Euphorius is slowly, but surely reaching the home stretch; Payload 5 will be the final major update to this edition of TrotMania. After that, we will be focusing our efforts on something else that will be the fifth in a row. Speaking of things involving the number “5”, we are also approaching the fifth anniversary of the release of our first pack! It’s insane to see how far we’ve come since then; it started off as just a simple pack and theme. Now look at all the content that is associated with Euphorius alone; more songs than ever. A boss system. An actual storyline. Ponifying something that has not been ponified much before (I still must admit that this theme was very fun to work with), etc.
Oh, and Trials
There is one more thing on that list which is also getting closer to completion – slowly, but surely, and that is Trials of the Embers – which will serve as the “official” finale of the Euphorius storyline. This is something that we’ve never done before; it builds upon things that we had only started doing on Euphorius to begin with, and is influenced heavily by the “sightreading” competitions that have gained traction within the In the Groove community.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it will work like this: there will be a set of stages, designed to be played in sequential order. We will not reveal what their songs are beforehand; only the staff knows, and you will only learn what they are when the stage begins (we will be using our best efforts to all but ensure this, and are not going to give you spoilers). In case playing unknown songs wasn’t bad enough, the arrows will also be twisted and contorted to the music in various ways. Contrast this to the “Lab” songs that have also been done on Euphorius; they have the same overall idea, except that you know what the songs are, and have likely played them before. At the same time, they will also be harder and more intense.
Despite the secrecy, there is one thing about Trials that I will spoil, however. It is actually incompatible with the current “stable” version of StepMania (which is the one that we also distribute, 5.0.12), because these songs actually use new features and effects that are not in the current version. In particular, StepMania 5.1 supports a subset of modifiers first introduced in the NotITG fork of OpenITG, while maintaining compatibility with content (such as themes) designed for use with the current 5.0.12 version (5.1 is not to be confused with that is now known as “5.2”; this is referring to the “5.1-new” branch. I must add that 5.2 supports these features too).
Thankfully, we have solutions. The first is one you may already be familiar with, given that it’s something we already do with the main pack; there will be a standalone package with everything included, and some special surprises too! Secondly, since it’s being used in our development process to begin with, all of the Trials songs will support NotITG, and we are aiming to provide visual parity between the SM5 and NotITG versions of each song.
Either way, Trials will be ready when it’s done; we have no specific timeframe beyond that a goal for it to be finished before the end of the year.