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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

Plants Vs Zombies: Lawns I Have Loved

Plants Vs Zombies is now out, and £7 on Steam. In it, you plant plants to stop zombies. It will enslave you like a delicious drug.

I’ve spent about forty hours of my life defending that little house from the undead through the craft of horticulture, and I liked it so much I’m actually quoted on that Steam page. Here are a few of the gardens I’ve landscaped in that time of which I happen to have screenshots on this machine.


Yes, this works. There’s a twist when you replay Plants Vs Zombies that encourages you to try stupid experiments like The Frozen Field Of Unending Spikeweeds here. The silvery ones are Spike-Rocks, secretly the most useful upgrade in the game, but for a reason that won’t be obvious at first.


Wedge formation! Largely pointless. But Kernel-paults are so brilliant – “There’s butter on my head” – and so cheap that you can afford to try ultra-reinforced meshes of Tallnuts and Chompers on these levels.

Flag 24

AAAAAAH! Man, you should have seen this place before Flag 24. It was a work of art. It was a machine. And yet, it was a lawn.

Now it is ate.

Truly, your garden has not known horror until you get to the mid-twenties in Survival: Endless. That, and the mini-game that lets you play as the zombies, are responsible for most of that horrific play-time figure I quoted earlier.

PvZ takes its time to get going, but the stream of new wonders throughout that time is steady and thick. Do not play it if there are things on this Earth you still hope to achieve.


EGTF: I want to play but I really think I should stay away for a little while. I've got this circled in redmarker as "Timesink".

I thought you weren't crazy on the zombie mini game in your pcg review?


Tom Francis: I, Zombie is awesome! Why, what did that dick Tom Francis say in his review?


I'm just up to the end of the 3-x sets of levels. Some of those zombies look awesome. And I can see this eating up far more of my time than any other game has any right to. Including ones I was supposed to be writing about.

Palmsy: Hmmmm I have an essay that has to be done tomorrow...I'll download the demo. The demo can't hurt, surely.

EGTF: That egmatic Tom Francis in his review mentioned something about it lacking the depth of playing as the plants? Maybe I misread or misremembered the review.

If I have, I apologise for that twat Ed and his unfounded slander.


EGTF: It also appears he can't spell either *enigmatic


Tom Francis: "My favourite is I, Zombie: a delicious reversal in which you have to choose which zombie types to purchase to strategically decimate a pre-set garden."

That's all I see about it in the copy I filed. I wouldn't expect it to have the same depth as playing with plants, it's one of twenty mini-games.

ZomBuster: This is a nice game indeed. PLayed the demo, will get the full game sometime probably.

Only thing that bugs is the low resolution, it's 2009 Popcap! 1024x768? oh please

Bret: Played the Demo.

Livingston is right. Fastest half hour of my life.

I need to get this game.

Phill Cameron: Yeah, what you got there is a level 5 gargantuan attack. I'd recommend a lot of spikerocks, a lot of squashes, and while yeah, using the imitator to protect your plants with pumpkins is good at first, you're going to want to switch him to a one use explosive. Just, y'know, my professional 'pinion, right?

Oh, and try the Cob Cannon. Works wonders for crowd control.

AlphaTM: Yeah, it is amazingly addictive/good. My strategys usually biol down to:

Sun plants in the back, pea shooters in front of them, Wall/Tall-nuts in front of THEM, and whatever I want to put in the middle. But really, the night pool seems sorta repetitious.

Tom Francis: Already planting Spikerocks as fast as their recharge allows, already Imitatin' explosives, and Cob Cannons are fun but recharge too slowly to be worth the two squares versus Giga Gargantuars. Have you found a yeti yet? That made me laugh.

Alpha, I did that for a while too, but it eventually occured to me that if the worst comes to the worst and you're down to your last column, it's more important to still be doing damage than still be generating sun.

Theoban: It's official, that Tom Francis person hates Zombies. Zombiism rampant in the offices of PC Gamer, more on this story at 11.

Jazmeister: I have 29 minutes remaining on my demo. I don't feel my addictive tingler tingling, but there are other forces working upon me this last few days that are fudging the signal.
I love the game though, it's so purely a... whatever it is. The best Lawn Defense game this year, by far. They need a radial lawn where you're managing on all sides. And instead of Zombies it's the Paps, and you're a celebrity. But still plants.

Also, that crazy neighbour is decidedly unhinged.


SURIVAL: ENDLESS?!!!?!?!??!?!?!?1111?!?

That's it. I'm buying it for myself wife.

The Rev. Name Withheld: Jeez, had no idea you could get THAT many Tanks on Survival mode.

