Audioshield

Audioshield

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Audioshield Scoring, Tips & Tricks.
By Bylund
In this guide I will try to explain how to score perfect scores and tell you about lesser known features of the game.
 
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Introduction
Audioshield is one of the best VR games for the HTC Vive. Myself and many others have quickly become addicted to this fantastic game.

In this guide I will try to explain how to play Audioshield and how to achive a perfect score on all difficulity levels.

As of writing this guide I have over 330 hours playtime in the game and I thought it would be a good time to share my knowledge of the game.

The game might seem simple on the surface but there is a great deal of depth to the inner workings of the game. Let's dive into it!

(April March - Chick Habit | Audioshield Session - First Try to Perfect)
The Basics
Your score is determined by two sub-scores. Your Technical Score is considered first and after that your Artistic Score is used as a tie-breaker.
    Technical Score
    Your technical score is simply a measure of how many orbs you've hit with 10.00 being a perfect technical score with no misses and 0.00 being all missed.
    This is the most important score to perfect to secure your position on the leaderboard. As a beginner you should concentrate on your technical skill as this is the base for improving your score overall. You should be striving towards always having a 10.00. A non-perfect technical score can be beaten by anyone with minimal effort.
    Being confident in your technical skill means you don't need to worry about missing, allowing you to improve you artistic skill instead. Learn more on how to improve your technical skill in "Reading the Orbs"-section.
    Artistic Score
    Your artistic score is more complicated and my findings here might not be 100% accurate because I don't have access to the source code.
    The artistic score is a measure of your movement, more specifically the movement of your Controllers and your Headset.
    To achieve a perfect artistic score you need to move your controllers and/or your headset a certain distance throughout the song. The distance requirement for a perfect artistic score is different depending on the song you are playing.
    The artistic score goes from 5.00 - completely still controllers and headset for the duration of the song to a perfect 10.00 - moving the required amount for the song or more. The scale doesn't seem to be linear, so to break through the final 9.50-10.00 you may need to work a bit harder.
    You are not being scored based on your timing or your punch strength. Only the total distance matters. It's up to you, the player, to decide how you want to move. You can do long, strong, straight punches if you want, but the speed and power of the punch is irrelevant if you don't reach the distance requirement.
    As a baseline that works for many songs, imagine that you are drumming all the notes of the song using your controllers (even where there are no orbs) and swinging your body (headset) back and forth to every bar of the song. The distance covered using this is close to a perfect artistic, but remember, you can cover the distance however you like. Get creative!
    The requirement for the artistic score is, as far as I can tell, exactly the same for all difficulties (see video in video section). This means that playing a harder difficulity level will increase your artistic score per default because the increased amount of orbs and spread will always cause you to move more and cover more distance.
Reading the Orbs & Difficulty Levels
This is the hardest part to explain. Reading the orbs is like an instinct, something I don't think consciously about when I play. It's hard to put into words but I'll try.

