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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

Status Report

Gone dark lately because a) I have a lot to organise, b) I have a lot to play, c) the next thing I was going to post I’m not sure I should post, and d) the thing after that would be about Spore again, and quite big. So here’s something quick and self-indulgent: stats!

  • The seven feeds to which I am the only current subscriber on Google Reader (update! Cross-checked with Graham and Google Reader gives slightly different subscriber figures to different people. Nice one, Google!): (Graham’s public bookmarks – seldom updated, but always worthwhile)

    Upcoming releases for user Pentadact (Soundamus – much-needed idea, but get cluttered with so many re-releases and embarrassing people I only listened to that one time that I might unsubscribe)

    James Comments (also three times more active than any other feed I’m subscribed to)

    roBurky (fairly infrequent, but all good stuff so far)

    1Fort Screenshot Gallery (I think more of Chris Livingston’s army of fans would be subscribed to his screenshots if they were aware it was possible)

    Comments on your photos (because Flickr’s homepage says “NEW comments!” even when I read them a week ago)

    Zeno’s London (my cousin’s blog, a literary agent and a great writer. It was great while it lasted, but he recently procreated so all content will likely be replaced with baby photos from now on)

  • Among James readers – the only demographic I have stats on – Chrome is close to overtaking Internet Explorer. Already more people use it than Opera and Safari put together. Meanwhile, Firefox is as dominant among James readers as IE is among the internet at large: a huge 70% share.
  • Eight people read James on their iPhones. One person reads it on his PS3. I applaud him.
  • By a very narrow margin, most people reading this sentence have never been here before. ‘Sup?
  • I have forty-three nearly-finished posts in my drafts folder.
  • We’re coming up to three thousand comments. It’s hard for me to contemplate that without part of my brain prolapsing.

Chris Livingston: Damn! I only have thirty-three nearly-finished posts in my drafts folder. Once again you have bested me, sir.

I was all into Chrome but now I'm back to Firefox, because Chrome doesn't recognize line breaks in Wordpress for some reason. So if I save a draft it presents it back to me as one big block of text. If they fix that, I'll come back.

Ledundead: Chris, do you think that's why 1fort wouldn't letus do those killbar things for a while? .../1fort.png

spuzman00: Glad to see that you're still alive. I was worried something had happened.

SenatorPalpatine: I'm glad you're still here as well. I'm a chrome user, very happy with it. Can't wait to see what will happen to it later on. (it's only what, a week old? two?)

Thanks for the update, looking forward to more stuff. (Though I don't care much for the Spore stuff.)

Personally, I want to see more of the random audio clips. And whatever else you feel like posting. :)

Octaeder: Hmm, that user reading through a PS3 was probably me and it was only to show a friend the Sackboy spore creature in Field Studies 5. Anything more strenuous on that browser tends to make the eyes bleed.

roburky: Heh. "fairly" infrequent? There's only been one new post since I first linked anyone to it.

Tom Francis: I tried to avoid making it sound like a criticism, because of course infrequent blogs are the ideal ones to subscribe to.

Mr. Brit: I have read James on my PS3 and my iphone! Win!

Kazill: I'm currently test running chrome, and so far, it kicks ass. It's fast, efficient, and nice looking.

Also, I'm one of those people reading this on an iPhone, only actually it's an iPod Touch. They can't tell the difference yet.