EGTF: I sat down to give this a quick run-through, and ended up clocking 7.4 hours according to steam.

I just had to complete the damn main levels and all the mini-quests, then I saw survival mode. Then I saw the time, and realised addiction isn't fun and exited out.

Next playthrough I'm setting an alarm for a few hours and then leaving once it chimes. Necrobotany shouldn't be so compelling.

Zeno Cosini: By Christ, this looks perilously good.

Lack_26: I am so buying this.

Peterd102: Pre-Ordered it, sat staring at steam page, waiting for it to unlock.

Been playing like crazy, no other game even features in my life anymore. I have things to do! Why wont it let me go!

The thing that makes it special, better than peggle (which was nice for the demo time, then got repetitive), is that challenges slowly alter, you never settle into a routine. Upgrades to consider and a load of stuff in the endgame to think of. Then theres a random level thrown in that breaks up the pattern. It always remains fresh, thats what keeps you playing so far into the night.

Ludo: The demo drew me into this. It's a really generous 60 minute slice of gameplay that took me into the night phase and made me realise that the game was going to change enough to make the campaign interesting.

Now, having bought it, after a few hours play, I can't believe this game is on Steam at only £6.99.

It's just delightful. It's perfectly engaging to any regular gamer who has ever become obsessed with resource management and/or tower defense games. If you're not sure what the fuss is about, just play the demo, you'll know by then end of it whether or not this is for you.

Personally, I struggle to imagine an RTS/strategy PC gamer for whom this wouldn't appeal. Right now I hear housemate shooting zombies to death with peashooters. I have the Champions Online beta to attend to, but those PvZ sounds are calling out to me.


PS. I envy those gardening gloves, we (me and my housemate Dante)WOULD'VE ventured out into our garden BUT our landlord hasn't tended tp our garden in the 12 months b4 we moved in and now Velociraptors live there.

We can't take the risk.

Jazmeister: Did anyone not like it? There's always one, isn't there? ISN'T THERE?!

Nonomu198: @Jazmeister

Nope, it's the game is that great.

Jazmeister: I tried installing the demo on steal and it KNOWS I already used my hour. Can I really wait until my darling's birthday to get this? I mean get her this? It's only SEVEN POUNDS! I spend that on, like, two meals worth of Quorn.

Jazmeister: ....steam. I wasn't thinking of stealing anything.

Bravedave: @ Ludo

Don't go into the long grass!

VZLANemesis: http://i267.photobuc... ...TO/PVZ.jpg
This was my strategy... I actually tried to make a discussion of this game at some forum (can I actually name it?) Great Great game.
Btw, what do you think of my formation ^^

I bet that wouldn't really work against so many gargantuans.

Tom Francis: Ha, nice. Day Hard flag 9 - I guess you've had some Gargantuars by then, right? Impressed it worked.

You've got masses of damage up front, but no splash or slow, so yeah, when the Gargs come thick and fast, you'll only be hurting the front one in each row and they'll all be moving and crushing at full speed. Might get tough.

And obviously you'd need some space for Sunflowers if you wanted to keep going in Survival: Endless.

Cool garden though. Anyone else got one to share?

Jazmeister: ...any game responsible for the sentence "when the Gargs come thick and fast" is worth £7 and a ten minute wait.

BloodVex: http://i18.photobuck... ...016355.jpg

I've since altered the strategy for survival mode by replacing the top and bottom rows with the same Garlic-Starfruit formation and by replacing sunflowers with anoter spike and a snow pea once I'd racked up enough sun

James: Hey Tom, liking the new look of the mag. Also BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA was hilarious. Also congrats on the award.

Sorry, I've been reading this for nearly a year but never got around to commenting, so I'm going through back-compliments.

Bigfoot_King: I used to use cob cannons often but later in the game I found that the melon pults near the end would clear all the zombies before they got to my tall-nuts. might try a new technique now

Lack_26: Also, check the TF 2 blog, there's a bit more on the new sniper update. More specifically, the replacement for the sniper rifle and the feed-back players get from death and their relationship with their killer.

http://www.teamfortr... ...hp?id=2477

VZLANemesis: Oh cool you actually responded. Awesome. No in the Day Hard there aren't any gargantuars (Not really sure, but 90%...)

Btw, fire beads do "splash" damage actually to nearby zombies (those who follow them closely) as for slow, yeah, you can't use fire and ice together... there should be poison (dps and slow) and that would definitely feel mechanically well since plants may be poisonous. But yeah..

