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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

Halloween 2010

Heroes Assemble #1Roughly from left to right: Craig as Dexter Morgan, Kim as The Scout, me as The Spy as Graham Smith, Jim as a witch, Anna as a witch, Graham as Minecraft Guy, Lisa as a dinosaur, Tim as a Murloc, Laura as Red Riding Hood, and Amanda as Sully.

World of Minecraft

I’m actually grinning.

"Blue Spy Stole The Pudding!"John made these amazing pumpkin desserts in little ramekin dishes, so he’s forgiven for coming as John Walker.

IMG_4195The wrap-around made this even scarier than I’d intended.

Grabby TomI eventually discovered for myself how disturbing it is to see someone else wearing your face.

Kim’s custom-made dog tags – “BONK!” and “I broke your stupid crap moron!”

Hide The KnivesI did not spend a lot of the evening with my mask correctly aligned.

IMG_4184Graham forgot not to sit down.


And making this video is why Rich Cobbett is forgiven for coming as Rich Cobbett.

In reference to this.

IMG_4176Pumpkin carving the previous night.

IMG_4214This was mine, a dramatic departure from last year’s.


Lack_26: I love the Minecraft costume, the Halloween party I went to ended with listening to The Who, talking about Pink Floyd and doing Krav maga (drunkenly).

Tweets that mention Halloween 2010, by Tom Francis — [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tom Francis and Lisa Evans, Lisa Evans. Lisa Evans said: RT @Pentadact: Me as Spy, Spy as Graham, Graham as Minecraft Guy, Kim as Scout, Craig as Dexter, Tim as Murloc: ... [...]

Jaz: But I came as John Walker.

Jonn: Is Jim British?

Tom Francis: Yes.

Dan: Is Winston Churchill British?

Bret: 50%.

Grill: Oh, I wish I'd come now. That's so awesome. Bath seemed so far away on Saturday...

Azurist: That third photo down from the top- I can't shake the feeling that if the face was blurred out, it would make a perfect Slenderman costume, if you've run into the mythos before.
The dogtags are a stroke of brilliance.

Sasha: Hey, what camera were you using? Your photos always have such nice colour to them that I can never get :(

Tom Francis: Me neither! These are my friend Richard Cobbett's. Looks like he uses a Nikon D90.

Jackrabbit: Zeebedee, wizard of the block.

Aeneas: No party is complete without Dexter the cat

Grumpy: Remember when Halloween in Britain was hardly celebrated and those people that did dress up did so as scary things, such as ghost, witches and skellingtons?


Greg Wild: Interesting. I went to my halloween party wearing a balaclava. You'd be surprised at how much attention coming as a semi-obscure Mexican revolutionary grabs you.

But in a word: Itchy.

Tom Francis: Well, we did have 3 murderers, 2 monsters, 2 witches and a dinosaur. And Minecraft guy is pretty creepy for his own reasons.

Entropy: I wouldn't call John Walker a monster