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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

Trust Me With Your Ears: Volume Three

A regular feature in which I ask you to listen to a sound file with absolutely no idea what it’s going to be. This one should be interesting – for some people one part of it is going to be very obvious, for some the other part is going to be very obvious, a few will immediately recognise both, and a few will have no idea about either.

As ever, listen before reading any comments if you don’t want it spoiled, and speculate away if you have an idea.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


ImperialCreed: (Moderator edit: maybe I should put a spoiler gap in here.)



Is that Felicia-bloody-Day!?


Well done Mr. Francis. Well done. Interview in next PCG?

Seniath: Where's the justice?

ImperialCreed: Sorry, I didn't realise it would be immediately visible under the play button...

Pod: Talking about The Guild feedback on youtube? How did you land this and what's it for? Or did you just ring her up for a chat? :)

ps: she's right, The guild is shit and I just wanna fuck that woman on it..

(ps: Never watched it, had to google who she was)

Tom Francis: This was all the way back in January, so the interview's already run. It was in the issue with the Wolfenstein cover, I think.

Sneakily edited your post - maybe I should make the first comment, and leave it blank, to put a bit of distance between potential spoilers and the 'Play' button.

I actually /have/ seen this thing before. I reconise the theme tune, and, y'know, the people.

But yeah she's shit and I just wanna "squeeb"(?!!!?!!) one out to the woman.

The_B: Yeah, the interview was in the issue I contributed to, if I remember correctly.

ImperialCreed: Oh wait I remember it now. I think I made a note to cut out and keep that one. Any chance of hearing the whole recording, or would that be improper?

And was she lovely Tom?

J-Man: Weirdly, I was sitting on the crapper today reading THAT VERY INTERVIEW...

Lack_26: I read that interview last night (I have piles of PCG around my house, so I'm constantly picking up issues, even if they're a couple of years old. I'm then disappointed to find I know most of it of by heart and find the latest issue to see when I get the new issue through my shiny letterbox).

Roadrunner: Well, so far, after listening to it roughly 1047 times, I have cunningly deduced, that it's a women.
Can I shamelessly advertise my joint-blog every time I make a post here? I want to be polite and get a loud no before I don't do it. :D

Sideath: I squee to Felicia Day.

Every night.

Doing it right now, in fact.

Vitalis: Only recognised after the 'and I wanna fuck that woman part' remember that from the printed interview haha

Sideath- 'I squee to Felicia Day.'
Please tell me that's a reference as to having read the interview and not just a creepy coincidence!

If anyone's interested I just checked which issue it's in- Sept 191 Wolfenstein cover, top 100 issue.

Roadrunner: Completely offtopic, how can you get a little play bar like that for music, on other blog things, for example wordpress?
I ask because I made a TF2 related song for my own (Joint) blog, and I wanna get it up there, so the 2-5 people who look at the blog get to hear it. :D

Meanwhile, back on topic, whos is Felicia Day and why is everybody having stereotype-fat-hot-pocket wet dreams about her?

Jason L: Ctrl-u /swf says it's the audio-player WP plugin.

Felicia Day is an actress/writer/stuff who's super Internet savvy/present - most notably in her YouTube series The Guild. So a beautiful, smart, funny woman with what some James link described as something like 'an absurdly sweet voice', who to some degree 'gets' 'us'.

Jason L: I add: to whom a vocal portion of 'us' respond via backhanded sexual objectification.

Tom Francis: I think I only said that about Joy of Pink Belt Rage. I wanted to interview Felicia because she writes a sharp and incredibly popular comedy about gamers, I was curious about how hardcore PC gaming fitted into a Hollywood actor's life, and because we've actually had letters complaining that the giant headshots of previous interview subjects have made them physically retch.

Jason L: Of course you're entirely correct; I'd mentally misfiled that. Can you tell I'm way behind on my Internet media currency? If I'd actually heard both I'm sure I'd never have confused them.

Tom Francis: Roadrunner, you've reminded me to get around to something I've been meaning to do for ages: let people link their own site when commenting. I've just replaced the E-mail field - because too many people thought it was compulsory - with a Website one.

True story: Robin Walker was going to comment here to clear up the Kritzkrieg spelling fiasco, but couldn't be bothered to figure out if he had to register or something. I'm happy with Matthew Perpetua and Andy Baio holding up James' wall o' celebs, though. I think there was one other, but they must have been so famous that I just assumed I dreamt it, because now I can't remember who.

Someone Else Entirely: Test.

Dante: Felicia Day is Miss Internet 2008 apparently. Because she's a pretty girl who plays computer games and the nerd is a predictable beast.

The_B: My favourite letter/response in PCG was still the one while I was in on work experience, about swearing with the reply "What a cunt".

J-Man: Huzzah! Website links! Thanks Tom, I thought you were just one of those guys that tries to trap people on their blogs with no outside links. Anyway, the reason Roadrunner keeps talking about his joint blog is that he shares it with me, and in a pathetic effort to boost our views, has been constantly linking to our blog everywhere. Also, can anyone hear do a decent demoman voice?

Roadrunner: You should review this song next.
http://www.megauploa... ...d=86664AJJ
(I made it muyself. :D)

Roadrunner: Completely disregard that post above, because the link and song is broken. What you really want is This one. :D
http://www.megauploa... ...d=ZKRCHIH0