Articles

  • We're happy to announce big and fresh news to our biggest community project, OutFox Serenity. Our team has been working very hard to make the future of Serenity even better and keep showcasing our community creativity, knowledge and skills, you'll not want to miss it.

    Serenity Volume 2

    The next major version of Serenity has finally come! As a reminder, since Volume 1 Winter Update all Serenity-related development has been moved to it's own dedicated Serenity server. For Volume 2, 10 new songs from a variety of genres have been chosen to reflect the even bigger number of game modes now available on OutFox compared to when Serenity was created. Here's the list:

    Songs

    chop chop

    Support via Bandcamp. "chop chop" is also featured on RaoulWB's own game, Fech The Ferret, go check it out!

    Sweeteners

    Support via Bandcamp.

    Beatucada

    Into My Dream

    Bounded Quietude

    Phycietiia

    Neutralize (PTB10 MIX)

    CRUSH THE DEVIL (IN MY BRAIN)

    Technological ≠ Emotional

    B-Happy

    Serenity Vol 2 Status Sheet

    In order to facilitate organizing things and communication it's crucial to let other people know what you're working on. With this in mind, make of use this THIS SPREADSHEET to keep track of how development for Serenity Vol 2 is going. Also, be sure to first join our Serenity Discord Server to have a quick and directly channel to talk, share ideas and feedback with other members and quickly get the latest info first hand as soon as possible.

    Serenity Playlist

    To accommodate for songs that are not already publicly available on streaming platforms like YouTube, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Deezer, etc. we decided to create our Serenity Playlist where you'll find the in-game cut of every song featured since Volume 1. There's links for full/extended versions, ways to support and artists' socials inside each video description for those interested. Check them out here:

    Compatibility

    Shortly after the Volume 1 launch we released a legacy version for use with older versions of StepMania 5, such as 5.0.12, 5.1 and some of its forks. We felt this was an important thing to do for our first launch, but after evaluating our analytics data it's clear not many people are interested in it. Moving forward, we have no plans to release more legacy packs that target those versions. One of Serenity's goals is to showcase and take advantage of OutFox's new features and gamemodes, including fixes and changes made to already existing modes. Naturally, to fully experience and enjoy it, it's always recommended to use the latest OutFox version available.

    Unfortunately, retrofitting Serenity content to create legacy versions is not an easy task. It takes a considerable amount of time and effort to troubleshoot and validate everything. First, all content made for new modes and styles has to be outright removed. Then, we have to manually check all remaining charts for note types, gimmicks, etc that only work on OutFox (which may not behave correctly or cause crashes on 5.x) and figure out what's the best course of action: edit the charts to make them playable, possibly taking away what the original creators envisioned for it, or simply remove those?

    That being said, those who may still want to play Serenity on legacy SM setups anyway at their discretion are free to fork our GitHub repository and do the required edits for their own personal use.

    Chart & Graphics Development Cycle

    Based on feedback and internal discussion, we also decided to give the community more time than ever before. With Serenity Volume 2, we're starting 27/03 till 16/07 with chart and graphics submissions, then we'll enter testing and QA phase from 17/07 to 31/07, resulting in around 123 days of development for our community to create charts.

    After much planning, we believe this will work better for everyone involved as it alleviates the pressure of having very limited time to participate while also having to manage their own personal matters. We expect to release at least 2 Serenity packs per year, both with more than 100 days of development cycle time for charts and graphics, featuring at least 6 new songs on each pack, going up to 10 songs. Of course, this may be subject to changes based on how much submissions the community brings and other factors.

    If you're interested in having your work being showcased, be it music/chart/graphic then come join our Serenity Discord Server.

    Music Submissions

    As we aim to make bigger and bigger Serenity packs, our search for more awesome music contributions from talented people also grows. If you make music or have any friends who create music and wish to be featured on future Serenity updates, please fill our online submission form, after reading our guidelines to make sure everything is cleared and safe for use.

    Music submissions are always open. Regardless if a volume is currently in development or not, we're always checking our submissions backlog and curating possible candidates for use and will contact you if we think something is fit.

  • A welcome back

    Busy time it has been for everyone everywhere, and this year shows no indication of being different, there are quite a lot of things to talk about since the last update, so get ready for a long read. However, there is one thing before all that is needed to make clear.

