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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

This Is All I Can Think During StarCraft 2’s Cut Scenes

I have the following problem with the armour in StarCraft II

The Cheshire Cat: Clearly you don't know what a person is shaped like. I think the PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS at Blizzard would be a bit more familiar with that than you, a human being!

Anonymous: You do know what power armor is, right?

rex: Yeah, I have to assume they're all cyborgs, like roided out Robocops to take those cut scenes seriously. Either that or they're all curled like babies in the chest compartment and work the arms/legs with little game pads.

Andrew: Hahahahahahaha! AHAHAHAHAHA!

I just got the game, you SWINE, you utter GIT! I know they could be fucking huge (with tiny heads) but this is so much more silly.


I also wonder what Kinect would think of them, hahahaha! :)

Korolev: Yeah, clearly the terrans in this game aren't properly proportioned. You could argue that it's "power armour" and that the armour is an extension of the human form, but if you watch the opening cutscene of SCII, you clearly see them fitting the glove of the armor around Tychus's hand, which means that the arms are SUPPOSED to be that long, which is RIDICULOUS.

The artists at blizzard have clearly gone for effect rather than realism, and it's not that bad. I did have to admit that I found the hugeness of the Armour, contrasted with the tinyness of the head, a bit strange.

Anonymous: Watch the video again, his arms only reach to controllers just before the suit's hands.

Davie: In the cinematic I'm pretty sure I saw his arms actually get removed, then have robotic extensions put in his shoulders so that they were two feet wider. Because having only one usable arm joint would really suck in a fight.

It's based off the 40k design, of course, but in that case the Marines are actually shaped like their suits thanks to good old genetic modification. Since the Terrans are regular humans and putting one in his armor only takes three minutes, the design doesn't quite--OH MY GOD, I AM STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS.

Steg: Um, in the opening Cinematic it shows that the hand of the person inside isn't close to the actual hand in the armour, It's not even at the wrist.

MrBlue: Someone didn't watch the opening cutscene.

Nick: These people are fucking space-aged inmates, if you think theyre ganna be anything less than gorilla-specimens of the human race, youre a moron.

On top of that, the suit extensions account for about 1/3 of their total arm length (as CLEARLY shown in the opening cinematic)

Laser-welded and riveted armor plating isn't anything less than bulky

Dan: Anger! Space suit anger!

How dare you space my suit and say men are tiny, when clearly they have been stretched in a taffy pull like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Checkers: Teran marines don't resemble the 40K design. It resembles Samus's suit with the balled off almost equally offensive shoulder placement. Space Marine armor pieces are solid, unlike the character lines shown in her suit which are similar to Teran armor. Genetics has nothing to do with the armor fitting. The over size plates are half belled and lay over the shoulders. I've seen Space Marine costumes that prove normal shoulders work in a suit. The real question is: how the $^#*@ you aim a gun in those things? Oh yeah, lets not forget Terans don't need a jetpack to compensate for the unwieldy balance of the suit. Maybe they should have gone with 40K design. At least then they wouldn't have ladder rungs for arms. Anyways, in the end, IT'S FICTION! =P

fu: Presumably the Marine rifles are designed with the range of motion in mind. Don't forget that since the operator's hand isn't anywhere near the armor wrist the wrist can bend at otherwise impossible angels. The suit probably also contains a servo system similar to the one use in Starship Troopers (although those suits used jetpacks for jumps like Terran Marauders.)

solid: Watch the damn cinematic again, you'll probably pull your own post down.

Alfred: They detach their arms to fit the suit. That stuff is possible in the future.

Ken: I thought the same thing for every cutscene: "Man, where do his elbows go in that armor?"

Crowbar: Fuck you, Tom! When you make fun of my space soldier, you make fun of ME! And I'll find you and cut you up for doing so! RAAAAAAGE!


HAHAHAHAAHAH: LOLOLOL stupid terrans!!!

Tyrnek: Don't you just love it when OCD people all get together to argue about something completely inane as a result of a humorous observation? :P

Crowbar: It's the international pastime.

emptywalls: Hey maybe you people should quit arguing about this, and instead fix your damn internet connection so that when you are on my team, you don't freakin disconnect 5 minutes into the game!

Dan: emptywalls, they just don't like you

Mike: Maybe the PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS at blizzard are under some kind of delusion that their shoulders are wider then their heads... Oh... wait...

