r21freak/r21/ITG FAQ

Answering all questions about r21freak and r21/ITG.
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r21freak/r21/ITG FAQ

Postby sssmsm on Sun Feb 24, 2008 2:20 pm

The following is a FAQ for this the game ITG (In The Groove), its r21 upgrade, and this site: r21freak. If you're a member here, feel free to make a topic offering suggestions for a new question, answer, question/answer, or editing/adding to whatever is already written here. This is a constant work in progress, so feel free to let me know if you think anything should be changed!



Before you read this whole thing, there are some terms that you should know. They are used throughout the FAQ (and the etire site), so it would be a pain to define them each time. Learn them!

  • Abuse - Typically, using step-rhetoric to such an extent that it hurts the file rather than enhancing it. Examples of this could be: enough gimmicks so that the file requires too much memorization to be fun, enough mines so that the file is more difficult than fun, etc.
  • Flaw - A generic term referring to both stylistic and technical flaws.
  • Gimmicks - BPM changes and stops in a stepchart. Though it typically refers to having many BPM changes/stops, it can be used to refer to individual ones. Even though it usually has a bad connotation to it, it has a neutral connotation when it comes to stepfiles.
  • Lack/Lacking - A subset of stylistic flaws. A lack/lacking is a part of a stepchart that was not stepped as well as it could have been. Examples of this are: using 16th runs in areas that have more complex patterns in the music, not accenting more prominent parts with jumps/hands, not using gimmicks in areas that call for them, using generic patterns instead of crossovers, spins, etc. To differ it from a stylistic flaw, in a lack/lacking, generally something was NOT done, and it was disappointing.
  • Old-Hat - Not in fashion anymore. That is, step-rhetoric that was popular for a while, but no longer is. Examples of this are: after Tricky Disco came out, it was very popular to use lots of rolls in files, but then it died down and it no longer became fashionable, now they are acceptable; and after r2112 came out, it was very popular to make files with lots of gimmicks, but then it died down, and is still in the process of being old-hat, slowly becoming more popular again.
  • Solid File - A file that (at least) steps every beat fairly well and has no technical flaws. There can be room for improvement in solid files, as it can have stylistic flaws and lackings as well.
  • Step-Rhetoric - Using arrow patterns and gimmicks in order to accent and/or enhance the experience of playing a song. Usually hard to explain to beginners, but can be understood as thus: if you have an experience in life, you have two choices to record it: 1) write down exactly what happened, or 2) express it creatively (ie: in a poem/song). Either way, the experience will get recorded, but the difference is when it is presented to others. Writing down exactly what happened may come across as bland and boring, whereas the poem/song can have many layers of meaning. The same can be applied to stepping a song. When you do it, you have two choices: 1) step everything exactly, beat for beat, or 2) step it in a more creative way (ie: with gimmicks, interesting arrow patterns, etc).
    As for the actual definition, step-rhetoric usually refers to the usage of arrow patterns, gimmicks, mines, freezes, rolls, etc to make the stepchart go along with the music even better, and enhance the player's experience.
  • Stylistic Flaw - A bad choice on the part of a step artist. That is, a part of a stepchart that is not stepped as well as it could have been. Examples of this are: unintentional double stepping, gimmicks that do not enchance/accent the music, repetitive arrow patterns, etc. A stylistic flaw has nothing to do with the BPM or gap/offset being wrong on a stepfile. To differ it from a lack/lacking, in a stylistic flaw, generally something WAS done, but done badly.
  • Technical Flaw - Something fundamentally wrong in a stepchart. This usually refers to having the wrong BPM or gap/offset. A Technical Flaw has nothing to do with a step artist's stylistic choices when stepping a song.

r21/ITG Questions

Q: How do I make an r21 stepfile?
It's really not that hard at all. Just follow these steps, and before you know it you'll be an r21 stepfile making machine!

1. Choose a song and make a stepfile to it in Stepmania. To get stepmania, go here. To find songs to make steps to, you're on your own. As for how to actually put the steps to the music, that is another tutorial altogether. I highly recommend the r21 Simfile Guide put together by our very own Insane Steve. You can read it here. It has a lot of great info, for noobs and pros alike.

2. Once you have successfully created a stepfile to a song, you need to trim off some of the fat that Stepmania automatically creates. Open up the folder that contains your song and delete everything that is not the song file (.ogg or .mp3) and the .sm stepfile (the only stepfile format that the In The Groove arcade machines can read). You can leave banners and backgrounds, though it is not recommended since r21 machines will not load them anyway, and they are just a waste of space. They are only good for hacked dedicabs.

3. Now you need to make sure that your song file is in .ogg format, the only music format that the In The Groove arcade machines can read. As for programs to convert your music file (most likely from an mp3) to an .ogg, I recommend Audacity. It is free, easy to use, and has never faltered once for me. Just open the music file in Audacity and export it as an ogg. If Audacity doesn't work, then media-convert.com is a great alternative.

4. Now you have to make sure your .ogg is no bigger than 5MB. If it is 5MB or larger, the machine will not play it. To fix this, you'll either have to 1) try converting it again at less quality, or 2) cut the song length. If you need to do (2), just use Audacity again. It's very easy to do. Just open the .ogg file in Audacity, highlight the part of the song that you want to delete, and hit "delete". Export it again and you're set.

5. Now you must check to see if your song is two minutes or longer. r21 machines usually do not load songs that are two minutes or longer. If it is too long, you must patch it to trick the machine into thinking it isn't over two minutes. To change your file so that the machine accepts it, download this. Extract the .exe file. Now drag your .ogg over the .exe as if it were a folder you were dragging something into. Your screen should flash for a second. Once that happens, your .ogg has been patched and it should read as being only 1:45 long.

