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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

British Airwaves

You’re supposed to feed a cold and starve a fever, I think, but I’m not sure what you do if you have a cold and a throat so sore that you can’t swallow food without hitting something and saying “Motherfucker!” afterwards. So far I’m dosing Halls, Lockets, Oraldene, 300% of my RDA in Vitamin C and Zinc and 200% of my RDA in sleep – to no avail.

I’m blaming British Airways, this time, for sitting me next to a door. a) Why would you put an Expensive Class seat somewhere too cold for human survival even under a blanket with the heating on maximum, and b) shouldn’t the doors on a plane be, like, airtight? Might my freezing be a symptom of a rather more serious problem at umpteen thousand feet? The two things BA can’t seem to get right are sending your baggage to the same hemisphere as you and an in-flight entertainment system that actually works. If they’re also failing to maintain hull integrity, I’m not sure they even qualify as an airline anymore. ‘Airborne torture wagon’ might be closer.

Are flights in one direction faster than in the other direction because you’re so high up that the air you’re flying through isn’t quite rotating on the Earth’s axis as fast as the ground? Because that’s kind of awesome if it’s true.

Anyway, since actual remedies aren’t working and pretty much everything causes an equal amount of pain now, I’m coiling up with chorizo cheese on toast, a flagon of coffee and a Damages triple-bill. I’m slightly gay for Tate Donovan.

ImperialCreed: I've just recovered from a simialr infection - I had two golfballs in the back of my throat that looked suspiciously like tonsils, and the pain was near unbearable. Anyway. Prescription drugs are the way to go, so get thee to a physician lest you know someone who has some spare Clavamel pills lying around. Which I do, in fact. But you can't have them.

Tom Francis: Heh. Saving them for a good night in? The only other thing I have in the way of medicine is a bottle of 12 year-old Armagnac. It hasn't quite come to that, yet.

Iain: Theoretically, flights from East to West should be slightly faster than flights from West to East, because you're flying contrary to the Earth's direction of rotation on it's axis. I'm sure the effect is pretty negligible, though, because of considerations like the conservation of angular momentum. I'll have to have a think about frames of reference, the effect of the speed of the Earth's rotation on the airplane's effective ground speed and the like and try and figure out how big the effect is... but I expect it's probably minuscule.

Tom Francis: A few people assure me it's just headwinds. How dull.