Weekly Penguin
September 22nd, 2022

Crunchin' progress update

All these years I've tried to keep everyone in the loop on the current progress status of TAGAP 4, but with all the TAGAP Thursdays shenanigans and themed posts, I've neglected that for some time. So let's get two birds with one blog and make the progress update his week's theme.

What am I working on right now?

Right now I'm doing the last translation support test sweeps from last weekend's 'translation support upgrade' I spoke of on Twitter. In short, I noticed I was ahead of schedule when it came to my 'things to do' list for the content side of TAGAP 4, so I decided to take the opportunity to add more Unicode blocks to the two TAGAP fonts.

If you want to catch up with how the translation support for TAGAP 4 works, I did a full separate blog post on that. But a TLDR version is that TAGP 4 supports external translations that can be installed separately. The languages supported are limited to the character sets available in the game's custom fonts. The new expanded list looks as follows:

  • ASCII
  • Latin-1 Supplement (same as Extended ASCII of the previous TAGAPs)
  • Latin Extended A
  • Latin Extended B
  • Cyrillic (full range instead of the Cyrillic ASCII of the previous TAGAPs)
  • Greek and Coptic
  • Latin Extended Additional (the end of the block for Vietnamese)
  • Armenian
  • Georgian
  • Devanagari (Indic Unicode block for languages including Hindi and Sanskrit)

The new additions weren't just about slapping in more glyphs to the list, but there were several things I had to build and test as well. For starters, all the previously supported characters were only one or two bytes wide, meaning a simple if-else statement covered identifying the glyphs. However, most of the new ones are triple-byte characters, so I built a proper character parser to handle things instead.

Devanagari is also a bit different compared to the other glyph sets and I needed to add support for all its 'quirks'. If you're not familiar what Devanagari, basically it looks like a 'continuous stream' with most of the glyphs bleeding together – as opposed to clearly separate letters. There are also several modifiers in this glyph set – those are glyphs that are rendered on top of the previous glyph rendered. A lot of things to consider and test.

Naturally as I don't read or write any language that uses these new glyph sets, so there may be some mistakes in handling them which I will patch out if I can. However, I'm pretty confident that I got things right. Or I better have, I spent a whole Friday studying and creating capitalisation tables for Armenian and Georgian.

And like I mentioned in the earlier post on translations, I can still add more. Currently the game only supports left-to-right writing direction, though, but I do have plans to study and see if I could add support for right-to-left as well.

But hey, it's not all staring at endless walls of letters from far-away lands, I've also started doing the last missing part of the actual game content – the ending screen for TAGAP+. I've also started to work on launch extras, like the rest of the visualiser videos for the soundtrack (similar to the couple we've already posted, but covering the entire album).

Other than that, we're on target for the release with a game that has a lot more features and polish I originally intended when I decided upon the release schedule last December. In that light, I guess something good came from the world situation going down the crapper and me turning into a crunching nerd hermit!

Playlist

Playlist is a regular feature in our Penguin DT blog; A chance to highlight cool games both old and new that I've been playing. As always, I believe that in order to make games, you need to play them, preferably with a broad scope when it comes to genres, so each day I dedicate at least an hour to actually playing games. The rest of the free time? There is no such thing, it all belongs to TAGAP!

I had to check back and see what was the last game I mentioned I played here on the blog. I guess it was Lumote? Since then I've played quite a slew of titles both big and small.

On the big scale, there was Just Cause 4 by Avalanche. These games are always a fun time and some great stress relief. Though I actually liked 2 and 3 better as games, the vastly improved performance of 4 made it a quite a sight to behold in motion. The game ends, even with the DLCs, with a cliffhanger and I hope we get to see the story closure. Sadly, SquareEnix being the clown ranch that it is these days, I'm not holding my breath.

The much anticipated (at least by me) genre-blender Yurukill: The Calumniation Games from Izanagi Games and NISA. Part an escape-room adventure game, part detective visual novel, part bullet hell SHMUP, all great. So good, in fact, that I'm hoping this turns into a franchise, there's plenty of potential to build upon this.

The story is good, the characters are interesting, the SHMUP gameplay is top-notch and the puzzles are well designed. It is also important to note that you can make either part of the game as easy or hard as you wish. Not into puzzles? There's a hint system to aid you. Want to see the story but you're not into SHMUPs? You can adjust the difficulty of the SHMUP segments separately. Just want the SHMUP parts without the story? There's a separate arcade mode for that.

Next was Flashback: 25th Anniversary Edition, a brilliant remaster of the original – naturally chosen to be played now because of the upcoming sequel. Or is it a prequel to a sequel, as we already have Fade to Black? At any rate, the quality of life improvements like the rewind feature ensure it will remain enjoyable even to modern audiences, whilst old-school geeks can naturally turn all such aids off. If you're into action adventures, a lot of that DNA can be traced back to Flashback, so it is well worth a check still.

And currently I'm going through a delightful, properly-post-apocalyptic NISA title called void tRrLm();//Void Terrarium. Yes, that is the name, but it makes sense. In the game, mankind is kaput and you play as a robot calling a scrapyard its home. Suddenly you discover a young girl, possibly the last survivor of the human race – and together with the scrapyard AI, it is up to you to make sure she is safe.

The game is a true rogue-like – as in, turn-based game where everything moves as you move. You venture into the destroyed world trying to find things to improve the girl's happiness and well-being. It is a really feel-good kind of game, despite it getting darned hard the deeper into the 'dungeons' you venture. Great stuff, I'm really looking forward to the just-announced sequel.

Also, the Achievements / Trophies of this game have the best, geekiest titles I've ever seen.

What's next?

In TAGAP 4 development; we have just scheduled the voice over session for tomorrow, so that'll keep me busy for at least a week. In addition that, there's one art gallery I've yet to finish for the extras.

On the playlist; October is upon us and though Halloween isn't a big thing in Finland, I do every year use it as an excuse to play nothing but horror games all month round. As it happens, the Limited Run Games versions of the BloodRayne remasters just dropped in the mail, so I guess that'll be what I'm playing.

Until next time,

Jouni Lahtinen, the head penguin

Blog history

22-03-02

The End

11-06-23

Almost there

08-08-26

What's up?

08-07-02

Wrapping up

08-03-27

Gone surfing

08-03-14

Coincidences