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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

Why Graham, Rich And Jaz Should Get Forged Alliance

I was about to send an e-mail to Graham, Rich and Jaz explaining why they should get Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance and play against the AI with me sometime, then I started digging out screenshots for supporting evidence, then I realised I’d put way too much effort into this and that the shots were kinda cool.

SupCom 2 is now truly brilliant, but it’s still a different game. Here’s what’s still cool about the last one.

Forged Alliance - CarrierThis is what it looks like when you launch fighter/bombers from an aircraft carrier.

Forged Alliance - SaucerThis is what it looks like when you launch torpedo bombers from an aircraft-carrying flying saucer.

Forged Alliance - MonkeylordsThis is what a lot of Monkeylords look like.

Forged Alliance - WaterlordsIn SupCom 1, heavy shit just walks on the sea bed.

Forged Alliance - StormAnd Monkeylords don’t really care about transport fire.

Forged Alliance - Laser FaceFace lasers were longer range.

Forged Alliance - AssistYou sure could set a lot of shit to assist a thing.

Forged Alliance - BomberThe fourth race has a bomber the size of a stadium. Those explosions? Those were battleships. That was one bomb.

Forged Alliance - CitiesThe fourth race has kind of awesome cities.

Forged Alliance - LoyalistsTech 3 units are utterly badass. Here’s me discovering that Tech 3 Cybran assault bots can turn tactical missiles around mid-air.

Forged Alliance - MoonYou can play on custom maps, such as the fucking moon.

Forged Alliance - Seton'sAnd Seton’s Clutch was actually big.

It’s £10 on Impulse.


Jaz: I actually had it at one point. I wonder if it's sitting in a packing crate somewhere. It may just be easier to do Impulse, though. HMMM.

Davie: The first game never did much for me. I haven't played FA though, and I have to say, those screenshots are damn snazzy. I do miss not being able to play on a 1000-square-mile map.

Octaeder: Well, I came close to buying this before remembering to check various download services to find that I already owned it. Hooray for drunken sale purchases!

Steve: Is there any real reason why Sup Com 2 has smaller maps? Of all the criticisms that some people voiced about the design decisions of the original game, I didn't think that "The maps were too big" was one of them.

Tom Francis: I hate to be this guy, but in this case it legitimately was The Consoles. You can do lots to make a game look nice on a 360, but memory is its hardest limit. The console version of SupCom 1 was dragged through the coals by most, including me, for chugging appallingly.

Mickiscoole: Seton's Clutch was amazing. So very huge

Skusey: I forget how much smaller SupCom2 is. Unless somebody reminds me of SupCom1, I always think that 2 is massive. Although the new Seton's Clutch is a bit shit.

Joe: I have Forged Alliance! Was an amazing expansion, the incorporation of the Sorian AI made it hard as nails - I, like you, found the original Sup Com AI to be somewhat lacking, but Forged Alliance really taxed me.

Also, echoing what others have said, Seton's Clutch is astonishing, probably one of my favourite RTS maps of all time actually.