As for the sunflowers, I had 2 rows of twin sunflowers, but I started taking them out after a while since offense was being quite successful and I had like 7000 sun left... Obviously never enough for Endless but it was ok for Day Hard.

I'll post some more pics when I do get a nice survival endless going.

Redhawk: Oh God. I bought this game. I have a job. A life. Girlfriend. And now I have Plants vs. Zombies.

Three things are going to have to give.

Peterd102: The Song!!! Get it out of my head!

Peterd102: OMG its been patched and it now has..... Achievements! Race you to get them Pentadact! (I will fail I think)

J-Man: Why so quiet in the latest PCG podcast Tom? Your tangents are the main reason I listen to it.

FunkyLlama: On the plus side it now has achievements. On the downside, the update broke my saves, destroying 13 hours of play. *sigh* Fuck it. I'm never playing this game again.

Redhawk: Having put a few hours in to it, I have a few complaints:

A) Adventure Mode is horrible at showcasing all the plants you get. A handful are consistently useful and most levels can be solved by simply stacking Peashooters and guarding them with a wall of Wall/Tall-Nuts and Chompers. I'm only up to the Backyard at night, but still.

B) Why can't I access anything except Adventure Mode until I'm in the fucking Backyard? Even then, I only get four mini-games, none of which are the zombie-controlling one. In essence, why can I only play two dollars of the game I just payed ten for?

C) The night levels are hateful. HATEFUL.

From the commentary here and my own experience, it's seems clear that Adventure Mode is the game's major weakpoint.

Roadrunner: I too find adventure mode boring, as even when I unlock new plants, I test them out and decide to stick with my previous tactic, of hundreds of sunflowers, and heavy duty weapon-guns.
It's why it's great to have all the little minigames, otherwise it wouldn't be worth £6.99. :D I prefer the night levels as the mushrooms are cheaper :D Some plants I don't see the point in though, for example those small sun-mushrooms.
On the other hand,, the levels feel too repetitive, because although it's slowly pacing out upgrades and new zombies, I don't feel the need to play 9 levels on the same map area, just so I can unlock a new plant.

The only major, major problem I have with the game is how the resolution isn't changable, and so the text looks very pixelly. I think it needs a patch to change that, it looks poor on 1680x1050 :( And if it wasn't popcap, it would have mods. Imagine the crazy stuff you'd be seeing within a week O.o

AlphaTM: @ Redhawk: I, Zombie is in the puzzle section. Just an FYI.

Dante: This little setup took me to flag 20 in survival - endless:

http://img25.imagesh... ...090155.png

Using umbrellas carefully to cover the whole network is very important when bungee zombies turn up. The line of magnets defends against miners.

In the end it wasn't the gargantaurs that got me, they mostly got slowed, spent ages trying to bash the spike rocks (only plant that lasts more than a hit) and got cob cannoned to hell and back. It was their little imps, who ended up behind enemy lines and eventually weakened enough of my melon/cob infrastructure to take me down.

Tom Francis: Nice.

I eventually got better mileage out of not bothering with umbrella leafs, and just bringing the key plants I'd need to replace. With enough Cat-Tails, you won't often lose the plant before the Bungee zombie is killed.

If you are gonna use them, you don't need to place them as closely as those: each covers nine squares, so you can have two squares between them. And bungee zombies almost never attack for forward columns, so I found four is enough to shield the whole garden.

I eventually found that even a full column of magnets isn't enough to stop miner zombies in some waves - in fact, I've even had a double column of magnets be overwhelmed. My solution was to Imitater the Pumpkin and progressively shield my entire garden with them, starting from the back. Cat-Tails can take out anything in the time it takes to chew through that.

You can't really tell from the grab, but before its inevitable demise my garden had four melons per row to back up the Winters. It means regular mobs go down before they even reach my Tallnuts, and regular Gargantuars don't get anywhere either. It's just those Gigas and Zombonis I can't fend off.

Patrick: An easy way to deal with miners is to have an entire back row up spikerocks. Of course, this takes away a panel that can be used to attack the front lines.

Dante: How does the imitator actually work? The description seems a bit odd.

Love that spike rock strategy though, it's possible putting firepower of some sort at the back instead of flowers would help deal with the bastards.

Tom Francis: When you put it in your seed belt, it pops up asking you which other plant you want it to be. It can't Imitate any of the unlockable upgrade plants, though, like Spike Rocks.

Effectively halves the cooldown of one conventional plant. Takes a moment to assume their shape when placed each time, though, so less good for explosives.

