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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.

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: The Movie Script

Seriously, Buy Braid


Braid is a Mario clone with a time-rewinding gimmick that lets you go back as far as you like to rectify any mistakes. Actually, scratch that.

Braid is an homage to Mario that uses the reversal of time as a central game mechanic to remove the frustrations of platform gaming. Well, no.

Braid is puzzle game that starts from the basic concepts of Mario – most prominently jumping on enemies’ heads – but uses this merely as the basic medium for puzzles that require you to manipulate the flow of time.

And although in its 1st chapter this only amounts to reversing time to correct mistakes, from the 2nd chapter onwards you encounter enemies and objects that don’t go back to how they were when you rewind everything else. On the one hand, these elements are harder to deal with because they keep on going while you’re backtracking.

Braid is a platform puzzler in which you have the power to reverse time, but each of its six chapters interferes with, subverts or adds to this ability to completely reinvent the way you play.

On the other, it allows you manipulate how they synch up with the rest of the world, which actually gives you greater control over them. If there’s a rewind-immune door, for example, you can use up a key unlocking it, then rewind time to before you did so. The door will stay open, but you won’t have used up the key.

braid donkey



braid lever

The 4th chapter allows you to use your rewind ability to co-operate with another copy of yourself. Yeah, the copy is created when you stop rewinding: he runs off and does what you did the first time, while you’re free to do something different simultaneously. Exactly. So if a switch needs to be held to keep a door open, go and hold it, then rewind time and walk over to the door… …and Mr Unoriginal will run off obediently and pull the switch just like you did.

One time I had to put this guy into position to pull a switch that wouldn’t be there until he came to replay my actions. So when I was standing where the switch would be, I just hammered the Use button to make sure my copy would get it. Then when I rewound and stood on the platform it was supposed to raise, the thing just gibbered spastically up and down – that idiot was hammering his Use button, and each press was reversing the lift’s direction. Dick.

The 5th chapter lets you drop a ring that slows time intensely for things near to it, and slightly for those further away.

With it, you can re-synchronise every clockwork element of Braid’s complex levels.

It’s the most


Your toolset gets.

There’s one puzzle where three or four of us discovered we’d all approached it in different ways.

Mine involved killing myself over and over again by repeatedly headbutting monsters in the ass to keep them locked up in a cubby hole until I was ready to kill them.

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Octaeder: I can't wait till this gets released for PC. At the moment all these posts and reviews popping up everywhere are just one giant cocktease!

ZomBuster: They better hurry up with the PC version D:

Mr. Brit: This sounds so much fun. A dwcently challenging puzzle game. Portal is good but lacking in complexity. This sounds brilliant, people who've played it, would a 3d version work?

Dan: That Eurogamer review likened it to The Watchmen and I'd probably agree. They both take their form and use it as originally intended and as a output for philosophical thinking.

I think perhaps the game is getting a little overhyped though. I enjoyed it and the puzzles were great and it was at times original, but it's not for everyone.

John Walker (I think) once said on PCGF (or it might have been the mag) that when he reviews games his reviews are basically a buyers guide. "If you like this and this. Buy it."

I can't imagine many younger gamers would understand the narrative (or lack there of) though and might not enjoy that aspect of it.

In a perfect world there'd be more games like Braid. Games for smarties.

roburky: Someone has posted an interpretation of the story of Braid on rllmuk that seems to make a lot of sense. Don't read unless you want EVERYTHING SPOILED, of course.
http://www.rllmukfor... ...pic=190136

Seniath: After reading this and various other ramblings on the topic of Braid I think I shall be getting it, my interest is certainly piqued.

However, there is just one small problem; no internet at home means no Live, and that means no Arcade downloads. It will have to wait a few days, alas.

Chijts: Is it shallow of me to wish the main character looked a bit more interesting?

Man Raised By Puffins: @ roburky: Blimey, I completely missed that particular subtext. I still prefer my inital ambiguous take on the ending though.

All in all it's a damn good puzzler, only really marred by a few fiddly puzzles (which Tom already pointed out in his last post).

Tom Francis: Dan: I didn't know that was John's position but it's certainly mine. For that reason I'd give Braid pretty much exactly the scores it's been getting: the only people who shouldn't buy it are those with absolutely no interest in puzzle games, and that's not something you mark a puzzle game down for.

roBurky: Some of it is definitely about that, but after reading that and thinking about it, I'm still not convinced that all of it is. Some of it just seems to outright contradict that theory, or fit so poorly that attempts to do so are meaninglessly tenuous. I think she has a broader significance, and that specific embodiment of it is one of many. I think another may actually be a girl.

Chijts: Yes. I rather like the little guy, he's a lot more likeable-looking than he was before David Hellman Hellmanised him. To be honest, you don't really see his features while you're playing, he's pretty small. And at least he's not a marine, adventurer or wizard.

Mr. Brit: It is official! A 1fort comic will never happen! ...ort-comic/

Sam: http://www.rllmukfor... ...0136%C2%A0
Read that if you didn't get the ending, it's amazaing how cleverly they integrated the metaphor of the atomic bomb.

Tom Francis: That's the link I was responding to, Sam - roburky posted it a few comments up.

ZomBuster: Coming soon on Steam!

http://store.steampo... .../news/2291

I'll sure get it.

A James Reader: That's terrific news. I've been meaning to play this for awhile now.

Thanks, ZomBuster.

ZomBuster: Released on Steam apparently, but where is the damn buy button!?

Jason L: On Impulse?

AlphaTM: Just bought Braid off Steam. I played the demo beforehand, and you were right. It's brilliant.

LaZodiac: If I bring up an old topic, I to have played Braid recently.

Wonderfull, wonderfull game. The creator is a basterd though. I'll never get those hairs back.

Jason L: Thanks, random excerpt tool! Chapter 3 scrollbar gimmick is broken, changed to Ajax-resizable text box (!)