Try looking at the shape of some bodybuilder's upper bodies sometime...

Spanky: http://www.facebook.... ...038;ref=mf

Looks like you're wrong , Heres proof...

Someursault: All I can think during StarCraft 2's cut scenes is "Wow, this is incredibly bad writing."

Actually, that's what I think during pretty much all of the game's dialogue. I'm not too worked up about it, since the main feature for me is playing the online ladder, but the story and its presentation here are a joke compared to the old StarCraft and Brood War campaigns. Chock full of awful cliches, a lot of the "dramatic" scenes sound like they're from a parody that the voice actors mistakenly played straight. I can't be the only one who cringed as Raynor uttered lines like "Guys like me don't get second chances, darlin'. We just gotta finish what we begun."

Suejak: You can't change your shoulder-width by working out...

Even a Google Images bodybuilder has only a head's width of shoulders on either side of their head. SC2 space marines have epic shoulders...

Segnaro: @Somersault
I'm so glad I wasn't the only one who caught some of those wince-worthy cliches. I was afraid that if I mentioned it, the diehard fans who have waited a decade for the game to finish would cut me. D:

Milo Balls: nobody likes you

Tyrnek: @ Segnaro: Trust me. You weren't the only one.

The writing in the campaign is universally recognized as sh**, and pretty much the only ones who say otherwise are those who play multiplayer, those who never played/paid attention to the first Starcraft, and game reviewers (sorry PCG!).

However, the campaign missions themselves are actually pretty interesting, though I didn't really have any trouble until that one supernova mission, and only then because I made all the wrong units to fight immortals and archons.

ifatree: the helmet glass is obviously lensed to give greater FOV. makes them look tiny when they actually fill out the full height of the dome. why they have no necks? that's obviously the 'roids...

Meh: I'm an artist and I picked up on that oddness right away too. But then I thought "yeah well who gives a damn" and kept playing.

The cinematic tries to explain it some, but it's still a little odd. But so is the whole aliens in space thing too.

cretin: an audience will cheerfully swallow a big lie (marines in space) but choke on a tiny fib. (misproportioned limbs in cutscenes)

Jhoh: The armor looks stupid sure, but not as stupid as the cutscenes (every blizzard game since Diablo 2 ended has been "quick blow up the giant BLANK to stop the evil BLANK from controlling it, and when it explodes it will cure BLANK of the mystical BLANK disease."

DoctorDisaster: I can't decide which is better: "mythis guy I know's cosplay PROVES you are WRONG" or "I worked out so much my shoulders moved THREE FEET FARTHER FROM MY HEAD."

Man Raised By Puffins: It's somewhat glossed over in the fiction, but Futuremen have evolved the ability to unfurl their arms to tremendous lengths in much the same manner as an Albatross unfurls its wings (the joints in this arrangement naturally being concealed by folds of muscle). They also have a similar facility to extend their necks prodigiously, giving them the appearance of anthropoid giraffes and enabling the popular Terran pastime of Jovian neck wrestling.

Madness: "Oh yeah, lets not forget Terans don't need a jetpack to compensate for the unwieldy balance of the suit."

And who does? Space Marines certainly don't.

Red: This is called evolution....

LaZodiac: Can Marine's shoot up in this? I forget if they can. If not, we might have an answer as to why.

Walternat0r: Loving the comments of people actually offended by the amusing observation!

Wesman: @Walternat0r
Seriously, Why are people being rageing about this?

Jaz?: @Cretin: you're not supposed to actually believe the story of StarCraft. You are supposed to believe that it's telling a story about anatomically correct humanoids, though.

I agree, it looks like something has gone wrong with the scale of things in that picture. More disturbing, if you look closely at the pictures again, is the fact that the armour has giant splayed boobs.

TooNu: HAHAHA awesome

Wesman: @ Jaz?

I can never look at them the same way again.

Someursault: @Tyrnek
Oh, I'm a fan of the gameplay, even in the singleplayer. I played through on Brutal and was enjoying myself enough that I went back to get all the achievements.

