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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.

Video Tutorial: Make A Game With No Experience

Invisible Header

What Works And Why: Invisible Inc

Super Game Jam Header

Our Super Game Jam Episode Is Out

Shadow of Mordor Header 2

What Works And Why: Sauron’s Army

Heat Signature Talk

Showing Heat Signature At Fantastic Arcade And EGX


What I’m Working On And What I’ve Done

Murder, She Wrote

The Formula For An Episode Of Murder, She Wrote

Heat Signature Wide 2

Heat Signature Needs An Artist And A Composer

Heat Signature Floorplans Header

Improving Heat Signature’s Randomly Generated Ships, Inside And Out

Gunpoint Steam Workshop

Gunpoint Patch: New Engine, Steam Workshop, And More

Distance Header

Distance: A Visual Short Story For The Space Cowboy Game Jam

The Magic Circle

Raising An Army Of Flying Dogs In The Magic Circle

Floating Point Blog Launch

Floating Point Is Out! And Free! On Steam! Watch A Trailer!

Floating Sine

Drawing With Gravity In Floating Point


What’s Your Fault?

Hoplite banner

The Randomised Tactical Elegance Of Hoplite

Gone Point

Here I Am Being Interviewed By Steve Gaynor For Tone Control

Heat Signature Thumbnail

Heat Signature: A Game About Sneaking Aboard Randomly Generated Spaceships

GRappling Hook Thumbnail

The Grappling Hook Game, Dev Log 6: The Accomplice

Alien Swarm Heroics

A Story Of Heroism In Alien Swarm

FTL Story

One Desperate Battle In FTL

Spelunky Banner

To Hell And Back In Spelunky

Game vs story graph

Games Vs Story 2

Gunpoint Breakdown

Gunpoint Development Breakdown

Max Payne 3

Five Things I Learned About Game Criticism In Nine Years At PC Gamer

This is how you die

My Short Story For The Second Machine Of Death Collection


Not Being An Asshole In An Argument

Skyrim Diary - Frostmere

Playing Skyrim With Nothing But Illusion

Mainstream Games

How Mainstream Games Butchered Themselves, And Why It’s My Fault


A Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

Dark Messiah

The Magical Logic Of Dark Messiah’s Boot


Arguing On The Internet

Stealth Games

Why Are Stealth Games Cool?


E3’s Violence Overload, Versus Gaming’s Usual Violence Overload

Suspicious Manifesto

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

What Makes Games Good

Seat Quest

A Story Of Plane Seats And Class

Beneath Suspicion

Avoiding Suspicion At The US Embassy

Open Worlds

An Idea For A Better Open World Game

Level Up

A Different Way To Level Up

BioShock Ending

How I Would Have Ended BioShock

Meet the Spy

My Script For A Team Fortress 2 Short About The Spy

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 Unlockable Weapon Ideas

Football Manager

Don’t Make Me Play Football Manager

EVE Assassins

EVE’s Assassins And The Kill That Shocked A Galaxy

GalCiv 2

My Galactic Civilizations 2 War Diary


I Played Through Episode Two Holding A Goddamn Gnome

Machine of Death

My Short Story For The Machine Of Death Collection


A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

Second Life

First Night, Second Life


SWAT 4: The Movie Script

GalCiv 2

My Galactic Civilizations 2 War Diary

Galactic Civilizations 2 is a strategy game about colonising space. The cool thing about it is the AI: the alien races you meet have very different personalities, and it’s fun to bargain with them and play them off against each other.

Long ago, I tried playing the biggest possible match of it, with the most possible alien races, and wrote up how it went in bite-sized entries.


CVG, the site I wrote this diary on, is gone forever. I backed up all the words and pictures from both diaries though, and PC Gamer are happy to start putting them up on their own site. Don’t know when though.

More ,

Space Glee! Galactic Civilizations III Announced! | Rock, Paper, Shotgun: […] how unlikely it is that Tom Francis will write a book-length diary about it, as he so marvellously did for GalCiv2, what with him off being a highly talented indie developer now. At least we get the game, at long […]

Space Glee! Galactic Civilizations III Announced! | PlanetSide 2 Live Streams and Blog: […] how unlikely it is that Tom Francis will write a book-length diary about it, as he so marvellously did for GalCiv2, what with him off being a highly talented indie developer now. At least we get the game, at long […]

Alex: Mr. Francis:

As a long time fan of your writing, and your GalCiv 2 piece in particularly, I would like to humbly add my name to the long list of people who want you to do a new one. While it would be wonderful to see a new one for GalCiv 2 particularly, I understand that you are quite a busy man now. Perhaps I can suggest that you do one for the upcoming GalCiv 3? It won't be out for a while, so you can plan out the time you would need to do it long in advance. Also, given the popularity of the first piece, StarDock may be willing to compensate you for your time on a new one to promote the new game. It's worth a shot, right?

Thank you so much for your work thusfar,

Erik: I'm with Alex. Your two GalCiv2 write ups were amazing, and are the sole reason I ever played the game. I'd love to see another diary, either in GalCiv 2 or in GalCiv 3 when it comes out. Or, better yet, in both games.

Obviously you're a busy man, but if you are struck with nostalgia and want to play the game, know that there are definitely people who would love to read a new diary.

Also, I've heard Gunpoint is awesome and plan on getting it when I can.

bob drummond: can u do a blog as the pilgrims in endless space. I thourouly enjoyed ur galCiv diaries in CVG magazine.

Robert: Tom, the link to your diary is broken. If you click it, it just sends you to game radar and I can't find it anywhere.

Erik: I have no idea if you still monitor these comments or not, but incase you do, I wanted to bring the following to your attention. I went to show a friend of mine your wonderful GalCivII Diaries, but every link I find to them (Including the link on this page) directs to a Nintendo 2DS review on GamesRadar instead. Any idea if these wonderful pieces of awesome are still floating around anywhere? Any chance of a Reup if the're not?

Robert: Erik, I just noted the same thing. I want to read them, but they've all but disappeared! I really do hope he makes a new link. I enjoyed the stories so much.

Jason L: For those not following along on Twitter, he has all the original data archived and is looking to get the articles re-upped to PC Gamer's site. He doesn't work for them anymore but still has friends on the staff, and why wouldn't they want to reinstitute content that pulls eyes years later, but it's been disappeared at a time when he was gearing up and then flying halfway around the world to GDC where he is at this moment, and most of them were gearing up and are now covering GDC. We can reasonably expect anything that happens to happen after everyone's flown back home, transcribed and filed their stories, dejetlagged and can deal with lower-priority stuff again.

Erik: Thanks much for the response Jason, I indeed don't do the Twitters. I will eagerly await any response. I hope everyone has safe flights and enjoys the GDC!

Gunpoint problem?

Don't post them here, I'm a useless idiot! E-mail tech support with as much detail about your system and the problem as possible, and they can actually do something.


There's a page about the games I've worked on, what I use to make them, and what platforms they're coming to.


URLs get turned into links automatically. You can use <i>HTML</i> but not [b]forum[/b] code.