StepMania 5.3.0-alpha4 release

Edit: An updated Alpha 4 build with bug fixes was released on 16 December 2019, and now includes macOS builds with Catalina support, and Linux.

Today we have released our first public alpha build, StepMania 5.3.0-alpha4 “OutFox”. For those unfamiliar with the project, 5.3 is a continuation of the existing 5.1 branch by a new development team.

Right now, our focus has been on refactoring StepMania’s codebase to adhere to modern coding practices, in preparation for more larger improvements and features that we plan to add in the future.

As a recap, here’s a summary of the changes we have made so far, which are present in this build (a full detailed changelog will be posted soon):

Internal changes

We have been modernizing StepMania’s internal code to optimize it for better performance on modern hardware. These changes help the engine run smoother and more consistently than previous versions, while remaining backwards compatible with existing content for 5.0.12 and 5.1-beta.

We have also upgraded the internal Lua library to Lua 5.3.5 (with shims in order to maintain the backwards compatibility with existing code), and will also support macOS Catalina.

New theme and coding features

Alongside its low-level changes, we have also added new user-facing features and theme components. The new default theme of 5.3.0, “Soundwaves”, serves as the official reference implementation for these new features.

Modules

5.3 introduces a new theming feature known as Modules. It is common for StepMania themes to include Lua scripts to enhance their functionality. However, these scripts are loaded on every single screen, which is inefficient. Modules is a new system for creating reusable scripts that can be called from within themes. Unlike scripts, they are only loaded and called when needed,. Reducing the number of global scripts in a theme can help improve performance.

Advanced timing windows and judgments

On previous versions of StepMania, the game’s timing windows were defined only in the preferences file. On 5.3, we support the ability to load timing window presets from a module (including the StepMania defaults and other popular standards, such as In the Groove and ECFA), and allow players to choose the timing windows they wish to use from the player options menu before a song. In addition (excluding misses), these presets support up to 10 distinct judgments as opposed to just 5, which are used in our new “Advanced” variants of the StepMania and ITG timing modes: can you get a truly Flawless full combo?

Another module allows themes to load custom judgment fonts, which can be selected from the player options menu. Unlike similar theme-level implementations, the image files are located in a new Appearance folder outside of the theme.

Global noteskins

Our future development will place an emphasis on fleshing out non-4-panel game modes. The new “global noteskin” system is an aspect of this goal, allowing you to create noteskins that are available to all game types.

Toasty!

Toasties are also back and upgraded: you can make custom Toasty styles with your own image, sound, and trigger conditions. As with judgment fonts, they are stored in the Appearance folder, and you can also select them from the player options menu.

Profile avatars

A new module also provides support for profile avatars: currently, our implementation checks for an image matching your profile name in the Avatars subdirectory of the aforementioned Appearance folder,

Larger splash screens

Splash screen images are no longer restricted to 468×68 dimensions.

No more warnings about image dimensions

StepMania will no longer display warnings if a texture’s dimensions in pixels are not a multiple of 2.

Soundwaves

Soundwaves is the new default theme of StepMania 5.3 “OutFox”. It has a clean and modern feel with influence from flat design, whilst still having visual flair. Soundwaves is developed around the new paradigms and features of 5.3, and provides a larger number of built-in features over previous SM default themes, including popular requests such as judgment font selection, notefield zoom and angle controls, user-selectable timing windows, and a zoomable judgment scatterplot.

More modifiers

We have also added more PlayerOptions modifiers. In comparison to the popular fork NotITG V3, we have approached feature parity, barring certain advanced features that had been implemented in this particular release (GL shader actors and additional notefields).

We have also added AMod, a BPM-based scroll speed modifier based on the average BPM of a song.

Download

Download links are available here. Windows, Linux, and MacOS versions are available.

For In the Groove 2 hardware, we are officially recommending use of Ubuntu 18.04 with the low-latency Linux kernel (linux-lowlatency). The Ubuntu Studio distribution ships with this kernel by default (you do not need all the included multimedia software. just the kernel).

Known issues

  • Please use Portable mode on Windows if you have a large song library. We are experiencing issues with access to the appdata folder. The latest build defaults to using portable mode on installation.
  • If Intel integrated graphics are defaulting to Direct3D instead of OpenGL, please update your drivers. See the troubleshooting page for more information.
  • Themes containing ThemePrefs may need to be updated to use the new preferences system.

Notes

  • If you have any bug reports, issues, or other suggestions, you can post them on the Project Moondance Discord server. DO NOT POST BUG REPORTS FOR THIS BUILD ON THE MAIN STEPMANIA GITHUB.
  • Due to OS security limitations, you may need to perform additional configuration changes to install on macOS. Please see the troubleshooting page for more information.
  • Be sure to also provide us with crash logs from StepMania when reporting crashes.
  • To ensure quality, we are not currently releasing the source code publicly at this time. We are planning to do so as we approach the final release, under the Apache License 2.0
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