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TOM FRANCIS
REGRETS THIS ALREADY

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.

Theme

By me. Uses Adaptive Images by Matt Wilcox.

  • html color: This is the information I am looking for. This article is clear and easy to understand. I’m...
  • Grant: Thanks to the start of this video, I’ve just now noticed that during the static flickers while staring...
  • Ben: Great analysis. During the lab sequence in the Prey intro, you were looking around for tells that Morgan is in a...
  • RoboLeg: this game would be PERFECT for mobile, and I’d happily pay 10 bucks or so for it.
  • Jepp: 1) Please keep critiquing games by building new ones :) 2) The non-hand holding, simple systems integrating...
  • 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

    Ludum Dare Day 2, 1PM: Feature Complete

    Which is to say: not graphics or content complete. So brace yourself for a painfully similar screenshot:

    Snowbot 4

    But the two tiny changes you do see represent pretty much everything else I needed to get done for the game to make sense: you can now scan enemies when they’re not looking to steal the details of their weapons, then use that info to rebuild their guns, shields and engines when they’re dead.

    I’m happy I’ve got to this point, but there’s a lot more to do. I have a choice of a few fairly major areas to work on, and I’ll list them in my current priority order:

    • Player guidance: Even in an ultra quick experimental game I don’t think this step is remotely skippable. If I don’t get a few basic tutorial messages in to explain how to play the game, no amount of readmes will ever make up for it.
    • Balance: Bots of random strength spawn in random positions. So that kinda sucks. I just need a few lines of code to make weaker ones spawn near the player, tougher ones further away, and to make certain configurations excitingly rare. This’ll have a big effect on how much fun it is to play.
    • Environment: I’d like to add water around the edges to make this an island, and possibly a fortress wall at the top.
    • Objective: Right now there’s no long term objective. Ideally I’d like to have you scanning and stealing parts until you’re strong enough to assualt a fortified wall to the north and escape.
    • Graphics: I must at least make some proper plasma blasts, and ideally add explosion effects and a better player bot. I also need to take one more go at making snow look less awful – I’d like to make it grainy and randomise the ‘dunes’ a bit.
    • Extra feature: scale. I’d really like to have double- and half-size bots roaming around, with accordingly different toughness and speed.

    The reason graphics is so low is that the time it takes is such a wildcard – sometimes I get something bad right away, other times it takes me hours to make something bad.

    Let me know if you think my priority order is nuts.

    Current title idea: Scanno Domini. Other scan puns welcome.

    More

    DanPryce: Scantarctic Scandroid?

    Adam Luttman: Gritter Hero?

    LaZodiac: I don't exactly get the Scanno Domini pun, but I think it would be a good title if you were able to reprogram enemies after scanning them, to put them on your side.

    Also, I think your priority order is correct. A good way to accomplish the player guidence thing is make a title screen to the game that has the option of viewing the controls, and maybe some helpful minor hints.

    Phydaux: If you had made the scan some sort of "grapple" mini-game you could call it QuazaScan.

    Plumberduck: A Scanner Dorkly?
    Yes We Scan!
    Super Sexy Robot Scan-dal
    The Scannes Film Festival
    A Scandal in Bohemia

    Bret: Plan n' Scan?

    Nonomu198: Omniscan
    Scanadia
    Combot (from Half Life)
    Salvage Detective..?

    If you're having hard time deciding, you can have multiple, random subtitles, like in Minecraft or Dwarf Fortress (though I think the Dwarf Fortress subtitles devolve directly from gameplay).

    Plumberduck: Oh, you had a great name for your other game. Just because you threw it away is no reason not to use it here.

    Private Dick lives!

    LeSwordfish: I'm Scanning, Scanning, and i hope you like Scanning too.

    EthZee: I don't know how difficult this is, but slightly out-there idea for tutorial:

    On the opening screen, where the bot starts, have the instructions pasted on the ground. LEFT CLICK TO MOVE, RIGHT CLICK TO FIRE, etc etc.

    When the bot moves away, make the instructions disappear.

    Or maybe just have a small help screen pop up when you press H, or something.

    ckpk: Submodule.Aquisition.Control.Network

    please post this time D:

    ckpk: swap the A and the C ¬¬

    Crane: "To Crush 'Neath Scandled Feet"

    Jason L: Through A Scanner Whitely