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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.

  • 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...
  • Jack: Are you going to release Morphblade for iOS or the Nintendo Switch? I would really like to play this on my...
  • 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

    Let Us Mumble You Through Our Supreme Commander Game

    We finally got around to turning one of our many SupCom matches into a video you can watch. It’s the one written up in the latest mag, six of us versus two cheating AIs.


    conVOX: Watched it, enjoyed it, is it the sort of thing we can expect more of in the future?

    Diffractionman: Great battle, but your commentary and enthusiasm for every unit makes that video awesome. I want to jump back into SupCom 1's sheer brutality again. Even though it will mean learning how the economy works, there are so many fun units I haven't even built that just sound fantastic. Thanks a lot.

    Thanqol: It seemed a bit of a curbstomping, all told.

    westyfield: Please do more of these - as someone who is pretty terrible at SupCom, I found it very enjoyable to watch.

    1stGear: Interesting, and SupCom's scale is quite impressive, but the AIs really weren't as good as you were selling them to be, or were just completely overwhelmed. The only person who really got hit was Graham, the Soul Ripper was a total bust, and when the end came, both bases were just immediately rolled over.

    I'd love to see more SupCom commentaries but perhaps a bit more balanced, or with the AIs tweaked a bit.

    Tom Francis: We got crushed by the single AI in the previous game, which is why its difficulty and aggressiveness were dialled down in this one. We're gonna ramp it up again and let it expand in our next one.

    Jason L: Another in the 'thanks for trying but blah' column here, I'm afraid. I don't disbelieve that you were under threat, but the settings basically meant either you would crush them or they would crush you in a few minutes of activity at the end. No real targeted raids, no counter-vs-numbers clashes. That's more of a race than a game. And yeah, it doesn't help that an amazing mod to amazing AI for a game largely about resource allocation apparently can't run an economy. Positional problems are easy to forgive; resource planning and optimization are major roles for computers IRL, so it jars to see them bouncing off the bottom of their economies. The patrol routes were funny though.

    Chris: I thought those routes were scary, it's like skynet or something.

    Jason L: It doesn't have the advantage of you guys just playing it all the time anyway, but AI Wars is designed sspecifically around compstomp, specialised coordination and interesting decisions in all game phases.

    Joe R: I wish my computer could run a really massive game of Supcom - it just crumbles when I try and do a 4 Vs 4 with AIs - not necessarily low framerate, but the game speed drops to the point where one second of in game time is like 30 seconds of real life - not fun.

    Still an astonishing game though. Sup Com 2 may have had cool improvements and run better, but I simply loved the sheer diversity of units available in Sup Com 1 - especially Forged alliance. I loved how I could scramble torpedo bombers to take down an enemy fleet, but I could also use subs, surface ships, gunships, regular bombers or any combination of those.

    Starcraft 2 may be well balanced for competitive play, but its obsessive focus on balance and counters has, for me, totally diminished the fun of it - Sup com is just pure joy incarnate, the ultimate "comp stomp" rts. More videos please!

    Amazing SupCom game tonight – 7 of us vs a single AI. This is the base it built:, by Tom Francis: [...] you saw our final assault on the red base in the last big PCG game, imagine that being crushed. It didn’t even take them long to rebuild. Hopefully we’ll [...]