6. So once you have only the .ogg and .sm inside your song folder, it is time to put it on a flash drive (a USB memory stick). Usually the plainer the flash drive, the better. That is, if it has stuff programmed onto it, has lights or whatever, chances are it won't work. Also, you have to use a flash drive that has already been used in an In The Groove arcade machine. That is, one that already has your scores, edits and such on it. If you don't have one that has already been used on an arcade machine, no big deal, just go play a round or two of normal songs on ITG2 with your stick in the machine and you'll be set. When you've done that, open up the "In The Groove 2" folder on the flash drive and create a new folder inside of it called "Songs". Put the song you created into the "Songs" folder.

7. Now you're done! If the songs don't load on your arcade machine, then read this.

Q: The songs in my Stepmania are offsync. How do I fix this?
If all of the songs in your Stepmania seem to be off by the same amount, then your global offset is probably off. To fix this, you have two options. One, you can go into Edit mode in Stepmania, choose an easy song with arrows that you know should be onsync, press ESC when the song loads, go to Song Options, choose Sync Machine, and then play the song as it SHOULD be played. After a few seconds, your Stepmania will readjust itself to match your timing. You can also do this in-game; just choose Sync Machine in Song Options (the menu that comes up after the menu for speed mods, etc) after you select your song.

Also, to fine tune your timing, you can go to your Stepmania folder on your computer (usually C:\Program Files\Stepmania), go to Data, open up StepMania.ini, go to GlobalOffsetSeconds and change the value after the equals sign to whatever you feel it should be. This is a great way to adjust when you feel your Stepmania is only a tiny bit off.

You can also fine tune your global offset in-game. You do it by holding shift and hitting either F11 or F12 until the song feels onsync. That moves the global offset in increments of 0.020. You can also hold alt while holding shift and it will move in 0.001 increments instead, for extreme fine tuning. Remember though, all of these changes will effect ALL of your songs in Stepmania, so only do it if you feel that all of your songs are offsync. If only one or two feel offsync, then just change those ones individually.

Q: How do I load these r21stepfiles onto my arcade machine?
This is the easiest part of making r21 files! Once you're sure you've correctly put all of the songs you want to play on your flash drive, just plug the flash drive into your arcade machine as you normally would, and when you get to the song selection screen there should be a "YOUR NAME's Songs" folder along with the usual "In The Groove" and "In The Groove 2". When you select an r21 song, it will load off of your flash drive. That's all there is to it!

Q: My machine doesn't load my r21 songs. Why?
Your machine must not have r21 installed on it yet. On the title screen of your acrade machine where it says "In the Groove" in big letters, it should say "r21 Custom Songs Enabled" in tiny letters at the bottom. If it doesn't, then you're out of luck. Contact your arcade manager and have them load it on. They only need to download the upgrade from here, put it on a flash drive, and put it on the machine. (If that link doesn't work, you can also download the upgrade here). It takes only about a minute for a lifetime of pleasure.

Q: Why doesn't the machine load all of the songs off of my flash drive?
Apparently, the arcade machines load as many songs off of your drive as they can in 10 seconds. So, anything that would take up that time that is not an r21 song is taking away time from loading more r21's. So if you want to get more r21's at once, get rid of your normal song edits; anything else on your flash drive that's not In The Groove related; and any song banners, .dwi's, .old's or anything else that is not the .ogg and .sm in the individual song folders. If you have nothing but pure r21-ready files on your flash drive, you should be able to average around 30 to 50 songs loaded per game, depending on the quality of your cabinet.

Q: Even though I patched my songs over 2 minutes long, my machine cuts me off when I play them. Why?
Your arcade machine unfortunately must have r23 installed. This "update" cuts songs off after they have exceeded the two-minute limit, even if they are patched, ending the song immediately. Sorry. The only way around this is to "downgrade" back to r21.

Q: RoXor's site is down. Can I download the r21 patch from anywhere else?
Luckily we have a copy available here at r21freak, just in case anything ever happened to RoXor's site, so that we wouldn't lose this precious commondity forever. You can download the patch here:


Be sure to try out lots of songs from this site when you install it! :D

Q: How do I burn my own custom ITG2 game for the PS2?
Creating a custom ITGPS2 disc isn't that hard if you know what you're doing, but it does take a lot of time and patience. The following is a guide on how to create your own ITGPS2 game with custom songs.

Before You Begin:
- Make sure that your PS2 is capable of playing burned DVDs (modchip/swap disc/etc)
- Make sure that your computer has a DVD drive & DVD burner
- Download the following programs:
    -PCKSuite (includes packer, unpacker, PCK.IDX wrapper)
    -Something to convert music files to 48 KHz OGGs
    -Something to convert images to .png
    -Sony CD/DVD Generator
    -A DVD burning program/HDLoading program of your choice. (Anything that is capable of burning a .ISO file will do, such as DVD Decrypter)
You can download a pack of these tools at the following site:
Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see the download link.
(You can also download the pack here if the other link is down).

Ripping Your ITG PS2 Disc:
- Insert your ITG PS2 disc into your DVD drive
- Go into My Computer and right-click on your DVD drive and select explore so that you can see the files on the ITG disc
- Highlight all the items on the disc (ctrl+a) and copy them (ctrl+c)
- Create a folder on your computer somewhere where you will house these files. I use C:\CustomITG
- Paste the files into your newly made folder (ctrl+v)
- Go into the newly pasted PCKS folder and delete the PCK.IDX file
- If you do NOT want to include the ITG1 songs on your disc, go into the PCKS folder and delete all the files that start with the letter "D" except for DA0ADE3A.PCK which you need to keep.

