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.
“Oldman kidnaps the most closely guarded man on the planet in order to negotiate the release of a dictator who’s being held by … Russia. That’s right, he’s threatening to kill the President of the United States to scare a country that just spent the better part of a century glaring across the Bering Strait and muttering ‘motherfucker’ under its breath.”
Thomas Lawrence: Absolutely nothing to do with the above: have you gotten around to Twilight of the Arnor yet, Tom?
Tom Francis: Got to play it a little at work, but I have something else to review first so I didn't get very far. I've been trying to install it here at home this weekend, but Stardock Central isn't as good as I thought at unattended installs.
Any minor temporary glitch halts the whole process, and when a game has pre-requisites - GalCiv2 itself for example - it stops to ask you if you want a desktop shortcut to that game before getting on with downloading anything else. That is why, after two nights of attempted downloading, I still don't fully have it.
Thomas Lawrence: Ah, so you are lined up to review it for PCG? Good good. Will it be in the July ish?
I've played a couple of games of it now, my first experience with GalCiv II having bought the megapack on a whim (another sale secured almost entirely by your AAR blog with the Spectres of Agony, no doubt).
In any case, I like it. The fancy new race specific tech trees are mostly well done (although there are a few annoying flaws at the moment connected to some races missing starbase upgrades). It strikes an interesting middle ground with them - they aren't utterly distinct (a good 60-70% tree is still more or less identical for each race), but it isn't just a few token techs for each race either, and in some cases it does require an interestingly different approach. Particularly with the Thalan, although their tree is one of the ones most hampered by lacking starbase upgrades they ought to have.