    Blog Updates

    On the November 2021 update, we announced that our next blog post would only be next year Feb (3 months of an interval), this is something that we wish to continue doing, while monthly updates are a constant case with OutFox and other OutFox Community Team Projects, it is not with Tiny-Foxes, the new interval of 3 months will help us connect such blog posts with other projects that we are soon to announce, so having this in mind, 3 months will be the minimum you'll have to wait, some might take a bit longer but we will try to keep it during that interval, thanks for the understanding.

    OutFox Serenity

    If you're not aware, we have already released the Winter Update for Volume I, you can check out the showcase here. Now is the time to talk about its development.

    Start

    2021 was very close to ending, while Vol 1 was a big hit, many members of OutFox Team we're discussing releasing more volumes constantly per year, even with the amount of content Vol 1 had, it would be too little of what we could do. Many agreed, but we were already too close to the end of the year that if we wanted to give proper time, we would have to instead, target a Winter Update with a focus on adding content to old songs, rather than adding 10 new songs with little time for the community to make content.

    Reveal and Development

    The songs for the Winter Update were then set:

    • Umi's Secret
    • Plasma
    • Low End Theory

    With a low amount of songs, we were sure our community would be able to make a good amount of content even with the busy time it was. Skipping to the deadline, 76 Charts have been created for 3 songs. Volume I Winter Update StepArtists had 50 days of development.

    Launch

    With the pack ready and set, we were ready to launch at any time, we decided to wait for OutFox's next alpha version to reach as many people as possible, which made us launch a bit later than expected but in the end, it was a good choice.

    What we learned

    While we were surprised at the amount of content the community was able to create in such a little time, we do not wish to apply such pressure again and decided to plan the date of future Serenity Volumes. As such, we have some news to share.

    OutFox Serenity Team

    This will be a busy year for OutFox Development and Releases. Meaning we had to create a team to pay attention only to Serenity.

    OutFox Serenity Team will be a subset of OutFox Community Team, meaning they do not represent or take part in OutFox Staff decisions. Two members have already joined:

    • Daniel Rotwind: Has contributed with the most amount of charts for serenity (52 at the time of writing), is the second highest art contributor for serenity (Behind only Lirodon who is part of OutFox Design Team) and helped with the creation of templates for beat-based game modes.

    • Sevish: Has contributed with "Some Things Must" song featured in Volume I, and reached out to help us normalize all songs for Serenity Packs.

    Each one of those and future members of the Serenity Team, work on a specific area in which they have already shown experience before, and as such, does not deal with any type of moderation for the project. If you create templates for OutFox Serenity, then we will gladly welcome you to try to join our team, if you do something else that you think might help us, be sure to reach us out on OutFox Serenity Server.

    Tiny-Foxes

    It is time for the repository updates!

    Tiny-Webini

    Update by moruzerinho6:

    Tiny-Webini was a tool used to help translate the Project OutFox Website, however, the backend has been updated to help properly translate many elements of the website, and as such, this tool is no longer much use, to maintain its update was also extremely time-consuming, having to recreate the website again but locally and with Electron.

    If you wish to translate the website, please reach out to us on our Discord Server.

    Simply Love OutFox

    Update by Jose_Varela:

    smtheme-soundwaves-community

    Update by Joehuu:

    sm5-legacy

    Updates by MrThatKid4:

    TF_Wheels

    Updates by Jousway:

    R.O.B.-Bot-Custom

    Update by R.O.B.-Bot:

    Added 3D/+ Versions of the OutFox Note/ITG noteskins for the SMX game mode.

    Aqui-Alpha-Noteskins

    Updates by Aqui:

    Had a new major release!

    • All elements resized and reworked accordingly.
    • New Mine and MineHold graphics.
    • More code reworks to maintain visual consistency across game modes.

    kitsu-template

    Updates by Sudospective:

    Changes:

    • NEW! Added support for Def.NoteField
    • NEW! Added Node type ModPlayer
    • Revamped internal library system
    • Fixed issues with mirin-syntax malformed Lua

    Full Changelog: v3.1.3...v4.0.0

    superuser-outfox

    While not much has been happening on the main branch, the stating branch is constantly getting updated with new stuff which is new to OutFox.

    Updates by Sudospective: (Stating branch)

    License

    Many repositories licenses have been updated to 2022.

