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Old 01-25-2004, 03:10 PM   #1
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Default aperson's stepfile creation guide(better than arch0wlohsnap)

I am assuming that if you read this guide you at least have a basic understanding of how DDR and its simulators work, and the logic behind creating steps, however a complete newbie should be able to understand this guide as well. I also assume that you have the knowledge to utilize the programs I list below, and that if you don't you can find out on your own. If you aren't intelligent enough to use, say, Goldwave, then you shouldn't be making stepfiles. Furthermore, this guide is intended for keyboard stepfiles, though many of the principles apply to pad stepfiles as well.

HOW TO MAKE SIMFILES THAT DON’T SUCK

1.1 Principles
1.2 - Choosing A Song
1.3 - Understanding the limits of a song
1.4 - When to use what kind of Notes
1.5 - On doubles, triples, and quads

2.1 Beginning your song
2.2 - Finding Gap
2.3 - Finding BPM
2.4 - Setting up for edit

3.1 Creating your song
3.1 - BPM Changes
3.2 - Freezes
3.3 - Streams
3.4 - Gallops

4.1 Banner and background
4.2 - Theory
4.3 - Banner
4.4 - Background

5.1 Publishing

1.1 Principles
1.2 Choosing a song
The first step is to choose a song. Remember, how you build the song depends on the song you choose. The song does not depend on how you build it. You cannot build ridiculous steps for a slow moving, simple song. Always listen to the song, find the BPM and see if it is in a range that you would find acceptable for what kind of song you like (I try to get 16ths at 180 and up for my fast, hard songs.)

1.3 Understanding the limits of a song
This ties in with what I mentioned above. Your steps must fit the song you make. Don't make ridiculous steps on a simple song, don't make overly easy steps on a song that has great potential for difficulty. Therefore, careful attention must be made to song selection, don't just jump in with a song you think sounds cool, it might make a crappy DWI regardless of what you do with it. I have to go through a whole lot of my mp3 list before I find a good song, and even then it might turn out to make a bad stepfile. At that point you scrap it and try again.


1.4 When to use what kind of notes
The logic behind all songs (save some ambient and other small exceptions) is the notion of a rise and fall. You should be aware of this, and you should not place notes that contrast to a song's rise and fall or the steps will come out terrible. Therefore, don't put sixteenth runs in a song's cool down part then jumps on fourth notes when the song is going all out. People expect the song to get harder when it rises, so make it harder. When it cools down make it easier.

Also, you must consider screen aesthetics when looking at note creation… A prime example of this would be BMR's A. The notes look like they are creating the song because of placement of the streams… If a song is broken into fifths make the patterns run in fifths. Or, like in A when the key of the notes on the song increase then decrease he makes the steps have a right to left pattern. This creates a lot of the fun of the song, because the player is almost seeing the song appear on the screen.

Step repetition must also be taken into consideration. This means two things: Don't use the same stream over and over and over… but it also means that certain repetitions can be good. Firstly, songs have to have some diversity. No one likes a song where the only stream is a bunch of 2468 or 2468642468 etc… However, sometime small repetitions can give a song style. Eggmani, for instance, does a good job of this in a lot of his songs. They are given a certain 'theme' pattern that appears at certain parts of the song, and when that part of the song appears the theme pattern does too. It provides a special feel to the song and can make the file much more fun.

1.5 Doubles triples and quads
Doubles are commonplace: When a song has a more explosive note, put in a double. When a song has a resounding in your face note, put in a triple or quad. There, I said it. Triples and Quads are not some unholy thing that must be avoided at all costs. You're playing on a keyboard, you have more than 2 fingers. This ideology of no more than 2 keys at once comes from the stale idea used in foot stepfiles. This doesn't mean you should abuse them, however. Overuse of triples and quads can be the most annoying thing ever done. They are rare and should be cherished.


2.1 Beginning your song
2.2 Finding the gap
The gap is oh so important… The marvelous window is approximately 2 hundredths of a second, that's .02 for the math tards. This means that you damn well better have your stepfile synced to within 5 thousandths of a second or the player is going to be getting perfs instead of marvs.

…So how do you get this precise? You get Goldwave. Once you have Goldwave open up your song… but here's the key. Make sure you have already trimmed and cut everything you want from your song and saved it to your stepfile directory. Why? Because when you save mp3 editors usually add a very tiny amount to the front of a song, thus ruining your gap. Now zoom in on the song, and go to where the first note is, you should be very zoomed in (I zoom to the point where it just shows a line rather than a whole heightmap.) Find the first note of the song and slide the device controller down until the song speed is at .1. Play the first note and listen to where it first becomes audible (usually at the very start.) After you've found this look at where the CREST OF THE FIRST WAVE OF THAT NOTE IS. This is where you want your gap to be. Look at the ms counter at the bottom of the Goldwave bar and take your gap. Voila, you are guaranteed an incredibly precise gap with this method.

