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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.

  • 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

    Trust Me With Your Ears: Volume Four

    A regular feature in which I ask you to listen to a sound file with no idea what it’s going to be. A very, very short one this time, and hopefully mysterious. I’ll reveal its identity and why it’s interesting in the comments tomorrow, but beat me to it if you can.

    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.


    Redhawk: Ha! I actually know what this one is! Phn'glui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn bitches!

    sQUEAKYfOAMpEANUT: The bloop! Woo!

    Jazmeister: Now it's a race to see who can identify it in a unique way without totally giving the game away and, as may potentially have happened, if it gets exposed enough that a keen mind could yank it out, minimising the damage. For instance, if I was to say "Yeah, the Bloop!" there's still room for the possibility I'm just copying... whatever his name is.

    ...50° 100°!

    Awcko: Ehh, most certainly not the bloop. I can't tell what it is.

    SenatorPalpatine: It sounds to me like something from Half Life 2 (or an ep), but I'm probably imagining things.

    Noc: Clearly, Valve is finally relocating to their secret underwater base.

    Concurrently with this move, they will be experimenting with a new distribution system that relies heavily on threatening broadcasts to the UN security council.

    Bret: So, Valve now has a mind controlled Cthulhu.

    Well, if I'd trust anyone with that kind of power...

    Redhawk: That is the Bloop, Awcko. Or something very close to it.

    Which would imply a second recording of a Bloop sound. Which would be pretty scary/awesome.

    Justice: It sounds like an underwater bubble.

    And then the first poster mentions Cthulhu... Insanity points, anyone? I'm actually quite intrigued.

    Denton: @Redhawk: Even though I'm pretty sure that this is the bloop, there are a few more recordings from that year in a similar area of all sorts of inexplicable noises, though I don't recall any of them sounding this... bloopy.

    Morne: That definitely sounds like The Bloop to me. So, yeah. Cthulhu fhtagn.

    Bobsy: Ia! Ia! Et cetera!

    radomaj: Man, I have no idea what is The Bloop. To me it sounded like the start of the game Another World ("Out of This World" for some).

    Dave_C: Yup, that's the Bloop if ever the re was a Bloop!
    Totally unidentified, totally unknown origin. Bloop-tastic!

    TooNu: Tom's bath mic? Eat more yogurt and you will fart less.

    Iain "DDude" Dawson: The Bloop! Sped up, of course, as the bloop at normal speed doesn't sound like much. I remember reading about it back in the day, and it is a mighty int'resting puzzle.

    Course, the fact that nobody knows what the bloop really is makes your promise to "reveal its identity" all the more intriguing!

    Naturally, If I am wrong, and it is just a rejected noise for the Boomer, then pretty much everything I've said becomes void.

    Denton: Oddly, listening to a sample I know to be the Bloop straight after hearing this... I find that this is actually slower than what I'd heard before.

    I can only assume that it's from a different source on the web or that the file has changed speed somewhere along the line between original download and now.

    Jazmeister: @Radomaj: OMG! I fucking love that game! I play that game every three months, to remind me what games are supposed to be like! I spent ten hours searching for sprites!

    I've never played the crappy sequel.

    I think Tom recorded some nasty biological function. Oh, someone already said that.

    J-Man: It's the bloop. I was just looking at a thread about it in the escapist forums.

    Mook: Definately the Bloop. Just read about it and listened to a .wav of it sped up x16. Sounds exactly like this only higher pitched and it happens faster.

    J-Man: I bet Tom is tricking us.

    It's Mr Franics, blowing down a straw, into a milkshake, next to a microphone. Duh.

    Redhawk: @Denton: are there .wav files of those floating around as well? I know the NOAA page that has the Bloop sound also has the Slow Down sound, which is similarly unexplained and actually quite a bit more eerie, but I've never heard of any others.

    Roadrunner: I didn't know you visited space too?
    We have so much to talk about. What planet?

    Tom Francis: Iain is correct that it's The Bloop sped up, and Denton is correct that it's The Bloop .wav slowed down. And Redhawk is right that it's clearly Cthulhu. The usual recording is played back at 16x speed, this is only 2x speed. Why 2x? Because 1x is below the range of human hearing.

