Category Archives: Dev Log

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.

EUB Devlog – Introduction

Welcome! My name is Eric “ExPorygon” Oswald, and I am the director and lead programmer of 東方逆妙乱 ~ Ephemeral Unnatural Balance as well as the founder of Ephemeral Entertainment. I’d like to personally thank you for joining me on this exploration of the development of EUB.

So let’s not waste any time! Ephemeral Unnatural Balance began its life sometime during 2012 (it’s hard to remember exactly when). I had recently joined the Walfas Station Wagon skype group and had made a number of friends, including Sturmgeschuts, a fanfiction writer. I don’t really remember how it came up, but we were talking about overlooked characters in the Touhou Project series, especially the ones that only appeared as midbosses. We basically thought, “What if there was a game that starred all of those characters?” That’s how the idea of EUB came to be. Sturm would write the story and I would program the game.

While I was still developing another game, the Touhou-Mario crossover, Kingdom of Mushrooms, my will to continue it was on the the decline. The game was…weird to say the least. Honestly, the reason I started that project was partly due to my extreme enthusiasm for making danmaku patterns at the time, as I had recently learned how to program with Danmakufu. I longed to explore what sort of danmaku patterns that characters outside of Touhou would use. This is why I made the Doopliss halloween script and I kind of wish I had just stopped there. What I really mean is, I wish I had simply made standalone boss fights of the characters I wanted to do, instead of making a full game complete with a story. And the story is where the game kind of falls into the weirdness. As someone who usually finds crossover stories to be jarring, weird, and sometimes cringy, I don’t know why I decided to try and make one myself. The time-saving decision to make all of the players have the same dialogue wasn’t helping matters. I still think the story has a few redeeming qualities, like the Bowser dialogue and my plan for Doopliss, but it’s still pretty strange. By 2012-2013, I had begun to realize that the game would at best be seen as a weird meme game among the community, even if it was super well designed (and it wasn’t). I was longing to make a “real” fan game, one that could proudly stand alongside the likes of Concealed the Conclusion and the recently-released The Last Comer. The idea for EUB came along at the perfect time and even though I said that I would finish KoM eventually, I think I knew all along that that really wasn’t likely to happen.

So we hit the ground running with EUB. I started designing the players and Sturm began writing the story. To fit with the theme, we decided to make the incident about a power reversal spell that would be unleashed upon Gensokyo. Traditionally powerful characters would become weak and vice versa. The name, Ephemeral Unnatural Balance was chosen by Sturm to represent the game, as it’s about a short-lived, unusual balance of power brought about by the spell. Here is one of the earliest mock-covers for the game, made by Kappatalist (uploaded by Sturm).

Unfortunately, we couldn’t have known at the time that Double Dealing Character would ultimately beat us to the theme of flipping the status quo on its head. Luckily, there were enough key differences between the two games that it ultimately did not matter much (not to mention a difference of 5 years in release). For example, Seija was aiming to overthrow society but was stopped before she could. In EUB, the upheaval has already started, and the effects are evident by the power and demeanor of the encountered characters.

By late 2013, Sturm had already completed the entire script for the game. I was blown away by it! More than anything, the script signaled to me that this is really happening, that EUB was going to be the Touhou fan project that I had dreamed it of being! More motivated than ever, I set out to making music and starting the actual design of the stages and bosses!

That’s all I’ll cover for now, the next devlog will continue with the development of Stage 1. Thank you for reading and we’ll see you next time!

EUB System Overhaul: Hitboxes!

This somehow became a lengthy rambling post, if you want to look at the shiny hitboxes check the pictures below

Howdy. It’s me, Trickysticks, here with the first devlog in quite a long time. Porygon Productions has been a bit quiet lately, but we’ve definitely been putting work into the game. A lot of what we’ve done since the last update is fairly boring technical stuff, such as updating ancient code to be compatible with all of the new libraries we’re using, lots of bugfixes, and fixing Porygon’s efforts to break half the game by misspelling things. Whoops.

One of the less boring technical changes has serious impact on gameplay, though. There have been changes to one of the fundamentals of how all danmaku-based games work: hitboxes.

If I tell Danmakufu that a 10 pixel by 10 pixel area on an image is a shot, then it’ll take whatever’s in that area, render it, and give it a hitbox. Simple enough – it gets tedious with a few hundred bullets but that’s life. It helps that there’s ways to automate this process. This explains why shot sheets look like this.