But the story gets worse and worse the more you think about it. Where did Tosh pick up his Rastafarian look, accent, and voodoo fixation? Is that one of the classes they teach at the Ghost Academy? He can't have inherited the culture, since you enroll in the Academy by being selected in your infancy and you never see your own family again. The idea of this was that the Confederacy can brainwash you from birth into total loyalty and thus guarantee a reliable return on the excessive expense of training ghosts in the first place. They did this because if you're trained as an adult with your own opinions, you might go rogue on them and use that high-tech equipment and specialized knowledge to wreak all kinds of havoc. Wow, forward thinking there, guys!

Basically there's no reason that makes any sense and they just wanted to add some ethnicky flavor. The news segments were even worse -- apparently they weren't sure that I'd watch the first one, where the joke is that Kate is saying something good about you and then Donny interrupts her, so to be safe they decided to include the exact same joke with no variation in the next twenty-five.

Tyrnek: @Someursault: Yep. The more you think about the plot, the less sense it starts to make. In continuing your Ghost training line of thought, how does getting the training programs for the Ghost program automatically allow you to make your own? Like you said, they're trained from infancy in a controlled environment specifically designed to cultivate their abilities, complete with all the the latest in psionic technology.

Jim Raynor is a broke space pirate with a stolen ship. His (obviously unintentionally short) engineer finds it hard to find enough spare parts to keep the ship running. They can train Ghosts. What?

There are dozens more, but there's nothing said here that hasn't already been said. Starcraft II is not to be played for its story, unfortunately. It's really quite a shame, considering they had such a great body of material to work with.

Be fair to the TV guys though. Some of the commercials were hilarious.

Anonymous: in the scene with tychus getting outfitted the hand doesnt go over like a glove, his hands are somewhere farther up the suits arm and he operates the finger remotely.

1stGear: @Someursault

That's...exactly what Tosh did. Its why people keep calling him a space pirate. Its why he helps you attack a Dominion prison.

Someursault: That was my point. The only explanation for him having Rastafarian culture is that he must not have joined the Academy in his infancy, and that would never have happened because the whole rigid program was designed specifically to avoid cases like that.

Tyrnek: Pastafarian? ALL HAIL THE FSM!

But seriously, there's no point in arguing over this. Let's just all agree the writing is par (if not sub par) for a megacorporation's standards and move on.

Mr Bubbles: If you're looking for a memorable plot with complex characters and clever plot twists... then you're going to be massively disappointed.

If you're looking for a decent plot that ties a wide variety of RTS missions together in some coherent manner then you'll find SC2's plot quite serviceable.

Moony: Master Chief FTW

The MadMike: lol. yeah in that armor, they look like roided out, but retarded astronauts or buzz lightyears.

Arkives: The Anatomy is Horrible! D:

this site sucks: shoulders are 3 head widths,
all i can stare at is how inaccurate your stick figures are

LordXeras: seriuosly? their arms don't go through the shoulder plates, for one thing. also, they're built like massive bodybuilders! the marine's torso is shaped like an upside-down triangle, not a rectangle!

crazycatz: ......just watch the SCII trailer, when Tychus was about to wear this powered armor, before your write this foolish thought.....

Stu: Hey, if I had one of those suits, I'd find a way to fit in it.

jesus christ: you all realize its a fucking joke right? no? ok

FrozenFlame: Okay this comment might end all of this... I agree with the picture above (stick figs inside) if you watch "the deal" cinematic tychus' arms are bent in the cylinder things BUT if you watch movement as close as I do his WRISTS make the suit's elbows bend. AND its either tychus' hands are massive but if you look closely his knuckle area and fingertips already touch the end of the "triceps" of the suit which made him reach the cotrols of the glove easily and lets not forget the arm's position, its sideways what if he got his arms down? in my opinion, his hands will get closer to the middle of the triceps. Anyways i think blizzard made the suits really realisticly. Gday all :D

Post 500, by Tom Francis: [...] This Is All I Can Think During StarCraft 2?s Cut Scenes Can’t help noticing the popularity of posts in which I write little or nothing at [...]

Stop talking: OK yes there arms have a reason to be big but how many of you can keep your legs strait while you have a head sized piece of power armor between your legs

Groximus: well clearly Terrans are not Humans, they have different bodies. still pretty stupid cause i believe when they take out their armors their arms are not that long, actually they are pretty fat and short arms

Groximus: if you watch tycus cinematic, his hand doesn`t fit intro the glove, it fits much high, his finger tips are even higher than the armor Wrist