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April 6th, 2019

TAGAP 3 v1.7, plus Sony woes

TAGAP 3 v1.7

There have been plenty of spanners thrown into the works recently, as I've documented in these blogs, but TAGAP 3 v1.7 is finally here. Better late than never!

While there are plenty of minor fixes and improvements, the headlining feature of the update is a brand new difficulty setting, "Challenge Overdose". This is meant for those who have mastered the gameplay and don't fear facing faster-reacting enemies that deal plenty more damage. Most of the regular Pluto penguins can also come wearing armour.

As I've been focusing my workload mainly towards our new project recently, not only has the development on the update been slower than I would've liked, balancing it was also a real nightmare. As I play the new game a lot more these days, swapping between that and TAGAP 3 completely threw my 'gut instinct' off.

What I mean by this is that as the gameplay mechanics between the new game and TAGAP 3 are quite different, it was hard to jump between the two while trying to ensure the new difficulty setting is super-tough but fair. It was quite a balancing act but I hope you like the results!

"Challenge Overdose" is quite punishing, to the point I struggle at some points with it, having to really safe. It's a refreshingly different take on TAGAP and while I wouldn't want to make it 'the new default' for Penguin DT stuff going forward, it is definitely something I want to keep around as an option.

But enough rambling, go get it!

What I'm working on right now?

TAGAP 3 v1.7 obviously! In addition to that, slowly but steadily I'm progressing with the x64 ports of TAGAP and TAGAP 2. This is slow, as I'm also doing a full code diagnostics at the same time, scrubbing everything with the Visual Studio 2017 code verification tools. On top of all that, I need to port the sound code of both games from FMOD Ex to FMOD Studio API – FMOD Ex is no longer supported, so I'd like to ditch it for sake of full compatibility.

Of course, the fourth Penguin DT project keeps on progressing, too. I've inserted several new characters to the mix, worked on the sound design some more and optimized the heck out of the rendering pipleline.

Right now the most striking difference between the old engines and the new one is the lighting system. While the first three engines rely on layering of standard OpenGL elements for an illusion of lighting, now we do things completely via shaders. The system is slightly more resource intensive, but not by much. In fact I'm pretty sure that on proper modern hardware the new system will be FASTER, due to how much the 3D CGI relies on shaders.

Jumping between TAGAP3 and the new project really emphasized how much more depth the new lighting has. I guess the depth isn't the right word, but that's how I would describe it. You can immediately tell the difference between the two engines from the lighting system alone. While there are none of those DOOM 3 inspired super-dark areas in TAGAP 3, our next project likely will have at least one of those, just to put the new lighting engine through its paces.

Hopefully I can share this thing in action soon!

Playlist

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!

Usually the land of video game is where I can be really positive, but even here things have taken a sad, sad turn. If you are a Twitter follower of mine, you've likely noticed my rants and I apologize for them. Just in case you don't do Twitter, here's a quick summary.

As I wanted to play the upcoming RAGE 2 in 60 FPS – and because the recent funeral expenses obliterated my savings, I had only one option; to get Xbox One X or PlayStation 4 Pro. So, as I really liked PS4 and I find the direction of Xbox platform dubious, I went with PS4 Pro.

Just after purchasing it, one of my most anticipated games for the year, Devil May Cry 5 was released. Of course I bought it, but before I even installed it, I stumbled on an article documenting how the game is censored Europe wide on PS4. I immediately janked the disc out of the system and threw the game into the trash bin.

Worse, reading more on the matter, apparently Sony has a new policy where they are now openly censoring 3rd party titles left and right. I knew Sony censored their own releases, which is why I haven't touched Last of Us to this day. However, them overreaching to 3rd party games is a new development.

I don't support censorship. Never have, never will and I'd rather drop dead than do so. But here I am now, owning a 500€ censored platform.

So, the gaming life might be over for me. I still have the backlog of older releases to go through, which will last me for a year or so. After that? I don't know. I really don't.

At least Earth Defense Force 4.1 has been a riot.

What's next?

For Penguin DT, working on the next game, day in, day out.

For classic TAGAPs, more updates! Getting them out on the T-Day in July would be something really apt, wouldn't you think? I better hurry up, then!

As for videogames, I have no idea. I was planning on getting hyped for RAGE 2, but I don't think it can escape Sony censors. Before this censor-gate went down, I got myself FarCry 5, so I guess going to a war with a backwoods cult could brighten my day.

Until next time,

Jouni Lahtinen, the head penguin