2.3 Finding the BPM
There are two ways, one is with WinBPM… this is self-explanatory.

The other is with an automated program, granted this isn't always correct, it can be very useful for songs with decimal BPMs because it's hard as hell to find those accurately with WinBPM. This program can be found here: http://users.skynet.be/bk264570/TestProg.htm

2.4 Setting up for edit
Download XStep, I trust you can find it or you probably already have it. Open it up and plug the song name, author, bpm, gap, and all that information stuff in. Export it to DWI in the folder of your choice and you have the information for your song set up. Now you are ready to begin editing... Go to Stepmania and use SMs built in editor (edit/sync songs)

3.1 Creating your song
3.2 BPM Changes
BPM changes are key in a song, and deal with the rise and fall of the song. In many of my songs the beginnings are slow, but they pick up then explode at a certain point. I create this in the stepfile by using half-BPM while it builds up then using the full BPM (and usually a double) where the song breaks out. Using BPM changes in this style will usually result in a good stepfile, but overuse can completely destroy a file.

3.3 Freezes
Freezes have to be used with caution, and they have to be accurate. A freeze is usually placed when a note causes a harsh stop in the song, placing freezes at places other than where this happens is going to make for a crappy stepfile rather fast.

To get accurate times for freezes:
60 / BPM = 4th note freeze
Divide that by 2 for 8th note
Divide the by 3 for 12th note
Divide that by 4 for 16th note
Divide that by 5 for 24th note
Divide that by 6 for 32nd note
Etc… But freezes for more than a 48th notes and above are usually a bad idea

3.4 Gallops
A lot of songs gallop. If they gallop, good, put in gallops… However it's okay to use gallops when the song isn't doing that sometimes as well. For instance, if a song is stuttering, rather than using freezes you can use gallops… However, these must also be used in moderation, they can get old fast.

4.1 Banner and Background
4.2 Theory
The banner and Background should provide a similar feel to the one that the song creates. This provides greater harmony. No, I cannot describe how to do this, you just have to experiment to get it. This means don't photoshop some tie dye bullcrap for a dark song. Likewise, don't make a black BG for speedcore rave.

4.3 BG
Generally 640x480. The top and bottom 50 pixels or so are cut off by the top and bottom of the screen, so try to keep any text from drifting into that area unless you want it to be covered up after the bars come in.

4.4 Banner
256x80. Always have a banner, that way when people take screenshots it identifies your song. Also, always put the name of the song in the banner.

5.1 Publishing
Open up WinZip and drop the folder of your song into the zip. Submit to bemanistyle, and start hyping it. (Make bumps on your forum post witty and not obvious bumps ) Voila, you have a stepfile.
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Old 01-25-2004, 03:18 PM   #2
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nobody does anything better than arch0wl

and i'm too lazy to read all that and see if it really is
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Old 01-25-2004, 03:20 PM   #3
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Looks good, aperson.
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Old 01-25-2004, 03:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yanah_God
nobody does anything better than arch0wl

and i'm too lazy to read all that and see if it really is
Hi. You're a retard.
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Old 01-25-2004, 03:29 PM   #5
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This is great aside from one thing

Quote:
BPM changes are key in a song
BPM changes are not key in a song, it depends on the song.

Quote:
nobody does anything better than arch0wl
aperson's stepfiles are just as good as mine.
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Old 01-25-2004, 03:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch0wl

aperson's stepfiles are just as good as mine.
Woah
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Old 01-25-2004, 04:03 PM   #7
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...

MY HEAD HURTS
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Old 01-25-2004, 04:41 PM   #8
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Actually, a rule of music is that a song should have a constant beat. As soon as it changes, it would usually be considered a seperate song or a very badly composed song. Every song should have ONE BPM unless if it's absolutely nessicary (i.e. a mix of different songs, if you want to express rhythm etc.).

Anyways, BPM changes are just plainly annoying and shouldn't be used often, it will make your file flow better and make more sense.

Regards,
TehWhack
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Old 01-25-2004, 06:07 PM   #9
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You forgot ...

point 6.1 make sure to make your song as retarded and as much of a crappy conglomeration of synth effects as possible so as to mask any beat that there may have been.
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Old 01-25-2004, 07:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TehWhack
Actually, a rule of music is that a song should have a constant beat. As soon as it changes, it would usually be considered a seperate song or a very badly composed song. Every song should have ONE BPM unless if it's absolutely nessicary (i.e. a mix of different songs, if you want to express rhythm etc.).

Anyways, BPM changes are just plainly annoying and shouldn't be used often, it will make your file flow better and make more sense.

Regards,
TehWhack
can I get a copy of these "Rules of Music" you keep talking about?
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Old 01-25-2004, 09:03 PM   #11
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Hyrogashi told me what (), [], {}, 2,4,6,8,A, and B meant, and I made my first stepfile in notepad. It's piss easy
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Old 01-25-2004, 09:05 PM   #12
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It's just to slow that way .

