Blast Furnace
Denizens of Duskgem

The Flames of Stone’s Throw have once again, called upon everypony to consider making a trip to its annual Gathering of Embers in the Duskgem Basin just a few hours west of Reino. It’s always an interesting event; it is held in tribute to a famous mare who helped a nearby village escape to shelter in the desert when a tyrant threatened to “bring fire” to them. It has since evolved into an annual event celebrating freedom, self-expression, survival, spirituality, and community, where the light of the flame(s) apparently brings everypony together, and a gigantic effigy representing the Tyrant is set on fire as a grand finale (their logic? Why bring fire to us when we can just bring it to him instead?). The actual tale’s a bit more long-winded, though, and there are many conspiracy theories about what really happened and why this gathering occurs. Of course, the organizers actively deny them.

Everyone else (well, especially the younger crowd), however, considers the Gathering to just be a gigantic camping party in a makeshift city in the middle of nowhere, filled with eclectic “art”, everyone dressed up like they’re going to a rave or an Enraged Equines film (or a rave during an Enraged Equines film!), live music of all kinds, and things being set on or able to blast fire, or otherwise lit up at night, because symbolism. A mare named Blast Furnace, who is the sister of the Gathering’s current leader, enjoys these misconceptions, but has been trying to help educate others on what the event is really about, and how to survive the unpredictable conditions out there. But much like everyone else, she likes a good party!

Her resources may be beneficial to somepony else, who’s dealing with a rare case of something that happened in Las Pegasus not staying in Las Pegasus…

Enough with the backstory! Get to the contest!

We’re getting closer and closer to the release of TrotMania Euphorius, which means that it’s time for the part where you get to join in on the fun! In TrotMania III, I began to build a dedicated “universe”, housing mascot characters and plot elements that justify certain design/song choices, and so on. For Euphorius, I’ve been running with the idea and taking it even further – there will be a full-on companion story to go along with Euphorius Its first chapter will be posted very soon, so stay tuned!

But now, it’s time to get to the real purpose of this post? You remember that call for OC artwork we did on TM3 for stuff to be featured in its theme (the menu graphics, the results screen backgrounds, etc.)? It was a small, but successful endeavor, so it’s only fair that we’re doing it again! This time, the rewards will be a bit more manageable: all entries will be featured somewhere in TrotMania Euphorius, and the creators of the best artwork submitted as judged by the TrotMania team will receive additional prizes (most likely free pony art from one or more people. Definitely including me, of course).

Just like last time, we need art of original characters (either existing ones if you wanna be Horse Famous™, or something new). The Gathering is, if you haven’t figured it out yet, an homage to a real-life event known as Burning Man (much like the Summer Sun Celebration, in our universe, is a parody of EDC), and how you dress up for something like that is widely-documented (either rave-ish, or more industrial/Borderlands/Mad Max-ish, sometimes protective gear, etc.). We prefer for the art to be done in the show style, but we had a new non-show-style entries last time and we managed to make it look good regardless (you’re more likely to get into menus if its show-style). The only rigid requirement is that it has to be a transparent PNG.

Official rules

  • You must use either a character that you own, or one of our exceptions, which include existing TrotMania characters (Sun Beamer, Obscurus, Blast Furnace, etc.), and Aerial Soundwaves (you’ll get bonus points if you use her! Of course our affiliate’s adorable mascot has to be there somewhere!)
  • Entries must be in a transparent PNG format.
  • Art theft will not be tolerated. You may not use bases.
  • Collaborations with a second artist are allowed; if a collab wins, the prizes will be awarded to both of the contributors at once.
  • There can be one or more characters in a single artwork
  • No Alicorns allowed.
  • Keep entries appropriate and safe for work; i.e. no drug use, nothing that would warrant a Questionable tag or higher on Derpibooru, etc.
  • You may enter up to three times per person (of course, if you want to contribute additional art, you sure can! But only your first three entries will count for the contest judging)
  • By submitting art in this contest, you allow it to be used within the TrotMania project. You will definitely receive credit for your art, don’t worry. The whole point is that you’ll receive notoriety and be showcased here,

How to submit

Post the artwork on your preferred outlet (DA, Tumblr, etc.) and link it in the TrotMania character art thread on the forum or in a comment on this post. I will also watch the tag #denizensofduskgem on DA and Tumblr too.

