-double and so on)
Shift+left, Shift+right: Zoom the chart in/out, making the notes smaller/larger too
L: See all charts as well as be able to select sync mode, which is the only mode where beats can be moved around instead of the chart
F3: Enable beat assist tick, plays a noise whenever a beat crosses the targets
F4: Enable note assist tick, same but for notes

Click and drag: Select a group of notes, or beats depending on mode
ctrl+A: Select everything
ctrl+X, ctrl+C, ctrl+V: Cut, copy, paste
Del: Delete
ctrl+Z, ctrl+Y: Undo, Redo

3: Syncing
Press L then enter sync mode.

Don't forget your ability to: click and drag to select beats then click and drag to move them/cut/copy/paste/delete, click and drag targets, click on the screen to move targets, ctrl+A to select all, zoom in and out...

B: place beat under targets
Shift+B: place subbeat under targets, which will lie between beats at the point it is now, but can be later be 'dragged' up and down
F while selecting a subbeat: Alter how far into the beat this subbeat represents (e.g. 24 if you want to move your offbeat)
A: Two different things. 1 is to give a song a constant bpm starting from a certain point into the song (the first beat), 2 is, while selecting a group of beats, to insert a set number of beats in between them (e.g. place one beat per measure, ctrl+A, A, 3 and you'll have full beats)
G: 'Grow beats', how this is used is you select two or more beats, give it a bpm and it makes the section that constant bpm, smoothing out any changes you made, so you only need to know the bpm you want OR the exact positions of the first and last beats and G will fix it for you
I: waveform filter (If you have more sound experience than I you might know how to use this to e.g. isolate the bass kick)
N, Shift+N: Place a beat after the end/place a beat before the start
Ctrl+1, Ctrl+2, Ctrl+3: Make a beat white (mark special beats e.g. where bpm changes happen so you don't lose track of them), blue (back to normal) and locked (don't move by mistake)

Quick guides for syncing simply:

Cleaning up the waveform: Press I and use the default wave filter of high-pass, infinite impulse, strength 10. If this doesn't give you anything useful (like for piano songs) then try a strength of 5, then 3, then 2, then 1 and stop when you can tell what it correlates to. This will help you find the strongest (bassiest) sounds in the waveform.

Finding the first (and last) beats: If the waveform is visually simple, just place it on the start of the waveform. If it's not, then use ctrl+alt+left to slow it down to a very slow speed like 50%, 30% or 20% and hit both F3 and F4 for audio feedback. Adjust it by clicking and dragging and play over it with space until it sounds exactly right. Using the techniques below, you only need to get certain beats accurate, and then you can extrapolate between them.

Is your song a constant, known bpm? Simply go to unquantized note interval, click the start of the first waveform, press B to lay a beat, press A and type in the bpm of the song. Done!

Is your song a constant but unknown bpm? Either you can guess and check if the last beat is on the waveform or you can play the song with space, tap B for each beat until the end, select the whole chart with ctrl+A and then press G - it should suggest a bpm to you, which is the average. Use it if it looks right.
If tapping B for every beat is annoying, then tap B every four beats instead, then ctrl+A, A and use the second option on this dialog to add 3 extra beats in each region.

Does your song have a BPM change half way through? Do what you'd do to sync a song that has a constant but unknown bpm, but only do it to the point of the change. Select the last beat, and use ctrl+1 to make it gray, so you remember where it is. Now just repeat for the new bpm until you're all done with your bpms.

Does your song have a portion that varies unpredictably in bpm (e.g. live rock, live piano)? Slow the music way down, turn on F3 and F4 and tap B to every fourth beat or so. Double and triple check that every 'important beat' is on time, and use ctrl+1 to mark them as such. Use A over the whole thing to grow four beats between each section. If the bpm changes abruptly at a certain point, consider smoothing it over by selecting the beats around it and using G to average things out. Sometimes you'll be able to use just the waveform to get accurate sync if the song is not too messy. If you're 100% satisfied with the sync of any particular beat you can use Ctrl+3 to lock it so you won't move it by mistake later.

What if the speed of the song changes drastically between beats? Instead of B, you can use Shift+B to place a subbeat, which is equivalent to a bpm change not on the beat. Subbeats do not divide a beat into equal portions, but divide it according to the ratio it makes initially - meaning it does nothing to change the sync! One of two things must be done:
1) Explicitly place the subbeat on the offbeat or third or whatever, and then adjust it into the position it needs to be.
2) Place it on the position it needs to be, then select it and use F to indicate what ratio into the beat it is (e.g. 24 if it's to adjust the offbeat)

What if I need to move a constant bpm section because it started/ended at the wrong time? You can either shift the first beat, select it all then use G and suggest the bpm it used to have, or select the whole thing and drag it, or cut and paste it, or whathave you. There's also the nudge away/nudge closer tools which can be used to move beats a pixel closer to or further away from you.

