All posts

Games

Game development

Stories

Happiness

Personal

Music

TV

Film

TOM FRANCIS
REGRETS THIS ALREADY

Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.

Theme

By me. Uses Adaptive Images by Matt Wilcox.

Hitman header tunnel

Rewarding Creative Play Styles In Hitman

Far Cry Primal Thumbnail

Postcards From Far Cry Primal

Snowball jack header

Solving XCOM’s Snowball Problem

Kill Zone and Bladestorm

Kill Zone And Bladestorm

BAFTA Featured

An Idea For More Flexible Indie Game Awards

Sectors Header

Teaching Heat Signature’s Ship Generator To Think In Sectors

DXHR Open area

What Works And Why: Multiple Routes In Deus Ex

Heat Signature Natural Numbers

Natural Numbers In Game Design

Pharma Header

Naming Drugs Honestly In Big Pharma

Writing vs Programming

Make A Game Tutorial Thumbnail Featured IMage

Let Me Show You How To Make A Game

New Heat Signature Video: Galaxies, Suction And Wrench-Throwing

Her Story banner

What Works And Why: Nonlinear Storytelling In Her Story

My Idea For An ‘Unconventional Weapon’ Game

From Gunpoint To Heat Signature: A Narrative Journey

The Cost Of Simplifying Conversations In Videogames

Invisible Header

What Works And Why: Invisible Inc

Super Game Jam Header

Our Super Game Jam Episode Is Out

Shadow of Mordor Header 2

What Works And Why: Sauron’s Army

Heat Signature Talk

Showing Heat Signature At Fantastic Arcade And EGX

Projects

What I’m Working On And What I’ve Done

Murder, She Wrote

The Formula For An Episode Of Murder, She Wrote

Heat Signature Wide 2

Heat Signature Needs An Artist And A Composer

Heat Signature Floorplans Header

Improving Heat Signature’s Randomly Generated Ships, Inside And Out

Gunpoint Steam Workshop

Gunpoint Patch: New Engine, Steam Workshop, And More

Distance Header

Distance: A Visual Short Story For The Space Cowboy Game Jam

The Magic Circle

Raising An Army Of Flying Dogs In The Magic Circle

Floating Point Blog Launch

Floating Point Is Out! And Free! On Steam! Watch A Trailer!

Floating Sine

Drawing With Gravity In Floating Point

Fault

What’s Your Fault?

Hoplite banner

The Randomised Tactical Elegance Of Hoplite

Gone Point

Here I Am Being Interviewed By Steve Gaynor For Tone Control

Heat Signature Thumbnail

Heat Signature: A Game About Sneaking Aboard Randomly Generated Spaceships

GRappling Hook Thumbnail

The Grappling Hook Game, Dev Log 6: The Accomplice

Alien Swarm Heroics

A Story Of Heroism In Alien Swarm

FTL Story

One Desperate Battle In FTL

Spelunky Banner

To Hell And Back In Spelunky

Game vs story graph

Games Vs Story 2

Gunpoint Breakdown

Gunpoint Development Breakdown

Max Payne 3

Five Things I Learned About Game Criticism In Nine Years At PC Gamer

This is how you die

My Short Story For The Second Machine Of Death Collection

Clouds

Not Being An Asshole In An Argument

Skyrim Diary - Frostmere

Playing Skyrim With Nothing But Illusion

Mainstream Games

How Mainstream Games Butchered Themselves, And Why It’s My Fault

A-Rock-and-a-Hard-Place-Trio-Jan

A Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

Dark Messiah

The Magical Logic Of Dark Messiah’s Boot

Arguing

Arguing On The Internet

Spelunky

Shopstorm, A Spelunky Story

Stealth Games

Why Are Stealth Games Cool?

