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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

Grosse Pointe Blank


Genre: uh… romantic hitman comedy?

Stars: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Ackroyd, Jeremy Piven, Michael Cudlitz, Alan Arkin (Catch 22), Joan Cusack, Hank Azaria.

Plot: a hitman is hired to do a job in his hometown at the time of his ten year high-school reunion, and on the advice of his psychiatrist decides to attend and try to reconcile with the girlfriend he abandoned for a decade without a word, and maybe not kill anyone for a while.


Why It’s Great:

  • John Cusack.
  • Both the electronic score by Joe Strummer and the all-eighties soundtrack are fantastic in their own rights, -and- brilliantly used. I Can See Clearly Now makes the opening credits and first scene unforgettably cool, and later on Mirror In The Bathroom accompanies a fight scene brilliantly.
  • Assassination is inescapably appealing, and several of the gunfights are great – especially the final one, which features a frying pan.
  • You’ll notice a second Cusack in the cast listing – there are actually four Cusacks in it altogether. I haven’t worked out who Bill is yet, and Ann’s appearence is very brief, but Joan is brilliant. She often plays significant roles in John’s films – even playing his character’s sister in Say Anything – and no-one cries nepotism because she’s really, really good.
  • Jeremy Piven is always great, but this is his best character ever. I know you haven’t heard of him, but he was in the horrible Very Bad Things, and you’d probably recognise him if he was pointed out to you. Some of his quotes aren’t the best on paper, but when he says them, the “Ten years!” and “I was looking for a little validation on my life, but I guess I came up short” lines are some of the best in the film, and it’s a film of great lines.



Waitress: What would you like in your omlette?
Blank: Nothing in the omlette, nothing at all.
Waitress: Technically that's not an omlette.
Blank: Look, I don't want a semantic argument about it, I just want the protein.

Grocer: Easy there, chief. I don't see hollow-point wound care on the menu.

Paul: I'll see you at the 'I've-Peaked-and-I'm-Kidding-Myself' party.

Blank: Debi's house.
Paul: Kinda crept up on you, didn't it?
Blank: No, you drove us here.
Paul: ... Yep.

Clips: school.avi (2MB)


Jason L: We just had a Contract Killer Weekend at my house apparently, as I watched GPB on Friday and then we all saw The Whole Nine Yards. Jeremy Piven appears in both. Getting typecast as "Old Friend of One of the Characters in Hitman Movies" seems like slim pickings to me.

Tom Francis: I think his performance in Entourage pretty much guarantees that's not what he'll be remembered for.

Iain: Jeremy Piven is also notable as the vet-cum-doctor-for-injured-hoodlums who has his shirt nicked by Robert De Niro in Heat, and as "Elvis" Wolcott (the pilot of the first downed chopper) in Black Hawk Down.