A shorter blog update before the storm that is the TAGAP Day 2022 on July 31st.
As the title suggests, the TAGAP Day 2022 trailer that serves as a vehicle for two big announcements for TAGAP 4. The two are;
Yes, it is happening! The hype is real!
When I'm not working on that, I've started to pivot from the main development mode into loose end hunting. It's not any less intense, but involves a whole different kind of workflow. See, for each different set of tasks – art, audio, scripting, mapping, programming, etc. - I have a different set of task lists. They're basically just massive to-do lists, ranging from bugs and features to notes about assets needed.
Now that most of the game is in place, I can start going through these lists and tying the loose ends. For example, last weekend I finished the icons for the Challenges (our Achievements / Trophies). The Challenges themselves have been ready for months, but most of them have still been using our glorious 'temp icon':
Gorgeous, isn't it? 🤣 Here are some of the finished ones:
And finally, the great voice over maestro Neil Gardner sent over the narration for the story recap and it sounds perfect. Now the sequence is fully timed according to the narration and almost ready to go - all it needs now is the score, which is obviously Petja's domain. He naturally didn't start to work on it before the timing was finalised, because you can't sync it with the sequence until then.
Speaking of the recap sequence...
Today happens to be Tuesday, which means a new Weekly Penguin. The start of July means the 15th anniversary is on my mind, so it felt apt to feature more 'Previously on TAGAP' artwork, this time featuring TAGAP 2 and General Primo's battle penguins.
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!
First up; Turok remasters from Nightdive Studios. What can I say, Nightdive knows how to remaster their titles and these two are perfect ports. That said, the first game hasn't aged as well in terms of gameplay – the combination of slower movement, re-spawning hit-scanners and the fog feel even cheaper today than it did in the 90s.
Turok 2, in contrast, still slaps like its the Oscars. In case you missed it, the second game is basically a FPS-Metroidvania title, where you hop between drastically different and uniquely themed levels – complete with their own enemies – unlocking new firepower, special abilities and a super weapon. So yeah, go grab it; knowledge of the first game isn't required either, if that's what you're worried about.
Next up was Farm 51's Chernobylite – sometimes referred to as 'STALKER lite', because it also takes place in Pripyat which, after Chernobyl disaster, has been plagued my mysterious anomalies. The difference is that Chernobylite is less open and more focused experience instead of an open world. Also, Farm51 went an extra mile with the world building and actually 3D scanned the environments of the real exclusion zone and Pripyat for the levels and assets. Needless to say, it really helps with the atmosphere.
In Chernobylite, you play as a professor who did research work in Chernobyl and barely escaped. Haunted by his past, he is driven to investigate what happened to his fiancee who disappeared that night. Returning to the power plant, he discovers the whole place has been taken over by a private military force and nothing is what it seems. What follows is a combination of tactical stealth combat, horror, survival and base management – with few different things added in that I won't spoil.
You know how I've been saying I intentionally block news and all current events out of my feeds and my mind so I can focus on TAGAP with less stress? Well, yeah, when I grabbed Chernobylite from my backlog shelf, I kind of missed the connection. I blame the heatwave that cooked my brain. That said, playing this game right now in time made it ten times as eerie. Walking down the streets of the 3D scanned Pripyat was eerie on its own, but to do it in 2022 makes it heavier and more melancholic than I could've prepared for.
In summary, if Chernobylite has been off your radar, time to put it on it. Good stuff – you'd never guess this was a Kickstarter funded indie title. The only thing even slightly hinting towards that is how there's no lip-sync or facial animations for the dialogue... but this IS Pripyat, so everyone is wearing face- or gas masks anyway.
On TAGAP front; the Double-Annoucement Trailer. I hope you're as hyped as I am. After that, I've taking a very short break from main dev work and instead focus on playtesting the crap out of the game with balancing in mind (paying particular attention paid to the available ammo across the campaign).
In the playlist; I'm right now started playing Lumote: The Mastermote Chronicles by Luminawesome Games and Wired Productions. It is a super-adorable puzzle platformer where you play as a squishy bioluminescent deep-sea creature who has to re-light its world taken over by the Mastermote. It's a mesmerizing title where the sound and visuals work in unison in such a way you'd think it was a Tetsuya Mizuguchi game. Brilliant feel-good stuff.