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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.

  • 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...
  • Hitman header tunnel

    Rewarding Creative Play Styles In Hitman

    Far Cry Primal Thumbnail

    Postcards From Far Cry Primal

    Snowball jack header

    Solving XCOM’s Snowball Problem

    Kill Zone and Bladestorm

    Kill Zone And Bladestorm

    BAFTA Featured

    An Idea For More Flexible Indie Game Awards

    Sectors Header

    Teaching Heat Signature’s Ship Generator To Think In Sectors

    DXHR Open area

    What Works And Why: Multiple Routes In Deus Ex

    Heat Signature Natural Numbers

    Natural Numbers In Game Design

    Pharma Header

    Naming Drugs Honestly In Big Pharma

    Writing vs Programming

    Make A Game Tutorial Thumbnail Featured IMage

    Let Me Show You How To Make A Game

    New Heat Signature Video: Galaxies, Suction And Wrench-Throwing

    Her Story banner

    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

    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


    Shopstorm, A Spelunky Story

    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

    Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron

    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

    Blood money and sex

    Blood Money And Sex


    A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

    Second Life

    First Night, Second Life

    SWAT 4

    SWAT 4: The Movie Script

    What A Shame

    People being a chaotic, belligerent, vicious lot, it’s rare for anything publicly defacable to remain pure. But the comments section for this video is just such an oasis of uniform brilliance, some 238 random people all being genuinely funny rather than trying to stand out or one-up each other. What little rebellion there is among the commenters – the few that add smileys or add incorrect punctuation – is quickly Thumbs-Downed by dilligent voters, and will soon fall below the default viewing threshold.

    If you’re signed in to your YouTube account when you click this, by the way, I’d love it if you could help preserve this rare and beautiful social event by contributing, or showing the Smiley Rebels the business end of your virtual thumb. They are a dangerous and subversive splinter faction that must be stopped.

    Update: God damn it! I hope the dribbling hicks who just broke this didn’t come from here. Jesus, has that meme ever been funny? Since, like, the nineties? What a shame. We need two more people to thumb the dunces down and they’ll disappear from public view. Can you help?

    I just discovered today that the User Reviews for a gallon of Tuscan milk sold by is a similarly superb collaborative work of a straight-faced communal sense of humour. I hope there are loads of these Everyone’s In On It havens dotted around the net. And I hope that some day Andy Baio bags and tags the phenomenon like the Attenboroughesque social-tech naturalist he has become. I leave you a milk review by Buster Foyt:


    “This milk worked well when I first got it, but within a few days it wouldn’t hold a charge. I called their customer service department and, I don’t know if it’s in Bangalor or Ireland, but I couldn’t understand a word that they said and they began to scream at me.

    “Finally, though, they sent me another one – but that wouldn’t hold a charge, either. I’m beginning to wonder if this is truly meant to be a portable product. I still haven’t been able to retreive my email and the video is murky.

    “It’s a bit heavy, too, to wear on your belt. The good news is that it keeps your hip cool during this sultry summer weather – for a while.”

    Nuyan: What a shame..

    Grill: Amazon Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed:

    JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser / Tank
    3.7 out of 5 stars (187) $19,999.95

    Fresh Whole Rabbit
    3.9 out of 5 stars (22) $38.50

    Uranium Ore
    3.8 out of 5 stars (118)

    Horizon Organic Reduced Fat Milk, 8-Ounce Packages (Pack of 18)
    4.3 out of 5 stars (34) $25.00 (TRAITORS!)

    betty - Color for the Hair Down There! Blonde
    5.0 out of 5 stars (1) $19.75

    Wedding Chapel - 10 x 18 With Wood Roof

    Tom Francis: For a party with consequences.

    The_B: I'm trying to decide if that or the hiakus were the funniest. My currently vacated spleen says both.

    Man Raised By Puffins: There are some amusing Amazon user review pages dominated by b3tans out there too, off the top of my head I can only remember the BiC biro and the "A Whole New World" (the, presumably, abysmal album by Jordan and Peter Andre) ones.

    Charlie: The JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Tank has some equally fantastic reviews

    "I'll admit it. Shopping for a personal tank can be a bit daunting. Many times in the past I've purchased overpriced, so-called "battle tanks", then driven them into battle only to be wrecked in ten minutes by the first blow off of some insurgents home-made morter.

    But not this baby, no way.

    This tank R-O-C-K-S! Literally- the 400-watt sound-system keeps me rockin like a crazy man as I'm dishing out justice commando style. Wow. I just can't say enough. And the kids love it, too- imagine the look of terror in the eyes of the enemy as I'm dropping off my kid's team to their soccer game. Shock and awe, my friends, SHOCK AND AWE!

    I had NAO install the optional GPS-guided white phosphorus missile system, and talk about *SWEET*! Burn baby burn!!!

    Oh, it also has plenty of room for groceries, and if you need to like move a loveseat or something it'll fit if you use a little bungee cord.

    The only real negative with this tank is that it shows up on radar a little more than I like (although there is a polyresin graphite stealth model available). Also, the included spare isn't full size.

    Overall, a great tank."

    treY: Overall there are quite a few people that ruin the flow of the Youtube-vid. I watched it often the last two weeks and about every 10th comment is something like "RUINED" or "Oops" and, you know, other funny stuff. But they all get deleted ASAP ]:-)

    Tom Francis: Excellent, that's good to know Trey. I'd mailed the poster to ask if he'd had to do much maintenance to keep that thread 'pure', but hadn't heard back yet. I'm glad this isn't the first defacing, and that it'll likely get eradicated properly.

    CloakRaider: This is why the internet is such a brilliant thing. Sometimes it's just general spam, but every so often you come across a fantastic little gem that keeps you laughing for ages.


    North Korean FAQ anyone?

    4. Can I work in North Korea as a teacher/interpreter/(other)?



    Official God FAQ.


    John: It's a shame they clamped down on the 'Penetrating Wagner's Ring' Amazon reviews, some of those were golden.