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.
“The simultaneous ambush and galaxy-wide hangar theft inflicted financial damage upwards of 30 billion ISK – $16,500 US dollars at IGE.com’s prices. The value of the stolen assets utterly dwarfed the original fee for the job. And yet the only item the Guiding Hand’s anonymous client requested for himself was the cold, dead body of the target. It’s safe to say this was personal.”
A prompt two years after it was originally published, my story about the Guiding Hand Social Club assassins is finally (legally) online. At the time a lot of bad J-PEGs of it cropped up online, and since we didn’t actually have a website of our own then, we tolerated the ones that actually bothered to note the piece came from PC Gamer. But now it’s in actual html and – in a column of that width – about as good as I can humanly make it look.
My favourite bit of it, inevitably, is the bit I didn’t write: the responses to the heist from the Intergalactic Summit. Eve players reacted to the hit with genuine disgust or admiration, but also stayed in-character. So their comments are coloured with wonderful subtexts drawn from Eve’s backstory about the slavery of the Minmatar, and subsequent rebellion.
Coupled with Eve’s extraordinarily evocative character portraits, it gives each commentator such a strong and believable personality that, reading it, I find I can imagine exactly what kind of voice each of these people would have, how they would deliver their judgements.
Look at Zhou Yu! He looks like Jesus. Of course he’s appalled. He’d talk like Neil from the Young Ones, by the way.
Look at Nanus Parkite! He’s wearing aviator shades – of course he’s unimpressed. And if you look closely at the full-size version of his portrait, you can actually see his eyes behind the lenses: they’re keen and angry, matching his Godwin-fulfilling disdain for the Guiding Hand.
Look at Zaridin! That smarmy, crisp-lipped villain. Of course he loves it, and of course he’s reserved and eloquent in his praise.
And man, look at Eddie Gordo. Can’t you just hear his thick, exotic accent? He speaks in simple, black-and-white truths, with the weight of suffering behind them. He’s the only one who doesn’t see this as a discussion of methods: he doesn’t care how it was achieved, only that the people who enslaved his race suffered.
In fact, check out Istvaan Shogaatsu, leader of the most vicious band of contract killers in the universe:
It kind of shows, right?
It’s baffling to me that a five-year-old space game still lets you create the most human and distinctive player-designed artificial faces. Why can’t we make faces like this in games where we actually have a body and face rather than a spaceship, where we can walk around and see other people’s? Instead, three years later, we get a blockbuster character-driven RPG in which the emperor of the world looks like this:
Anyway, that other site I’m working on – this one. It’s coming. It’s remarkable just how much progress you can make, and how quickly, without even coming close to finishing. I’d add that I am close to finishing now, except that I have felt close to finishing for around three weeks. It seemed nearly done half-an-hour into the process. I suddenly have a newfound sympathy for games that miss their release dates.
Grill: Yeah, Septim's nose needed real work. As did all Oblivion's facial animation TBH. However, I've gotta say that all those Eve faces look like psycho-killers to me, except for Eddie Gordo.
roBurky: The portraits of Istvaan Shogaatsu, Arenis Xemdal and Mirial are probably the most recognisable portraits in Eve, having been splashed all over print and the web from this story.
Cian: You're probably aware of this yourself, but those faces will soon be attached to more than forum posts. It's a while off yet but Eve will be expanding into station enviroments with characters walking around their personal hangars, communual enviroments and their own Corporation quarters. I can't wait to see the 'actual' size of my ship in comparison to my character or hanging around in the bar chatting with other Mercs.
Tom Francis: Awesome. I'd heard ages ago that CCP had let slip they'd like to do this one day, but didn't know if that was anything more than idle musing. Will you be able to walk around your ship? That's always what I wanted to do: stand on the bridge and look out at the nebulae on those long trading runs.
Istvaan Shogaatsu: Well, this is a blast from the past. I owe you a beer for that article, Mr. Francis!
Tom Francis: No problem Istvaan, but I make it a rule not to take drinks from contract killers. Learnt that one the hard way.
Sam: It would appear that, for myself at least, the link to the full article redirects to the CVG home page; for anyone else who happens to want to read the article, it can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/69s9zk.
Tom Francis: Cheers for spotting. Fixed. Looks like CVG don't accept article specific URLs without the www now?
Emergent Gameplay: Gamers Gone Wild: [...] This is just one example of the economy-gone wild of this game. Here’s another. [...]
lighted business signs: Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe this website needs a lot
more attention. I'll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the info!