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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

Field Studies 4: Vu To A Thorough Game Demonstration

has now passed the 2 million creatures mark – which must mean more than a million that aren’t snowmen, elephants, landsharks or lolwut pears – and E3 brought with it a torrent of new footage.

They’ve finally put together a trailer that explains the game, lightly blows the mind and is friendly to people who don’t yet know why they should care.

Will Wright also gave a typically smart, funny talk about what people have done with the Creature Creator so far, measuring their creativity in God Units with sacrilicious results.

Then Gamasutra interviewed Civ IV designer Soren Johnson, on his role trying to ensure Spore will satisfy the hardcore gamers. At length. It’s like one of my interviews before I have to cut 90% of it.

But most excitingly to those of us who already know everything it’s possible to know about the game, is a bunch of stuff we didn’t know about the game. Producer Thomas Vu falteringly reveals that Spore has eighteen different editors, including one for music.

The game footage is fantastic too. On his way to befriend a village of dinosaurs, he passes a tribe of big ugly black critters being terrorised by a single enormous Cthulhu in the background. Then the dinosaurs give him a ten! When Spore’s art style took a turn for the cutesy (a shift which Soren talks about in the Gamasutra interview), I don’t think my fears took into account the possibility that I might actually find it cute.

I’m now counting the days till I can play this properly, which happily, even the Grumblegut (above) could do on the fingers of one foot.


Lack_26: Wow, thanks for the links. Also, it is interesting that since God built us in his image (well, the Bible says he did anyway) we have now managed to surpass him (but there are quite a few of us using the spore creator and 1 (or more) God(s).)

Still, Mega-hyped for spore.

Jason L: Heh, he was genuinely suprised during that presentation which I suppose speaks volumes. 'Oh it's a tribe of...uh...dinosaurs', 'and I'm socialising with, um, these dinosaur guys'... Don'tsayYoshidon'tsayYoshi, I'll get you for this Bob...

sQUAKYfOAMpEANUT: I laughed when he referred to the chemistry sets being "nerfed".

J-man: So... many... lol wuts....

Crane: "Aha! Over in the background, we see a baby Elder God, terrorising the local fauna, and in this village here we have a tribe of... Uh... Non-copyright-infringing Miyamotosaurs...?"

LaZodiac: And to be honest Crane, isn't that what Spore is all about? Robots conversing with walking lawsuits while spiked dinosaurs get destroyed be an Elder God. I assume that this will be so commenplace that no one will bat an eyelash when two Godzilla monsters start fighting.