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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

This Month In Terrible, Part 1: Anti-DRM T-Shirts

To fight the good fight against the evil legions of Digital Rights Management that are currently making it impossible for anyone on the planet to enjoy music, people who like to steal things have banded together to come up with a T-shirt design that will shame all multinationals into simply cancelling their copy protection plans and releasing all of their music for free, ceasing to exist in the process. Some highlights:

anti drm tee shirt contest design

Ohh, now I get it!


anti drm tee shirt contest design

Quite a reasonable point.


anti drm tee shirt contest design

I- no hang on, what?


anti drm tee shirt contest design

Ahh. Right. Well, I think this is clear enough. DRM must be stopped to save the king of puppet-berets from pointing to the trolley of film reels.

The only thing I’m still not sure of is what would actually happen if you did cut the string in this diagram.


anti drm tee shirt contest design

Whatever they’re paying the guy who came up with this, it’s not enough.


anti drm tee shirt contest design

The gentleman’s protest.


anti drm tee shirt contest design

When those suits see this, it’s gonna blow their minds. “That’s- that’s what we were! All along!


anti drm tee shirt contest design

I don’t get this one. Is the dove music, and he’s been locked up but can still fly somehow, or has the dove stolen the padlock of DRM from the olive tree of music and is now taking it to the trash out back?


anti drm tee shirt contest design

Intellectual property regulation? Sir, I refer you to my cock.


anti drm tee shirt contest design

As a satirical acrostic backronym, this only really fails by one letter.


anti drm tee shirt contest design

This may actually be the best diagram ever drawn. I hadn’t realised before how many games and documents from space were simply bouncing off our atmosphere because of the Anti-DRM padlock. We should get rid of that thing. I don’t know why the Australians even built it.


anti drm tee shirt contest design

Yeah! Let DRM out of the cage that is music! Music is killing DRM!


anti drm tee shirt contest design

I hadn’t really thought about it before, but preventing me from copying music is a little like raping me.


anti drm tee shirt contest design

I think we can all agree with whatever the hell this means.


anti drm tee shirt contest design

See, because it’s like, DRM is the three-legged green-eyed Giraffe of Dismay, and the RIAA is the elderly man riding it, and that makes people with fans dance like John Travolta.


anti drm tee shirt contest design

Yes. This is just like that.


anti drm tee shirt contest design

And we all know how rubbish disabled people are.


anti drm tee shirt contest design

Isn’t that just kind of annoying?

Bobsy: I haven't giggled that much in ages. Well done, sir!

Tentaculat: Wait a minute. That's not rape, that's the Heimlich Manoeuvre! Look, the Green guy is obviously choking to death... and DRM guy is saving his life. Hooray for DRM guy!

Timmargh: Haha, good stuff.

I was going to write a small essay about the fact that I took offence at the "disabled people are rubbish" comment until my live-in carer pointed out that I am, in fact, a crap crip. The bitch is always right ...

Tom Francis: Heh. That design got a depressing number of votes, so I think if anything it needed an even more offensive summary of its bigotry. The even scarier part of the equation is that it appears to create a person.

Dabs: I lolled. Although as you say, the disabled person design and Martin Luthor King Jr. comparison were more depressing than anything else.

Dabs: Luther, even. I've been confusing him with Lex again.

SenatorPalpatine: I want the "DeaR Me!" shirt badly.