  • 413-SerenityWinter.jpg

    It's time for another alpha build of Project OutFox, Alpha 4.13.0!

    This build has a variety of fixes across the engine and many of our game types, including the Mine Fix for dance and smx, and fixes for a lot of the weird crashes that have been reported to us (including a weird quirk on dance and pump charts). This build also restores support for MK9/Konami PC-era hardware on Windows 7 and i386 Linux (we would like to thank everyone who were patient in helping us debug this!), and fixes some overdue bugs on Raspberry Pi systems running 32-bit or non-rPI recommended Linux images. This fixes crashes to the desktop and segfaults on Fedora and TwisterOS 2.1.x, and the weird crashes reported on Manjaro aarch64.

    We have also added new game types, styles, and chart parsers for you to check out:

    Game modes

    413-modes.png

    Throughout 2021, Project OutFox began to position itself as a multi-game engine, designed to be more of a working museum dedicated to preserving the history of rhythm gaming. We have been building upon and fixing game types that were inherited from the StepMania codebase, as well as implementing new game types that have never been implemented in StepMania before.

    stepstage

    For Alpha 4.13 we've added an initial implementation of a new dance pad game to the engine, stepstage. It is based on Jaleco's arcade dance game Stepping Stage, which used a unique six-panel layout divided into three coloured rows of two panels each.

    stepstage-pad.png 153197662-982c4b7e-26b7-43b8-a036-4db81f9f4fdb.jpg 153203414-75f5028e-7d3f-4ab4-81fe-695890e0e0cf.png

    Charts can be played in either "single" or "twin" styles: the single style uses one column, and only requires you to tap a panel with the corresponding colour. The twin style uses two columns, corresponding to the left and right sides of the pad. With a PlayStation 2 controller adapter, you can use the soft pad from the game's console port Stepping Selection. You can also use a normal DDR-styled dance pad if it has all four corner buttons; for this purpose, we have also included additional noteskins that use button symbols rather than the coloured icons.

    If you have a Pump it Up stage, you can also try setting up your button mappings to use the 1P UpRight and 2P UpLeft, the two centre panels, and the 1P DownRight and 2P UpLeft (a.k.a. half-double) as an approximation of the game's panel layout.

    dance & smx

    In the dance and smx modes, we have added the Mine Fix. smx also has a new version of the outfox noteskins optimized for the mode, with a centre panel and slightly smaller arrows.

    Dance has a few additional styles, including Solo Double (12-panel), 3-panel Double (6-panel, but only using the UpLeft, Down, and UpRight panels on both pads), and Versus support for both the 3-panel and Solo styles.

    The name "solo" is derived from the 6-panel style having originated from Dance Dance Revolution Solo arcade machines.

    ds3ddx

    ds3ddx is a game type that simulates the Korean dance game Dance Station 3DDX; first released in 2000, subsequent versions of the game were released in China as Dance Master Super Station Arcade 3DDX, EZ5 Dancer, and Dance Master Super Station. They use a pad layout similar to Pump it Up with four diagional foot panels. However, they also have four hand sensors in the orthogonal directions, making the game very well-suited for freestyle performances.

    OutFox_mGkduLzJyF.png 3dds2gameplayold.png

    Alpha 4.13.0 fixes bugs associated with this mode, including support for Versus and Double styles. We have also added new noteskins for the mode.

    New note parsers

    We have added new note parsers, QUA and OTO; the QUA parser will load charts for the KB4 and KB7 styles, while the OTO parser will load taiko charts from .osu files.

    At the moment, the OTO parser is basic; it can parse Dons/Kats and their large versions, but long notes, speed gimmicks, and multi-hit notes are still in progress and won't show yet.

    Serenity Winter Update

    Alongside Alpha 4.13, we have also released the Winter Update to OutFox Serenity Volume I! The Winter Update to OutFox Serenity Volume I features three new songs by DJ Megas, Matduke and Pekoneko (ペコネコ). It also includes changes to some of the existing songs from Volume 1, including additional charts across the dance, pump, be-mu, gh, techno, ez2(dancer), maniax, and smx game types, and keysounded be-mu/po-mu and gh charts for selected songs.

