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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.

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By me. Uses Adaptive Images by Matt Wilcox.

  • 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...
  • Jack: Are you going to release Morphblade for iOS or the Nintendo Switch? I would really like to play this on my...
  • Spaceman Moses: One-eyeing this on my phone from the depths of my covers I lazily ask: what do you mean XCOM2 clarity...
  • kripto: For what it’s worth, I also like Morphblade more than Imbroglio. Although, to be fair, I’ve also...
  • Hitman header tunnel

    Rewarding Creative Play Styles In Hitman

    Far Cry Primal Thumbnail

    Postcards From Far Cry Primal

    Snowball jack header

    Solving XCOM’s Snowball Problem

    Kill Zone and Bladestorm

    Kill Zone And Bladestorm

    BAFTA Featured

    An Idea For More Flexible Indie Game Awards

    Sectors Header

    Teaching Heat Signature’s Ship Generator To Think In Sectors

    DXHR Open area

    What Works And Why: Multiple Routes In Deus Ex

    Heat Signature Natural Numbers

    Natural Numbers In Game Design

    Pharma Header

    Naming Drugs Honestly In Big Pharma

    Writing vs Programming

    Make A Game Tutorial Thumbnail Featured IMage

    Let Me Show You How To Make A Game

    New Heat Signature Video: Galaxies, Suction And Wrench-Throwing

    Her Story banner

    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

    Invisible Header

    What Works And Why: Invisible Inc

    Super Game Jam Header

    Our Super Game Jam Episode Is Out

    Shadow of Mordor Header 2

    What Works And Why: Sauron’s Army

    Heat Signature Talk

    Showing Heat Signature At Fantastic Arcade And EGX

    Projects

    What I’m Working On And What I’ve Done

    Murder, She Wrote

    The Formula For An Episode Of Murder, She Wrote

    Heat Signature Wide 2

    Heat Signature Needs An Artist And A Composer

    Heat Signature Floorplans Header

    Improving Heat Signature’s Randomly Generated Ships, Inside And Out

    Gunpoint Steam Workshop

    Gunpoint Patch: New Engine, Steam Workshop, And More

    Distance Header

    Distance: A Visual Short Story For The Space Cowboy Game Jam

    The Magic Circle

    Raising An Army Of Flying Dogs In The Magic Circle

    Floating Point Blog Launch

    Floating Point Is Out! And Free! On Steam! Watch A Trailer!

    Floating Sine

    Drawing With Gravity In Floating Point

    Fault

    What’s Your Fault?

    Hoplite banner

    The Randomised Tactical Elegance Of Hoplite

    Gone Point

    Here I Am Being Interviewed By Steve Gaynor For Tone Control

    Heat Signature Thumbnail

    Heat Signature: A Game About Sneaking Aboard Randomly Generated Spaceships

    GRappling Hook Thumbnail

    The Grappling Hook Game, Dev Log 6: The Accomplice

    Alien Swarm Heroics

    A Story Of Heroism In Alien Swarm

    FTL Story

    One Desperate Battle In FTL

    Spelunky Banner

    To Hell And Back In Spelunky

    Game vs story graph

    Games Vs Story 2

    Gunpoint Breakdown

    Gunpoint Development Breakdown

    Max Payne 3

    Five Things I Learned About Game Criticism In Nine Years At PC Gamer

    This is how you die

    My Short Story For The Second Machine Of Death Collection

    Clouds

    Not Being An Asshole In An Argument

    Skyrim Diary - Frostmere

    Playing Skyrim With Nothing But Illusion

    Mainstream Games

    How Mainstream Games Butchered Themselves, And Why It’s My Fault

    A-Rock-and-a-Hard-Place-Trio-Jan

    A Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

    Dark Messiah

    The Magical Logic Of Dark Messiah’s Boot

    Arguing

    Arguing On The Internet

    Spelunky

    Shopstorm, A Spelunky Story

    Stealth Games

    Why Are Stealth Games Cool?

