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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.

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

Trust Me With Your Ears: Volume Five

A regular feature in which I ask you to listen to a sound file with no idea what it’s going to be. It’s an attempt to share the strange experience of rummaging through my old download folders, listening to forgotten MP3s with uninformative filenames. All I know about them is that I must have liked them at some point.

Volume Four was the shortest I’ve ever posted, this one is the longest – don’t click play if you’re in a hurry.

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Seniath: For given values of "regular", eh?

(Can't listen at work, MP3s are blocked. I shall have to trust you at a later date.)

Roadrunner: I tuned out after 5 minutes because I couldn't care any less about chipmunks. I'll pick it up later and try again :|

RC-1290’Dreadnought’: Don't know what that was from. Is it strange that I actually found that interesting?

Pilt: How odd. Thanks for sharing though - it had a calming effect on me for some reason.

Palms: I recognize the voice...

Owen: The most surreal and informative 20 mins, and still none the wiser about where this came from. I wish it was longer, thanks for bringing to my ears to trust.

Bumface the Brave: Did anyone else just click that expecting a really, really long song?

Olly: It sounds like Gabe Newells voice...

Barotte: Alvin and the Chipmunks?

Oh, he just metioned it.

MartinJ: @Bumface: Absolutely. I actually turned it off after a while because I was so disappointed.

Tom Francis: My policy is they can only be music if there's something interesting about them other than the music. The fact that I like a song, I've found, is no reason to suspect anyone else here will, so it's unhelpful to be mysterious about them.

The only half-hour tracks I have are Godspeed You Black Emperor, and I figure the world doesn't really need telling about them anymore.

Captain Bland: That was so good! A wierd little peice of pop/cartoon history. I think (despite not being alive till the 90's)that i remember watching some version of Alvin and The Chipmunks. i definitely remember being horrified by the poster and the trailer for the recent film. Still, even if i'd had no idea who they were, I think I'd have found that interesting.

Jimmy!: Great clip! Whose voice is that?

Lack_26: This is going on my .mp3 player. It's too awesome to not go on.

EGTF: If they ever make a movie of Tales of the Riverbank or of Sooty I know which blog to turn to for behind the scenes expose.

Ispep: You can never tell enough people about GY!BE Pentadact. fact.

Andrew: Who is that then? It was an interesting bit of history for sure.

Tom Francis: Oh yeah, I was supposed to tell you. That was Ken Goffman, a.k.a. R U Sirius, original editor of Mondo 2000 magazine, and apparently at one point a presidential candidate. That would have made an interesting country.

The piece is part of a relatively short-lived podcast he started called Destinyland, the site for which is unfortunately long since defunct. When it stopped updating for a long stretch, I got paranoid and downloaded them all before it vanished, so I can put them up somewhere if anyone's interested.

Andrew: Well, he sounds like an interesting guy :) You should do a post on it and put up some links :)

I'm sure you could put the files in a large batch if the original site is defunct for hosting.

Tim: Tom, I loved listening to the Destinyland podcasts back when he was still doing them and was sad that he stopped. If you still have the recordings, I'd love to have them!