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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

Heroes Season Two

The trailer is on YouTube, and it doesn’t look very good, but! I’d like anyone else who’s watched the first two seasons of Alias to say it with me, when the moment arrives:


Alias became terrible after – perhaps during – season two, but it was so much fun until then. Heroes has already borrowed one of its best actors, and shown that he was responsible for most of his character’s likeability. Now it’s got the other. I only hope he’s smarmily yet competently evil, and crops up unexpectedly in almost every storyline – it’d be just like old times.


The rest is just depressing. Sylar’s still in it. I don’t even trust them with the guts to keep the Petrelli’s out. Last season’s finale was riddled with so many tedious tropes that I have no faith left in their ability to excite me. Entertain, probably.

Thomas Lawrence: I haven't seen the trailer, anxious as I am to come to the new series as unspoiled as possible in this workaday Internet of ours, but I nonetheless have a comment/mini-rant: why is everyone moaning about the Petrelli's continuing to exist?

It was already an established fact that Peter would survive his own exploding (cf. "Five Years Gone") with naught more than a scar. Ok, his brother is less defensible, but I for one enjoyed the character too much to see him thrown away on the weak resolution to the season one finale. In honesty, the finale was so feeble I'm pretty glad they seem to be intending to carry on as if it had no consequences whatever.

Would people really be happier to see both Peter and Nathan out of the show? Why? So we can have more time to watch the continuing saga of DL and Niki?

Tom Francis: I thought that Five Years Later episode was a possible future, like the one Future Hiro comes from. Because in that future, didn't the city get blown up? Weren't they all talking about going back, and changing it, so that their future would never come to pass?

I like Peter and Nathan too, but when you show me two guys fly into space and explode, I'm going to take issue with the idea that they're okay after all. Although in a way, even if they do bring the Petrellis back, Sylar's confirmed return bothers me more. Because it's a plotline that hinges on everyone involved temporarily acting like an inconceivable idiot and assuming a mildly stabbed nigh-invincible supervillain is finally dead forever and there's no need to check or even look at the body for more than three seconds.

Thomas Lawrence: Yes, "Five Years Gone" was a possible future, but it still established that Peter could survive blowing himself up. He confesses to Niki/Jessica that he and not Sylar was the bomb that blew up NYC, and yet there he is with naught more to show for it than a scar. Hence, the physics of the thing is established - Peter could explode and then go on living. I'm assuming that his powers work the same in the alternate future, of course, but why shouldn't they?