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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

Event-Inspired Idea: Cellphone Breathalizer

My first post to a long-time favourite site, the Halfbakery:

Build a breathalizer into the mic section of a cell-phone, and have it measure the alcohol content of your breath as you start to speak, or breathe into it while waiting to be connected. If it detects mild levels of intoxication, it mutes the mic for a second and plays a pre-recorded message to the recipient of your call to the effect of:

“I’m sorry, but the caller you are talking to is inebriated. Please disregard anything they may say.”

If it detects extreme levels of intoxication, it disconnects you, dials a taxi firm, retrieves your location from a GPS component, relates it to a street via the Google Maps API, then text-to-speeches that info into a pre-recorded message to the effect of:

“I would like a taxi from [place name] to [home address]… yes, it’s [surname]”

So far four people have found the idea croissant-worthy, while two have inexplicably deigned to fishbone it. Weak.

Rob: I was under the impression that this had already been invented (recently)!

Timmargh: Hahaha. Superb.

Tom Francis: Ooh, link? I used to love the internet because if you could think of something, someone somewhere had already made it for you. Now I hate it, because whatever you think of, someone somewhere has already done it.

The_B: Quite literally a year late, by the looks:

http://www.engadget.... ...zer-phone/

The_B: And after actually following the link within the engadget blog, it appears not to actually link to the article so this one might be better:

Apparently it's LG's LP4100

Jason L: It's not quite your idea, in that it locks out specified numbers instead of giving vocal warning and won't call a cab, but on the other hand it does have a bonus universal remote control. Here are two of many Google results for "cell phone breathalyzer". ...88879.html

http://www.mobilemag... ...340/C4915/

Tom Francis: I instinctively avoid Googling ideas I have these days, it's too depressing. I prefered it when we all lived in villages and stabbed fish with flint spears, and I was the cleverest person anyone knew.

Jason L: why did you ask for links? :)

Tom Francis: Look! A dog!

SenatorPalpatine: http://arstechnica.c...