Preparing Your Songs:
The following process needs to be followed with every single song you want to add to your disc.

- Convert the music file to a 48 KHz OGG vorbis file (.ogg)
    -I personally use a program called dbPowerAmp Music Converter. You can download it using this link: http://www.download3k.com/DownloadLink1-dBpowerAMP-Music-Converter.html
    - Using the program is pretty easy, simply open up the music file you want to convert and convert to .ogg. I believe that you will be prompted to download a codec the first time you try to do so, so do download that to make sure you can convert to .ogg files.
    - When converting the song, make sure that you select a Frequency of 48 KHz, and select an output folder (anywhere will do at this point. As you can see in the following image, I simply house all my converted music files on my desktop in a folder called "ITG-Ready Converted Songs")
    - Hit the Convert button and the program will take a few seconds to convert your song. (When you listen to the converted .ogg song afterwards, it shouldn't sound chipmunky or anything. It should be similar-sounding to the original. Therefore, do not use Audacity to convert to 48 KHz because it will change how the music sounds.)
- It is always a good idea to open your newly converted music files in Audacity because sometimes during conversion to 48kHz a song's volume may be over-amplified. To fix this, open a song file in Audacity, select all (ctrl+a), go to Effect>Normalize, and then hit ok. Audacity will normalize your file so that it isn't too loud/or too soft. Finally, to save, File>Export as Ogg Vorbis, and save over the original music file.

- Convert all banner images to .PNG with any sort of image-editing program, and make sure that they are 256x80 pixels in size
- Convert all background images to .PNG, and make sure that they are 320x240 pixels in size
- Make sure that you are using .SM instead of .DWI. (If you do have a .DWI file that you want to use, simply open up that file in Stepmania, go into edit mode to edit it and save the file. Stepmania will automatically save it as a .SM file. Afterwards you can just keep the .SM file and delete the .DWI file.)
- If there are any rolls in the stepchart, you'll need to convert them to holds. Open up the .SM in notepad, hit ctrl+F to open up the find dialog box, and search for the number 4. Replace all the 4s (which denote rolls) in the stepchart with 2s (which are holds).
- Make sure there are no empty SMs left over (ie: Easy steps with nothing in them), and all Edit steps are gone too. There can't be ANY edit steps.

- They don't work!! At all. It doesn't matter if a movie is a .mpg or .avi, ITG will just not recognize it. Should you make a disc with a movie file that goes along with a stepchart, if you play that song, ITG will try to load it, but won't be able to, meaning you'll be playing the entire song against a totally black background.

- In the end, each song should have its own folder and inside that folder there need to be four files:
    - Song file (48 KHz .ogg)
    - .SM file
    - Banner image (.png, 256x80)
    - Background image (.png 320x240)
(NOTE: Lyrics files - .LRC, WILL work on ITGPS2, so if any songs have them feel free to keep that file in the song's folder)

- Before proceeding open up each .SM file with Notepad and make sure that it points to the appropriate banner, background, and song file extensions. For example, if you converted Song.mp3 to Song.ogg, and open up its corresponding .SM file, change Song.mp3 to Song.ogg. The same thing goes for banners and backgrounds. Make sure the extensions are changed to .png). Save and close Notepad.

Packing your ITG-Ready Songs
- Put all your song files into C:\Songs\In the Groove 2
- So, inside the "In the Groove 2" folder every song will have its own folder, and inside those individual folders will be those 4 files (song, .sm, banner and background image) that we just talked about.
- Open up the PCKMagic Packer program.
- Click on "Browse for Source File Folder" and choose C:\, then finally Songs. Click ok. If you did that right you should see all the files listed in the PCK Packer program as "C:\Songs\In The Groove 2\*".
- Now, choose "Datafile" and check "Generate Cache"
- In the "PCK Comment" field put "default test" (without the quotation marks of course)
- Now, click on "Choose Filename & Save" and choose C:/CustomITG/PCKS (that is, inside the PCKS folder with all the other .pck files you ripped originally). Do NOT change the filename that the program automatically generates for you.
- Wait a few seconds-minutes, and then the program should come up with a pop-up saying "Finished all Jobs!". Hit ok, and now you can exit out of the program.

Making the .IDX file
- Open up PCKMagic IDX Wrapper program.
- Click on "Browse for PCK file folder" and navigate to the folder with all of your PCKs in it. (This is C/CustomITG/PCKS)
- Click on "Generate IDX file" and it will create a PCK.IDX for you.

Compiling your ISO
- Open Sony CD/DVD Generator. Select "Create New Project" and "DVD ROM Master Disc" (which is the same as Single Layer DVD). Drag the files from the folder C:/ITGCustom into the CD/DVD Generator in THIS EXACT ORDER:

2. PCKS folder
3. SLUS 211.77

Now hit the Volume tab and enter the following details EXACTLY AS SHOWN:

Disc Name: SLUS 21177
Producer Name: PLAYSTATION
Copyright Holder: ROXOR GAMES
License Area: America
Volume Set: 1
Publisher: REDOCTANE
Data Preparer: GLENN MAYNARD


-Then, finally hit File > Export IML File.

(If you receive an error stating that you haven't reached the minimum sector size, then you'll need to add a single large file (400mb or above) by dragging it and dropping it into the program much like how you've added the other ITG files. It should show up below BOOT.pak. Any large file will do - we just need it to take up some space on the DVD. If you've got a movie file such as a .avi or .mpg those are usually large enough.)

