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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...
  • Rewarding Creative Play Styles In Hitman

    Postcards From Far Cry Primal

    Solving XCOM’s Snowball Problem

    Kill Zone And Bladestorm

    An Idea For More Flexible Indie Game Awards

    Teaching Heat Signature’s Ship Generator To Think In Sectors

    What Works And Why: Multiple Routes In Deus Ex

    Natural Numbers In Game Design

    Naming Drugs Honestly In Big Pharma

    Writing vs Programming

    Let Me Show You How To Make A Game

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

    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

    What Works And Why: Invisible Inc

    Our Super Game Jam Episode Is Out

    What Works And Why: Sauron’s Army

    Showing Heat Signature At Fantastic Arcade And EGX

    What I’m Working On And What I’ve Done

    The Formula For An Episode Of Murder, She Wrote

    Heat Signature Needs An Artist And A Composer

    Improving Heat Signature’s Randomly Generated Ships, Inside And Out

    Gunpoint Patch: New Engine, Steam Workshop, And More

    Distance: A Visual Short Story For The Space Cowboy Game Jam

    Raising An Army Of Flying Dogs In The Magic Circle

    Floating Point Is Out! And Free! On Steam! Watch A Trailer!

    Drawing With Gravity In Floating Point

    What’s Your Fault?

    The Randomised Tactical Elegance Of Hoplite

    Here I Am Being Interviewed By Steve Gaynor For Tone Control

    Heat Signature: A Game About Sneaking Aboard Randomly Generated Spaceships

    The Grappling Hook Game, Dev Log 6: The Accomplice

    A Story Of Heroism In Alien Swarm

    One Desperate Battle In FTL

    To Hell And Back In Spelunky

    Games Vs Story 2

    Gunpoint Development Breakdown

    Five Things I Learned About Game Criticism In Nine Years At PC Gamer

    My Short Story For The Second Machine Of Death Collection

    Not Being An Asshole In An Argument

    Playing Skyrim With Nothing But Illusion

    How Mainstream Games Butchered Themselves, And Why It’s My Fault

    A Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

    The Magical Logic Of Dark Messiah’s Boot

    Arguing On The Internet

    Shopstorm, A Spelunky Story

    Why Are Stealth Games Cool?

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

    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

    A Story Of Plane Seats And Class

    Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron

    Avoiding Suspicion At The US Embassy

    An Idea For A Better Open World Game

    A Different Way To Level Up

    How I Would Have Ended BioShock

    My Script For A Team Fortress 2 Short About The Spy

    Team Fortress 2 Unlockable Weapon Ideas

    Don’t Make Me Play Football Manager

    EVE’s Assassins And The Kill That Shocked A Galaxy

    My Galactic Civilizations 2 War Diary

    I Played Through Episode Two Holding A Goddamn Gnome

    My Short Story For The Machine Of Death Collection

    Blood Money And Sex

    A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

    First Night, Second Life

    SWAT 4: The Movie Script

    He Looks Truly Mortified


    Sorry Peanut, I know you were in the middle of your own taunty thing. But I had to try the Heavy’s kill-o-taunt.

    I’ve also been punching people’s blood out a lot more lately, and can now see the point of the KGB. If you’re not familiar with Team Fortress 2 and its unlockables, that sentence may have sounded strange.

    Having the Sandvich cleverly lures you into the business of punching, because your fists are now your only backup weapon. That in turn makes you realise it’s more viable than you’d expect, and suddenly the idea of getting a bonus for doing it is rather tempting. Five seconds is a long time in 100% critsville – switching to Natascha and spinning up probably only takes one and a halfish.


    Chijts: Remember those crits stack too so if you kill a guy with the KGB you get 5 sec crit.. kill another before those 5 secs are up and it adds. So I kill another guy (because I am the "1337z0R") in 2 seconds I now have 7 seconds. I don't think it's very likely though.

    Dante: Did you just get that on the PCG server Pentadact.

    You killed me a lot there, it was not my best game.

    Pigbuster: The weird thing about the Heavy's "POW!" taunt is that it actually has a small amount of range, so rather than having to be right up close like for the Pyro, you can instantly kill someone 2 yards or so away.
    Just in case anyone didn't know.

    ZomBuster: I love Heavy duels. I go on those achievements servers just to do that. And to eat sandviches.

    SenatorPalpatine: Poor Peanut... you cracked his hard outer shell and exposed his softer inner self to the hardships of the world and the dangers of heavy taunting. :(

    I can't really play the heavy achievements that much, I'm busy with other games, and I refuse to farm (I farmed Pyro, no others). But it's something to look forward to for when I do have time.

    J-man: I farmed 'em. Not ashamed of it either. I intend to write a peice defending farming and submit it to ubercharged or summin'.

    Anyway, Natascha sucks. It means the Heavy is only effective against scouts, spies and pyros (slowing 'em down, stopping them getting close, and preventing them escaping), the sandvich is great, but overpowered, you eat it in about 2 seconds, not 4. The KGB are far superior to the fists, which contradicts Valve's idea of releasing equal-in-power-but-alternative weapons, but they're still fun.

    Thomas Lawrence: Off-topic: Just got done reading 'Plan B'. It's hilarious, well done :).

    Tom Francis: Awesome, thanks Thomas. I didn't realise it was in people's hands already. I'll make a proper post here once it starts going online.

    Lack_26: Well I'm a subscriber to PCG so I got it this morning, but only found it in the packaging about 5 minutes ago, so it's sitting next to me demanding to be read, best give into to it.

    J-man: IS the new PCG our already? I didn't see it in Tesco or any of my newsagents.

    J-man: OH FFS. Man I'm crap at typing. The 'IS' should be 'Is' and the 'our' should be 'out'.

    J-man: ... there should have been a comma after 'Man' and the ''is''

    Lack_26: @J-man, no it won't be out in shops till next thursday. Subscribers get it a week earlier, and a discount, and free stuff, basically it's worth it.

    Tom Francis: You don't really need to correct every typo with a new comment, J-Man, we'll cut you some slack. Yep, in shops Thursday, the first entry might go online before then to tease it.

    Lack_26: Just finished reading it (well I was doing lots of other things in between reading), and, well it was awesome. Your species was basically America.

    Sam: You should have let the drengin get their godly eyes eaten.

    Sam: BTW, who would win, a Bongolian Ultraprawn or a Peace Bee?

    J-man: Hmmm.. do you get one of those 'OMGPCG' or 'Tanks: like angry houses' shirts if you subscribe?

    Secondly, I feel like a dick if I spell or use grammmar incorrectly, especially since I often yell at other people for it.

    Thirdly, thanks for adding me to your friends list, Tom.

    Fourthly, Natascha sucks.

    Fifthly, I really gotta stop numbering my points.

    Thomas Lawrence: Re: Plan B - There's one problem though, which is that a lot of the images came out poorly or not at all. I'm not surprised - Gal Civ 2 is a very black game - but be prepared for commentary of that sort. Unless my copy was very unusual.

    The prose is nonetheless sparkling and hilarious.

    Tom Francis: Yeah, no kidding. My prose IS sparkling. No, I mean about the screenshots. We knew they'd lose a bit in the printing, but I think we undermisunderestimated how much.

    Little Green Man: Yeah that was an awesome book, but then I love everything you write. And the screenshots were terrible...