Violence

E3’s Violence Overload, Versus Gaming’s Usual Violence Overload

Suspicious Manifesto

The Suspicious Developments manifesto

GDC

GDC Talk: How To Explain Your Game To An Asshole

Crosslink

Listening To Your Sound Effects For Gunpoint

Happiness

Understanding Your Brain

What Makes Games Good

What Makes Games Good

Seat Quest

A Story Of Plane Seats And Class

Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron

Beneath Suspicion

Avoiding Suspicion At The US Embassy

Open Worlds

An Idea For A Better Open World Game

Level Up

A Different Way To Level Up

BioShock Ending

How I Would Have Ended BioShock

Meet the Spy

My Script For A Team Fortress 2 Short About The Spy

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 Unlockable Weapon Ideas

Football Manager

Don’t Make Me Play Football Manager

EVE Assassins

EVE’s Assassins And The Kill That Shocked A Galaxy

GalCiv 2

My Galactic Civilizations 2 War Diary

Gnome

I Played Through Episode Two Holding A Goddamn Gnome

Machine of Death

My Short Story For The Machine Of Death Collection

Blood money and sex

Blood Money And Sex

AOL

A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

Second Life

First Night, Second Life

SWAT 4

SWAT 4: The Movie Script

Valve Completely Out Of Weapon Ideas, Beg For Help

In a thinly disguised plea for inspiration, Robin Walker’s new post over at the official TF2 blog I carefully avoided mentioning here so you don’t leave and never come back sets out the criteria for a good unlockable weapon for the Heavy – whose achievement/weapon pack is next, by the way. We are then encouraged to put forward our own ideas, although since the official TF2 blog doesn’t actually allow comments, you’re pretty much stuck with James, 1Fort and the Steam forums to vent those.

Update: Heavy to get “balancing additions” as well as his unlockables, suggests a new post by Jakob Jungles at the TF2 blog. Also, alternative idea added below.

Heavy

I summarise the rules here because Robin phrases them as an onslaught of questions, and on first reading I wasn’t always sure if “Yes!” or “N- no?” was the right answer. Also, the Steam thread on this misquotes one of the rules.

  • The goal is to “Make the Heavy more viable when he has no Medic to pair with.”
  • Don’t make him more effective when he does.
  • Don’t change the role so that it encroaches on another class.
  • Don’t make it hard to tell what’s going on when you use it or it’s used on you.
  • Things that take a lot of models and sounds to implement are generally bad.
  • Things that are easy to use but hard to perfect are generally good.
  • Things that are better for some situations but worse for others are generally good.
  • Things that make the player think differently a lot of the time are good.
  • Things that have wide-ranging knock-on effects on other elements of the game are generally good.

And they only want one from you. I suspect they have several goals for the class, and try to come up with one unlockable to achieve each.

Heavy 2

Obviously, the difficulty a Medicless Heavy has relative to a Medicked one is a lack of healing. He’s most effective against a group of opponents at close range, where the damage he can’t avoid wears him down quickly. So the simplest suggestions revolve around some form of health regen, health-stealing or, in one case, a really big sandwich to replace the shotgun. But I think any self-heal steps on the Medic’s toes: restoring hitpoints should be exclusively his domain. And, sandwich excluded, most of these don’t gel well with his personality or concept.

Like everyone asked to come up with one idea, I have two. I’d like a Minigun that sacrifices its crit chance for an absorb chance: your crit probability while firing instead becomes the chance that the next shot that hits you will trigger a second of Uber-like invulnerability. Only while firing. For those who don’t know, your crit chance is a factor of how much damage you’ve done in the last twenty seconds: 5% if you’ve done none, 20% if you’ve done over 800.

The essence of the Heavy, for me, is that “GRAAAHAAHAAAHAAAAA!” moment, when you’re just… killing… everything… This intends to prolong it, reward it and improve survivability. For the Heavy, the primary use of crits is to own at range: you already own close-up. So this unlock is great for close-range work like most parts of 2Fort, which is also where you take the most damage, but hurts your flexibility in big open areas like most parts of Dustbowl.

Heavy Unlock

As for not letting it combine with a Medic’s healing, a doctor’s healing beam would visibly falter once the Heavy starts firing, and healing is suspended until he stops. But it doesn’t break the beam, and the Medic still builds Uber while it’s active. I don’t believe in these suggestions where the Medic is punished or discouraged from trying to help the Heavy: the rule is to stop the pair becoming overpowered, not to file for divorce.

