Posts Tagged ‘Tom Francis’

Heat Signature is a comic cosmic playground

I’m not sure if Heat Signature [official site] will be labelled as a comedy game when it goes on sale, but I haven’y played a funnier game in recent years. Your role in each brief life that you lead is to earn money by completing missions that involve kidnapping, assassination and theft, so that you can use the money to buy information regarding an end-game mission that is personal to your character. Get that job done and your character can retire happy. Fail and you’re most likely a popsicle drifting through the void.

Here’s how it all works, and how my most recent character died.

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Ian Gunpoint releases new game Morphblade

That’s not the coder-designer of Gunpoint [official site] and Heat Signature‘s real name, of course. We don’t honour him with his real name anymore, not since that thing with the dishwasher tablets in 2013. It is our professional duty, however, to notify you that his latest game, ‘puzzle-strategy’ title Morphblade [official site], is now out.

It’s partially inspired by all-time mobile great Hoplite, but it’s very much its own cunning thing. Take a look below. Read the rest of this entry »

Heat Signature’s teleporters and a ridiculous escape

It has been many moons since we last looked at the sneaky, top-down spaceship invading of Heat Signature [official site] but work has not ceased. A new trailer shows some new looks for the different factions you’ll be encountering, as well as explaining how a few of your hero’s teleporter skills work. In the process, creator Tom Francis fails to sneak through a high-difficulty level, proving that the game will fit neatly into the genre of Stealth But Things Go Badly Wrong.
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How To Make A Great British Bake Off Game

The latest series of The Great British Bake Off has come to an end, causing those of us hooked by its cream-filled buns, end-of-the-pier puns, and oddly sincere celebration of the human spirit, to feel as empty inside as an incompletely prepared batch of jam donuts. After a few days spent facing a future free from sugar, gluten, and the strange tension between Paul Hollywood and hosts Mel & Sue, I decided to do something about it. I emailed some game designers and asked them a question: if you were charged with making a computer game of The Great British Bake Off, how would you do it?

The answers are below.

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Galaxies, Wrenches And Disclosures: Gunpoint Creator Tom Francis’ Heat Signature

Heat Signature [official site] is an action/stealth game in which you can go inside the spaceships, from the team behind Gunpoint. I played a recent build last week and spoke to its lead designer Tom Francis about how how it’s grown into a game of factional war, if it can ever be finished, comedy wrench KOs and the awkwardness of journalists covering ex-journalists’ games. By which I mean: disclaimer – I used to work at the same magazine company as Tom, and we socialised on occasion.

Heat Signature’s pratfalls-in-space concepts were a giggle already, but the scope has expanded dramatically since the first time I saw it, less than a year ago. It’s becoming Galactic Civilizations as well as this sort of high-speed, outer space heist game. Gunpoint’s use of physics as both freeform puzzle and source of Three Stooges comedy ethos is very clearly in there, as is a shared determination to ensure the player is doing their own thing in any given second of the game, but as well as stealing procedurally-generated spaceships you now get to play galactic factions against each other in a persistent universe. This wasn’t the original plan.

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Galaxy Class: New Heat Signature Dev Walkthrough

This new Heat Signature [official site] video dev diary/walkthrough is giving me some serious “Hotline Miami in space” vibes, and I’m totally digging it. Developer Tom Francis has made some significant updates to the game since we last saw it 220 days ago. Watch as he talks us through a few missions, resets the universe a couple of times, and nails precision rebound wrench throws.

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Gunpoints Of View: Tom Francis Teaches Gamemaker

yes I screencapped the streaming glitch from the first second of the video because I'm a big jerk

Do YOU want to be the next indie millionaire? Well, you can’t. There are far too many of the blighters already and not a lot of room for more. You could make a game though: that’s pretty cool. I suspect many people reading these have thought about doing so, if they haven’t already, but the question is where to start? Well, with an engine, and if you’re a raw beginner that’s either going to be Gamemaker or Unity. The former’s the best bet if you’re making something 2D, which is the best bet if you’re working solo. And then: where to start? Well, how about a new video series from affable Gunpoint creator Tom Francis?
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Hijacking Hijinks: Heat Signature

Judging by the new trailer for Heat Signature, two things are essential in a Tom Francis game – manipulation of interconnected systems and comical physics. Gunpoint’s infiltration often involved tapping into electrical systems and adopting a smart tactical overview, but usually ended with trouser-propulsion and instinctive defenestration. Heat Signature’s procedural spaceships provide similarly fertile ground for both forward planning and farce. The video shows two missions in full but really comes into its own when Tom decides to hijack a ship for no good reason, plotting a route to the cockpit and isolating the crew by sealing doors. Once he has the helm, explosions occur.

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Heat Signature: Hands-On With The Gunpoint Follow-Up

Important proviso – all screens and video in this piece show placeholder art. The finished Heat Signature will apparently look very different – there are some hints to its possible final appearance here, however.

“I think the subtitle of the game should be ‘You Can Go Inside The Spaceships’,” jokes Heat Signature dev Tom Francis as he shows me his follow-up to break-out hit Gunpoint at EGX last week. “I can already tell it’s going to have the Gunpoint problem where I say ‘I made a game called Gunpoint’ and they say ‘I don’t think I’ve heard of that’, then I explain what the game is and they’re “oh yeah, I’ve heard of that, but I just didn’t remember the name because it has nothing to do with what you do in it.” A pause. “This does have heat in it, at least.”

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Procedural Plundering: Heat Signature Trailer

Zoom zoom.

