• "An Alpha is never late, it arrives precisely when it means to!"

    Project OutFox 5.3 Alpha 4.9.8 has been released! There is a lot to go over with this release, including new game modes, user-facing features, and other internal bug fixes and improvements.

    Gameplay features

    Game types

    One of our major goals with 5.3 has been to improve its various gametypes, and add new ones never implemented in StepMania before. Many of them have been neglected for years or even a decade, so they have been buggy and incomplete.


    Alpha 4.9.8 contains improvements to a number of gametypes (including new styles, and updates to the parsers for BMS and PMS), as well as one brand-new gametype:

    • gdgf (renamed from "guitar"): We have added a 6-fret style. This mode and its sister drum gametype gddm will support a DTX loader in the future, but you can also use the built-in editor to author drum and guitar charts in the standard .SSC format too.
    • popn: This mode has been around for a very long time, but has not really had any support or been looked at since before 2010. It was side-lined into the BMS loader, which actually broke a lot of the needed changes PMS actually uses, and as a result most PMS files with 7 or 9 lanes, would be added to the game as beat 10-lane or 14-lane charts. We thank the anonymous reporter of this bug, as Squirrel took the time to investigate it and we decided to return a new modernised PMS loader to the game, which now correctly loads PMS songs as they should be. This also removes the oddity and edge crashes when anyone wished to play this mode on OutFox. With these changes. we have been able to load packs such as Colorful Channel with no issue.
      • The new loader can also handle long notes, the 06 (POOR), 07 (BG2) and 0A (LAYER 2) BGA channels, and the ITEM channel.
      • In addition, we have support for 3-lane (battle), 4-lane, 5-lane, and 7-lane charts, while community member Daniel has contributed several new noteskins specifically for popn mode too.


    • para: A double style has been added.
    • techno: 9-panel and 18-panel styles have been added. In addition, a new version of Broadhead with column-based colors has been added as a global noteskin and as the default for techno.


    • gh: A new 5-fret (and 6-fret coming soon) gametype based on a collection of popular games that used a guitar-styled controller to press frets and strum along to bass and guitar parts of a song.
      • It can load charts in the .chart and .midi formats, and supports co-operative multiplayer (i.e. one player can play a bass or rhythm guitar chart while the other plays lead guitar, for example).
      • To implement this gametype, new note types were added, and internal changes were made so that its code doesn't have to be squished around dance-centric code.


    All gametypes have access to features such as the built-in chart editor and modifier systems, allowing you to extend your content to as many as 52 styles in 14 gametypes as of this release.

    Most gametypes currently have a "preliminary" implementation, meaning that they are functional but may be missing features. They also run within the default Soundwaves theme, which was primarily designed for the dance gametype and its associated paradigms, and may not necessarily work well with all gametypes. The next phase of implementation will be to give each gametype a tailored theme and user experience, so that they will no longer have to be shoehorned into an interface they aren't meant for.

    Most of these modes are sadly-neglected and have been without support or a maintainer for upwards of a decade, so be a touch sympathetic to them if you decide to take the time to explore, they will be given the love they deserve. We are going to stop the trend of "adding new stuff then doing nothing with it" that was so common in the project we are formed from.

    Given that we now have more gametypes that aren't step-based over those that are, we have also made a decision to reinstate the Project OutFox name for our builds going forward rather than StepMania. None of this means we are abandoning step games, though.


    We have added a new option for hold and roll tails known as a "LiftHold", where the player must let go at the end of the hold. You can add them to charts by using DL instead of 3 to end a hold or roll in the .ssc file, while a modifier is available to change all holds and rolls in a chart to LiftHolds.


    New pause menu

    Due to limitations in how pause menus are currently implemented in-game (we need to change it in order to support the new BGA layers needed for for BMS, PMS, and DTX. Plus, since it was an actor in ScreenGameplay overlay, it became invisible if a song [such as the majority of mod files] toggles its visibility), we have made a new implementation of one within the fallback theme.


    It appears instantly once the Back button is pressed; we may restore the existing "Hold Back to give up" behaviour as an option in the future.

    Theme developers can enable the new pause menu by setting the the metric UsePauseMenu=true under [ScreenGameplay]. A basic menu design is provided, but it can be customized by themes. We have maintained backwards compatibility with themes which do not enable it.

    Technical changes

    Timing changes

    Since Alpha 4.9.7GG we have slightly adjusted the renderer pipeline to optimize how we deal with frames within the kernel timer of the OS. This is to prepare for new sound/rendering drivers coming in the near future, but as we've found with a lot in this game, baby steps to fix little blockers before we do major updates. We also have removed more of the Rage engine in favour of modern mathematics algorithms, and this has needed a slight tweak to the order on how we draw things.

    if you find your median timing skews early or late (like the example below) after migrating to 4.9.8, take a moment to re-calibrate your offset.


