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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.

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: The Movie Script



Fluxblog’s just totally saved my ass for slacking on Music Week by posting the exact same Alphabeat song I was going to write about tomorrow. His write-up is also better than I was planning to make mine. I was just going to phone it in.

James commenter Dave McLeod – who’s probably done other stuff in his life, but that’s the highest possible accolade here – was sat next to me in the office the other week when Alphabeat came up on a Muxtape I was listening to.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met another male Alphabeat fan.”
“At least not a straight one, I guess?”

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Since I realised they were saying “Weltpolizei” and not “The bullets fly” (the next line is “Twenty-four seven”), all I can picture when I listen to it is an episode of Thunderbirds where they all have moustaches and perpetuate German stereotypes.

In other news, I’m bored of Music Week now and I’ve got lots of other stuff I want to talk about, so James will return to normal programming shortly.


Graham: The entire time Dave was there, and the week after, and the three weeks before, I was rocking out to Alphabeat. So there's been at least three of us in the same room.

I don't like Fantastic 6 as much as Fascination or What Is Happening?, though.

Tom Francis: Yeah, but Fluxblog's already featured both. In fact, everything up to and including Go-Go is fantastic, then I skip the rest.

Dave McLeod: I'm casting my vote for Boyfriend. Also, just realised Fantastic 6 is that-song-I-remembered-a-few-lyrics-from-the-gig. Mystery solved.

Although this is one of their alpha-better covers, if you haven't heard it yet. ...088843d14/

J-man: Anyway, I was going through some of my music files, cleaning my PC up, and I found some great songs by Boom Boom Satellites, mainly in soundtracks of these really cool anime films I've been into recently.

Graham: Hey, I just had an idea.

Fakey McFakeguy: If I write like this, does it look like a new person is commenting below me?

Graham: It does. Just so you know, all my future comments here will be followed by a crowd of agreeable sycophants.

Dr. McRealperson: Coincidentally, that Graham fellow sure is swell! I wish he would take me to a dance, and then dance with me.

James T. McExistsreally: I too think Graham is great, and am a totally real person who isn't made up. You can tell because I have a middle initial.

Graham: Banned?

Tom Francis: Yeah, I noticed this pretty early on when I tried using the same formatting to reply to people. I thought about changing it, then remembered I didn't care.