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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.

Heat Signature’s Launch, And First Player Legend

A Leftfield Solution To An XCOM Disaster

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

Mirror’s Edge In Pictures

MirrorsEdge 2008-12-16 02-21-49-26

Just put some of my Mirror’s Edge shots up, and it turns out they make a rather nice slideshow. I’ll have another post or two about it this week.

Update! Fishbro points out that watching this slideshow whilst listening to the game’s theme song, Still Alive (!), quote “Felt good.” I therefore embed it here, that you might stream it in the background while opening the slideshow (which has expanded a fair bit) in a new tab and watching it full-screen. GOOD DAY.

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.


Jonas: Wow those are some really really nice shots. I've just started playing it today, and I'm pretty sure it's the most beautiful game I've ever played. I'm always annoyed that I forget to grab screenshots, I should look around for a program that just takes a shot every 5 minutes or something, but of course that would make them pretty random.

Out of curiosity, did you enable the crosshairs because of queasiness?

Tom Francis: Nope, it was just on by default. I'm game-sickness immune so far.

Jonas: Alright. Yeah I haven't had any trouble with that either. I turned it off because Far Cry 2 has kinda shown me the pleasantness of crosshairs-less gaming : )

peterd102: Well i can agree with the review on one point at least. It really is a nice place, even the scaffolding looks chromed and polished.

Punjab: Those pictures make me want to buy the game. Is it more than just eye candy?

Dan: @ Jonas

It would be unwise to turn them off in this, as the guns don't have the ironsights option and its fucking hard to hit anything even WITH crosshairs.

Jonas: Can't say I'm an authority on it since I've only played it 2 levels in so far, but if you're interested in game design it seems like a must-play just for the attention to detail in the movement - they've really done everything they could to make you feel like you were right there in the game world.

Dan: @ Jonas again

Ah I forgot, that's only when you're using a weapon. Otherwise they're pretty unnecessary.

MartinJ: I hate this game. So frustrating (and a repetetive, too.)

Any tips on how to enjoy it more? lol

Velvet Fist, Iron Glove: Very nice! Much better looking than on my mate's 360. This one's the best: ...208015810/

I was going to get this on the weekend, but it wasn't released on Steam in the UK, despite already being on Steam in the US.

Jazmeister: MartinJ: Listen to power metal!

I really appreciate the solidity of the world in Mirror's Edge, speaking purely as a watcher at this point. Too many games have that rubbishy collision; you know the programmer said "no fucking collisions" in the code and yet there they are, ever since Goldeneye. You could shoot someone's Uzi as it clipped through a bathroom cubicle door and it would kill them.

It made me despair and think that there was no way to do it. I'm wiser now, but it is still frustrating. It's like every director being content to let mic booms hang all over the place.

Cpt.Muffin: You'd listen to power metal whilst playing Mirror's Edge?

Only since GTAIII have I properly experimented with different music whilst playing games, to the degree where the radio became my favourite feature about battlefield vietnam.

Shame you can never get music to match the pacing just right, but it's fun to play with something incorgorus in the background. Like F.E.A.R with "Daydream" by The Lovin Spoonfuls playing. A while ago I even made a playlist for each TF2 class.

Can music to game to be the theme of your blog's next themed music week Tom?

Sorry for the tangent there people, get back to talking about how fuckable Mirror's Edge is image wise.

Will: Absolutely visually gorgeous game. The gameplay is designed to give you that "Oh man, I'm so awesome feeling" from time to time. Which is good, because that spike of happy brain chemicals makes up for the monotony of the indoor sections and the lame, boring combat.

Oh, and the plot, if you care about that sort of thing in a game like this, is incoherent and stupid.

Shadrach: That did it, I'm buying it cause of those shots. Dont care what some say about the plot or gameplay, purely because of innovative visuals, which is a value in itself.

Smurfy: I'd look at them, but I think Mirror's Edge is going to be something really special to me, and I don't want to spoil it. I've been avoiding most of the media. I'll buy it as soon as it shows up on UK Steam.

Am i first?: Pretty!

LaZodiac: How convienent, I was going to mention Mirror's Edge.

I rented it, and beat it. Its pretty good, didn't get sick at all. And your right, that "Best Move In Game" is the best move in the game. Period.

Also, @Will. I don't know what your talking about. The indoor sections were pretty cool, and the combat was actually pretty exciting. But then, as a women kicking and punching men in the balls is fun.

And I found the plot coherent, actually. You just need to take it alittle less seriously. Roll with the games flow, I guess.

On another, less important note, I don't know what that Yatzhee is talking about. The cutscenes were cool.

Roadrunner: Mirror's edge. A game i will never buy or play.
To be honest the graphics don't appear to be as impressive as everyone says, it's just cell-shading :\

A James Reader: "it's just cell-shading"

Begging your pardon, but I don't think that's even remotely accurate.

J-Man: Looks pretty, but from the reads I've read I'm certainly not buying. Plus, they've committed the heinous crime of not releasing a demo.

J-Man: *reads = reviews. Where did that come from?

Jason L: Try again, that's not cel-shading.

