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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.

  • 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...
  • 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

    PC Gamer Podcast 51: Mine, Part Mine

    Oh yeah, we pod a cast. I get to talk about what playing Deus Ex 3 was like, Rich gets to talk about what reviewing Dragon Age 2 was like, we discuss Bulletstorm’s stupidity, Shogun 2’s cleverity, and Battlefield 3 possibilities.

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    In which game can you part-own a mine? How hard can you throw something at someone’s head before they react? Are mages getting magier or less mageful? Would Team Fortress 2 work with 3,000 players?

    All these answers and no more, for the special person who Downloads/subscribes.

    Anonymous: I'm playing through Deus Ex one at the moment, and I'm very excited about DX3. It sounds amazing.

    SenatorPalpatine: ^me

    Rosti: This should be self evident, really, but an excellent podcast this time interval. More of This Sort of Thing, Please.

    dartt: Regarding the request to comment if you enjoy the podcast: Yep, enjoyed this one; the pleasant chatter provided calming ambient sound while I worked on my Solipskier hi-score.

    Lack26: Yep, I enjoyed it as well. Gave me something to listen to last-night/morning, it's nice to have a bit of chatter when everyone else has gone to sleep/failed to get up.

    Korolev: It's a nice podcast. I like it. There's really nothing else I can say - I don't have any suggestions. Just keep doing what you're doing.

    TooNu: The podcast is great, I've listened to them all but I agree that this one was more great.
    It is probably Deus Ex affecting the podcast, or the mage puns, or the feuds, it was just fun to listen to. Why don't you do more than 1 every few weeks?

    Tim Edwards job is to maintain the focus on the mag and how the podcast is 4 guys talking about things related to the new edition, but then it's so obvious that the 4 of you can go off on a tangent while still sticking to PC gaming. If you did even 2 podcasts per month you could get so much more freedom, spread the chatter over 2 podcasts and take it easy without feeling like you gotta get everythign into 1hr 20mins.

    I guess you guys just have too much work to cram in another podcast though, which is a fucking shame.

    OFFTOPIC: I go to NY on the 15th, my birthday is the 17th and my boat to JC Denton island leaves at 0900 on the 17th. When we get back I'm going to find the firehouse in Ghostbusters, Dana Barrets apartment building, the hotel in Home Alone 2, the bridge in central park in home Alone 2, the bookstore in You've got mail, then I'm going to Battery Park to find a homeless boy that sells secret codes for candy bars, then we eat at Less Halles at 2000 that evening.

    'I've said too much'

    Urthman: Tom, if the PC Gamer fellows won't let you go on about YouTube, you need to find some guys who'll do a less-focused podcast with you because we need to hear more of your awesome rants.

    (Are there other podcasts out there that you've contributed to or been a guest on?)

    DiscountNinja: I'm listening! It's awesome, and more Tom Francis puns please!

    Jason L: bug report: 'Recent PC Gamer' widget items load on individual post pages but not on main page

    Bret: Heard it.

    Like it.

    Bit long, innit?

    DiscountNinja: No! Length good.

    Tom Francis: Jason - in my experience it's pretty random whether it loads or not on both the main and post pages. I think the script gives up if PCG doesn't respond in a certain amount of time, so I rephrased the intro to that box so that it makes sense whether the list is there or not.

    Clint: Did you sneak a Grandaddy reference into one of the section headers of your Skyrim article by chance?

    Tom Francis: Yep! It was something like "Proud lineage" before, seemed too close not to take the opportunity.