Understanding how to read the orbs is crucial to improving your score. If you don't see what the orbs tell you, your movement will be sporadic and you won't have confidence in you moves. You will become unbalanced and play catch up. Your score will suffer.
    Timing
    The most fatal mistake you can do is to look at the orbs for timing information. The orbs tell you what moves you should do and where, not when to do them. Don't look at them and try to calculate when they arrive for you move timing. Your moves should be timed based on the song you are listening to. Use your ears, not your eyes, listen closely!
    Audioshield is not comparable to other rhythm games like Guitar Hero for example. Audioshield doesn't have a clear "strike zone," it's up to you to make sure that the orbs explode in time. You can hit them too early, and you can hit them a bit too late. The game gives you wiggle room here. Don't just stand there and wait for the orbs to explode on your shields by blocking them. Strike them in time!
    "The Algorithm"
    The game chooses where to place orbs based on what it thinks are the most noteworthy sounds in the song. It can be any note in the song. Drums, vocals or anything really. A good way to think of it is to think of it as dance move instructions and not specific instrument notes.
    The difficulty level affects what notes are selected. For example, Normal difficulty seems to be following basic drum beat more than other notes in the song. More on that in the difficulty section and video demonstration.
    Orb Types
    The basic orbs are single orbs of red or blue color. They arrive at slow speed at base level height and can be tightly packed if there's a lot of low intensity/energy/volume notes (relative to other notes in the song.)
    As the intensity increases and the song "fill up" in its audio frequency spectrum - the speed, arrival angle, distance between orbs and orb length increases. This is to tell you that you should start moving harder and faster. The variable intensity levels and corresponding orbs created are relative within the song you are playing, not between different songs.
    If for example a song has a very basic beat with a low intensity sound followed by a high intensity sound, the game will show you a low slow orb and an orb at a greater height and length following it. Reading the orbs correctly and listening to the song, you should not be suprised by the speed of the high intensity sound. Move faster!
    As the intensity of a song increases, single orbs that represented a sound in a low intensity part might get stretched out to a line of orbs. This is caused by the time stretch of the song representation when speed increases. The same sound is now coming fast and is presented as a line instead of a single orb. This happens a lot more on Elite difficulty with it's uppercut line of orbs.
    Purple orbs are very important. They usually tell you that the song is about change in a significant way. When you see purple orbs, make yourself ready and listen closely to the song. Drum along to the song during the time you block the purple orbs and continue on your way when the normal orbs arrive.
    Orb Spread
    I'm still uncertain on what aspects of a song causes a wider or narrower orb spread. It might have something to do with melodies, repeating patterns, bars. Sections of a song that fits well with a swaying back and forth.
    Orb Configuration Examples
    Orb
    Description
    Long, low, slow line of orbs
    Sustained low intensity sound, holding down a key on a keyboard.
    Long, high, fast line of orbs/orb with tail
    A loud, short sound, a cracking whip, lightning strike or a clap.
    Tightly packed, low, slow single orbs
    A clearly defined drum beat.
    Dispersed, high, fast single orbs and some orbs with a tail.
    The same drum beat but the song is now filled out with more sounds across the audio spectrum.
    Purple line of orbs
    The song is about to change, going from verse to refrain for example.
Difficulty Levels
Level
Description
Normal
This is the base difficulty, note selection for the orbs seems to favor base beat of the song making for a very easy challange. The orbs arrive with narrow spread and height differances compared to higher difficulty levels making it harder to gauge sound intensity. There's very little risk of being suprised here.
Harder
A significant step up from Normal difficulty, greater orb count. Greater spread, height and speed changes. I recommend skipping over Normal and starting here.
Elite
Now we're talking! Orb count is increased even further. Orbs come at a greatly increased spread, height and speed variation. You even need to duck down low for some orbs. Arms need to cross over more often. Great challenge. Not all songs will have a great increase in orbs, it depends on if the song actually has enough noteworthy notes for the algorithm to pick up. The technical challenge is always greater despite this due to factors noted above.
Casual
This difficulty level was introduced in the big video update. At first I didn't pay much attention to it, but after trying it out it seems very similar to Normal. There's only slightly fewer orbs than Normal and the missing orbs seems to be mostly from "double orbs" missing, red and blue orbs you punch at the same time that are next to each other. There might also be less crossovers of colors and longer sections of only one color.
Legacy Hard
I'm not sure what to make of this one at this time. The orb count is very similar to Harder. Only slightly fewer total orbs. Other aspects seem fairly similar to Harder.

