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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.

Hitman header tunnel

Rewarding Creative Play Styles In Hitman

Far Cry Primal Thumbnail

Postcards From Far Cry Primal

Snowball jack header

Solving XCOM’s Snowball Problem

Kill Zone and Bladestorm

Kill Zone And Bladestorm

BAFTA Featured

An Idea For More Flexible Indie Game Awards

Sectors Header

Teaching Heat Signature’s Ship Generator To Think In Sectors

DXHR Open area

What Works And Why: Multiple Routes In Deus Ex

Heat Signature Natural Numbers

Natural Numbers In Game Design

Pharma Header

Naming Drugs Honestly In Big Pharma

Writing vs Programming

Make A Game Tutorial Thumbnail Featured IMage

Let Me Show You How To Make A Game

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

Her Story banner

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

Invisible Header

What Works And Why: Invisible Inc

Super Game Jam Header

Our Super Game Jam Episode Is Out

Shadow of Mordor Header 2

What Works And Why: Sauron’s Army

Heat Signature Talk

Showing Heat Signature At Fantastic Arcade And EGX


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

Murder, She Wrote

The Formula For An Episode Of Murder, She Wrote

Heat Signature Wide 2

Heat Signature Needs An Artist And A Composer

Heat Signature Floorplans Header

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

Gunpoint Steam Workshop

Gunpoint Patch: New Engine, Steam Workshop, And More

Distance Header

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

The Magic Circle

Raising An Army Of Flying Dogs In The Magic Circle

Floating Point Blog Launch

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

Floating Sine

Drawing With Gravity In Floating Point


What’s Your Fault?

Hoplite banner

The Randomised Tactical Elegance Of Hoplite

Gone Point

Here I Am Being Interviewed By Steve Gaynor For Tone Control

Heat Signature Thumbnail

Heat Signature: A Game About Sneaking Aboard Randomly Generated Spaceships

GRappling Hook Thumbnail

The Grappling Hook Game, Dev Log 6: The Accomplice

Alien Swarm Heroics

A Story Of Heroism In Alien Swarm

FTL Story

One Desperate Battle In FTL

Spelunky Banner

To Hell And Back In Spelunky

Game vs story graph

Games Vs Story 2

Gunpoint Breakdown

Gunpoint Development Breakdown

Max Payne 3

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

This is how you die

My Short Story For The Second Machine Of Death Collection


Not Being An Asshole In An Argument

Skyrim Diary - Frostmere

Playing Skyrim With Nothing But Illusion

Mainstream Games

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


A Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

Dark Messiah

The Magical Logic Of Dark Messiah’s Boot


Arguing On The Internet


Shopstorm, A Spelunky Story

Stealth Games

Why Are Stealth Games Cool?


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

Suspicious Manifesto

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

What Makes Games Good

Seat Quest

A Story Of Plane Seats And Class

Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron

Beneath Suspicion

Avoiding Suspicion At The US Embassy

Open Worlds

An Idea For A Better Open World Game

Level Up

A Different Way To Level Up

BioShock Ending

How I Would Have Ended BioShock

Meet the Spy

My Script For A Team Fortress 2 Short About The Spy

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 Unlockable Weapon Ideas

Football Manager

Don’t Make Me Play Football Manager

EVE Assassins

EVE’s Assassins And The Kill That Shocked A Galaxy

GalCiv 2

My Galactic Civilizations 2 War Diary


I Played Through Episode Two Holding A Goddamn Gnome

Machine of Death

My Short Story For The Machine Of Death Collection

Blood money and sex

Blood Money And Sex


A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

Second Life

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.