# How to Testplay
You may have noticed the playtesters that donate their time and energy to helping new and old mappers alike create the best maps they can.
Have you been interested in helping out but, don’t know where to begin? Fear not! This page will help you to get started. No matter your skill level, both as a player or as a mapper, your feedback will be appreciated.
# Getting Started
The only real things you need to get started with testplaying is a willingness to help, and a modded copy of Beat Saber with at least the SongCore mod installed. If you’ve never testplayed before, and feel you want to dip your toes in the water, written feedback instead of video is totally acceptable as you learn the ropes.
- Head to the
#testplayschannel and pick out a map(s) that’s within your skill range. As you are getting started, DO NOT download any maps that the bot does not respond to. Additionally, it is best to avoid maps that are labelled as a first map until you have an understanding of basic mapping practices, to prevent maps with common rookie errors being overlooked, and then published.
- On the map(s) you have downloaded, drop an
:eyes:(👀) reaction on the post to indicate that you have downloaded the map and will be reviewing it. You can do this by hovering over the post.
- Place the map (as a zip) within your Beat Saber
- Load up Beat Saber and navigate to your WIP custom songs cache. If the map was created correctly, it should be there. If the map does not appear, it is likely that the map was not zipped correctly, and contains a folder within a folder. You can choose to unzip the map and place it into your CustomWIPLevels folder yourself and continue the testplay, or @ (ping) the mapper and let them know they need to zip only the files, not the folder. How to Zip Map Files Video
- Play the map 1-2 times in practice mode , NOT the big ‘Play’ button. Ideally, you should only look to play the map once. You want to collect your first impressions and general feedback. If you’re not sure if something is ‘correct’, it’s okay to replay a section, but repeatedly playing the map will skew your muscle memory and cause you to overlook things as you become too adjusted to the map.
It is important that you play the map in Practice Mode in order to prevent creating a new scoreboard on Scoresaber if you have the mod installed!
Write up your feedback! What didn’t feel very good? What did you struggle with? Did you think the map was great and you enjoyed it? Not every map has issues, so if you found the map to be fine, it’s totally acceptable to sum that up with one line. However, if you’re on the fence about anything, just mention it! It’s up to the mapper how they want to receive your feedback.
Find the mapper’s name, and @ (ping) them in the
#mapping-discussionchannel, or DM them, with your feedback. Make sure to remind them to mark their map with
:octagonal_sign:upon editing or releasing their map.
Once you’re done, go back to the post and mark it with
:white_check_mark:(✅) to indicate you’ve completed the map and given feedback. As well, make sure to mark the map with the letter indicative of the difficulty you tested, if the map has multiple difficulties and you did not test them all. You can find these in the pins of the
If you are not confident with your feedback and feel the map should get another playtest, you can indicate a completed playtest with
:ballot_box_with_check: (☑️) instead.
If you found the map you downloaded was too difficult for you to provide feedback, you can mark a
:skull_and_crossbones: (☠️) on the post and ping them stating it was out of your skill level.
# Stepping it Up with Video
Enjoyed your first taste of testplaying? You’re not alone! While all feedback is great, some feedback is more helpful with a broader spectrum of issues. If you’re ready to step up your testplaying game, you should look at including a video of your playthrough, and having a grasp over the fundamentals of mapping.
While no one is going to ask you to write a 500 word essay on triangles, you should know what DDs, handclaps, and face blocks are, to help new mappers. All of the mapping fundamentals you could ever need are covered in this wiki on the Basic Mapping page. Just remember, we were all new once, and no one expects you to know everything!
As for including a video on your playthrough, there are many different ways to go about it. Some people use Shadowplay, some use Windows’ built-in screen recorder, and others use OBS: Open Brodcaster Software. All are good options and choosing one depends on your own workflow and in the case of Shadowplay, if you have the appropriate hardware.
Audio not working? Double check Windows Sonic (spatial sound) is on/off. Try turning it on if it's off, and vice versa.
# Using Shadowplay
This is a stub section. If you’d like to contribute, submit suggestions via this form.
# Using OBS
OBS may take longer to set up, but it offers far more freedom and control. If you’ve never used it before, you can checkout this Quickstart Guide. It is recommended to have your video recorder output set to
.mkv since others have had corruption issues with other file formats, but
.mkv works flawlessly.
# Using Windows Built-In Screen Recorder
This is a stub section. If you’d like to contribute, submit suggestions via this form.
# Recommended Mods to Install
- Can be found in Mod Assistant under the Practice/Training category that gives you the option to replay sections of a map, and adjust NJS and offset while in game. You’ll be seeing a lot of 12 NJS maps from new mappers, so this mod is a real help!
- Can be found in Mod Assistant under the Core category allows for various perspectives and tuning, such as a main third person perspective, and a secondary first person perspective in the corner.
- A plugin for OBS users that can automatically start and stop recording when you begin the map, and leave/complete the map. You can pause as many times as you like with no issues. I always pause my playthrough at the very beginning to briefly discuss the difficulty and NJS, as you do not have any time spent in the menu to discuss these aspects with this mod installed.
With this setup, and real time voice commentary, you can easily cut your playtest time down in half. Having a video will take your testplays to the next level and is the best way to give mappers great feedback.
# What to Look For
So you’re all set up, you’ve learnt the steps to posting a testplay, and you’re familiar with all of the mapping basics. If you’re still not sure what exactly to look for while testplaying a map, don’t sweat it! General feedback of, ‘this doesn’t feel good’, or ‘I found this too hard’, is perfectly acceptable. While it’s nice to be able to give specific reasoning as to why you feel the way you do, that will come with time and experience.
Beware of the Testplayer Bias!
Try to view things objectively; just because you don’t like sliders, doesn’t mean the mapper used them incorrectly. If a map is full of things you don’t like, considering leaving it for someone else!
