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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.

  • Grant: Thanks to the start of this video, I’ve just now noticed that during the static flickers while staring...
  • Ben: Great analysis. During the lab sequence in the Prey intro, you were looking around for tells that Morgan is in a...
  • 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...
  • 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

    Yeah, Me Too


    I’m the one on the left – a slinky Draenei huntress. I have no idea if I enjoy World Of Warcraft or not, but I’m definitely physically dependent on it at the moment. I think the reason it eats so much of our time is that they’ve hit upon the gaming equivalent of TV: something comforting and unending that requires little effort from you. You’re always progressing through it, consuming New, but it’s dilute New, tastes a little like Old, and you’re drinking it slowly.

    I’m Sobaseki on Steamwheedle Cartel, and I’m only level 7. I’m in it for the pets – Rhianna was telling me about a Scorpid she had called Mexican Pete, after the way he waved his claws nonchalantly as he scuttled, and at that point I knew I would have to be a Hunter. I wanted to be a Blood Elf – the Draenei are a bit of a non-concept as races go – but my colleagues are all Alliance filth and I faced exile if I stuck to my Horde inclinations. I don’t have a problem with pets, like all interesting stuff being held off till level ten, but I wish they had enough ideas to keep that feeling of progression going through the later decades. As they get exponentially further apart in the time-invested stakes, the interest and value of their perks simultaneously plummets, and it’s kind of a lethal combination for me.

    It’s a much more pleasant game to play once you fiddle with the controls a bit, I now discover. If you enable Click-To-Move, you still don’t get rid of the endless error messages during combat, but your idiot does now fix most of them herself. She still says “It’s too far away!” when told to attack a distant target, but now she actually moves in range and does it. Ditto for usable items and talkable NPCs. It’s also handy for making long journeys with single clicks, without having to hold anything down or risking going too far if you, er, alt-tab away. Which I have a tendency to do a lot. In fact:


    Update: Okay, the preceding paragraph is also an update, but this is why I’m really updating: tonight I…

    WoW 2007-01-25 18-20-46-29
    Dressed up as a tree!

    WoW 2007-01-25 19-58-02-50
    Seduced a crab!

    WoW 2007-01-25 20-10-24-60
    Rode around on a big old elephant!

    If they just took out the 80% of quests that are utter dross, it’d be a fantastic game. I still don’t have a proper pet yet, just a feeble cat I befriended, and christened Clawgasm. I’m torn between a better cat, a big ostrich, a small and rubbish crab, or holding out for something stranger. I’m leaning towards the small and rubbish crab.

    Jason L: As the informed-but-hostile brother of one and friend of three WoW junkies, Burning Crusade is relevant to me in pretty much one way: we are all agreed that much of the high-level female Blood Elf clothing looks A. badass and B. really beautiful. Take note, other game designers: there is barely a thigh or a midriff, or for that matter a knee, in sight.

    OK, that's a lie. Two ways. Upon making a facetious remark about use of "Holy Light" by what I assumed to be pagan Blood Elves, I was informed that the Blood Elves have captured and imprisoned an angel and essentially squeeze holy-juice out of it. This is cool backstory.