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July 3rd, 2015

Progress, TAGAP Day '15 and E3

First things first!

TAGAP Day 2015

Yes, TAGAP Day 2015 will, as usual, bring you penguin and TAGAP fans some new, previously unseen TAGAP 3 greatness. It's not TAGAP 3 itself, obviously, as there's still tons-upon-tons of work to do, but it will be something substantially more than a slew of screenshots and a wallpaper or two.

Yes, I'm such a tease! :D

So, stay tuned for July 31st for epic TAGAP 3 goodies!

What am I working on now?

Another update, another level on the way! This one is the last full section of the space penguin church I've talked about in the past. I have to be brutally honest and say this level is very, VERY Castlevania – and I'm pretty sure we can blame my over-flowing excitement for Bloodstained for that. But hey, it's a huge-ass cathedral we're talking about here, so it works!

As with the previous parts of this episode, it's a colossal amount of work. Looking back at this, I'm pretty confident that these church levels have more unique, custom-made artwork in them than any other level in TAGAP 3. That's appropriate; You can use the same elements to create a hospital room and a computer lab, but the décor from a cathedral really doesn't fit either scenario. I mean I wouldn't mind having a huge stained glass window in my office, but that's not how things are.

In addition to the new level, I've finally finished the new power-up and reward system. This was a complete overhaul and even the classic power-ups – Freeloader and Quad Damage – were also recreated from scratch. You still get rewards for each 100 frags you score and TAGAP pills for the frag combo you rack up, but that's where the similarities end.

For instance; You have skill-dependant amount of OneUps per episode – one episode consisting of multiple levels – and you can't carry more than that. However, these OneUps are re-set when you visit the Hub and even on the field you can replenish used OneUps if you get your frag count high enough. This levels the playing field a bit, allowing novice players to progress on easier difficulty settings, while preventing skilled players from stacking so many OneUps that the challenge becomes completely trivial.

Finally, I've been crafting some new sounds with variety of trial versions of professional sound editing tools. There are still a couple I want to test before committing to pro-software price tags, but several of these programs have been really good. I have nothing against Audacity's functionality, mind you, but just like in the case of Photoshop versus GIMP, it can't compete with the commercial software when it comes to user interface design. If I decide to swap to one of these overkill sound suites, I'll let you know!

E3 2015

Another year, another E3. Only this year it was different; Majority of the show was actually a blast! Sure, there were a few groan-inducing moments – like the VERY well-intended but very mind-numbingly executed PC show and Bethesda's own version of UPlay – but everything else was really good. I'd even argue that after several years of dull drought, I'm again genuinely super-excited about upcoming videogames.

From all the great games of display, here is Penguin DT's Top #5 of E3 2015

  1. DOOM

    Developed by id Software (of course!) / Published by Bethesda Zenimax

    Seriously, have you seen this? It's DOOM, only envisioned in idTech6 as an insanely brutal bastard love-child of Brutal DOOM and Bulletstorm. In other words; I'm in love! It seems my next gen adventures begin in spring 2016. The original FPS is back, showing everyone in the genre who's their Daddy!

    DOOM also happens to be the last game John Carmack – the grand-wizard of video game programming – worked on before leaving id Software for Oculus. As someone who learned his game programming via Carmack's creations and open source releases, I feel this is a fitting farewell to the grand-wizard.

  2. Strafe

    Developed by Pixel Titans

    If it weren't for DOOM and how astonishing it is, Strafe would easily be our number one – but I'm fairly sure Pixel Titans won't be offended by coming second to one of their main inspirations. Strafe is insanely fast paced first person shooter in vein of the classic Quake and it is a blast. You don't have to take my word for it, download the alpha speedrun version and give it a spin; The speedrun alpha version obviously lacks the procedural level generation and other randomized elements, but the core gameplay is in place. Seriously, I'm addicted to this already, and the game isn't even out yet!

  3. Final Fantasy VII

    Developed and published by SquareEnix

    While I'm usually against remakes, my recently re-discovered liking towards the Final Fantasy series made me remember my biggest failure as a gamer; I've never played Final Fantasy VII. Yeah, I said it. I have the soundtrack, but for various reasons and coincidences, I missed this game. However, now that it's making a comeback as perhaps the most ambitious videogame remaster of all time, I will not miss it. Heck, finally putting an image to the classic Uematsu soundtrack is reason enough!

  4. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

    Developed and published by SquareEnix

    It's next gen Deus Ex with epic SquareEnix production values; You honestly don't need to know more. That's exactly all you need for a GOTY. In fact that's all I want to know and as of this showcase onward I'll stay in the spoiler vacuum.

  5. Bombshell

    Developed by Interceptor Entertainment / Published by 3D Realms

    Bombshell – somewhat based on a character originally planned as part of Duke Nukem Forever but left on the cutting room floor with tons of other elements – looks like a blast. It's basically an isometric top-down shooter mixed with RPGs – think over-the-top sci-fi Diablo – from Interceptor, the folks behind the recent Rise of the Triad re-do and published under the resurrected 3D Realms banner. Complete the package with an interesting, bad-ass female lead and you have something you should look out for.

Other amazing games we all are excited for and want to mention;

  • Dishonored 2
  • Fallout 4
  • Ghost Recon: Wildlands
  • Just Cause 3
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Mirror's Edge: Catalyst
  • Shadow Warrior 2
  • Star Wars: Battlefront

Like I mentioned, E3 was chock-full of great games, so this list is nothing but a surface scratch. Seriously, I recommend checking out some of the showcases posted around the Interwebs; It doesn't matter what kind of gamer you are, I'm pretty sure there was something to pique your interest!

It bares repeating; It's been quite a while since the last time I was this excited about upcoming games. Glad to know my soul hasn't turned black and/or the industry still knows how to excite us!

 

Okay, that's it for now. Remember; Check back on July 31st for TAGAP 3 goodies!

Until next time,

Jouni Lahtinen, the head penguin