StepMania is an open-source game development engine written in C++, Assembly and Lua. It is not only a game development engine but also a cross-platform rhythm video game. StepMania was initially created as an emulator for Dance Dance Revolution, a game series of Konami arcade and has progressed since into an extendable rhythmic game development engine that has enough capability to support a number of rhythmic game options. Initial version was released in 2001 while the latest version of StepMania is StepMania 5.1 Beta 2 released a couple of years ago. It’s source code is available under MIT license while songs are available under Creative Commons license.

It is available to build and compile in Windows, Linux and MacOS. On windows it requires .NET Framework 3.5, Direct X SDK, Windows Platform SDK and Visual Studio. On MacOS you will need Homebrew to compile it. On Windows, make sure you have Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable installed prior to running the game to avoid VCRUNTIME140_1.dll Library Errors.

Several video game series use StepMania for development such as “Pump It Up Pro” and “In the Groove”.

Features of StepMania Engine

  • One of the most amazing features of StepMania is Custom Songs that it allows the clients to customize their own dance-patterns for any kind of song of their choice in .mp3 or .ogg file formats. For this purpose, the engine comes with an extensive Step editor to assist the development of such files. There are numerous websites exist that allows user to share and distribute such song files also know as “Stepfiles” or “Simfiles”. Official “In The Groove” and “DDR” music along with their unique steps are usually accessible for the engine StepMania.
  • This game engine provides support for many background animations such as sprite-based animation sequences. Furthermore, multiple F.M.V visualization or solo full-motion video overlays that are often disabled if an exclusive video is included in the song.
  • Modifiers: Visual modes, which affect scrolling of arrow signs leads to elevation or demotion of difficulty. Dance Dance Revolution comprises many modifiers introduced by StepMania, however, there are many other multiple modifiers developed specially for StepMania, such as customized SPEED selections.
  • Various arrow-types such as Holds (Freeze Arrows), Rolls (Hold Arrows), Mines, Lift (gray colored).
  • StepMania allows the users to customize themes. These skins can differ from trivial substitution of pictures to drastic variations that applicable by scripting the Lua back-end.
  • Dancing characters: According to a predefined routine, 2-D & 3-D character samples which dance in the BG.
  • Available to play online via a centralized server.

Games Developed in StepMania

In the Groove
pump it up pro
Pump It Up Pro

Useful Resources

Source Code:

Source Forge:

Build Instructions: