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Post #81 · Posted at 2021-01-12 03:15:24am 1.2 weeks ago

Offline darkanine
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Last updated: 2021-01-12 03:17am
Quote: ledgam3r1279
2. Is two weeks time between rounds 1 and 2 too much time, not enough time, or just right? How about the 4 weeks between the end of round 2 and the final results?
With the 83 charts submitted in each round, If you gave only 5 minutes to analyze each chart that ends up being over 6 hours. Personally, I liked to analyze charts in detail more aside from just giving my first impression when I played them on my DDR pad. If you add writing a 5 minute review that doubles the time to 12 hours. For me, I found it was hard to fit this much time into my week, and it is a lot of time to devote to just judging simfiles. I feel that instead of adjusting the amount of time, instead you could have some judges play the easier difficulties and some judges play the hard difficulties. Or charts could just be randomly assigned. Since I feel that I would much rather give 15 to 30 quality reviews per round rather than 83 comments, and I feel that people would learn more from them. But I think a judge should put a maximum of 3-5 hours into each round as they aren't getting anything in return.

Quote: ledgam3r1279
3. Should judges be required to include reviews/feedback along with their scores? Sounds like a no-brainer, but keep the previous question in mind too.
Personally I feel that reviews and feedback should be given after the contest, as to not provide any competitor with an advantage. If stepartists want to see what they should change up for their round 2 charts, they can use the charts that scored highly as an example. That being said, I will release my detailed reviews of a select few of the charts for each song to provide feedback for future contests, which will be released some time this weekend.

Quote
4. Are the weights given to each difficulty fair? Personally, I thought 2/3/3/4/4 was a nice balance between something like 1/2/3/4/5 and equal weighting, but maybe you have something else in mind.
I feel that optional charts should be scored in such a way that they cannot bring down your score. So including a lackluster overstepped challenge chart does not bring down your overall score (since it doesn't make sense that they could have just not included the chart and gotten more points).

Despite my pessimism, I really enjoyed being a judge for this contest, and I certainly think this contest has great potential for future years. There were plenty of simfiles that I really liked, and I discovered new music as well. All thanks to ledgam3r1279 for organizing it, and thanks to the other judges as well. And congratulations to Gameoson for winning the contest, and to everyone else for participating and submitting enjoyable charts Smile
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Post #82 · Posted at 2021-01-12 04:33:31am 1.2 weeks ago

Offline Telperion
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"btor2osly"
Congrats to Akira for winning this week and Gameoson for snagging the overall gold! Thanks to all entrants for the variety of cool submissions, and to led_light for having me on as a judge Big Grin I've got a few comments on the files for Round 2 as well.

Grading Criteria (roughly)
Repetition: Similar parts of the song are stepped similarly (but with variation to prevent deja vu or subconscious repetitiveness).
Pattern Variety: I don't want to be facing forward the whole time. I also don't want to be doing spins the whole time. Or any (insert specific motif here) the whole time.
Movement Comfort: Don't throw me around the pad like a sack of beef, or make my center of mass stop-and-go.
Density-to-Intensity: More exciting parts of the music get more exciting parts of the chart.


Grading Scale (roughly)
10: Absolutely blew me away. (Exception: I award this to Beginner charts with no glaring flaws.)
9: Really good - I would consider it a standout.
8: Solid chart. May have a few taste nitpicks but mechanically sound.
7: Good, but wouldn't take much to push it up to "great". I would tweak it here and there.
6: It's fine. Maybe boring, incohesive, or directionless. Maybe suffering from mechanical mistakes.
5: I didn't hate it but I won't play it again.
4: A few redeeming qualities, but serious issues. Would consider scrapping the chart and starting over.
3: I'm not feeling this at all. Needs a re-do.
2: I sense effort, as if a slight odor of simfile permeates the room, but cannot pinpoint its origin.
1: Didn't read the assignment.
0: Not actually a simfile. Might be three da-dons in a trenchcoat.

################################################


Backyun! -Warui Onna-
ESP: ( 9/10) Double-check your 16th rhythms...The flair gallops are fine though. Loved the patterning for the most part.
CSP: ( 7/10) At 140 BPM, the vertical required for those shock arrows makes them much more intense than you probably intended, and some of the exits are ambiguous. When paired with all the extra 16ths and crossovers, the difficulty feels artificially inflated.
DSP: ( 9/10) Great companion difficulty to the ESP.
BSP: ( 7/10) Suffers a little in the verse from its choices in 4th notes, but recovers in the chorus.
bSP: ( 8/10) The 5-note jacks in the chorus confuse me a bit, but in general the chart is just fine.