    Video upscaler

    We have implemented the ability to change the scaler algorithm used by FFmpeg for videos in Project OutFox, via the preference VideoUpScaleFilter. If you have an older system, take the time to experiment with the different algorithms and see how it affects your performance, as this will add a little load onto your system.

    • 0 - none (default; recommended for Raspberry Pi and low-end devices)
    • 1 - fast bilinear
    • 2 - bilinear
    • 3 - bicubic
    • 4 - X Sharpens + Contrast
    • 5 - Point
    • 6 - Area
    • 7 - Bicublin (recommended)
    • 8 - Gaussian
    • 9 - Sinc
    • 10 - Lanczos
    • 11 - Spline.


    We have added a new preference, UsingArcadePads, which will allow you to use the input driver for Python boards natively without any freezes. As per the "starworlds" StepMania branch, you need to set InputDrivers=Python23IO,SDL in Preferences.ini. This will set up your board driver, and allow you to use keyboard/XInput/Bluetooth controllers to control the game while you're on your pad (if you exclude SDL as input, you will have no keyboard input!).

    You will need to set UseOldJoystickMapping=0 as well, so the game will initialise the XInput controller driver alongside your Python board. This preference only currently supports the Python23IO driver, but will be expanded to Reflex and other drivers in the future.

    Release notes and download

    You can see the full changelog and download links for Alpha 4.9.8 here on GitHub, which has details on the other improvements and bug fixes featured in this build.

    Give all of the new modes a try and be sure to give us your feedback! You can visit the new r/OutFox for support and discussion of Project OutFox on Reddit, and stream Project OutFox on Twitch.

    OutFox Community Pack

    We are still accepting applications for music contributions, graphics artists, and charters for the OutFox Community Pack project. With the release of Alpha 4.9.8, we have added a series of new channels to the Project OutFox Discord server for organizing submissions, as we formally begin the process of producing the pack!

  • "I'm only human, after all..."

    Common splash.png

    StepMania 5.3 Alpha 4.9.7 has been released!

    This is our first build for 2021, and there are a ton of changes and major bug fixes (including a number of bug fixes dating back as far as the 3.9 era, if not earlier).

    Check out the full changelog here for more information.

  • Common splash.png

    StepMania 5.3 Alpha 4.9.6 has been released!

    This is our first official build with a native binary avaliable for the new ARM-based Macs (Apple M1). With this release, we are one of the first macOS-compatible games to have a version compiled natively for Apple M1, and one of the first with full controller and pad support as well. We demoed the build, as well as its controller support, in a recent Twitch broadcast.

    This is our final build for 2020, and also marks the one-year anniversary of our first public release!

    Check out the full changelog here for more information.

  • We have released a native, nightly build of StepMania 5.3 for the new ARM-based Macs using the Apple M1 system-on-chip. We've been surprised by how smooth the game runs on this architecture, so we hope you will give it a try and report and issues you encounter.


    The build currently does not support controllers and pads, as we are currently awaiting dev notes on the topic from Apple.

    You can download the build here; please note that this build is NOT a universal binary, and only supports M1-based Macs.

    Thanks again for your support, and stay safe everyone!

    EDIT (12/12/2020): We have controller support on ARM now, which will be included in the next public build.


    5.3 Alpha 4.9.5 has been released! There are a ton of new things in this build, so check out the full changelog here for more information.

  • "Has anybody seen my tambourine?"

    5.3 Alpha 4.9.1 has been released! This build focuses mainly on improvements and bug fixes (continuing on from Alpha 4.9), while there are also expansions to MIDI input support on Windows (including Lua APIs for analog input).

    As mentioned earlier, we have sorted out the misunderstanding that required us to temporarily rebrand as Project OutFox, so we have returned to the StepMania name. It was all resolved amicably, and it had to be acted upon due to it being reported, so no problems there.

    As always, the download links and a full changelog are on the release page. Happy Halloween!

  • Project OutFox 5.3 Alpha 4.9 has been released! This is our build for October on our roadmap. Alpha 4.8.6 (September 30) did not pass QA on Windows, and it ended up containing changes signifigant enough to justify a bump to 4.9.

    We have sorted out the misunderstanding that required us to temporarily rebrand as Project OutFox, so we will be returning to the StepMania name on the next alpha. It was all resolved amicably, and it had to be acted upon due to it being reported, so no problems there.

    Gaining Imhotep's Favour

    Alpha 4.9 contains major changes to fonts within themes. Since we began the project, we had become aware of numerous issues, such as missing glyphs and language support. To fix this, we have created a new release of the the Texture Font Generator, fixing the missing characters for Cyrillic and Extended Latin, Kanji GBK for Traditional Chinese, Kanji Hojo, Kanji JIS, Kanji symbol characters, Korean basic characters, and Korean Hangul. It has separate versions for Chinese, European/Latin, Japanese, Japanese supplemental, and Korean fonts, as well as "Legacy" for Windows-1252 character maps (seen, in particular, in OpenITG/NotITG).

