All posts


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

New PC Gamer Podcast: Eau De Toilette Radioactifs

This month, Ross Atherton, John Walker, Craig Pearson and myself discuss what Ross will do for a drink, how much John hates Fallout 3, and what’s wrong with my radar. Find out what the lead designer of Deus Ex 3 said to make me equate the original to the Mona Lisa, why a fifteen year-old reader is having a mid-life crisis, and WHAT GOES INTO A MAGAZINE.

Sign up here, download here, or listen here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This, by the way, is the Zombuster creation to which I refer towards the end:


Sideath: Sex-tron editor! :D

Also (off topic only 3 words in:) You read my tumblog! Yay!

Kerotan: Interesting itunes labels this podcast's genre as Christian rap.

Bret: Shh.

It's for tax purposes.

Lack_26: I just had a look at zom's creation, my comment 'Holy sheet, that is freaking awesome.' lol, satire.

Also, yet another great pod-cast.

Devenger: The fact that MP3s can have the genre 'Christian Gangsta Rap' is evdence that this is an awesome world we live in.

Sidenote: ooh, podcast. Never listened to the PCG one before, seems interesting.

ZomBuster: @Lack, that will probably get you banned too.

He who knows what he’s talking about: Theyve totally ruined Deus Ex 4! The 3rd one was a shambles, the second one was worse so. The only one that was true to the original was the first one gawd!

Frosty: I didn't go to the PC Gamer Showdown because Pentadact.

Frosty: ...wasn't there. Damn, I screwed that up.

Lack_26: I had to sit my UKCAT, so could, still I did better than anyone else I know who did it.

Lack_26: *I mean I couldn't to the showdown because I was sitting the test. I had to get up early on a Saturday morning to do an exam, grr.

Jason L: Listening to this again today...
1. Eternal Darkness on Gamecube is the classic example of a game using 'glitches' and impossible stuff for horror. They apparently got it right.
2. I was completely, utterly and unexpectedly freaked out by the part in Max Payne where he' a coma? I forget...and trying to run back to...sanity?...along a blood-coloured maze thread suspended in darkness with the snowing pink flecks and ambient heartbeat. I quit right out and had to come back later.

Jazmeister: Did...

Did you say Eternal Darkness?