StepMania Logo
License MIT License
Version 3.9
Platform(s) Cross-platform
Release date 1 November 2005
Genre(s) Rhythm video game

StepMania is an open source rhythm video game for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. It was originally developed as a simulator of Konami's popular arcade game series Dance Dance Revolution, and has since evolved into an extensible rhythm game engine capable of supporting a wide variety of rhythm-based game types. Released under the MIT License, StepMania is free software.

Video games In the Groove and Pump It Up Pro use StepMania as their game engine. StepMania was included in a video game exhibition at New York's Museum of the Moving Image]] in 2005.[1]

StepMania 4.0 is currently in its beta stage of development.

Gameplay Edit

The primary game type features the following game play: as arrows scroll upwards on the screen, they will meet with a normally stationary set of target arrows. When they meet the targets, the player should press the corresponding arrow on his or her keyboard or dance mat. The moving arrows will meet the targets based on the beat of the song. Stepmania strongly utilizes a player's sense of rhythm in its game play. The game is scored based upon how accurately the player can trigger the arrows in time to the beat of the song. The player's efforts are awarded by letter grades that tell him/her how well they have done. An award of AAAA (quadruple A) is the highest award and indicates that a player has triggered all arrows with "marvelous" timing (within 0.0225 seconds under official settings). An E indicates failure for a player to survive the length of the song without completely draining his/her life bar. Scoring and grading for Stepmania is almost identical to scoring in Dance Dance Revolution; however, timing and scoring settings can easily be changed.

StepMania allows for several input options. Specialized adapters that connect console peripherals like PS2 and Xbox controllers or dance pads to one's computer can be used. Alternatively, and most popularly, the keyboard can be used to tap out the rhythms using arrow or other keys. Many song charts designed for keyboard are unable to be passed using a pad. In addition, the game possesses the capability to emulate other music games, such as Beatmania itself, o2Ja] and DJMAX's 7-key arrangement, Pump It Up and Techno Motion - but scoring however, remains identical to DDR-style play.

System requirements Edit

These requirements are only the minimum needed to run the game. Having just the minimum does not result in smooth operation.

  • Microsoft Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/Vista, Linux, or Mac OS X
  • Pentium II or higher, PowerPC G3, Celeron, Athlon, or compatible processor, 266MHz minimum (400 MHz recommended)
  • 64 MB of memory
  • Video card that supports High Color (16-bit color) and has 8MB video RAM and OpenGL or Direct3D drivers
  • On Windows, DirectX 7.0 compatible sound card with drivers

Features Edit

  • Custom Songs ("Stepfiles"): StepMania allows users to create their own custom dance patterns to their favorite songs. The program includes a comprehensive Step editor to aid the creation of these stepfiles. (Note that while stepfiles can be shared and copied, it may be a violation of copyright law to package a song with a stepfile.) These files can also be known as "Simfiles." Despite copyright concerns, many Simfile websites exist where users share and distributed Simfiles for copyrighted songs. Additionally, official DDR and In The Groove songs with their original steps are commonly available for StepMania.
  • Background animations: Support for many types of animations behind the arrows onscreen, including sprite-based animation sequences, a single full-motion video or multiple FMV visualization overlays.
  • Modifiers: Visual mods that affect the scroll of arrows and either increase or decrease difficulty. StepMania includes multiple modifiers featured in Dance Dance Revolution as well as dozens of additional modifiers created exclusively for StepMania.
  • Multiple arrow types:
    • Mines: An object that scrolls onto the screen along with the arrows. The player must avoid triggering the mines on the screen or have the player's dance gauge penalised by having it reduced. This step type was developed for the StepMania-based arcade game In The Groove, and was ported into StepMania itself during development of that title. A derivative of these mines, known as "Attack Mines", force a modifier change on the player when triggered instead of diminishing the dance gauge.
    • Holds: A long arrow that requires you to keep your feet on the corresponding panel for its duration to pass.
    • Rolls: A special hold arrow which requires a rapid tap on to keep alive. This step type was developed for the sequel to In The Groove - In the Groove 2, and was ported into StepMania 3.95 CVS builds.
    • Lift: a special type of arrow (colored Gray by default) which requires the key (or panel) to be held down before the note passes and released when the note passes the target arrows. This is different from freeze arrows in that the timing of the press is not important, only when the note is released
  • Multiple game types, including partial simulation of other dance games like Pump It Up, ParaParaParadise and EZ2Dancer.
  • Real-time lyrics, which display on the opposite side of the screen for stepfiles that have accompanying lyric data.
  • Custom themes: users can create their own skins for Stepmania. StepMania themes can vary from simple replacement of images to drastic changes such as the forcing of modifiers under certain conditions (such as the day of the week)
  • Dancing characters: 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional character models that dance in the background according to a pre-defined routine.
  • Network play: support for lobby-based online play, dubbed StepMania Online. Typically, users connect through the StepMania Online centralized server.

