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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

Lumber Yard Wallpapers

Want to feel like you’re in Valve’s new alpine vistas without actually having to play Arena mode? Then sir, I can save you seconds of effort. Click for big.


lumber yard 2



Edit: That big blue space looked like it needed some banner text to me, so I knocked up an alternate version for those of us whose cup of tea the new mode is not:

Arena Mode poster

If Valve would like my permission to use this poster in their marketing materials or to otherwise promote the game, they are most welcome.

Netram: No widescreen (1680x1050)? :(

Seniath: Purdy, though I think I'll stick with the Pyro shot used in the publicity stuff, for obvious reasons ;).

Tom Francis: Widescreen is for hammerhead sharks.

Iain: Cheers, I'll be holding onto the last one for my wallpaper rotations, just started using the concept art from the games blog.

your snaps really demonstrate just how good looking the new theme and map looks.

Newt Pulsifer: "Widescreen is for hammerhead sharks."
rofl!! :D
I don't have a widescreen display... but I agree with you based on the few times I had to use one!!

Punjab: Nice!

They're all so good, it's hard to choose.

J-man: Someone just needs to modify it for CP, CTF or PL, just like someone made a payload dustbowl map.

Iain "DDude" Dawson: If you want widescreen, it is not too much trouble to crop.

Thanks so much. Stuff like this is great.

Punjab: For widescreeners, how about this bit of concept art?:

http://www.teamfortr... ...cept_2.jpg

Tom Francis: That's so wide, a hammerhead shark would be all, "Whoa, that's a bit wide. I mean I like wide, but man."

I like how they drew a TF2 crosshair on there to make it look in-game. You're not foolin' no-one, Dhabih.

J3553: Pentadact is jealous of widescreen. LOL.

DoctorDisaster: You know, I'd wondered about that. Bits of the shots really do look like they were rendered in the game... then there are bits that are nothing but wide, impressionist brush strokes over blurred photo inserts. Compare the ground next to the railcar or the planks on the bridge with the roof of a building or the leaves on a tree. The level of detail in some areas is all out of proportion.

I suspect they constructed and rendered a fragment of the environment using existing art assets, and then expanded upon it with concept art.

Also, whoever drew that has a rotation-sensitive wacom stylus, and I am jealous.