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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

    PC Gamer Podcast 24: Admiral Failure & General Vague

    Discussers: Tim Edwards, Tom Francis, Craig Pearson and Steve Williams.

    Discussees: Crayon Physics Deluxe, Saints Row 2, Mirror’s Edge, Dawn of War 2, Red Alert 3, real-time strategy’s problems, Penguins Arena, Pipe Mania, our picks for the best developer comma ever full stop, Railroads and Sins of a Solar Empire.

    Subscribe: here.

    Listen:

    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.

    More

    Seniath: Still no "I'm your host" Ross Atherton? He hasn't died, has he?

    The Poisoned Sponge: Thoroughly enjoyable, even if Steve Williams is a big negative grouch. I mean, he's not Francis, after all.

    Grill: I think he's working on Top Secret Projects. :-o

    J-Man: J-Man needs his Atherton!

    Jazmeister: He still manages to write the editorial. Lol @ "Ross 'Feratu'" in the mag, btw. Actually, wherever he is, he must be gaming.

    Tom's face on Page 10 seems... well practiced. It was cool reading 20-21 after reading its genesis on twitter, too.

    Roadrunner: Ross Atherton must of lost his job in the credit crunch :(
    You guys should talk about characters who look similar to sar-

    Nevermind.

    Jason L: Regarding the sensible AI thing, you guys might want to look at the Airborne Assault games. I'm not a competent devotee, but I picked up and played a copy of one of the early versions essentially by accident. Even in that early implementation like ten years ago, AA is the only game that's truly given me the 'feeling' that I was commanding competent subordinates who could interpret orders, and it's quite an enjoyable wargame for it. For me there are also traces of that feeling in Close Combat and surprisingly enough in Sean O'Connor's Windows Games' Firefight, which simply cannot have any meaningful AI. That probably tells us something deep about human perception.

    Jason L: No, I'm wrong - Sid Meiers' American Civil War RTSes also have a good strong dose of it. But that's all. I think.

    ZomBuster: I think I disabled the flashing window a week after the steam community was started.

    Pod: GRAMMAR BOT IS HAPPY.

    Best software Developers: Sensible Software. I'll have to buy the mag to see if you put them in there, somewhere. If not: I HATE YOU.

    Also, I think I asked this last time; but wtf happened to the PCGamerTop100?

    Final point: Why did I immediately come here to say these things? I didn't even know you'd make this post.... Maybe I just hate the PCG forum?

    ad_hominem: Best software Developers: Double Fine Productions. They may not have really proved themselves yet, but I feel like they're the developers with the most promise for the future. Anything involving Tim "Dance The Grim Fandango" Schafer is fine by me.

    Remnant: That wasn't very funny.

    Yet for some reason, I couldn't stop laughing. Damn it lol. It's like AustralianGamer podcast, if everyone had class and accents.

    Jazmeister: Remnant: What do the Australian Gamers talk like?

    Don't know about the rest of you scurvy dogs, but I always put it up louder than some game and play that. This time, it was Spore; worked well! I hope I don't still love Spore this much when larger-than-a-breadbox computers are a thing of the past.

    Remnant: Jaz: The Australian Gamer crew, usually Yug and Matt (occasionally Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation), talk in a far less... civilized manner. Aussie accents, obviously, makes them seem far more casual - by comparison, that is.

    They also go off on tangents FAR more often. There isn't anyone roping things in as much, so it goes to strange and hilarious places =) I recommend checking them out! To be fair, this is the first PC Gamer UK podcast I've heard, and enjoyed it, so I'll be looking back at their other ones.

    KING: Currently listening to the US PC Gamer podcast.... it's dreadful. I'm only listening because they mention Vampyre Story.

    KING: I listened to about 10 minutes or horrid, boring, rubish, monotonous Americans talking about games, then skipped through until I found the mention (it's around 55 minutes in). They say PCG UK gave it somewhere between 40 to 65 and they hate you for that.... I hate you for that. (I haven't played it yet).

    Who reviewed it? Do they have a blog? ;)

    DoctorDisaster: If there's anything being trapped in a workplace with a bunch of academics has taught me, it's that someone who participates in a discussion is a "discussant."

    Being trapped in a workplace with a bunch of academics is less educational than you might think.

    Tom Francis: I didn't review it, but I've played it and it is dreadful. This was only the demo, but the one puzzle I had to solve in it was so moronic that I described it to everyone I met for the rest of the day, getting a different combination of horror, mirth and disgust each time.

    peterd102: ITs the first of these ive listened to, and i have no idea which voices belong to who, but no matter. I have to say i enjoy the base building mechanic as long as theres a reward at the end. SupCom for instance gives you the a challenging way to try and build your base up to an economically active level, then rewards you for your hard work and time by giving you immese units to attack with. When the base building isnt rewarded properly then it feels tedious.

    Jazmeister: Peterd102: I love supcom, actually, and the base building there is justified. You *do* have to build factories if you're arriving on your tod with nothing but nanolathes and your ingenuity. Some games, though, it doesn't make sense. In the Warhammer backstory, space marines shouldn't have to manufacture a thing. The only thing they're short of is "relics"; when their God-Emperor veggified, it caused a Credit Crunch the likes of which we can only piss our pants in bed about. They can't manufacture a lot of the awesome weapons and armour, but the undead/possessed chaos marines are a handy source.

    For a real time strategy, you just need strategy (which I can only loosely define as "tactics for motherfuckers") and uninterrupted time-flow. There's this tendency for the meaning of terms to migrate. Even "first person shooter" can migrate; I've heard people call portal an FPS, and yeah, you are shooting a glob of portal wax, but are you shooting the paint in MSPaint?

    KING: It's weird that PCGUS would sort of... hate PCGUK's verdict on something. Maybe some people can put up with obtuse puzzles, but that sort of thing would drive me nuts. Anyway, a review isn't a damnit judgement, it's an exploration of the virtues and violations. Right?

    Pentadact: Does a game get extra points if it contributes to your anecdotal database?

    Jason L: That was one of the many genius conceits of Total Annihilation, to justify the base-building by inducing bottlenecks in the background story - which is pretty ironic, given that the story was obviously not a major focus of the game and there was no pressing need to justify the status quo at the time.

    Smurfy: I read this post and realised I am a fool for not listening to the podcast and buying the magazine.

    I now listen to the podcast and buy the magazine.