VZLANemesis: Yeah, the delay for the explosives when using the imitator is HORRIBLE... btw, any of you guys seen the yeti yet?
I still havent, btw, for those who post here?
best endless mode?
Personally, I haven't gone past lvl 20 yet T-T

Caleb: VZLANemesis:
You can get ice and fire at the same time, you just need to use the upgraded watermelon-pault instead of the sno-peas. Plus you get ice splash damage! splash damage!

Tom Francis: Wintermelons are indeed king, but burning peas still cancel the chill on the zombies they hit, so mixing them with fire is suboptimal.

Yep, I've seen the Yeti. Got something nice for killing him too.

I haven't got much past the flag shown in that screenshot in Survival Endless: I think my brains got ate on Flag 26.

AlphaTM: This is the way I completed Day (Hard)

http://i41.tinypic.c... ...4l6khg.jpg

The only zombies that got past the spike rocks were the Football Zombies.

Canuck: I actually got to 31 flags on Endless Survival. Sorry, no screenshot, I'm not really sure how to do that.

A few of the keys:

- Have the full 10 slots. I sold plants to get there.

- Pumpkin everything you can. Helps against imps, diggers, etc.

- I had Tall-Nuts all the way to the right, in the pool. With 2 upgraded Fume-Shrooms behind them and each row had a Winter Melon. So each row had a Tall-Nut, an upgraded Fume Shroom and a Winter Melon, and the pool was never a problem. Never even had to replace the pumpkin on the first Tall-Nut. This left me space for each pool row to have 2 Cob Cannons, a magnet, and a miscellaneous spot for Cattails, Magnets, or Umbrellas.

-I had 2 Garlics in the top row and bottom row, but in later rounds, it was Spike then Garlic. The top and bottom rows had a Winter Melon, 4 upgraded Sunflowers, a Magnet and a Tall-Nut.

-2nd and 5th rows had 2 Winter Melons, 2 Gatling-Peas, Torch, Tall-Nut and one miscellaneous spot for Magnets or Umbrellas.

Everything was intact and I had the sun maxed out at 9990 from around 14-16 flags to around 24. It was all working perfectly, I was just collecting sun, changing the garlic and spikes, renewing the pumpkins where needed.

After 24 flags, it gets hairy. Somewhere around there, they threw diggers, bungees, balloons, zombonis and gargantuars all in one round. I found that one cattail can take down all balloon zombies, and they're pretty weak otherwise, so the other miscellaneous spots went to umbrellas. The diggers would get through, but they take awhile to eat through pumpkins in the back. But I made it through that round.

Eventually, they just overran me. Even 9990 sun goes down to zero pretty quickly. Still, I almost made it to 32 or 33 flags, but a dolphin zombie (I think) jumped over my pool cleaner and into the house. I never had a zombie get to the end besides that, so the lawn mowers and pool cleaners were intact at that point.

Near the end, squash was a big help, its cheap and packs a punch.

Hope that helps, and sorry I don't have a screenshot.

P.S. - Brilliant game.

VZLANemesis: Sounds pretty awesome canuck, never thought anybody would get to lvl 30+ after seeing pentadact's picture with the lot of giga-gargantuans.
Are the garlic plants really that helpful?
Never, and I mean never, used them before..

Canuck: Garlic is a must for me. It allows the top and bottom row to have 4 upgraded sunflowers, and just frees up space in general. The only reason I got that far was that I had built up the max sun, and I needed that space to do it.

Francis: In a game where all you fight is vampires, why wouldn't you use garlic?

Bill: They're ZOMBIES, Francis.

BloodVex: Canuck; Hit Prnt Scrn, then go into MSpaint/photoshop/what have you and paste to take a screenshot.

ZomBuster: @Bill,@Francis

http://fc07.devianta... ...hefish.jpg

PD102: Just managed to reach Survival Endless (took a while as was busying myself with the Zen garden, and puzzles) - First try and reached 9 flags. Its the ramped up cost of the upgrades that p***ed me off. I could have gone so much furthur! I suppose it was a wave of gargantuars that weakened me, then I collapsed a few levels after.

Any tips on how to get through this, Its the lack of sun thats my trouble - Im guessing its Spam Sunflowers at start?

ZomBuster: @PD102, Indeed. Haven't gotten to endless myself but look at this one I just used for Pool Hard ...cework.png

I started with 3 rows of sunflowers, then when the zombies start coming upgradde one row to double sunflowers and replaced the rest slowly with weaponry.

ZomBuster: Or when you really want your early sun shot.. 4 rows ...04tile.png

Canuck: Thanks for the tip on the screenshots, here are some.

