A stealth puzzle game that lets you rewire its levels to trick people.

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Out now! $10!


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Tom Francis

Character/Level Art

John Roberts

Background Art

Fabian van Dommelen

Mission Music

Ryan Ike

Title Music

John Robert Matz

Menu Music

Francisco Cerda


By Tom Francis. Uses Adaptive Images by Matt Wilcox.

How I Am Working

Gunpoint is going amazingly well. I’ve been splitting what’s left to do into little monthly task lists, and I’ve already finished everything I had down for March. I started making the game in May last year, and said I didn’t want it to take more than a year. So my aim is to release it this May. Expect it in July.

I typically only work on it about one weekend a month, and I forgot about it completely for two months last year. The two days I spent on it during the holidays shot it forwards to a really exciting point, and the feedback from testers on that version was amazing. So lately I’ve been spending about a third of my spare time on it – what we in the lazy industry call ‘crunch’.

Things are going so quickly partly because I’m excited, but mostly because I’ve figured out a good way to work. Some of it is obvious stuff that you know but don’t actually do until you learn it the hard way, some of it is specific to making a game, some of it is just generally useful. Here’s what I’d tell the Tom of May 2010 about getting shit done.

  • I am from the future. Your local lib dem MP will turn out to be a supervillian, but there isn’t really anything you can do about it.
  • Staying excited about a thing is a question of having a really attractive and friendly to-do list. Use bullet-points and shit. Put spaces between clusters of things that it’d be easier to do together, and split them into “This month”, “Next month”, and “Final features”. Five or six things in each, don’t make it scary.

    This thing is the focal point of everything you do on the project, and how it makes you feel is usually the deciding factor in whether you work on it or watch another episode of Downton Abbey. Downton Abbey is fucking superb, but there’s only like seven episodes so you really have to pace yourself.

  • Nothing is hard to do. If something seems hard, give up. You’ll come back in two days and solve it with three lines of code.
  • Some things are hard to fix, and fixing isn’t fun. If you don’t fix something immediately, give up. Move back to diagnosing the problem better by setting up little bits of debug text and disabling chunks of code. Almost every hard problem is solved by a tiny and easily attainable piece of knowledge.
  • Don’t write. Every word of fiction you type before making the game is a poison that will warp and deform it in ways that have nothing to do with fun. Make the game, see what’s fun, zero in on that, then write only what it needs to tie it together.
  • Don’t tweak. Get something working, then move on to getting the next thing working. Instead of spending three hours now fine tuning a few values, you’ll be playing a better game three hours later and suddenly know how that thing should look, feel and fit in. Or better yet, testers will complain about it in useful ways.
  • Talk about it. It’s worth the risk of boring your friends. I was planning to cut the ‘gunpoint’ mechanic from my game ‘Gunpoint’, until I explained my thought process to Graham. He said I should do the hardest version of the options I’d planned, I looked at it again, and realised it easy. Three lines of code.
  • Work towards a build, not the finished thing. Having a working build you wouldn’t dream of releasing is massively more useful than having nonfunctioning tatters of a game you probably would. Making Scanno Domini in a weekend taught me how finishing what you can often shows you that some of the other stuff you had planned isn’t necessary anyway.
  • When you’re done with something big, or well ahead, it is time for scotch, rain and smooth jazz. Sometimes it is that time anyway.


?: I tried to get a test copy of Gunpoint a few weeks ago by emailing you at the address you specified a few posts back. Nothing doing. Was I spam filtered or is that (maguffin/ service) now unavailable?

Jaz: I wish I could enjoy that link at the end. I'm not wild about jazz, and I can get the other two just by sitting downstairs, with a side order of rats in the walls.

Upsilon: A trailer, you say...

The_B: I'm worried in case the past you panics and tries to kill future you before you get the chance to inform him of your intention, say if he thinks you're a disguised Spy, for example...

Plumberduck: That is one EXCITING to-do list!

Cross-linked electrical floors... Mmmmm....

DrugCrazed: There's something interesting there about how much we complain about stories in games, how they're always written last and why games suck because of it...

Joseph: What happened with your MP? I remember you and the PC gamer types being very enthusiastic about him on May's podcast.

TooNu: Rain and Jazz just won the internet.

??: Both my questions answered with brutal efficiency. Well played sir. Apologies for bothering you and good luck with Gunpoint.

Tom Francis: Are you the single question mark guy from earlier? If so, I've replied to the wrong mail - you'll have to make it clearer who you are for me to put you on the list.

Generally, if you're up for testing but didn't say so at the time, I'll include you on the next version but won't send out the old one. It can get confusing to get feedback from old versions after a new one's done.

?Contrite Fool?: Yes, I was the single and double question mark guy. I think in future, I will refrain from trying to communicate with anyone on the internet.

My naturally secretive nature coupled with the fact I only attempt this nonsense while drunk can only lead to trouble. Again apologies, R. M.