Chewingood!!!
ESP: (10/10) Does a great job of using the steps to focus the player's attention on specific things in the music, and all in a fun way. Excellent work!
CSP: ( /10) XXX
DSP: ( 9/10) Perhaps not as much impact as the ESP but still well-executed. Handles the high BPM well.
BSP: ( 9/10) Balanced chart that plays its role well.
bSP: (10/10) Cute touches in a Beginner slot. No complaints.


Crazy Crazy
ESP: ( 9/10) Love the lyric cues for "feet lifting off the ground", "head is spinning", etc. Very cute! The spin exits are a little bit sticky but otherwise I enjoyed this a lot.
CSP: ( 9/10) Basically the same feelings as for the ESP.
DSP: (10/10) Basically the same feelings as for the ESP/CSP, but the spin exits feel a lot cleaner. Good variety at this level!
BSP: ( 9/10) Clean chart with good pattern and rhythm interest for a Basic slot. No complaints here.
bSP: ( 8/10) I feel like a beginner's going to be mighty confused by these rhythms. This doesn't actually feel much different from the BSP.


Duality
ESP: ( 5/10) This song has a LOT of rhythmic complexity. The first half felt simplified, but in an unfitting way. I was glad that the second half tried to follow it, but it wasn't getting it quite right. The patterns weren't very comfortable for no-bar play either - a lot of concentration required to know when to shift weight and when to lift feet.
CSP: ( /10) XXX
DSP: ( 7/10) More consistent use of 8th notes instead of the 16th rhythms helps this chart hang togeter better, but it's very right-foot dominant and still not a convincing simplification.
BSP: ( 6/10) Straight 4ths for such long periods makes the chart feel bland, but the patterning redeems it somewhat.
bSP: (10/10) Feels traditional and freestyle-friendly. No strong feelings.


I Begin to Wonder
ESP: ( 8/10) Not particularly memorable but good execution - like a stock photo, if it were a chart. Some very adventurous forced doublesteps (?) near the end.
CSP: ( 8/10) The gallop 16th isn't appropriate every time...and neither is the Xxxx- 16th motif. I like the experimental spirit of this chart though. I think what this song needs is something exactly halfway between ESP and CSP.
DSP: ( 8/10) Good use of spins to add some variety.
BSP: ( 7/10) Not much to say about it.
bSP: (10/10) No complaints here.


I CAN'T STOP ME
ESP: (10/10) Super fun chart! Adventurous use of freeze resets/spins - you would have absolutely got docked points for this if you weren't consistent, so great job with that.
CSP: (10/10) Another super fun chart. Great use of "centering" shock arrows, although a little close for comfort in some places...
DSP: ( 9/10) Feels like the ESP with a few arrows boiled off, but doesn't suffer for it.
BSP: ( 8/10) Not as punchy as the higher charts but still good.
bSP: (10/10) No complaints here. Easy and a bit of charm, good freestyle support.


I Don't Wanna Be A Star
ESP: (10/10) Great work! The patterning is a *little* safe here and there, but the structure is excellent.
CSP: ( 9/10) Pretty groovy. Good attention to repetition in the music with crossovers and such. Some of the rhythm choices in the solo are a bit bold, but appropriate still.
DSP: ( 8/10) Also a respectable chart, but very repetitive.
BSP: ( 8/10) Call-and-response mirroring is kiiiiiind of cute but you've absolutely overdone it. It's permissible in a Basic chart, though, as far as I'm concerned.
bSP: (10/10) Suits the song well and seems freestyle-friendly too.


Ice Pop
ESP: ( 8/10) Cute chart. Concerned that you chose 16ths in a song that is obviously swung.
CSP: ( /10) XXX
DSP: ( 8/10) Fun as well, but a bit repetitive. Adventurous use of footswitches!
BSP: ( 7/10) More repetitive. But still fun. There's really not much to this song, huh...
bSP: ( 8/10) Also pretty repetitive. A lot of - well, I don't expect people that choose Beginner to do a lot of crossovers, so these are doublesteps...


