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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

Structurally Superfluous

My editor, earlier tonight: “I really like that Valve can just do whatever the fuck they want.” And that was before this:


Or this:


And this:


I can’t believe these character movies are getting better. The facial animation reflects the voice and mentality in all of them so exquisitely, and never more so than in this one. It just makes me melt. And I love that he’s playing guitar with giant rubber gloves.

They’re planning to do all nine eventually, and retrofit them into the game as character bios in class selection. I’m sort of dreading the Sniper, because he’s my favourite class but a (knowing) travesty of an Australian. But I can’t wait for the Pyro. Everything he does is inherently funny, even burning people to death.

As for me, I like that the most professional company in the industry can be so wildly unprofessional when they feel like it, or just when it’s funny.

The_B: Nice touch with the 'bitches'. Gangsta, dawg. Or something that's hip these days.

Also: I demand the Peggle wildlife characters become secret unlockable playable skins/classes in TF2. Seriously. How awesome would it be charging towards the heavy as a giant blue and white Unicorn?

Iain: Peggle Extreme's only available if you pre-purchase the Orange Box?

BOO. HISS! I don't need to buy Half-Life 2 and Episode 1 again, thank you very much. Though Episode 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2 for £23 sounds like a bargain to me. Ah, screw it... *pre-purchases*

Tom Francis: Yeah, I think they're under-estimating people's aversion to the very idea of repurchasing. If they cut HL2 and Ep1 out of the PC version and charged exactly the same, I honestly think they'd sell more.

If you're interested in more than one of the three new games, it's always cheaper to buy the Orange Box.

Seniath: I find it vaguely prophetic that the first snippet I look at on the new sit was "Everything he does is inherently funny, even burning people to death.". I need to devote more of my time to pursuing that art. My 'Spies burned per week' average is shockingly low at the moment.

w00dy: anh, u can get it by just purchasing trhu steam (peggle xtreme that is)

w00dy: whoah, dont know what happened there, but yeah... not just pre-ordering