From StrategyWiki, the video game walkthrough and strategy guide wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Unlike a lot of games, this game actually has an extremely large library of terminology. This game also shares much of it's terminology with other games like it such as Dance Dance Revolution, Flash Flash Revolution, and a bit of KeyBeat Online. As this is the case, You may notice that jumping from one terminology set to another, the terms used are generally the same (save a few terms exclusively used for each game).

Arrow/Note Related[edit]

4ths/Quarters, Eights/8ths, Twelfths/12ths, Sixteenths/16ths, Twenty fourths/24ths, Thirty seconds/32nds, Forty eights/48ths, Sixty fourths/64ths

These are in reference to the type of arrow/note speed according to the current BPM. They also represent the general colors of the arrows in the StepMania level editor (For example: red represents 4th notes, and yellow usually represents 16th notes).


A chain is usually a series of single arrows that changes over to another series of single arrows by using a double note to make it appear like the arrows are linked together (like a chain).

Combo/Max combo/Full combo

The combo is the current or final number of notes pressed in a row. The maximum arrows you hit in a row within a song would be considered your max combo Hitting all of the arrows within a song without missing is considered a full combo, or an FC, which in Stepmania usually yields you with a score of at least an AA

Combo Breaker/CB

When someone refers to a Combo Breaker, or a CB, they are referring to the number of misses they obtain within a single song. In most cases, CB's are used to describe harder songs where missing notes are a high possibility. A Combo Breaker is usually discussed by stating whether you obtained either a high/bad CB count or a low/good CB count (it is worded the same as a PA would be). If you were to obtain only two misses in My Spirit will Go on (From HSMP1), you could say that you obtained a low or good CB on it, where as if you were to get seven misses in A (Konami offical DDR songs), you could say you got a high or bad CB on that song. CB is generally based on one's own skill level, but it is usually fairly easy to tell whether you have obtained a good or bad Combo Breaker count on a song based on its difficulty level, and its Full Combo count overall.


A crossover is a pattern of arrows that would require you to cross over one's legs if playing DDR. Examples include ←↓→↓← or ←↑→↑←. A crossover utilizes three arrow keys, generally starting with either the left or right arrow, skipping down or up, and then having the player hit the remaining two arrows, and then return back to the starting point of the crossover.

  • Jacks or Jackhammers refer to quick repetitions of the same arrow(s) for a certain period of time, such as four right 32nd arrows in a row. There are a few different variations of jacks such as:
  • Minijacks, as in two or three arrows hit in a short burst. Minijacks can be referred to as just jacks, but are more commonly stated as their own sub category.
  • Gallops as in three jacks hit in a shorter burst which appears to make a galloping noise (usually the same note distance apart, like 3 16th notes). Songs such as Guillaume Tell (HSMP1) and Barracuda (Bemanistyle download) could have such galloping jacks.
  • Long Jacks, as in hitting the same arrow for an extended period of time (approximately 3 seconds or longer, like in Jackhammer Madness (HSMP1).
  • Jumpjacks, as in hitting two different arrows repetitively for a certain period of time (such as in the step "blur" (Arch0wl originals).
  • Handjacks, as in hitting three different arrows repetitively for a certain period of time. This also can be used for defining four arrow jacks instead of the lesser used term quadjacks. Usually if you are playing a file which contains either hand or quadjacks, you are playing some form of dump file (although this isn't ALWAYS the case).

Two terms exist under the name "roll." The official term, which appeared after the first use, refers to a held note that must be tapped repeatedly.

The unofficial term that was used first refers to 4 arrows placed a certain amount of frames apart, in the order of "Left","Down","Up","Right" or "Right", "Up", "Down", "Left". A "roll" can be just a single "roll" over the keyboard, or 1000.


A runningman simply put is a single arrow being constantly pressed (generally a slower jacking sequence) for a certain period of time, while two other arrows are being pressed at different intervals. Although it is to be noted that the two arrows being hit aside from the constant arrows, are on the same side of the constant arrows, otherwise the pattern is instead considered a mini-staircase.


A stream, is a consecutive series of single arrows (usually approximately the same frame distance from one another) in which a pattern of some sort is formed using all four arrow keys. This pattern usually has the arrows alternate and usually doesn't contain any form of "jacking" within the stream of arrows. A jumpstream (JS) generally has the same concept, but tends to use consistent "doubles" along with as single arrows when forming its pattern. Jumpstreams can also contain "hands" or "quads" within it's pattern, in this case the term jumpstream is still considered the appropriate term, instead of "handstreams" or "quadstreams".