JIVE INTO THE NIGHT
ESP: ( 9/10) Good structure and very traditional feel - I smell CSFILSM inspiration here Tongue Fun doublestep pattern in the gallops on the first verse. The 16th notes in the intro should be Xx-x- (two yellow notes), not Xx--X. There's a huge difference in execution for the "jive jive jive" gallops between quarters on L/R and quarters on U/D.
CSP: ( /10) XXX
DSP: ( 9/10) Solid and energetic chart. No complaints here.
BSP: ( 8/10) Not as good at playing to the song's strengths as ESP or DSP but still solid.
bSP: (10/10) It's a beginner chart that does exactly what it needs to.


LADYLIKE
ESP: ( 9/10) Great incorporation of jumps in the patterning - it's hard to pull this off in a no-bar setting - and accenting vocal lines while following rhythms. Overall a snazzy, jazzy chart. Stepping the fadeout, though...
CSP: ( /10) XXX
DSP: ( 9/10) Loved the freeze-anchored patterns, especially the ones followed by the yeah-yeahs.
BSP: ( 9/10) Good patterning for this level that holds interest in the chart.
bSP: (10/10) No complaints here. Except that you stepped the fadeout again!!


Naturally (Ralphi Rosario Remix)
ESP: ( 6/10) The patterning throughout most of the song felt uninspired, like it was there to just kill time. Long strings of 8ths that didn't seem to go to anything.
CSP: ( /10) XXX
DSP: ( 6/10) Again, the patterning mostly felt like it was just there to fill space, with no consistency.
BSP: ( 7/10) Same as the other slots.
bSP: ( 8/10) Somehow still manages to fall into the same "what is this patterning meant to accentuate" bucket as the other charts, but it's far less noticeable here.


NRG STAR '86 feat. Oyama Aimi
ESP: ( 9/10) Holds together in general. I have some concerns about how the 16ths in the percussion are handled as drills some times and ignored completely in others.
CSP: ( /10) XXX
DSP: ( 8/10) Tying the chunks of 8ths to the vocals in the verses *and* the percussion riffs makes the chart really slippery. I get what you're trying to do, but the end result feels scatterbrained. Nothing technically wrong with it though!
BSP: ( 8/10) Does what the DSP was trying to do, but a little better. Really needs to give the song more room to breathe.
bSP: ( 8/10) Not a lot of intensity variation - the patterning helped tie it to the song, but it needs more dynamics, or at least a break for the poor sweaty Beginner soul.


OK, Alex
ESP: ( 9/10) Follows the vocals too much for my taste, but I can't argue too much with it, they're sharp and in the foreground. Good stop cues. Quite jumpy...
CSP: ( 8/10) Much harder to follow and a lot flatter. Feels more like a workout for its own sake. Shock arrows are well executed (as full jumps rather than center hits).
DSP: ( 9/10) Surprised to see layering like this, in this slot! I like it.
BSP: ( 9/10) Glad to see a chart that eschews constant panel-to-panel movement in the Basic slot - I think folks that play at this level seem to prefer that.
bSP: ( 8/10) Steps immediately after stops are going to be very disorienting. Otherwise good.


Panda Shinken 1, 2, 3
ESP: ( 9/10) Gotta admit, this song hurts my ears, but the chart does its job very well. Fun rhythms and fun patterning.
CSP: ( /10) XXX
DSP: ( 9/10) Feels like a SuperNova-era chart in all the good ways. Loved the reset crossovers in the end. Careful not to default into facing right!
BSP: ( 9/10) Really pleased with how each chart in this file is distinct from each other. Again, good work (although surprisingly hard with those spins!)
bSP: (10/10) No complaints here.


Panri People
ESP: ( 6/10) Some inconsistency with how 16ths were and weren't stepped. Lots of crossovers that didn't seem to go to anything in the music (and one after a freeze that resolved very strangely indeed). Feels sort of rushed?
CSP: ( /10) XXX
DSP: ( 7/10) I liked this a bit more than the ESP. The crossovers are super repetitive, and all on the down arrow...
BSP: ( 7/10) Pretty sensible. The three-note jacks during the recipe dictation surprised me.
bSP: ( /10) XXX


SEVEN
ESP: ( 9/10) I like this a lot! Good attention to patterning and musical fit, especially in the first half. I wasn't following the progression of intensity in the second half but it didn't detract from the playability of the chart.
CSP: ( 8/10) A lot of good things about this chart. It does leave the player all twisted up a lot more than I'd like, and the Confession gallops toward the end are really difficult to control in no-bar play.
DSP: (10/10) Super dynamic for a DSP. Mayyyyyybe a bit repetitive but, imo, it worked out well.
BSP: ( 9/10) Not sure the laterals are appropriate for this level. Certain arrows alongside freezes in the beginning feel unnecessarily snapped to 4ths. Otherwise super good; I thought the spins/half-spins were tasteful, and it seesm freestyle-comfy.
bSP: ( 8/10) Pretty complex for a beginner's taste, but nothing felt particularly out of place.


THE GALAXY EXPRESS 999
ESP: ( 9/10) Charming chart, although perhaps a bit overstepped? the song itself is quite simple with the rhythms...
CSP: ( /10) XXX
DSP: ( 8/10) Feels like it's trying to compensate for lower density by being really twisty. Some freezes with the wrong lengths? But fun overall!
BSP: ( 6/10) Really hard to figure out what this is following. Is the chart shifted??
bSP: ( 8/10) The intensity isn't really tied well to the music, but the chart itself is fine.


Virus Funk
ESP: ( 5/10) A lot of 8th note rhythms that don't match anything in the music. Spins all in the same direction that don't fit the music well either. Nothing really stands out about it in a good way.
CSP: ( /10) XXX
DSP: ( 6/10) Made a bit more sense than the ESP, but no consistency between repeated sections of the music, and still somewhat bland.
BSP: ( 5/10) A terrifying number of freezes for a chart in this slot. Follows the foreground melodies a lot sometimes and not at all other times.
bSP: ( 6/10) So, so, so many freezes. Suffers a bit from being a left-right waddle (not particularly suitable for freestyling, either) but I think it balances the higher-than-usual density.


XING
ESP: (10/10) Amazing job. Every pattern, slowdown, and rhythm fits into place.
CSP: ( 9/10) Some of the balance in the ESP is thrown off by the technicality of the shock arrows and the intensity of the full-BPM 16th sections, but it's a good companion chart.
DSP: (10/10) I'm a fan of the chained crossovers and freezes, they feel great to execute.
BSP: ( 9/10) Solid chart, although extremely freeze-heavy, requiring a lot of player thought about foot lifting (for this level).
bSP: ( 9/10) Pretty complex for a beginner chart, but good in its own right.

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20:20:51 · Blinded_No_More: LOL, I can sum it up like this:     20:20:55 · Blinded_No_More: Eurobeat = Steppable power metal

Post #83 · Posted at 2021-01-12 07:27:42am 1.1 weeks ago

Offline Akira
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"Aki ♥ Panpan"
Quote
2nd. 16.99

Perfection.

Post #84 · Posted at 2021-01-14 09:02:42am 6.2 days ago

Offline ddrstepper
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"GIMMI GIMMI"
I'll take a third place finish, especially after a year and a half hiatus from competing. Congratulations to Gameoson for the win, and and a huge shoutout to Akira for 2nd considering I am almost certain his hiatus was way longer than mine; genuinely happy to see his work again. Happy

As for this questionnaire--

Quote
1. Is three weeks time per round for submitting files too much, not enough, or just right?
2. Is two weeks time between rounds 1 and 2 too much time, not enough time, or just right? How about the 4 weeks between the end of round 2 and the final results?

For both of these, I think 2 weeks should be the minimum, but I was personally fine with 3 weeks for submissions and 2/4 weeks for results. In any case, I think the judges should be on the same page with regards to the timeline and stick to it as best as possible. I know this was essentially a test run for this kind of competition, and the judges were picked after the schedule was proposed, so I can't be mad that this was something that came up. If this happened on another run of it though, I think I would be a bit frustrated. In short, I don't have a preference for submission periods, and my preference for reviews is whatever everyone agrees upon as reasonable.

Quote
3. Should judges be required to include reviews/feedback along with their scores? Sounds like a no-brainer, but keep the previous question in mind too.

