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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

Chris Livingston’s Merchants Of Brooklyn Movie Script

Is Amazing

I appreciate that many of you must already read his blog, but a) this is too good to go unlinked, and b) I never formally nodded to Chris’s excellent relaunch as First-Person Shouter, aborting one idea – itself the blog to accompany another aborted idea – to revive yet another aborted idea: a general games blog. Soft contrast designs with harmonious palettes, liberal use of colourful images and strictly logical layouts make my eyes happy.


Merchants of Brooklyn is an ultra-violent CryEngine 2 game about not so much Merchants as cavemen. Chris has not played or seen it, which makes his screenplay adaptation – Cloned Cavemen of Future Brooklyn: The Movie – all the sweeter. Let’s play a clip:


How is the network of sky bridges coming along?


Incredibly well. As I suspected, cavemen are extremely
adept at building networks of sky bridges.


So, no problems?


Well, we did have a setback. One caveman had his arm
cut off with a chainsaw.

THE PRESIDENT OF BROOKLYN slams his fists down on his desk.


Dammit! We were so close to making this work.


It’s okay, we have, like, thousands of spare cavemen.
Too many, really. We’ll just get rid of him and replace
him with one of the many, many extra cavemen we have.


Not on my watch. I want that caveman fixed and back to
work tomorrow. Give him a new robot arm that turns into
different weapons.

Palms: Chris should write more. In fact, I would like to see him make a website which he regularly updates with his opinions on games. Maybe he could review demos or something, I dunno, I'm not an idea's machine.

Seriously, there's so much talent on the internet, it makes you wonder how people like those who make movies like Epic Movie are in business.

Lack_26: I love his blog, (and yours) in fact both RSS (this site and FPShouter) feeds are next to each other.

Anyway, I would dearly wish for this movie to be made. But I doubt anything could match the images that this sends flowing through my brain.

Bret: It's a great work of art, no doubt.

In fact, if it wasn't for Scott Pilgrim, Valve, and Pixar, existence would now be futile. Nothing can ever match that script.

Jazmeister: I normally don't read people's screenplays on the internet; it's mostly to do with my glasses and whatnot, and... well anyway.

After convulsing madly to the clip, I may just bother my arse to read this one.

(I did read most of the spy one, honest. I read it all, just in sporadic, non-linear sections)

Dagda: I actually started writing the lyrics for the hypothetical crappy rap song at the movie's end.

Cavemen, MOTHERF***ERS!
(Listen up to my sound)
We livin’ here in BROOKLYN
(Take a good look around)
We gotta build SKY BRIDGES
(All over the town)
Ya’ll better hold ON TIGHT
(Cause shit’s about to go down)

I'm tempted to write a whole song's worth, I really am.

J-Man: @Dagda:

Please do. That's as funny as the script.

Smurfy: I envision this to the tune of that one song from Red Alert 2. The one where they have sound clips of people saying "ti-ti-time is running out" and "it's a nuclear device!"

Chijts: Sweet lyrics Dagda... or should I say FIDDY!

Jason L: 'Woo' might be better as 'Ugh', but otherwise that's great.

Believe it or not, I have a friend who didn't think this was terrific in every way.

Tom Francis: Add my voice to those braying for a full version, Dagda.

Palms: @Jason L

Dump him

Littleedge: First Person Shouter is an awesome blog. He and you, Pentadact, are awesome. I dunno how you can keep a blog as awesome as this going.

I found the screenplay funny, but kind of stupid. Nothing on him. I'm a bit biased since I don't like the whole concept.

Little Green Man: DO THE RAP DAGDA!!!! YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO. Also, Caps-lock does make me imagine the person shouting in my face.

Palms: @Littleedge don't like the concept!? ... I'm sorry I...I just don't know what to say...

Mr. Brit: Wtf. It's funny, sure. It cleverly spoofs common hollywood cliches and it does the poorly plotted game justice but really? Is it worth all this obsessing? This seems really extreme...

Bret: You couldn’t understand. Only… only the President
of a sinking city could understand.

Littleedge: @Palms

As in "wtf are you talking about" or as in "how couldn't you like the concept?"

I'm just one of those guys who don't like things like that.

Palms: I'm all for people having their own view, some people like tomatoes, for instance. Some don't. But this...this is CAVEMEN!!! Cavemen in the future!!! With robotic arms!!! BUILDING SKY BRIDGES!!!

I think people, including me, think this is awesome, because it's such an amazingly retarded, yet at the same time amazingly ... amazing premise for a video game. It certainly is a break from tradition. But if you don't like it that's fine, I guess it's not for everyone. Maybe one for the cavemen connoisseurs =D

Palms: Seriously, I could just watch the beginning of 2001: A space oddyssey for hours on end. Forget the actual space bit, just give me the cavemen. Lots and lots of cavemen. In fact, I would say that the whole of that movie is AWFUL, but the Cavemen scenes make up for it.

Justice: Such a pity that there's almost no way the game can live up to it's description...

Thankfully Chris is here to help us envision what could have been... :D

Dagda: Here's a longer version for you all. Think I can come up with more, we'll see.

Cavemen, MOTHERF***ERS!
(Listen up to my sound)
We livin’ here in BROOKLYN
(Take a good look around)
We gotta build SKY BRIDGES
(All over the town)
Ya’ll better hold ON TIGHT
(Cause shit’s about to go down)

In the vats at BIT's where
We was born and raised
When they said to build those bridges,
We was hardly fazed
Neolithic engineering
Just one flaw in their plan
Shoulda known they couldn't handle
This much real caveman

My man Jake's a PIT FIGHTER
(I'm a killer, ain't no lie)
Arm lost to a CHAINSAW
(Shoulda seen the other guy)
So he got a ROBOT ARM
(They didn't really tell me why)
(A hundred ways to make'em die)

Now they say the city's sinking
But we work all the while,
Days spent building, nights spent fighting
True neanderthal style
Tudor courtiers in my grill now
Takin' tea breaks? Bitch, please
Spend my time at the museum,
Hangin' with the OCs

Ispep: I hear they need a new poet laureate soon...
get your application in now :P

that stuff is GENIOUS :D

Mobba: Excellent.

Chijts: I didn't think you could manage to pull off more lyrics, how wrong was I!

Bret: We all learned a lesson today.

A lesson about cavemen and really shitty rap.

J-Man: All hail Dagda

McNostril: A lyrical masterpiece to accompany what will surely be called the most influential movie script of 2009.

CloakRaider: That twist at the end blew my mind.

And I loved the character of THE PRESIDENT OF BROOKLYN.

Nonomu198: Hehehe, nice work, Dagda.

A Concerned Citizen: I'm New here, I came over from FirstPersonShouter though so immediately flocked to this. Good Job Dagda

SomeDude: Worked on the game. This is so awesome.