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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.

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By me. Uses Adaptive Images by Matt Wilcox.

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

Projects

What I’m Working On And What I’ve Done

This is a list of games I’ve worked on or am working on and the things people usually ask me about them. I plan to keep it up to date, so if you spot anything that’s no longer true please let me know!

Current: Heat Signature

Heat Signature Strip 2

A space game where you can actually go inside the spaceships and beat up the crew and steal things and get shot.

Role: designer, programmer, writer, sound designer
Working with: John Roberts (art), Ivan Semidolin (music)
Made in: Game Maker Studio
Coming to: Windows
Release date: completely unknown
More info: dev log videos, development blog

Paused: Morphblade

morphblade-big-strip

A turn-based game where each hex you move to turns you into a different kind of weapon. Inspired by Michael Brough’s iOS game Imbroglio, but I ended up moving it to a hex grid, letting you build the grid as you play, getting rid of enemy health, and letting you upgrade weapons by crossbreeding them with each other, each pair having a unique result.

It’s basically done, but I’m holding it back because I feel like it needs one last tweak or twist to make each game of it different. Right now you tend to build the same hexes each time you play, once you’ve figured out the basics, because the challenge will be roughly the same. I’d like some reason for you to play differently each time. You can try the last build I released for free here, and comment here if you have any ideas on that.

Role: designer, programmer, artist, sound designer
Made in: Game Maker Studio
Coming to: Windows
Release date: unknown, but you can play a version of it here

Paused: Civ-Style Experiment

4X Igloos stripe

I thought it was a shame that Civ: Beyond Earth didn’t change the very messy and complicated formula Civ has built up over the years. So I decided to spend all the time I would be playing Civ on making my own Civ-style game, to see if some of my theories about how it could be simplified work out. Taking it off my plate for now, might come back to it the next time I’m annoyed about complexity in 4x games.

Role: designer, programmer
Made in: Unity
Coming to: Windows
Release date: unlikely to ever be finished
More info: videos

Paused: The Grappling Hook Game

Grappling Hook Game Wide

A game about a team of thieves using grappling hooks to help each other break into banks, hotels, casinos. Took a long time to get rope physics right as a Unity novice, ultimately decided Heat Signature was more viable with my skills at the time – and just as exciting.

Role: designer, programmer
Made in: Unity
Prospects: might get back to it after Heat Signature, if it still excites me then
More info: dev log videos

Floating Point

Floating Point Wide

A peaceful game about maintaining speed and grace by swinging yourself around randomly generated spaces with a rope. Built in three weeks from the rope physics I developed for the Grappling Hook Game.

Role: designer, programmer, sound designer
Working with: Form & Shape (music)
Made in: Unity
Out on: Windows, Mac and Linux (2014)
More info: trailer, dev log videos, development breakdown
Get it: free on Steam

SimAntics

SimAntics

Competitive multiplayer game about steering anteater tongues down randomly generated ant tunnels. Made in two days with Liselore Goedhart when we were on the Super Game Jam documentary.

Role: co-designer, programmer, writer, co-sound-designer
Working with: Liselore Goedhart (design, art)
Made in: Game Maker Studio
Out on: Windows (2014)
More info: my post with some thoughts on the episode and stills thereof
Get it: with the documentary series on Steam, which is $20 for 5 episodes and the 5 games made during them

Distance

Distance Wide

A visual short story by Natalie Hanke, made for the Space Cowboy game jam.

Role: programmer
Working with: Natalie Hanke (design, art, writing), Jukio Kallio (music)
Made in: Unity
Out on: Windows, Mac and Linux (2014)
Get it: free on itch.io

Gunpoint

Gunpoint Wide

A noir-themed creative infiltration game that lets you rewire its levels to get the jump on people and punch them endlessly in the face.

Role: designer, programmer, writer, sound designer
Working with: John Roberts (art), Fabian van Dommelen (art), Ryan Ike (music), John Robert Matz (music), Francisco Cerda (music), Abstraction Games (Mac & Linux port, ongoing support)
Made in: Game Maker 8.1
Out on: Windows (2013), Mac and Linux (2014)
More info: trailer, development breakdown, dev log videos, the whole development blog in chronological order, how its launch went, in-game commentary and a making-of feature are included in the Exclusive Edition,
Get it: free demo, full game $10 from us, comes with a Steam key

Game Jam Games

I’ve made three or four smaller games for other game jams, and written up ideas for a bunch more. You can see all that on the Game Jams tag.

gwathdring: Those anteaters are *adorable.*

Jason L: While we're on the editing period, I assume Jake and the Infinite Jerkbots and Through a Scanner Darkly fall below the threshold for this?

ConsoleTuner » Close to 0% of Steam users own Gunpoint: […] And Francis is living in that 0%, freed up by Gunpoint‘s success to work on all sorts of cool projects. […]

Heat Signature Playable At EGX And Fantastic Arcade - a post on the Heat Signature site: […] Tom Francis […]

Harry: I LOVED Gunpoint. Everything about the game is perfect. I mean the music, combined with the amazing visuals, combined with the unique theme... it created the perfect game! I have only one complaint: it was a bit short! You should add more storyline or create a sequel. But, overall, I think it deserves 11/10!

