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.

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



Fluxblog’s just totally saved my ass for slacking on Music Week by posting the exact same Alphabeat song I was going to write about tomorrow. His write-up is also better than I was planning to make mine. I was just going to phone it in.

James commenter Dave McLeod – who’s probably done other stuff in his life, but that’s the highest possible accolade here – was sat next to me in the office the other week when Alphabeat came up on a Muxtape I was listening to.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met another male Alphabeat fan.”
“At least not a straight one, I guess?”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Since I realised they were saying “Weltpolizei” and not “The bullets fly” (the next line is “Twenty-four seven”), all I can picture when I listen to it is an episode of Thunderbirds where they all have moustaches and perpetuate German stereotypes.

In other news, I’m bored of Music Week now and I’ve got lots of other stuff I want to talk about, so James will return to normal programming shortly.


Graham: The entire time Dave was there, and the week after, and the three weeks before, I was rocking out to Alphabeat. So there's been at least three of us in the same room.

I don't like Fantastic 6 as much as Fascination or What Is Happening?, though.

Tom Francis: Yeah, but Fluxblog's already featured both. In fact, everything up to and including Go-Go is fantastic, then I skip the rest.

Dave McLeod: I'm casting my vote for Boyfriend. Also, just realised Fantastic 6 is that-song-I-remembered-a-few-lyrics-from-the-gig. Mystery solved.

Although this is one of their alpha-better covers, if you haven't heard it yet. ...088843d14/

J-man: Anyway, I was going through some of my music files, cleaning my PC up, and I found some great songs by Boom Boom Satellites, mainly in soundtracks of these really cool anime films I've been into recently.

Graham: Hey, I just had an idea.

Fakey McFakeguy: If I write like this, does it look like a new person is commenting below me?

Graham: It does. Just so you know, all my future comments here will be followed by a crowd of agreeable sycophants.

Dr. McRealperson: Coincidentally, that Graham fellow sure is swell! I wish he would take me to a dance, and then dance with me.

James T. McExistsreally: I too think Graham is great, and am a totally real person who isn't made up. You can tell because I have a middle initial.

Graham: Banned?

Tom Francis: Yeah, I noticed this pretty early on when I tried using the same formatting to reply to people. I thought about changing it, then remembered I didn't care.