VR Beat Saber Review and Custom Song Modding Guide

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Become a musical Jedi!!!

Light Sabers are the preferred weapon of choice for a Jedi!

Who amongst us has not dreamed of wielding a lightsaber in our time?

Beat Games aka Hyperbolic Magnetism felt the same way and produced an amazing game called Beat Saber.

Beat Saber is a VR rhythm game where you are wielding dual lightsabers with an awesome track pounding in your ears, and you hit blocks that represent the musical beats.

Your left and your right hand are holding Red and Blue Light Sabers, then the music starts, and the beat blocks start moving towards you and you must hit them in the direction of the arrows and within a few minutes, you will be swinging your way around the screen feeling like a little Jedi badass.

The initial 10 songs that come with Beat Saber are fun for a bit, so you can get used to swinging your hands around but like everything else, it will get old fast, and you have just spent $19.99 on a game that you don’t feel like playing anymore. Well, fear not PC VR users because the Modding community have heard your cries and came to the rescue with hundreds of custom songs that you can download easily.

Beat Saber Modding

Installing the mod for Beat Saber is so simple, even a caveman could do it….

*Waits for a caveman to tell me not cool*….

Follow this guide and you will be up and running in just a few minutes, then a whole new world of music will be at your Saber-tips.

To get started you need to

  1. Click here https://github.com/lolPants/modsaber-installer/releases/latest
  2. Just run it, don’t save, it will install, then hit finish
  3. It will detect where you installed Beat Saber and let you choose options to install
  4. I recommend BeatSaver downloader to start – install what you find is interesting on the list
  5. Choose your options, and hit Install/Update and then start Beat Saber

Beat Saber settings

When you start up Beat Saber again, you will notice a couple more options you can click on, one of those being Get More Songs, within that is a Search function. It is very straight forward from there, click the one you wish to download and click the Download button then when you click on Solo/Free play again, you can find it in the list of songs to play.

If you don’t want your sweaty headset on while searching for songs, you can always go to www.beatsaver.com and search for songs to download. If you decide to download them from the website, you need to have the ModSaber Installer running in the background.

Updates!!!

Beat Saber will eventually update itself, and when that happens, it’s a gut-wrenching feeling because the songs you have downloaded and worked hard to get high scores up there are all gone. Fear not, young Padawan, this is easily fixable.

You have two options:

  1. You can wait for the modding community to create another mod to get around the update.
  2. You can revert to an older version of Beat Saber (if you have downloaded it through Steam)

To revert to an older version that is working, you right click on Beat Saber and click on Properties

A screenshot of the properties menu for selection.

Then you click on BETAS

A screenshot showing the beta properties

Then choose the Beta you want to opt into

Screenshot of the opt-in in the beta properties.

When doing this, you have then hit Close.

Then you need to restart ModSaber and hit Install/Update again for it to load your customs songs back. Phew, crisis avoided.

It will usually take the modders a couple of days to get the new update, so be patient, they aren’t paid to do this, they do it because they are awesome!

Persistence Pay Off

When you start playing on Beat Saber for a bit of time you will start getting the hang of it and seeing that the blocks start to flow with the natural movement of your hand. You will eventually think that you are so good, that you will see your name up in lights on the scoreboard of Top Ten – no matter how good you think you are, your name will take a while to get up there because Beat Saber has a funny scoring system.

When you start playing on Beat Saber for a bit of time you will start getting the hang of it and seeing that the blocks start to flow with the natural movement of your hand. You will eventually think that you are so good, that you will see your name up in lights on the scoreboard of Top Ten – no matter how good you think you are, your name will take a while to get up there because Beat Saber has a funny scoring system.

Each time you slice a block you will notice a certain amount of points added to your score, however with the right angle, a 90 degree angle to be precise, you will get 70 points, however if you were to follow through at an extra 60 degrees angle  after the cut, you get an extra 30 points, then an extra 10 points for how close you are to the center of the cube. It is not easy, but it is doable with lots and lots of practice.

Another great way to score points is to move around, don’t be afraid to really use your space, and get into the music, dance like no one is watching, and if they are watching, that’s fine too, because you’re in VR and although you look ridiculous flailing your arms around, you think you’re looking cool, and that’s all that matters!

Some songs allow you the option of Easy, Normal, Hard, Expert, or Expert+, if you are getting your Jedi backside kicked from one of the harder ones, choose an easier option. There is no shame, after all, you are doing this for fun, and it’s no fun if you’re blocks have faded out before the first line of your song. Once you have the Normal one down, bump up the difficulty, you will eventually get better, and you will amaze yourself with how awesome you think you look doing this!

Find a Grip

When I first started playing Beat Saber, I was holding my controllers like I usually do with a VR game, however, I have seen significant improvement in my scoring and ability to hit the blocks the correct way and be able to do it faster if I put my hands all the way through the controller, so the back part of it is around the back of my hand, but facing forward like so:

View of the hand grip from the top. View of the hand grip from the palm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are several different ways to hold them, so it feels comfortable. Some people hold them like they are holding Brass Knuckles, some of them even use a Swap Grip where you swap the controllers and invert the sabers to opposite hands, which seems a little weird, but you will find a comfortable way for yourself and stick with it.

https://imgur.com/a/qQYQu10 is a good resource to see several different ways how people hold their Rift or Vive controller. You could try one of those or come up with your own.

