Basic Requirements

Today, In The Groove (ITG) is played on Stepmania 5 and uses themes to standardize game elements from the timing windows to the lifebars. At minimum, the following is necessary to start playing:

  • 4-panel dance pad or arcade machine
  • Stepmania 5 (SM5)
  • A theme with ITG metrics
  • Song packs

Though not required, it’s highly recommended to install the GrooveStats Launcher which adds leaderboards and automatic score submissions to themes that support GrooveStats integration.

Feel free to join the ITC Discord if you need help or have any questions about getting setup to play.

1. Get a dance pad.

ITG is intended to be played on a 4-panel dance pad such as one for ITG, DDR, or SMX. There are many options for pads ranging from soft pads to full arcade machines.

DomITG created a great resource for determining which type of pad might be best based on factors like cost, availability, and performance. A written version of Dom’s guide is available on nvITG’s ITG Guide resource.

Dom’s 4-Panel Dance Pad Roundup 2020

2. Install Stepmania.

Stepmania is the base game engine for ITG. Stepmania can be installed either through the official website or through Club Fantastic.

Club Fantastic is a project that packages Stepmania, an ITG theme, and two packs with music production, artwork, and charting done by the community, for the community. This is a fantastic option for getting started if you’re new to Stepmania or similar simulators.

3. Install a theme.

A theme not only changes the visual appearance of Stepmania but can also change its timing windows, lifebars, and scoring. Stepmania by default is not configured to match ITG metrics so a theme is required.

Recommended – Simply Love

We recommend Simply Love as the theme of choice for playing modern ITG. It is currently the most used theme in the community and adds features that aren’t in stock Stepmania, provides a clean and minimal UI, and also supports GrooveStats integration.

Alternative Theme – Waterfall

Waterfall is a theme by SteveReen that deviates from ITG and provides its own gameplay metrics, from different timing windows, lifebars, and scoring. Despite the deviation, Waterfall also supports ITG gameplay and dual-saves Waterfall and ITG scores, making it another popular choice in the community.

  • Waterfall 0.7.0 by SteveReen (Twitter Release)
  • Waterfall Expanded by Zarzob (Google Drive)
    • A modification of the original theme by SteveReen that adds popular user-requested features.

Theme Installation

A theme is installed by dropping it into the Themes folder in your Stepmania installation. On Windows, the default location is C:\Games\Stepmania 5\Themes.

4. Download songs and packs.

One of Stepmania’s core features is being able to load your own songs and charts into the game. Rather than releasing songs individually they are often grouped into packs which are then uploaded and shared for others to play.

Song Pack Repositories

What packs do I get?

For Beginners

For Intermediate/Expert Players

5. Setup the GrooveStats launcher. (optional)