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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.

  • RoboLeg: this game would be PERFECT for mobile, and I’d happily pay 10 bucks or so for it.
  • Jepp: 1) Please keep critiquing games by building new ones :) 2) The non-hand holding, simple systems integrating...
  • Jack: Are you going to release Morphblade for iOS or the Nintendo Switch? I would really like to play this on my...
  • Spaceman Moses: One-eyeing this on my phone from the depths of my covers I lazily ask: what do you mean XCOM2 clarity...
  • kripto: For what it’s worth, I also like Morphblade more than Imbroglio. Although, to be fair, I’ve also...
  • 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.