- Choose to name the IML file as "ITG" (without the quotations) and export it anywhere you like, such as the desktop.

Converting the IML to ISO:
- Open up IML2ISO.
- Click on the "..." button and select your newly made .iml file
- Hit "Start" to convert the file to an ISO. When the program is finished you should find a "ITG.iso" file in the same location as your "ITG.iml" file

Burning the ISO to a DVD:
- Use any sort of burning program to burn the .ISO that you just generated.
- If you happen to use DVD Decrypter, open it up and select Mode>ISO>Write
- Click on the folder icon and select the .ISO file
- Near the bottom right of the program make sure that your Write Speed is set to 4x. (Speeds higher than this sometimes causes discs not to be read by the PS2, so that's why we're sticking to 4x)
- Make sure that you have a blank DVD-R inside your DVD drive
- Click on the start button in the lower left side of the program
- Now, wait for a few minutes (this process usually takes 15-20 minutes) and when the burning is finished you're all done
- Put the disc in your PS2 and play! (If you're using SwapMagic make sure to boot your swap disc first.)

General r21freak Questions

Q: What are the rules here?
Excellent question. Here is the site policy (aka "Da Rules"). Read them. Know them. Follow them. Yo.

1) Outside of the Junkyard, you are NOT to make dumb posts, flame, spam, post inappropriate images, etc. Do not even post things that can lead to any of the above. Use your best judgement, but here are some guidelines and definitions:

Dumb posts: More than 1 or 2 irrelevant or semi-relevant posts in a topic, and/or more than 1 or 2 posts that are offtopic, redundant or mystifying. This can also be applied to reviewing files with simply a Fantastic or a Miss. Multiple reviews like that will lead to a warning/ban.

Flame: Any sort of attack of any kind on another member. This includes name-calling, file-bashing, heated words, unreasonable anger, unnecessary sarcasm, threats, severe criticizing for negligable reasons, etc. If you have a problem with someone, tell a mod. Or, just keep the arguing to PMs, AIM, real life, or your therapist. We DON'T want to see it. This doesn't mean you can't criticize files, it just means don't go overboard with negativity. If someone makes a bad file, by all means point out the faults, but be sure to try and say some good things too. Basically just don't do anything you'd be sent into time-out for if you were in kindergarten.

Spam: Essentially more than a post a minute, though that is only a guideline and can be stretched to as long as is reasonable. Even as little as one post an hour could be considered spam if they are dumb posts. Think carefully before every post and make sure it is relevant and has more than one or two words in it. If not, do NOT post it.

Inappropriate Content: Anything or links to anything that could be considered offensive by anyone. Porn, racial slurs, highly sexual conversation, gross images, terrifying images, images that are way too big, giving away other people's personal information unwillingly, etc., NONE are allowed.

Anything else deemed reasonably worth a warning by the admin. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, disobeying a direct request by the admin or moderator, or slight differences to any of the above rules.

Keep in mind that all of these rules apply to your signature and avatar (and username) as well. Anything that is viewable in the "real" forum (not the Junkyard) is subject to the above rules.

If you as a member see someone violating these rules or are frustrated by another member violating them, then send me or another moderator a PM indicating both the member's name and the post(s) that violate them. You can also click the warning button on their post (in the upper right hand corner of all posts, the !). I guarantee you that action will be taken if necessary.

If you violate any of the rules once, you will be sent a PM warning linking you to your violation, and explaining that you are to shape up or face more severe consequences.

If you violate any of them again, you will be banned from r21freak for a week. You will be sent an e-mail explaining your violation. Any attempt to access the site in this period (ie: using other user names, going from other people's computers) will result in a permanent immediate ban. As such, the use of multiple accounts is forbidden and can result in a warning/ban.

If you violate the rules for a third time, you will be IP banned. Further actions may be taken if violations persist.

If the situation deems it necessary, we may skip immediately to a week-ban, or an IP ban. A ban to the Junkyard or from only certain forums (or other form of punishment) may also be used in situations deemed appropriate. Any attempt to access the parts of the site banned from will result in a warning, or an extension of the semi-ban, based on the original offense.

These rules apply to EVERYONE. 0% members, 80% members, mods, and everyone in between.

Again, these rules do NOT apply to the Junkyard. Anything that is legal in the United States is allowed to be posted there (ie: no child pornography, unwanted personal info, viruses, spyware, etc). If you do not want to post in a forum that allows such things to be posted, then do NOT go to the Junkyard. However, it is NOT okay to post things/do things in the Junkyard that you are not supposed to talk about/do anywhere. For example, you cannot discuss the unlockat=3373bles in the Junkyard, post as other people against their will, make threats against the site, etc.

2) A bit of clarification on the Junkyard. Posts made in the Junkyard do not count toward your total post count. This is for two reasons:

One, the Junkyard was never intended to be a place for people to make lots of new posts. It was originally intended to be a museum of shit of sorts. That is, a place where members could see all the crap from banned members and moved/split topics if they wanted to. It could also be used to put stuff back if something was accidentally moved. Any requests made to "clean up" the Junkyard, "make it better," etc are not be taken seriously.

If you want to make a post that is of a general nature (ie: something funny happened to you, you found an interesting website, something ridiculous happened on TV and you just have to rant about it, etc), and you want it to be taken seriously and not spammed or flamed to death, then post it in General Discussion.

Second, the unlockables are supposed to take advantage of members' post counts. Were we to continue counting posts made in the Junkyard, this feature would be useless. We want only RELEVANT posts to count toward members' totals and unlockables.

