Sixteen years of TAGAP, that's amazing! For me that is 19 years, as it took roughly 3 years to produce the first one. It is humbling to know that folks are playing the games to this day. Whether you're in it for the good times or the jank, I thank you.
Now, we usually feature tons of special treats on TAGAP Day. However, this year we've struck a bit of a lull. TAGAP 4 is just out the door and development on new things has just started to pick up steam.
So, instead I thought this would be a good time to bring everyone up to speed on what's going on in form of a extra-large 'state of things' blog post.
So, without further ado, let's roll.
The development status is 'good' and 'picking up steam steadily'.
The engine is almost entirely done and most mechanics are in place – now it just needs tons of asset creation for it to become more than a proof-of-concept slice. This is why there isn't a blazing teaser trailer to show today; though mechanically solid, it's half composed of stand-in assets.
Long-time dev blog followers will know that the reason why I've focused solely on the tech for the past six or so months was due to my PC upgrade. Is I've explained, the upgrade made me loose my CS3, so to maintain consistency within the art assets, I delayed the creation of them until after the upgrade. This means I haven't been able to actually work on the art until a couple of months ago.
But hey, it means the tech is almost all there now, all it needs is content. Tons and tons of content.
Earlier I did consider doing a logo and title reveal for the Next Game for this TAGAP Day. However, two things derailed it. The other is, well, same as with the art; my Premiere seems to have suffered the same fate as CS3. Thus I need to find a new video editing suite before I can start working on any teaser trailers. I didn't even think of this until earlier this month. And just when my hatred of Adobe started to mellow...
The second, well, a timing thing. When the game is announced, you'll know what I mean. It's nothing extreme, just in inconvenient coincidence.
Though the focus is on Next Game at the moment, TAGAP updates keep rolling in. The next in line is TAGAP 3. After this round of updates is done, I will start looking into creating QoL updates to all four, starting the round again with TAGAP 4.
I admit that currently TAGAP's Internet presence is all wonky these days. Only thing on the up is Itch.io, on which the follower count raises slowly but steadily. Thank you for that.
Facebook hasn't been a priority for ages, YouTube is far from optimal due to forced ads, our Vimeo account is about as full as it can get and so is SoundCloud. And Twitter is basically dead, which sucks because that was our main 'social media platform'. As you may have noticed, I've scrubbed the integration off of TAGAP.net already.
So what next? I honestly don't know. The new Twitter gets worse by the day and I have zero interest in getting unto any Zuck Soul Extractor platforms. If the rumours of Alphabet's upcoming war on adblockers are true, I won't be using YouTube much longer either.
I have looked into the Twitter alternatives, but none of them seem worth it. Bluesky is the only one that doesn't immediately give me allergic reactions, but considering it was mostly bankrolled by the 'old Twitter', it isn't necessarily long for this world either.
I guess I have to look into forming a newsletter like its 1999?
In the meantime, I will make a concise effort to write more frequent blog updates to make this place more lively. This will start in the not too distant future with a new 'Making of TAGAP 4' blog post that artist types might find both interesting and useful.
After I get to announce the Next Game, I naturally start to write more behind-the-scenes updates. Naturally right now it is more than a bit difficult to write anything without spoiling the reveal down the line, but afterwards everything is fare game.
I've already asked this on Twitter, but since it is no longer visible to anyone who isn't already on there, I'll ask it here, too:
Are there any development topics you'd like hear about?
In the past I've focused on topics that are 'flashier' and perhaps more attention-grabbing – art time lapses, character introductions, key art and so on. However, if there is something nerdier you'd wish me to do a deeper dive on, just let me know. At the moment of writing this, Twitter is still the best way to get in touch with me directly, but you can reach me easily on the YouTube and Itch.io too.
I frequently receive inquiries about TAGAP titles getting unto Steam. For the first time in half a decade, I'm looking into the feasibility of it. However, it is not a priority and I make no promises about it. There are two big obstacles to why I haven't done so already – and these are things not many may consider or know of.
It is time consuming. Not only is Steam yet another platform to maintain the games on, but has its own APIs I'd have to integrate (i.e. Achievements, etc.). That means having to create a whole a separate branch of builds just for Steam. As I do most of this as a one-man-band, it's a lot of extra work for something that is potentially just lost under the flood of asset flip shovelware engulfing Steam on the daily.
It is expensive. Fee for adding a game is 100€ per title, so for TAGAP – if Classic TAGAP is distributed as one SKU – that's 300€. Remember, TAGAP is freeware and already has running distribution fees (hosting and file sharing used for the TAGAP website).
Additionally, I personally don't use Steam. It's been years since the last time I even had it installed on my PC. I simply don't care for services that think I'm a thief if I dare to go offline, not even if the company behind it used to make good games once.
However, I will put my personal issues aside if I can tackle the two points mentioned above without going financially and mentally bankrupt.
As I've always said, you've got to play games to make games and that keeps on trucking on, too, at least for now. Without any killer apps, I'm still stuck in the 'last gen' and that is honestly likely how it'll stay forever. Plenty of good games to go through still – right now I'm still in the process of completing Relayer. The main story has been completed, but the alternate story arc that is unlocked after – which is a full length campaign, only sans voice acting – is still underway.
I guess that sums up things.
TLDR; a lot is going on in the world of TAGAP, but things are still too early for the limelights.
Thank you for 16 years of support! If things go as planned, by the same time next year you'll know what we've been cooking. In the meantime, feel free to use this day as an excuse to replay the TAGAP quadrilogy!