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Below you will find the 25 best stealth games ever released on PC. There are sneaking missions, grand thefts, assassinations, escapes and infiltrations. Stay low, keep quiet and we’ll make it to the end.
Three weeks ago the UK telecoms provider TalkTalk was hacked, allegedly by a band of teenagers, compromising some 157,000 users details. This week hacktivist group Anonymous released personal details of hundreds of members of the Ku Klux Klan. And now the UK government wants a record of all the websites you’ve visited to be stored for 12 months, to be accessed at the discretion of police and security services. Clearly, we already live in a constantly evolving cyberpunk dystopia. But if this Gibsonist world is just too REAL for you, we have put together the ten best videogames about hacking, programming and computing so you can escape into meta-dystopia. Which I’m sure is a much better place.
The latest series of The Great British Bake Off has come to an end, causing those of us hooked by its cream-filled buns, end-of-the-pier puns, and oddly sincere celebration of the human spirit, to feel as empty inside as an incompletely prepared batch of jam donuts. After a few days spent facing a future free from sugar, gluten, and the strange tension between Paul Hollywood and hosts Mel & Sue, I decided to do something about it. I emailed some game designers and asked them a question: if you were charged with making a computer game of The Great British Bake Off, how would you do it?
The answers are below.
Do you own either the Exclusive Edition of Gunpoint, or the Exclusive Extras DLC, on Steam? If so, you also have access to the first alpha test of the spacejacking sim Heat Signature that got underway over the weekend.
If not, you can still get into the club by simply buying Gunpoint (the Exclusive Edition, remember) now. Do take note, however, that Tom Francis, the man who made both games, doesn't think that anyone should actually do that.
"This is very unfinished, very unoptimised, and time-limited: I will close it down in two weeks and then you won t have it anymore," he wrote. "It exists purely to help me find problems with the game and get people s thoughts, not necessarily to give them the best experience or one I d charge for individually."
Francis also emphasized that this is not the same as an Early Access release, and that having the alpha will not get you the final release. Furthermore, there will be other closed alphas held in the future that anyone can apply for. "This first one is just a perk of the [Gunpoint] Exclusive Edition, part of what I promised to say thanks to those who supported Gunpoint so generously," Francis wrote. "I did the same thing with Floating Point—Exclusive Edition folks got the first alpha, then later ones went to people who signed up."
Unless you're desperate to play Heat Signature right freakin' now, in other words, ponying up $30/ 18 for Gunpoint to get into the first alpha probably isn't the thing to do. Which isn't to say Gunpoint isn't a fine game—we didn't review it, for reasons listed here, but plenty of other places did and they quite liked it—but when even the guy who stands to make money off the deal is recommending a good dose of sober second thought, you'd probably be wise to listen. Last time we played Heat Signature, we thought it was pretty neat.
(Disclosure: Tom Francis used to work here, but we don't think you should hold that against him.)
Heat Signature [official site] is an action/stealth game in which you can go inside the spaceships, from the team behind Gunpoint. I played a recent build last week and spoke to its lead designer Tom Francis about how how it’s grown into a game of factional war, if it can ever be finished, comedy wrench KOs and the awkwardness of journalists covering ex-journalists’ games. By which I mean: disclaimer – I used to work at the same magazine company as Tom, and we socialised on occasion.>
Heat Signature’s pratfalls-in-space concepts were a giggle already, but the scope has expanded dramatically since the first time I saw it, less than a year ago. It’s becoming Galactic Civilizations as well as this sort of high-speed, outer space heist game. Gunpoint’s use of physics as both freeform puzzle and source of Three Stooges comedy ethos is very clearly in there, as is a shared determination to ensure the player is doing their own thing in any given second of the game, but as well as stealing procedurally-generated spaceships you now get to play galactic factions against each other in a persistent universe. This wasn’t the original plan.
The world’s most accurate ranking of the 25 best puzzle games ever to reach a computer. Plucking the peak of PC puzzling, we break down what makes them so special, and put them in the correct order. Read on for more time travel, rearranged tiles, hidden objects and hexed cells than you could ever want.
The turn-based sneaking, leaping, climbing, stabbing, swinging, and sword-flinging of Ronin caught our eye last August with a free prototype, and my it’s come a long way since then! A new trailer shows slick sequences of its cyberninja scaling buildings, smashing through windows, dodging bullets, and stabbing the heck out of cybermen. Tomasz Waclawek’s game caught the keen eye of publishers Devolver Digital too, as they’ve announced they’re helping bring Ronin to release later this year, fleshed-out and fancied-up. Really, come see how cool this murder looks:
Do YOU want to be the next indie millionaire? Well, you can’t. There are far too many of the blighters already and not a lot of room for more. You could make a game though: that’s pretty cool. I suspect many people reading these have thought about doing so, if they haven’t already, but the question is where to start? Well, with an engine, and if you’re a raw beginner that’s either going to be Gamemaker or Unity. The former’s the best bet if you’re making something 2D, which is the best bet if you’re working solo. And then: where to start? Well, how about a new video series from affable Gunpoint creator Tom Francis? … [visit site to read more]
What time is it? Disclaimer time! Tom Francis used to work for PC Gamer. Also, a portion of PC Gamer UK went to his house on New Year's Eve. Also, we were all at the pub the other night, where he told us, among other things, that he was going to do an absolute beginner's guide to Game Maker. Here's the thing, though: it's January 6. Nothing interesting is happening. So I either write about this—a cool and potentially helpful thing that a game developer is doing—or I tell you how much money Kickstarter has received in total over the last year. Do you really care how much money Kickstarter has received in total over the last year? Because I don't.
Gunpoint creator (and... well, see above) Tom Francis is making a tutorial series showing absolute beginners how to make a game in Game Maker—the tool used to make both Gunpoint and Francis's upcoming Heat Signature. The first episode was released yesterday, and you can see it below.
Tom's own disclaimer states that this isn't a great series if you're looking to be a top programmer. Instead, the point is to show you how to make a game with absolutely no experience, and in the easiest way possible. As he puts it in the video, "once you get something working, you will know if making games if for you."
I imagine for many it could prove a useful resource. One of the big barriers to game development seems to be the first step: actually realising that it's possible to just start making a game. Having someone talk you through that—showing people that with a little effort they can make something—strikes me as useful.
You can find future videos over on Tom's YouTube channel. Previously, while working for PC Gamer, Tom talked to a bunch of indies about their own preferred game making tools. We've also talked to a selection of indies—Francis included—about the smash hit games being made with Game Maker.