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At a Glance: Tom Francis & Heat Signature

Tom Francis designed Gunpoint, a game about reiring things and punching people, and another called Floating point about swinging around on a rope (it’s free!). He’s currently working on Heat Signature which is about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships.

Heat Signature is a space stealth game that has the player sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Within your control is a small, unarmed ship and you must keep the ship cool enough to avoid detection by the larger NPC ships’ heat sensors. Get near enough to a ship, latch onto the airlock, breach the vessel (while avoiding all the armed crew) and subdue the captain. With the plan to have randomly assigned professions and missions each time, every game of Heat Signature you play will be unique.

Play on: Currently planned for PC

Mini Q&A

Why do you make games?
I think as soon as you discover you can, it's impossible to resist. You get to create not just worlds, but universes: writing by hand the very laws of physics, the thought processes if every pseduo-living thing within them, equations that generate billions of possibilities, interactions that feel like nothing you can do on this planet. The time that each of these things takes means you have to be smart about how much you choose to simulate, but I love that challenge too. Given infinite possibilities, what are the three most exciting things you can write down as algorithms? That's an amazing question to be answering for your job.

Why should people play Heat Signature?
When it's ready, I hope it's going to let you live a variety of crazy, short lives in the dizzying vastness of space. I want it to be a huge galaxy full of random spacecraft, but one where each of those craft is also a place where people live, a fragile machine with working systems, and a hostile environment it's tough to infiltrate. And when you break one of those fragile machines, I want it to trigger a chain reaction of physics catastrophes that follow logical rules, but have entertainingly different results each time.

What element of game design do you hold above all others?
I think respecting the player's time. I love random generation and connected systems too, but I could be happy with a game that didn't have those things. I couldn't be happy with a game that took control from the player to make them sit through something, or forced them to repeat something they'd already done, or incentivised them to do something tedious. Everyone's time is precious, and I want games to give us more enjoyable ways to spend it. Any time they coax, bait or bribe us into wasting it, it's a crime.

Today’s Stories:
At a Glance: Tom Francis & Heat Signature (YOU ARE HERE):
Interview with Tom Francis:
Heat Signature: Sneaking in Space:
Win an Amazon Gift Card - and Enter to Win a PS4!:

Day 30 | Tom Francis

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GameDemonKing1393d ago

I like this interview as it was informative.

Sarobi1393d ago

Indie month has been a very great month for N4G. I love learning about the developers and checking out these really neat games.

Tom, along with all the other devs that were featured this month, are definitely really creative people. I was never one to say that I was interested in making my own video game, but after reading through some of these I do feel inspired to give a shot down the line.

MrxDeath1393d ago

the gameplay is awesome!
a stealth space game !
this is awesome

yoshiroaka1393d ago

I like the concept but i wish the graphics werent so basic tho. Needs a little more spice. Hopefully it improves for the final product.

oasdada1393d ago

Hmmm.. random generated stuff is going to be the new 'open world' soon

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