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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.

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

Clack: A Very Short Story Inspired By An Amazon Review

I tried to join in with Mikey Neumann’s challenge to write a story in 100 words, but I rambled over into 255. This story is inspired by a customer review of a product on Amazon – you’ll know which one if you’ve read it. I don’t have the link anymore so if anyone does please comment.

Clack. “I love you. Everything’s OK. I’m coming back.” Clack.

I don’t know what this place is. Everyone here looks so lost. They just sit there, in wheelchairs, looking lost. No-one’s helping them, and it’s heartbreaking, but I don’t know what I can do.

I wish I knew where Chris was. The bathroom? I want to ask him what we’re doing here, when we can leave.

It smells of, I don’t know, ointment. I don’t know which ointment, but it feels like it would be an ointment. I feel like the people here need a lot of ointment.

He’s taking a long time. I don’t know how long now. I have this after-image of him in that armchair, like he just got up for a second, but maybe he’s been gone a long time.

I’m worried now. I’m worried about me. I feel like this isn’t normal, not to know these things. I feel like I’m in a dream. I feel lost.

I suddenly realise there’s something in my hand. I don’t recognise it. It’s boxy and smooth and grey. My hands know it but I don’t know why and I’m scared and sick at how lost I am now.

I think Chris has gone. I think he’s just gone, and I’ll never know why or what I did wrong or what this place is.

My thumb is on a button and it wants to push it.

Clack. “I love you. Everything’s OK. I’m coming back to pick you up at six, same as always.”

chris: wat

John: heartbreaking!

Nick: What was the product that the review was for?

Matthew: I vaguely remember some sort of microphone-recorder, marketed on an infomercial to the elderly, to help them remember things like where they parked their car/the time of appointments/etc. (IE, you press a button, record a message, and then when you press a different button the message play back). Might that have been what inspired this story? (Sorry, I too forgot its name)

Madeline: I got what you plan, thanks for placing. Woh I am gladsome to endure this site finished search engines. Thanks Pertaining to Share Khmer Karaoke Megastars ? Somnangblogs.

Tom Francis: Stripped the spam links but I kinda wanna keep the text of that comment in all its glory.