Weekly Penguin
July 31st, 2021
Making of TAGAP 4

TAGAP 4 and the Iron Foundry

It is July 31st, meaning it is time for another TAGAP 4 media onslaught for the celebration of the 14th anniversary of TAGAP!

It has been ages since I've given any updates on TAGAP 4. So, my apologies, time to correct this mistake, big time!

Without further ado;

Streaming version: YouTube

Developer commentary

00:00

Can't start a Penguin DT video without the disclaimer!

00:11

The title card appears! More on the title and other inspirations later in the blog.

00:18

Almost immediately you can see the new effect engine at work. The completely re-done lighting engine, light-emitting fire particles, heat distortions, sparks, the improved liquid surfaces... it's a lot and really sets the level mood.

00:23

The level opens with a trickier timed platforming section. While TAGAP 4 ain't a 'Super Meat Boy', the physics engine has been enhanced to the point I'm comfortable in sprinkling a few of these here and there. Falling here wouldn't be an instant death, of course, but would hurt a lot.

00:58

Say no to mass surveillance.

01:02

We're leaving the InfoCOMP alone for this video... most importantly because the contents haven't been finalised yet! 🤣 They need proofreading first.

01:08

A new enemy appears! You've seen this bad boy in screenshots before but here is the Cyberpenguin in action!

01:11

Some of the heavier organic enemies can be stunned – and a stunned enemy can be 'cleaved' with the Cleaver for Life Blobs. Sorry for stealing you shtick, Mr. Hugo Martin.

01:20

Action heats up, time to pop a TAGAP pill! The pills play a different role in TAGAP 4 – you have a regenerating stock you can much from at any time. The pills won't give you health, but the slow-mo inducing Overdose. You can find more pills over the course of the game to expand your pill supply.

01:37

The has beein improved in many subtle ways. For example in the old TAGAP titles, here the impacts of the gunfire would've pushed the Minichopper into the Floatmine coming up from behind. In TAGAP 4, the AI does its best to avoid the collision, putting on the throttle to compensate the impacts.

01:48

The minigun-toting Robo Scorpions from TAGAP 2 are back as well. Now they're also covered in steel spikes that hurt you if you go near them.

02:21

Starting up the generator powers the elevator. Time to head back.

02:39

We've gained a Frag-O-Meter power-up. Like in TAGAP 3, the Frag-O-Meter is in the top-right corner of the sceen. For every 100 frags you gain a reward, the first being the health-regenerating and Overdose-inducing Overdrive.

03:36

A new enemy approaches! This is a double-flamethrower wielding rotund foe called Pengubus. I wonder what the inspiration for this one was 🤔

04:07

Pengubus is so fat it is impervious to damage. The only weak point is the chem fuel tank on its back. As compensation, blowing it up always rewards you with Life Blobs and some chem fuel.

04:25

TAGAP 4 has human enemies! Dr. Glowenko's private security GSEC is all over the place, causing Pablo trouble. Luckily they are easy to stun.

05:15

Time to combine platforming with the slow-mo-on-demand.

05:20

Another new enemy – BoomBug! This robotic creepy-crawler works as a mobile piece of artillery and comes armed with a plasma cannon.

05:49

In-game cinematics – that are fully skippable if you so wish – can be as complex as between-levels ones. Perfect for setting up those set-piece moments.

05:56

Pablo's voice over is from the TAGAP 3 recording sessions. The ones for TAGAP 4 haven't happened yet.

08:11

Staying still in TAGAP 4 means death at the best of times, especially so if you're standing on a conveyor belt leading to a metal shredder!

09:09

Keep an eye out for the air vents and other secret hatches. They hold some goodies.

09:25

Fighting a battle tank indoors is risky business.

09:48

Turret towers firing plasma at you in unison can chew you up in seconds. Keep moving.

10:30

Since TAGAP pills serve a different function, your Frag Combo rewards are given in an increasing amount of Life Blobs instead. That means Combos are still the fastest way to regain lost health.

10:37

Weapon upgrade time! Pablo's weapon – the AMM-01 – can be upgraded throughout the game. We already have the Advanced Heat Sink installed, time add the Electro Core.

10:52

See? The using the Electro Core electrifies your attacks, shredding through electronic targets a lot faster!

11:22

Using the Chemthrower with the Electro Core makes it fire electric arcs instead of streams of fire – making it perfect for super-briefly stun weaker electronic objects and allowing you to Cleave them!

11:33

Can't have a TAGAP game without Mecha Penguinators and they come armed with plasma- and rocket turrets.

12:00

You thought de-arming the Mecha Penguinator made it harmless? Well, have some plasma-breath for that silly thought!

12:02

Plasma generators can recover after a while – you need to disable both at the same time in order to render the Mecha Penguinator vulnerable.

13:08

KA-BOOM! As a nuclear weapons test footage addict, I'm quite happy with how this turned out!

13:15

That's a wrap – one full level of TAGAP 4 in the bag!

Iron Foundry

The level in this playthrough is from around the half-way point into TAGAP 4 and is set in the Glowenko Industries steel mill – one recycling and producing the alloys needed by the automated robot factory. You know, the one the endless supply of turrets and Penguinators comes from.

The inspiration for the level are two fold. Since the new shaders meant the fire and heat effects of the new engine were a lot better than before, I wanted to have another level filled with fire and brimstone. However, stuff like volcanos and lava streams didn't fit the flow of the game at all. A steel mill, on the other hand, felt logical. Thus I started designing the level with pen and paper, using the legendary ending scene of Terminator 2 as a reference.

The other inspiration comes from music, per usual. The very week I started to actually produce the level based on the pencil design drafts, Metallica's brilliant S&M2 was released. In case you didn't know, S&M albums are live recordings of Metallica performing with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and are the textbook definition of epic. The new album has a couple of classical performances as well... one of them being Alexander Mosolov's ahead-of-its-time "Iron Foundry".

If you are into industrial music, you likely already know "Iron Foundry". Written in 1926, it is arguably 'the original industrial song', a piece of a ballet composed to sound like the massive ironworks factory. Whilst there have been many versions of this piece – many of which I've loved – none of them quite capture the fire-and-brimstone atmosphere of a foundry quite like the S&M2 one.

Needless to say, I mapped most of this level playing the song on repeat. In the end, I think the level looks and feels more like the song than the original influence of Terminator 2. Thus the name of the level became "Iron Foundry".

Soundtrack

Petja started composing music for TAGAP 4 before many of the levels were ready and this is one of the first three such songs. Leaning on the more apocalyptic side of TAGAP, this one felt a great fit for the "Iron Foundry" level. I have to admit, Mosolov's composition being in the public domain I almost asked Petja to usea Hammond cover of the track, but this is much more appropriate and – more importantly – 'more TAGAP'.

Screenshots

Since I captured a big chunk of high quality footage from the latest version of the game, time to put it to good use and take some screengrabs for your screenshot viewing pleasures!

TAGAP 4 Screenshot 13 TAGAP 4 Screenshot 14 TAGAP 4 Screenshot 15

Closing notes

I can't believe it's been 14 years already! Thank you for all your support, hopefully you're liking how TAGAP 4 is shaping up. Considering how unstable the world is these days, I honestly can't promise TAGAP 4 being out for the 15th anniversary. I can at the very least guarantee that by then you will know the release date!

Happy TAGAP Day, everybody!

Until next time,

Jouni Lahtinen, the head penguin