For a video comparison of a perfect score on all difficulty levels, look in the Video Demonstrations section.
Leaderboard Statistics and Graphs
In this section I'll write about the stat screen and the graphs that appear next to name on leaderboard view after completing a song.
    Combined Score
    The combined score reading shows your total score. Technical score awards 100 000 points per 0,01 of technical for a maximum of 1 000 000. Artistic awards 100 points per 0,01 of artistic for a total of 1000. The maximum score is 1 001 000, a perfect score.
    Technical Score
    How many orbs you've hit presented from 0.00 to 10.00.
    Artistic Expression
    Controller and headset movement presented from 5.00 to 10.00. Look in section "The Basics" for more details. Movement requirement differs from song to song.
    Physical Activity
    This is the most important stat. It gives you a good guideline on how close you are to a perfect Artistic score. I have found that a physical activity around 24.00 to 27.00 will be enough for a perfect artistic score. It depends on the song you are playing.
    Max Punch Power
    This stat seems to have very little relevance to Artistic Score. To score a higher max punch power you need to have your controller moving as fast as possible through an orb or more preferably a line of orbs. Do a large full body swing with you arm through a line of orbs on a fast moving high intensity sound. Doing this you can easily score 10+ max punch power. I've scored artistic 10.00 with ~3.50 as max punch power. It might count for something but I don't think so.
    The Graph
    The graph shows the varying intensity/speed of the song/orbs. Left side is the start of the song, right side the end. If the line goes upwards, it's a low intensity part (relative to the rest of the song). If it goes straight or downwards it's higher intensity. A song with a completely straight line from top left to bottom right has maximum intensity throughout the whole song. A back breaker! Looking at the graph gives you a good idea of what to expect from a song.
Lesser known features / settings
In this section I go over some hidden features and settings in the game.
    Adjusting Orb Height and Max Spread
    The orb height can be adjusted on the fly in-game by pausing and un-pausing the game. The orb height will be set by the distance of the headset from the floor. You can even play sitting down on the floor if you like.
    Setting the maximum spread is a bit more involved and mostly only affects the higher difficulty levels. You can set the maximum spread by changing the size of your SteamVR play area. A smaller play area will have a smaller spread than a larger one. I have not done enough testing to confirm this or how much of a difference it makes.
    Floor Height
    This is not really a feature of Audioshield itself but SteamVR, it is important nonetheless. Floor height often gets out of alignment, this can cause inconsistent play due to orbs not arriving at the height you are expecting. I highly recommend that you install OpenVR Advanced Settings so that you can quickly fix your floor height from the SteamVR Dashboard when the need arises.
    Mixed Reality
    Most Unity VR games have this feature built-in and it can be activated by using a third controller (a real one or a virtual one.) I recommend that you check out How to Configure and Edit Mixed Reality by TribalInstincts on YouTube for getting started.
    Physical Play Space
    It's important that you trust that your play space is safe. You want to be able to move, punch and dance around freely, so that you can be confident in your moves and not hold back. I highly recommend that you put down a mat secured to the floor the size of the platform inside Audioshield. This will help you feel where you are with your feet so you know where you are standing at all times.
Missing Features and Problems
The game has several missing features and some problems.
  • Friends tab on leaderboards doesn't show any scores. I have around 20 people who play Audioshield on my Steam Friends and they never show up here. *Fixed*
  • "Recommend this ride to friends" doesn't seem to do anything. Nobody will receive the recommendation. *Fixed*
  • Typing in text fields is badly implemented, suggested auto-complete words doesn't work. Sometimes typing in a text field will change the text in another field as well, like the dethrone e-mail field. *Fixed*
  • You can't easily find out what song you where dethroned on, you need to remember the exact file or YouTube-video yourself. Why can't we just click on the song in the Dethrone tab? *Fixed*
  • No Favorites-list or other playlists.*Fixed*
  • If two or more players score a perfect score on the same song it's not made clear that they have an equal perfect score. They get sorted arbitrarily based on the players Steam Account. This is really confusing and bad design.
Video Demonstrations
In this section I have some video examples of concepts covered in the guide.

Perfect Scores
Following is a demonstration of a perfect 10.00/10.00 score on all difficulty levels available. Time codes and orb count below the video.
00:00: Normal, 758 orbs
03:38: Harder, 842 orbs
07:18: Elite, 1048 orbs
10:59: Casual, 716 orbs
14:44: Legacy Hard, 813 orbs

A demonstration of five different approaches to scoring a perfect artistic 10.00.
00:10: Baseline scoring method, as mentioned in The Basics/Artistic Score-section.
01:42: Scoring an Artistic 10.00 with as low max punch power (3.27) as possible. This is a novel way to play and is only shown here to demonstrate that punching strength is optional for scoring.
03:18: Reaching a Physical Activity of 39.26 by constantly moving my arms throughout the song.
04:49: Punching hard and fast.
06:21: Perfect 10.00/10.00 score using my prefered style by combining the methods above.

A perfect score on Elite using a lot of body movement. It's a simple beat but reading the varying intensity of the orbs is key and using your ear for timing, not eyes.

Demonstration of a perfect score on Elite on an A cappella-song.

Other Demonstrations
Following video demonstrates dynamic speed of orbs well and is a good demonstration of purple orbs telling you about an upcoming change in the song.

A demonstration of high intensity orbs, represented as a single orb with a long tail.

Demonstrating swaying back and forth to increase artistic score through headset movement.

Technical Challenges
Songs that put your orb reading skills and ear to the test.

