March 16th, 2018
Monster Hunting & Secret Stuff
TAGAP 3 v1.4
What am I doing right now?
The New Secret TBA Project™ is stating to gather momentum and I've started proper gameplay prototyping. Weapons, character rigs, gameplay features, you name it.
One thing I can reveal about my recent work on this project, without spoiling anything, is how greatly the rendering engine has improved since TAGAP 3. At this point I've basically dismantled the entire rendered and rebuilt it into something a lot more efficient. In fact some fruits of this work you've seen today, in form of TAGAP 3 v1.4 and its improved rendering pipeline.
As for TAGAP Engine 4, it will be a lot more shader-focused than TAGAP Engine 3. Whilst TAGAP 3 supported shaders, in order to keep it as backwards-compatible as possible, I minimized the usage of them to things that I couldn't pull of otherwise. For example you can't do the texture colour modifications needed for freezing enemies without the use of fragment shaders. Well, you could, but it would look like garbage.
In TAGAP Engine 4, my special effects design philosophy is the exact opposite; if it can be done with shaders in a uniform way, that's the way we're going to go. So, a lot has been moved over to shaders, from simple floor polygons to all the reflection maps. I could go on and on about the positive impact of these things, but I'd rather show the whole thing in motion one day!
In addition to all this, I've also started researching different kinds of controllers and how to utilize them. My aim is to research if Xinput (Xbox controllers) and DirectInput controllers can co-exist in one application without stepping on each other's 'toes'. If I can get this to work, future TAGAP 3 update might render the need of Xbox Controller Emulator obsolete. I've done some preliminary work on this, but I still need to get myself a DirectInput controller in order to test things proper.
Playlist is a regular feature in our Penguin DT blog; 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!
Recently it's been all about Monster Hunter World from Capcom. Monster Hunter is a series I've always been curious to try, bit it has never been on 'my system of choice' – particularly because it's been such a portable console mainstay. But now the game launched big with a game specifically designed to be an entry point to new players, so yeah, count me in... and it is pretty darn great!
At first I wasn't sure what it was that made everyone praise the series. The mechanics were deeply layered, the action was solid and the Palicos are heart-meltingly cute, but is that enough to create such a super-hit? But when I got to the first proper large monster hunts, everything became clear.
See, the real shining stars of Monster Hunter are the amazing monster designs. Not only do they look cool and sound great, they have their completely own behaviour, attack patterns and, well, personality. The game keeps you on your toes constantly – and the moment you think you have that giant electric crocodile pegged, it leaps and glides at you like a kaiju-sized flying squirrel from Hell!
The game is filled with moments like that. Just when you think you've settled into a routine, the game surprises you with something so unexpected that you have to really re-think what you are doing. I'm about 40 or so hours into it and the game still finds new ways to stay fresh, which is mighty impressive.
It's not flawless, though. I'm a single player only kind of guy and annoys me greatly to be forced to deal with an online account to play solo – and being nagged at repeatedly that I need PSN+ for more features. Well, at least you play the solo experience without paid console services, unlike Battleborn.
If you've been interested to give Monster Hunter series a go, Monster Hunter World is a great way to do just that. And while I don't play multiplayer games anymore, I'd wager that if you're looking for a brand new adventure to tackle with friends, this will keep your party busy for ages.
Also, I want a cook book from the Meowscular Chef!
In playlist; More Monster Hunter World. This game is huuuuge. After that, de Blob 2 PS4 re-release! You can never have too much de Blob in your life.
On development front – more prototyping and engine improvements. Hopefully we can get to the proper pre-production phase soon!
Until next time,
Jouni Lahtinen, the head penguin