By my count, this has a decent stab at the goal, stays within the three constraints (it’s not reliable enough to be used for any of the things the Medic’s Uber is good for), but doesn’t fare well in three of the five bonus considerations. Its main strengths are that its cheap, simple and easy to understand: the uber-sheen is already in there, and everyone knows what it means. So that’s what I’d be suggesting if I was sensible.

But of course, what I really want is expensive to implement, difficult to understand and stupid. It’s a Quick-Release Bandolier. I guess it would be an unlock for the Fists slot, so you’d switch to Fists, hit alt-fire and you’d drop everything: Sasha, shotgun, ammo. In return, you can run at the speed of a Demoman.

Heavy Unlock 2

It’d solve a recurring problem I have as a solo Heavy: I can often accurately guess how long I’ve got before I’ll be dead, but I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to escape. I’m at the whim and determination of whomsoever chooses to pursue. Obviously messing with the Heavy’s speed is a big deal, but since he can’t do anything but punch until he gets his weapons back, it doesn’t really change his role. He can only get Sasha and co back by fetching them from where he dropped them, or returning to a storage locker.

The point, of course, is only partly tactical: there’s also the humour value of pummeling a Heavy so hard that he eventually drops his gun, turns tail and runs. An exaggerated jogging animation for a ‘naked’ Heavy would communicate the fact that he’s vulnerable and fleeing, but would of course be a silly amount of work for such a ridiculous concept. But it would be a shame, at the suggestions stage, to limit ourselves to things that are actually a good idea.

Moar: I have an alternative version of this idea that solves a few of the conceptual problems I have with the Bandolier (primarily, why do I need an unlock to be able to drop my gun?), but is a bit more far-reaching.

It’s an unlockable minigun that’s really a big cluster of shotguns taped together. It fires about two blasts a second, the same maximum damage per second as Sasha, but you hit everything in its cone of fire with every shot. Kind of a rapid BOOMBOOMBOOM rather than constant DAKADAKADAKA. The spread makes it even less effective than Sasha at medium-long range.

It’s much the same shape as Sasha, but when it’s out of ammo, it’s light enough to hold by the barrel and use as a club (left mouse) or throw at your enemy (right mouse). The Heavy automatically switches to club/throw mode when you run out of shells. It’s slow to swing, naturally, but does a hefty amount of damage: 90 points or so. When thrown, it goes about as far as a Sticky fired parallel to the ground, and does about half that.

heavyunlock3
Polite note idea courtesy of commenter SlowShootinPete

It crackles with electricity while it’s lying on the ground, and mildly zaps anyone running over it. As with the Bandolier idea, you run at the speed of a Demoman once you’ve chucked your gun, and you can either grab it from the ground where you left it, or get a new one from a Supply Closet – whereupon your old one vanishes. Because it uses shotgun shells and is only throwable when you’re out of them, you’re always left with just your fists after you’ve tossed it.

Part of the idea is to encourage the Heavy to just keep blasting until he runs dry – because that gives him a weapon and an escape method, rather than just leaving him screwed. That’s always fun for the Heavy and dramatic for his enemies, and the running-dry CLICKCLICKCLICK is invariably entertaining. When followed by having the big fellow simply chuck his firearm at you, turn tail and run, even more so.

roburky: Probably the best suggestions for this that I've seen.

I wouldn't have the healing beam simply fail to work at all on the heavy, though (you say not while he's firing, but that's pretty much the same thing). I really don't think that was what was meant when it was said heavy+medic shouldn't be made more powerful.

I think your uberminigun should simply stop healing effects on the heavy for the second he has his miniuber. So when fighting with a medic buddy, it becomes a pause in the tug of war with the heavy's health, rather than an opportunity to heal up.

roburky: I'd also perform the mini-uber check on firing, rather than on being hit. So it works exactly like crits, only you become invulnerable for the duration of a burst rather than super killy.

If it happened on incoming fire, the heavy would become more powerful with more people shooting at him, which is a bit counter-intuitive for dealing with a heavy.

Anonymous: I also think these are some of the best suggestions I've seen. I will say that I especially love the Quick-Release Bandolier, and that I think it would be easier to implement than you think. They can easily make the "drop Sasha and ammo" effect by using existing in-game models, and they can easily prevent you from accessing Sasha and the shotgun by simply removing all your ammo.

