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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

Battlefield 2

Killer Shot

The Basics
You’re a soldier of a class of your choosing, on a vast battlefield with dozens of comrades and enemies, operating as part of a tightly knit squad which is in turn directed by your team’s commander.

The Fasten Seatbelt Sign Has Been Switched On

The Appeal
Camaraderie. So many mods and multiplayer games claim to be designed to encourage teamplay, but the only way they can think to do it is discourage solo play – making you rubbish on your own. All that does is make the game rubbish. Battlefield 2 assumes everyone’s a selfish idiot, and it’s exactly right. We’re only going to work together if it’s immediately obvious that it will benefit us personally, hugely and right away. I get as many points for bringing a friend back to life as I do for killing an enemy. I want to be in a squad because it gives me a new spawn point, always close to the action – I know I’ll have more fun if I join my squad leader. My helicopter is virtually useless unless I wait for someone else to get in to gun for me, and likewise my best chance at getting a lot of chopper kills is to let someone else have the flying fun so they can lead me to the bads while I concentrate on the killing. Everything that’s good for the team is good for me in exactly the right proportion.

Vacuous theory, all. The reality of Battlefield is about immediate friendship with strangers. It’s about a flood of affection for a name on the screen as he kills your enemy, brings you back from the dead, stops his car to pick you up, fixes your tank, chucks you a medikit. It’s following your squad leader to hell and back because he’s consistently shown dedication to the mission, concern for your safety and good judgement in both. It’s about trusting another man with your life, and immediately feeling his confident expertise guide you both to glorious, spectacular victory in an airbourne vehicle you know from experience it’s extremely hard not to crash. It is deeply homoerotic.

Locked Blades

The Essential Experience
Throwing yourself off a dizzyingly high water-tower to parachute down to the body of your squad leader, who’s just slipped off after taking a sniper bullet to the face, so that you can restart his heart with your defibrillators. “Dammit, sir.”

Cptn.Average: I always loved those moments. I saw a man in front of me get blown away by a tank shell to the chest point blank and then run over by said tank. Thanks to my awesome BF2 medical experience I knew that's what must have caused his heart to stop, and quickly revived him =P