We only mail you to invite you to closed alphas or tell you we released a game
Last month I made a new video of my ugly prototype for Heat Signature and put out an open call for artists and composers who might wanna work on it. When I did the same thing for my first game Gunpoint, around 30 artists and 40 composers applied. For Heat Signature, 81 artists and 232 composers applied. This was extraordinary and flattering, then daunting, then impossible, then exciting once I finally had my decision, then absolutely horrible when I had to tell everyone I hadn’t picked. You don’t really know how many ‘313 people’ is until you have to say no to 310 of them.
My deep, deep thanks to the amazingly talented people who applied, it meant a huge amount to me that people of your calibre were interested in my thing.
Here’s who I picked:
I said if composers wanted to make a sample piece for Heat Signature, they could have a go at both the peaceful music that will play as you fly around space, and the tense music that will play once you’re inside an enemy ship. Alex did a fantastic job of both, but his peaceful track in particular is just divine. Testing it in-game, as some of the first art started to make space look beautiful, it just perfectly matched the feeling of awe and serenity I wanted that experience to have.
Ivan didn’t try to match the sample tracks I posted, which I mentioned was an option. His full-length track captures a mood I didn’t know I wanted. It uses industrial sounds that evoke the workings of this large machine you’re aboard, and has this unusual rolling, clicking beat I can’t get enough of. In-game, lots of great ‘tension’ samples made me feel like I was in a dangerous place – Ivan’s made me feel like a dangerous person.
Several artists’ samples made me say “Wow” out loud, but I think John’s was the first that made me say “Holy shit!” Did we make the game already? I appear to be looking at several screenshots of a rich, meticulously detailed, satisfyingly chunky, gorgeous and completely finished Heat Signature. How does this already exist?
Apart from the crispness and vividness of the thing, what I especially love is the sense of solidity in the interior shot: I feel like I know how heavy these walls are, what the worn floor would feel like to touch. And it’s full of clever game-savvy touches: all the interactive things are picked out in white, and boundaries between solid and empty space are stressed by hazard lines painted on the floor.
Sharp observers might recognise John’s name: he was also responsible for the best art sample I got for Gunpoint, and therefore became Gunpoint’s main artist. Heat Signature’s style is radically different, but apparently he’s just incredible at everything. Several other people I’ve worked with before also applied for these positions, and I didn’t give them any particular advantage for that. But I also didn’t exclude them: the point of the open submission process isn’t to avoid previous collaborators, it’s just to make sure that if I do work with them, it’s because they’re the absolute best fit for this particular game.
It was tough getting there, but I think that’s what we’ve got, and it’s really exciting to see it take shape. Obviously it’s early days, but if you come and play it at Fantastic Arcade in Austin this week (free), or EGX in London next week, you’ll be able to see how some of this stuff is already working in-game.
When’s it out? Dunno! But if you’re on the mailing list I’ll tell you once it is.
Can I test? At some point! Again, I’ll tell the mailing list when there’s a way to do that. I only use it for major stuff like that.
More Heat Signature
ghosttie: OMG so pretty!
Ben Crowe: Looks like you made some good choices!
JC Sato: Oh my gosh, John - that looks *amazing*. How do you do it?!
finn: it's absolutely beautiful art - i actually said, pretty loudly, ''WOW.'' when i first scrolled down and saw it. i then glanced around a little and hoped nobody had paid attention to how impressed i was by my computer.
couldn't have hoped for better artwork for the game, tom. i wonder if we're maybe bearing witness to the beginning of a long and exciting partnership between the two of you!
Matt Gorle: That looks and sounds beautiful. Can't wait to buy this game!
Joshwin Greene: Wow! Just from those screenshots and samples, this game looks like it is going to be amazing.
Scott John Harrison: One thing I really love about John's Art for the ship interior - The pealing orange Floors look warn down with foot traffic.
Rosti: Nepotism! Secret indie cabal! And, most importantly, delightful samples. Thanks for sharing this, Tom, and good luck Team Heat!
Peter: Yoou need to use your company name to do all the rejection emails. Get all the guilt away and make it just a faceless corporate decision of a company that you just happen to work for.
