All posts

Games

Game development

Stories

Happiness

Personal

Music

TV

Film

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.

Theme

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

    Adventure Time

    Adventure Time Game Jam

    I did Ludum Dare once, where you make a game in a weekend, and it taught me loads about how to be ruthlessly efficient and cut things before you waste time on them. I’ve skipped every game jam since then, and every event except the IGF, to focus on Gunpoint.

    This weekend, though, I’m letting myself do one. Because a) I made loads of progress on Gunpoint last weekend, and am very close to being able to show you a new feature I haven’t announced yet, and b) this will probably be the only chance I ever get to legally make an Adventure Time game.

    It’s the Fantastic Arcade Game Making Frenzy, and this year’s theme is Pendleton Ward’s amazing cartoon Adventure Time. Pendleton himself gives the bizarre opening talk, and the organisers say you’re allowed to use any Adventure Time assets in your games.

    I want to make a game where you play as Jake, the magical stretchy dog, and have to co-operate with an AI-controlled Finn. It’s 11am on day one, and here’s what I have so far.

    I’ll update this post as I go.

    1pm. Goddamn it.

    4.30pm. Got the main ability in there. I love Finn and Jake’s relationship on the show, so I want to make a game where you’re constantly helping each other out. This is how you help Finn:

    How Finn helps you is what I’m working on next. Trying to figure out a way to represent it that doesn’t need too many frames of animation, because these sprites take a while to make.

    9.15pm. Paint Shop Pro 9 – at this point in my life, it’s easier to learn a foreign language than a new image editor.

    Most of the rest of the stuff I’ve done since 4 is making what I showed you at 4 actually work when you play around with it. In that build nothing was even solid to Jake. Now it’s got gravity, collision, and feels quite nice to mess around with.

    Hoping to get some rudimentary combat in today – if I do, that leaves me with loads of time tomorrow for making levels, enemies and systems, which is where it might get really cool.

    10.20pm. Yep! 

    As you can see, it’s not particularly robust yet. But the main thing I needed to know was whether I can get away with just two frames of animation for Finn’s combat, and I reckon I can. For a while, it was looking like animating Finn was going to be game-scuttlingly difficult, so that’s a relief.

    Day Two

    Lost a lot of time to three brutally difficult bugs today, but it all finally clicked together a few hours ago. Here’s a vid of one short level:

    The enemies are robots that have stolen some of Jake’s… junk, so Jake gets more junk when they’re killed, and can stretch further.

    Just after making this I got a random level generator working, and I’ve just made it so that the random levels get harder (and taller) as you play. Next I want to get some text-dialogue in there, then sound effects.

    1.55am. Done! It’s called Jake and the Infinite Jerkbots, and you can download it from that link and play it now.

    The fewer updates on Day 2 was directly proportional to the rising desperation to get certain things working – in other words, no time to blog. I’ll make one last video at some point, but right now I’d really like to eat and then sleep, so I’ll just give you a screenshot:

    More ,

    Lack 26: You could make it a feature, detachable arms.

    chequers: FINN HELP ME

    chequers: HELP FINN

    Aks: JOO CAN DOO EET

    Jory: This is looking fantastic, Tom! Surely you are a candidate for the fruit club subscription.

    JohnArr: Oh cool you do awesome sprites now as well?

    Kelsoh: This is actually amazing work, keep it up!!
    All I have at the moment is a simple platformer, with tonnes of bugs :/
    Looking forward to playing your game thought! :)

    Nico: I wonder if having Jake's legs stretch back down would look better than falling.

    Tom: Fantastic. This is seriously one of my favourite TV shows at the moment. I am gutted that the upcoming official game is to be released only on DS. At least I might be able to play this one!

    Sam Richards: Looks great, how did you do the limb stretching?

    Bret: So, that was fun.

    And the little dialog there was felt spot on.

    Good times.

    Adventure Time Game Post Mortem, by Tom Francis: [...] On the weekend of the 15th, Fantastic Arcade held an Adventure Time-themed Game Making Frenzy. It meant anyone could make a game with Adventure Time characters for the purposes of that compo, which is rare, so I did. [...]