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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.

Hitman header tunnel

Rewarding Creative Play Styles In Hitman

Far Cry Primal Thumbnail

Postcards From Far Cry Primal

Snowball jack header

Solving XCOM’s Snowball Problem

Kill Zone and Bladestorm

Kill Zone And Bladestorm

BAFTA Featured

An Idea For More Flexible Indie Game Awards

Sectors Header

Teaching Heat Signature’s Ship Generator To Think In Sectors

DXHR Open area

What Works And Why: Multiple Routes In Deus Ex

Heat Signature Natural Numbers

Natural Numbers In Game Design

Pharma Header

Naming Drugs Honestly In Big Pharma

Writing vs Programming

Make A Game Tutorial Thumbnail Featured IMage

Let Me Show You How To Make A Game

New Heat Signature Video: Galaxies, Suction And Wrench-Throwing

Her Story banner

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

Invisible Header

What Works And Why: Invisible Inc

Super Game Jam Header

Our Super Game Jam Episode Is Out

Shadow of Mordor Header 2

What Works And Why: Sauron’s Army

Heat Signature Talk

Showing Heat Signature At Fantastic Arcade And EGX


What I’m Working On And What I’ve Done

Murder, She Wrote

The Formula For An Episode Of Murder, She Wrote

Heat Signature Wide 2

Heat Signature Needs An Artist And A Composer

Heat Signature Floorplans Header

Improving Heat Signature’s Randomly Generated Ships, Inside And Out

Gunpoint Steam Workshop

Gunpoint Patch: New Engine, Steam Workshop, And More

Distance Header

Distance: A Visual Short Story For The Space Cowboy Game Jam

The Magic Circle

Raising An Army Of Flying Dogs In The Magic Circle

Floating Point Blog Launch

Floating Point Is Out! And Free! On Steam! Watch A Trailer!

Floating Sine

Drawing With Gravity In Floating Point


What’s Your Fault?

Hoplite banner

The Randomised Tactical Elegance Of Hoplite

Gone Point

Here I Am Being Interviewed By Steve Gaynor For Tone Control

Heat Signature Thumbnail

Heat Signature: A Game About Sneaking Aboard Randomly Generated Spaceships

GRappling Hook Thumbnail

The Grappling Hook Game, Dev Log 6: The Accomplice

Alien Swarm Heroics

A Story Of Heroism In Alien Swarm

FTL Story

One Desperate Battle In FTL

Spelunky Banner

To Hell And Back In Spelunky

Game vs story graph

Games Vs Story 2

Gunpoint Breakdown

Gunpoint Development Breakdown

Max Payne 3

Five Things I Learned About Game Criticism In Nine Years At PC Gamer

This is how you die

My Short Story For The Second Machine Of Death Collection


Not Being An Asshole In An Argument

Skyrim Diary - Frostmere

Playing Skyrim With Nothing But Illusion

Mainstream Games

How Mainstream Games Butchered Themselves, And Why It’s My Fault


A Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

Dark Messiah

The Magical Logic Of Dark Messiah’s Boot


Arguing On The Internet


Shopstorm, A Spelunky Story

Stealth Games

Why Are Stealth Games Cool?


E3’s Violence Overload, Versus Gaming’s Usual Violence Overload

Suspicious Manifesto

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

What Makes Games Good

Seat Quest

A Story Of Plane Seats And Class

Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron

Beneath Suspicion

Avoiding Suspicion At The US Embassy

Open Worlds

An Idea For A Better Open World Game

Level Up

A Different Way To Level Up

BioShock Ending

How I Would Have Ended BioShock

Meet the Spy

My Script For A Team Fortress 2 Short About The Spy

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 Unlockable Weapon Ideas

Football Manager

Don’t Make Me Play Football Manager

EVE Assassins

EVE’s Assassins And The Kill That Shocked A Galaxy

GalCiv 2

My Galactic Civilizations 2 War Diary


I Played Through Episode Two Holding A Goddamn Gnome

Machine of Death

My Short Story For The Machine Of Death Collection

Blood money and sex

Blood Money And Sex


A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

Second Life

First Night, Second Life


SWAT 4: The Movie Script

Highlight Of 2006: Previewing Oblivion

I said I’d tell you what these were that week, by which I meant this month, of which there are now only three days left. So, going chronologically, here’s number one.

Reviewing it was of course the bigger deal, but the four-hour preview event that night in a London hotel was the first time I actually went there, so to speak, and that made it magical in a way that’s tough to communicate to non-gamers. When I say playing a new game is like going to a country you’ve never visited before, it sounds like I mean “almost as good as”, and that’s misleading. It’s much, much better than that. It’s better than going to a planet you’ve never visited before. When the game is good, and you know it, and you have a game-enabled brain, stepping out of your skin and into that screen is a sublime form of physical and psychological transportation to which drugs, love and space travel cannot compare.

And much of that culminated with me punching a rat in the face. Those who had no great pre-release interest in Oblivion found the opening dungeon pretty dull, and certainly it’s one of the weakest parts of the game, but it was designed for me and my kind. We’re the Morrowind obsessives, people who spent longer in this game’s predecessor than on any vacation, and who would delight in every little change as they were introduced to us one by one. And the sensation of cold-cocking a dog-sized rodent mid-air with a conclusive right-hook is something every human needs to feel at some point in their lives. Whunk!

For all the joys out in that enormous and spectacular world, it was how physical it all felt that would captivate me. Plenty of games have worlds as big, plenty of games are open-ended, there are even some now that look as good. But none feel so right, convince so totally, whunk with quite that fidelity.


Tomorrow: snow, heroism, lightning and abdominal pain!

chad: I *just* got the last of my 50 achievements in this game last week. If you're playing on PC, what this means is that I've completed the main quest and all of the guild and arena quest lines in the game, just as I did in Morrowind on the PC. So after all that, I think it's safe to say that Oblivion pales in comparison to Morrowind. The graphics, while nice, are nowhere near the jump Morrwind over its predecessor. I could probably forgive that, if not for the craptacular new auto-leveling of enemies, and the lack of any kind of flight spell. Exploring just isn't as fun when you feel safe that the game isn't going to throw you anything you can't handle. It's lacking the sense of danger Morrowind had, which kept me from venturing out too far for fear of getting in over my head. Fast travel kind of sucked too. I prefer the taxi system of Morrowind.

Still a great game, or I obviously wouldn't have played it so much, just not *as* great as Morrowind.

Nice screen cap, btw.

mariano: kinda cool game

but i still prefer morrowind cause lot of thing

for example,you walk in the middle of night and you have more fear than a crappy actual terror game lol.

but okay i must admit obvilion pwns in the combat system but the fucking auto leveling system ruins the magic of the game...