Brigid Choi: Hi, Pentadact,

My name is Brigid Choi, and I’d like to write music for you and your next game(s). I’m graduating in May from Emory University with a major in English and a minor in Music. So far, I’ve worked on a game called “Box” on Kongregate (http://www.kongregat... ...siogre/box). You can also hear my demos on my portfolio (https://brigidchoi.bandcamp.com/releases). I write a number of different styles, and I’m sure I can write a genre that you want that I haven’t covered in my portfolio. I’m also a Music Editor at RPGFan.

I grew up on music and video games. Through elementary and middle school, I played violin and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. In high school, I moved onto rock instruments (vocals, guitar, bass, drums) and Rock Band. At Emory, I took theory and composition classes and started writing music of my own while playing Super Smash Bros. Combining my two biggest passions by writing music for video games is my dream job.

I played Floating Point during the 2013 Christmas Steam Sale. Although it looked simple, it was actually surprisingly difficult. I’m not the greatest at physics, so it was hard for me to know when to push and how hard to push. I was also impressed with the music—especially how it sounded muffled when the ball dropped “under water”. I would love to be a part of this team!

If you think I would be a good asset to your team, or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at bjwchoi@gmail.com. Thank you for this opportunity, and I look forward to speaking with you soon!

Brigid

Romulex: I came to this website because I was interested in what other projects you had been working on other than Floating Point. I have been recently playing it on steam and its a great simple game. I was wondering if Floating Point is possible to come in just a regular download of your website or something.I just think its easier for those who dont have steam and want to get the game can simply come here and get it.

Brendan McCullough: Hey Tom,

My name is Brendan McCullough and I am one of the hosts of a video game, tech, general nerd things podcast Almost Better Than Silence (http://almostbettert... ...lence.com/). I was wondering if you would be interested in coming on the show to talk about the development process, the state of video games, or anything at all. If anything else I'd love to discuss Gunpoint and find out more about Heat Signature. We're based out of Philadelphia so the interview would be done over Skype, but if you want to reach me you can at ABTSbrendan@gamil.com. Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you.

I regret nothing!

-Brendan McCullough

Cale Anderson: Hey dude im working on a game called super cave boy in game maker studio could you make a fourm post or something about it so it gets some recognition ? many thanks

Kyle Coger: Tom!,
I would like to work with you in the future. I just stumbled on you today while researching game jams. I like the content you are creating.

I am 24 years old from PA. I think you should look at Blue Manchu and Matt Makes Games. I am sure I sound crazy or am talking about things you hear from others... but I sometimes get these spur of the moment rants when I see really talented people doing the things I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about. I will be following your progress. Take care and please continue with your passion.

Joe: It's really great to see Heat Signature coming together, I read this web comic just now ( http://poorlydrawnli... ...stic-game/ ) and the last panel immediately reminded me of you and your comments on watching people play your games : )

Joshua Garrity: Hello Tom Francis,

My name is Joshua Garrity and I’m the digital content manager at Sold Out. I’m contacting you because I really like Heat Signature, and I wanted to have a chat to you about what my team could offer yours. Here at Sold Out we’re interested in partnering up with and supporting smaller game development studios, who need help with publishing and marketing on digital platforms, in exchange for a 70/30 split of the profits in the developer’s favour. You keep the majority of the profits, you keep your I.P. rights, and we take the hit if the game doesn’t make enough money to recoup our costs. You don’t lose anything partnering up with us, and you stand to gain a lot from our extensive experience. Put simply, we want to handle all the boring stuff, so that you can focus on making a really great game.

If this sounds like something you might potentially be interested in, let me know.

Regards

Joshua Garrity

Joshua Garrity: Hello Tom Francis,

My name is Joshua Garrity and I’m the digital content manager at Sold Out. I’m contacting you because I really like Heat Signature, and I wanted to have a chat to you about what my team could offer yours. Here at Sold Out we’re interested in partnering up with and supporting smaller game development studios, who need help with publishing and marketing on digital platforms, in exchange for a 70/30 split of the profits in the developer’s favour. You keep the majority of the profits, you keep your I.P. rights, and we take the hit if the game doesn’t make enough money to recoup our costs. You don’t lose anything partnering up with us, and you stand to gain a lot from our extensive experience. Put simply, we want to handle all the boring stuff, so that you can focus on making a really great game.

If this sounds like something you might potentially be interested in, let me know.
Regards

Joshua Garrity

Jonathon: I love you jake!

Turbanator: as all the ships in heat sig are square shaped and boxy, wouldn't it be cool if you could fit them together? You could make some sort of mothership or have really cool, really big battles. Though, now I think about it, I have no idea how you would do that.

Donny: Dude. Max respec' for your youtube guide to making a game for n00bs. It killed that secret n00b part of me, deep inside my gamer soul that existed only because I had never made my own game. For that I am eternally grateful. And so are thousands of other people you helped out bro. Top effort. You be the salt of the earth mate :)