When you’re one of dozens of charters, all making charts using the same set of notes and patterns, you need a way to set yourself apart. Following the “w i d e” era of charting set in motion by juch.‘s Infected Mushroom charts, the individual styles of charters blur more than ever. Halflite more than managed to distinguish his own style in this era, especially in the realm of sliders. From the dubstep of Au5 & Chime’s Voidwalkers to the metal of i built the sky’s The Zenith Rise, Halflite has proven that his charting style works in many genres. Halflite also pushes the boundary of CTM-friendly to the limit quite frequently, with some truly transcendent patterns.
What got you into Spin Rhythm XD? How did you find out about it?
It was a series of fortunate timings. I have played a lot of other PC rhythm games like Audiosurf, Beat Hazard, and Melody’s Escape. Around the end of 2019 I was looking for a new rhythm game to try. The games I mentioned are fun, but were lacking in a couple areas for me. I found out about Spin Rhythm through Steam’s recommendation system. I was already looking, so I decided to try it out. I’m happy I did; the game is now one of my most played games of all time.
What made you decide to chart for Spin Rhythm?
I’ve always wanted to make charts for music I like in rhythm games, so I already planned on charting in Spin Rhythm when the custom charts patch was released. I tend to bounce off level editors, but the community was helpful, and I was able to stick with it.
What’s your general process behind a chart?
I don’t really have a fancy process. I chart from beginning to end in order. Then I get feedback and have to actually make the chart playable.
What makes you decide you want to chart a song, and what about that song influences the chart’s overall design?
I chart songs that I like. Usually I try to avoid songs that are too slow or repetitive, but I make exceptions if I really like the song. For example, I just released a chart for Somewhere Else, which has a two and a half minute intro.
I have a bit of synesthesia, so I try to design the chart to how I “visualize” it. Usually this boils down to simple patterns. If the song is vocal heavy, that usually means lots of curvy sliders. Retro-focused songs have a lot of linear movement and sliders. Guitar heavy songs mean lots of match trills and weird slider aesthetics. With songs that are really wild, like Infected Mushroom or Au5 songs, I throw a pattern at the wall and see what sticks.
Are there any other charts or charters that you look to for inspiration in your charts?
There are loads of charters I take inspiration from.
I’m really inspired by dinx’s charts. Even for songs I don’t like, dinx’s charts of them are still some of my favorites, which is pretty impressive.
Even though they haven’t aged well, Darnoc’s charts were an early inspiration. Same for Programmatic’s first charts; I’ve also really enjoyed seeing their newer charts which are a bit more experimental.
Is there any way that you would describe your charting style? What makes it unique, and what makes it similar when compared to other charters? Are there any patterns you’re particularly fond of?
My style is pretty eclectic; I draw a lot from the patterns I like in other charts, so it’s a mish-mash of a bunch of different charters’ styles. Compared to other charters’, my sliders tend to be a lot more complicated than necessary, but I try to put some pattern in every chart I work on that will be memorable. Sometimes they end up not being [CTM]-friendly and they need to be modified, but customs players are starting to become more accepting of strange patterns.
I’m definitely fond of the match streams at the end of the guitar solo in The Zenith Rise. It looks cool, it’s tricky, and it feels very satisfying to hit.
Sometimes there will be sounds in your charts that the average charter wouldn’t even notice, let alone a player, and yet there’ll be a note or slider movement there. Why do you chart all these quiet noises? Is this a completionist thing or just a side effect of your audio setup?
I wouldn’t say it’s a completionist thing nor because of my audio setup (my sound card is pretty cheap). There are many times – especially if a song has a long intro or outro – where there just aren’t any traditional instruments to chart notes to. In those cases I’ll just say, “Well, guess I’m mapping things to the foley.”
As for charting to weird noises in the more populated parts of songs, a lot of that is just how I listen to music. Before I started to really get into charting and understood tempomapping, I usually didn’t even notice the percussion in songs when I listened to them. If songs stuck out to me, it was usually the weird intricacies in it that made it a favorite of mine. Then those small things become inseparable from how I listen to it, so I try to incorporate those favorite bits of the song into a chart. In that way, my charts are kind of like a representation of how I personally experience the music.