First, to prove the 31 flag round, just so you know I'm not making it up: ...1flags.jpg

Next is my basic set-up, it was taken somewhere around flag 14-16. It was slightly different than my last one, I had 2 upgraded fume-shrooms at the front instead of Tall-Nuts, and a little changed placement. Worked about as well. I had run into trouble in the last round, so there is an empty pumpkin where a magnet should be, and the bottom umbrella should be a magnet as well. Damn bungees hit the right spots this time. In the early rounds, there were flowers where the Cob Cannons are, then after 8 flags or so I started placing Cannons. ...el1418.jpg

Next is at the end of 28 flags. As you can see, the pool wasn't really the problem. Made it to 29 flags, almost to 30, but the round didn't go nearly as smooth as the one to 31. Seems like there is alot of randomness in what you see from the zombies on each round. With the 31 flag round, I had the sun maxed out, and my basic set-up held through 26 flags or so. With this round, I was struggling to keep collecting sun, and the setup broke down earlier. ...flag28.jpg

At 26 and 28, it just gets so difficult, its tough to keep everything together, and then you just run out of sun to place plants. And the zombies are in such big packs that garlic doesn't last, one pack each takes a bite, and its gone. With a lot of luck, I could see getting to 33 flags, but with this setup, its doubtful it could last beyond that.

Hope that helps, and I'm eager to see if anyone can come up with a set-up to beat the 31 flag round, so please post if you do.

PD102: I netted the Immortal Achivement after one of the most click spamming intensive gaming session Ive had. Its the closest ive come to exercise in years.

Here was my Lawn at flag 15:
http://i39.tinypic.c... ...zflz6u.jpg
The split and the star were replaced by Melons later on and my lawn digressed into this:
http://i44.tinypic.c... ...3kg6yo.jpg
As you can see I was crippled from the back and low on sun. The next wave I collapsed after a long drawn out fight - like a wasp in a Spiders web.
My Heartbeat is now 400bpm, and amazingly my fingers are still working.
The great thing is that after that, Ive made a lot of money and get to relax in the Zen garden.....

BloodVex: What's with the white pumpkins?

Caleb: BloodVex: those are the mimic plants (forget their actual name). They look like mimes or something, and then when you plant them they spin around and turn into white versions of the plant they're copying.

Canuck: My latest round, I decided to lose the garlic and have a more balanced defense, since the rows with little firepower seemed to be the ones that got overrun at the end. Managed to keep the same number of upgraded flower pots, just by moving them around. Every non-pool row had a Gatling, Torch and Winter Melon, arranged so I can easily defend against bungees, with placement for umbrellas that cover almost everything. And with the Gats in the back, imps weren't a problem, and with the magnets back there, diggers didn't give me much trouble either. Made it 29 flags, but I was robbed. I was in perfect shape, had sun over 9000 at the end of 28 and everything largely intact. Here's how it went:

Flag 26 ...vel262.jpg

Flag 28 ...vel282.jpg
missing a couple of components, but easily replaced.

Then at Flag 29, one little thing goes wrong and this happens: ...vel292.jpg

I was busy dealing with the Zombonis, but my guess is that a bungee or two dropped down and took my cattails. My umbrellas covered everything left of the Tall-Nuts, but the Cats weren't covered. Or a pack of scuba zombies dove under and made really quick work of them, but the pool hadn't given me any trouble up to the point. Best guess - it was the bungees hitting the two spots that could ruin me.

Were it not for those damn balloon zombies, I would have made it out of that Level with just about everything intact. Between the 4 Cob Cannons, I had two Cherry Bombs, a Squash and a Jalapeno to deal with the Gargantuars and Zombonis once they got through the spikes. They'd flattened a Tall-Nut or two before, but never got beyond that.

J-Man: Just purchased. Looking forward to it.

On a side note, the devs who made the wonderful end of the world have released the alpha of an incredible free-falling game. I recommend it to everyone here: http://www.dejobaan....

Fat Zombie: I tried the demo, and although I can see the appeal for strategy fans (lots of potential 'builds' to discuss), I can't really admit to being very interested.

I'm not a fan of Tower Defense-type games, and despite the cheery look that this game is rocking, it doesn't really do it for me. But I'm not a fan of strategy games in general.

There you go, Jazmeister. There's your one. (also, BRAINS)

Enjay: Wow. That was the shortest hour long demo I've ever played.

It's like time moves a lot faster while you are playing. The demo does a good job of making you see how deep the game is, yet how simple it is to pick up and play.

Simple concept of DON'T GET EATED, and the possible combinations and different zombie types make it tower defense like, but somehow also different.

