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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

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.