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November 1st, 2008

TAGAP 2 gets on its feet

Today we have a reason to party; As of today, after about two weeks of 24/7 crazy crunch working, TAGAP 2 now stands on its own (happy) feet.

If you haven't followed the blogs, you probably don't get what's the fuzz. When we were wrapping up with the original TAGAP, we also started working on TAGAP 2 – and at first TAGAP 2 was just an approximation developed as TAGAP Mod. We got pretty far that way, actually, which proved TAGAP is a solid base for Mod creation (hint-hint).

Ultimately we reached a point requiring total rebuild of character assembly functions and physics. Thus we divided TAGAP Engine source into to branches, TAGAP and TAGAP 2. Still, even though we had completely separate code, TAGAP 2 game component still shared assets with the first TAGAP. Technically speaking, until today, TAGAP 2 was a TAGAP Mod running under TAGAP 2 Engine.

But no more. TAGAP 2 officially has no ties to TAGAP data or code base. To reach this point I spent the last couple of weeks exclusively creating TAGAP 2 assets like crazy. Some, mainly audio, I was able to port with little hassle, but most of the art I had to re-draw from scratch. As shown in the screenshots, TAGAP 2 boasts so much more detail we were able to recycle directly only the fonts, a couple of GUI assets and some effect rendering components (rain effect, for example).

But it's still essentially the same experience, right? Why is this such a big deal? This is more of prelude to the next big development step; The vertical slice. In practice this means we'll make a portion of the game – in our case it'll be levels 1-B to 5 – as feature ready as possible. Then we'll put the content creation on hold for a while and do nothing but play the segment. Testing, balancing, optimizing. This way we'll have enough gameplay to test all the new features, yet the proving grounds are small enough so we don't have to re-configure the entire game if something doesn't work as intended.

That's next, but for now I'll take small break from TAGAP 2 and continue working on site updates, aforementioned TAGAP Lite – and try to catch up with all the feedback and questions you've sent our way. I'm really sorry for our looong response time, but at least it paid off. :D

Until next time,

Jouni Lahtinen, the head penguin