It's an odd experience. At first I felt stupid for playing the game, yet I couldn't stop. I've been addicted to games before, but not like this. I am/was a big WoWhead, and even WoW I got bored enough while playing to stop and do something else.

In an hour's time of any other game, I usually stop for a bit to check out some things, but it's like this one brainwashed me to keep playing...

And now I must buy it.

Nonomu198: @Canuck
I suggest you rid of the umbrellas whenever there are no Bungee Zombies and put something else in there until you get a Bungee Zombie wave. Or did you remove them? I see them in every picture and from my experience there are hardly any of these at all.

Here is my latest try at survival. I have to say, I know this is a "casual" game, but the amount of luck the waves rely on are upsetting. This attempt is a good example of why. Also, this is the first time I have seen Giga Gargantuars. Why don't they have an entry in the Almanac? Becuase I don't know how they are different from normal Gargantars. Are they tougher? How tougher?

Flag 21
http://img100.images... ...rvival.png
Looks pretty good, right? Except some spikes, it is intact. The Gloom-Shroom does an amazing job covering the lines close to the water. The Golden Magnet is there because I still needed the Mime card thing (I got it after this game, I still need some zen garden etc. stuff).

Flag 21:
http://img186.images... ...vivalr.png
That basketball thrower guy popped my spikes, and I was too busy fixing them and didn't notice the basketballs hurt my plant directly. I had about four Gargantuars and one Giga Gargantuars on the top line, and here is the result. I was sure I was a gone for. Sure, I was right for the long range, but I survived for a surprising long amount of flags.

Flag 25:
http://img141.images... ...rvival.png

Aaaah holy crap. Using many explosives, and engaging no Bungee Zombies, I have managed to survive 3 more waves. Heck, I thought. With one more lucky roll on the waves, I can get the good old format back! Everything is going to be just fi-

Flag 25:
http://img231.images... ...rvival.png

AH CRAP CRAP CRAP. I didn't think you can have so many Gigas and Gargantuars. They came so early I couldn't rebuild my lawn. Even explosives didn't help. I was damn sure my brain will be eaten soon.

Flag 26:
http://img376.images... ...rvival.png

Look at this. I screwed up so badly this flag is gonna start with some Gigas from the last one. I didn't really know it was possible.

Flag 26:

http://img149.images... ...rvival.png

Just look at this crap. Blah. I actually managed to beat it because yet again I got very lucky and got weak zombies and only like three Gigas the whole round.

Flag 27:

http://img142.images... ...rvival.png

After flag 26 I had some nice plants. But of course, all I have seen on this wave was Dancers, Football zombies, Gigas, and finally my brain was eaten by an odd single pogo zombie.

As you can see, the water stayed intact. I guess I should have put a cob cannon or something in there to help the ground levels? I'm not sure.

http://img186.images... ...rvival.png

Just a last picture so you can see my record.

Jazmeister: Why thankyou, Zombie! Now I don't have to build an enormous Ziggurat teeming with horticultural effigies.

Fat Zombie: Aww, you should have said BEFORE. Ziggurats are always awesome.

Still, the game just had no real hold for me. It could just be the demo, but I quit on the sixth(?) level, because although there's probably a lot of extra stuff, the central mechanic itself was fairly... dull.

Lack_26: The sixth level? Boy, you still in the tutorial. That ain't know way to treat a game right. Now you get back outta there and finish that demo.[/cow-boy accent]

Nano: I just got up to level 4-6 in two evenings, and I can already sense this is going to ruin my life. I don't want to go into work tomorrow, because I know I'll be thinking about tactical gardening.

Curse the man who gave this game to me!

Dread: 32 flags:

http://img18.imagesh... ...ival32.jpg

33rd wave was over very fast, didn't have a chance...

Jason L: Gentlemen, let us contemplate PvZ plus the Director.

Caleb: My roommate has gotten himself to 32 flags as well. He's going to refine his strategy and go for the gold tommorow! (If he gets over 32, i'll get him to post screenies and his strategy)

Canuck: Completed Flag 34 with this setup - this shot was at the end of Flag 30: ...vel305.jpg

Magnets and umbrellas were interchangeable, but that was the basic setup.

At the end of Flag 32: ...vel325.jpg

And when it was done: ...34end4.jpg

Went for more of the Winter Melon and Spike attack, which worked surprisingly well, until they just wore me down.