Yes, biggest reason being that these are basically "grades" and not just rankings. If you're just ranking files from best-to-least favorite, that's a different competition. But receiving a low-mark without explanation is unhelpful and discouraging. This is unfortunately going to sound targeted, but the way I see it, if you don't have time to write reviews, you don't have time to judge. (Again, this is the first competition of its kind, so I am not shocked that this was an issue.)

Quote
4. Are the weights given to each difficulty fair? Personally, I thought 2/3/3/4/4 was a nice balance between something like 1/2/3/4/5 and equal weighting, but maybe you have something else in mind.

I think 1/2/3/4/4 would be best. Not every song is meant for a Challenge chart, so I think giving Challenge a weight of 5 could disproportionately benefit files with songs that lend themselves to having a Challenge chart, and then you get a lot of songs around the same genre. As for making Beginner a weight of 1, I just think it's silly that a chart made for the newest of players has half the weight of the hardest difficulties.

-

That's technically it for the questionnaire, but one thing I think might be worth mentioning (which I couldn't fit with the other questions) is the still cloudy definition of "DDR-style". The first post mentions something about no-bar playability as a main characteristic, but I feel like that's still kinda vague, at least for me who always holds the bar cuz my balance is ass. I saw heavy charts that ranged from looking like 5th Mix dance-charts to looking like DDR A technical-heavy charts. Historically, I've messed around with both and I think they're both valid, but I am genuinely unsure if those can be judged with the same set of standards, and maybe that is something the judges can speak to if they so please.

Personally, the only solution I can come up with for contextualizing charts (in essence, insinuating which era of DDR is being channeled) is to let steppers chose which rating scale to use; if it's 1-10, its pre-DDR X, and 1-20 is DDR X- DDR A. But this just may be an issue that I only have, so this can very much be taken with a grain of salt.

ALL THAT SAID, I do very much appreciate the work of the judges, and I am looking forward to see where this competition goes in the future; while I think it went great for a first run, it definitely has a lot of potential!
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Post #85 · Posted at 2021-01-15 12:16:48am 5.5 days ago

Offline darkanine
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Last updated: 2021-01-15 12:18am
Quote: ddrstepper
Quote
3. Should judges be required to include reviews/feedback along with their scores? Sounds like a no-brainer, but keep the previous question in mind too.

Yes, biggest reason being that these are basically "grades" and not just rankings. If you're just ranking files from best-to-least favorite, that's a different competition. But receiving a low-mark without explanation is unhelpful and discouraging. This is unfortunately going to sound targeted, but the way I see it, if you don't have time to write reviews, you don't have time to judge. (Again, this is the first competition of its kind, so I am not shocked that this was an issue.)

Honestly, you make a really good point. The primary reason I didn't upload reviews is that I was pushed on time to play all the files, so the reviews that I did write were not comprehensive at the time. While I could have published the reviews that I had, I felt it would be unfair since some reviews I gave more effort to than others. So I figured I had to just revisit the other files to write proper reviews on every chart, which I did not give myself time to do. So the only fair thing was for me to not release reviews until all of them were done, which did not happen soon enough before the Round 2 deadline.

In retrospect, I would have spaced the playtesting and review writing over several days to give myself more time. I have never reviewed 83 charts in one contest before, so I did not really comprehend what I was getting myself into, and I take responsibility for that.

Nonetheless, reviews from me will be coming this weekend. I will be giving detailed reviews on the higher difficulty charts, and I will include any comments that I had on the lower difficulty charts. This will be for the songs for both rounds.
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Post #86 · Posted at 2021-01-15 09:32:07pm 4.6 days ago

Offline talkion
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A bit belated, but thanks to led for hosting the contest, and thanks to tammie, darkanine and Telp for judging. Going through every chart in over a dozen files both rounds sounds like a hell of a lot of work.

