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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.

  • RoboLeg: this game would be PERFECT for mobile, and I’d happily pay 10 bucks or so for it.
  • Jepp: 1) Please keep critiquing games by building new ones :) 2) The non-hand holding, simple systems integrating...
  • Jack: Are you going to release Morphblade for iOS or the Nintendo Switch? I would really like to play this on my...
  • Spaceman Moses: One-eyeing this on my phone from the depths of my covers I lazily ask: what do you mean XCOM2 clarity...
  • kripto: For what it’s worth, I also like Morphblade more than Imbroglio. Although, to be fair, I’ve also...
  • 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

    SWAT 4: The Movie Script


    Before it vanishes from the dirty little corner of cyberspace that these legally questionable – but morally laudable – offerings dwell in, you must hear the latest Sissy Wish track on Fluxblog. Usually it takes me so long to realise how much I like a Fluxblog track that it’s gone offline by the time I’m ready to recommend it, but this one’s instantly great. I’d say more, but the truth is I’m still kind of a musical retard.

    I don’t have the language to talk meaningfully about what songs are like or what’s good about them, and I frequently have to listen to something ten times or more before I even know if I like it, let alone how much. This is why people like Matthew Perpetua know I’m going to like something even before I do, and why my favourite tracks on a given album are only just now starting to line up with those of the person who recommended it to me five years ago.

    I need to know stuff like, what’s the word for the rhythmic structure in the chorus to Yayaya? There’s something in the way she sings that string of nonsense that lets you know she’s just leading into the real line, and something about the systematic structure of the latter half of the couplet that leads logically up to the rhyme, even if you can’t make out the words. It’s logical to the extent that if you’d paused the chorus halfway through the first time I heard it, I’d still be able to hum the next bit for you. And I don’t know how, or why, or what you call that.

    This is also why I get confused and scared when people I normally agree with suddenly hate a band like The National, who seem to be a) great and b) just like all the other awesome stuff we both like. I start to think it’s just been coincidence that our tastes line up a lot, and really they’re appreciating this stuff on a higher intellectual level I don’t understand, and I’ve just fallen for some crass commercial knock-off because I’m too stupid to know the difference.

    The awful truth is that I only ever liked this artful, worthy stuff by smart, emotionally fractured geniuses because it sounded pretty and didn’t irritate me. And, of course, because not many people had heard of it.

    Graham: I could not agree more. I like music, I listen to music all the time, but I have no method by which to articulate my thoughts on the subject. With games, I feel as if I have at least some critical faculties. Music, by comparison, seems ineffable.

    It doesn't help that 95% of the music journalism I read is by people who have the same problem. Instead of conveying helpful information about an album, they fall back upon referencing obscure bands from the 1970s. Oh? It sounds just like this other thing I haven't heard? That's great.

    Also: people disliking bands you thought they'd like? Dude, you are that person. Our musical tastes seem to overlap in several areas, but attempts at recommending songs have seemingly failed thus far. I assumed you were appreciating music on some higher intellectual level and I was just too stupid to know the difference.

    bob_Arctor: yeah the reviews of Alligator on music sites were really negative, but in the comments people wrote "you are wrong, this is one of my albums of the year".

    Generally listening to stuff you like is best. It will never overlap 100% with someone else, and if it did it would be dull.

    Tentaculat: Here's my theory, feel free to ignore or laugh at it.

    You sound like the kind of person that consumed by meticulous detail. You think in maths, and this translates to an entirely bizarre taste in music - more than half of the bands you mention I have never heard of.

    At first I thought you were just being snobbish about music, which a lot of, dare I say, pseudo-intellectuals are prone to being. However, I knew that first impression was flawed because deliberately liking obscure bands only because they are obscure, and denying oneself the wealth of good popular music, seems like a rather stupid thing to do. And you are quite obviously not stupid.

    Instead, your brain is just wired to perceive the world differently. I've heard theories that people similar to yourself have particularly strong 'male' brains, but this sounds ridiculous to me. Instead I think perhaps you're teetering on the brink of the Autistic spectrum. I don't mean this in a derogatory way, I am very much pro neuro-diveristity. Another theory dictates that we are all on the 'spectrum', just at different ends of it.

    Johnny: Cut the fancy words mate. Tell it like it is. People are different.

    Tentaculat: Indeed. I was just musing over why some of us might be musically challenged (or a musical retard as Pentadact puts it), and that being inclined towards more cereberal persuits is at the expense of other brain functions that allow others to instinctively quantify music. The creative brain vs the functional brain, while not being mutually exclusive, are quite seperate abd might explain why it takes certain kinds of people 10 listens of a song to 'get it'.

    I could have simply said that people are different but where's the fun in that? :P

    johnj: You mentioend the frnehc ages ago. "all my friends have got haircuts like jhill dano"

    or something.

    you know what! points mean prizers" SMASH TV!

    ggood reocmmmendation. is the sum of what i want to say. ignore!

    Anonymous: i like to have sex listening to sit on my face?!