EUB Devlog – Stage 1

Greetings, internet! It’s been a while since our last blog post, and even longer since the start of Ephemeral Unnatural Balance’s development. Now, EUB is rapidly approaching completion, and to complement this we’re giving these Devlog posts a fresh start. This post will be the first of a series that discusses the game’s stages: reasons behind design decisions, issues we’ve faced along the way and other fun little tidbits.

We’ve played Stage 1 so many times that we’re absolutely sick of it.

In terms of design, Stage 1 is pretty simple and standard. It was the first stage of the game to be developed and was released in 2013 as a standalone prototype, version 0.11. System-wise, the game was pretty different back then. Discord doesn’t generate life pieces, which makes sense because the Balance gauge drains far more quickly. All Balance is lost when the player dies, a feature that luckily didn’t last very long. What did last long was most of everything else – Stage 1 has remained nearly the same since its initial creation.  The only significant changes are during the Tojiko fight – her first spell and Encore Spell in particular. The Encore Spell was almost entirely redone. Her first nonspell also got a bit of visual polish, but it plays identically.

This version of Tempest of Susanō was used in the 0.11 prototype. The arrows come from Tojiko’s left and right, and she helps out by firing rings of yellow bullets. Since Encore Spells are completely optional patterns that the player faces if the Balance meter is high enough, they can typically afford to be more difficult or gimmicky than a regular pattern. However, we decided it was still too much. It’s pretty easy to memorize, but memorization in Stage 1 is pretty weird and not very fun.

This version of Tempest of Susanō is what will ultimately be in the finished product. It still makes use of zig-zagging arrows, but they only come from one central location. We thought it was a much simpler pattern to read, and doable on the very first try if you’re good enough. Play-testers liked it more and it’s more fun than the old one, so it’s here to stay.

While there weren’t many changes pattern-wise, there were plenty of updates to the visuals and the story. Almost everything visually in the stage has been updated, from elements of the HUD to character art to the bullets themselves. Stage 1 was supposed to take place as the player leaves the Hakurei Shrine to start her adventure, but you wouldn’t know it from the background. Both of the earlier versions of the background depicted some sort of path which was supposed to be to the shrine. However, one was merely a prototype and the other didn’t play well with AMD graphics devices. You can see these below:

The leftmost image is from the prototype, while the background pictured in the center hated my AMD card. The rightmost image will be in the final version – the sun rises as time goes by, brightening the screen.

A sunrise makes sense, as the Stage 1 theme is Dream Sunrise. This song hasn’t changed much, but the Stage 1 boss theme changed drastically. Porygon goes into more detail about this stage’s music in his post coming soon.

Interestingly, Tojiko wasn’t actually the first boss to be made for EUB. To get to her, we’ll have to move on to stage 2.

…Also here’s something silly that Futo did at one point.

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