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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...
  • 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


    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


    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


    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 Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

    Dark Messiah

    The Magical Logic Of Dark Messiah’s Boot


    Arguing On The Internet


    Shopstorm, A Spelunky Story

    Stealth Games

    Why Are Stealth Games Cool?


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

    Suspicious Manifesto

    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

    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


    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


    A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

    Second Life

    First Night, Second Life

    SWAT 4

    SWAT 4: The Movie Script

    Rosemary Bread

    Pane Rustico With Fresh Rosemary And Cheddar Crust

    Update! Loaf 2.

    I’ve had this recipe for Italian peasant bread bookmarked for about a year now, finally got round to trying it. Added a topping before the final lidless crusting blast.

    I think the professor’s flour-to-water ratios are off, or he’s using a different kind of flour: 2:1 is pretty much liquid, doesn’t come away from the bowl. I erred on the side of sticking to the numbers rather than tweaking until it did.

    Came out deliciously crispy and super soft, but quite dense in the middle. Next time I’ll keep adding flour till it’s a bit more solid, probably skip the fold-twice step, and leave it to prove in the same pan it’s going to be baked in.

    Bread is the most satisfying thing to make. I will definitely die from it.

    Update: Loaf 2.

    Made from a frozen portion of the dough for Loaf 1, thawed out and baked. Curious success! Wasn’t sure it would survive the chill, but it rose as it thawed out, and then proved more or less as it should.

    Same consistency as the last one, so I floured it heavily before proving. The last loaf seemed to deflate when I reshaped it for baking, so for this one I tried just leaving it in the pot and putting it straight in. You’re supposed to pre-heat the pot, but I still got the amazing crust I was after.

    Also added 15 minutes to the lid-off baking time, as planned. Definitely a good idea. This is not a bread you can eat quietly, but it’s a hugely satisfying crunch. I think that’s also why the middle is much lighter and fluffier.


    Walternat0r: That looks absolutely delicious, can you link the recipe?

    Walternat0r: Ignore. total idiot

    Sir Carolus: Was this post - and indeed this culinary foray - prompted by series 2 of The Great British Bake-off, by any chance?

    Lack_26: Forget the games, I'd prefer more cooking recipes. Actually, recipes with music recommendations in the middle.

    I made some bread from the Food of Westeros website, problem was I ended up with so much that I still couldn't finish it despite giving bits to people. So I just threw the stale bread into some soup as I was cooking it.

    Tom Francis: Nope, haven't been watching it this season. Did catch the bread episode last season for some tips, but they didn't seem to be doing anything much differently.

    Dan: You should check out this video, Tom. It'll give you an idea of the texture your bread should have had. ...3Ah9ES2yTU

    (The recipe you used is an alteration of the recipe in this video.) I've wanted to make it for a while, but have nothing to cook it in.

    TooNu: Bread matters is the baddest book about bread Tom. It's got the science, the history and everything you ever wanted to know and understand about the methods used to make bread and just..wahtever you want to know baout bread. It's truly an awesome book and I try to reccomend it as often as the subject comes up.

    This is the hardback:
    (that I own) ...038;sr=1-2

    Here is the paperback: ...038;sr=1-1

    I try to make bread often at home but at work I gotta make bread for the restaurant every god damn day. I got a sour dough ferment that's 2 years old BOOYAH!

    JohnArr: I can totally make microwave mug cake. This looks advanced. I hear you put living things in it at some point?

    Tom Francis: Geckos, yeah. You hardly notice them in the finished thing, though, they just sorta dissolve.

    Thanks for the vid and the book tip. I will improve!

    Chris: I would be quite happy if I could live off bread alone without, you know, dying and all that. Freshly baked bread of your own is just a whole new level of doughy goodness.

    I do have to ask though why you included that last shot because it looks so tasty I may just explode.

    TomBombadil: This is why I love you Tom, you're a professional writer, a life long gamer, and apparently a baker.

    finale: "This is not a bread you can eat quietly, but it’s a hugely satisfying crunch."

    I think you've found your Crosslink sound.