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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


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.