    We used the new generator to create updated font textures, including the IBM Plex fonts used within Soundwaves, Noto fallback glyphs used for rendering foreign characters not covered by fonts in a particular theme, and an improved version of a font texture often used within In the Groove 2-centric content. All these fonts have been rendered at a higher resolution, with a more consistent size and wider character support.

    As a result, you may notice that the default theme's typography looks a little different on Alpha 4.9 (and in some areas, has also been refined), but that it appears much sharper as well (Alpha 4.8.5 on top, 4.9 on the bottom).

    StepMania_wqE7dcRNJ0.png StepMania_Wy0bzQjEza.png

    As they do not work properly with Unicode, we are also deprecating the string.upper() and string.lower() functions in favour of the new Lua functions ToUpper() and ToLower() -- which performs the same operation in a manner that correctly handles capitalization of these characters. The previous functions remain supported for compatiblity reasons, but be forewarned that text may not always capitalize properly.

    Full screen

    On all operating systems, we have added the ability to use Alt+Enter to toggle full screen mode. But be warned: the SDL window does not scale modes which your monitor does not support in full screen. It will draw a border around the window if the mode is not a suitable mode. You can find these modes in the log.txt, as SDL is kind enough to display everything supported there.

    We have allowed other operating systems this function for familiarity, and the fact we didn't think it'd work on macOS/Linux, but it did.


    As always, the download links and a full changelog are on the release page. Be sure to report any issues you find.

  • 5.3 Alpha 4.8.5 has been released! This is our build for September on our revised roadmap. It contains a large number of bug fixes (including one bug that was 16 years old) and a few new and experimental features to try out.

    We have temporarily rebranded as "Project OutFox" for the time being, as we need to get some paperwork done in order to use the "StepMania" name.

    As always, the download links and a full changelog are on the release page. Be sure to report any issues you find.

  • 5.3 Alpha 4.8 has been released! This is our build for August on our revised roadmap, and it contains a number of major changes (including several user-facing changes):


    Due to Windows and Ubuntu updates that have directly affected several of our users, we have performed another major rewrite to our input handler. As part of these changes, we now have a preference in the Experimental Options menu for switching from XInput, to the legacy HIDAPI-based input handler used prior to 5.3 Alpha 4.5.


    The legacy mode has a few advantages, including support for more than four controllers at once (which XInput is limited to by design), not requiring the creation of controller mappings, and being able to handle controllers that have been especially troublesome under XInput (such as the ParaParaParadise PlayStation 2 controller - more on that later). This, as a result, gives us a greater level of controller support than ever before.

    You will need to restart the game for the input mode switch to take affect, but we will remove this requirement in a future update. You may need to adjust your offset after switching, as some controllers may behave differently between these modes (especially custom Arduino pads; we have received reports that Step ManiaX pads feel "tighter" on legacy input than XInput).

    If you use older controllers, please ensure they are plugged in BEFORE you start the game. Because we do not depend on DirectX anymore, we need to initialize the system on startup. We are looking into this, but once the system is live, controllers can be added and removed as normal. We really do not want to go back to DirectInput 7 or 8 as Microsoft is really punishing use of these systems, and will remove them outright eventually.

    New loading window

    Another major change on Alpha 4.8 will be apparent as soon as you launch it. Out with the old splash screen...


    ...and in with the new.


    This replaces the legacy loading window (including the buggy macOS loading window) on all platforms. In the future, we will provide the ability for themes to customize it, as well as other new features.


    We have replaced libmad as our MP3 decoder with dr_mp3. It's lightweight, supports VBR, and addresses one of the broken_pipe issues we faced on our Raspberry Pi builds.

    In addition, warnings will now be added to Logs/info.txt if the game is unable to load a song's audio file (such as if the file is corrupt or broken).

    Para mode

    Finally, we have refurbished the para game type. This mode simulates the gameplay of ParaParaParadise, a short-lived, motion-controlled dance game based on para para - a Japanese dance style typically performed to eurobeat music.

    We adjusted the timing windows and hold behavior to be more faithful to the original game, with a single timing window, and being able to hit notes as long as that particular arrow is held when it reaches the receptors. It is lenient by design, as this is a routine-based game with a stronger focus on performing choeography than timing. As mentioned earlier, our input changes also addressed support for the controller used by the official PlayStation 2 version of the game.

    If you would like to see the mode in action, Taikora demonstrated it during it a stream using the controller on a pre-release build.


    As always, the download links and a full changelog are on the release page. Be sure to report any issues you find.

  • We have released StepMania 5.3 Alpha 4.6 RC3; as with our past few builds, this build continues our focus on bug fixes and optimizations.

    For download links and a complete changelog, visit the release page. Builds are available for Windows, Linux, and macOS.

    For the first time, we have also publicly released ARM builds for Linux - primarily for Raspberry Pi and similar platforms. Please see the release page for more information and recommendations regarding these builds.

    Do not enable 8K texture support at this time, as it will give you GL_OUT_OF_MEMORY errors.