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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


I’d maximised my bonuses and minimised my damage, and by my newly invented Man Metric, I’d won. “Oh!” Susan groaned. I felt empty.


My tale of betrayal, lust, exploitation and character portrayal in the fifth dimension is up, and it’s about a freeware Flash game.

What I don’t mention in my discussion of its lofty artistic accomplishments is that Masq is incredibly accessible, fun and addictive. Everyone I told about it wanted to play it, and everyone who played it loved it – to the extent that there’s an “I’m addicted to Masq” group on Facebook and I didn’t create it. If you’re convinced but haven’t read the piece yet, play the game first and read my waffle later.

Bonus points if you can solve the murder on your first time through, and special bonus points if you can get yourself arrested for it.

roBurky: I remember playing this ages ago. I ended up really disliking it because of its limitations. While there are a lot of possible endings, some of the plot is railroaded. I had no idea what was going on when that guy from work kept driving me to the bad guy's house halfway through, because my first few tries I wasn't reacting the way the game was expecting me to and it lost all sense of logical continuity in order to carry on with its essential scenes.

The_B: I can't seem to play this since upgrading my computer. I keep getting the list error thing, where the web site says the solution is to have more memory. I have 2GB, and more than 100GB HDD space, so it's not that... :(

The_B: Hurrah. It's working again, although I literally didn't change anything. Perhaps a restart of the computer was all that was required, but other than that I have no idea why.

Iain: I've been playing it all night, and it's really good. On my last play through I managed to sleep with both Nikki and Susan. \o/

I haven't solved the murder of Carlos yet, though.

Jason L: Darn, another of my Big Cool Game Ideas implemented before I can never learn to create computer stuff - although in my algorithmic text adventure the recurring characters were going to be in a variety of stories, and as iterations accumulated the constancy of the characters would begin serving clues.

So on the other hand, yay, a game I wanted to see made got made. Here's hoping it spawns a genre.

Iain: (Warning: Spoilers ahead!)

I've been playing this all week now, and I've managed to find out who killed Carlos, I've been shot by Williams, shot by Nikki, thrown in jail, had Susan get abducted, had Susan leave me, had Peter get killed by Williams and been framed for the murder, and lots, lots more.

The level of intricacy in the multi-branching is amazing - and there are still at least five endings shown in the "Scenes you may have missed" that I've not found how to get to yet: Nikki tied up in the MASQ costume, Susan punching Williams in the face, ending up with Nikki and Andrew on the beach and getting confronted by the police when Williams tries to have Capricho killed at the show...

Any ideas on how to get the beach ending? I really struggling with that one.