Which I think brings me to an improvement on your idea, that instead of being forced to pick up Sasha or go to the Resupply Closet to regain the weapons, you simply need to pick up an ammo box. If the Heavy actually chooses to drop his weapons, then the firefight in that area is getting so fierce that he is not likely to come back and get his gun, and running back to the spawn and then coming back at normal speeds is not much better than just dying and respawning. Conversely, ammo boxes are generally much closer to the action, making the Quick-Release more likely to happen, while also giving a disadvantage in that [I believe] ammo boxes give relatively pitiful amounts of ammo for the Heavy's weapons. Even better, this encourages Heavies who have quick-released to hunt down and punch out an enemy so that they can pick up the fallen weapon for the ammo, and who wouldn't want to see that?

Neoviper: well, I had an idea i loved for the fist slot, but the quick release bandolier has charmed me. only thing i would change is that it just depletes your ammo, you can still get new ammo from any ammo source, cause it would kind of suck if you drop your gun and then some other person comes and picks it up for ammo.

anyway, onto the suggestion. my idea is a minigun, that once you're almost dead, will heal you back up at about dispenser speed. the catch is you have to not get hurt for 5 seconds before it starts healing you, and if you get hurt during the heal it stops for another 5 seconds without being hit. this would perfectly boost up solo heavy ability, but not at all impact medic and heavy pairs. It would probably have to cost ammo to heal, but heavy generally swims in ammo from all the kills he gets, so shouldn't duly affect him.

had several other ideas, but most of them weren't really applicable to the heavy. on the steam topic about this, there were a lot of good ideas, one in particular i liked was the heavy jamming minigun ammo into his shotgun, to do more damage, but slow reload time or something like that.

Neoviper: by steam topic i mean steam forum, the thread about it. damn you lack of edit button!

Tom Francis: Duuuh. I only just realised all the images in this post must have been broken: I forgot to de-privatise them on Flickr.

Thanks for the suggestions. As for when/how the uber chance is calculated, I was thinking it would be at most once per second. I think that's how crits work: with automatic weapons, you don't have an independent chance to crit with every bullet, but each second of fire has a 5% chance to be critical. So this check would be made each time you're hit, unless you've already been hit this second. I wanted to tie it to incoming fire rather than outgoing so that you'll sometimes see an incoming rocket trigger the uber exactly as it hits, which would look kind of cool.

Anon: Yeah, I thought about that. I didn't want the Heavy to be able to use this ability to dash past enemies using his enormous health as a buffer, then nab an ammo back behind their lines and come out blazing. Of course, now that I write that, it sounds awesome. But probably overpowered, right?

The other option is not to allow anyone to steal Sasha - they get ammo for walking over it, but it doesn't vanish from the ground. I didn't go with that initially because it has understandability issues - or more work, if you want to give Sasha a different appearence on the ground to indicate that she's not stealable. I also wanted this to be a less attractive gambit the further from your own base you are, so that sometimes you really don't want to do it. And I want a voice sample along the lines of "I COME BACK FOR YOU!" as he drops her.

Punjab: Don't forget ubercharged.net

Neoviper: I suppose if you were so inclined you could rush to an ammo pack, but by the time you get there, you'd either be dead, or a few seconds away from being dead. could be useful if you had an uber and rushed for some ammo, let the heavy go a bit further forward in very specific circumstances, but still not overpowered i'd say. the whole point of these unlocks is to make the heavy more solo viable, part of the problem with solo heavy now is that he has to run away enough as it is, just to find health packs. making you go back to spawn to get your guns back, assuming you couldn't get back to your gun sucks. simpler, and just as fun to have ammo give you your gun back. if realism is the issue here, then how exactly you convert a knife into 100 bullets throws that right out of the window.

Lack_26: I was browsing PHW and found this, by Killz2much

http://www.filecram.... ...rt0046.jpg

Demoman: Good ideas, but I don't think the medic shouldn't heal him while firing, it's 80% of what the heavy does. You could just implement it so that he doesn't get the mini-ubers while being healed by the medic.

