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March 2nd, 2009

Another status report

It's been a while since I gave you dear readers any status updates – or anything else to read for that matter, so here we go.

Website issues

As you probably noticed, TAGAP website was offline for a while about a week ago. This had nothing to do with us and very little to do with the guys who handle our online servers; To put it mildly, people who owned the physical servers apparently weren't, despite of their positions, very customer friendly, which lead to conflict and another switch of servers. Everything is getting back to normal and hopefully the Forums will be also up shortly. We're really sorry for the trouble.

TAGAP 2 gameplay

Gameplay of TAGAP 2 is getting a lot more interesting than we originally intended. As you may recall from our previous blog entries, we had a vision of implementing some sort of special move to give Pablo more combat maneuvers in addition to jumping. Back then we had four alternatives to mess around with and we decided to use the most penguin-alike of them, the tummy slide. We narrowed the special moves to one because we didn't want to add too many action buttons and thus ruin out streamlined controls.

But then I spent handful of hours playing Devil May Cry 4 and realized we didn't need additional action keys. So, now it seems Pablo will be available to at least three special moves; Pablo can slide on his tummy, perform double-jumps and do ground stomps (not yet fully implemented). Add in the ability toss grenades Halo-style and use portable gadgets, TAGAP 2 has a lot more depth than it's predecessor. But don't be afraid, it still feels like TAGAP alright.

TAGAP 2 engine

Gameplay-wise the engine is almost shipping ready, apart from the co-op code. Thus I've spent some time recreating the menus. Lot of streamlining has been done, for instance you don't have to log out to separate extras menu to check your achievements or to start a new game from desired level. Additionally all documentations now support illustrations, so expect to see more solid in-game help system this time around.

TAGAP 2 development

On TAGAP 2 content creation front I've been working my ass off on level transitions, the last thing to do before the first half of the game is done. Yes, we're inches away from completing 50% of the game. No, this doesn't mean it'll take another 18 months to do the rest, as more assets we have, faster the development gets.

The transitions are still short, skippable in-engine cinematics between levels. The engine has been improved to point where we actually COULD do all these transitions in-game, but I've never been a great fan of in-game cinematics as they can't be skipped – which in turn may hurt repeated play.

Hardware troubles

About an year ago my laptop's videocard broke and now it seems my laptop's motherboard is busted. It seems that 'luckily' this is some sort of an factory-issue with laptops of this series, so I can get this thing repaired for free. Still, since this is my only computer right now, it means there will be a break from all updates in near future. I was informed the process will take from five to nine business days. I any case, I will post this week's Weekly Penguin tonight – this way I can be sure it gets online before a courier comes for my computer :)

Until next time,

Jouni Lahtinen, the head penguin