Availability Edit

StepMania has been used as the base engine in a variety of free software and proprietary products. It has also been ported to several platforms including the Xbox, iPod (running Linux), PlayStation Portable (Homebrew), and cell phones.[2]

Use in products Edit

Several StepMania-based games have been released due to its open nature:

  • In The Groove (ITG) is an arcade dance game series developed by the core StepMania developers, and is based on a special CVS build of Stepmania known as version 3.95. To prevent unauthorized copying, StepMania was re-licensed under a more permissive license (changed from GPL to the MIT License with the agreement of all coders, in exchange for their names appearing on the ITG credits screen), not requiring source code to be published on derivative works, and thus allowing ITG's copy control to remain proprietary and closed source.
  • Pump it Up Pro is a spinoff of the Pump it Up series headed by former ITG developers and musicians. The game utilizes a build of Stepmania 4 for its engine, which also led to improved Pump support in Stepmania itself.
  • Mungyodance is a series of downloadable games using the StepMania engine. Both versions in total feature over 400 songs. As of its 2nd version, Mungyodance features gameplay judgement more akin to Guitar Hero, only judging by if an arrow was hit or missed, and not the actual accuracy. Mungyodance 2 also features "modbombs" (also known as Attack Mines), which apply modifiers to the player if hit. The game also features "Extra Mode", songs with scripted modifiers. Mungyodance 3 is expected to release around July after being delayed again.


In The Groove Arcade is based on a CVS build of StepMania called 3.95. Recent projects to create an open source "clone" of ITG based on 3.95 have been adopted, and OpenITG is one of the most known. OpenITG contains and expands on many features of the ITG arcade system, including:

  • Custom songs support, with settable limits
  • Complete PIUIO pad&button/lights support (ITG2 Dedicab hardware), with per-sensor reading
  • Complete ITGIO pad&button/lights support (ITG2 Upgrade hardware)
  • Dongle interface: serial number and encryption key reading
  • Reading of arcade-encrypted ZIP files with the encryption key
  • Patch support, both for ITG2 patches and OpenITG patches
  • Arcade self-check and diagnostics screens
  • Crashlog timestamping and reboot-on-crash for arcade builds

Additionally, these modifications have been added (originally not in ITG arcade):

  • Extra player profile options ("AdditionalSpeedMods" and "UseCatalogXML", in Extra.ini)
  • Extra GameCommands ("clearcredits" and "theme,xxx")
  • Extra preferences (6-7 custom song limit settings, attract volume setting)
  • Extra metrics and theme widgets ("CompareScores", OptionsList (from StepMania 4.0))
  • Extra LUA bindings (all diagnostics functions, check DiagnosticsUtil.cpp for details)
  • Several tweaks to the gameplay light auto-generation system
  • Fixes for basically every known StepMania 3.95 bug (including Voltage calculation)
  • Custom Courses (currently, only a basic implementation that's still mostly untested)

StepMix Edit

StepMania developers conducted StepMix contest for step builders to create stepcharts/stepfiles that can be played using StepMania. StepMix 1.0 and StepMix 2 were conducted successfully. StepMix 3 is currently in progress.

Participants need to have a song to be used in the stepchart/stepfile. The song must be under a compatible license for distribution or be authorized for use in StepMix 3, or the entry is automatically disqualified[3]. Additionally, if the graphics used in the entry are found to have been copied from another artist and used without their authorization (as happened once in StepMix 2[4][5]), the entry may be disqualified.

The scoring is determined by the overall quality of the song, steps and graphics.[6]

StepMix stepcharts can be downloaded in the StepMania website.

Gameplay VideosEdit

Song: Beethoven Virus by Banya (Standard)Edit

Course: Insomnia Finale by WinDEU (played in OpenITG)Edit

External linksEdit

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