Another idea is you could have the heavy take normal damage from crit shots when he's below 25% health, it gives him a higher probability of getting to a health source before death, and you could combine it with the quick-release bandolier.

Alternatively, you could allow him to take less damage from everything when he's below half health, although that does make things easier for the medic-heavy combo, because things like crit rockets and stickies will bring a heavies health below that even while he's being healed.

I'd like to see an improvement/replacement for his shotgun, because it seems like once a heavy runs out of ammo for sasha, he's pretty much done. His offensive capability is severly decreased at that point, and with his current weapon set he has virtually no medium to long range capability at all, which makes him easy prey for even the slowest of snipers, and his slow movement speed just makes that even more so.

I play the Xbox 360 version myself, but the biggest problem with the heavy is that without medic backup he tends to get anihilated quite quickly, especially with the sheer amount of snipers and soldiers that get used on maps like 2fort (my usual stomping ground). I'd probably come up with more ideas if I were a regular heavy player, but I favour scouts and demos mostly, with the occasional spy or soldier as necessary.

roburky: Problems with Quick Release Bandolier: If you can only get a new weapon from a supply closet, it's worse than dying. If you can get it from any ammo pack, every heavy will activate as soon as respawning so they can get back to the front lines quicker.

It's an ace idea, but I don't think it'll work.

Tom Francis: Yeah, the idea is not to do either of those things - it's to go get your gun back once you've healed. As I say, I think we need to prevent other people stealing it to encourage that.

Punjab - funny you should mention that, I did originally link to them too, but then I noticed they still don't have a post about this.

Neoviper - the problem is not so much realism as personality. The Heavy's relationship with Sasha is too personal to find her in every ammo box, and as roBurky notes, it'd encourage Heavy's to simply discard her right out the gate and get a new one closer to the front lines.

Obviously there's a milder version of that conceptual difficulty in him grabbing one from the supply closet, but for some reason that doesn't feel wrong to me - it's presumably where he gets her in the first place. Also, look over there! A badger!

Jason L: I dunno, I thought RPS' 'Sasha as shield' idea was pretty much on the money...

Anonymous: Well, the problem with trying to go pick Sasha back up is just that, in a situation where the Heavy was taking so much damage that he drops everything and runs, he is probably not in a place that coming back for it is really all that feasible. Add that to the fact that the enemy now has a clear indication to where he wants to come back to, and he becomes a big target for Demoman stickies, among other things.

The ammo box thing is not that overpowered, in my opinion. You get less ammo if you quick-release from spawn to get to an ammo box, and at the very least I'm sure if they can program a speed boost for the quick-release rather than just using all of your ammo, they can program the Heavy getting less ammo from an ammo box coming off of a quick-release if need be. As for sneaking behind enemy lines and picking up an ammo box there, I think that would both be really cool and difficult to actually pull off; even at Demoman speeds, he's still a Heavy, and it would be particularly hard to miss a Heavy trying to dash past your defenses. There might be some balance issues as well if a Heavy uses the quick-release to speed from ammo box to ammo box, but I think it wouldn't be too overpowering and would also be pretty cool.

That said, you're right, the personality issue is the biggest problem. Of course, you could say that it's probably the biggest problem with the quick-release in the first place; the Heavy is not really the type of person to drop Sasha just to run away.

Chris Livingston: I love the quick-release bandolier. Love it! Though, I could see using it to charge someone as well as escape someone, especially if that someone has been whomping on you at close range and has stopped momentarily to reload, or if they keep peppering you from cover. Drop kit, zip up and punch 'em right in the mush. Great idea.

Chris Livingston: Also, it would be a lot of fun to get an uber while doing a high-speed weaponless fist rush, I think. A speedy, invulnerable Heavy punching the crap out of fleeing enemies and pummeling sentries? I'm on board.

Cmdt_Carpenter: I thought that a minigun that deals damage proportional to lost health. When his health is lower than 100, he deals a large amount of damage (perhaps 72 per shot point-blank) and hurts sentries a lot; enough to kill it with an engineer repairing it. This is because I'm tired of shooting a sentry and not even making a dent in the thing with an ubercharge or a medic or even just full health. But, the weapon never crits.