You tend to use a lot of unique slider patterns in your charts. Your sliders are usually very fast, and have a lot of movement. I for one really enjoy them, and have tried replicating them, but fall short every time. What’s your process with these unique sliders, and how do you make them so fun?
I have to get it off my chest that I definitely wasn’t one of the first ones to use wacky sliders. I started making them after playing juch.’s Project 100 chart and having my mind expanded by the crazy sliders it had.
Basically, I took the design philosophy from juch.’s Infected Mushroom charts and started applying it to my own. Sliders can represent any number of sounds in a song, so by giving them all different “textures,” it kind of differentiates sliders that represent different instruments.
I started using fast movements (lots of 2-tick movements) as a result of the right-angle slider causing a bug if positioned too close after a spin. This has since been patched, but I really like the way some of these fast movements look and feel. The right-angle slider also takes up a lot of room on songs with high BPM, so using other types of sliders makes quick changes in the sound non-trivial.
Your Au5 Showcase Week had some of the most creative patterns I’ve seen in this game. In particular, Voidwalkers features a lot of fast movements, wide sliders, and other extreme patterns. What draws you to these kinds of patterns?
Mostly the fact that for me they are fun to play. Not that more standard patterns are unfun, but the novelty of hitting weird patterns just hits different. In a chart like Voidwalkers, the song has a lot of energy and I wanted the patterns to reflect that. Thus, in songs like these the patterns are a lot less rigid and more unconventional than patterns you would see in other charts.
Since your charts typically feature a lot of weirder patterns, how have tournament standards affected your charts? Is there anything that seems to be a common issue?
Yeah, there are quite a few things to consider when making a chart be tournament standard. So, most of my charts have to go through some revisions before they are ready for events like Custom 8s or SSSOs. Not surprisingly, I need to edit some of the weirder sliders. This is either because they are too inconsistent to hit or are visually difficult to read. Usually fixing this just means making the horizontal distance between movements shorter, or making slider “textures” less bumpy. Other common issues include unreasonably short spins or patterns being too dense.
Even though these changes commonly nerf some of the weird sections of my charts, I don’t mind. 100% of the time it has made the charts better. It’s good for the player to have fun instead of being frustrated by patterns that are a little too strange.
Are there any other artists or songs that you love outside of Spin Rhythm? Any that you want to chart, but just haven’t gotten around to yet – or you just don’t think their music would be a good fit for Spin Rhythm?
There’s a ton of music I listen to that isn’t in Spin Rhythm.
Some might not make great charts, but are fantastic: Death & Rebirth and Tides From Nebula have some amazing post-rock. I’m a huge fan of Room306, which is like Korean coffee-house music. Even though most of the songs are in Korean, which I don’t speak, they are beautiful and amazing. Ochre makes some of my favorite downtempo music and sounds nothing like anything I’ve heard before. I did actually chart one of their songs. It certainly is a chart.
Most of what I’ve been charting is EDM, but I have made some charts from some metal bands I like (I Built The Sky, ERRA). I definitely want to get into making more metal songs since those have been a blast to chart and have fit well in the game. There’s also a ton of EDM I still want to chart too, so here are some artists I want to make more charts for at some point:
EDM: Xilent, Fractal, Savant, Seven Lions
Rock/Metal: Arcane Roots, Bring Me The Horizon, Periphery, Normandie
Of your charts, are there any that you’re particularly proud of? Which one was the most fun for you to chart?
I’m proud of Star Glide. It was one of the few more difficult charts I’ve made that didn’t need any modifications. It was just fun to play as soon as I was done with the first version of it. The chart that was the most fun to make was Snowblood because it has a lot of fun sections that I could go wild on.
Any charts that you consider your favorite, or any that you feel got overlooked?
Anything that you have to say about the SpinShare community?
Sometimes I open up the Discord server and I think “I can’t have this open at work,” but overall the community is very welcoming and collaborative. It has some truly transcendent emotes.
So, is there any advice that you’d like to give for charters? Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Don’t be afraid to make “bad” charts. Many of the community’s first charts were not great, and it is also good to discover how you like to chart.
Also, play When You See It. It was painful to chart, and now you need to share my pain.