All posts


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

Posts About Games Writing Suck So I’m Writing A Post About Posts About Games Writing

I’m not partaking of the upsurge of inter-linked So You Want To Be A Games Journalist pieces that the awfulness of this one has caused, I guess because I see its two main offputting features as its self-indulgent subject matter and mind-boggling length. I haven’t read it, will never read it, but in attempting to find the URL for that link I caught myself ingesting a few sentences, and the gag-impulse to vomit a correction or mockery was violent. Despite over-writing pathologically myself, my favourite internet acronym – one I think is an enormously powerful positive force towards better writing – is tl;dr. If I ever feel in a position to lecture you on how to be more like me, please ignore me. And if I feel an article you weren’t going to read anyway demands a parody that is almost as long and requires you to read the tedious original to appreciate, restrain me. But if it occurs to me that a particularly catchy Jeffrey Lewis song is appropriate, please accept it into your hard drive.

The appropriate response to something foul is not to ingest it. If you already have, it is more polite to regurgitate privately, into a bucket.

The_B: You will become like them. You will be assimilated. It is only a matter of time.

Well, probably not. Although, I'm not sure if I should mention I was "supposed" to be preparing for a presentation that counts for 25% of one of my Uni units at the time when I was reading them all.

So you want to be a games journalist? « Constitution Hill: [...] s/Pentadact goes all meta on their arse, and introduces me to the concise beauty of tl:dr. &#823 [...]

Grill: Hurrah! For both the response and the Herman Dune song! This is the first one of those self-indulgent overly wordy twaddles I've actually read to the end.

John Walker in: Quite Possibly The Best Blog Post In The World at The Bloggings of The_B: [...] Tracker Bill Matthew Kumar Bill Harris Stuart Campbell Tim Edwards Jon Hicks Oh, and then Tom Francis has s [...]

Tom Francis: Update! Found the Jeffrey Lewis original. Superior!

John Walker in: Quite Possibly The Best Blog Post In The World at The Bloggings of The_B: [...] and then Tom Francis has something good to [...]