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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

Maths Cop 2: The Revengening

I don’t usually do the link-someone-else’s-entry thing, but this is from a blog you probably don’t read, relates to a previous James post, and is easily geeky enough to inspire a response post from me. Venusberg, amused by Grey’s Anatomy’s contrast with its namesake, suggests other possible science-themed series with a keen commercial instinct:

Hooke’s Law: John Hooke is a tough New York detective. To keep the peace, he’s not afraid to stretch the law. Sometimes the strain gets to him… but it’s always proportional to the stress of the job.

I suggest:

Turing’s Test: Alan ‘Jack Johnson’ Turing is a grizzled alcoholic PI in a near-future dystopia. Earth is being taken over by android replicants, but only Alan can tell them from humans. Now he must take his test straight to the top: the President of the United States. Of Robots.

Socrates’ Method: John ‘Jack’ Plato narrates the story of the greatest negotiator who ever lived: Jack ‘John’ Socrates. By a interminable series of increasingly irritating questions, John could talk any hostage-taker, roof-jumper or bomb-wearer out of their intended course of action, and into kicking him in the neck.

Heisenberg’s Principles: Werner ‘Ice’ Heisenberg is a master car thief specialising in locating and obtaining landspeed-record-breaking vehicles for eccentric millionaires. On his last job before retirement to the Bahamas, his best friend (Niels ‘Interesting’ Bohr) turns him in. The arresting officer (Detective ‘Determinist’ Einstein) is derisive of Werner’s maverick methods, but has no choice but to offer him a deal: a dangerous street gang have stolen the five fastest cars in the world, and only Werner can work out where they are. To within (Planck’s constant / 4Ï€) of the standard deviation.

I found Venusberg’s blog when one of my screenshots on Flickr suddenly started getting a lot of hits. I traced them back like some kind of cyber detective, to a Venusberg post questioning the virtue of ragdoll physics when it allows for travesties against man and god such as the one I had created. It was the start of a beautiful friendship.