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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



The Basics
Massively single-player first-person RPG – a huge and freely explorable fantasy world, hundreds of quests, of which the main plot line – the longest game I have ever played – accounts for less than half. You can be stealthy, fighty, magicky or any combination thereof, you can join guilds, go anywhere, kill anyone and anything and – importantly – take its clothes and anything else it might have had. Combat is real-time, and requires nimble fingers to jump around, dodge and aim. Skills level up the more you use them, rather than by assigning stat points, so you become the character you’re trying to be.

Kalen Yeso

The Appeal
RPGs ought to be the best games in the world, but virtually all of them have achingly dull combat and insist on a third-person view. The Elder Scrolls series has been chugging merrily down the lineage set out by Ultima Underworld, and with each iteration, more people say “Hey, that looks way better than the frustrating and unengaging rubbish we consider good!” Morrowind was when the series moved to what we recognise today as a true 3D engine – 3D accelerated, everything made of polygons. It’s about being in an RPG world for pretty much the first time – physically hitting monsters with a sword to hurt them, having to aim your fireballs like an FPS. Climbing mountains that even the developers don’t know are climbable. Stumbling upon a wooden door set into the rock, going inside and finding a smuggler’s hide-out with bodies, diaries and a story to be deduced. Short answer: it’s first person.

Go For The Neck

The Essential Experience
Filling out a form. It’s a clever conceit for character creation – the Census And Excise Office asks you to fill out your personal details for their records. The magic of the moment, though, is threefold: a) the music – the perfect fantasy theme tune, full of grandiose scale, promise and magic, b) the sheer range of options, even before you get to choosing skills and abilities – there are thirteen races, and c) seeing the world for the first time – you’ve just come out of a prison ship, so you get the three-hit combo of the lovely water effects, a giant tick standing in the lovely water effects, and the unearthly noise the giant tick standing in the lovely water effects makes.

DemonDoll: I want to point out that I respect this game above all others for not feeling the need to hold your hand. It's bastard-child Oblivion went backwards in this regard but in Morrowind you could run like the wind and leap over mountains without cheat codes. If you're dedicated you can make a 100% Chameleon set which makes your character !UNTARGETABLE!. There are virtually no games in existence which place no caps on the player. If you can drink a potion of +10 Intelligence, then you can drink 100 of them for +1000 Intelligence. There are just no arbitrary limits where the game tells you that you've had enough fun and it's time to stop now. At the same time the combat was rather boring and I couldn't slug through the whole thing (trying to do everything, of course, not the main quest).

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