StepMix 5 Contest

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StepMix 5 Song Contest

  • Create original StepMania songs
  • Submit them to us
  • Promote your works and web site
  • Win your share of $600 cash + prizes

Discuss @ StepMania Message Boards

(feel free to add links to discussion threads on other message boards)

Have a question that's not answered by this document? Ask on the StepMix message boards.



Start Submission Deadline
Saturday, July 6th 2009 Sunday, January 10th 2010

About the StepMania Complete CD-ROM

Proceeds from the sales of the StepMania Complete CD-ROMs go entirely toward the cash prizes of the StepMix Contests. If at any time the proceeds are larger than the prize obligations of the current or upcoming StepMix Contest, we will halt sales of the StepMania Complete CD-ROM.

Music requirements

Any music can be used in your StepMix entry as long as we must be allowed to distribute the song on the StepMania web site and on the StepMania Complete CD-ROM. This means that either:


  • You must have permission (either written or in email) from the music copyright owner (usually the musician) to use their music for StepMix and present to them the following statement:

"I am requesting permission to use your song __________ in my entry to the StepMix Song Contest. I would like to create game dance steps for your song, allow it to be posted on the StepMania web site (, and allow it to be used on the non-profit StepMania Complete CD-ROM ( which raises prize money for the StepMix contest. Full details are available at"

Other licenses may be permitted. If you have any questions about a song or license, pleaes post the question to the StepMix questions forum. Be sure to include a link to the song, the artist web page, and the full text of that license (if available).

Entry requirements

In addition to the music requirements above, entries must also meet the following requirements:

  • Any samples used in the music must be available under a license that allows the resulting song to be released under one of the above licenses or permissions.
  • Any images or artwork used in your song graphics must be used with permission of the copyright holder. Your entry will be disqualified if it's discovered that you used images without permission.
  • If you use an image that has a watermark, leave the watermark preserved.
  • *New* If you are creating a new song in the style of an existing song, do not include the exact title of the existing song in your new song. For example, "Healing Vision" will not be allowed, but "Healing Revision" would be allowed.
  • Your song must be reasonably synchronized so that the beats match the music file.
  • All songs must have at least Easy, Medium, and Hard difficulties for dance-single steps type. Beginner and Challenge difficulties are not required, but may earn extra points. dance-double steps are not required, but also may earn extra points.
  • All submissions must include background and banner graphics, in PNG format.
  • Music files must be in Ogg Vorbis or MP3 format.
  • The music sample rate must be at least 44.1khz. Music that is sampled from a lower rate up to a required sample rate will not be accepted.
  • The music bit rate must be at least 96kbs (160kbps is preferred). If a submitted music file has higher bit rate, we reserve the right to resample it down. Music that is converted from a lower bit rate up to a required bit rate will not be accepted.
  • All songs must be between 80 and 180 seconds long.
  • Backgrounds graphic resolution must be at least 640x480 (4:3) or 768x480 (16:10).
  • Banners must be at least 256x80 resolution and be either DDR aspect ratio (256x80) or ITG aspect ratio (418x164). Do not use "rotated banners", and do not use transparency.
  • Backgrounds and banners must include the song title and musician name.
  • Backgrounds movies and background animations are allowed as long as they fit within the submission size limit.
  • Lyrics are not required, but are encouraged.
  • The steps file must be in .sm or .dwi format.
  • Do not submit any unnecessary files (like .sm.old files).
  • There is no need to include CDTitles. A single, consistent CDTitle will be used for the whole pack.
  • Optional, but highly encouraged: The submitter agrees that if their entry wins a prize they will take a digital picture of themself and submit it for use in the table of winning entries.

Submission instructions

Q: How do I attach the e-mail approval from the music owner?

A: The best way would be to take a screenshot of the email (you can upload using ImageShack) and post it in the message board thread for your submission. If that's too much of a pain, you can copy and paste the permission text into the message board thread for your submission. The message board thread for your submission is created automatically when you complete the submission form.

Submission limits

One individual may submit at most 5 entries into each bracket. However, any submitter is allowed at most one winning entry. When ranking the winners, we will throw out all entries for multiple-submitters except for for the submitters' top-ranking entry.

Disqualified entries count as a submission. Please make sure that your song meets all requirements before submitting, or you'll be wasting one of your submissions.


  • 1st place (grand prize): $200 cash + a team-signed copy of ITG PC/Mac
  • 2nd place: $100 cash
  • 3rd place: $100 cash
  • 4th place: $50 cash
  • 5th place: $50 cash
  • 6th place: $50 cash
  • 7th place: $50 cash
  • The submitter will be awarded all prizes for an entry. If multiple people contributed to the entry, it is up to the submitter to distribute the prizes among all contributors.
  • Prize money will be awarded via only PayPal and using the submitter's email address.
  • Winners will also be distributed with Tapmania (stepmania on iphone/ipod touch) as the default song pack

Website: Project Page:

How we'll use your submission

All submissions will be made available on and made available on a StepMania Complete CD-ROM sometime in the future. Even non-winning submissions will be used.