Nonomu198, I do change out the umbrellas for what's needed. Its the randomness of the levels, sometimes I'd get 3 rounds in a row with bungees, sometimes its diggers. I tend to overcompensate against bungees so I don't have to replace something that will take up too many spots in the load-out. I liked your setup, but I think you could get further with only one cattail. One is all you need for balloon zombies, and you could fit in 2 Cob Cannons back there. But I'm sure 6 cattails deals with diggers in the back row pretty effectively. In the pool, I think it would go down pretty quickly around Flag 28 or so. At that point, the packs of swimmers take out anything less than a TallNut with a pumpkin in seconds, but I could be wrong.

With some luck, Flag 36 could be possible.

Nonomu198: @Canuck

Yah, all the magnets in the world couldn't help me with these diggers so I put lots of cattails. I guess I should put the magnets 2 columns backwards, and put the Gloom-Shrooms up in the front to help the upper and lower raws. I try to avoid Cob Cannons, they take too long to reload and die easly. I think that I can place one Cob Cannon in the back of one of the pool raws, but that would weaken it. If I put 2 Cob Cannons instead of Cattails Diggers will utterly destroy me. I also don't use Tallnuts/Wallnuts because they only help when the stategy collpses, and how would you improve and learn more stategies if you got a spot where you could plant something active taken up by a nut?

I think of completely changing my strategy, but that would take some time and thought.

Fat Zombie: @Lack: Fine, I'll go back, but I don't expect to be impressed much more.

Canuck: 38 Flags

A different approach, decided to just let the diggers through and take them out with Cob Cannons, and let the bungees through, opting for more power with the Gats:

Flag 32: ...vel326.jpg

Flag 34: ...vel346.jpg

Flag 36: ...vel366.jpg

Flag 38: ...vel386.jpg

Not sure that setup is really better, it really seems to come down to luck in what the zombies throw at you. A couple of Flags in there didn't have any Zombonis, which helped alot, and it was an easier round in general.

Nonomu198, the Cob Cannons do die easily, but if they're in the pool, they're pretty well protected. On the lawn, they're taken out by imps really easily. But after playing that last round letting the diggers through, alot of Cattails might be better, though I saw a fair amount of diggers, and the worst they could do was take out a Gat, which is easily replaced. But to get to 38, I needed all 4 Cob Cannons just to deal with the swimmers, particularly dolphins.

I'm hesitant to go without the nuts, though. Seems like you want them stopped by the nuts, so the spikes can work on them. It would free up a spot to get rid of them, so maybe you're right. But in later rounds, that first row of nuts gets taken out regularly, and they're easier to replace than anything else.

Mchula: 41 Flags: http://www.cubeuploa... ...ival41.jpg

EGTF: Why do zombies, suddenly appear? Everytime, Tom Francis is near.

Fat Zombie: Well, I got to the second level on the Night bit. The level where you had to pick the plants from a rolling display at the top was pretty interesting. Still, isn't that compelling and addictive as it is for you guys. I'm just not that interested in working out strategy.

As it is, I'd download it if it were a freeware game. Wouldn't pay money for it, though.

Lack_26: @Fat Zombie

Ah well, you gave it a good shot. So cant blame you.

PD102: Just managed Flag 36. Long drawn ou campain that stalled at flag 22, as i had a lovley lawn and didnt want to see it crushed.

Here is my layout, similar to Canucks but with some changes. The system works well and with a few refinements to the theroy I can perfect it. And then I can tend to my Zen garden.

Here is the Main functional layout when all was happy and dandy(lion).

http://i42.tinypic.c... ...hg4o3o.jpg

On flag 35 I was weakened very much on the flanks. My Pool was very strong despite some jack in a box setbacks.

http://i41.tinypic.c... ...fvdx84.jpg

Though by the end I was just trying to hold them off by using explosives which drained my sun a lot. I might take a leaf (groan) out of Canuck's book and expand my lines a little furthur to get more firepower. I would go on but this is getting rather anal. I need time to plan.

Now that I know 41 flags is attainable. Im making 40 a minimum goal to achive. Though surely there must be a theoretical limit to how far you can go.

Suddenly Gardening is much more interesting. My mum is revamping the garden and Im very tempted to plant sunflowers and peas ect in praise of this game.

Maybe that will work to defend our house from zombies. The machette I had under my bed took a lot of akward explaining.

Caleb: There's apparently someone on who got to flag 76 and posted it on Youtube. I haven't seen it yet though, as youtube currently hates me. So yeah.

AlphaTM: Just saw the 76 flag video.


Just wow.

Tom Francis: Here, for reference: ...ClKWyNeOso

Haven't watched it myself yet.

Canuck: Yeah, I tried his 76 flag setup, its damn good. I'm around 30 or so, taking a break. Clearly the best build out there. He uses some similar elements like the puff-shrooms in the pool, but its all just refined perfectly. Tough to improve on the build.