    Violence

    E3’s Violence Overload, Versus Gaming’s Usual Violence Overload

    Suspicious Manifesto

    The Suspicious Developments manifesto

    GDC

    GDC Talk: How To Explain Your Game To An Asshole

    Crosslink

    Listening To Your Sound Effects For Gunpoint

    Happiness

    Understanding Your Brain

    What Makes Games Good

    What Makes Games Good

    Seat Quest

    A Story Of Plane Seats And Class

    Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron

    Beneath Suspicion

    Avoiding Suspicion At The US Embassy

    Open Worlds

    An Idea For A Better Open World Game

    Level Up

    A Different Way To Level Up

    BioShock Ending

    How I Would Have Ended BioShock

    Meet the Spy

    My Script For A Team Fortress 2 Short About The Spy

    Team Fortress 2

    Team Fortress 2 Unlockable Weapon Ideas

    Football Manager

    Don’t Make Me Play Football Manager

    EVE Assassins

    EVE’s Assassins And The Kill That Shocked A Galaxy

    GalCiv 2

    My Galactic Civilizations 2 War Diary

    Gnome

    I Played Through Episode Two Holding A Goddamn Gnome

    Machine of Death

    My Short Story For The Machine Of Death Collection

    Blood money and sex

    Blood Money And Sex

    AOL

    A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

    Second Life

    First Night, Second Life

    SWAT 4

    SWAT 4: The Movie Script

    The Podcast Of My Machine Of Death Story Is Out

    The stories from the Machine of Death collection are being gradually released as a free podcast, a sort of episodic audiobook. Mine just came out, read rather excellently by Christopher Joseph. Warning! Strong language from the first word.

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

    Not totally sure why I don’t get a mention, I think that might be an oversight. The site makes it clear enough who wrote it so it’s no big deal.

    One of many reasons I declined to read my own story was that my narrator is American and I am not, so it’s great to hear it in its pseudo-native tongue. The flipside, of course, is that I’m not perfect at expressing the exact tone of voice characters are using, so inevitably there are parts that aren’t as I’d imagined them. I don’t mind that at all – my narrator is intentionally not me in some important ways, so it’s kind of nice to hear him say things the way I wouldn’t.

    It also makes me realise how much clearer I need to be about who’s speaking. Chris always gets it right, but without doing some kind of comedy accent for one of the characters, that’s not enough for the listener to always know. I think I’m meant to write scripts rather than prose, I don’t really care how non-dialogue information is communicated so long as it’s clear.

    Here’s the direct MP3 link if you want to download it, or the RSS link to subscribe.

    The book is now $12 from Amazon.com or £11 from Amazon.co.uk. You can also get it as an iBook for $5.99 or on the Kindle for £7.29.

    The whole thing is also free in PDF form, and the text of my story for it is online here.

    More ,

    Chris: Noice

    Lack26: I've only been listening to the podcasts so far and I have to say this is probably joint favourite with ALMOND, excellent listen, although one or two lines jarred a bit with been read out-loud, but it was literally one or two lines.

    Tom Francis: Hurray! Thanks.

    Tweets that mention The Podcast Of My Machine Of Death Story Is Out, by Tom Francis -- Topsy.com: [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tom Francis and Tom Francis, Phil Savage. Phil Savage said: Oh, @Pentadact's Machine of Death story's been podcasted. It's totes good, with shades of Primer (sans the WTF headache) http://t.co/DFckwEg [...]

    David Malki !: Hi Tom! I want to apologize about the omission of your name from the audio -- that was a mistake in the editing and has now been corrected with a mention at the very beginning.

    To the note about being clear who's speaking -- it's been very interesting and educational for us, directing and editing these stories in audio, to see how a difference in medium can affect comprehension. For example, I've learned that sometimes things like "he said," "Bob said," etc. are often added to audio scripts for clarity, even though it might be perfectly clear in text form. We're learning as we go!

    Glad to hear you like the reading!

    p.s. "a job fucking lot of them" is not an Americanism, I'm sorry, Tom. :) Chris and I had to Google it.

    Tom Francis: Sweet, thanks.

    Yeah, I figured, but not during editing for some reason. I was going to mock myself in this post about that, but forgot. Let's just say Pete's British and he picked it up from him.

    UberSprode: Thanks for reminding me about this. Totally forgot and ordered the book on the weekend, just arrived today.
    Looks like a great read!

    sQUEAKYfOAMpEANUT: Tom, I'd just like to reiterate that your story was my absolute favourite in the story.

    sQUEAKYfOAMpEANUT: I meant to say "in the book".

    Fuck.

    Tom Francis: Cheers!

    Interestingly SUICIDE almost works as a sequel to it - there's only one detail in there that clashes with the world of my story, and some of the rest is almost creepily consistent.

    ihranator: Kinda offtopic here, but what the hell happened to Chris? First Person Shouter is no more, and First Person Observer's not been updated for months.

    Jason L: He...starts a lot of projects. On balance, I think it beats overstaying your welcome.

    Oak: He's also deleted his Twitter. What's going on?

    Tom Francis: He's not dead, just not doing as much writing-about-games-on-the-internet. He is planning to get back into the habit soon. He writes US PCG's back page most months I think.

    ihranator: Well any info is good info. Thanks.