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.
Natalie Hanke, Jukio Kallio and I have just released Distance, a short, semi-interactive, mostly visual piece for the Space Cowboy game jam. Natalie wrote, designed and arted it, Jukio did the sound and music, and I was the programmer.
Natalie’s a graphic designer who I’ve been a fan of for a long time, but she’s never made a game before. We almost worked together on Floating Point, but it quickly became clear that I had no real control over any visual or thematic aspects of that game: the mechanics dictated what it needed to be at every turn.
For the Space Cowboy game jam, though, she had an idea but no way to make it. She’s one of many talented people outside of the games industry who I’d like to see a game from, so when she asked if I’d be able to help, I thought sure! I’m only making four other games, I can fit this in!
As it turned out I could, because her idea had a completely realistic scope – weird for a first timer. It’s a short story driven entirely by her art and writing, and all I really had to do was make the pretty pictures pop up at the right times, then make Jukio’s tracks play when we wanted them to. I also ‘advised’ on the production of it, with industry veteran insights like “I don’t know how to do that, can we do it this easier way please?”
The upshot is: it’s very much her thing, which was the whole point of me helping, and it’s gorgeous, atmospheric, and completely unlike my designs in both mechanical complexity (much lower) and audiovisual polish (much higher).
It’s on Windows, Mac and Linux, and it’s a jam game, so it’s free.
Andrew: Assuming you built that with Unity, have you considered doing a web-hosted version? Unity's web deploy is amazingly simple, and that little bit more convenient for letting people try out Jam-sized games.
Andrew: P.S. That artwork is /gorgeous/.
Denis: Hi, Was it done with Unity? or Game Maker?
Tom Francis: Unity.