Heat Signature’s Launch, And First Player Legend

I reshuffled this post a bit so I can link this part more easily:

Update On The Everything Gun

It’s been great to see how much people are loving this very silly weapon, and how excited people are to send us shots of them finding it. One thing I didn’t forsee was that for a small number of people, it could cause anxiety: the fear of missing out, or even when they have it, the fear of somehow losing it. So we’re going to simplify it:

If you play any time between now and Oct 5th, you’ll unlock the Everything Gun as a random drop.

Within six months, we’ll unlock it as a random drop for everyone.

I hope that allows it to still be a special thing for everyone who was part of our launch, without causing anyone worry. A few more details if you need them:

  • If you’ve already stolen it from the shipment (even if you died right after), you’ve already unlocked it even if you don’t play again before Oct 5.
  • You can still steal it from the shipment if you haven’t already, that’s just a reliable way of obtaining it the first time.
  • Its unlocked status is stored both in your saves and backed up on Steam Cloud (unless you’re playing off Steam or have disabled Steam Cloud).
  • It’s a file called Progress.dat if you want to back it up manually.
  • Once it’s unlocked for everyone it’ll just be in the game, no save file involved, so there isn’t and never will be any way to permanently lose it.

Three things to know about finding it as a random drop:

  • It’s a Unique Item, the rarest tier, so it doesn’t come up frequently.
  • It’s a Unique Item, so there’s only one per galaxy. If one of your active characters has it, you won’t be finding it in crates in this galaxy, because look, there it is, that person’s got it.
  • Any time it’s not owned by one of your active characters, you can find it. Doesn’t matter how/why/when it was lost. Doesn’t matter if a character retired with it and didn’t pass it on. Doesn’t matter if you blew it up or flung it into space. Honestly it sounds like you’re trying to lose it, but tough, you can’t.
How The Launch Went

Heat Signature has been out for six days, and my God. It has been a storm. The good kind. It took three and a half years and I spent about £200,000 on it, making it probably the biggest risk of my life. And by the time it was done, the chance for any given indie game to succeed had dropped enough that the term for this trend ends in ‘pocalypse’.

I knew I wouldn’t have another Gunpoint-size success – that came out in the sweet spot for indie, when demand was high and supply was low. So my best-case-scenario was to do half as well as Gunpoint did in the same timeframe.

It’s done better than Gunpoint. Not by much, and it’s too soon to know if it’ll have the same long-tail Gunpoint did, but so far it really is a Gunpoint-size success. We hit #1 on Steam on launch day, and stayed in the top 10 for most of the week. Thank you so much to everyone who bought it and spread the word, and to everyone who’s left such lovely reviews. This was a huge gamble and I’m so relieved and grateful and frankly surprised it paid off.

If you haven’t got it yet but plan to, the 10% discount ends tomorrow.


The other shock is how people are reacting to it. I knew I’d designed a weird thing – it’s like a roguelike but in a persistent world, it’s like Hotline Miami but it’s not about skill, it has a goal but it’s not the point. Whatever you think it is before you play, it’s probably not quite that, and I’ve seen that not-as-expected thing lead to a bad reception for games I love.

That does not seem to have stopped it. Overwhelmingly people get it, and I can use that word now because at time of writing our user reviews are ‘Overwhelmingly Positive (95%)’ on Steam. But more than that, so many people are having the perfect response to it: they’re telling stories. For me a Story Generator is one of the highest goals in game design, it’s the common thread between my love for Deus Ex, Spelunky and Invisible Inc. So it’s wonderful to see Heat Sig is not just generating ones that players enjoy, but ones they’re excited to share. This didn’t happen with Gunpoint – people liked it, but at best they’d share jokes I wrote, not unique experiences they’d had.

If you browse a Twitter search for @HeatSig you’ll see them still pouring out. This one by my friend roBurky is a favourite. Today someone sent us fan art they’d done of their own characters, their own story. That feels like a sign we got something important right.

Which brings us to:

Our First Player Legend Trading Card

We want real player stories to be the legends of Heat Signature’s world, so we’ve been asking you to send us clips of your hijinks and turning the best ones into our Steam Trading Cards. We’re still accepting these on Twitter and haven’t nearly finished selection, but one came in that was such an easy Yes that we made the card right away. I’m posting it now to give you an idea of the glory that awaits you, and what a good entry looks like. To be clear, you just send us the clip (below – put @HeatSig at the end not the start) and say roughly what happened – John does your glamour shot, I give you a nickname and write your story. (I’m a recovering games journalist, let me have this.)

Ferris ‘Swapshot’ Harris

As a ship’s security guard, especially as an armoured elite, you have to be ready for anything. This one saw Ferris Harris coming. He saw an Offworld Angel coming at his ship’s broken window full burn, and even though he knew it couldn’t dock, he was ready for whatever other nonsense they were about to try.

At the moment of impact, Harris hit eject. He threw himself from his pod, through the pressure-retention field, and skidded to a halt directly in front of the guard. The guard didn’t flinch. He fired. And Harris swapped with him.