3) Don't worry. These rules are here in an effort to protect 99% of the members on this site. There are just a couple who have tried to ruin it for everyone else in the past, and these rules are to prevent any future occurrences. r21freak was founded on the idea of creating and spreading some great r21 files. So long as you believe the same, you'll be fine. Just post r21s you've created, make some good comments on others', and relax and have a good time.

Just suppress the urge to act like a 10 year old, that's all we ask.

Q: This site is an unorganized heap of stepfiles! Where should I start looking for the good stuff?
You've got many choices:

1) The quickest and easiest place to start is in the Site Packs forum, where you can download the site's official simfile packages such as the r2112 Pack, r21twins Pack, Best of r21freak Pack, and Best of r21freak Pack II. These highly popular compilations feature some of the most fun and creative simfiles on the site internet. You can also check out packages compiled from the site's various simfile competitions here, though the quality can vary from awesome to terrible in those.

2) r21Freak Former Staff Members were all selected based on their reputation for simfile-making excellence, and each has their own individual forum with their complete simfile release history listed neatly in a single topic. Between all of them you're sure to find enough quality files to keep you busy for quite a while.

3) The very best user-submitted files are (or should be, at least) entered into the File of the Week forum on a (somewhat) weekly basis. Not only does this forum highlight quality files, but also helps to identify quality simfile artists in the community so you know whose releases to seek out in the future.

Q: How do I put YouTube videos in my posts?
1. When you browse videos on youtube, these pages have a URL in this form:

Where videoID is a bunch of letters, numbers or underscores. Take note of that value

2. The videos are in a flash format, and the actual URL of these flash files are located in:


Use the following code to add a youtube video to the post:
Where x and y are width and height you want the embed to show on your forum post, and the videoID of your video.

Code: Select all
will display the following:

As with everything though, make sure your embeded video is appropriate for where you are posting it!

Q: I want to be a moderator. What do I do?
In summary, there is no definite answer. Asking me or any other mod here to become a mod, however, will not increase your chances. When we need a new mod, we will ask someone to become that mod. The best way to increase your chances of being that someone is to participate in site activities, help out the team in any way possible, and (of course) don't get any warnings.

Q: What do the trophies and other things mean under certain members' names?
Members can win trophies and custom ranks for placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in official r21freak contests. If you come in 2nd or 3rd, you get a trophy or certificate picture designed by the admin, and if you come in 1st you get to choose whatever picture you want. The members who have these ranks under their names are obviously quite good at making stepfiles, so be sure to listen to them when they give you advice!

Q: I LOVE r21freak! How can I show my love for this wonderful place?
Glad you asked! You have a couple of choices. If you want to materially express your love for r21freak, then buying some merchandise is a great idea. There's shirts, ties, stickers, hats, and just about everything you'd ever need in life, with r21freak branded on it of course. You'll be the talk of your arcade in no time. If there's anything you'd like to buy that you don't see in the store, feel free to send me a PM and I'll do my best to straighten it out.

If you'd rather more directly donate to the site, then you can just straight up donate to r21freak. When you donate you can get cool stuff like hosting space here, @r21freak e-mails, private stepfile tutoring sessions, special stepfiles, and more. It's a great way to ensure that this site is here for your children to enjoy as well.

Q: Isn't sharing music files like this illegal?
No. First off, r21freak does not make any profit. Any donations or money made by the site goes right back into paying for the site to exist in the first place, which usually ends up in a negative balance anyway. Second, the files shared here are not meant to used in any other way besides played in Stepmania, ITGPC, or on an r21 ITG machine. Third, it is common knowledge that if you do not legally own the music files you download from here in some form or another, then you must delete them off of your computer after a trial period of 24 hours. This is the official stance of r21freak, and any members who choose to do otherwise do so at their own discretion.

Announcement Forum Questions

Q: What are the announcement forums?
The announcement forums are the "home page" of r21freak. Anytime something new is posted in Updates, you should definitely check it out. It could be anything from a new File of the Week, to a new Site Event. Keeping track of topics in the Updates forum is a great way to stay in touch with what is happening at r21freak. Only r21freak Team members can post in Updates.

FAQ and Guides is the forum you are in right now. It contains lots of information about ITG, r21, and this site. Before you ask any question you think might have been answered before, it would be a good idea to do a search through the FAQ and guides available in this forum, to save yourself being laughed at later. If you think anything should be changed in the FAQ and guides as well, be sure to post something here too.

Member r21 Files Forum Questions

Q: How do I post stepfiles that I've made?
So that the forum does not get overly unorganized, we have a (somewhat) universal format to creating topics and posting links to r21's that you have made. This is what that universal format is:

If you're just posting one file, then post it in Individual Files. In the title of your topic, say the name of the song, the artist, and the difficulty. If you feel you need to add something else too, do so, but at least put in those mandatory three. So, for example, if I made a stepfile to Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" that had 10 and 12 block difficulties, I would make my topic as the following:

Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice - 10/12

Now if for some reason I wanted to tell everyone that the main point of this file was its crossovers, I could write something like:

Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice - 10/12 (CROSSOVERS!!11!!!!)

Also, if your stepfile is mainly a doubles file, be sure to include that in your title. If the main steps are not doubles, but they are included, it is up to you whether or not to include the word "doubles" in the topic title.

If you're posting more than one file, or starting/contributing to a collection of your files, then post it in Packs of Files. However, when you do, be sure to still treat each file individually, as if you were posting a single topic for each one. That includes saying all the difficulty levels it has, whether it has doubles steps, rolls, some comment about it, etc.