    Download OutFox Serenity

    Downloads

    This is just a recap of the major, user-facing features and technical changes. You can read the full changelog on the Alpha 4.13.0 page on outfox.wiki.

    As always, be sure to report any bugs you encounter on either our issue tracker or Discord. Be sure to provide us with as much information as you can whenever you report an issue. We won't be able to fix bugs that aren't reported to us.

    Download Alpha 4.13.0

  • Common splash.png

    Happy 2022! We're celebrating the new year with the second half of our second anniversary celebration, Alpha 4.12.0! This build includes some bug fixes and improvements over 4.11.0, and also introduces a few major changes which we will go over right now:

    Unicode support

    Alpha 4.12 has very long overdue extended character support in the file handlers. BMS and DTX files use different encodings to .SSC and .SM simfiles, and in the past, they often showed up as garbage characters, or mojibake characters which could not be easily read into the game. A simple fix for this was to convert the simfile into UTF8, but with many hundreds of files, this is not reasonable to ask of players.

    OutFox_ZwDcFakbTR.png

    Captured using Alpha V DTX theme in development.

    This build correctly can detect the encoding with no user interaction, and will load them as expected into the correct game mode, including:

    • ANSI/Windows Extended (SMA/BMS/DWI/KSF)
    • SHIFT-JIS (BMS/BME/PMS/DTX/GDA/TJA)
    • UTF-8 (DTX/BME/SSC/SM/OTO)
    • UTF-8 BOM (GDA/DTX)
    • UTF-8 Extended (TJA/BME/DTX)
    • UTF-16 (DTX)
    • UTF-16LE (DTX)
    • UTF-16LE BOM (DTX)
    • UCS-2 (DTX)

    Songs taking advantage of this change will take a little longer to parse and load on startup, but there will be opportunities to optimize it.

    Game modes

    4.9.12-modes.png

    Throughout 2021, Project OutFox began to position itself as a multi-game engine, designed to be more of a working museum dedicated to preserving the history of rhythm gaming. We have been building upon and fixing game types that were inherited from the StepMania codebase, as well as implementing new game types that have never been implemented in StepMania before.

    Alpha 4.11 and 4.12 respectively include two major new game types that we hope you'll have fun exploring and making content for:

    smx

    Alpha 4.11 introduced initial support for smx, a simulation of Step Revolution's StepManiaX - a five-panel game type that uses a similar layout to dance, except with a center panel. We have also implemented beat bars in this mode that show the locations of stops and BPM changes.

    msedge_O1nvzW88Ek.png msedge_UMRqgiMs6d.png

    To help support Step Revolution and the official StepManiaX game, we ask that you not rip or use official assets and songs from the game in OutFox. We will not support the arcade game's timings (this mode plays best with the ITG timing windows) or file format, so please do not ask us to add them! The winter update to OutFox Serenity Volume 1 will add smx charts, and you can author your own smx charts in the editor.

    kb7

    On Alpha 4.12, we have removed kb7, a mode that was originally developed by the SSC. There were many players who wanted it to be more than it was, but the mode was generally used by a small set of players, and the original creators of the mode also wished for it to be retired when we got the chance. We salute the mode and what it did for StepMania at the time.

    But fear not, keyboard players, as we are proud to present...

    kbx

    kbx is a revamp and rewrite of the kb7 mode, aimed at players that wanted a specific down-scrolling game mode, but with different sets of columns. We of course have varying modes with different sets and styles already, but there was no actual option to have things set in one specific place and one specific mode for it.

    msedge_YeVIIt6H34.png

    kbx supports 1 to 15 columns, and is a single-player mode. It will eventually get its own theme and other mechanics, but for now, it will fallback to our usual theme, but this does not make it any less playable!

    We have decided to follow the playstyle of ez2 and o2Jam-styled games, but with our own little twist on things as is common with OutFox modes. In the future, there will be options to set this mode up to how you prefer, with styles and timing/scoring modes available to change up and adjust as always. The default noteskin for kbx is based upon the synthwave aesthetic, and this look will carry into its eventual theme as well. To help you learn and become comfortable with this mode, some of the noteskins are set up to display the key binding for each column below it.

    Another unique aspect about this mode is that it will automatically autogen charts for existing songs too; i.e. songs with dance-single charts will show up as autogen 4K charts, pump-single and smx-single will show up as autogen 5K charts, dance-double will show up as 8K, etc.