Music to games association already done: http://www.pentadact... ...ian-sunset

Tom Francis: Roadrunner, don't feel you have to post everytime something here underwhelms you.

Fishbro: I watched the slideshow while listening to Still Alive by Lisa Miskovsky (the music in all the trailers).
Felt good.

Aftershock: WTB: AA on cracks in glass.
Seriously, up close, that looks horrendous.

Also, motion blur is so pretty. Can't imagine ME without it.

J-Man: @Everybody regarding Roadrunner;

That's his appeal; and endless stream of hilarious cynicism (well, its better in real life).

Jason L: Wow. That cracks texture is indeed pretty hideous, though. I wonder if it only exists for a fraction of a second. I'll see this week, I hope.

Tom Francis: AA is on, what that needs is a higher res texture. I like that shot anyway, though.

Good show, Fishbro. You too, Shadrach - I apologise in advance for all the frustration I'll be indirectly causing you.

TooNu: Great shots and after hearing you talk about it somewhat on the podcast I was quite suprised you liked it.

For those that can't afford Mirros Edge just yet here is a suggestion. Hells Kitchen. Speed enchancement tech 4.

MaybeNextTime: So would you recommend against buying Mirror's Edge if you don't have a widescreen monitor? From what you said in the PCG podcast, it sounds pretty awful, but I do really want to play it, I feel like it deserves a chance.

Fullbleed: Nice, one thing I noticed in one of the screen shots though. At the bottom of the O & X game do I spy a certian hillarious popchart detailing what Meatloaf would do for love?

http://www.octopusbo... ...MepvbM.jpg ...728669660/

Roadrunner: I get the feeling you want me dead.
If my posts are so bad, why don't you just delete/edit them like you did before?!?!
(It may have been one time, but I'm a vengeful bastard.)

Sibilantjoe: Agreed that the game is absolutely beautiful. Too bad ti was so short.

Dave_C: Chalk another up for 'Intrigued - and now wants very much to play'. Funny how I never really noticed this game before. These photos are just gorgeous.
I can forgo the shoddy combat and gameplay for shiny things. I like shiny things. I could stare at shiny things all day.

Also, were these shots taken with PhysX acceleration? I did notice some flags and shit. I love how pointless the improved cloth physics are. Looks cool - Doesn't change the gameplay at all. Fine with me!

Tom Francis: Yeah. You're exactly right - the physics add nothing to the game mechanics, but the sheer amount of really well-modelled flappy stuff does make the world even prettier. I think one or two enemies are only in the PhysX version, positioned to let you appreciate tarpaulin physics as you kick them through it, or cloth shredding as a chopper shoots through it.

Archagon: Unfortunately, I hear PhysX works pretty badly with generation 8 Nvidia cards. It's certainly the case that it drops my FPS substantially.

Tom Francis: It works nicely with mine, but I did once have a bug where all PhysX interactions would grind the game down to 10fps. The solution was to uninstall PhysX from Add/Remove programs, and install it again from the latest nVidia drivers package. I think certain versions can get into a state where it thinks it has PhysX but actually isn't using it.

James 2.7, by Pentadact, who is secretly Tom Francis: [...] to work out what the hell is different. I’ve just added the Mirror’s Edge song to my Mirror’s Edge screenshots post. Could these facts be combined question [...]

Mirrors Edge: [...] are the best thing in PC gaming right now.      Or, you can simply look at Tom’s screenshots, which are far prettier than my own.      Anyway, this post mostly serves [...]

Oak: Tom Wolfe?

Redhawk: I think game designers are slowly easing into this parkour/free-running thing and still don't fully grasp it. While I'm waiting for the price on Mirror's Edge to drop before I buy, I am reminded of Assassin's Creed where the most fun I had in that game was [i]running[/i] from the guards. Sprint down the street, run up the wall, grab the ledge, pull up on to the roof, jump between rooftops, I'M GONE BITCHES. Once you get good at the system, you start quickly recognizing the alternate routes you can take through a city and it becomes a swift, fluid, semi-authentic parkour experience. I quickly abandoned all pretense of stealth or blending in for vaulting around Jerusalem at top speed, to hell with the peasants and their commentary.

In contrast, the points where I have to fight guards or am not zipping along rooftops drag and are totally un-fun. AC can be forgiven for this, I suppose, considering you are an assassin and all, but it still grates on my nerves when I have to go defend a civilian from a bunch of uncoordinated guards. You'd think that a game like Mirror's Edge, where the hook is the immersive free-running experience, would recognize this and avoid combat all together, but there you are.

Proposal: Mirror's Edge 2 or any other game that involves an extensive amount of leaping around rooftops shall not just opt to avoid combat, but encourage and reward the player for doing so. Make enemies obstacles that aren't killed and removed, but solved as you have to adjust your route to compensate for them and their shooty-gunny routine.

Jazmeister: Just did the screen/song with my new widescreen, and it was lovely. I must show the missus, so that she can froth about it some more.
Also notice this can be found around the twenty quid mark. A plan is forming...

B1scotti: I loved the slideshow + the music. Awesome! :)
I will be honest, even with the crosshair, the game makes me feel sick because of the vibrant colors contrasting so harshly. My tv is waaaaayyy too bright.