Ben Slinger: Amazing! I'd love to see some of the others in your short list for the graphics too (assuming they're OK with it of course), just to see some alternate takes on the concept. You definitely made a good choice though!
ghosttie: I hope you can keep the ship wakes, they're pretty unusual
Joe Gander: The visual samples really do look superb and the musical clips are cracking, I could loop the ambient track all day!
I'd like to echo Ben Slinger's comments on seeing and hearing some of the other entries, it can be really interesting to see how people approach the same brief, I would imagine that further exposure for the other submissions would also be good to raise their profiles.
Henry (fernoface): Loving that art style and Ivan's piece. Happy that Alex made it as he was suggested to apply by a close friend!
All in all, excited to play this at EG.
James: Just to say a huge well done for getting back to everyone. I had a job interview the other day where I know for a fact they can't have met more than four people, and they were still too cowardly to get back the few they'd rejected.
Urthman: The space ships look fantastic, but the characters are really hard to see. I hope you'll be tweaking it to make the characters stand out a bit more.
LtD Clan | Heat Signature gains music and art direction, draws closer to becoming a game – LtD Clan: […] had my decision, then absolutely horrible when I had to tell everyone I hadn’t picked,” Francis writes. “You don’t really know how many ‘313 people’ is until you have to say no to 310 of […]
Heat Signature gains music and art direction, draws closer to becoming a game – Regiment of the Grenadier Guards: […] my decision, then absolutely horrible when I had to tell everyone I hadn’t picked,” Francis writes. “You don’t really know how many ‘313 people’ is until you have to say no to 310 of […]
Heat Signature gains music and art direction, draws closer to becoming a game – Snap VRS Blog Directory: […] absolutely horrible after i needed to tell everybody I hadn&rsquot selected,&rdquo Francis creates. &ldquoYou don&rsquot fully realize the number of &lsquo313 people&rsquo is until […]
a different tom: Damnit Tom, I'm going to have to start throwing money at my screen again!
Boarnoah: Wise choices!
watergun127: Is heat signature going to be on Mac?
RockS0ft: What software did John use? Because, seriously, I think he might just be hacking into NASA satellites O.O
Joshua: If it's going to be looking like that, I would like to preorder now.
You could do early access! You should! It would be a good way to playtest, right?
Just make sure it also says it's not finished in the actual game. People seem to manage to completely ignore the little disclaimer when they buy it, and then get all mad about it.
EARLY ACCESS! PLEASE!
Feed to Post Demo Site » Heat Signature gains music and art direction, draws closer to becoming a game: […] then absolutely horrible when I had to tell everyone I hadn’t picked,” Francis writes. “You don’t really know how many ‘313 people’ is until you have to say no […]
Jim: Next game to prototype: rejection sim where the player must reject offers from NPCs in a number of tactical ways, while maintaining reputation, integrity and keeping public outrage to a minimum :)
Ben Rose: Very nice! There's something of a sci-fi Hotline Miami in that interior soundtrack. Looking forward to trying it out!
Sully9: Loved Gunpoint. Love the way HeatSig appears to be shaping up. Where do I send cash for pre-order!?
(Respectfully, "Shut up and take my money!")
coolwithpie: Holy shit that looks amazing. I was at my friends house when I saw it and I was in a state of jaw to the floor for 5 full minutes. Then I immediately showed my Halo-Playing, Xbox furevuh friend and he was like so what. I hit him.
qwert5550: i like the second art picture and i hope you make the game compatable with vista and i hope it doesnt requeir too much but the game looks like it would be fun. this game would be so much more fun if you could play it with a friend...
LFalch: This looks amazing, it would be even more amazing with multi-player, but I think this still will be very enjoyable alone, especially with this beautiful music. I'm really looking massively forward to this coming out!
S-Guy: That looks (and sounds) absolutely fantastic! I was already quite looking forward to playing Heat Signature when it comes out, but from now on I'm going to be perched on the edge of my seat watching for updates like some sort of massive, flightless bird of prey. Keep up the good work!
Heat Signature: Hands-On With The Gunpoint Follow-Up | Rock, Paper, Shotgun: […] will apparently look very different – there are some hints to its possible final appearance here, […]
Carplove: My god the mockups are amazing. What a wonderful project this is.
Edward: Want. Now.
Ande Walsh: Ah damn it.... I've missed the deadline to get in on the act..
Please, please, let me know if I can help...