    To make this mode more accessible, we have also included a chart modifier that allows you to replace LiftHolds with normal holds. This was based on feedback from players, who felt that how they are used in charts may increase difficulty or make the game overly punishing.

    Our default keyboard mappings can be seen below, but as always everything is completely remappable! You can also assign controllers, MIDI input, drums, DJ controllers, pads, etc. to this and play in any way you like!

    kbx.png

    To help improve performance, kbx does not support using modifiers in the same way that other modes such as dance does. You may be wondering why we took the time to write a "slimmer" Player Options for this mode. In honesty, there are a lot of things happening in the background we don't use in some modes, and we wanted to try out turning some of these things off to see how it works with the game and performance styles.

    OTO parser

    We have also begun work on an OTO parser to enable osu and osz file support! We support the mania mode (3) at this time (we were unable to finish the taitai (1) support in time, it will come soon). The game reads them and can play them with synched video and BG changes, but we do not support osr or osb at this time.

    Place song folders with OTO files into a group folder as you do with other simfiles, and they will be parsed as kbx charts. This mode supports multiple difficulties per folder, and will not make some versions 'disappear' as the old versions did. If there are multiple different songs in the same folder, the OTO parser can read and differentiate between the chart and its song/background, meaning you do not need to swap out anything or move stuff to individual folders. We will look into making this option available to other modes in the future. This new parser is based off of the .chart parser using line by line, splitting up each section into its own loading function.

    Input

    MIDI

    Project OutFox's portmidi driver has exited the beta stage on Alpha 4.12.0; this driver was written to accommodate the use of MIDI drumkits with the gddm mode. This was the first time that our engine contained a fully functioning cross platform MIDI driver, the previous semi-broken win32-midi being Windows-only. This new driver offers a 1 millisecond clock timer and near real-time input on Linux and macOS, but only supports one device connected to the system.

    We are in the process of designing a MIDI-based FSR controller for modes which need it, as the MIDI system is currently the lowest latency for Windows-based systems. We hope to open source this in time, when the code is better (and Squirrel has the time).

    The reason we kept it in beta for so long was there was an identified need to have a MIDI driver capable of supporting more than one MIDI input device, as had been requested by be-mu and gddm players, like DTXMania has, being able to add a second device to enable menu control, or to enable non-standard setups, for example pedals or ride cymbals from a second kit.

    To assist with this need, we added another MIDI driver to the game, rtmidi. This driver allows for more than one device support compared to our portmidi driver, which is limited to a single device, like an e-drum kit, or a DJ controller. rtmidi allows for more than one device to be connected for two-player use, or for extra control for menu options for example.

    The new rtmidi driver can be added to your Preferences.ini if you wish to use it:

    # Windows
    
    ## portmidi - you only have one device
    InputDrivers=portmidi,legacy,minisdl
    
    ## rtmidi - you have more than one device
    InputDrivers=rtmidi,legacy,minisdl
    # macOS (M1 and Intel)
    
    ## portmidi - you only have one device):
    InputDrivers=portmidi,SDL
    
    ## rtmidi - you have more than one device):
    InputDrivers=rtmidi,SDL
    # Linux (x86_64/ARM/Raspberry Pi)
    
    ## portmidi - you only have one device):
    InputDrivers=portmidi,SDL
    
    ## rtmidi - you have more than one device):
    InputDrivers=rtmidi,SDL

    Windows legacy input by default

    If you have been reading the previous changelogs, we have been testing a slightly modified version of the old SM 4.x/5.x input driver for those that prefer the 'feel' of that era in input timing. Until the new GA driver is finished (we are waiting for the Q1 2022 Windows 10/Windows 11 update), we will set this driver as default from this alpha.

    If you are on an established Preferences.ini, to use it you can follow the style above:

    legacy (Windows Only)

    InputDrivers=legacy,minisdl

    You can also leave this blank, or add MIDI if you plan to play DTX or use a MIDI based input device in the future. You will need the minisdl input driver for your window and operating system controllers, it allows for a smaller footprint on the game, and for your Windows based playback this is important at the moment. It shows up in the 'test input' screen as 'Window Handler (aux)' so you have window controls, and full-screen etc support while keeping the base drivers compact. This driver will be default on all operating systems in due course, when the GA driver is complete.

