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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.

  • html color: This is the information I am looking for. This article is clear and easy to understand. I’m...
  • Grant: Thanks to the start of this video, I’ve just now noticed that during the static flickers while staring...
  • Ben: Great analysis. During the lab sequence in the Prey intro, you were looking around for tells that Morgan is in a...
  • 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...
  • 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

    I Was Here

    from the plane

    San Francisco looked strange from the plane, like a building-farm. I was back there to see a very different studio this time, though I can’t talk about that yet, and also managed to do different stuff with my spare time. Last trip Steve Gaynor, who I only knew vaguely online, was nice enough to meet up for lunch, and this time 2D Boy joined me for a fancy tea. I very much like developers who are able to perceive journalists as humans rather than organs of the industry, even when perhaps not all of them warrant the status.

    With a little luck and a lot of generosity, I was also able to hitch a lift with the guys who made Lugaru down to the birthday party of the guy who made Gish, alongside the guy who made Spelunky, there to sip Guinness with one of the aforementioned guys who made World of Goo, the guy who made Bridge Builder, and the guy who made Braid. There was a dangerous concentration of genius in the room, so true to my promise to pocket my journalist hat, I was careful not to ask any good questions of any of them. We played the X-Men arcade game instead.

    The_B: Who did you play as? Tell me it was Wolverine. G'wan. And Gabler better have been Venom. Although I guess he wasn't in that game.

    Still, Venom with the voice of the Goo Balls would be all kinds of awesome.

    Bret: Nightcrawler's best.

    Was it one of those six player jobbies?

    If so, who had to player Dazzler? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Aftershock: I'm surprised you didn't explode. I would have.

    Plumberduck: I assume Jonathan Blow went off on a half hour tangent about how the multiple tines of Wolverine's claws represent the Many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, right?

    Stan Lee: I was there too!

    ZomBuster: All those guys live in San Fransisco?

    DoctorDisaster: They put Dazzler in a video game?

    That's awful.

    EGTF: Is it sad that as someone coming close to the end of my teenage years, I'm using BBC iplayer to watch X-Men cartoons?

    You make the life of a video game journalist sound exotic Tom, first evenings with Robbie Williams now this.

    Whilst on the subject of journalism do you check your futurenet email? I emailed in about a month ago asking questions about that work experience PCG was offering. I came across as bland and arkward in it I believe, so I understand why I didn't get a reply back in a hectic PCG office. I'm wanting to know if you got it at all though really.

    Ludo: Did you actually take that picture? It's awesome.

    peterd102: Woah

    J-Man: If someone photoshopped that picture it would look like something straight out of Mirror's Edge.

    Chris Evans: San Francisco - the home of all indie game devs

    Little Green Man: I really like that bit of you in the video on Edmund's blog. "Congratulations on being two years older than me". Awww.

    Kodiak: Yeah, San Francisco has weird streets. After the earthquake at the turn of the century, the city planners decided to rebuild the city in a perfect grid, and didn't give a rodent's fundament if the landscape got in the way of all the right angles and straight lines. That's why some inner city streets try to go straight up a cliffside and other streets have to tunnel through a granite ridge. All that unnecessary planning and construction and hardship, and it ends up looking like a weird little building farm.

    SenatorPalpatine: That's pretty sweet. Must've been pretty hard not to ask any questions.

    And that's a very cool picture, where'd you find it?

    Tom Francis: Yeah, the pic is just a crop of one I took from the plane:


    LGM: Ha, I didn't know that had gone up. Link, if anyone else wants to see: http://edmundmcmille... ...-time.html

    Stan Lee: At the party? Either you looked a lot younger than that time I met you in Santa Monica, or you're another Stan Lee and consequently a hard man to Google.

    EGTF: RobIN Williams. Dno about work XP, Tim's department.

    Bobsy: According to Future Publishing they're not currently doing work experience:
    http://www.futurenet... ...xperience/

    But I'm pretty sure according to PCG magazine they are. Mixed messages!

    The_B: They only generally advertise it on the site for a short while, the places go pretty quickly. I only got my place last year thanks to a mixture of good timing and good luck really - it wasn't an advertised position as far as I know anyway...

    On another note - I half wondered why Tom was promoting the new Edge covers other than it being interesting that there was 200 of them. Having now got it, I see his name in the contributors section. Damnit Francis, you have used your wily powers of persuasion again for EVIL and self gain. (I applaud this)

    Kollega: Oh,damn it. Why? Why all the celebrities (including gaming/development/inernet ones) live in California,and i'm stuck on the other side of our planet?

    Just felt i absolutely needed to say that.

    Lack_26: How to design San Francisco; Lesson 1.

    Street planning:

    - Draw a square
    - Repeat

    KING: The square streets of modern cities, especially most American cities, makes me do this:


    Also: They have Guinness in San Francisco ?

    Tom Francis: It comes in a freaking bottle.

    Ludo: :) Is it Guinness Orisinal? That stuff is just odd. Has to be draft for me.

    The_B: There is only one place I've ever been to that ever does Guinness in a bottle.

    It was a pole dancing club.

    And fucking expensive.

    Bobsy: Bottled Guinness is generally okaytimes, but misses the point of Guinness entirely.

    Jimmay: Just wanna say it's not always in a freaking bottle. I'm in Chicago and I think it's a crime against nature as well.

    Lack_26: Just played the HAWX demo, good fun and nice to have something that makes you feel cool and doesn't take too much effort. I don't think I'll buy it, the demo scratches that itch too well. I might pick it up when it's released on budget though.

    Roadrunner: Guinness is the only beer I like, and even then if it was a weigh up between Guinness and sparkling water, I'd take the water xD

    Not much of a fan of alcohol...Except spirits.
    I can't really talk though, being underage and all.

    EGTF: Thanks Tom, sorry about doing the idiotic thing of getting singer and actor mixed up.

    I'm in Chicago next weekend, I'll have to check out this bottled Guiness phenomenom. And take artistic pictures out of a plane. But no playing *unannounced* game for me, I lack the importance and 9 years of age that Mr.Francis has over me.