Hitboxes are generated by finding the center of the rectangle you give Danmakufu, and drawing a circle or oval with a radius that’s a ratio of whatever dimensions the rectangle is. In other words, big rectangle = big hitbox, small rectangle = small hitbox. This is simple, but it works…for regularly shaped bullets. For generic round shots and bubbles, and even some more oval-shaped bullets, this works fine! It’s when you get to more special bullets, like the infamous knives, that this system starts producing weirdness.

The hitboxes have always erred on the side of generous because of this, and it’s worked until now. For the sake of being more accurate to what the bullets actually look like, we’ve done a small overhaul on some of the more weird bullets. How?

We’re using more than one circle.


Anyway I’ve rambled on long enough, here’s some pictures of the changes. Note that multiple circles mean more collision detection, and more processing power needed. We’ll use these bullets sparingly.





Quite the change, isn’t it?

DevLog 8/8/15

Greetings once again internet!

I’ll get right to the point. Development on Ephemeral Unnatural Balance HAS continued, as those screenshots from a month ago have shown, but not as fast as I would have liked (BIG surprise). I also found out that getting registered to sell goods at conventions is a bit more difficult than I thought. Combine that with my failure to release even a 3-stage demo, and I think it’s obvious that I will not be finishing EUB before year’s Touhoucon. I WILL be going though, and may even be able to host a panel on Danmakufu. If that happens, I’ll be sure to distribute a 3-stage demo at the con and will have it up for general download not long afterward.

TL;DR I will not be finishing EUB in time for Touhoucon, but I will make it next year. I WILL be finishing the 3-stage demo by the time Touhoucon comes around, that is a PROMISE.

Now that that’s out of the way, let me list some of the new features added:

-Completed Stage 2 on all difficulty levels. Stage 3 has also been completed on one difficulty and in the process of being balanced for the other three.

-Discord can now be ended early by pressing the Discord key again. The Balance gauge’s remaining value is preserved when ending Discord in this manner.

-A new Discord scoring system for spellcards. While Discord mode is active during a spellcard, a bonus value will steadily increase from zero. As long as the spell is captured, the player will be awarded whatever value the bonus has reached by the time the spell ends.

-Updated portraits from Sixten for the entirety of the first 3 stages. I’m working on updating the sprites right now, they should be ready for the demo. Here are a couple of samples:


-Stage backgrounds have been overhauled and enhanced by gtbot, especially stage 1

-Updated player sprites for Rin Satsuki by DeityDiz:


He has also been working on replacement fairy sprites, although they have not yet been implemented:


That’s about all for the big updates. Trickysticks will be along shortly to post a video of the updates to stage 1 and probably stage 2 as well. Thanks for reading and have a good day!

DevLog 4/26/15 – Music!

As promised, here are some songs that will hopefully be in the final game!

Stage 2 Theme:

This is the first track for Ephemeral Unnatural Balance not composed by ExPorygon, but rather Spectral Nexus.

“v fresh 10/10 grape wine”

-Random Friend


Stage 2 Boss Theme:

“After having difficulties capturing the intensity of the original,
I ended up instead making a slow buildup to a more powerful climax.
I believe it evokes a more melancholic feel, which fits Shizuha rather well.
It’s quite long for stage 2 but that’s why I made a timeout Last Spell :p”


Guest DevLog – Trickysticks & Playtesting

Greetings internet! This is ExPorygon Trickysticks, resident playtester/co-streamer/Porygon harasser. Primarily the last bit.

Ephemeral Unnatural Balance started as concept in early 2013, with production starting late 2013/early 2014. Along the way multiple people joined the team working on this, including SpectralNexus’ wonderful musical contributions and my wonderful compacity to annoy spur Porygon into action. I have a bit of background in Danmakufu as well, producing some scripts every now and then.

EUB is coming along nicely, and Porygon comes up with excellent danmaku patterns both himself and from our suggestions. Concepts are one major part of the process, but implementation and testing are another thing. A concept can be amazing but if it’s not fun to play, too hard or too easy, it needs changes.

This is where I come in! With helpful feedback like “this wave of bullets is too slow” or “there’s not enough time between cycles of this attack” or “You should add Momiji Spark”, I help ensure that the game is the highest quality it could be. Look forward to another demo, and eventually the full release!

