All posts

Games

Game development

Stories

Happiness

Personal

Music

TV

Film

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.

Theme

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

    The Fate Of The Nation And, More Importantly, My £5

    conv1

    Apparently I can’t vote in your elections, America, so instead I have bet. I have five pounds, or ten of your ‘dollarbucks’, on Obama not just winning, but winning by at least 10%. I’ve been insisting this will happen since shortly before he started to trail Clinton. But I was pretty drunk when I put money on it recently, so I don’t think I specified whether I was referring to the electoral college or the popular vote. I meant the one that matters, obviously. I think that’s the first one.

    Since the Middleman is over and Heroes has become unbearably bad, watching the keys to the most world’s most powerful military be tossed between the milquetoast and the psychopath has become my favourite show.

    Update: Man, I just found out Jon Stewart stole this analogy from my drafts folder last night.

    conv2

    It’s a little tricky to get good reception: the zeitgeist on Digg is Obamanic to the point of delerium, so every anti-McCain or anti-Palin story not only tops the front page, but does so at least two more times under slightly different names over the next 48 hours. The BBC have less of an obvious party bias, but are weirdly kind to Palin, so they miss out on most of the fun.

    The only place where I can get even a little of both sides from the same channel is the openly liberal Daily Show, where Joe Biden’s been made to look every bit as silly as Sarah Palin. It’s also one of the only places that seems more concerned about the presidential candidates than the vices, which seems to me to be the correct way around.

    conv27

    I’m happy that Obama’s going to win, of course, but it’s a shame he’s not the real thing. He was on the wrong side of that telecom bill, he’s on the wrong side of the bailout, and he wouldn’t even pick a side on offshore drilling. Watching him on Letterman, I had my first insight into that previously incomprehensible notion I’d heard: that Americans voted for Bush because they wanted to have a beer with him. I’m still not sure why nearly half the country would want to drink with what I’m fairly sure is provably an ape, but I did find that my willingness to split an arugula with the beguiling elitist put his political meekness from my mind.

    The Vice Presidential debate tonight should be the highlight of the season. I have a feeling Biden is going to say something that will make everyone wince, but I think even the most diehard Republicans are starting to frown at the fascinatingly twisted tumors of grammatically fractured rhetoric that curl from Palin’s lips when pressed for specifics.

    More

    mr. Brit: I actually enjoyed the first episode of the new series of Heroes. It refused to kill anyone which depressed me but has enough of an intriguing plot to fool me (at least until the inevitable 3 years later episode and English villain).

    Politics bore me.

    Bret: I bet on the election too.

    Namely, that Palin wouldn't get dropped from the ticket. (I think I'll win.)

    On a more important note, man, I agree with you on Heroes. On the upside, Pushing Daisies is back, and as good as ever.

    Jazmeister: I actually watched episode 2 of the new season of Heroes; my wife flicked channels and there it was. We felt like h4xx0rz.

    Hermes: Stick to games and music friend, your comments on American politics had me wincing.

    Will: Stick to being a Greek messenger god pal, your comments on Tom Francis' blog had me wincing.

    Littleedge: Heroes isn't bad! And yes, Obama will win by 10%+.

    Ludo: Oooh, bit o' politics. The American election, and American politics in general is so much more interesting than what's going on in Britain at the moment. I think your £5 dollarbucks are secure, Tom.

    On a related note, something for fans of the West Wing:
    http://www.nytimes.c... ...in.html?em

    Fullbleed: Is Pushing Daisies back? How did I not hear about this?
    Heroes does suck and everyone should admit it.

    peterd102: I cant be arsed with heroes - too weird. Why does sylar bother being evil, hell the fun id have with telekenesis isn't printable (lets just say 'Hands-Free').

    Obama sounds good, a compentent president at last. Then again, Hitler sounded good,

    I was lucky enough to see you join a TF2 server I was on Tom, and you do seem to be a very good spy.

    Dante: Politics, games, a fan of stardock, this leads me to one inevitable question, have you played the Political Machine yet Tom? It's a lot of fun.

    Bobsy: What's up with that Obama flaggy picture? He looks like he's further away than the people in the background.

    You know what infuriates me more than anything about the US elections? It's Americans who tell non-Americans to butt out of the whole thing, to stop offering our opinions because apparently it's not our election and it's none of our business.

    Except US foreign policy will inevitably inform UK foreign policy, and European foreign policy. And of course the US economy has its claws dug so firmly into our economy and every other bloody economy in the world that when it goes wrong, everything goes wrong.

    So yeah, I get angry when I'm told that this election has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with me and it's going make a far bigger difference in my life than Davey Cameron winning next year's election by default.