This may make Heavies think they don't want a medic, but there is no damage penalty or nerf for getting healed. The Heavy is simply more powerful doing what he does: taking the hits.

J3553: Like I said on a site that said they would make a TF2 comic in May (But didn't).

The fist taunt should do some damage. An instant kill if valve's willing to risk it.

Azzen: Well, the thing is that a heavy is very powerful with a medic, but very weak without one.

What we need is something that makes him average with a medic and average without one.

Wolves: Chris Livingston posted here????

Lulz, J3553, the site you're talking about is chris's

SlowShootinPete: "The other option is not to allow anyone to steal Sasha - they get ammo for walking over it, but it doesn't vanish from the ground. I didn't go with that initially because it has understandability issues - or more work, if you want to give Sasha a different appearence on the ground to indicate that she's not stealable."

Perhaps the same model with an addition: a little note that says "No touch"?

J3553: @Wolves: I know it's Chris's site, I post comments there too.

Tom Francis: Heh, like it Pete. It could actually be all electrified and booby-trapped.

Tom Francis: J3553: I NOT HAVE COMMENT AT PRESENT TIME! IS FUNNY TO ME!

J3553: Would the range of the taunt be unlimited? Would it have to hit someone within certain parameters? Would you have to be breathing down their freakin' neck for it to work?

Also, Pentadact: POW! HAHA!

Tom Francis: Azzen: I disagree. This was the mistake in the post that kicked off the Steam brainstorming thread: Robin's post never suggested the unlock should reduce the Heavy's effectiveness when paired with a Medic, only that it shouldn't increase it further.

The aim is to boost his solo effectiveness so that it doesn't lag so far behind that of a Heavy Medic pair. In my opinion there should still be a benefit to teaming up with a Medic, otherwise you're actually discouraging teamwork and confusing the Medic.

himmelstoss: Here's an alternate way to make the bandolier thing work. Once he drops the weapons, he not only runs like a demoman, he also gets a 100% crit chance with his fists. As a tradeoff: when the heavy has his stuff, his fists attack

About the weapon recovery thing though: there are 3 options.
1. Heavy can recover weapons by picking up any ammo
2. Heavy needs to pick up a dropped minigun (doesn't need to be his, it could be a dead enemy's)
3. As a corollary to option 2: Heavy must recover Sasha within N seconds or he needs to pick up a dropped minigun.

himmelstoss: his fists attack slowly*.

bandolier: how fast is fast?: I love the release bandolier and could see it working if his speed was just slightly above a soldier's after releasing.

Rosti: Bandolier, quite frankly, IS FUNNY TO ME! I'm not convinced that either of the solutions in the main post are ideal, but the whole thing is so amusing that I wouldn't care so long as it ends up existing.

That and more automated melee taunts and we're set. "SASHA WOULD BE WASTED ON YOU, LEETLE MAN!"

Cossak: As I see it the heavy's problem when soloing is that his play style attracts way too much attention and damage to be viable, so any unlocks should give him better survivability whilst still being functional ie not running all the way back to the base for the sake of staying alive. So, suggestions:

Some sort of helmet or face mask that physicall impairs your vision (have to look through eye-holes of some sort that block a small part of the screen) but protects you from all critical hits. Has no effect when being healed. Arguable whether this can be taken off/on during a round.

Minigun has vampiric bullets that return small amount of health after you have been continually firing (and hitting enemies) for several seconds. Has no effect when being healed.

Minigun slowly builds up a charge of (something) after firing (and hitting enemies) that builds up over time to give the heavy a small armour boost. Up to a maximum. Charge doesn't build up when being healed and any built up armour is ignored when being healed.

Chijts: If they did actually make that little note on sasha a reality, I'd think I'd wet my pants with laughing too much. I'd also only play Heavy.

Sorry Pentadact but as much as I enjoy your idea, I think your edited idea is going too far. He should just drop his weapons, say something like "FORGIVE ME SASHA, I RUN NOW!", and have increased speed. He could pick his gun up again, but only has the same amount of time to fetch it as when guns are usually left on the ground.

Azzen: Well, if we had something that boosted the heavy's solo power but didn't decrease medic-heavy power, then we're overpowering him.