Tom Francis: Christ, no-one told me he gets to 76 flags - and then stops for tea. He's actually gone past 100 now, according to his comments there, and he's still not over-run.

PD102: I feel weak....

Dante: That's pretty damn formidable. The only change I can think of is to replace the gold magnet or one of the sunflowers with a catail, rather than blowing away all the balloon zombies. Mind you, he seems to handle them okay as it is.

TooNu: I bought this for my missus yesterday to distract her from WoW (which is boring her a little) and I think I might have to buy it for myself, it is so awesome.

Alex Holland: @TooNu - If you bought it from Popcap direct, you can activate it on up to 5 machines. Not sure if that's the case with the steam version.

TooNu: Vad? wha?...oh dood...I have bought it from STEAM last night hah!...oh dear. Well, it is worth the money :)

Chris R: Watch the 100 Flag video with the Heavy's Yattatata song... F'n funny! :)

100 Flag setup part 1:

Yatatata Song by Heavy from TF2: ...OhcUT0Ir_o

roBurky: ...y/?saved=1

Second playthrough of adventure mode.
Level 4-4.
Pool, at night.
Conehead zombies, balloon zombies and dolphin zombies.
No extra slots bought.
Three slots taken up by Crazy Dave's marigold, peashooter and potato mine.
The other three slots needed for sun-shroom, anti-balloon plant and anti-water plant.

I can't do it.

Lost Cause: And I thought i was the only one losing too many hours to this beast of a game. I needed to find this site and realise I am not alone. ;)

Alex Holland: I started my first Endless Survival last night, to kill ten minutes while my wife finished off her Survival Game on the other Mac. Ended up getting to 23 flags, with only eight slots and no imitater, and managed all that on a laptop trackpad. Eventually got my brains eaten by a fricking imp.

It almost physically killed me though, and I feel that having got past 20, I've kind of done Survival.

Nicomallo: So I can't be the first to have thought of this, but after playing so much I zombie, I'm starting to wish there was a "Plants vs Zombies vs" mode.

Having to choose whether to spend your sun on more zombies for the enemy garden or more plants for your own would add some much needed pace compared to the I Zombie mode. While having someone intelligent choosing what to send against your plants (out of their preselected horde) would keep the early game more then just sticking to a preselected build order.

It would be your typical story of "RTS gets defence mod; defense mod becomes whole genre; Popcap reinvent said genre; reinvention gets taken back to RTS; world forever changed.

mac: ei dude do you have some hack for the spike rock that doesn't die? if that is possible men that will end the survival endless from pawning you.. gargantuar will never walk it'll keep hitting the spike rock and stop all the wheeled zombies.

shad: hahaAa..!! how can I make it to lvl 40. . . iM currntly in lvl 34...!! make my cub cannon recharge fast...!!

DiamondAbs // BladeFrenzy: hahaha. I laugh at all you guys. when was this place last updated?
you guys need some serious help.

instants do 100 damage I believe. HP of: Gargantuars 150 ; Giga Gargantuars 225 or something.

Magnetshrooms are a no no. Ice Shrooms seem to look extinct in all your screenshots
and you guys need to just shove as many gloomshrooms on the lawn as you can - you guys aren't doing enough damage.

Guide on Endless building:
http://www.gamefaqs.... ...faqs/57815

myself currently on flag: 104
flag 96: .../k24pv/3
dunno if the link would work. sorry if it doesn't.

Tom Francis: Well, this post was published the day the game came out, so most of these comments are from shortly after.

That's a fun guide, though, it's interesting to see where the strategy consensus ended up.

DiamondAbs // BladeFrenzy: I'm really looking forward to a sequel

has everyone seen that teaser - an image of the zombie hand holding up a letter saying: "Save the date August 2" with a picture of a bridge.

Someone: Did you know that potato mines can kill digging digger zombies? I learn't that from I zombie: endless (what a waste of 125 sun!!!!!!!)

Wall-nut: Did you know that potato mines can kill digging digger zombies? I learn't that from I zombie: endless (what a waste of 125 sun!!!!!!!). Now I am being constantly being chewed by a football zombie. While my roommate, Chomper, is chewing another football zombie.

reapeater: its a website with big images

Jackrabbit: Astute observation. I shall buy your product as a result.

Post 500, by Tom Francis: [...] Plants Vs Zombies: Lawns I Have Loved Wow. OK, no [...]


10000+ flags. Took him 1 year to get there.......WOWOWOWOW

evan: wsfujl[

bgtjuy76o: iuikr