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TOM FRANCIS
REGRETS THIS ALREADY

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.

Theme

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

Deus Fucking Ex Fucking 3

deus-ex-3

I should briefly explain what this truncated latin phrase refers to, for anyone who doesn’t know: it’s a game released in the year 2000 which, for a lot of people, holds the same status within games as the Beatles do in music, Citizen Kane does in film, Shakespeare does in literature.

It’s a bit ugly. The writing is never particularly remarkable. The guns aren’t that much fun to shoot people with. If you’re wondering how it can, then, be broadly considered the greatest game ever made, it’s possible you don’t understand games as distinct from videogames, as distinct from arcade games, as distinct from art, from cinema, from toys, from fucking Halo. This is understandable. There haven’t been many that really take this medium for a spin yet, but Deus Ex was one.

I was quite excited when the third was first hinted back in May – to be made by Eidos Montreal, with no involvement from the original’s designers Warren Spector and Harvey Smith – and in the intervening time no new information has actually surfaced. But something else has happened: Far Cry 2.

Before real evidence of that game’s content emerged, I was a fierce sceptic of publisher-made sequels to games whose original developers have long since departed. But it’s now clear to me that Ubisoft played the original game for a long weekend, then someone senior took luxuriant toke on a lengthy, substantial joint, a real carrot, and said “Whoa wait! I just thought of something! Oh wait I forgot. Let’s just make it fucking nuts. I’m so hungry.”

If Eidos can at least try that, we’ll either get a beautiful game or a beautiful mistake. I’m resigned to the fact that we’ll never get a worthy tribute to Deus Ex, not from Spector, not from Eidos and certainly not from Smith.

And the most popular story on news-feed aggregator GameTab right now? “Breasts are awesome.” I love geeks, but man, I fucking hate nerds.

The_B: Are these the same sort of people who only bought Sin Episode 1 after the nude patch was released? Or heck, even the people that bloody released it?

Topically, I'd pretty much agree with the Far Cry 2 thing. Although the proof will inevitably be in the cliché filled pudding, Ubisoft have proved that other people can take the reins of a sequel and create an exciting prospect at the very least.

Something rather interesting to note - 2008 does indeed appear to be shaping up to become "the year of the sequel not developed by those that did the prequels" - I wish I could come up with a snappier title. Speedball 2, FEAR 2, Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, Guitar Hero 3 and now Deus Ex 3 are all on the list, have I missed any?

Bobsy: Tears in my eyes when I heard tell of fucking System Shock 3 being done by some nameless bunch of jPodders lodged somewhere in EA's foul colon.

Caleb: FUCKING HALO! DAMN RIGHT! And while were at it FUCKING CONSOLES!

I hate veteran PC developers/company's focusing on the god damn 360, it waters down games that could have lived up to games like Deus Ex and System Shock 2. Like Bioshock, god damn what shame. The first sign of all this to me was when Oblivion came out I felt like everyone on the internet was god damn retarded praising that game. We really are playing games that have not advanced much from 1998.

Deus Ex 2 was definitely one of the biggest let downs ever (having not lived through the daikatana thing) for me.

Whats with all the Sin Episodes hating? That game was action packed like...4 hours. I liked it, good gore, violence etc. It was pretty solid. lol though I never knew about a nude patch that sounds pretty lame.

The_B: There wasn't any Sin Episodes hating in my comment. I thought it was a solid, if a little flawed, game. But not enough people bought it for them to carry on. My comment was directed at the 'nerds' that bought it after the nude patch just so they could see a giant pair of breasts, and there wasn't even any need to create said patch.

thomas: deus ex ruled?
it's still number one in my best head to head face off with a villain in a shoot em up. You know who i mean that dude in the sub terrain garage shoot out. He just switched weapons with me, shooting rockets when i shot mine, emptying shotguns and machine guns when i let those shells fly and finally jumping at each other to deliver him the final blow in an lightsaber like ending even george lucas couldn't have written

But before i get carried away. Deus ex 2 sucked big time. Didn't like the cover, didn't like Alex, didn't like universal ammo (wtf lasy ass mf's, ammo restrictions is what makes a game fun) didn't like the fact normal games expand on moves and events instead of restricting it. Yes i'm talking about the dreaded only 6 F slots to tech up on. and so on and so on

Deus ex 3 ideal would be for me something with the HL2 engine and some advanced AI like in deus ex. That could be the bomb man.

Jason L: '[An] ending even George Lucas couldn't have written.'