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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...
  • 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

    GHGC Dev Log 4: Rules Of Retraction

    I’ve finally found the right blend of Unity’s built-in physics and my own custom equations to make the rope in my grappling-hook-game prototype feel strong, reliable and satisfying to use. I also added a lamp post and made some things blue.

    If you want to hear about future updates, I’ll always post them on my Twitter.


    ghosttie: Buildings and lamp posts - how super heroic :)

    My friends and I had a lot of this sort of grappling hook fun in the original Worms about a million years ago - shoot-swing-release, shoot-swing-release all the way across the map without falling, which would end your turn.

    The following camera was hilarious :)

    Laurens Mathot: A quick way to maximize the game view, is the right-click the tab, and click 'maximize'. It's usually faster than toggling the 'maximize on play' button and restarting the game.

    Matt Woelk: These rope physics remind me very much of the rope in the Worms series of games. This is great though, because that rope was so much fun that after I discovered it, I used it when there was no good reason just because it was so fun!

    In short: looking forward to playing your game someday. :) Also, how about a co-op or battle mode? Imagine swarms of swinging rectangles.

    Naveen: In the original Worms games (well, not original, I'm pretty young). But in the games that I used to play with my older brother, Armageddon specifically, this reminds me of that, and I remember how much skill it required. I used to suck at it but my brother was so good, he could traverse the map which wasn't a cave. I.e. not grappling to the roof but rather jumping and grappling the ground, and just travelling a large space as if he was walking on these giant stilts or something. It took me a while to be able to use it well and it feels fucking awesome, but I could never do it as well as my brother.

    Naveen: Oh yeah, and in Worms when you had velocity and you hit the wall of say, a building (even though there weren't any buildings, but basically a vertical object), you would bounce off. And I don't know if you want that here, but it's a cool thing when you're scaling a building and rather than just waiting for your block to get to the top it has the physics where you're rappelling down a building and kicking off except it works going up the building too.

    Meathelix: I've got a behavior you can add to the player (or camera? can't remember) that will give you the follow behavior you're wanting without doing the hard parenting thing. It has parameters for camera smoothing rate as well as a dead zone in the middle where it won't move.

    Meathelix: What version control are you using? Don't think you've covered it in a previous vid, have you?

    Tom Francis: Rich: Very kind! If it's yours and you're totally OK with me using it in a potentially commercial thing, I'd be much obliged -

    I'm using Unity's own Asset Server for version control, figured their thing would be more closely integrated. Not quite sure how to set it up on my webspace though, so it's just running on one of my machines at the moment. (I backup offsite once a day by other means)

    Jason L: I've just reverified that it was the Worms Armageddon demo, with its 'Crazy Crates' ninja rope training/time trial minigame, that essentially served as a separate freeware game for my brother and me. The iconic mechanics, on a perfectly tuned level.

    Chris Davies: Well, I was going to say that this is essentially Worms Ninja Ropes: The Game, but seems like world+dog has beaten me to it.

    The Worms: Armageddon community has gotten strange and inbred over the years and all they play are "shopper" maps where you start with only ninja ropes, and all weapons are picked up from crates. I've always thought you could make an interesting anthropological study of ancient game communities and their weird evolved languages and traditions.

    Yaniv: Hi Francis,
    did you consider using Playmaker ? it's a visual scripting tools for unity.
    It's great : http://www.hutonggam...

    Heat Signature, A Stealth Space Game About Temperature - a post on Tom Francis' blog: […] GHGC is still my main project, I’m just taking a break from the brutal process of learning Unity to make something quick in Game Maker, where I already speak the language. How far I take this depends on how the next few features work out. […]