    Bobsy: Oh, and Heroes is stupid, but it was always stupid. I could barely tell the difference between season 3 and season 1. I didn't bother with season 2.

    Sigh. Can I have more Battlestar Galactica please?

    Lack_26: But Heroes had Elle. Although I wish they'd wait another six months before showing it over here. So I can see it before most of the people over here, while it's still cool, the moment the BBC airs it, it becomes popular. popular = bad.

    I don't think that Obama will win by 10% though, after all, recent polls show that up to 30% of America think he is a Muslim, and therefore wouldn't have to follow the constitution. Erm, guys (I know the 30% that think that probably don't come here, you have to be a certain kind of awesome to read this blog), but he's a Christian (Being half-black doesn't equate to being a Muslim).

    Also Sarah Palin believes that Dinosaurs and Humans co-existed. But she is blatantly right about that, after all, Chuck Norris came out in support of the republicans. Had it not being for Chuck we would have been wiped out by Raptors, but a Dinosaur stole his food one day, so he got really angry and obliterated the Dinosaurs with the force of a meteor. The reason that the most intact specimens exist in tar pits is because they jumped into it to suffer a slow painful death by drowning in tar, rather than face Chuck. He obliterated the rest and smashed them into tiny little pieces. So yeah, the Earth is 6000 years old and Chuck Norris killed the dinosaurs.

    Tom Francis: Elle is automatically great by virtue of superficially resembling Veronica Mars, but the actual character is pretty weak. The best thing about season three is that Weevil is in there too now, so it's like a tiny, nonsensical Veronica Mars reunion with nothing to do with Veronica Mars.

    Tentaculat: I enjoyed your political commentary, but why worry about Heroes when Dexter has already returned for his 3rd season? Hurrah!

    Cmdt_Carpenter: Being an American meself, well, gosh darn it all I think Obama is the right guy for the job!

    Okay, sure he voted for that stupid bailout. But that's because my fellow Americans are stupid. They think this is going to do something, mainly because they're being told it will help, not in fact researching it and noting that it's pretty much, what, over 700 billion dollars given to the Secretary of the Treasury? He voted for it because people thought it was good idea, and it will reflect positively on him. Plus, that's a basic democratic belief that the government should bail ou--I'm sorry, rescue--failing companies.

    Offshore drilling, well that's a controversial issue. If he votes for, he loses environmentalists. If he votes against, he loses some "Average Joe Six-Packs." (Hate that phrase) (Honestly, I didn't see how he voted, and a quick google search doesn't reveal much so I'm not sure how he voted here exactly.)

    Plus, Obama has good ideas on what to do with our edcuaton, Lord knows we need help there. And his health care plan really helps us too. We need this.

    J-Man: Completely unrelated to post:

    DEXTER! HUZZAH!

    Frosty: Pfft.. Dexter obviously just wants to be Dexter's Lab. It makes sense because that cartoon was awesome.

    Orranis: American politics is all crazyness and no one telling you anything (well, almost anything) straight. I happen to a citizen of the fine place discussed and rather detest our political system. Appareantly, not many people (excuse me, Americans) are concerned that since the government bailed out all of Wall Street they will now have massive influence over economic matters in a very direct way, having paid to keep them in existence. That's not capitalism.

    Also, need I remind anyone that politicians usually promise many things while campaigning and then go into office and change their policies altoghether? Given the amount of mud-slinging and inability to answer questions without slinging said mud among other things I've resorted to repeating "Hell in a handcart" whenever someone asks me about politics.

    Lack_26: I was discussing the bail-out with a major business women, who has a strong grasp of both the economics and the over-all situation, last night (I know her personally), what has astounded both of us has been the seeming ignorance of many Americans over the deal. The deal is necessary, it's not Republican capitalism, but if it didn't go through the global effects would be very serious, it's entirely feasible that it would spell the end of either western dominance or the end of capitalism. The sub-prime fiasco has been a re-adjustment to the system, the money to buy off the bad debt is necessary to make sure that our business don't all fail due to the banks going under. At least this way we have brought the time, and most importantly the confidence, for our system to survive, and hopefully become stronger.

    I can't be bothered to go into more detail, but the general gist is that: Banks make big risks, lose money, other banks won't lend (our current capitalist system has been relying on hypothetical money and passing the enormous debts around), banks no longer have money, some fail, people lose confidence, shares and lending fall, giant cash injections of cash needed to buy this debt and make banks confident enough to recover and lend money where it is needed.