    The Bloop is an unidentified noise picked up twelve years ago by several sets of military hydrophones in the Pacific. Unlike other unidentified sonic events, it matches the frequency signature of the type of sounds made by living creatures. The problem is that the largest known animal on Earth is too small to have produced it.


    J-Man: Or its this fella:

    http://en.wikipedia.... ...(creature)

    J-Man: Hot dog, having 2 monitors is fun. I really feel like a weirdo secret agent with google earth on one screen and code on the other.

    Bret: Ah, the Bloop.

    Looks like it couldn't be big C though, unless he has a summer home.

    Maybe it's his clone from Rex Libris.

    Jason L: Pins on a map don't communicate that the estimated 'location' of The Bloop is a huge approximation, based on fuzzy bearings for a low-frequency sound on decades-old sonar arrays. Hush now, hush now O High Priest.

    I don't remember it, but Wiki says Cloverfield actually ties the monster to The Bloop.

    Denton: @Redhawk: In addition to the Bloop and the Slow Down, there are four other instances of Cthulhu being very loud here: http://www.pmel.noaa... ...stery.html

    I love how they're all named for how they sound apart from one called 'Julia'.

    Roadrunner: Can I ask what relevence the bloop has to anything apart from being an awesome conspiracy?
    How come it's washed up here O.o
    I like conspiracies, but not the stupid ones like 9/11. Infact, I have a big book o' conspiracies.

    Lack_26: Not really related to this, but an interesting article on NewScientist about how video games might affect how we respond to stimulus. The link is in the website thing (click my name).

    Alexander: Could it be the sound of that ship flying by in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2?

    Opusau: @Bret: R'lyeh is actually near that point on the map according to its wikipedia article.

    Knew it the moment I heard it. Cthulu snores a lot.

    ab: @Lack_26
    No, I think that article is about how nasty tastes might affect how we respond to stimulus.

    I don't recall ever playing a videogame that tasted of anything, unless it was S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and licking the collectors edition tin-box counts.

    Tom Francis: Yeah, the addition of tastes seems to render the experiment wildly unscientific with respect to the effects of ordinary gaming. Why didn't they just make the bad-jersey guys punch you in the game, reducing your speed?

    Bret: Ah.

    Well, here's hoping Mexican wrestlers, natural enemies of supernatural evil, can save us all.

    If not, well, anyone speak the tounges of the unholy deep and or old ones, that man was not meant to speak of?

    ab: All it shows is that, where preconditioned, the symbolic stimulus can be either gamey or real. So I dunno, if you love/hate something already, you'll probably lovehate it in a game too?

    As you said, more interesting would be an experiment to see if you could use a game to do the conditioning.

    Random science posts… « Temple of the Clouded Mind: [...] lot of speculation. My favorite is the Bloop, for this little tidbit of speculation I found on the Tom Francis blog: The Bloop is an unidentified noise picked up twelve years ago by several sets of military [...]

    HyperKUltra: Bioshock intro?

    Iain "DDude" Dawson: I JUST GOT IT!

    This made no sense... why would Tom give us to the Bloop? Why NOW?

    I just watched Lost. Hurley said it, about 50mins in. "The Island disappeared, we all saw it. It's gone... Bloop!"

    Someone, Please tell me I am right...

    Bret: Well, maybe.

    On the other hand, Tom may be preparing us for the return of the dreaded old ones, whose waking will lead mankind into madness and death.

    I think I prefer you being right.

    Jazmeister: @ Bret

    You must be... mad.

    Oh, excuse me. The offering is awake.

    CloakRaider: Heh, immediately thought bloop when I heard the water sounds, and the fact you said it was short.

    Roadrunner: You know, You should change the name of "Trust me with your ears" to "lend me your ears."
    It sounds more intellectual.
    Friends, Romans, Countrymen! Lend me your ears!

    I hate shakespeare, but Julius Caesar could be the only thing he's ever written which I like. And Hamlet.