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How Scores are Calculated in Holodance
By jashan
This guide briefly describes how scores are calculated in Holodance. You can use this information to optimize your play-style for the highest possible scores in the game.
TL;DR: How to Optimize Score
There's a lot to it - but in a nutshell, if you want to optimize your score:
  • 1. Combo: Avoid missing Orbs because the maximum combo multiplier (4x) is important!
  • 2. Timing: Make sure you catch/hit those notes as perfectly as possible in time.
  • 3. Distance: More movement, higher score. So you may enjoy jumpy maps more!
  • 4. Catch Variety: Don't be bored and catch everything with just one hand. You have two hands and a head for a reason (and if you have Vive Trackers: your feet can also catch orbs).
  • 5. Angle/Velocity: The harder you "punch", the more you rotate your controller while catching an orb, the higher the bonus.
Base Score
Orbs do have a "base score" of 300. Technically, we could have different scores for different orbs but try to keep it consistent so that all orbs give you the same base score, with two exceptions:
  • Head-orbs have a lower base-score (100) because you always get a bonus for catching an orb with your head (200). We only have head-orbs in story-mode, level 3, at the first part of track 3 (the bassline track) and the full track 4 (the hihat track). With the lower base score plus the bonus you always get when catching an orb with your head (because it's usually more difficulty to do that), those orbs give you the same score as normal orbs that you catch with your hand (100 base score + 200 bonus for catching with your head). The reason we do it this way is because those specific orbs (level 3, tracks 3 and 4) are actually really easy to catch with your head because the ideal location for catching them should be where your head naturally is (with a bit of movement / variation). Normal orbs give you a higher score when you catch them with your head because not only is catching the orb with your head more difficult but it's also more difficult to not break the streak that way, even when catching the other orbs with your hand.
  • Velocity sensitive orbs have a higher base-score (500) because their score depends on their size, which is a result of the velocity of the note being played. We currently use those only for the snare (track 4) in Level 2. You have no control over getting a higher or lower score but these specific orbs are used for instruments that have some lead beats, and lots of lower-volume "in-between beats", so missing some of those in-between beats doesn't hurt as much (except for losing your multiplier, of course).
How Timing effects Your Score
That base score gets multiplied with the normalized timing difference. In other words, you get the full base score, when you catch the note exactly at the right time (which, due to the movement, also equals "exactly the right location").

When you catch the note a little early, or a little late, that score is reduced until it's down to zero when you have the maximum if "too early" or "too late". This is a fairly short time due to the fast movement of the orbs (otherwise, the distance would matter too little). If the difference exceeds that maximum, you "miss" and get the frowning face. So that's the same as not catching the note at all ;-)

Currently, the maximum allowed time is 0.08 seconds before or after the perfect timing. The time multiplier is an "ease-in-out-curve", so that you still get the full score even if you are a tiny bit offbeat, and you'll get almost no score if you're close to the 0.08 seconds off-time.

You get audio feedback for "perfect" in a range of 0.02 seconds before or after the perfect timing. If you catch the orb outside of that range, you get a slightly washed out sound that is played backwards if you catch the orb too early.

When you catch the orb outside of the +/- 0.08 seconds range, you get an obvious "failed sound", which is also played backwards if you have caught the note too early. Finally, if you didn't catch the note at all, you get an obvious "failed" sound, which is overridden by the lost multiplier sound if you previously had a multiplier active.
Velocity and Angular Velocity Bonus
Then, there's a velocity bonus and a angular velocity bonus: Depending on how fast you have moved the controller between the last note and the current note, and on how fast you rotated the controller, you get up to 50 points in addition to the base score. So the maximum score per note is base score + 50 + 50. Originally, we used velocity / rotation at the impact point, but one of our players suggested to have that changed, and the new mechanic actually accomplishes what we want much better than the original one: It's not about hitting the orbs as hard as you can but actually about moving between catching orbs.

That mechanic does fail a little with very fast sequences of notes because you don't have much time to move the controller between catching two orbs.
Catch Variety Bonus
Theoretically, you could catch all orbs with just one hand, or your head, and there are achievements for that. However, in general, it's preferable to have some variety in how you catch the orbs, and there is a bonus for that called Catch Variety Bonus:

Whenever you catch a note with a hand, your head or if you have Vive Trackers one of your feet that hadn't catched a note recently, that bonus is incremented. In other words, the highest bonus can be achieved by using a sequence like left hand, head, right hand, left foot, right foot, and then, finally, left hand again, repeat in any order.

Here is one example (the total score in that session was about 3,000,000, I hardly used my head in that session but apparently, the three times I did use it, I used left/right/head, right/left/head, or left/head/right or right/head/left or head/ ... and so forth):

Catch Variety [199187 (678/281/3/0/0)]
Distance Bonus
The name of the game is Holodance, not Holostand, so moving around while playing instead of just mechanically catching orbs will improve your score - but wait before thinking this could be used for "cheating", it really can't. Here are some details, with an example:

Total Distance: [Left 400m | Right 399m | Head 84m] Total Valid Distance: 710m Min 0.01m | Avg 0.46m | Max 8.08m Total 1534 | [< 0.5m] 964 | [0.5-1.0m] 460 | [> 1m] 110 Orbs 637743 | Sliders 403477 | Spinners 115

Total Distance is all the movement during the whole session, regardless of whether you catch anything or not (but also not having any influence on the score, at all).

The relevant stat is:
Total Valid Distance: Distance with one hand (or your head, or feet) between orbs when you haven't missed an orb.

In other words, whenever you miss an orb, all distances are reset for all tracked objects. Then, when you catch your first orb with your left hand, tracking for your left hand starts until you catch another orb with your left hand (and then that distance is counted). So here, once again, playing with both hands and moving improves your score.

This also means that jumpy maps, which are usually much more difficult that maps with lots of streams, will give you a significantly higher score. Which is fair because they are also significantly more difficult.

With very easy maps, you can increase your score by simply moving a lot. That's cool because it makes playing easy maps more interesting. Those really give you the freedom to dance wildly.

With difficult maps, where the really high scores can be achieved, you'll usually be busy enough catching the orbs, so adding extra movement just for the score will be quite difficult. But:

That is really where you can achieve mastery!

Because obviously, moving more than absolutely necessary will make it much easier to miss an orb and break the combo. But then, someone who has tuned into the dragons so well that they can move creatively and still not miss orbs will have truly passed the test the dragons gave to us.
The resulting score is multiplied with the current multiplier. In earlier versions, we added the bonus after the multiplication ... we also had kind of crazy multipliers (2x, 4x, 8x instead of 2x, 3x, 4x as we have it now). I believe the way we have it now is better balanced. You'll never have to swing your controllers violently to pass a level ... but it's definitely something that you'll want to do if you want to maximize your score ;-)
Floating Arc Mechanic / Tracers / Sliders
With the floating arc mechanic (currently available in DubAndOrgan in Level 6, and ViolinsAndGuitar in Level 11, and also as "Sliders" in free mode when playing osu! beatmaps), things are a little different: Here, it's not so much about timing but properly following the curve in 3D space. So the base score is the maximum score available per note (no bonus score available here), and if you have your controller in the hot area (the sphere) of the "floating arc" 100% of the time while the note is being played, you get the full base score. With 50% of the time, you get 50% of the base score. When you don't touch it at all, you miss it and also lose your multiplier.

At the end of the note, as usual, your score is multiplied by your current multiplier.