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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

Bracing Oneself

Both GTA IV and what the common people call an ‘electronic gamer console’ are now waiting patiently with me in the office. I discuss with PC Zone’s Log about how to prepare for this revolution.

Pentadact: Do you have it yet?
Log: Picking it up after work
Log: I want to see to what extent, precisely, it redefines gaming
Log: I’ve pulled up the tent pegs from my existing definitions
Pentadact: Now you’re hovering anxiously over the terrain of possible human experience, looking for some soft ground to plunge them into.
Log: And my tent flaps are moisturised for a thorough stretching <- too far Pentadact: We’re going to need new dictionaries.
Log: I’m going to buy a rule book just so I can watch as the pages shrivel with obsolescence.
Pentadact: I’ve removed the rubber grommets from my paradigm, just in case it needs shifting.
Log: Idiot, you’ll scratch the floor of your preconceptions
Pentadact: Oh, those are due for demolition tonight.
Log: I forgot. You’re absolutely right
Pentadact: I just hope it doesn’t raise the bar. Mine’s already flush against the beading on my kitchen ceiling.
Log: I feel like I’m in the opening sequence to Torchwood


Andrew: Hilarious, hahahahahaha :D

I really, really dislike review scales and these reviews of the game since the 10's cannot be true from a critical perspective. GTA4 is polished not "definition redefining" or "innovative", hahaha :) what a load of buzzwords :)

Grill: *SOB&. I've not finished GTA 1 yet so don't spoil the plot!

Lukasa: Speaking of all of this GTA based craziness, Samus Young over at Twenty Sided has done a good blog regarding the Official XBox Magazine's coverage of the game. Well worth a read, especially as he talks about games reviewing, and I'd like to hear your thoughts Penta.

URL: http://www.shamusyou... ...le/?p=1629

(NB: I'm too lazy to do any HTML with it)

Pentadact: Ah, another heroic whistle-blower has spotted the word 'Official' in a magazine title and blown the scandal wide open! And they thought we'd just go along with the story that the latest huge-budget installment by an incredibly talented developer in a series adored by millions would merit a very high score in the magazine those people read.

Ten doesn't mean perfect on a ten-point scale. Jon played the same code as everyone else who reviewed it that early, loved it, and as far as I've read, was the only one of them with the decency to be upfront about the stage the code was at.

But it's great that people who've never played the game have decided Jon couldn't possibly think it was worth 10/10 if there's a rare inconsistency with the cover system. And I really respect that they pick the novel, under-criticised target of an Official magazine, and ignore IGN giving it ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.

Andrew: Hehe, I think they're all equally guilty, although they ususally say their scales are the games "at the time of publication it couldn't be improved and/or is the best there is", which is hackneyed, making the reviews historically pathetic, since you could award a game 100% every year, or whenever a new console comes out, heh.

Shame, it'll take a while to get to a decent level of criticism where a perfect score (on whatever scale!) truly means a critically perfect game. I could be wrong, this could be it, but it surely doesn't push the boundaries of the genre or do much that hasn't been done before (nor provide a experience with much depth, rather then breadth, nor by defacto appeal to everyone), although a lot of polish is nice I guess, making it shiny and all :)

Reminds me of the catchy tune for 7/10...hehe. Why isn't 8 considered a truly great game? "We must give 95%'s and 100%'s else we don't consider this game worthwhile since our scale is pretty crap!" Hehe :)

Tentaculat: Ridiculous hype aside, GTA IV is by far the most entertaining... entertainment I've experienced in a very long time. And with that statement includes favourite movies, books, TV shows etc.

I must lead a very sheltered life, but I don't care - I have a new one in Liberty City!

Iain “DDude” Dawson: This is odd.. I appear to have got to this a day late, and as such Ross's appearance has been replaced by new news...
Is there any other way to watch the clip?

Iain “DDude” Dawson: How did I manage to post a comment in the wrong blog post...? Forgiveness please...