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Game development








Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.


By me. Uses Adaptive Images by Matt Wilcox.

  • Grant: Thanks to the start of this video, I’ve just now noticed that during the static flickers while staring...
  • Ben: Great analysis. During the lab sequence in the Prey intro, you were looking around for tells that Morgan is in a...
  • RoboLeg: this game would be PERFECT for mobile, and I’d happily pay 10 bucks or so for it.
  • Jepp: 1) Please keep critiquing games by building new ones :) 2) The non-hand holding, simple systems integrating...
  • Jack: Are you going to release Morphblade for iOS or the Nintendo Switch? I would really like to play this on my...
  • Rewarding Creative Play Styles In Hitman

    Postcards From Far Cry Primal

    Solving XCOM’s Snowball Problem

    Kill Zone And Bladestorm

    An Idea For More Flexible Indie Game Awards

    Teaching Heat Signature’s Ship Generator To Think In Sectors

    What Works And Why: Multiple Routes In Deus Ex

    Natural Numbers In Game Design

    Naming Drugs Honestly In Big Pharma

    Writing vs Programming

    Let Me Show You How To Make A Game

    New Heat Signature Video: Galaxies, Suction And Wrench-Throwing

    What Works And Why: Nonlinear Storytelling In Her Story

    My Idea For An ‘Unconventional Weapon’ Game

    From Gunpoint To Heat Signature: A Narrative Journey

    The Cost Of Simplifying Conversations In Videogames

    What Works And Why: Invisible Inc

    Our Super Game Jam Episode Is Out

    What Works And Why: Sauron’s Army

    Showing Heat Signature At Fantastic Arcade And EGX

    What I’m Working On And What I’ve Done

    The Formula For An Episode Of Murder, She Wrote

    Heat Signature Needs An Artist And A Composer

    Improving Heat Signature’s Randomly Generated Ships, Inside And Out

    Gunpoint Patch: New Engine, Steam Workshop, And More

    Distance: A Visual Short Story For The Space Cowboy Game Jam

    Raising An Army Of Flying Dogs In The Magic Circle

    Floating Point Is Out! And Free! On Steam! Watch A Trailer!

    Drawing With Gravity In Floating Point

    What’s Your Fault?

    The Randomised Tactical Elegance Of Hoplite

    Here I Am Being Interviewed By Steve Gaynor For Tone Control

    Heat Signature: A Game About Sneaking Aboard Randomly Generated Spaceships

    The Grappling Hook Game, Dev Log 6: The Accomplice

    A Story Of Heroism In Alien Swarm

    One Desperate Battle In FTL

    To Hell And Back In Spelunky

    Games Vs Story 2

    Gunpoint Development Breakdown

    Five Things I Learned About Game Criticism In Nine Years At PC Gamer

    My Short Story For The Second Machine Of Death Collection

    Not Being An Asshole In An Argument

    Playing Skyrim With Nothing But Illusion

    How Mainstream Games Butchered Themselves, And Why It’s My Fault

    A Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

    The Magical Logic Of Dark Messiah’s Boot

    Arguing On The Internet

    Shopstorm, A Spelunky Story

    Why Are Stealth Games Cool?

    E3’s Violence Overload, Versus Gaming’s Usual Violence Overload

    The Suspicious Developments manifesto

    GDC Talk: How To Explain Your Game To An Asshole

    Listening To Your Sound Effects For Gunpoint

    Understanding Your Brain

    What Makes Games Good

    A Story Of Plane Seats And Class

    Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron

    Avoiding Suspicion At The US Embassy

    An Idea For A Better Open World Game

    A Different Way To Level Up

    How I Would Have Ended BioShock

    My Script For A Team Fortress 2 Short About The Spy

    Team Fortress 2 Unlockable Weapon Ideas

    Don’t Make Me Play Football Manager

    EVE’s Assassins And The Kill That Shocked A Galaxy

    My Galactic Civilizations 2 War Diary

    I Played Through Episode Two Holding A Goddamn Gnome

    My Short Story For The Machine Of Death Collection

    Blood Money And Sex

    A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

    First Night, Second Life

    SWAT 4: The Movie Script



    The future is great. That’s actually kind of the outlook of Concerned‘s protagonist, trapped in the same Orwellian dystopia as Gordon Freeman but looking firmly on the bright side. But I mean, Chris Livingstone takes screenshots of Half-Life 2 using a free mod by a passive-aggressive sociopathic genius named Garry Newman, and makes a webcomic out of it. The result is that Chris, who is obviously a great writer but presumably not an artist in the traditional sense, makes my new favourite comic three times a week. Without the futuristic awesomeness of games and gamers, he might just be another writer who feels like he could probably do a webcomic but can’t draw. He would also have nothing to mock.

    Concerned satirises Half-Life 2 with affection, though. The title refers to the protagonist’s pen-name – he’s the author of one of the letters Breen reads out on his compulsory telecast at the start of the game. That strip is probably my favourite of the many tie-ins with the experiences of Gordon Freeman, who presumably arrives a week or so later.

    Probably not intentionally, the positive outlook of the main character also plays to my own subconscious desires to live in City 17. It says something about a game’s artists when they create a dystopia so beautifully it undermines the dystopian bit.

    Dabs: OK, now that is seriously freaky. I was (honest to God) reading *just* that comic strip after seeing it linked to another forum, then thought I'd come here to see if Tom's added updates to his page yet. And Lo!

    Seriously, what are the chances? Anyway, yup, it's a very enjoyable read all the way through for the discerning HL2 geek and the best HL2 comic out there (and there are a fair few good ones). Think my favourite is: ...2005-05-05

    ... just for the line, "Don't drink the water! It's $2.95 a bottle."

    Tom Francis: Ha. I found it via Dave Johnston's blog a while back, but it was Craig who recently reminded me of its existence. I also like the early version of that line: ...edman3.jpg

    Lithilk: Come on, the Gman is the best. I've always wondered where he disappears to. Now I know.

    Rob: Wow, this is now my new best thing ever. Rarely laugh out loud at comics, so this must be pretty damn good. Or I'm just incredible geeky.

    Thanks for the heads-up.

    Graham: I'm nto really a fan, but I like http://www.hlcomic.c... ...2005-05-07 just for the Ferris Bueller reference at the end.

    Dabs: "I also like the early version of that line: ...edman3.jpg"

    Heh, I'd not noticed the index page before. I love the shot of him trying to flag down the Combine helicopter: ...ello2.jpg

    Also, this sounds incredibly geeky but is it just me who's really looking forward to seeing him flat-hunting in Ravenholm? :)

    Tom Francis: Heh, nope. I'm actually looking forward to the 'a boat' most, though.

    Today's is ace.