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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

Something I Didn’t Understand But Still Feels Right

It’s September the eleventh. Not only the day that Alec Meer left PC Format, but apparently something exploded in some distant oligarchy. It’s funny that the attacks of that day are always referred to by the day, and not the attacks. Are there other historic events that are just called a date, no adjective or even location? It’s like we don’t really know what happened. Didn’t Iraq invade or something? I have dates like that – Friday Before Last, I call one of them. I don’t know what happened, but when I woke up my bike was broken and upside down with the handlebars twisted 360 in my garden. I’m still picking up the pieces after FBL. I intend to construct four enormous towers to show my drunk self that I’m not afraid of it.

There’s a suggestion the amnesia is willful. Somewhere I have a 100MB zip disk with the only copy of an elderly New Yorker’s photos of the collapse, first-hand and close up. She gave them to me, a near-stranger, when I met her because she never wanted to see them again.

Today is a bad, not to mention clichéd, day to remember this. Ze Frank, whose fast-talking scary-eyed vodcast I’ve only been subscribed to for a few weeks, but on which I’ve already come to rely, got his in early. Last Thursday his show wasn’t funny. Instead, he just gave a simple yet extraordinary account of what he did on that day, the haze of physical pain, drugs and rubble smoke through which he tried to see what had happened. He didn’t.

Tom Francis: Transcript here if you hate embedded Quicktime even more than I.

craigp: It is also the fifth anniversary of the day I met Lea. As a day I find my memories of it quite pleasant.

I had to visit LloydsTSB a few years ago to complain about the very reasonable fact that their machines were eating my debit card on a regular basis. I was mid-rant at the nice teller lady before I noticed there was an uncomfortable silence descending over the place. I did that side-whisper thing to find out what was going on. She'd let me complain all the way through a minute's silence for the victims of Sept 11.

Worra cunt.