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TOM FRANCIS
REGRETS THIS ALREADY

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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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

    Projects

    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

    Fault

    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

    Clouds

    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-Rock-and-a-Hard-Place-Trio-Jan

    A Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

    Dark Messiah

    The Magical Logic Of Dark Messiah’s Boot

    Arguing

    Arguing On The Internet

    Spelunky

    Shopstorm, A Spelunky Story

    Stealth Games

    Why Are Stealth Games Cool?

    Violence

    E3’s Violence Overload, Versus Gaming’s Usual Violence Overload

    Suspicious Manifesto

    The Suspicious Developments manifesto

    GDC

    GDC Talk: How To Explain Your Game To An Asshole

    Crosslink

    Listening To Your Sound Effects For Gunpoint

    Happiness

    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

    Gnome

    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

    AOL

    A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

    Second Life

    First Night, Second Life

    SWAT 4

    SWAT 4: The Movie Script

    Seriously, Buy Braid

    screen_title

    Braid is a Mario clone with a time-rewinding gimmick that lets you go back as far as you like to rectify any mistakes. Actually, scratch that.

    Braid is an homage to Mario that uses the reversal of time as a central game mechanic to remove the frustrations of platform gaming. Well, no.

    Braid is puzzle game that starts from the basic concepts of Mario – most prominently jumping on enemies’ heads – but uses this merely as the basic medium for puzzles that require you to manipulate the flow of time.

    And although in its 1st chapter this only amounts to reversing time to correct mistakes, from the 2nd chapter onwards you encounter enemies and objects that don’t go back to how they were when you rewind everything else. On the one hand, these elements are harder to deal with because they keep on going while you’re backtracking.

    Braid is a platform puzzler in which you have the power to reverse time, but each of its six chapters interferes with, subverts or adds to this ability to completely reinvent the way you play.

    On the other, it allows you manipulate how they synch up with the rest of the world, which actually gives you greater control over them. If there’s a rewind-immune door, for example, you can use up a key unlocking it, then rewind time to before you did so. The door will stay open, but you won’t have used up the key.

    braid donkey

     

     

    braid lever

    The 4th chapter allows you to use your rewind ability to co-operate with another copy of yourself. Yeah, the copy is created when you stop rewinding: he runs off and does what you did the first time, while you’re free to do something different simultaneously. Exactly. So if a switch needs to be held to keep a door open, go and hold it, then rewind time and walk over to the door… …and Mr Unoriginal will run off obediently and pull the switch just like you did.

    One time I had to put this guy into position to pull a switch that wouldn’t be there until he came to replay my actions. So when I was standing where the switch would be, I just hammered the Use button to make sure my copy would get it. Then when I rewound and stood on the platform it was supposed to raise, the thing just gibbered spastically up and down – that idiot was hammering his Use button, and each press was reversing the lift’s direction. Dick.

    The 5th chapter lets you drop a ring that slows time intensely for things near to it, and slightly for those further away.

    With it, you can re-synchronise every clockwork element of Braid’s complex levels.

    It’s the most

    Flexible

    Your toolset gets.

    There’s one puzzle where three or four of us discovered we’d all approached it in different ways.

    Mine involved killing myself over and over again by repeatedly headbutting monsters in the ass to keep them locked up in a cubby hole until I was ready to kill them.

    ! Spoilers huge with bristling is paragraph freaking whole this, me reminds that, shit Oh. mechanics and themes audacious Braid’s all of conclusion its in neat satisfyingly and implimented smartly, denouement mind-opening and profound genuinely a by for up made entirely That’s. limit time irritating very a has level final the and, though, short is world This. form game in wanted always we’ve that movies travel-time of stuff the, delicious is here causality reverse The. inside disappear and came it which from cannon the to back way its snake naturally will it whereupon, birth its of circumstances the possible make to have you, it of rid get To. anymore enemies kill can’t you so, forwards moving still You’re. yet it using without far this got has game the believe can’t you obvious so concept a, backwards entirely runs world final The. it worth profoundly It’s. seems often it as impossible to close as not but tricky is which, world other every of level every in piece puzzle every found you’ve once unlocked only is chapter secret, final, 6th The.

