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December 24th, 2013

Penguins in space suits

Welcome to Holiday 2013 blog post! As usual, we released a slew of new TAGAP media to brighten up your holidays. So, without further ado;

Screenshot

This new screenshot is something that was actually asked for by fans via social media; TAGAP 3 taking place in space, why haven't we shown a glimpse of more space-y stuff yet? Well, the answer to that simply was; Because those portions weren't ready yet. At the time we recorded and edited the début trailer I had just started to draft out our very first low-gravity space map and we had nothing finished to show off. But half-an-year later that has obviously changed!

So here's a glimpse of space battles between penguins!

TAGAP 3 Holiday 2013 Screenshot

(this is actual gameplay footage)

A couple of things to take in from this scene;

  • The low gravity is in effect, but that doesn't mean you have to float about helplessly; With the new magnetic boots Pablo can use his stomp-move to zip through the air even in space. Granted, in this shot he is about to get hit in the head by a bullet, but one bullet is better than floating in a way of the entire barrage.

  • Smarter enemies can also jump and use gravity boots, meaning the low-gravity combat turns into a weird penguin air-ballet, which is something very fresh.

  • The space suits are actually highly detailed and thought out, from the nano-glass helmets to the air tanks. You can actually see the breathing, with the exhale forming mist behind the air tanks, though during this screen capture no-one was unfortunately exhaling, but that's what you get with non-scripted screenshots sometimes.

  • The sub-space vortex effects have evolved quite a bit since the last time you saw them. In the background you can also see the ghostly glow of the nanoglass dome protecting the atmosphere of the interior sections.

Wallpapers

To celebrate the holiday and the year 2013 in general we just rolled out our very first official TAGAP 3 wallpapers!

Pablo's TAGAP 3 wallpaper
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TAGAP 3 explosive logo
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TAGAP 3 explosive logo, unbranded
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First up is, obviously, Pablo's TAGAP 3 wallpaper. I wrote the full description of this one in the Weekly Penguin entry, so instead of repeating myself, I urge you to head to the Weekly Penguin pages for the full description on this one.

But the other one is a different case. While it may look like a promotional piece – and works pretty great as one – it's actually CGI concept art. Yep, for TAGAP 3 I've doodled some all-CGI concepts and this one is, obviously, for the title screen. Even though it may look like a 3D render, it is not; It's all Photoshop, all 2D vectors. Well, vectors and several dozen filters and effects used as the plasma explosion.

When I was bringing concept to life, it changed a bit. Between the concept and the actual implementation I had created the sub-space vortex effects. I liked them so much that instead of having a perpetual plasma explosion, we now have the winds of the vortex cracking the screen and sweeping the shards away. Still, all the assets of the sequence were adapted directly from this particular piece of artwork.

By the way, if the description of the title screen sounded familiar, it should; The actual title screen wraps up the TAGAP 3 début trailer!

What am I doing right now?

A whole new level! This is something different, both in comparison to the other finished levels as well as in terms of the design method. This one was designed entirely as abstract physical shapes, play-tested as such until it felt great and then finally texture-mapped to look like a real place. While this is the order things almost always for us – shapes, textures, enemies – I usually have most of it designed before I even launch the TAGAP Editor. But not this time; The textures were designed over the physical landscape instead of planning the scenes out as a whole.

How is it working so far? Pretty well, actually. The level feels very organic and I'm fairly sure you won't be able to tell which level I'm talking about. While the results of this experiment were great, this was very time-consuming; Having a full design from the get-go makes the entire design process a lot faster and smoother. While we likely won't be doing another huge level entirely by this method, I'm not ruling out doing short special segments this way. We'll see.

The Next Weekly Penguin

While that's it for now, we have one more treat in store for 2013. The last day of the year happens to be another Weekly Penguin tuesday and it'll be something really special. In fact, it just might be the greatest Weekly Penguin to date, at least to me on a personal level. Unless my ISP gets a heart attack during the holidays, feel free come and witness more penguin greatness on December 31st!

Have a peaceful holiday!

Until next time,

Jouni Lahtinen, the head penguin