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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.

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

So My Vesper Became Your Chariot


I have a special weak spot for songs that make me laugh with their opening couplet, and I have a special weak spot for spies, and I have a special weak spot for The Decemberists. So this song (via The World Forgot) was always going to win my heart – it didn’t need to be as catchy and fun as it is.

If, like me, you barely understood the basics of the Plame affair at the time, I suggest having it explained to you by Matthew Baldwin while you listen to this. It’s one of those rare occasions when you realise that thing you kept hearing about in the news was actually hugely exciting if you get the right person to tell you about it.

The Poisoned Sponge: Ooooh political intruige! It's juicy! And pleasing on the ears. How wonderful.

Smurfy: Oh, Valerie!

Roadrunner: Aaah. Finally, I love politics. I want some kind of politics based video game where you get to play as the President or something. It ranges from difficulty- easiest as George Bush, hardest difficulty as Richard Nixon.

Some might say, "Thats a stupid idea" but think of Phoenix Wright, you play a lawyer, but it's a fantastic game because of the script and storyline! :D

Dante: The poltical machine is the closest you're going to get I think.


Jazmeister: Deus Ex 2 was pretty political.

Jon Baker: What about Bad Dudes, for the NES?

"The president has been kidnapped by ninjas! Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?"

Totally political.

Roadrunner: I gotta admit, that sounds amazing in every way. I'm going to go download the ROM for it then :P

Jon Baker: Roadrunner, prepare to be disappointed. The opening screen is about the best part of Bad Dudes. If you're going to play an NES brawler, play Double Dragon or Battletoads and just pretend that is the premise.

Jazmeister: I thought this was battletoads.

Bret: Well, there's always METAL WOLF CHAOS.

You're the president. The VP has launched a military coup. There's only one solution. Giant Robot combat.

Sadly, it was only released in Japan, despite full English voice acting.


Jazmeister: The moment they invaded Iraq and weren't fired upon by WMD's, I just had to sigh. Blair did a lot for the economy, for education, and for big faces, but I just don't know about the killing. This is what happens when MPs can't play GTA IV.

J-Man: @Jazmeister,

Man, I miss old labour.

Jazmeister: @J-Man

Is not a man entitled to the sweat of his brow?

J-Man: @Jazmeister

No, says the man in Washington. It belongs to the poor.

Jazmeister: @J-Man

No, says the man in Somalia, it belongs to me.

(Apologies to James-consuming Somalians; I know the pirates are bloody foreigners)

Roadrunner: Bioshock reference. I like how we can link back to videogames from anything.

But Jaz, are you supporting Blair above? Because he fucked up the economy and left Brown to pick up the pieces.
I like watching BBC Parliament on the BBC Iplayer, because it's like a football match with yobs, going "Wheeeeeeyyy!" and heckling.
Gordon Brown couldn't answer a question, made a mistake, and there was sarcastic laughing and clapping at him, which lasted a while. I found it pretty funny.
@ J-man. We have a situation on our hands, I would explain more in detail but because you don't use steam or xfire or ANYTHING, unfortunately the only way to communicate with you is through Pentadact's blog. Also you know the word "Blog" still has a scribbly red line underneath? I wonder when the dictionary will update to add in "Blog."
*Does not mention hair or post-deleting*

Jazmeister: I'm not uniformly defending Blair; I never heard anyone justify the war to my satisfaction, and I certainly was never asked to vote on it, but he did bring in minimum wage, he ramped up spending without too much in the way of tax, gave us a devolutionary vote up here in Scotland, and did a lot towards peace in Ireland. He's not without merit, Mr Blair, in my opinion. It just went a bit warlike in the end, really. Too much mixing with the US Gubment for my liking.

I don't know what to think of Golden Brown. Except, you know, never a frown...

Oh, and yes, everything has something to do with games. It's great.

Roadrunner: I just made possibly my longest post ever on my blog.
Why is this relevent to Pentadacts post you ask? Well, it's political.
And the best thing about it? It feature the most hilarious right wing stereotype Republican expressing his views! :D
So uhh...yeah.

peterd102: I have to admit a sneaking regard for american politics, they can't do things that annoy people too much or they will be shot.

And btw Saddam was a C***

J-Man: I just watched W. and it was crap. A completely biased look at Bush, caricaturing him by having him eating and drinking in every scene and with no hard-hitting facts. Yes I'm a leftie, but this is just sloppy film-making.

Jazmeister: Brad Pitt does that eating-to-show-character thing, I hate it. I don't like Brad Pitt anywhere near as much as a decent person should.

Drake: This is why I prefer Canadian politics. Our government is so twisted and confuseing, nothing gets done without months of red tape. Often a party gets into power, and is kicked out before the first thing they did goes through. It makes me feel safe.

J-Man: @Jaz

Yeah, I thought Josh Brolin would be above it.

Jazmeister: Maybe he was just hungry? Acting is hard work.

Am I doing a good job commenting on all the political shite? Credit to team?

DoctorDisaster: That song is brilliant. I, however, was a journalism student during the Plame Affair (thank God the press didn't go for 'Plamegate'), and unfortunately was taking law and ethics classes at the time. So I know every godforsaken detail of the whole situation, and sometimes wake up screaming things like 'DAMN YOU, SCOOTER!'

Jason L: I finally got this into rotation. '...Let you into my confidence / without thought of consequence / to my heart or my mind' hits on three levels and makes me laugh, but then they do a gibberish bridge a few seconds later and make me angry :( The Decembrists! You're the best at lyrics! Architecture in Helsinki and System of a Down are the best at gibberish! Stick to lyrics! So lots of emotional points are docked. Admittedly, though, I can't even figure out the intended meaning of 'vesper' and whether it's a double entendre.