My responses to the questionnaire:

1. Three weeks felt fine this time around, since the contest was held concurrently with Tower of Eight Panels. I think 2 weeks would be better if the contest were held on its own without any other ongoing events.
2. I'm fine with however long it takes for the judges to vote TBH. I'd wait longer if it means all the judges could give feedback on my submissions.
3. I think so. This contest was a good learning experience for me because of the feedback; without them, I wouldn't have been able to figure out where I should improve.
4. I think they're fine as-is, but I would also be fine with lowering the weighting on Beginner, Basic and Challenge

Post #87 · Posted at 2021-01-16 11:24:11am 4.1 days ago

Offline ledgam3r1279
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Last updated: 2021-01-16 11:25am
Hmm, quite the diverse set of opinions already; I'm already feeling a bit nervous just reading all of them. To be fair, I imagine some of you may have been nervous reading my simfile feedback too, so I guess I'm finally getting a taste of my own medicine. Laughing Hard

So far, it sounds like the 3 weeks per round is here to stay. I chose 3 weeks because you normally have 1 file per week in the Summer Contest (which you'd think would translate to 2 weeks per round), but I wanted an extra week to make sure that everyone has adequate time to fill out all of the difficulties (since SC doesn't require that anymore). As for the weights, I agree that Beginner could be lowered, although Light being only half of Heavy doesn't feel right to me either. Maybe something like 2/4/5/6/6 is a good compromise for now.

Quote: darkanine
With the 83 charts submitted in each round, If you gave only 5 minutes to analyze each chart that ends up being over 6 hours. Personally, I liked to analyze charts in detail more aside from just giving my first impression when I played them on my DDR pad. If you add writing a 5 minute review that doubles the time to 12 hours. For me, I found it was hard to fit this much time into my week, and it is a lot of time to devote to just judging simfiles.

That's about the same amount of time for me too, although I was able to complete these 12 hours in a span of just 2 weeks while everyone else needed at least 1 or 2 more weeks. Perhaps it's because I've already been reviewing all difficulties for years at this point that it's second nature to me, and I forgot the same might not be true of the other judges, so I apologize if the time constraint was too much to bear. Right now, it seems like 3-4 weeks is still a good amount, although more time might be needed for next time if any judges (besides me) are willing to review both singles and doubles.

Quote: darkanine
I feel that instead of adjusting the amount of time, instead you could have some judges play the easier difficulties and some judges play the hard difficulties. Or charts could just be randomly assigned. Since I feel that I would much rather give 15 to 30 quality reviews per round rather than 83 comments, and I feel that people would learn more from them. But I think a judge should put a maximum of 3-5 hours into each round as they aren't getting anything in return.

To be fair, I'm not getting anything in return either. And splitting the work would only add extra randomness and biases in the scores, and I'd rather put in the extra work so that each chart can be on equal footing.

Quote: darkanine
I feel that optional charts should be scored in such a way that they cannot bring down your score. So including a lackluster overstepped challenge chart does not bring down your overall score (since it doesn't make sense that they could have just not included the chart and gotten more points).

Good idea, although I'm not sure if I'm entirely comfortable with not having any penalty for terrible Challenge charts either. Maybe the weight of a chart could be reduced (to 0 or some other value) only in cases where a chart's score would bring the total average down.

Quote: ddrstepper
That's technically it for the questionnaire, but one thing I think might be worth mentioning (which I couldn't fit with the other questions) is the still cloudy definition of "DDR-style". The first post mentions something about no-bar playability as a main characteristic, but I feel like that's still kinda vague, at least for me who always holds the bar cuz my balance is ass. I saw heavy charts that ranged from looking like 5th Mix dance-charts to looking like DDR A technical-heavy charts. Historically, I've messed around with both and I think they're both valid, but I am genuinely unsure if those can be judged with the same set of standards, and maybe that is something the judges can speak to if they so please.

Regarding that blurb in the FAQ, I will admit that it did need some extra clarification, although it would still only speak to how only I would interpret the charts (I cannot speak for any of the other judges). A more detailed review framework (that is the same for all judges) would be nice, although like you said, each judge has their own preferences in style and charting (e.g. tamtamino with old-school DDR and me with new-school DDR). Perhaps Telperion's criteria is a good starting point, though, and maybe could be tweaked into something that everyone can agree on.

Quote: Telperion
Grading Criteria (roughly)
Repetition: Similar parts of the song are stepped similarly (but with variation to prevent deja vu or subconscious repetitiveness).
Pattern Variety: I don't want to be facing forward the whole time. I also don't want to be doing spins the whole time. Or any (insert specific motif here) the whole time.
Movement Comfort: Don't throw me around the pad like a sack of beef, or make my center of mass stop-and-go.
Density-to-Intensity: More exciting parts of the music get more exciting parts of the chart.

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