The guard was not ready for this. He suddenly found himself staring at the blue glow of the forcefield Harris just came through. He couldn’t process the situation fast enough to realise what would happen next: his own bullet hit him in the back of the head. His heavy armour saved him from the lethal impact, but the force was just enough to nudge him one step forwards – into the pressure field.

What we don’t know is if, in the 15 seconds between being flung into the icy void and asphyxiating, he had time to figure out what the hell just happened.


Now I’m in a state of simultaneously needing a) a break, b) to catch up on a backlog of urgent things I let slide during development, and c) to tweak the game in response to feedback. But I’m happy to be doing all that in the aftermath of a success, rather than eg. the shadow of a massive financial disaster. So thank you for that!

25 Replies to “Heat Signature’s Launch, And First Player Legend”

  1. Heat Signature is an incredible work, great job Tom! I won’t be putting it down for a long time.

    Is there any chance of unlocking the framerate? I recall a previous devpost mentioning something about it running at high frame rates (above 60) but seems the release is capped at 60fps.

  2. Love the game Tom! Don’t listen to the people complaining that personal missions are too hard, they’re just right! Good move making easy missiosn available all the time though, that should keep everyone happy :)

  3. I’m really looking forward to playing this game. Tom, do you know if and when it will be available for Mac?

  4. Two things I’d love to see in a future version

    A button to fly the pod straight to the nearest station (like f when you’ve captured a ship)

    An option to auto enter your pod when accepting a mission.

    Cheers and loving it

  5. Honestly, I think the missions are tuned a little too easy once you start getting some of the better unlocks. Things like high-capacity key cloners and stealth shields start to trivialise even the really difficult ones.

  6. Also, I think stealth shields are a bit too cheap and slipstreams and visitors maybe a bit too expensive. Slipstreams should definitely cost more than stealth shields, but maybe not seven times as much.

  7. I’ve been a fan of C&C since the PCG days, and I’ve been waiting for Heat Signature for a long time. Well done! There are several Unity projects sitting, broken and unfinished, on my computers hard drive. It’s hard to stay in scope and keep focused when no one is cracking the whip over your head but you.
    It’s been really encouraging to hear tidbits about your progress over the years – keep up the good work.
    (I especially enjoyed speaking with the lady NPC, whos name escapes me, about torture, that was great!)

  8. I didn’t pay attention to this game during its development as I did with Gunpoint, and so it’s been incredibly exciting to continue learning about things that can be done, even 17 hours in.

    I really hope you’re open to making an expansion once done with vacation.

  9. With the trading card entries, we can’t put the name at the start, but can we put @HeatSig in the middle, like in this sentence, or does it have to go at the very end?

  10. Desperately hope that this game will get future updates with more weapons, more ships, more enemies, and maybe even more mechanics. Will glady pay for an expansion. But by all means don’t burn out and take a break.

  11. I had a sort of similar circumstance, with breaking out a friend’s character from a ship I had no rights being on. I was super curious what all saving them would entail and how it would effect my game world.

    I took on the mission knowing full well I only had an Angel Pod, a Self-Charging Swapper, a Short Blade, and 3 and 5 capacity rechargeable stealth fields. Getting TO the rescue target wasn’t too bad since the stealth fields let me sneak around the perimeter of rooms with key-guards. It was getting out that proved difficult as I had nothing left to save me at that point.

    I made it to the airlock and had a veritable shitstorm on my heels. An armored BAMF of a boss that I could do nothing about. I had just learned about keeping my pod at range to pick me up easier (instead of attached to an entry point while I’m roaming) and so the exit was free and clear. I had shotgun pellets coming for me, threw the rescue target out into space, paused and swapped with the boss. He shotgunned himself into space and my pod saved the rescue target and myself.

    There are VERY few games that I can think of that produce moments/situations like this so well and so awesomely. Thank you very much for such a phenomenal title.

  12. Heat signature is awesome, as always! we love playing your games. please keep making more and I’ll buy as many copies as I can! cheers

  13. It’s better than Gunpoint. A lot better. It’s scary because your next game could be something Earth-shattering.

  14. I just LOVE Heat Signature, it was ABSOLUTELY worth the wait. More so than Gunpoint. I truly hope you bring it to other systems and consoles. If nothing else, please heavily consider the Nintendo Switch. The game is perfect for it due to its portability and how you can play for a few missions while on the bus or waiting for someone to arrive. I know I’d gladly purchase this on any system you decide to bring it to. Seriously good damn game!

  15. Were probably to far gone, but the game really needs a rewind button and the ability to make your own gifs.
    too many times it all went to hell and I have no idea why, would be great to rewind just to see it play out again, and then be able to export a clip to show my friends.

  16. Will there be a workshop in later updates? I know you said there wasn’t going to be a ship designer, but a workshop to just share characters/weapons would be nice.

  17. Please, please please, can you release it for Mac? I so want to play it that I’d be willing to buy it now if it means that I could maybe play it on my Mac at some point in the future.

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