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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.

Hitman header tunnel

Rewarding Creative Play Styles In Hitman

Far Cry Primal Thumbnail

Postcards From Far Cry Primal

Snowball jack header

Solving XCOM’s Snowball Problem

Kill Zone and Bladestorm

Kill Zone And Bladestorm

BAFTA Featured

An Idea For More Flexible Indie Game Awards

Sectors Header

Teaching Heat Signature’s Ship Generator To Think In Sectors

DXHR Open area

What Works And Why: Multiple Routes In Deus Ex

Heat Signature Natural Numbers

Natural Numbers In Game Design

Pharma Header

Naming Drugs Honestly In Big Pharma

Writing vs Programming

Make A Game Tutorial Thumbnail Featured IMage

Let Me Show You How To Make A Game

New Heat Signature Video: Galaxies, Suction And Wrench-Throwing

Her Story banner

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

Invisible Header

What Works And Why: Invisible Inc

Super Game Jam Header

Our Super Game Jam Episode Is Out

Shadow of Mordor Header 2

What Works And Why: Sauron’s Army

Heat Signature Talk

Showing Heat Signature At Fantastic Arcade And EGX


What I’m Working On And What I’ve Done

Murder, She Wrote

The Formula For An Episode Of Murder, She Wrote

Heat Signature Wide 2

Heat Signature Needs An Artist And A Composer

Heat Signature Floorplans Header

Improving Heat Signature’s Randomly Generated Ships, Inside And Out

Gunpoint Steam Workshop

Gunpoint Patch: New Engine, Steam Workshop, And More

Distance Header

Distance: A Visual Short Story For The Space Cowboy Game Jam

The Magic Circle

Raising An Army Of Flying Dogs In The Magic Circle

Floating Point Blog Launch

Floating Point Is Out! And Free! On Steam! Watch A Trailer!

Floating Sine

Drawing With Gravity In Floating Point


What’s Your Fault?

Hoplite banner

The Randomised Tactical Elegance Of Hoplite

Gone Point

Here I Am Being Interviewed By Steve Gaynor For Tone Control

Heat Signature Thumbnail

Heat Signature: A Game About Sneaking Aboard Randomly Generated Spaceships

GRappling Hook Thumbnail

The Grappling Hook Game, Dev Log 6: The Accomplice

Alien Swarm Heroics

A Story Of Heroism In Alien Swarm

FTL Story

One Desperate Battle In FTL

Spelunky Banner

To Hell And Back In Spelunky

Game vs story graph

Games Vs Story 2

Gunpoint Breakdown

Gunpoint Development Breakdown

Max Payne 3

Five Things I Learned About Game Criticism In Nine Years At PC Gamer

This is how you die

My Short Story For The Second Machine Of Death Collection


Not Being An Asshole In An Argument

Skyrim Diary - Frostmere

Playing Skyrim With Nothing But Illusion

Mainstream Games

How Mainstream Games Butchered Themselves, And Why It’s My Fault


A Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

Dark Messiah

The Magical Logic Of Dark Messiah’s Boot


Arguing On The Internet


Shopstorm, A Spelunky Story

Stealth Games

Why Are Stealth Games Cool?


E3’s Violence Overload, Versus Gaming’s Usual Violence Overload

Suspicious Manifesto

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

What Makes Games Good

Seat Quest

A Story Of Plane Seats And Class

Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron

Beneath Suspicion

Avoiding Suspicion At The US Embassy

Open Worlds

An Idea For A Better Open World Game

Level Up

A Different Way To Level Up

BioShock Ending

How I Would Have Ended BioShock

Meet the Spy

My Script For A Team Fortress 2 Short About The Spy

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 Unlockable Weapon Ideas

Football Manager

Don’t Make Me Play Football Manager

EVE Assassins

EVE’s Assassins And The Kill That Shocked A Galaxy

GalCiv 2

My Galactic Civilizations 2 War Diary


I Played Through Episode Two Holding A Goddamn Gnome

Machine of Death

My Short Story For The Machine Of Death Collection

Blood money and sex

Blood Money And Sex


A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

Second Life

First Night, Second Life


SWAT 4: The Movie Script

Reasons To Look Forward To Just Cause 2, No. 13

just cause 20


Joey: Most Excellent!

EGTF: *Looks at diary*
*Writes out a week for infinite parachuting and jet jacking*
*Sits back and feels happy*

Davie: My goodness yes. That and tethering chasing jeeps to bridge pylons, then sticking C4 to them so they fly off the bridge and explode. This game shall be epic.

Tom Francis: Reason number 12, in case anyone missed it: http://www.gametrail...

Jazmeister: Imagine playing a multiplayer game where you control that plane, and then this guy is suddenly crawling around on there.

skizelo: Jaz... That was Battlefield 1942 wasn't it?

Aftershock: Planewalking in 1942 was hilarious. Got about 20 people on a fighter once.

Also, cannot wait for this. Do we have a release date yet?

Lack_26: What I'm planning on doing is attaching a vehicle to the plane, before getting in the vehicle.

Jazmeister: Never played any of the battlefield games. Sounds fun! Anyway, I'm talking about dangerous tinymans, not silly tinymans.

Tom Francis: Hah. I wanna know what happens if, just as that passenger jet is taking off, you rope its wing to the ground.

You could stand on fighter jets in BF2, too, but it was a little touch or go. I once used my friend Steve as a mobile sniping platform:

All they're saying about the release is 2010.

Jason L: A second excuse in the last week to mention Rocket Jockey! Aside from being excellent fun, it's another of those happy few games about roping things together in 3D. Roping two opponents together counts as an instakill.

Atlantic: This is the only game I have ever seen described as having "infinite parachute." I think that is wonderful in so many ways.

Lack_26: Not enough games have 'infinite parachute', GTA IV would have been a much better game for it.

Smurfy: bonner

Ludo: I love that trailer. The bit where he tethers a dude to the jet as it takes of makes me burst out laughing every time.

Rei Onryou: I'm glad that the devs have gone "What can we do to make this game as batshit crazy fun as possible?" and then gone further.

EGTF: How long can the grappling stuff to other stuff go? Is it just one to one, or can you link several enemies together then attach the final one to a car which you drive off in?

Tom Francis: Just one link active at a time.

Ronnoc: Are you sure? I think I've seen a video of multiple guys dragging behind a car...

Jossoy: There's a.. man out there

Tom Francis: Yep, I've played it. If that video exists, it's changed since then.

The Defenestrator: I think everyone pronounces the name of this game wrong. It's really a description of the game's style. Why did you tether that guy to a gas canister and then shoot it so it pulls him off a building? Just 'Cause.

Tom Francis: Heh, made that joke at the time: http://www.pentadact... ...just-cause

spuzman: You mean people don't pronounce it that way already? I certainly do.

Haven't looked too much at the game myself, so I will ask-- can you also fly that plane if you so desire?

Jackrabbit: You make a compelling argument sir.

Roadrunner: It passes the main thing I care about, graphics.

Slamhound: Oh my goodness, this is awesome.

Pod: This image would be even better if the guy had whipped a rope under the "chin" of the plan and was using that to steer it, like some kind of massive fell beast.

SAeN: Because of this picture and many of your grappling hook themed enthusiasm, I will definately be buying this game!!

NotSoLegit: Magnificent