    Octaeder: I can't wait till this gets released for PC. At the moment all these posts and reviews popping up everywhere are just one giant cocktease!

    ZomBuster: They better hurry up with the PC version D:

    Mr. Brit: This sounds so much fun. A dwcently challenging puzzle game. Portal is good but lacking in complexity. This sounds brilliant, people who've played it, would a 3d version work?

    Dan: That Eurogamer review likened it to The Watchmen and I'd probably agree. They both take their form and use it as originally intended and as a output for philosophical thinking.

    I think perhaps the game is getting a little overhyped though. I enjoyed it and the puzzles were great and it was at times original, but it's not for everyone.

    John Walker (I think) once said on PCGF (or it might have been the mag) that when he reviews games his reviews are basically a buyers guide. "If you like this and this. Buy it."

    I can't imagine many younger gamers would understand the narrative (or lack there of) though and might not enjoy that aspect of it.

    In a perfect world there'd be more games like Braid. Games for smarties.

    roburky: Someone has posted an interpretation of the story of Braid on rllmuk that seems to make a lot of sense. Don't read unless you want EVERYTHING SPOILED, of course.
    http://www.rllmukfor... ...pic=190136

    Seniath: After reading this and various other ramblings on the topic of Braid I think I shall be getting it, my interest is certainly piqued.

    However, there is just one small problem; no internet at home means no Live, and that means no Arcade downloads. It will have to wait a few days, alas.

    Chijts: Is it shallow of me to wish the main character looked a bit more interesting?

    Man Raised By Puffins: @ roburky: Blimey, I completely missed that particular subtext. I still prefer my inital ambiguous take on the ending though.

    All in all it's a damn good puzzler, only really marred by a few fiddly puzzles (which Tom already pointed out in his last post).

    Tom Francis: Dan: I didn't know that was John's position but it's certainly mine. For that reason I'd give Braid pretty much exactly the scores it's been getting: the only people who shouldn't buy it are those with absolutely no interest in puzzle games, and that's not something you mark a puzzle game down for.

    roBurky: Some of it is definitely about that, but after reading that and thinking about it, I'm still not convinced that all of it is. Some of it just seems to outright contradict that theory, or fit so poorly that attempts to do so are meaninglessly tenuous. I think she has a broader significance, and that specific embodiment of it is one of many. I think another may actually be a girl.

    Chijts: Yes. I rather like the little guy, he's a lot more likeable-looking than he was before David Hellman Hellmanised him. To be honest, you don't really see his features while you're playing, he's pretty small. And at least he's not a marine, adventurer or wizard.

    Mr. Brit: It is official! A 1fort comic will never happen! http://www.1fort.com... ...ort-comic/

    Sam: http://www.rllmukfor... ...0136%C2%A0
    Read that if you didn't get the ending, it's amazaing how cleverly they integrated the metaphor of the atomic bomb.

    Tom Francis: That's the link I was responding to, Sam - roburky posted it a few comments up.

    ZomBuster: Coming soon on Steam!

    http://store.steampo... .../news/2291

    I'll sure get it.

    A James Reader: That's terrific news. I've been meaning to play this for awhile now.

    Thanks, ZomBuster.

    ZomBuster: Released on Steam apparently, but where is the damn buy button!?

    Jason L: On Impulse?

    AlphaTM: Just bought Braid off Steam. I played the demo beforehand, and you were right. It's brilliant.

    LaZodiac: If I bring up an old topic, I to have played Braid recently.

    Wonderfull, wonderfull game. The creator is a basterd though. I'll never get those hairs back.

    Jason L: Thanks, random excerpt tool! Chapter 3 scrollbar gimmick is broken, changed to Ajax-resizable text box (!)