If you want to go extreme and you have a Vive, there is a cool looking Vive Controller Connector, when connected and you start to Beat Saber, it looks like Darth Maul’s saber, which looks absolutely incredible in play, you can see that here https://vrscout.com/news/darth-maul-tries-beat-saber/#

Making your own Beat Map

There will come a time when you are looking for some obscure song that you want to try and play, but you can not find it to download.

You have Two options:

  1. Join the Discord channel https://discordapp.com/invite/6JcXMq3 where you can request songs to be made – it may not happen, but it is worth asking
  2. Make your own Beat Map

Making a Beat Map is easy to do but hard to master, when you do eventually become a master at it you can choose to upload to Beat Saver and let other people enjoy your hard work.

  1. You will need Mediocre Mapper where you can get from here https://github.com/squeaksies/MediocreMapper/releases look for Mediocre Mapper MK2
  2. You will need Audacity https://www.audacityteam.org/
  3. You need the song you are going to map.
  4. If you can find it on YouTube https://ytmp3.cc/ is a great convertor from video to mp3
  5. You want to download the picture of the song you are working on

The first thing you want to do is to open Mediocre Mapper, when you do, you come to a screen like this:

Screenshot of the BeatSaber install screen

In here you put where your custom songs are saved. In most cases it is

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Beat Saber\

Note, you do not have to select the Custom Songs folder.
Once that has been done, you will come to a screen like this:

Screenshot of the mediocre mapper options.

Click on Create Beat Songe name and name it, then click on Make Beat Songe.

The title song will go in the list under Time to Quit Mapping then click on the This button. You will see a screen like this:

Screenshot of the mediocre mapper song selection screen

This is where you put in a few bits of information. For this, we are going to just change the Song Name, the Author/Artist and the BPM and the Cover Image.

Visit https://songbpm.com/  to look up the BPM or get a close enough guess to it.

For the Cover Image, download the picture file for it, and save it as cover.jpg in your custom songs folder under the name of your song that you are creating. Make sure you post it into paint and change the Pixel size to 256 x256. To do that you click on the resize icon, then click on pixels and enter the number there.

Next, we want to open Audacity and you are presented with a screen like this:

Screenshot of Audacity settings

From here you simply drag and drop the song that you downloaded already, and you will get something like this:

Screenshots of the audacity song studio

From here you can either just File and Export as an OGG file, or you can add a Rhythm track. If you wanted to add a Rhythm track you would click on Generate – Rhythm Track, you would put the BPM the same as the song. Once you have done that you can File and Export as OGG again.

You must make sure that you save the file in the name of the custom songs folder, where you placed the cover.jpg.

Double check all red areas to make sure they are all correct.

Screenshot of the mediocremapper song selection

The Audio File Name must match the one in the Custom Songs folder exactly, when you are ready to map out your song hit Edit Level.

This is your Level Editor/Map Maker screen you will be spending a lot of time in this:

Screenshot of mediocre mapper level editor

The basic controls on here are Right Click will drag the world around, the W, S, A, D keys will move you closer or farther away. If you hit the play button your song will start playing. The Red block and the Blue block, along with mines and walls can be placed anywhere on that 12 Square grid as you see fit.

The easiest way I have found is to play the song, and try and match the tune with the BPM, or if you decided not to put the BPM track in Audacity and save it, then you can just listen to the song and press the left mouse button on the grid every time you want a box placed.

In the Menu option in the top right corner, it will give you a list of helpful shortcuts. You can also slow the music down to make it a little easier if you have a particularly high BPM.

When you have finished creating your song you can go to the Menu and hit Save Map, that will save everything you have done so you can now boot up Beat Saber and see how well you did in creating your own song.

There are amazing tutorials on this at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qnu1z0URGs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r0T9I-Stsw

Health Benefits

As much fun as you will have with Beat Saber, you will also sweat so be sure to get some good covers for your headset.

The bottom line of this game is that it is exceedingly fun, and on the plus side it can give you one heck of a workout! You can really slice those blocks with full force and you will notice how sore your arms are the next day. It is said that an hour of Beat Saber could help you lose the same amount of calories that you would lose playing Tennis, or jogging at 5 mph, so who said video games were bad for you. As much as you will get tired by playing this game, and trust me, you WILL get tired, keep at it, the more you play, the more impressive your lightsaber moves will become, and you will be tackling songs on expert before you know it.

Final Thoughts

Buy this game, add it to your VR library and play it every day you will thank me that you did.

Gameplay: 9 – You know that when you buy this what you are getting yourself in to and it does not disappoint.

VR Comfort: 8 – Should not incur motion sickness, but if you’re epileptic you may want to take precautions.

Potential: 10 – With the modding community, and the ability to add your own custom beats, this will only get better with time, and will be as phenomenal as you make it!

Overall Score: 9

 

 

 

 

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