On StepMania 5.3 Alpha 4.5 and newer, we switched to using an XInput-compliant input system.
Due to these changes, not all controllers (such as gamepads, dance pads, and other rhythm game-specific controllers) are guaranteed to function with StepMania 5.3 out of the box (even if they were supported on earlier versions), unless a controller mapping profile has been created for that specific controller.
There are two ways to perform this configuration process, with one of them built directly into StepMania, and the other using a standalone, third-party tool.
For more information, read the instructions on the Help & Support page.
Contributing mapping strings
Controller mapping strings generated in-game are stored in manualmappings.txt in the Data folder in your StepMania installation directory.
It is highly recommended that share mapping string and information on the controller with us, either in this thread, our Discord server, or via our online form. We can add them directly to the built-in controller database on future versions of 5.3, so that you (or others with the same controller) will not have to configure it manually again.