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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

    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. But the diary is now back up on PC Gamer’s site! It starts here.

    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!

    Kyle B.: Huh, so it got dismantled after all... I have fond memories of your GalCiv II diary, and in fact it was probably one of the things that initially propelled me into civilizations games in the first place. It had damn good writing, and you made the whole thing feel like I was right there with you. Like it wasn't just a turn-based game in space, but an actual adventure that you were taking us along for. I gotta say, several years (and purchased civ-builder games) later, something about GalCiv III coming out instantly made me think of it again. And the nostalgia kicks in full force.

    I don't know if there's any way, or if PC Gamer even has it still...

    But I really hope folks like us, who loved your work, get a chance to read it again. Thanks mate. Cheers on your new works, and good luck!

    P: If anyone wants to read it in the meantime:
    Use the wayback machine on

    Links (for the lazy):
    http://www.computera... ...days-1-26/

    http://www.computera... ...inal-entry

    P: Additional link for the last part:

    http://www.computera... ...inal-entry

    Jason L: Now starting again on PCG, here we goooo

    http://www.pcgamer.c... ...-part-one/

    Nolan Good: Mr. Francis, big fan (bizarrely, I sunk almost an entire weekend into screwing off with Floating Point once, so thank you).

    I consider your Gal Civ II write up an absolute classic in games journalism, I'd very much like to see it archived in a more manageable way than it currently is. Is there any possibility we might see an eventual .pdf release? Or a single link? I'd love to print it out and keep it just next to my copy of RPS's Neptune's Pride diary.

    Erik: A big thank you to everyone who made the re-up happen, and an even bigger thank you to Mr. Francis for writing it in the first place. It would have been a travesty if this was lost to time. I realize that I may be getting a bit greedy now, but any chance of a similar fate for the Twilight of Arnor diary?