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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


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?!