When creating the topic for your pack, include the name of the pack (usually "YOUR NAME's Pack") and/or the pack's theme, plus the range of difficulties. So, for example, if I created a pack of Pokemon songs that ranged in difficulty from 10's to 14's, I would create the following topic:

Pokemon Pack! - 10's to 14's

Do not worry too much about being detailed on the difficulty range. If your songs span everything from Novice 1's to Expert 14's, then you can say that, or you can just say "varying difficulties".

Also, if you posted a pack of files, then created a new r21 file, you do not need to edit that file into your old pack's post. You can create a new topic for it in Individual Files if you like. It is your decision. Also, if you eventually post about 10 or more individual r21 files, you can create a pack topic linking to all of them. If you want to use that topic as the hub for your files and simply edit it every time you make a new file, that is up to you. Just be sure to bump it every time you make a new file so that people know it is updated.

As for what you post in your topic, that is completely up to you. Just be sure to say whether or not there are rolls in your files so people will know to playtest it in StepmaniaCVS or ITGPC. However, do not forget to link to your stepfile! When you upload your stepfile, it should only have the .ogg and .sm in the song folder, since it is made for r21. If you really want to include a banner and background, that is okay, but I do not recommend it since they will most likely just be deleted anyway. Do not include .dwi's or .old's please.

You can link to any site your file is hosted on, though it is preferred that you link directly to them. If they are hosted on a site that does not allow for direct linking, then please upload them somewhere else. If your file is not uploaded anywhere yet, I recommend the following sites to upload them to:

Mediafire - Very fast download speed. It should always be your first choice in hosting r21's.

Only "official" r21 files are uploaded directly onto r21freak.com. Please do not ask for your files to be uploaded too.

This should also go without saying, but please leave only constructive criticism about the files. Undeserved flaming and bashing will not be tolerated. However, if you knowingly upload something awful, you should be prepared to be verbally urinated on.

Try to keep to this standard as much as possible. If you do not, then a mod will most likely change around your topic and posts to fit it anyway, and it could get annoying to do that many times.

Q: Can I post stepfiles that I didn't make myself?
If you want to post someone else's r21 file, first get their permission if you are able to (so long as they're not retired or anything). If they say it's okay for you to post it, follow the same guidelines in posting it as above. Just be sure to mention that it is not your file and give the artist his/her due credit.

Q: What do the ratings (Fantastic, Exceltastic, Excellent, etc) everywhere mean?
These ratings are based off of ITG's rating system for how close you are to perfectly hitting an arrow on beat. The closer you are on beat, the better a rating you get, going all the way from Fantastic (the best) to Miss (the worst). At r21freak, this same idea is applied to stepfile rating. Here is a general breakdown of how the ratings are defined, though they can be used more subjectively by members:
An amazing file. An A+/A. A file that makes you want to jump out of your chair and immediately run to the arcade and play it. Fantastic files usually have no flaws and are usually never lacking in any aspect, but if they do then they are negligible (ie: the entire chart is great, but has a slightly off BPM, so only a small fix is necessary). Generally, the chart and music is extremely varied, never leaving the player bored. While not necessary a revolutionary file, it uses various step-rhetoric and/or gimmicks to significantly accent and/or enhance the experience of playing the song.

An excellent file. An A/A-. A file that you definitely want to play the next time you're at the arcade. Exceltastic files could be many things. They could be a Fantastic file with enough flaws or enough lacking to bring it down a grade, or they could be a solid Exceltastic. Generally, the chart and music is very varied, almost never leaving the player bored. While the use of step-rhetoric may be prevalent throughout the chart, the step-rhetoric used may be old hat, or simply just not as well done as a Fantastic file (ie: does not significantly accent/enhance the experience of playing the song, but simply accents/enhances it).

A great file. An A-/B+. A file that you might play the next time you go to the arcade. Excellent files could be many things. They could be a Fantastic or Exceltastic file with enough flaws or enough lacking to bring it down a grade, or they could be a solid Excellent. Generally, the chart and music is pretty varied, only occasionally leaving the player bored. While the use of step-rhetoric may be sometimes used, it may be old hat, abused, or simply just not as well done as an Exceltastic file (ie: does not really accent/enhance the experience of playing the song). Usually, an Excellent is the lowest score a completely solid file can receive.

An okay file. A B+/B. A file that you might play sometime. Grexcellent files could be many things. They could be an Exceltastic or Excellent file with enough flaws or enough lacking to bring it down a grade, or they could be a solid Grexcellent. Generally, the chart and music is not really varied, often leaving the player bored. While the use of step-rhetoric may be used a little, it may be very old hat, abused, or simply just not as well done as an Excellent file (ie: does not really accent/enhance the experience of playing the song at all). Usually, a Grexcellent is the lowest score a completely solid file with one or two flaws or lackings can receive.

A tolerable file. A B-/C+. A file that, while you might never play it, you can still see how someone else could enjoy it (ie: someone with VERY different tastes, someone progressing from 8's to 9's for a Great 9, etc). Great files could be many things. They could be an Excellent or Grexcellent file with enough flaws or enough lacking to bring it down a grade, or they could be a solid Great. Generally, the chart and music is not varied, very often leaving the player bored. There is little or no use of step-rhetoric, and if it is used, it may be very old hat, abused, used incorrectly, or simply just not as well done as a Grexcellent file (ie: does not accent/enhance the experience of playing the song). Usually, a Great is the lowest score a file with no technical flaws or a completely solid file with some flaws or lackings can receive.

