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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

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...