Perhaps if we had something that re-routed medic power to something a heavy can use later for solo-ing...?

Tom Francis: All the class packs make the class more powerful. The implication of Valve's goal for this unlock is that solo Heavies are currently underpowered, and something is needed to address this to encourage people to play Heavy when there are no Medics. If he needs a Medic to charge that something, it doesn't help in situations where there are no Medics.

thezeus18: Roller-skates.

Roller-skates that allow him to travel quickly, but not to stop quickly. In effect, I would recommend turning him into a vehicle with momentum. Medics won't be able to keep up with him at full speed, so this doesn't stack with the medic. It makes him more effective without the medic because he can escape from battle more quickly. There is also the basic novelty of the different mode of movement, with the player having to keep track of speeding up and speeding down, so that he doesn't fly right past the point into the group of defending enemies. It would be easy to use, but hard to master, increasing the necessity of knowing just when to pull out of the battle; you're more likely to survive if you have enough time for your skates to accelerate. Also, if the heavy hits a wall or solid object at a certain speed, he will suffer damage akin to that received in a fall from height. The downside of the skates would be the skill required in maneuvering with them, and that the minigun recoil would propel the heavy backwards, so that he cannot effectively fire the minigun unless he is against a wall. However, this recoil could be used to the heavy's advantage, as if he fires the minigun while retreating, he could go very fast.

Azzen: Pentadact: I don't mean that he needs a medic for his power, I mean that perhaps a medic can aid in his ability. And, the medic would still have his regular healing abilities, so he'll be a help to everyone nonetheless.

That aside, I'm really liking the "Burst-fire" idea from the Steam forums. Since the heavy's personality will probably limit the change to an attachment/adjustment to Sasha, a burst-fire mode would fit well.

NeoRussia: Overall I believe the best idea we should focus on is the heavy getting stronger as he gets damaged. My idea is a primary weapon that gets a faster firing rate AND movement speed increase while spinning minigun based on how much HP the heavy has. To keep the gun equal to the old Sasha, Sasha will get a new ability, in which it can be dropped (but picked up again is possible). Once dropped, the heavy will have the speed of a demoman, his melee attack would be faster, and he has more ammo for his secondary gun. He can pick up his primary weapon again if he finds it, or he can work co-operatively with another heavy to share the primary weapon.

Jason L: I really disagree with anything involving Heavy putting down Sasha - confusing, fiddly, too permanent, emotionally impossible - but it seems like faster, punching Heavies lead to less sniping and much hilarity. How about just letting him hang/holster Sasha on his back, whence he gains a sprint secondary fire (with a few steps' momentum?) I would take a few seconds to hang up Sasha or get her back out...Punching dudes while sprinting would need to trigger a Heavy belly-laugh/taunt. Possibly also a crit?

The Deleter: The big problem with the Heavy is that he's a target. He's big and causes carnage, so everyone with an I.Q. over 50 will aim for him first. He needs protection.

Enter a ripped-off door from a high security vault. It's alt-fire lowers it in front of the Heavy, protecting him from all projectiles except explosives aimed from the front. This slows him to about the same speed as he would be when firing his Minigun, and he can only see through a small viewing slit at the front.

This could be a replacement for the fists, where it never scores crits but sends targets flying upwards/back, or have the shotgun or a rilfe wedged into a slit at the front, so he can fight back whilst protected.

Or, better yet, he could have a small sheild on his minigun, so he is protected from shots from the front, but the fact that the sheild is bolted onto the rotating drum means that the bullet dispersal is increased slightly. Or maybe it doesn't score crits. Whatever.

The Deleter: ^All projectiles aimed from the front except explosives, I meant. Silly me.