A poor file. A C+/C. A file that you would never play, but you can still see how maybe someone else could enjoy it (ie: someone with VERY different tastes, someone progressing from 7's to 8's for a Grecent 8, etc). Grecent files could be many things. They could be a Grexcellent or Great file with enough flaws or enough lacking to bring it down a grade, or they could be a solid Grecent. Generally, the chart and music is not varied, usually leaving the player bored. There is no use of step-rhetoric, and if it is attepted, it may be very old hat, abused, used incorrectly, or simply just not as well done as a Great file (ie: does not accent/enhance the experience of playing the song at all). A Grecent is the first real "bad" rating, that is, a file that receives a Grecent should typically be rethought and re-stepped.

A bad file. A C-/D+. A file that you would never play, and you can't imagine anyone else playing it. Decent files could be many things. They could be a Great or Grecent file with enough flaws or enough lacking to bring it down a grade, or they could be a solid Decent. Generally, the chart and music is not varied, almost always leaving the player bored. There is no use of step-rhetoric, and if it is attempted, it may be very old hat, abused, or used incorrectly, or simply just not as well done as a Great file (ie: does not accent/enhance the experience of playing the song at all, or could in fact take away from the experience). A Decent is the second real "bad" rating, that is, a file that receives a Decent should typically be rethought and re-stepped.

An atrocious file. A D/D-. A file that should never be played on any machine. Wayoff files could be many things. They could be a Grecent or Decent file with enough flaws or enough lacking to bring it down a grade, or they could be a solid Wayoff. Generally, the chart and music is not varied at all, always leaving the player bored. There is no use of step-rhetoric, and if it is attempted, it may be very old hat, abused, or used incorrectly (ie: it mostly only takes away from the experience of playing the song). A Wayoff is the third real "bad" rating, that is, a file that receives a Wayoff should typically be rethought and re-stepped.

An unplayable file. An F. A file that should never have been made. Miss files could be many things. They could be a Decent or Wayoff file with enough flaws or enough lacking to bring it down a grade, or they could be a solid Miss. Generally, the chart and music is not varied at all (sometimes barely existent), always leaving the player bored. There is no use of step-rhetoric, and if it is attempted, it may be very old hat, abused, or used incorrectly (ie: it only takes away from the experience of playing the song). A Miss is the worst rating, that is, a file that receives a Miss should typically be rethought and re-stepped.

Q: I posted my simfile, but nobody has even reviewed it yet. Do I just suck?
Possibly, but most of the time no. Just like with your requests, you need to have a clean title and a clean post. In your title, make sure you have the song and what kind of charts you have made. For example:

Captain Jack - Dream a Dream - Expert 10 [S]

Now they know what song you stepped, and they know that you made a Single Expert 10 stepchart. If they are looking for a 10, chances are they are going to click it.

In your post, don't do this:

Dream a Dream

Please review!!

Nobody knows what the chart is like. They basically have no clue what they are downloading. Describing your simfile is a great way to attract people to want to click that link.

Captain Jack - Dream a Dream

This has only Expert Singles. It is a fun 10 footer with crossovers every once in a while to keep you on your toes! There is also a fun jump-mine section in the middle, but you'll have to decide for yourself just how fun it is.

Feedback would be greatly appriciated!

Now who wouldn't want to click that fake link? If people are still not flocking to your files, there are other ways to get your files reviewed: 1) Review other members' files! If they see you are reviewing their files, maybe they will return the favor and review yours. 2) Be a nice poster. If you are a jerk around the board, people are going to see your file and just pass it right up.

Q: I've found a file I really like by a simfile artist. How can I find more of their stuff?
Unfortunately, the forum system doesn't exactly make this very convenient to do. What you can do though, is click the Advanced Search link located in the upper-right of the page directly under the search bar. Next, type the name of the author you're searching for in the "Search for author" field, then select "Individual Files" (or "Packs of Files" if you want to see if they've released any simfile packages), then select "First post of topics only", then select "Topics", and then finally hit the "Search" button. You'll be presented with a complete list of all the files the user has ever posted on r21Freak.

If you're still unsuccessful, then just ask. It's a very organic community here, meaning we're not rigid when it comes to things like giving files and whatnot. PM the specific member, or make a topic in Requests.

Q: How can I find simfiles for a particular song or for songs by a particular music artist?
Again, use the Advanced Search function. The process is basically the same as the one outlined above: type the name of the song or artist in the "Search for keywords" field and then do everything else the same as above. If your search is unsuccessful, you can also opt to search the entire site as a last resort by simply typing the name of the song into the plain ol' Search Bar in the upper-right. As a final last resort, you can make a post in the Requests forum and ask for the simfile to be made.

Q: How do I make a request?
If you are want a song to be made, make sure to first upload the file to a hosting site such as MediaFire or FileFront. Then take that link and paste it into your post. Be sure to describe what you want in the song, such as if you want just Expert steps, or if you want Singles and Doubles, etc. Even saying around what difficulty you want can help a lot too.

If you just want graphics for a simfile, you may want to post the .ogg or .mp3 so the person who is going to make your graphics knows the tone of the song and make graphics based off of that. All in all, the best idea is to have a picture in your mind of what you want. The more specific you are, the easier it is for somebody to make them for you. Don't be TOO specific though, as that can make it even harder sometimes as well.

Q: I made a request, but nobody responded to it. What gives?
You are not the only that this has happened to, as it happens many, many times. The key to getting a request filled is by the presentation of your thread.

It all begins with the title. It's the first thing other members see, and it's what motivates them to click on it. Having a clean title describing what you want will give you the best chance of it getting viewed. I will give an example of a good title, and a bad title.
BAD Title wrote:Can somebody step this???