    If you however need to have an XInput supported device, or you have an advanced setup, you can reset the driver to how it was before this alpha with a simple change in your Preferences.ini:

    SDL Driver (Windows Only)

    InputDrivers=SDL

    This will enable the support for the XInput system, and the legacy system in the default theme experimental options, (the UseOldJoystickMapping one) which will allow you to switch between the options.

    If you use a ParaParaParadise controller you will need to add the Para Driver (Windows only right now!) before your options in preferences.

    Legacy Driver (Windows Only)

    InputDrivers=Para,legacy,minisdl

    SDL Driver (Windows Only)

    InputDrivers=Para,SDL

    If you use a Reflex controller, you have several options, however it is best on Windows if you use the new legacy driver for now. To enable the Reflex controller, you need to add the following to your entry: (please note: You need legacy for keyboard input and to avoid HIDAPI problems!)

    (Only one player is supported at this time, however if there is demand we can add more player support! Bug Squirrel for more information!)

    Reflex Driver (Windows Only)

    InputDrivers=Reflex,legacy,minisdl

    If you have a Python 2/3 controller, like the above set up for the Reflex you can simply add your entry here, (remember to set up your COM ports etc as seen in the Windows Device Manager) and remember that this device is not seen in Windows 8 or higher due to the change in the way USB controllers became emulated.

    Windows Only

    InputDrivers=Python23IO,legacy,minisdl

    If you have a RTIO controller, you need to add this as the other controllers, remember that legacy gives you keyboard and mouse support.

    Windows Only

    InputDrivers=Rtio,legacy,minisdl

    Linux i386 and Windows 7 builds

    For Alpha 4.12.0, we have produced a build for 32-bit Linux i386 systems, which supports systems as far back as Ubuntu 14.04. This build is something that we have not done in a while, so be sure to provide us with bug reports if you find any issues.

    In addition, we have also produced a specific build for Windows 7, as the tools needed for us to build Project OutFox for Windows 11 are not quite compatible with older versions.

    You can download these builds from the GitHub release page

    Download

    This is just a recap of the major, user-facing features and technical changes. You can read the full changelog on the Alpha 4.12.0 page on outfox.wiki.

    As always, be sure to report any bugs you encounter on either our issue tracker or Discord. Be sure to provide us with as much information as you can whenever you report an issue. We won't be able to fix bugs that aren't reported to us.

    Download Alpha 4.12.0

  • Do you know why we stopped the car?

    Common splash.png

    December 16 marks the two-year anniversary of the first public alpha release of Project OutFox; we would like to once again thank you for all the support and good vibes you have brought us as we work on this project. We have some big plans for OutFox in 2022, including new themes and touchscreen support, a new online system, and of course new modes and other modernizations!

    5.3 Alpha 4.11 is our Second Anniversary Edition release; it is mainly focused on bug fixes and performance improvements, but we've also slipped in a few little previews of things we're working on for a future release (hint: try pressing F1 when you're in the editor).

    There are a few important changes to note:

    • The names used for the executable and the directories for installation, save data, etc. have been changed from "StepMania"/StepMania 5.3" to "OutFox". This is part of the rebranding process that began on Alpha 4.9.8, and is needed to comply with the requirements for code signing and Microsoft SmartScreen verification. It also reduces the risk of conflicts with older versions of StepMania, so OutFox can be safely installed alongside StepMania 5.x without the risk of it overwriting or damaging profiles or stored scores..
      • Due to this change, you will need to move your profiles over to this new version. The old version will also need to be uninstalled manually; sorry about all of this, it is just for this update. On Windows, the uninstaller does not delete the Save folder, so you can specify your existing directory when installing Alpha 4.11.0 if you prefer.
    • The beat and popn game types have been renamed to be-mu and po-mu; this change does not affect the ability to load chart files with the old names, but you will have to rename the folders accordingly if you have noteskins for those game types.

    Download

    This is just a recap of the major, user-facing features and technical changes. You can read the full changelog on the Alpha 4.11.0 page on outfox.wiki.

    As always, be sure to report any bugs you encounter on either our issue tracker or Discord. Be sure to provide us with as much information as you can whenever you report an issue. We won't be able to fix bugs that aren't reported to us.

    Download Alpha 4.11.0