And 2.2 is easier with audacity...
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Old 01-25-2004, 09:39 PM   #13
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Yeah, Rage made a stepfile very fast, I told him maybe 20 lines and he made it. Better than any of my first 4 or 5 stepfiles, or all together. (Which include chrono rondo and hellbeat). I told Arch0wl to watch out, in conclusion. Stop having a piss contest over who can write the most un-legit but professional stepfile making guide. It's not needed. If your reading this you probably already know how to make stepfiles anyways. Kthxbai




Hey wtf, i'm supposed to be gone from this place! I had to lurk out of the shadows and post at least a little! OH NOS! KBAI!
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Old 01-25-2004, 10:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yanah_God

can I get a copy of these "Rules of Music" you keep talking about?
What I mean by "Rules of Music" is common sense broad statement to making music sound proper (time signatures, organization of sharps, tune/harmony, genres, making a grand staff consist of 2 clefs, flow, etc.).

To dumb it down a little, you wouldn't take a piano and hit a bunch of random keys and call it a song.

Although I believe there is books on common sense for music aswell as rules to perform music.
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Old 01-25-2004, 10:46 PM   #15
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TehWhack: To dumb it down a little, you wouldn't take a piano and hit a bunch of random keys and call it a song.

yes u would, thats what 20th century music is all about... i mean, even the way the music looks and how it is written... a lot of music written doesnt get written on regular staves or have time or key signatures. Music without any change gets boring. Thats why we keep making new music, true it is nice to have some basic stuff or a constant BPM... but half the idea of music is to convey emotion or feeling, to not ever have changes in a piece of music would be like saying life only has one constant feeling, or that a person can only feel one thing for a minute and a half or more. Music shouldnt have any rules. But then again, maybe i have no clue what im talking about.
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Old 01-25-2004, 10:59 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TehWhack
Actually, a rule of music is that a song should have a constant beat. As soon as it changes, it would usually be considered a seperate song or a very badly composed song. Every song should have ONE BPM unless if it's absolutely nessicary (i.e. a mix of different songs, if you want to express rhythm etc.).

Anyways, BPM changes are just plainly annoying and shouldn't be used often, it will make your file flow better and make more sense.
No offense, but that is one of the most incorrect statements I have ever heard...EVER.

Last time I checked, Mozart, Beethoven, Choppin, all of THE GREATEST composers of all time used BPM changes regularly. BPM changes show emotion. BPM changes are key parts in many of the great classical songs.

And arent BPM changes the opposite of rhythmic expressions?
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Old 01-25-2004, 11:08 PM   #17
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BPM and rhytmic expression arent oppisites i wouldnt say, just not the same thing. rhythmic expression is more the notes written on the page and what the composer tells u to do with them while BPM change is more or less just a speed change without actually changing the written music or notes and what not.
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Old 01-26-2004, 06:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyrogashi
Stop having a piss contest over who can write the most un-legit but professional stepfile making guide. It's not needed. If your reading this you probably already know how to make stepfiles anyways. Kthxbai
Yeah, I'm a bad person for telling people how to get correct gap or BPM in songs, and how to create reasonable steps.

Here's a novel idea hyro: fuck off. You're a washed out tard whose ego has long since lost any value it once had. Your stepfiles are all mediocre at best, and you don't have any grounds to be lording over us on how to make stepfiles.
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Old 01-26-2004, 01:33 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TehWhack
Actually, a rule of music is that a song should have a constant beat. As soon as it changes, it would usually be considered a seperate song or a very badly composed song. Every song should have ONE BPM unless if it's absolutely nessicary (i.e. a mix of different songs, if you want to express rhythm etc.).

Anyways, BPM changes are just plainly annoying and shouldn't be used often, it will make your file flow better and make more sense.

Regards,
TehWhack
Something tells me you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

Oh wait, that's just me telling myself that, and I think I'm right
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Old 01-26-2004, 01:56 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jewpinthethird
Quote:
Originally Posted by TehWhack
Actually, a rule of music is that a song should have a constant beat. As soon as it changes, it would usually be considered a seperate song or a very badly composed song. Every song should have ONE BPM unless if it's absolutely nessicary (i.e. a mix of different songs, if you want to express rhythm etc.).

Anyways, BPM changes are just plainly annoying and shouldn't be used often, it will make your file flow better and make more sense.
No offense, but that is one of the most incorrect statements I have ever heard...EVER.

Last time I checked, Mozart, Beethoven, Choppin, all of THE GREATEST composers of all time used BPM changes regularly. BPM changes show emotion. BPM changes are key parts in many of the great classical songs.

And arent BPM changes the opposite of rhythmic expressions?
Didn't I already make a post saying that there are exceptions and that Mozart changed his beats? I'm still trying to base this on if you were to make a FFR/SM/DWI/etc. songs.

It's all guides to making a good song, but keeping it appropriate at the same time.

By the way, harmony is one of the bigger ones you have to look out for while making music. Even Hungarian dances have a fluent tune (even though it sounds like someone is playing the piano with their toes/face)
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