A staircase a series of arrows that form a particular pattern in which the arrows appear to look like a two dimensional staircase. To better explain this pattern, if left was 1, down was 2, up was 3, and right was 4, the pattern made by the arrows could be 1,2,3,4,3,2,1,2,3... or 4,3,2,1,2,3,4,3... A staircase can be long or short, and isn't designated by frames like some of the other terms listed. A mini-staircase is the same thing as a regular staircase, with the exception that it does the staircase pattern on a three arrow scale instead of a four arrow one. The pattern could read out as 1,2,3,2,1,2,3... or 3,2,1,2,3,2,1,2...


Taps refer to a single arrow being pressed at a certain time, while Jumps and doubles describe two arrows played at the same time. If there are three arrows to be pressed at the same time, these are hands, or hits that would normally require the use of hands (along with the feet for Dance Dance Revolution). If there are four arrows that are to be hit at the same time, it is considered to be a quad, or quads depending on how many there are in a row.


A trill is a series of arrows (presumably 4 or more) that constantly use two arrow keys. Trills can range from very slow, to the ridiculous trills in the Challenge version of Minami Ikebukuro Hardcore Custom (HSMP1), and can last any amount of time. Trills are commonly used for two consecutive drum sounds, piano or other speedcore break-beats that repeat two sounds over again for a certain period of time. In addition to trills there are also jumptrills, in which you consistently hit two jumps for a certain period of time.

Scoring Related[edit]

There are 3 main types of judgments: Perfect, Great, and Miss. Unless otherwise specified, all descriptions for official settings (Judge difficulty 4/Medium/Normal; Life type Normal). There are 2 types of scoring, normal (DP) scoring and EX scoring.


In order to hit a perfect, you must hit the arrow within 0.045000 (45 thousandths) of a second. In order to receive an AAA (All Perfect), you must hit all notes in a song with this judgment. Gives you full score to your DP score under official standards. However, there are actually two types of perfect: Marvelous (aka Flawless), and normal perfect. Hitting a Marvelous perfect means you were able to hit the arrow within 0.022500 (225 ten thousandths) of a second (under official settings), and will give you the full points not only for DP score, but also for EX score. However, a normal perfect is worth only 2/3 of the full EX score you would receive for that arrow. Completely helding down a hold note or avoiding a mine by NOT pressing a key that a mine is on within 0.090000 (9 hundredths) of a second will also yield Marvelous perfect judgment in terms of scoring.


A great means you hit a note outside of the Perfect window, but within 0.090000 (Nine hundredths) of a second. Gives half of full points to DP score and 1/3 of the full points to EX score. You must get a perfect or a great in order to keep up your combo. Hitting all notes with perfect or great in a song is called a "Full Combo".


A miss means either you pressed a key outside of both perfect and great windows (but within 0.180000 (18 hundredths) of a second), or you completely missed the arrow. Obviously, this judgment will break your combo and it is worth 0 points for both DP and EX scores. Hitting an arrow key MORE than 0.180000 seconds BEFORE the arrow comes onscreen WILL NOT affect your score or your combo in anyway, however there might be just a minor life penalty in some game modes (that doesn't count as a miss), such as beat (beatmania/IIDX). Letting the hold note go for more than 0.250000 (1/4 a second) at one time or pressing a key that a mine is on within 0.090000 (9 hundredths) of a second will also result in a miss.

Song modifiers[edit]

C-mod / C-modders - People who use consistent modifications in order to play songs. Some StepMania-based games "disqualify" a player, or refuse to save the score, if the player uses a C-mod on a song that uses BPM tricks.

X-mod / X-modders - People who use BPM multiplier modifications (or just x1) in order to play songs. Usually newbies play on x-mod because it is already set for x1, and a lot of the time quit there because it is annoying to see arrows too close or too far apart for them (as well as sudden BPM changes, stops, tricks, negative BPMs, etc). However, some more experienced players are also X-modders. These players sometimes even consider C-mods "cheating", and will not consider scores gained with C-mods to be legit. X-modders have the short end of the stick, because they never know what is going to happen unless they play a song many times and analyze where the BPMs rise, drop, stop, and do other things.


Dance-pad / pad file - A file designated for use with a DDR pad. Pad files can be played on keyboard, but are generally too easy and boring for even only average keyboard players to play.

Keyboard files - A simfile designated for use with a keyboard (obviously). These files generally shouldn't be bothered to be played on a dance pad, as most of them are decently difficult, and contain hands, quads, close doubles, jacks, jump trills, and many other things that DDR players find pretty much impossible to hit without large gaps between them or slowed down. Some of them can be played on DDR...but you'll be able to tell right away which ones cannot be. Normally files that can be played on both, are considered Pad and Keyboard files.

Pump files - A simfile designated for use with a keyboard (or special dance pad respectively), that uses 5 keys (corners and center) instead of the general single or 4-key pattern.

