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Heat Signature’s scaling vapours mean a beautiful galaxy with every zoom

Heat Signature vapour

Gunpoint’s Tom Francis is currently deep in development on his next game: Heat Signature. The space-faring game of hiding from other ships and sabotaging enemies takes place in a huge galaxy, and the development team’s latest challenge has been to overcome the graphics issues when zooming out from your tiny ship to see the galaxy at large. The final result is remarkably pretty, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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Francis details his discussions with artist John Roberts on his blog, but the short of it is that trying to make those space vapour clouds work seamlessly was a little tricky. At one point zooming was skipped all together since nothing actually ‘happens’ during them, but after an auto-zoom system was implemented to help players keep track of their ship and pilot it became obvious that that zoom needed perfecting.

The final idea sees layers of cloud fade up and down, destroying themselves when they become fully invisible to make way for new laters. The effect is pretty beautiful, and gives the game a really wonderful, colourful sci-fi vibe. “Feels like a real victory of code and art: we had this big scary problem, a gap in what we could do to a good standard, and we dodged around it for a while, and then your perfectly tiling dust layer and my new autozoom system came together in a way that suggested a smarter approach, and it just solves it completely,” commented Francis.