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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

    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!