All posts


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


    Okay, it’s been 48 hours, I’m calling it: I’m back online. I’ve been off for six weeks, during which I started eating breakfast, and showering every day. Most of that was because Be (my new ISP) were telling me it must be a problem with my phone line, and British Telecom were telling me that it wasn’t, and if I wanted them to send out an engineer to check if it was, he’d charge me a minimum of £110 and refuse to fix it.

    I solved it by lying: I just told Be that BT had checked my phone line and found that it was fine. Satisfied that I had performed the requisite dance, they just flicked the big switch they evidently have labeled “Work”, and now it does.

    I had another card to play if that didn’t pan out: I can accurately call myself a technology journalist, we genuinely are considering an article on the abysmal state of internet sevice providers in this incompetent country, and as an absolute last resort, when companies are being utter fucking pricks about something, I’m not above role-playing a self-important twat to get it resolved.

    But this story has a cathartic ending: on the day I get reconnected, I hear the BBC’s iPlayer, which lets you download a good quality copy of anything from the last week’s telly, is causing ISPs such chronic bandwidth problems that they’re trying to force the BBC to pay for overhead. “According to figures from regulator Ofcom it will cost ISPs in the region of £830m to pay for the extra capacity needed to allow for services like the iPlayer.”

    At this, I laugh; bitterly and at length.

    iplayer daisies

    I guess you could summarise my position as in your fat, sweat-wet fucking faces, you unctuous fucking stoats. ISPs have survived thus far by lying exuberantly to their customers, selling them transfer rates they cannot possibly hope to provide, and relying on the vast majority of their customers wasting money by paying for a level of connectivity they never fully use. Now they’re fully using it. Now grandma has found BitTorrent, assholes, and she’s going to destroy you with it.

    ImperialCreed: Harsh. But fair.

    Well done on the showering everyday too. Finally...

    SenatorPalpatine: Yeah, it serves them right.

    Iain "DDude" Dawson: (Without sarcasm.) That is some brilliant morality writing. Always good to hear.

    craigp: Heh. Where did "stoats" come from?

    Jason L: It is a droller word, even, than the more common 'weasel'.

    Lack_26: Yeah, the state of the ISPs' and their service to customers is appalling. I live almost exactly 50 metres from exchange, my advertised speed is 8mbps (my internet claims I'm getting 8.8mbps), in reality I'm lucky to get 3mbps.

    Tom Francis: Yeah, I almost went with weasel, but then I pictured a weasel:

    http://www.gowerbird... ...nd.jpg.jpg

    And pictured a stoat:

    http://www.tuxxie.or... .../stoat.jpg

    And had a better idea.

    Forgot to link the awesome article I was talking about, so post is ammended with that, and pretty picture for children. Pushing Daisies coming to the UK!

    Lukasa: I've found that the worse thing about ISPs isn't the inability to recieve the speed they claim to provide: any internet savvy user will be aware of that. The worst thing about them is their complete inability to provide even the most minor customer service. Despite paying nearly a hundred pounds in various forms to Mr. Branson each month, my parents still get almost no customer service. When will that end?

    Clive Murray: I love every single word of this post so much it hurts me. I think of this post when I'm not around it, and when I am, I think of nothing else. This post completes me.

    Fuck the ISPs in the ear, while jamming hot toothpicks under their grasping cocking fingernails.

    Good bloody work, my son. Sing it from the piss-drenched rooftops.


    Rob: Oh yeah. I've had that before. ISPs and BTs are continuously blaming each other, and they both have the worst support in the country.

    I tried to flip to another ISP one time, and BT ended up half-uninstalling my phone line, and I couldn't get connected to either for a good few weeks. Ended up having to go back to my old ISP because they broke the new one..

    H: The state of British ISPs. Sheesh. Ever since Pipex were taken over by Tiscali, my line speed got worse and worse, at the same time as their customer service got worse and worse. Finally I also had to lie and say I'd done everything, and even that didn't cure it. In the end I switched ISP and haven't been happier since Mrs Doyle fell off the window ledge.