You can learn a lot about someone from the games they make, I’m told. Tom Francis’s first game, Gunpoint, was about breaking into places, punching people out, bodging their wiring, stealing stuff, then leaving through a window. But look, his second game was a free game about gaily swinging on a grappling hook. That made the score 1-1 in Evil vs. Lovely. To settle the tie, today he released a new video showing a prototype for his third game, Heat Signature. It’s about, ah, sneaking up on spaceships, boarding them, sneaking around, punching men out, then stealing their stuff. Oh Tom.

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Gun(two)point(zero): Gunpoint Gets New Engine, Mods

In a lot of ways, I feel like Gunpoint is what Watch_Dogs should’ve been. A game not about violence, but about getting around it using a bag of tricky tech tools, being fluid and improvisational like some kind of cyberpunk Bruce Lee. Your character is just a flimsy, doughy detective who goes flying out windows all the time. You have to be smart, not brutal. (Also the writing is actually good, so there.) If you still haven’t played it, there’s no better time than the present, seeing as it just got a spiffy new game engine and Steam Workshop support. See the full list of changes below.

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Grappling With Joy: Floating Point Free From Gunpoint Dev

Heaven is a collection of blocks.

“Heaven is a half-pipe,” sang OPM, exposing the spiritual naivety of the rap-rock movement–we all know there are no skateboards in any afterlife. Untethered from the dust, they become grappling hooks. Everything a skateboard longs to be and to do finds its ultimate expression, its true form, in the video game grappling hook. And I’m not just ragging on skateboards because of all the wounds I received trying to learn to skate last summer.

Tom Francis proved himself an appreciator of graceful arcs with his leaping-on-men simulator Gunpoint, and now he too has been visited by visions of this perfect form. Yesterday he released Floating Point, a lovely little grappling hook game which I suspect is a spiritual expression, created in praise or penance, as he’s giving it away for free. Grab it from Steam.

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Gunpoint Creator Making Procedural Space Stealth Game

The ships are procedurally generated.

Tom “Who Made Gunpoint” Francis is making a new game! In fact, Tom “who I worked with for eight years” Francis is making two new games simultaneously and making videos about both as development progresses. One of those games is about a grappling hook and that’s all we know. The other, called Heat Signature, is a space game about sneaking up on spaceships and that’s all we knew.

Knew, because Tom “I still do a podcast with him every week and we’re good friends” Francis just released a video in which he reveals ship-boarding and explains the objective of the game more fully.
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Wot I Think: Gunpoint

Gunpoint is an action-puzzle game about speed-hacking electrical systems and leaping over (or through) tall buildings in a single bound. This high-tech detective saga-ette comes primarily from Tom Francis, best known for his long stint on cheery RPS tribute magazine PC Gamer, and it’s his first game. Has he successfully crossed the Rubicon? Let’s find out.
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Hands On: Gunpoint


I should probably disclose that I’ve known the developer of Gunpoint, PC Gamer’s Tom Francis, for a few years now, having worked with him on that magazine in the dark times before RPS. And that means playing Gunpoint has a peculiar flavour to it, for me. I’m aware of the kinds of games that have had a significant influence on Francis – such as the platformer N, Deus Ex, Hitman, Splinter Cell, and so on – and I can see these sorts of influences displayed right on the surface of Gunpoint. We are each of us our interests, of course, and I am sure this kind of thing is true of all indie developers, but seeing how someone’s brain remixes and recompiles the stuff they love has never been quite so clear to me as when playing the post-IGF build of this intricate platformer.

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IGF Factor 2012: Gunpoint

Next in our series of chats with this year’s impressive roster of Independent Games Festival finalists is Tom Francis, lead brain behind future-noir stealth game Gunpoint, which is up for the Excellence In Design gong. Here, he’s quizzed about what, why, when, who and the most important question of all.

Important conflict of interest disclosure: I used to play badminton with Tom.
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A Smooth Shot Of Jazzpionage: Gunpoint

take that, hepcat

Gunpoint looks very good indeed, good enough to be nominated in the best design category at the IGF in fact. Its clever infiltration and security rewiring combine wonderfully with slapstick violence and trouser-propelled window-diving. Yes, it looks good, but how will it sound? Designer/wordsmith Tom Francis sent out a call for musical submissions and two new videos are here to pleasure your ears with the choices that have been made. Best listened to while in a dark bar with a haze of smoke around the ceiling and a shot of bourbon in your hand. If I were you, I’d probably think about the one that got away the whole while as well.

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Tinker, Glazier, Soldier, Spy: Gunpoint

Is it possible to refenestrate?

Update: I’d missed a delay announcement. Gunpoint won’t be home by Christmas.

Games journalist and professional Francois Truffaut imitator Tom Francis is making the bold leap from critic to creator with Gunpoint, a heist game without procedurally generated cities but with projectile trousers and rewired security systems that cause light switches to activate doors which then clobber people in the face. The video below is the first to show the new visuals in action and it’s also an in-depth guide to how the game will play. In the video, Tom also asks whether people would consider parting with cash for the game, to which I respond by drawing your attention to the existence of a mission called Defenestrator.

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Gunpoint Points Out Its New Look

A gun, pointed

Remember Gunpoint, the stealth/hacking/rewiring game from friend/co-arch-nemesis of RPS Tom Francis? In between murdering trees and optimising for search engines, Tom’s drafted in some artists to dramatically overhaul the game’s look, which results in the rather eye-catching, Flashback-y aesthetic you’ll see above (and indeed below). There’s much more imagery and information on how it works and what’s going on in the new shot over at the shiny (i.e. dark) new website, but I’ve embedded the old video below in case you missed it first time. Don’t squeal about the graphics in it. They’ve changed now, remember? Tcch, you kids and your attention spans. TOO MUCH MTV.
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