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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

He’s Gone Too Far

That’s it, Intro Guy. You are now so bad that you entirely counter-act the greatness of the programme that follows your intolerable gloat. I actually regret watching this episode, the intro was that bad.

It’s not just that an intro is unnecessary, it’s this intro in particular. It’s an intro made by people who don’t just look down on their audience, they actually hate them. It’s the kind of intro I’d produce for I’m A Celebrity And The Suffocating Numbness Of My Life Has Driven Me To New Lows Get Me Out Of Here. It’s openly an advert for the very thing it is a part of. It doesn’t stop at explicitly summarising the themes and symbolism of the preceding season, it actually explains in bullet-point form what’s going to happen in the following episode, and shows clips of it. At first you think it’s going to insult your intelligence, but it quickly becomes clear that the disdain, the spite its authors hold for you far exceeds their restraint, and the insult is merely an appetiser for the flurry of gashing, wrenching, deep and bloody wounds they plan to inflict. And the salt in your mutiliations is a voice-over whose patronising sickly smarm is so drippingly viscious you could choke on it.

There’s no mistaking the venemous cynicism behind this – I spend most of my days feeling it – but attached to something as great as Heroes it becomes an even darker spectre. This is disdain for one of the few remaining wonderful things on television, and only the blackest of burnt, drowned, dead, dead souls could feel it with this level of vacant dispassion. I don’t know who writes these, but I can tell you that they have no irises – their obsidian pupils fill the entirety of their lidless and unblinking eyes.

Chris: It didn't help that the worst voice-over yet was followed by the worst episode in Heroes' short history. The week-long wait always leads to me forgetting to zap past the hideous voice-over too, damnit.

Masked Dave: I must say, I always assumed they were aiming at achieving the same thing as the editorial blurb you often get at the start of comics. I mean, it is basically meant to be a comic book in live action form (the moment I realised the subtitles were happening inside invisible speech bubbles blew my mind).

If so, they've nailed it completely.

Unfortunately, those bits suck, and unlike with comics, I can't just not read them.

CannedLizard: If you think that one is bad, avoid next weeks. They show a clip of a scene which turns out to be the cliff-hanger scene right at the end of the show, or so.

Zeno Cosini: Oh God, I love that obsidian pupil / lidless unblinking eye thing. It reminds me slightly of this image by The Eyechild: http://photos1.blogg... ...e-Bird.jpg

Rob: American shows do have a habit of bookending amazing shows with complete crap. I think Intro Guy has retired from the series now to be replaced by Dr Suresh' disembodied voice, which is still pretty annoying.

It's a great show but it would be better without the recap, the narration and the wanky HEEEEEEEEROOOOOOOOOOO theme which plays pretentiously over absolutely everything.

I'm still completely in love with it, though.