All posts


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.

Heat Signature’s Launch, And First Player Legend

A Leftfield Solution To An XCOM Disaster

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

Failing Fast In GTA V, Parts 1-10

About me: I am a bad driver, I don’t know any modern colloquialisms, and I just want everyone to be nice. In this video series, I attempt to play Grand Theft Auto V: Angry Jerks Steal Cars And Money And Yell At Each Other. It goes wrong in what might be record time.

We’re up to Part 10 now, click the listy button in the top left to skip to an episode.

More ,

Chris Evans: I found myself stuck in a train yard, with an utterly bashed up car and finishing probably five minutes after our friend in the red car. Great fun.

Jonathan Furnari: Hey, at least you were driving on he right side of the road, most of the time

Tom C: Have you noticed anything that sets it apart from the previous entries?

Diego: This was hilarious. I specially like the idea of cops made of gold fish and SMALL TALK TIME.

Martin E: It'd be perfectly fine with me to play GTA V through you as a proxy. That way I get to see only the interesting stuff and I do enjoy your commentary.

Bret: Wow.

Franklin has the worst friends.

Franklin, if your friends get you fired then nearly killed and arrested inside of a week, while insulting you and blaming you for everything that goes wrong, maybe it's time to get new friends.

Now, if they paid for the magic shotgun, that would be different.

Felix: I watched every episode so far and I don't understand why you're still playing and commenting on the story missions. You made your point during the first episodes that GTA V is a horribly strict game. Fine. I liked your article about how we "dicks" are the reason why mainstream games suck but don't you think there's room for games like this? Not every game has to be as brilliant as Deux Ex which accepts and even reacts to the most "dickish" things the player does. The story part of GTA games has always been a pretty strict and linear experience. GTA V is maybe even more scripted than the previous installments but what's the point of still critizing this? The audience knows what they're going to get. I expected exaggerated characters and silly sex jokes in a story that's all about a perverted version of the american dream while parodying a particular time period. Because that's what GTA was always about. Of course the writing isn't great. If it were, Dan Houser would be writing scripts for Hollywood. Just lower your expectations, GTA V won't change the state of video games.
I like your videos and articles and I love Gunpoint but it's weird to see you wasting so much time (you even edit these GTA videos!) with something you don't really enjoy.

Sorry for my bad english, I'm not a native speaker. Looking forward to your amazing Spelunky Daily Challenges. :)

Tom Francis: I'm enjoying it! But I'm not going to pretend to like the bits of it I don't like, just because they're expected.

Don't think of this as taking up my time. This is what I do to unwind for 20 minutes when I'm finished with my work for the day.

I understand if you find the criticism annoying and don't want to watch. Others find it cathartic to know they're not the only ones who don't think it's perfect.

LeSwordfish: Surely it should be "Bonnet Time"

Not a Game podcast episode 13 – Third date game – Not a game podcast | PC Gaming | GamingDaily: […] Tom Francis’ extremely polite version of GTA. […]

DOOMCAKE: Wait, a former PC Gamer writer using a console? Heresy, Tom!