As with any rhythm game, Synth Riders is not fun if the notes aren't in sync with the song. Follow our Getting Started guide to make sure you have the correct BPM and Start Offset, and double check that the note hit sounds are in sync with the song as you're mapping.
Some songs may have an unstable or variable tempo, which makes syncing more difficult. Our Advanced guides have information to help you through these special cases. You should never have to resort to manual high precision note placement, as this is prone to inconsistent note timing.
Fast movements and sudden direction changes add impact to a map, but it's only fun when they are not too intense and have slower, smooth motions leading into and out of them. Don't repeatedly spam a jerky motion — there needs to be downtime between difficult motions to give the player time to wind up for them.
This pattern has too many direction changes to be played quickly.
Two handed notes require more coordination and balance, so you should restrict these motions a bit more for two handed sections.
Wall spam can also cause uncomfortable motions. Don't make the player snap their head back and forth too fast — the motion should feel like a back and forth bounce, not intense shaking.
Try to place your notes within the Comfort guide shown on the grid. The corners have a bit of leeway, but don't place notes too high above the head or too far off to the sides.
Make sure your patterns allow players time to move between sections of the grid. It's tiring and not very fun to rush back and forth between the edges of the play space.
These notes stretch too far away from the player.
When crossing your arm to the opposite side, keep in mind that you can't reach as far as to the outer side.
This may work as a left hand note, but as a right hand note this is too far of a reach.
This is much more comfortable to hit with the right hand.
Two handed notes require special attention, as there are limits to how far a player can comfortably outstretch both arms.
These notes are too far apart.
This is much more reasonable to hit.
Don't make players reach too far into a wall, since they will be leaning away from it as it passes by.
Notes shouldn't be placed very far into a wall, since you have to lean away from the wall to dodge it.
When in game, set your play scale setting to the recommended one for your height before testing your map. Most players use the recommended scale, so you'll want to do the same when testing.
Crossover notes are fun, but similar to the above point about outstretching both arms, there are limits to how far apart you can cross both arms over at the same time. It is much more restrictive than outstretching both arms, so don't expect the player to be able to cross over nearly as far as they can outstretch.
This double crossover is too wide. Many players will find it uncomfortable.
This is much more comfortable and fun.
Avoid placing notes on the face of the example player on the play grid. This causes notes to fly into the player's face during the game, which blinds them from upcoming notes.
Avoid placing notes on these spots.
Rails can also cross over the player's face, although it's more difficult to spot this in the editor. Pay attention when testing your map in game.
This rail will block vision. Try curving it around the player's face instead.
Certain crossed over patterns can cause the player to block their face with their own controller. Keep an eye out for this when testing your map.
Rails shouldn't intersect each other, as it can cause a player to bang their controllers together. Technically this can happen with regular notes too, but rails tend to imply a smooth motion that makes it easier to collide your controllers if you're not paying attention.
These rails intersect at two points, which increases the risk of controller collisions.
With just a small adjustment of the nodes, the rails imply where your controllers should be to prevent a collision.
It's possible for a note to obscure an upcoming note, even it's not in the player's face. This can be dependent on the player's height and movement, and the decision to fix it will depend on when, and for how long, the upcoming note is obscured. Be wary of these when testing your map in game, and try to fix them where reasonable.
If you set the free camera height so that distant notes cluster inside the player's head, the camera's perspective will be similar to the in-game view. This makes it possible to catch blocked notes in some cases.
The red outline in the blue note is actually a red note that is hidden behind the blue note. It should be fixed if it affects the map's readability enough.
Special One Hand combos should be reasonable to play with either hand. No matter how much you encourage the player to hit the combo with a specific hand, the first note after the combo should be comfortable to reach no matter which hand you used.
This combo plays fine when hit with the left hand, but when hit with the right hand, there is too large of a jump to the red note. Change it so that the combo end note and the next note are closer together.
Hitting notes back and forth above your head can feel exhilarating, but when taken too far, it can cause shoulder fatigue or even injury. Don't keep above-the-head patterns going for too long, don't use them too often in a map, and keep the motions as smooth as possible.
Circular motions that briefly cross above the head before looping down again aren't a concern here.
The default placement of Center walls is, quite frankly, evil. You're required to lean so far that you risk losing your balance, not to mention players with limited play space could crash into the real world. It's best to nudge these walls to either side a bit.
Do not edit crouch walls to force the player to crouch lower than normal. The default crouch height is enough to make you crouch with good form. Lowering it further will encourage players to crouch with bad form that can cause injury, and some players may be unable to crouch under it at all due to physical limitations.
In this game, you should be crouching with a squat motion while keeping your back straight. Leaning forward to get under crouch walls is bad form and not good for your body.
Crouch walls can add nice emphasis to key parts of a song, but when you use too many of them, players will tire out quickly and end up feeling like they should just stay crouched, which is not very fun. Space out your crouch walls, and don't use too many of them in a map.
The exception to this would be workout-style maps specifically designed to get your quads burning!
No matter how awesome a pattern feels to play the first time, it loses its appeal when it's repeated too often. That's not to say you can't repeat patterns throughout your map — repetition is an inherent part of music, after all. However, we do encourage you to mix things up to keep your map fresh. There is LOTS of room for creativity!
Some new mappers place nothing but circular or spiral patterns, and others use horizontally mirrored two handed patterns the whole time. Pattern variety is the most difficult part about mapping, but it's worth the effort. Don't just plop down notes automatically by instinct — take the time to dream up different ways of moving!