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October 10th, 2016

October development update

What am I working on right now?

Right now I'm working on more cinematics, in particularly the one that welcomes Pedro back to the fray. You might be wondering; 'Weren't I supposed to be working on the finale maps'? Well, I was and the first part of the finale is roughly two-thirds-complete.

However, these being finale levels, they are toughest of the tough, pushing the player as close to the limits as sanely possible. This means balancing them is tougher than with most maps, requiring me to play the map over and over and over. And this in turn creates sort of blindness to the balance; After a while half of the level is stuck into my 'muscle memory', allowing me to deal with situations in a way a normal player never could.

Which brings us to my break from creation of the map. The easiest way to deal with the issue is to take a medium-to-long break from that particular map by focusing on something else in the game. And when I return to the level later this month, I can more objectively judge the state of balancing.

But as always, don't fret; I'm indeed not sitting on my hands this month, just producing another important part of the game. It doesn't matter on which front I focus on, the game progresses regardless!

African Penguin Awareness Day screenshot

In case you missed it; October 8th was African Penguin Awareness Day and to celebrate we released a new screenshot from TAGAP 3. Here Pablo takes on a space-tank!

TAGAP 3 African Penguin Awareness shot

(this is actual gameplay footage)

Playlist

Now that my backlog is mostly cleared, the old Backlog adventures spot is now simply Playlist; A chance to highlight cool games both old and new that I've been playing. As always, I believe that in order to make games, you need to play them, preferably with a broad scope when it comes to genres, so each day I dedicate at least an hour to actually playing games. The rest of the free time? There is no such thing, it all belongs to TAGAP!

After finishing Arkham Knight, I've been focused on two specific games, both published by Square Enix; Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is nothing short of a minor masterpiece. It's everything a good cyberpunk tale should be; An intriguing tale of futuristic conspiracy wrapped in a thought-provoking and darn-well-written story. I don't want to say much else, since these have always been the kinds of games you need to experience yourself – for both the story and adaptive gameplay.

To avoid spoilers, I'll say just this; While the pre-launch PR for Deus Ex: MD has been pretty horrible, don't let that fool you. This game ROCKS. Eidos Montreal deservers praise for their work, even when Square Enix tried to 'augment your pre-order' or forced microtransactions upon the game. You can easily ignore both and enjoy some intelligent cyberpunk espionage action.

Now, Tomb Raider was a game that I've already gone on record to love, so it might seem weird that I'm revisiting it with some many games in the cue. Well, not so weird; This month sees the 20th anniversary of Lara Croft, finally bringing Rise of Tomb Raider to PS4, so I wanted to prepare myself accordingly. This is also a great opportunity to check out my first 'upgraded' game and see how much better the game looks as compared to the Xbox 360 original.

I also wanted to re-familiarise myself with the reboot story, just in case. See, when I played the game originally, I did so post abdominal surgery and on heavy dose of painkillers. Whilst I had a surprisingly clear picture of the game considering, I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Next in the games pile; A lots. The afore-mentioned Rise of Tomb Raider is a must and the new Duke Nukem 3D episode is right around the corner, but in the meantime I have almost too many games to choose from. Seriously, all kinds of games from Telltale's Batman and BioShock re-releases to Limited Run Games version of Shadow Complex. And then there's all the new Dimensions stuff!

I wonder if all these choices are too much and I just go back to play some more DOOM.

Until next time,

Jouni Lahtinen, the head penguin