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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.

Theme

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

    Star Wars VII (Spoiler Safe)

    I enjoyed it a lot! It sounds like all my bigger-Star-Wars-fan friends did too, which is great. I’ll keep this spoiler-free and then let people who’ve seen it click the spoiler buttons for what I’m specifically talking about.

    It alternates a bit between three different ways you could approach making a Star Wars sequel: Continued

    A Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

    A Disney animator named James Lopez once posted some character concepts for a 60s heist movie he wanted to make, and I just found them the other day, via Charlie Czechowski.

    When you look at them, you immediately want to see it. I wanted to see it so much I wrote it. Continued

    Things I Can Safely Tell You About The Cabin In The Woods Before You See It

    • You should see it as soon as conveniently possible. It’s the best film I’ve seen in years.
    • Don’t read reviews. I’ve read a bunch that pointlessly pre-empt some fun stuff.
    • If you haven’t seen the trailer, don’t.
    • If you have seen the trailer, don’t worry. The apparent twist it shows is also made clear right from the start of the film, it’s not much of a spoiler.
    • Bradley Whitford (Josh from the West Wing) doing Whedonesque dialogue is something that should have happened sooner.
    • I still really like Fran Kranz (Toph from Dollhouse).
    • Seriously, it’s almost perfect.

    Continued

    Briefly: The King’s Speech

    I liked it a lot. It’s pretty much a comedy, albeit a heavy-hearted one. As a drama, it’d be slightly too simple: we never truly understand the exact nature of Albert’s speech impediment or its causes, since both physical and psychological remedies both help somewhat, so there’s no real narrative to that element. The plot is simply that it becomes increasingly important he be ready to take the throne, and his speech continues to be a problem until it isn’t. Continued

    Easy A

    I remember hearing something vaguely positive about Easy A, but to be honest I watched it because I have a weak spot for trashy coming of age movies set in high schools. I wasn’t planning on ever telling anyone. I didn’t realise it was going to be excellent. Continued

    The Social Network

    Written by the West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin, directed by Fight Club’s David Fincher, starring Zombieland’s Jesse Eisenberg, produced by Kevin Spacey for some reason, and perhaps the first and only film to co-star Justin Timberlake as the founder of Napster.

    The fact that it’s about the founding of Facebook, which I’m aware is controversial but have no actual knowledge of, is ideal. “I will feel like I’m being informed about something I’m interested in,” I thought, “and be unable to refute any liberties the film takes with the truth, allowing me to enjoy it entirely.” Continued

    A Bad Toy Story 3 Review

    Toy Story 3 fares much better on Rotten Tomatoes, 99% positive. Still… can’t… resist… reading… negatives… Continued

    Bad Inception Reviews

    When I discovered Inception had a merely very good percentage of positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, I became fascinated by the bad ones. I expected a lot of writers who were simply confused, and largely that’s the case, but some of them seem to be trying for some kind of award for clumsy criticism. Continued

    Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron

    Update: found a new source for the stills that broke and added some clarification from the comments to the intro.

    I rewatched Blade Runner recently, because it came up a lot when I asked for visual inspiration for my game. Almost everything about it is still brilliant, except the main character. I’m not sure how I’ve never noticed this before, but Deckard is an idiot.

    He’s given all the information he needs on a plate, nothing bad happens unexpectedly, and every lead falls into his lap. He has photo ID of everyone he has to kill, he’s told about their physical strength, he has a gun, they’re all unarmed, and he’s legally allowed to shoot them dead in public. Yet in every case, he lets them get into a hand-to-hand fight with him that he can’t win, and the only way the film can even keep him alive is for his targets to suddenly stop fighting or get killed by someone else.

    Here’s a summary of his encounters with all of the replicants he’s apparently the only one good enough to kill. Stills from FilmGrab. Continued

    Inception

    Jesus Christ. That was a bit exciting. Continued

    The Cove

    Do you ever find yourself with a backlog of worthy, critically lauded films you’re almost certain you’d like but almost certain not to watch? Yes, I do, and I even worm my way out of the guilt for neglecting them. Because in my mental filing cabinet, they’re all under “Will watch”. It’s just that the films I’m actually going to watch aren’t in that file, they’re in the “Ooh, lasers!” one. Continued

    Month In Links: December

    This is a thing I do now. Most of this stuff I mentioned on Twitter, but it’s not an ideal channel and I don’t like that I never link stuff here anymore. Continued

    My Favourite Films Of 09

    11. Duplicity
    Intricate corporate espionage con romance.

    This might not even be the eleventh best film of the year, but it’s fresh in my mind so it’s going here. It’s a denser, more convincing version of the Mr And Mrs Smith premise: spies in love, associated trust issues. The corporate espionage theme somehow makes it cooler than the usual CIA/NSA/MEH, and the intentionally confusing time structure is fun to unravel. It also marks itself out as a superior con flick with its ending, avoiding both the ‘smug’ and ‘makes no fucking sense’ traps most of the rest of the genre falls into. Continued

    Section 8, District 9, Station 10

    Section 8

    Is a sci-fi multiplayer shooter out this week, extremely like Battlefield 2142. Battlefield 2142 was awesome, and so is this. You literally dive into the battlefield from orbit, with no parachute, then pound each other with raucous guns and squabble over objectives. Continued

    Moon

    Best not to know much about this film going in, so I’ll be vague. Continued