DevLog 3/10/15

Hello internet, ExPorygon here. At the behest of my wonderful friend Trickysticks, I have decided to try to keep up a proper Devlog for Ephemeral Unnatural Balance. Each day progress is made for the game, I’ll note it here with occasional screenshots, audio, and video clips as well.

But since I’ve not done a single one thus far and quite a lot has changed since the first release, this warrants what I’m going to call a Dev Rundown. Basically, this is a larger version of the typical Devlog and chronicles all significant changes since the last one. Since this is the first one, I’ll just describe all the big changes since the release of v0.11, which was the single stage demo.

Ephemeral Unnatural Balance’s development has been progressing rather slowly. My wonderful work ethic is 100% to blame for this slow progress but I’ve been picking up the slack as of late. Stage 2 is nearly complete and ready for private testing, with only difficulty levels being left to implement. Stage 3’s bosses have also been finished on one difficulty and half of the stage itself as well. Fortunately, all player characters have already been mostly completed far in advance. The second player intended for the demo release needs a slight rework, but she’s mostly ready.

Nearly all music tracks for the game have also been finished. The only exceptions are the Stage 4 theme, Stage EX theme, Ending theme, and Credits theme. There may be a few additional tracks that I might decide to add, but that will be done at a much later date. Once I’m comfortable releasing a video of Stage 2 I’ll be sure to release the appropriate tracks here as well. I’ve also been tweaking a lot of the tracks I already thought I had finished as some of them are older and not quite up to my current standards. Because of this, any music heard in any release of EUB is subject to change in the next version.

On another artistic front, I now have an official artist for the game. I’ve decided that the existing character portraits present in v0.11 will instead serve as placeholders for official commissioned art specifically for the game. I’d like to present the official artist of Ephemeral Unnatural Balance, Sixten! Sixten is an experienced Doujin artist who is responsible for a number of manga-related works. I highly recommend checking out his website.

Here are a couple of examples of some of the character art that will be present in the game:


With all that in mind, I’m also making another announcement. I have decided that I’m going to showcase the full finished game at this year’s TouhouCon. For those who don’t know, TouhouCon is a new western Touhou specific convention that started last year. It’s held in Anaheim, California, USA and takes place during the weekend of September 18-20. In addition I plan to sell physical copies at the convention if possible. Right now the tentative plan is to sell physical copies (to help make up for the production costs) and to distribute digital copies online for free after an undetermined period of time following the convention.

This means that all assets lifted from copyrighted sources (i.e. ZUN) that are currently present in the game must be replaced before the final release. Here’s a brief list of what you should expect to be replaced in the upcoming versions (excluding character portraits):

-Shot graphics
-Enemy sprites
-Background textures and sprites
-Sound effects
-Player shot and bomb graphics

Fortunately, I have plans in motion for replacing nearly all of these. For boss sprites, I’ll be making my own out of the art that Sixten is providing for each character. It’s a bit of a time consuming trial and error process, but I’ve managed to find a way to manipulate still portraits into animated sprites as you can see here:


Generic fairy sprites will be a bit more tricky as I lack any portrait to manipulate. Fortunately, I know one or two spriters that can hopefully provide the missing sprites. I just hope that they don’t look out of place next to the new boss sprites. For background textures, I’ve found a number of websites out there offering a variety of images and textures for commercial use. Many of these textures have already been put to use. Sound effects used to be something that I worried about until I found this amazing library of sounds, all free to use commercially. You may recognize many of the sounds in this library, as multitudes of japanese developed games also utilize it. Finally, shot and bomb graphics are either going to be made by myself or one of my acquaintances. In fact, my friend AchySolrock has already developed new player graphics for nearly all the players as you will see in the next showcase. Anything not listed has either come from a royalty free source or was made from scratch by myself. This includes the various visual effects and system graphics.

TLDR: I’m gonna try to sell the game, so graphics, sounds, etc. are subject to change.

Well, I think that about wraps up this Dev Rundown. These rundowns won’t be very frequent, maybe once a month if enough gets done during it. Unlike a certain other person coughSparencough I won’t be using this Devlog as a glorified diary of developments. What this means is that future Devlogs will not be nearly as wordy and may sometimes just consist of a bulleted list. In fact, not even future Dev Rundowns will likely be as long as this post was.

Thanks for reading and don’t hesitate to drop a question if anything comes to mind!