    This certainly would effect people at a grass roots level, (ignoring the falling share prices and potential for massive inflation), for example, local business wouldn't be able to borrow the money so couldn't expand, lay-offs follow, less money means less spending, so the businesses might have to lay off more people. That's how a local recession cycle starts.

    I haven't gone into any depth and I've almost certainly missed things out, but the deal is needed to restore confidence and allow the system to survive this adjustment more easily.

    audiman: So you like the Daily Show, huh? You should try the Colbert Report, the argurably superior spin off: http://www.colbertna... ....com/video

    and FX at 11.00pm on weeknights.

    Ten-High Charlie: Obama winning by TEN-PERCENT? Apparently your unawares of how many people are afraid of black people and democrats here in America Pentadact.

    The spread is win by three percent here.

    J-Man: Colbert + John Stewart = awesomeness. I personally think Colbert is superior, because he does the show solo, not using those crappy correspondents the daily show does.

    And regarding that whole 'bail out Wall St' thing, it's just one of those annoying parts of an annoying and broken political and economical system called American Capitalism.

    Don't get me wrong, the English system is also in bad state. Personally, I think we should all move to Australia.

    Hermes: @ Ten-High Charlie: You sir are wrong, Obama is in fact up by 6-8 points. I don't where you get this three percent business but check an up to date electoral projections. i.e., http://www.fivethirt... ...eight.com/

    Roadrunner: I don't like either, Obama is too liberal, and Mccain is so old, he'll die in office, leaving the world to melt in the cold, alaskan hands of Palin, who's clearly completely insane.
    So vote Frank McEnulty, the classic boring neutral guy! :D

    Roadrunner: Oh, and this sums it up really, I should have posted it in my above post but nevermind.
    http://sendables.jib... ...campaignin

    Ten-High Charlie: @Hermes

    I fail to see how polling 500 to 600 people make an accurate representation of 300,000,000. Looking at any past election you can see polls are never to be trusted.

    And the 3%? Got that off of a taker at a local Indian casino on the phone out of curiosity.

    Jason L: Or it's a return to status quo ante for a broken deregulation system so we can do it all over again in a few years, only worse and with more superinflation, and still get the recession anyway in the meantime.

    Ten-High Charlie: Addendum @Hermes

    And I forgot to say that the number of people who actually vote are incredibly inconsistent in numbers. Thus skewing polling into even further reaches of obscure untrustworthy numbers.

    Hermes: @Ten-High Charlie: I suppose you haven't been keeping up, there are projections that voter turn out will reach somewhere near 75% this go round, many of which are absentee. So you're saying my reliance on polling is untrustworthy but your sources are solid?

    by the way you can keep this up all day, you are conversing with someone who is within the beltway, I can see the white house from my apartment.

    Ten-High Charlie: I have not been being serious with this if your taking it that way.

    DoctorDisaster: Lack_26 is basically right about the bailout: it's necessary to keep the global economy from plummeting any more. I'd like to add that it offends me at a fundamental level, and that the morons running the banks should be shot, and that the lobbyist bribes that convinced the house republicans to back the bill made me want to go around the capitol breaking the nose of every single person in the building. I also think it's stupid that they're passing the bailout without attaching any regulation to it. I understand there's no way they could get the proper rules hashed out fast enough, but I would like to have seen some regulation passed while they still had Wall Street by the balls.

    All that said, I still grudgingly admit that this most expensive band-aid in the history of the universe was necessary. Ugh.

    I've actually already done my part to help with your bet, Tom. Early voting is a pretty nifty system. I think the campaign has dirtied Obama, but nowhere near as badly as McCain. I strongly respected both candidates a year ago: now I'm ambivalent about one and only generally positive about the other.

    Dante: I honestly feel like I can't judge the bail out, I feel wrong about it, but I can't claim to know anywhere near enough about economics to see what alternatives were on offer.

    I do wonder how the Americans would have responded to the British approach of 'nationalise the fucker' though.

    x25killa: Silly question but when do the votes come in and elect a president? Too much hype on media is making my head hurt. I need revelent information damn it!

    Roadrunner: You know, I thought it was impossible, and I also thought it was just a stereotype of how stupid Americans are, but they *actually* believe Palin's lies about Obama's terrorist links.
    Obama was born in 1961. The Vietnam war ended about 1975 or so. So, Obama would be 14 years old (maximum) If he ever conspired with vietnamese terrorists.
    Ironically, Palin said that, McCain (who as we know served in vietnam and get's those flashbacks because of his swollen left jaw-gland) vice-nominee said it. :|
    Funny coincidence? OR WACKY CONSPIRACY THEORY?!?!

    Smurfy: Well, he won, but not by 10%.