I hope you all are doing well. I'm giving you a little update from OutFox HQ as I am sure you are curious on what went on with the 4.9.9 release and its many tweaks and Hotfix builds.
So let me describe what happened and why we did what we did.
To prepare for the new parsing and profile system that is upcoming for Alpha V, it is time that the engine is modernised to support more than just "American English" and the ANSI/ASCII standard. For those who don't like the abbreviations, it means text in English. OutFox, and historically StepMania was never really written with foreign language support or any type of loading or conversion support for files or text in different languages other than American English.
As you know we are expanding the game modes the engine supports and as a result of this, it adds new improvements to the "bread and butter modes" (dance, pump) so it benefits everyone in the long run. Last month we upgraded the internal parsing system to proper understand Japanese and Korean loading as well as SHIFT-JIS internal text for our pop'n/po-mu, BMS, DTX and the DDR charts which used them. This was a really successful update, and fixed around 18 bugs in SM5, and allowed a lot more charts to be successfully loaded into the game.
Building on this success, we then decided to fix the long standing issue of "one simfile to rule them all" which was: if there were more than one simfile, it only loaded one of those simfiles, usually spotting the SSC then forgetting everything else. As we will be supporting a wide range of new notes loaders in the future, we wanted to remove this bug to expand on specifically BMS/PMS and the Dance charts. This worked once again with great success.
However, it was all about to come undone as our players with cabinets found out.
Fixing these bugs to our horror we were hit with a lot of reports of missing scores, no history found, groovestats and the SRPG groups, as well as everybody.dance and other things built on SM5 literally crashed and burned, due to the reliance on those bugs being included in the code.
We rushed to adjust how we did the loading, and we had to for the moment readd the bugs back for groovestats as this was completely broken for folks who wished to share their scores.
It also broke saved scores, and hashed lists because we fixed the loading paths, but folks had years of scores on a bugged loader. To top it off, we allowed the evil that was DWI to load, so folks ended up with duplicate listings and all sorts of craziness we did not expect. My own cabinet fell foul of the DWI problem: I had converted them years ago, but never deleted the files. So now we loaded more than one loader, this was a problem!
I will say thanks to Dominic and Zankoku from the stamina community for taking the time to work through fixing these bugs as we were lost a bit on how the hashing and loading system affected groovestats and the other score sharing systems.
The reason we had such a flurry of hotfixes is due to we would solve one bug to have another reported almost an hour or two after we released, so it was a cat and mouse chase to get them fixed as they were affecting cabinets and folks' scores. These bugs only affected dance and ITG due to the fact all of these APIs had been built on them. I am not making excuses here, we should have been more thorough.
We had discovered that 21 issues arise within the folder/file parsing system, and that most things depend on this being the way it has been for around 15 years. We have enabled multi loading for other modes and file types, but have returned the SSC -> SM -> DWI rule that was common to the bugs in 5.1.
We humbly apologise for this, as we were not expecting that level of damage to established systems in the community. We had to re-enable the bugged code for now until we can look at a new way to fix scores and hashes so that the score shares and players histories are not affected by the new loading system.
For the tl;dr - we updated something in our parsers and file loaders, that broke all the scores and share systems due to them being built on bugged code. We had to release loads of fixes as folks reported the bugs.
I hope that clears things up a bit, and that you don't hate us too much for the errors, we did revert the code to ensure backwards compatibility was maintained. It sometimes happens in alpha development, we do sometimes update things with the best intentions, which breaks a "StepMania thing" horribly. The codebase is still a massive adventure for us too.
This update brings together all the hotfixes and finally puts a lot of the little niggles to rest.
popnsongs on Endless Mode may have a crash on song loading. Please be aware that course mode for these modes are a bit tempremental at the moment!
gh mode: Some charts have no real 'standard' and will cause a crash when loaded into the game
gddm mode: We do not support the XA codec at this time, it'll play silent.
gddmnoteskin: default with real support from Jousway
ez2 noteskin: default from Lirodon
taiko noteskin: crystal-taitai from Lirodon
taiko noteskin: shizuka from Lirodon (graphics) and Jousway
taiko noteskin: taitai and taitai3d from Jousway
gdgf noteskin guitarDTX by yaladre
The big news is we (now finally!) have passed the prerequisites for GateKeeper on Mac, so this hotfix should behave and work fine, without any issues. Do remember to just drag and drop as the dmg lets you know how to do so, and it will run as other applications. Thanks to Jose and Squirrel for their efforts, and Jose for puzzling through, and Jousway for fixing one of the bugs in
gh mode which was causing issues as well.
There were several issues with the notes loaders and how antivirus/software protection apps were seeing OutFox when we were loading simfiles. This alpha hotfix now has addressed this by allowing you all to add more than one simfile in a song folder, cutting down on the folder rabbit hole. As we move to a more multi-game engine, this will also allow you to keep things tidy on your drive, and ensure it is a seamless experience for you all. Of course, please check the audio files are the same for the chart you are going to add to the folder, as you may find you have a nasty sync issue, but we also now support multidifficulty setups, as this is required for
This hotfix also sees a tweak to the difficulty system used in OutFox. In the past it was tied to the DDR paradigm and then left to rot as one of those 'StepMania Things'. This however really stifled what we could do within the engine, especially with modes with different names/brackets etc. With the release of
taiko we needed more difficulties than the game offered, so this has now been resolved. Themes which are based off of 5.1/5.0.x will still work due to the numbers being the same as before. If there are any issues with your theme, do let us know, but we have tested several with no issues.
These features have been missing from our keysound support since 2002, and we are proud to say that we have them in this hotfix! They are completely supported in
gddm from the parser, (do reset your cache of course!) and they also work in
taiko will need the support as well, so shout out to Jous for putting up with my waaaahh-luigi on getting it added to the game. This build also supports the hidden chips/keysounds for
gddm and we'll work on getting the final compatibility added in due course.
Due to the need to run with a slightly more secure runtime on Mac OS Catalina/Big Sur/Monterey on the Intel based macs there were some functions in our
gh mode which gatekeeper did not approve of. The way the notes were cast have been fixed, fever/star power has been sorted to be more gh3 like, and taps and open strums are also tweaked to be better. Please give them a try and let us know! A theme for this mode is in the works, so apologies for the barebone approach we have at the moment. It's also why we are an alpha after all...