GOOD Title wrote:Captain Jack - Dream a Dream - Wanting Expert Single

Do you see the difference? In the BAD title, you are simply asking for somebody to step the unknown song in your thread. They don't know what you want or anything, so chances are they are going to just skip it. In the GOOD title, you have the song you want done, along with what kind of charts you are looking for. Just with that you have a better chance of getting your request stepped.

Now next, potential steppers enter your thread, and now they are looking for a link to the song, more specifics, etc. Making your post organized helps a ton with this. Here is an example:

Here is the .ogg Dream a Dream

Only an Expert chart on Singles is fine, but I wouldn't mind having all new charts since DDR's steps are kind of boring. I'm looking for around a 9-10 block with not too much difficulty with it.


Now they know what you want and have the song, you now have a way better chance of getting of getting your request done.

Other Forum Questions

Q: What kind of forums are "other"?
The Other category contains most of the regular discussion forums here at r21freak. Discussion concerning ITG, music games in general, site discussion, and just informally chatting with other members goes here.

r21freak Site Events

Q: What are site events?
Site events are official events run by the team at r21freak. They are usually not contests, but sometimes can be. Usually they are community efforts to try and collaborate and produce packs of stepfiles, but they can really be any sort of event that brings the community together in some sort of productive or fun way that has an eventual goal. Participating in these events is a great way to get involved in the r21freak community, become more well-known, get some great reviews on your stepfile work, help make and eventually get some awesome stepfiles, and just have fun of course.

Q: I have a great idea for a site event. Can you give me my own forum for it?
Probably not. All of the official site events are run by the team here at r21freak, and even then it is usually only admins or mods who can have permission to run official events and get their own forum to run it in. If you're still determined though, feel free to make a topic for your idea in Site Discussion and carry out your idea "unofficially". If it's a success, then you'll have a pretty good chance of maybe running an "official" event next time.

The Other Side of r21 Town Forum Questions

Q: What is the Junkyard?
The Junkyard was originally intended to be a forum that contained all the posts and topics from the main forum that were "deleted". I have never been a fan of truly deleting things, as I am a fan of history, and I thought it would be a fun idea to have a forum as a sort of "museum of shit".

However, almost less than a week after the starting of this site, the Junkyard evolved into something completely different than I envisioned. It was a sort of alternative version to General Discussion, where things were discussed in an absurd manner, like Something Awful or 4chan, that would have resulted in warnings on the main board. It has continued to evolve in that manner to this day, as an alternative to General Discussion. More than being the place where threads in the main forum are snipped and "deleted" to (which it still is used for), it is now more of a place for members to take out pent up aggressions on each other, which would of course result in warnings on the main board.

If you are not prepared for a whirlwind of hate, love, inside jokes, outside jokes, screaming at first and then caressing afterward, then do not enter the Junkyard.

r21freak Unlockables Forum Questions

Q: What are the unlockables?
The unlockables are all special forums that contain prizes (usually stepfles) for members that have gained the right to access them. The ways in which they are "unlocked" (ie: gaining access to the forums) are various. The most common way is through post count, though some are unlocked on certain days of the year too. As your post count goes up, so does the amount of unlockable file forums you have access to, along with your rank.

All of the unlockable stepfiles are not your typical stepfiles. They are either very gimmicky or unique in some way or another. In fact, most of them only have one difficulty and one style (Singles or Doubles), since they are really only meant to be played in one, certain way. They are not meant to be Fantastic files, just files that are very different and fun to play or fun for a laugh. This is why I do not think there is any harm in keeping them from the majority of the r21 community. They are not meant to be serious files. They are usually either out-of-the-ordinary challenges or just something that has never been done before.

The files themselves are (as of now) all created by me, sssmsm. All unlockable stepfiles include at least singles Expert steps, banner and background.

Q: Can I give the files I've unlocked to my friends?
No. Absolutely not. However, feel free to post about the unlockable file all you want in ITS FORUM ONLY. That is, ONLY post about the song in the "Member Prize" forum. For example, ONLY talk about the 20% Member Prize stepfile in the "20% member Prize" forum ONLY. Do NOT post about it anywhere else, do NOT distribute it to anyone, do NOT link it to anyone. Basically, do not do anything with this file except enjoy it on your own computer and at your own r21 machine. If someone asks you where you got it from, tell them post a lot at r21freak and they'll find out. This is YOUR prize for being a contributing member here, not theirs. If I find a significant leakage of the unlockable files, then I will shut it down, since it is not serving its purpose.

You can upload videos of you doing the unlockable files on YouTube, etc. However, if you do, ONLY post links to the videos in appropriate forums. Just don't put tags on your videos, and don't name it anything that has to do with the unlockable. That way people who don't have the file won't be able to find it.

The consequences for not following this rule will be the same as breaking any other rule on the site. Read the Site Policy if you do not know what this means.

Q: How many unlockables are there?
That's for you to find out! The only ones I can tell you for sure are for each rank between 10% and 100%. So, there are at least 10 unlockable stepfiles. Aside from unlockables that you can get from posting more, there are other unlockables as well, such as ones you can get for being a member for a certain period of time, coming to the site on certain days, and other things that you will just have to find out for yourself!

Q: How many posts do I need for each rank?
You'll just have to post more to find out!

Q: What are the best unlockables?
That is a very subjective question, but I can tell you my opinion... kind of. Generally, for the post count unlockables, as the number goes up, so does the coolness of the unlockable. GENERALLY. My favorites for the 10 unlockables for 10% to 100% are the first, fifth, and last unlockables. I purposely spread them out that way so that you get something awesome at first, when you're halfway there, and then again at the end!
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