Solo files - A simfile designated for use with a keyboard (or one hell of an awesome DDR player), that uses 6 keys, adding the top left and top right corners to the single or 4-key pattern.

Dance-Double files - A simfile designated for 1 player on two different sets of 4 key patterns (in other words, 8 keys are onscreen) are played.

Dump files - A simfile that consists of randomly placed arrows that are consistently off-sync with the rest of the song. Generally dump files are extremely difficult to pass as they tend to emulate no pattern and have outrageously close difficult patterns that have nothing to do with the song. The general population of dump files are nothing but if you get one, delete it.

Quality dump files - A dump file that is on sync in about 50% of the song...while the other 50 or so percent is smooth patterned streams and trills can be considered a Quality dump file. the file in itself is merely an attempt to take a rather easy song and make it significantly more difficult without the overall file being utter garbage. Of course this is all a matter of opinion, but good examples of Quality dump files would be the steps A ballad for Ceteka and Wait for You from Hard songs Hegapack 7. Obviously, any newbie shouldn't even consider trying to play or pass these files, as they will quickly fail. Here is a good way to determine if you are playing a quality dump file:

  • It starts out perfectly on sync
  • The file turns into patterned streams and other patterns about the same frame rate away from each other when the lyrics start
  • The file consistently goes from these streams and trills back into sync with the song.
  • The file ends with most or the whole song stepped (sometimes after the end of a certain verse or chorus it will end stepping)
  • The file feels beatable, and not as if it were come collaboration of random bull crap everywhere.

Impossible files / Jukebox files - Other than dump files, there are stepped files that are impossible to complete no matter how good you become at playing the game. These files are generally created "for the laughs" or just to try to get the jukebox autoplay to fail. Such songs would be like Dear Arch or Haruka Kanata Slipknot Remix from the AWPerative's Ultimate Joke Sim Bundle Group Box Congregation Collaboration Megapack Pack Collection where the arrows are so close together that on c-mod they almost appear like a black stream of hell. If you get one of these files, either delete it, or show it to people who never played StepMania before to get a quick laugh out of the look on their faces!

Noteskin test files - Any file that has every note from 4th-64th. Either the song is slow enough to be able to fit every note there (good or OK noteskin test file), or whoever created it just used the 192nd snap and placed random arrows that don't fit with the beat everywhere (bad noteskin test file). Named so because note-colored noteskins usually have 8 colors for notes 4th-64th. Examples: Destination Unknown from Mungyodance 3 or Chronon from ITG Rebirth 2.

StepMania Grading system[edit]

StepMania makes use of a modified version of DDR/SDVX/Arcaea grading system.

DP - The sum of score of every note. Different judged notes are weighted by:

  • Perfect: 2
  • Great: 1
  • Miss: 0

DP percentage - The percentage of obtained DP over highest possible DP.

Grade - The grade judged mainly by DP percentage, with conditions as follows:

  • AAAA (AP+) - DP percentage equals to 100% with all notes judged Marvelous/Flawless perfects(only recognized in Stepmania).
    • AAAAA (AP++) - All notes judged Ridiculous perfects (half of Marvelous/Flawless perfect window) with unofficial Ridiculous timing patch installed (only available on version 3.9), or equivalently getting AAAA in judge difficulty of 7/Very Hard.
  • AAA (AP) - DP percentage equals to 100% (All Perfect). The highest official and recognized grade.
  • AA (S) - Passing the song and 90% ≤ DP percentage < 100%.
  • A - Passing the song and 80% ≤ DP percentage < 90%.
  • B - Passing the song and 70% ≤ DP percentage < 70%.
  • C - Passing the song and 60% ≤ DP percentage < 60%.
  • D - Passing the song and DP precentage < 60%.
  • E - Failing the song, regardless of DP percentage.

Additional terms[edit]

Heavy or Maniac - terms used especially by players coming from DDR to refer to "Hard" on the StepMania difficulty listings.

Oni - refers to "Challenge" on the StepMania difficulty listings.

Chart - refers to the simfile (usually used for talking about editing a simfile, but can be used for discussing completion or score on the file).

Black Flag - completing a song with all perfects except one "great".

Mashing - hitting arrows without any actual thought on what the arrows on screen are (generally on official standards and higher, mashing is very hard to do, and generally fails you due to StepMania's judging system.

  • Quadholding is another form of mashing when the player repetitively hits all four keys at the same time very quickly. Although this method fails miserably when playing Stepmania compared to other games such as Flash Flash Revolution, where mashing is almost encouraged. Quadholding only seriously comes into beneficial play in StepMania when you are actually hitting a fast stream of quad notes, or are playing a song that has so many notes so close together, that the mashing actually can keep you afloat in certain parts of the song (such as in Circus Gallop from Hard Songs Megapack Volume 10).