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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.

Heat Signature’s Launch, And First Player Legend

A Leftfield Solution To An XCOM Disaster

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

Found And Lost

It seems like only yesterday that some of my desk surface was visible, but it apparently wasn’t and I have been asked to excavate. Among my findings:

  • Fifty-six copies of PC Gamer 148’s cover CDs.
  • One wicker apple, without lid, empty save pistachio-shell crumbs.
  • Doom 3 box, empty.
  • UT2004 box, without lid, empty.
  • One spoon, large.
  • One paper box, contents unknown.
  • The head of a plastic penguin with red hair and yellow eyebrows.
  • One open packet of coffee grounds.
  • One billion (approx) business cards (own).
  • Three quarters of a billion (approx) business cards (others).
  • One painted wireframe and tissue-mache effigy of me, 8″ tall.
  • One purple, yellow and green feathered mardi gras mask.
  • Nine pens.
  • John Walker’s cafetiere.
  • Three ultrillion sheafs of paper of text that no longer seems to mean anything.
  • One cardboard cutout of me, articulated at joints with gold pins.
  • Twenty issues of PC Gamer.
  • Forty duplicate issues of PC Gamer.
  • One copy of Stereolab’s Emperor Tomato Ketchip: score!
  • One bigillion blank taxi receipts, for expense claim fraud.
  • One Morrowind Ordinator lead figurine, 2″ tall.
  • One City Of Villains scorpion dude plastic figurine 3″ tall.
  • Twelve hundred E3 press discs.
  • Nine hundred hundred unwanted DVDs.
  • One inflatable chain-mace.
  • One inflatable gray (green).
  • One foam Darwinian.
  • One FSP fridge magnet, ugly.
  • One tennis shoe, belonging to Mark Sutherns of Creative Assembly.
  • Seven point nine thousand hundred City Of Villains trial code stickers.
  • Five USB storage devices of between 64MB and 1GB capacity.
  • One Radeon X300 graphics card with a display output socket unrecognisable to the staff of either PC Gamer or PC Format, but which I swear used to plug straight into my regular monitor without fuss.

The_B: I'll give you a fiver for the Darwinian.

Also, in relation to previous posts, just think how much more fun that tidying would have been with the "Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device" from Portal...

Tom Francis: No way. Also, I just got it signed by Chris Delay last week.