Weekly Penguin
February 2nd, 2022

The End

First things first; if you somehow missed the preview of how TAGAP 4 handles story recap, you really should check out this week's Weekly Penguin.

GOTY 2021

Seriously, I still love how these turned out.

What am I working on right now?

Two things – the art for the 'previously on TAGAP' segment and the ending. Yes, the ending. The game is few audio samples away from being playable from the beginning to end.

This doesn't mean the game is finished – plenty of balancing and polishing to do, proof read script to implement, voice overs to record...

We're not on the finish line, but we can see it and will likely achieve it on schedule.

Well, unless...

Future (or lack thereof)

Yeah, things aren't looking too bright in the world, huh? My mock release date for TAGAP 4 always was 'before the world ends', but I never thought it would be this close a race.

Everything is on track for late 2022 release with TAGAP 4, but if things turn to worse in any way, consider it cancelled. And by cancelled I mean scorched out of existence.

I have made several steps in preparation for the worst. The first hint of an invasion, a mushroom cloud being deployed anywhere – or a specific scenario I won't name so that I won't will it into being – I'm taking a hard exit. I've already set up a data wipe system erasing my data and source codes, the rest is a lot easier to turn into zeroes.

I'm not stressing about it, really. If it happens, it happens and has been prepared for. I have zero control of anything besides TAGAP development any more and that has been the case for years now. Ergo, I focus on TAGAP 4 110%. I do so by blocking news sites from the browser and feeds to ensure my focus. It's been working really well and what I thought would be a three month romp – the artwork for the recap – is halfway done already.

Sure, the method is taking its toll in more ways than one, but as I really want to see my passion project finished, it is a price I'm willing to pay. Heck, last week I noticed I had lost the sense of time to the point I had no idea what day of the week it was. Seriously, I had to ask a colleague at the office day job and was dumbfounded of the results; I was two days off with my guess!

So yeah, TAGAP 4 is carrying on, until it possibly isn't.

Seriously, fuck humans. All of them. Penguins are a lot better.

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!

Since the last blog post I've wrapped up the brilliant Elex, revisited Adelpha as the Ulukai in Outcast: Second Contact and saved the human race from an alien invasion in Earth's Dawn.

Elex by Piranha Bytes was a blast; a breath of fresh air in the almost boring RPG scene. The setting of the game is something you'd expect from a Saturday morning cartoon – combining cyborgs, "Jedis", dinosaurs and Mad Max bandits – but instead of turning into wannabe-BloodDragon, plays everything completely straight.

What results is a super-deep RPG with a world that feels more unique, alive and lived in than all Ubisoft AI generated sandboxes combined. I can't wait for the sequel – and in fact considering the world situation, it just might be the last 'new' game I ever get my mittens on.

Outcast is something I remember liking back in the 90s, but haven't played since. With that, too, getting a sequel, I decided to revisit the remaster Outcast: Second Contact from a few years back. And this time I absolutely fell in love with it. Set in a parallel world of Adelpha, it perfectly captures that adventurous feel of something like Flash Gordon or Hartnell-era Doctor Who – with a touch of Indiana Jones.

Outcast was an open-world 3D action adventure from the time before Assassin's Creed and GTA3 formalized the genre, so it does a lot of things differently. Some of it feels superbly fresh, while parts of it – particularly the combat – have aged like milk. Overall though, it is excellent and together with Elex, one of the most memorable experiences I've had in games in a while. If you don't mind some jank, give it a go! I'd say I'm looking forward to the sequel, but, you know.

Finally, Earth's Dawn. I was drawn to this game squarely by its art style – it uses graphical style that is in terms of tech very similar to TAGAP 3 and 4, only used in completely different way. As in, rigged 2D animations and 3D rendering used for 2D gameplay. It works superbly well and did give me few ideas I would consider exploring one day – if I weren't planning on shutting things down.

The game is an interesting blend of ideas, too. It reminded me if someone took Earth Defence Force, turned it into a serious side-scrolling 2D action RPG with Gears of War influences and based the look of it all on the works of Ashley Wood. The story is surprisingly good as well. The main arc is what you could expect from an 80s Contra clone, but the cleverly developed, character-driven background arc is really good, giving everything way more gravitas than I expected.

So yeah, all three games are well worth checking out. Might want to do that while you still can.

Until next time, if there is such a thing,

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