If you feel more comfortable going into it with a checklist, consider these:
- Is everything on-time? Sometimes this can be more obvious than others, but it’s worth mentioning if something sounds off.
- Are there any blatant basic mapping errors? This applies to anything along the lines of DDs, handclaps, face blocks, three wide walls, blatant parity breaks, or any sort of impossible patterns. These are prominent with rookie mappers, and are often ‘solved’ by just referring to the wiki.
- Are there any vision blocks? Did you not see any notes because they were hidden by an obstacle/another note?
- Does something seem too difficult, or like it could have been mapped up? This can also be overmapping or questionable undermapping. If something was previously mapped to 1/4, and is all of the sudden 1/8, that’s worth calling out, even if the mapper chooses to keep it.
- Do any of the obstacles seem unfair? Wall dodges that were too fast, crouch walls that were too long, and bombs that felt too close, apply here.
- Is there anything really awkward or uncomfortable? This could be a weird angle on a note, or an improperly set up inward swing, or a nasty triangle. If you’re still learning how triangles and wrist resets work, it’s okay to simply note that something was uncomfortable at a certain point, and refer them to #mapping-discussion to get further opinions.
- Did you have fun? Was there anything you thought worked well? Good feedback is just as important as finding issues! Don’t nitpick just to find something for the mapper to ‘fix’, if you thought the map was fine.
# Tips & Tricks
- Always do a test recording! There is no worse feeling than discovering your audio was borked for the last 20 maps you played.
- Voice commentary saves lives! Especially yours. While it may seem daunting to put yourself out there, you can drastically improve the time it takes you to get testplays done by using your voice.
- If you do choose to use written commentary, use timestamps! This let’s the mapper know exactly what you’re talking about, rather than a vague, ‘there were vision blocks’.
- Checking all your maps for folders within folders first will prevent a lot of headaches.
- Avoid nitpicking whenever possible. Giving suggestions is fine, but spending 30 minutes going over a map for every single missed emphasis block, or trying to remap the entire map yourself by telling the mapper what YOU would do for every section, is not the main purpose of a testplay. Collect your thoughts from your first playthrough, and roll with it.
- Don’t overwork yourself! You may feel fine doing 20 maps at once, more than a few times a week, but it will catch up to you. You will find that you repeat yourself almost entirely every 2 maps, and it can be emotionally exhausting, even if you don’t realise it at first. Try not to let it get to you, and if it becomes too much, take a break.
- Warm up on a couple easy maps, then work up to the difficult ones, but save the rest of the easy ones for the end. This will ensure you’re playing to your peak for the most difficult maps. I also like to go back and forth between maps when testing maps with full spreads, to prevent myself from going insane listening to the same song 5 times in a row.
- Test within your difficulty. While it sucks to leave behind e+/expert/hard maps, you only risk injuring yourself, or causing burnout, by trying to do maps that are above your paygrade. Trust in your fellow testers to pick up the maps that fall between the cracks!
- Testplaying a map is doing a favour to the mapper. There is no rule that states you MUST testplay a map if it is in the queue and within your difficulty; if a mapper gives you any hassle, don’t force yourself through testplaying their maps again.
- Make sure you scroll up and check for maps that got left behind! While again, there are no rules on who’s maps you must play, the best practice is to play older maps first, before new ones. Otherwise, the queue quickly falls into disarray.
I’m not a very good player, can I still test maps?
Yes! In fact, feedback from lower skilled players can be invaluable. Mappers all too often can forget what it was like to be an easy/normal/hard, sometimes even expert, player. You don’t have to know anything about mapping to say, “This was too hard for me”, or, “I really loved it!”. It’s best to avoid maps from new mappers, to prevent common rookie errors from being overlooked, and then published, but your feedback is always appreciated.
My computer isn’t very good. Can I still testplay?
To some degree, yes, of course. Written feedback is still perfectly acceptable and preferable to none. However, if your PC struggles to record video and play Beat Saber and at the same time, you might find it difficult to do a lot of testplays super frequently, as written feedback with no video requires a lot more pausing during playing, and time at the end of the session to write up your thoughts. You can also consider playing around with your recording software and bring down the quality of the video recording to reduce the load on your computer.
I play on Quest, can I still testplay?
Yes! Written feedback is of course acceptable, but the Quest is capable of recording, as well.
I spent so long working on my feedback, and the mapper completely disregarded me! What do I do?
At the end of the day, it is on the mapper to take the feedback into account how they see fit. Seeing a map get uploaded that’s full of handclaps and DDs is frustrating, but you did what you could. Other times, more subjective opinions may be ruled over in the favour of the mapper’s artistic sense. While you may not agree with the mapper’s call, we can’t do everyone’s map for them.
Where do I upload my testplay videos?
Streamable and YouTube are the most common places to have testplays uploaded. Streamable has a video limit of 10 minutes and file size limit of 1GB without a premium account, and will delete videos after a couple months of inactivity. However, YouTube takes a bit more work to upload, and you risk getting copyright striked (although it is very unlikely to harm your channel). Some testplayers will also stream their testplays on Twitch, and then link the vods, although that also risks copyright strikes.
How long does it take to testplay a map?
This can vary greatly depending on many different factors. A new mapper’s first map with a lot of issues can reach upwards of 15 minutes, while a more solid map can be as long as the map is itself. I would say that, on an average run, you can get 20 maps (just 1 difficulty) done in about 2 and half hours. This is assuming that there is at least one point of discussion per map, and that you are recording videos with real time voice commentary, with no stopping to start/stop recording. Doing written feedback for 20 maps could be anywhere from 3-4 hours, depending on how frequently you write notes, and how much detail you go into.
Content in this section was authored by Pyrowarfare