Obligatory update before we go into our main programming of the evening. Last week has been all about this trailer, honestly. This is our big gameplay reveal and I want it to go well, so I've been working almost around the clock trying to ensure this going smoothly. And I managed to do that to such degree we're actually launching the trailer early, so there's that.
Now that the trailer is out in the wild, I'm not exactly sitting on my hands waiting for reception. Don't get me wrong, I'm highly anticipating what you guys have to say about it, I just can't stop to wait what that might be. No, we go full steam ahead, finalizing enemy placement in the forest level you see in the trailer while doing preliminary work on the next map, all the while cooking some new enemies. Rest? What is this weird concept you speak of?
But enough talk! Gameplay teaser trailer time!
This is one horrible monster-of-a-title, but that's what this is; Video début of TAGAP 3 gameplay in a form of a teaser trailer. Why didn't we just call it Teaser then? Well, as of late, everything labelled plainly as 'teaser' or 'teaser trailer' have been nothing but target renders and/or image branding CGI animations that have little to no connection to the final product. I'm not saying this is bad, on the contrary some times this is better for trying to get the point of the game across in a minute. Still, we obviously weren't doing that, so we wanted to differentiate our video from this label.
You may have noticed that the trailer is 'only' 720p and runs 30 FPS. This is not limitation set by the TAGAP 3 engine, but Petja's hardware. And to be specific, TAGAP 3 has no problems running 200+ FPS in 1080p on Petja's game rig, but apparently his hard drive isn't fast enough to dump out 1080p and/or 60 FPS FRAPS video files, at the rate of 4 gigabytes a minute. I'm seriously considering getting some proper video capture hardware, so who knows, perhaps we'll one day get to see a 1080p TAGAP 3 trailer, but right now we're stuck with 720p and 30 FPS.
Since the trailer is out, we took a couple of screengrabs from it, because why not. There is no particular reason for selecting these four, other than they showcase some of the new stuff we featured in the video and – more importantly – look cool. I especially like the battle scene with those spacepods; Debris, sparks, hot lead, shell casings... it's just a great action shot!
My only problem with these shots is that apparently FRAPS HD video isn't as sharp as I thought it would be and these shots are clearly of lesser quality than the previous ones (snapped directly via TAGAP's own screenshot feature). I don't know is that a codec compression issue or if FRAPS just cheats a little in order to achieve recording, but these shots are clearly more pixelated. Another reason to dream of some proper video capture gear, I guess.
We have a grand total of five levels ready (out of approximate 20+, we haven't set that in stone yet), so obviously we had a very limited slice of content from which to assemble this trailer. While I'm really happy with the end result, there are still things that sadly didn't make the cut. In no particular order;
Principal characters – Since we've focused squarely on the core gameplay and levels at this stage of development, we had no cinematics ready beyond the title screen. Nor do we have boss fights finished – well two bosses are ready but without levels to fight in. This means we had no way of introducing our lead characters besides Pablo. This pains me greatly, as we have quite a colourful core cast with multiple villains this time around, but on the plus side, at least we got to focus on the world these characters inhabit. But in the next trailer you will get to meet some of these key figures of Pluto – or I'll eat my fez.
Special levels – In addition to the Metroidvania-alike replayable levels, TAGAP 3 will have several special maps serving as alternate routes and story set-pieces. Sadly, we had none of them ready for the début. While for sake of consistency it was perhaps better to feature just the purest gameplay, I would've loved to give a better sneak peek of the variety maps we will have. For example the prototypes we have for the low-gravity space walks in a penguin-fit space suit are spacetastic.
Enemy variety – Each level will have their own special enemies, so the limited selection of levels meant limited variety of foes on display. As much as I love the Funky Penguins and their robot friends, I would've loved to show what I'm working on right now – cybernetic killer plants. Also featuring more of the Pluto-made vehicles would've been great. Then again, at least there's tons of stuff to show in the future!
1080p – TAGAP 3 engine was built ground-up for a very specific purpose; To be the end-all-be-all solution for us to do things in full HD. Thus you can imagine how much it saddened me to find out that due to hardware limitations we couldn't deliver our grand début that way. TAGAP was ready for it, FRAPS was ready for it, Petja's Crysis-capable gaming rig was more than ready – but the hard drive couldn't keep up with the massive files being dumped on it. Like I mentioned multiple times already, I'm considering getting proper video capture gear in the future, but right now we're stuck with these options. Sorry.
And finally a small reminder; Our Twitter hasn't gone away. With the trailer and all I just haven't had the change to come up with a way to embed it anew without breaking our layout. While I try to figure it out, you can follow our Twitter feed at twitter.com/PenguinDT