By the way: Being in sync mode disables the arrows, but you can re-enable them with Shift+F4 or under View. It will display the arrows of the last chart you were editing.

4: Charting
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0: When tapped will place a note of that column onto the chart under the targets (snapping when needed), or remove something that's already there. Can be used while the music is playing or while it isn't.
Hold # while moving up and down: Creates a long note. Note that unlike stepmania, attempting to create a long note overlapping other notes will cause it to disappear, and you'll need to clear the path by selecting over it and deleting it first

Ctrl+alt+left, ctrl+alt+right: Adjust music rate = how fast the music is playing (careful, on some computers this will crash DDReam by rotating the desktop)

In general, you should either be using the note assist tick, a low music speed, referring to the waveform or a combination of all three to make sure the notes you're placing are going to the song on some level. Most rhythms will be normal, but the occasional one will not be - it might be a problem with your sync (beats) or your rhythms (notes).

Playtest, practice and review the steps you're putting down constantly - don't just make one pass, justify to yourself why you've done everything and why it's correct. (This justification could be in any form - there are as many ways to step a song as there are people, though some are considered better than others.)

5: Other things you might not know DDReam can do

The Edit menu has lots of esoteric goodies:
You can select a region by tapping ctrl+space on the start and end. This is different from selecting notes or selecting beats because it's selecting the section of music rather than only elements inside it.
DDReam only sort of supports stops, but allows you to place them by selecting a region and using Alt+V to insert a pause (Edit > Insert > Pause). This is probably really buggy and you shouldn't use it unless you know what you're doing.
If you have a BPM section you need to extend into the future or past, you can use N or Shift+N respectively (Edit > Insert > Next beat at end / Prev. beat at start)
DDReam allows you to select, deselect and invert your selection on lots of different criteria, including what note interval, note type and type of beat it is (Edit > Select)
DDReam allows you to quantize a section, moving all notes to the nearest note interval you choose (Edit > Quantize)
DDReam allows you to re-arrange the columns of a chart, though not in every permutation (Edit > Turn)
DDReam allows you to scale a selected group of notes to happen faster or slower. This is different from Stepmania's expand/compress, which changes the bpms then moves all the notes so they're where they used to be - I can't find a feature like that in DDReam yet. (Edit > Scale)
Edit > Special has some esoteric stuff.

Under View, you can turn on and off layers as well as change whether the timestamp is in seconds, beats or samples.
Tools > Options has lots of nifty things:
Middle Mouse Button to insert beat
Enable scrolling cursor effect during playback (e.g. when it tries to get back to its normal position)
Inserting the same arrow will delete it
Edit on one layer at a time (not sure what this one means...)
Pasting will overwrite old items with the new
Select newly pasted items
Nudge beats based on zoom level (e.g. when you zoom in more they still nudge by pixels e.g. by less time)
Assist tick on beats and sub-beats (could be useful for a messily subbeated song)
Remove duplicate BPMs on save
Backup all saves
Don't show FPS
It also has practice mode, which as far as I can tell works! It's difficult though, since you can't change the scroll rate to any arbitrary amount - but you CAN shrink/grow the whole window to compensate!

Finally, File > Properties lets you edit all the .sm header information you expect to have.


Don't forget to save early, save often, and save in the same directory as your song with Ctrl+S!
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Last edited by Patashu; 08-29-2011 at 11:27 PM..
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

Great guide. I'll have to read into it more when I'm in stepping mode
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

Requesting for sticky! I always have to use the search function to find that damn link when I tell people about DDReam. All that's missing here is a video to go along that tutorial which will go step by step as well.

suggestions?

-Using color in your guide so that we can see the sections better
-You should tell people how to open the .ds file, perhaps..? lol (open song, obvious, I know, but not so obvious)
-I like using hotkeys (a, i, l, b) a lot, yet, you didn't mention them at all if I read correctly. Did you know about them?...
-Left-Right waveforms are for stereo sounds
-Pressing tab will get you to switch between sync mode and step mode, too. I believe you didn't talk enough about the difference between these modes (this is what confused me most at first when using DDReam and I believe you didn't mention it, which is somewhat crucial).
-Hotkey "i" uses noise reduction. You said you had no experience using it, but, heck, it's a useful tool for clues on which note is a ghost arrow / missing arrow and whatnot.
-Pictures wouldn't hurt.
-Saving single BPM and normal saving, did you tell about the difference?
-Overall, you listed pretty much every function DDReam has, but you also pretty much have to already know how to use DDReam to fully comprehend this guide. Newbies will surely have to ask specific questions in order to get their things working, as this guide doesn't really go below the surface. Heck, you did a good job, I'm not complaining, just suggesting to try giving more attention to what's useful when you're new to stepping / what might be a good idea to use in order to maximize your stepping skills.

