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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

Plan B Chapter One Is Complete

LaZodiac asked if I’d update here when a new entry of my game diary for Galactic Civilizations 2 goes up. They’re going up every weekday these days, so that might flood James somewhat, but the Days do group loosely into chapters. I’ve just reached the end of the first of those, so now’s a good time to start if you haven’t already. If you’ve already read it all in the book, a) you are attractive, and b) it now has a Digg button, perhaps you’d care to swing by and click it?

On a similarly autoprostitutional note, I have a reminder here for the four people who intended to vote for me in the Games Media Awards and forgot to actually do so. It just says, “Do it do it do it do it!” I think it’s written in blood. At this stage you should vote for me even if you actively dislike my writing, because all the other candidates were killed in a freak sporkstorm and the only other nominees are now Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot.

The reason I bring this up now, apart from that surprisingly under-reported tragedy, is that I just realised today that I forgot to vote for myself.

Chijts: Hi, I stopped being lazy and voted for you because of this line:

"..And I could always take Solidarity back - it was deep in my territory, easy to culture-hug.

On the other hand, fuck you in your stupid beardy face you crinkle-browed alien twat."

Writing like this just has to be rewarded.

J-Man: Goddammit! There's no new issue of PCG UK here in the US (I'm on vacation), only the crap US version.

LaZodiac: Er...I favorited the PC Gamer page to check the update every day to avoid being lazy, but thanks anyway good sir. I've already voted, and defintly for you and not because I was forced into it by loving hugs of death.

That reminds me. I showed both your war diaries to a friend. He said that they were teh single greatest things I've ever found for him, and I've found him alot of things he enjoys the hell out of.

spuzman00: I want back and read the diary you made before the expansion.

You now have my vote.

Lack_26: I finally got around to voting to you, sorry, I forgot last time.

Chris Evans: I forgot when you first mentioned the awards and read Plan B in the mag :D

Chris Evans: I don't know what I was on about there! I voted for you when you first mentioned it and read Plan B in PC Gamer :D

Cian: It is a source of great pain to me that this issue of PCG came out immediately after I moved to Stockholm. I even went to the trouble of bringing the Wolfenstein issue with me. This dripfeed of story is killing me.

Alex Holland: I'm currently playing Star Control II again (or Ur-Quan Masters as it's called these days), and can't help but be struck the by similarity between the Drengin and the Korath in Gal Civ and the Ur-Quan and the, erm, Kor-Ah in Star Con II. In both cases the main civilisation went for enslavement of all other life forms, while the Kor-A(t)h part then split off because they wanted to destroy all other life forms instead. It must be a tribute.

Anyway, I'm grealy enjoying seeing how the machinations of peace are, in a sense, more evil and less honest than war. I declare you honourarily Swiss.

audiman: Would Mount&Blade make good diary material?

Jason L: Already has - Violent Trevor

audiman: Jason L: Already has - Violent Trevor

That isn't what I mean, I meant a full blown campaign, allying witha faction, taking towns and then rebelling, claiming the land for yourself.