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.
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I look bad, I smell bad and I feel bad, but I’m back. I was taken to Texas by a guy named Pete, but alas not Texas Pete from Superted. There I:
a) chinwagged with cigar-chomping bigwigs, immediately accepting their offer of a cigar and necessary ‘cutter’, despite having no idea how to cut a cigar, no memory of how to correctly smoke one and a physical reaction to tobacco that borders on allergy.
Since neither end of the cigar seemed less sealed than the other, I guillotined both with what I imagined was deft stealth, then fumbled over lighting it in a mild breeze with a flimsy book of matches I didn’t remember receiving for so long as to completely eclipse any social gaff I could ever have committed by admitting I didn’t know which bit of a cigar needed cutting. Later, I was sick.
Drunk Tom, however, assures me he was a great hit with these people.
b) ordered ‘oat bran French toast stuffed with maple banana cream-cheese’, having thought about it almost non-stop for the twenty-four hours since I saw it on the breakfast menu immediately after ordering something else the previous day.
I imagined several different mechanisms for stuffing bread with flavoured cream-cheese, pondered what consistency it would be when served if (as I assumed) the surrounding toast was hot, and wondered why and how one flavours what is essentially cheese with what is essentially a banana.
It turned out to be ‘stuffed’ with the stuff only in the sense that a cheese sandwich is ‘stuffed’ with cheese. But it was pretty damn good.
c) met a guy who worked on the Hitman series. Wow, I thought, he must know guys who worked on Blood Money after he left!
“Which was the last one you worked on?”
Wow, I thought, he must know the guys who did the amazing art direction on that!
“What was your job on that team?”
Wow, I thought, he must have worked closely with the lighting guys who did such an incredible job making each level feel so different!
“It was my job to design the lighting so that each level looked and felt different.”
Sascha Jungnickel, you are up there with Moby Franke and Chris Delay as a dude who uses incredibly complex mathematics to make incredibly beautiful things.
d) purchased limited edition Chocolate Skittles.
“Dude,” the garage attendant – who had quickly become our friend – mourned. “In the entire time we’ve had those in store, like, three guys have ever bought a pack. And two of them never came back here ever again.”
I tried one anyway, and chewed it for a while.
“I am never coming back here ever again.”
e) unaccountably failed to take a single photo, hence the unusual textiness of this post. Sorry.
Seniath: Dare I ask why you were actually over there? Or would you have to kill me?
Tom Francis: A trade show exclusively of games published by Gamecock. Named, appropriately, EIEIO.
Section 8, District 9, Station 10, by Tom Francis: [...] I got to see this game at an event in Texas once, and ran into the developers in the hotel the next morning, on my way out from breakfast. I [...]