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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.

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: 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.