Indie Discovery: Floating Point
So, how do you review Floating Point by Gunpoint developer Tom Francis?
It’s just been released on Steam for free. I mean, literally free. No IAP, no demo mode. Nothing. It’s free. You click on Install on Steam and you download it and you play it.
So you’re not spending money to get access to it, so what difference would my recommendation make? Probably nothing. Perhaps just a news post would’ve been enough to make you download it out of sheer curiosity.
So instead I’ll just talk about it for a little bit. Feel free to skip straight down to the Steam Link below and download it. Hell, I’d recommend you do just that rather than than continue reading but hey, perhaps you like yourself some Indie-foreplay.
So what is Floating Point? Well for such a simple game it’s actually many different things all rolled into one. It’s part proof-of-concept, part gift and part game design case study. It’s also a really fun game.
Basically, the whole game revolves around grappling from various floating platforms. Some platforms have these red towers that extend upwards (or downwards from those platforms underneath the water), which grow or shrink depending on how fast you can keep yourself moving.
The control scheme is a little fiddly at first but after a few embarrassing face-plants (can a tiny red dot even face-plant?), you’ll soon be picking up speed, swinging between platforms and eventually attempting to collide with those red expanding towers, which will in turn net you points, and points mean…well, nothing really.
Points really just serve to quantify success with more or less meaningless numbers. I guess you can compare your own scores with friends, but really the joy in Floating Point comes from the joy of flight, and seeing how high you can get those curious red towers to go before you collide with them.
Joy really is the best way of describing Floating Point; it’s simple, elegant and a wonder to look at and listen to. The levels are all randomly generated and after a couple of minuets of swinging around randomly, you’ll start to get more confident, build up speed and really get into some fantastic, uninterrupted flights. As you fly faster and faster, the level glows with a deeper and deeper red, and the trail that your little pixel dot leaves through the air lasts longer and longer, documenting your flight.
So it’s a solid, simple experience that shows some serious thought and effort but it’s been released for free! On Steam, no less. Tom Francis has said that Floating Point is both a product of and show of gratitude for the success of Gunpoint.
I’ll leave you with Tom’s own words explaining why Floating Point is free straight from his website here (go visit!). Below those words you’ll also find his DevLog for Floating Point and a Steam Link for Floating Point, so check it out!
“When Gunpoint came out, and did well, I thanked those who bought it for putting me in a position where I didn’t have to actively chase money with everything I do. In return, I promised to “make new things for you!”
I started Floating Point for the Ludum Dare game jam two months ago, but when it started to feel like it could be something more, I let myself pursue it. I just added what it seemed to need at each stage, and worked on it for as long as I felt it needed work. It was a fantastic experience, I’m really proud of the final thing, and I could never have done that if I was struggling to feed myself.
Floating Point probably could make money – if I was a publicly traded company, it would probably have to. But because I’m just a person, I’d rather just give it away as a thank-you. And because you’ve let me become completely independent, I can.”