EDIT: Thanks for using my suggestions.
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Last edited by MarioNintendo; 05-26-2011 at 05:44 AM..
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

agree^.

Didn't w_c make a video tutorial for DDream? I keep looking for it but can never find it.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

Thanks so much. I'm stepping a song with mixed meters at the moment using DDRream and some of these new things I learned should be useful!
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dumps abstractly represent the song with arrows

post-dumps abstractly represent the existential nihilism that the song invokes in the listener with negative space, evoking the ephemeral nature of the mind - the journey of stepmania begins in hope yet soon becomes corroded into a dialectic of futility, leaving only a sense of dread and the unlikelihood of a new synthesis
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

Patashu, you're a genius.
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

Quote:
Originally Posted by rushyrulz View Post
agree^.

Didn't w_c make a video tutorial for DDream? I keep looking for it but can never find it.
yes, but he said it wasn't a very rigorous one and I don't atm have the resources to make something better
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Best non-AAAs: ERx8 v2 (14-1-0-4), Hajnal (3-0-0-0), RunnyMorning (8-0-0-4), Xeno-Flow (1-0-0-3), Blue Rose (35-2-0-20), Ketsarku (14-0-0-0), Silence (1-0-0-0), Lolo (14-1-0-1)
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

SM 3.95 CVS is better
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

yes this needs a sticky a great guide yet again shu
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

I still plan on making a better video tutorial I just need a webcam.

Also dope guide is dope. I would've done this forever ago but lazy
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:19 PM   #11
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

Thanks for your suggestions MarioNintendo, added 'em
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http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/Mechadragon/smallpackbanner.png
Best non-AAAs: ERx8 v2 (14-1-0-4), Hajnal (3-0-0-0), RunnyMorning (8-0-0-4), Xeno-Flow (1-0-0-3), Blue Rose (35-2-0-20), Ketsarku (14-0-0-0), Silence (1-0-0-0), Lolo (14-1-0-1)
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

Like this?
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Best non-AAAs: ERx8 v2 (14-1-0-4), Hajnal (3-0-0-0), RunnyMorning (8-0-0-4), Xeno-Flow (1-0-0-3), Blue Rose (35-2-0-20), Ketsarku (14-0-0-0), Silence (1-0-0-0), Lolo (14-1-0-1)
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Old 05-25-2011, 11:26 PM   #13
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

!

Very nice, thank you so much for writing this up, Patashu.
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:11 AM   #14
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

Nice.
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Old 05-27-2011, 04:59 AM   #15
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

Sticked (although I think this should be in "Stepmania" instead of "Simulator files" forum).
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Old 06-5-2011, 09:51 PM   #16
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

Amazing tip added to the guide. Can you find it??
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http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/Mechadragon/smallpackbanner.png
Best non-AAAs: ERx8 v2 (14-1-0-4), Hajnal (3-0-0-0), RunnyMorning (8-0-0-4), Xeno-Flow (1-0-0-3), Blue Rose (35-2-0-20), Ketsarku (14-0-0-0), Silence (1-0-0-0), Lolo (14-1-0-1)
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Old 07-19-2011, 11:18 PM   #17
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

I've been told that the stops made by ddream studio (with start/end region and create stop, they're both under the second dropdown menu) work fine, it's just stops it loads from a .sm that don't work properly. Can someone confirm/deny/research how ddream handles stops and how it can be used to make full gimmick charts?
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http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/Mechadragon/smallpackbanner.png
Best non-AAAs: ERx8 v2 (14-1-0-4), Hajnal (3-0-0-0), RunnyMorning (8-0-0-4), Xeno-Flow (1-0-0-3), Blue Rose (35-2-0-20), Ketsarku (14-0-0-0), Silence (1-0-0-0), Lolo (14-1-0-1)
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Old 08-25-2011, 02:41 AM   #18
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

I've been messing around with the wave filter, here are my tips for using it:
1) Try the default, high-pass infinite impulse strength 10. This works great on any song with a strong beat.
2) But if you need the wave filter it probably don't have a strong beat - try high-pass infinite impulse strength 5, then 3, then 2, then 1. The lower the number, the more of the lowest frequencies it accepts.

Low-pass never seems to be useful - anyone have a corollary?

An anecdote: PLANETCORE looks really weird under the high-pass filter. I can't tell what the wave is going to most of the time - is it the dubsteppish bass line, or...?
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:27 PM   #19
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

Did you know:

Press scrollwheel/press middle mouse key: Creates and dismisses a scrolling widget. When active, scrolls the screen at a constant rate towards your cursor. Can be easier on the finger than scrolling normally.
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Old 09-3-2011, 11:46 PM   #20
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Default Re: Miniguide for controlling DDReam Studio

I'm using ds200BETA6 and mid mouse button does something different. It adds a beat line to the current position I'm on (e.g. used if I were to sync live music/erratically played piano recordings)
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