Deadline

The deadline will be shortly before TrotMania IV is released. That is still TBD, but will likely be late-August or some time in September. You have time, don’t worry!

If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask! The basin of Duskgem awaits your presence…

Horseshoes

The TrotMania arrows introduced on III have been updated. Given that StepMania 5.1 completely changes the noteskin system to begin with, might as well update them too! The arrow sprites themselves were redrawn, the explosions have extra sparkle, and they finally match up with our judgement colors (i.e. it’ll finally glow purple and blue on Magicals and Radicals instead of the white and gold of Flawlesses and Perfects).

We are still working hard behind the scenes; we might have another set of song previews coming in the next few days, so stay tuned!

The TrotMania forum has become a key resource for our community, for both our players and fans, as well as the staff (I’ve personally used it for internal recordkeeping and discussion, although we’ve increasingly used chat for that too). Recent issues with the current implementation of the forum, however, led me to wonder if we could make it even better. With that in mind, we did just that.

TrotTalk Screenshot

TrotTalk is the third generation of the TrotMania forum. It’s built on a more robust and well-known platform with a lot more functionality than the previous one (and in fact, it’s also the latest version of said platform, specifically phpBB. Shockingly, they’ve actually done a good job of reworking things under the hood. It’s smartphone-friendly too). It’s a bit more traditionally-styled, but I’m sure that you’ll grow accustomed to it over time.

Now, please note that due to the changes, you will have to reset your password. Ironically, the inability to do this correctly was one of the factors that led me towards doing this, but one of the users who had issues with it told me that they were able to get back in. If you are having difficulty (I know for a fact that anyone using a Microsoft-controlled email will have issues), inform me (preferably on the TM chat room) and we’ll try and work things out manually. Be sure to go through your settings and profile after you get in, too.

TrotMania IV will, most likely, be using StepMania 5.1 as its base. It contains some fundamental changes to how gameplay is rendered under the hood, some of which are major enough that playing certain songs will make you have a bad time. The pun is and isn’t intended; it’s easy to figure out what I’m getting at there.

But one thing that has also been worked on in 5.1 is a redesigned options screen. Of course, we’re implementing that too.

Theme teaser

It is quite jarring in comparison to what everyone else is used to (it mainly uses sub-menus and toggle switches), but as someone who has worked with SM5 theming for quite a while, the options menus have always been a mess of legacy components that are quite tricky to work with. This one uses a new architecture that is more in line with the rest of the platform from a coding standpoint. The menu design and behaviour itself is also still being worked on upstream, so we will be sure to pass any feedback surrounding it to its developer.

Speaking of themes, an update has been released for the TM3 themes, available via the Downloads page. It fixes a few bugs and oversights in relation to non-Event Mode gameplay (including implementation of the results “recap” page, and fixing a bug that causes SM to crash on an Extra Stage under certain conditions), and has some other tweaks.

Edit: Since the original post, the upstream design of the new options menu was updated, so TM4 has been updated to match. The new design, in my opinion, is actually a major improvement as it is more obvious that some of these buttons lead to submenus or on/off switches. I closely follow SM development, especially in regards to 5.1, and have been working to ensure that nothing I need gets derped beyond recognition.

We got you good. So, in return, I felt it would only be right if we gave you actual Euphorius teasers instead of just fake ones. I promise what you are about to see is 100% real. It’s not related to what you’re going to play, but how you’re going to play it:

Theme teaser

Theme teaser

This is how TrotMania Euphorius is shaping up on the visual side of things. It is still a WIP and subject to change, but you can see what I’m starting to build towards here. As you’ve expected from the general thematics, there’s a sort of industrial look to it. Don’t let that bother you, however, because Euphorius does something else that I think you’re going to love. However, it’s something that I’m not going to show you until the time is right.

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