Amen: Guys, this release-idea sounds pretty nice. But why we dont make it so:
Lets forget for a second that the Heavy loves his Sasha, and let us change his Minigun for a "Rambo-MG" (the idea is, that he dont need to spin-up this thing, just an leftclick and you got an fullautomatic 100 Shot 2-3 Magazines-Mg and you can move more freely while shooting (you CANT jump or "run" (running is the wrong word for an Heavy)) Well, now you can implement a few gymmnics to this gun: at first, maybe we make this gun a lil bit more accurate, so the heavy dont need to get absolutly close, he can allready start firing at mid-range. manco: its weaker then Sasha. (for sure, its just a MG, not a Minigun ;)) And if he runs arround with an medic, this MG will maybe an Problem for them (imagine: youre in fight, an Medic charges you...but damn you must reload! How good would it be, if you got your Sasha now with endless firepower? And even if youre fully loaded, you must allways check your Ammo.). Positive: The Release-Thing. If youre out of ammo, or just in an dangerous situation, you drop your Weapon and start running. Positive: Its not your Sasha, so you just need to run to an Ammopack to get a new Gun + 50 Shot for it (So the Heavy is short bound on the Place to refill his ammo, or just kill an enemy with the 50 shot, it depends now on you ;) Well, i just speak from dropping his new MG, so he keeps his shotgun / other unlock, so he got still a little selfdefense while running (because many ppl will start now to follow him, so the heavy can keep them at distance, while running to the next ammobox). Well, if you dont like that, then lets say we nerf the Heavys DMG now: If he drops his MG; but still runs at the front with his higher speed, we could give him higher fist-dmg (only for the fists i would say, not for the new melee-unlock) and nerf the dmg from his shotty a little bit (we dont want an rushing fatty + an shotgun, for that we have an slim scout). Ok, now lets think about the melee: If he changed his fists maybe for whatever what, the bonus of this thing could be, that you can do an knock-out. I dont mean an overpowered hit, just slow down you enemy so you can rush him... imagine: now you dropped your MG, risked an Meleefight, because your Secondary-Weapon is to weak to kill an enemy, just to finish off bleeding ppl. Your new fists didnt get an Dmg-Bonus like your old one, and now you try to follow somebody with the speed of an Demoman. He, confused about your action, turns arround and runs away too, because he's low in HP. But, bahaa, now comes the slowdown-effect, you did an left-punch to knockout your enemy, an right-hit and pow, he will never start again to attack an Heavy without his Weapon. Or an freakin' Pyro is trying to burn you, because he's still faster then you, and if you keep running now to the ammobox, you will show him your back (i say only "Backburner" at this point). You run fast infront of him, punch him with your left fist, and then run away. He's now short knocked out, means disarmed, and you got the time to escape. THis new fists should be weaker, because the slow-down-lefthit does only 10-20 Dmg, and the right-hit gives you now the "CALL MY NAME?!"-Feeling, but it should be not enough to kill an Player while hes stunned. Now you can decide: do you drop your weapon, face your enemy with your power-fists or you do prefer your new "Stunfist" to knockout your enemys while running away / hit them while stunned + finish them off when they awake? You decide.
Whats about the shotty? It should be the first unlock for an Heavy. Well, not much to say about that, maybe we change it for an Mini-MP with 30 Shot, weak Dmg, just to finish off running enemys / to keep enemys better at distance while disarmed. Its weaker then the shotty at close range for sure, but the positive is, that you dont get nerfed when you drop your mainweapon (because the weapon IS allready weak, so you cant get nerfed anymore after dropping. And well, maybe you get now a crit-salve like an sniper and you can kill now an enemy really easy? The 5% will decide...Just to show how strong the weapon is: you need 1 FULL magazines to kill an Soldier). Well, now lets see: we gave the Heavy a few new Features, on other hand we nerfed his Dmg. If he get an Medic, his MG will be still good, but never so good as his Sasha. So, if you choose all the three new Weapons, you can easy go arround solo, but you will be never such effective as with your Sasha and an Medic.

Amen: Ok, if you read my post, you must think i want to implement a Overpowered Weapon for the Heavy. No, the Mg should be weaker, because you got now more Accuraty + Free Movement while Firing. The Mini-MP (I want to call it "Misha", Sasha's little Sister :D) spreads like her big sister, not sooo much, but its not so accurate like the MP from the Sniper. The Stunfist are still weaker then your old Fist, they got just the ability to root + disarm your enemy for a short period. So, to prevent for abuse, you need to wait 10 seconds before you can Stun again, but the Stun lasts for arround 3 Seconds.