Les Claypool - Mushroom Men

Pluxus - Kinoton
Final Words
Summary
  • Strive towards Technical 10.00 first.
  • Don't rely on the orb movement for timing information, listen to and learn the song by heart.
  • Try to always keep moving. Controllers and the headset. Never stand still!
  • Don't worry about your strength, you don't need to punch hard.
  • Audioshield is about technical skill and endurance, anyone with average fitness can play and compete on the leaderboards.
Future of the Game
I really love this game but at the same time I see so much wasted potential. So many small things that could make the game an absolute killer app for VR. I hope to see continued development of this game. Some ideas:
  • Multiplayer spectating / In-game recording of gameplay for viewing in VR or exporting as 3D Videosphere.
  • Advanced Mixed Reality features and camera controls in the desktop game window for better streaming, spectating and recording.
  • Workshop support for custom arenas and game modes.
  • A complete GUI overhaul.
Features and changes I don't want added:
  • Open ended scoring system for the main game modes. This would make the game inaccessible to the average player. Beating a top score would amount to doing some of the most insane random flailing you can imagine and only the few extremly fit would be able to top leaderboards. Scoring should be about technical skill and endurance, then anyone has a chance and can compete. I think the scoring is well balanced. Only problem is the bad design of perfect score sorting on the leaderboard.
  • Custom beatmapping. I don't think it belongs in Audioshield. The game is about the algorithm and having everyone playing on the same playing field on any song.
Song Recommendations
For song recommendations, check out my YouTube channel Audioshield Workout or add me on Friends.
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19 Comments
PinkDalek Jan 30 @ 11:18am 
Had a quick read through of your guide and you offered some great tips. I was at a loss as to how to improve my artistic scores. Punching harder sure wasn't working! lol After reading your guide, I assumed I just wasn't moving enough or at least not constantly, and surely not my head. Played a couple of songs just now and my artistic scores rose sharply! Thanks for posting such an awesome guide! :steamhappy:
ThingumeeFish Nov 21, 2017 @ 9:33am 
Many ta's for your great guide and hard work. I can't wait to see if my scores improve? Will let you know.:steamhappy:
glyphery Mar 26, 2017 @ 6:33am 
@Lord Katerchen Heyla, thanks for flagging up "Furious Angels"... I'm always looking for songs that will challenge me to up my game in Audioshield, so if you have any other suggestions, please let us know... because I'm sure Bylund feels the same way.

Anyway, I 10/10'd it about a month ago but kept forgetting to go edit the video and upload it. It's up now at https://youtu.be/mPOg6SqfHu0 , if you're at all curious to see me flailing about awkwardly in my scrappy little holodeck. ;-)
Goo6i Mar 7, 2017 @ 7:20am 
Wow this is a very detailed and awesome guide!
I have a question regarding mixed reality, what if I don't want to record videos? I only want to see my surroundings while playing. Is there a way around that? I'm sorry if it sounded stupid.
thanks! :)
Bylund  [author] Feb 14, 2017 @ 12:26pm 
@Lord Katerchen Thanks for reading! I'm glad it helped you out and thank you for the challange, the song was quite tricky, here's the video if you want to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0164ZhzeKdQ

@FlakMagnet I'm very glad to hear that! Keep it up :)
FlakMagnet Feb 11, 2017 @ 6:50am 
@Bylund: Awesome job! After reading through, I just got my very first 10 on artistic expression! Very chuffed with myself! Highest I had before was just over 8, so a huge improvement. I was trying to hit the orbs as hard as possible to get a higher score, but now I know that doesn't help it's changed the way I'm going to play the game.

The only probelm now is that my technical score went our the window because I was concentrating on moving all the tim :) Now I need to work on combining the technical with the artistic.
glyphery Feb 11, 2017 @ 12:46am 
@Garrie Yeah, that would be a bug in the scoring. I've been playing Audioshield for about nine months and have never seen a score above 10 in either technical or artistic. Perhaps the developer was fiddling with some code and briefly messed up that build. If you can duplicate that error consistently, you should send the dev a message with the exact steps needed to replicate it so he can fix it. ;-)
Garrie Feb 10, 2017 @ 9:27am 
I'm not convinced the artistic score is pout of 10!
I had a first timer have a go on the vive yesterday, who missed a lot of the orbs but danced around a great deal, and the end result was an artistic score of 14.75 or thereabouts.
My best artistic score has been 7.3 ish so far.
Was it a bug in the scoring or what ?
Lord Katerchen Feb 10, 2017 @ 5:53am 
@Bylunt:

Thank you so much for the guide. I have been 10/10 a few songs by now by myself but I really had no idea that the style score was so simple. Has made scoring that much easier for me.

Despite the thanks I would like to usher a challenge. Not that I could beat you, mind you but I saw you 10/10ing most every song that I also try. But there is one in particular that I cannot see myself perfect in ... even mon ths to be hoest. If you want somewhat of a challenge try: Furious Angels by Rob Dougan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qWePX39R40

Honestly the hardest thing I tried so far. Would be curious to see what you can do :)
Bylund  [author] Jan 19, 2017 @ 12:35am 
I use the original foam gaskets, I have several of them and switch them out when they get too wet. I wash them on cold wash in my washing machine. I also use a sweat-band with a rubber strip on my forehead that channels sweat to the sides so I don't get sweat in my eyes.