You, the creator(s) of the submission, retain full ownership of your work and are free to host it on your own web site, submit it to other contests, or do whatever you want with it.


Winners are chosen at the sole discretion of the StepMania development team.

If it is discovered that the submission is not completely the original work of the submitter and the submitter has not obtained permission from the appropriate rights holders, the entry will be disqualified.

Song: 40%

  • Interesting samples, rhythms, melodies: 15%
  • High quality samples and production: 15%
  • Quality of game-size (~1:30) edit: 5%
  • Appropriateness and creativity of song selection: 5%

Steps: 40%

  • Criteria for all steps: rhythms fit the song, interesting step placement, appropriate challenge for rated meter, steps are fun
  • Single easy: 10%
  • Single medium: 10%
  • Single hard: 20%

Graphics: 10%

  • Criteria for all graphics: aesthetic appeal, layout appropriate for graphic shape
  • Banner: 5%
  • Background: 5%

Additional Content: 10%

  • Any extra steps (beginner, challenge, double steps)
  • background animations

If you have any questions about the judging criteria, please e-mail us.

More details about the judging process can be found here: StepMix 5 Judging


  • Make sure that the music is high quality. If you're a musician, ask your friends for feedback and improve the production quality of your work. If you're a step artist, try to seek out music from friends or Creative Commons musicians.
  • Have high quality banner and background graphics. Don't do a sloppy crop of the background to make the banner.
  • Have high quality steps. Steps should either be very technically sound or display creativity (like rhythms or patterns never seen before).
  • If you do include extra steps beyond the required steps, please do make sure they're high quality too. We won't be impressed if you copy/paste steps from other difficulty then throw on some transforms.
  • Music over 120 seconds is strongly discouraged. 100-110 seconds is a good target.


Rules, prizes, instructions and any other information related to this contest are subject to change. It is inevitable that we will make mistakes. We apologize in advance.

We are not responsible for lost entries or mistakes in entries, but we'll try our best to not let such things happen.

If something goes wrong or you don't win, please don't worry. You'll have another chance in a future contest.


How do I create a song?

Are hands, mines, and rolls allowed?

Yes. They're allowed and you're encouraged to use them if it's appropriate for the song and difficulty.

Do you prefer DDR-style or ITG-style (hands and mines) steps?

Use whatever style you think is most appropriate for the song and difficulty. Just be sure that the steps are high quality across all difficulties.

Can a simfile previously released to another web site or entered into another online tournament still be entered into StepMix?

Yeah, why not?

Are you judging music quality?

Absolutely. If you're a musician, spend a lot of time polishing your music. If you're a step maker, spend a lot of time looking for a good musician who will allow you to use their music for this contest.

If I use Creative Commons music, do I need to obtain permission from the author?

If the song is under one of the Creative Commons licenses listed above, the author has already given permission to create derivative works (such as edits and step files), and you don't need to ask again.

Not all Creative Commons licenses are permitted.

  • The "No Derivs" license variations are not allowed because they do not allow the creation of step files or game-length edits.
  • The "Non Commercial" variations are allowed, but you must select the exact license from the drop-down box on the submission form. Songs with a Non Commercial license cannot be included on the StepMix CD-ROM.

Can I use a song that was used by another entry from a previous StepMix?

Yes. You must still obtain the proper song permissions from the musician. We don't recommend this though because the judges will probably be tired of hearing this song if it was already in a StepMix.

Is a README text file required?

A README file is not required, but you are welcome to include one.

Can I use music from a group that has disbanded without obtaining permission?

No - you must still obtain permission. Someone owns the copyrights for music by a group that has disbanded. It will likely be difficult to locate the correct person.

Can I use music from a musician that is dead? e.g. Beethoven

In general, any music older than 95 years is in the public domain and is safe to use. In the Beethoven example, you are free to create your own version of a Beethoven song because all of his songs are in the public domain. However, if you are using a performance of a Beethoven song that was recorded by another musician, you will need to obtain permission from the recording musician.

Can I make a remix of another song?

Yes, as long as your remix does not infringe on the copyrights of whatever song is inspiring the remix. For example, you'll have to obtain permission for any samples you use in a remix.

What do I need to submit as proof of permission from the music copyright holder?

After submitting your song, you should post your proof of permission to the entry's thread on the message boards. Any of the following will be accepted as proof:

  • preferred: A screenshot of an IM conversation, email, myspace message, or forum post in which the musician gives their permission.
  • not preferred, but accepted: Text of an IM conversation, email, myspace message, or forum post in which the musician gives their permission.

If you (the submitter) are also the musician, please post a picture of your song in your music editor as proof.

To take a screenshot, use Alt+PrntScrn (Windows) or Command+Shift+4 (OS X)

Do I still need to submit permission proof if the artist has said that their work is freely available for use in StepMix?

If the artist has posted on the StepMania Message Boards that their music is freely available for anyone to use in StepMix, then please submit a link to that post as proof. That will help us with tracking things down if there's ever a problem in the future.


Thanks to Buzzert for another awesome StepMix logo!

Thanks to (donated web hosting)