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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

PC Gamer Podcast: PCs Vs Ponsoles

Haven’t had this much fun doing one of these in a while, so I hope the result is of amusement. I can finally talk about two exciting games I’ve been gagged about until now: Plants Vs Zombies and BioShock 2. We also try a new thing where we read out and answer questions from anyone on Twitter who cares to throw them at us, and we got a highly entertaining selection. And I do two impressions, one of which only Battleforge players will know is rubbish.

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Our new issue on sale in the UK is our 200th special edition, which has, among its many items of note:

  • My Star Trek Online preview – I’m suddenly hugely excited about this after seeing it played: they’re fulfilling my all-time geekiest fantasies, and that’s really saying something.
  • Jim explaining how the massive Band of Brothers betrayal happened in EVE Online, and what it’s meant for the galaxy.
  • My eight-page BioShock 2 preview, with an entire boxout about the ways in which your drill fist is like a penis. Some great quotes from two hours of interviews with the devs, all of whom took one dig or another at the original game.
  • Kieron’s breakdown of the last 200 years of PC gaming, which features a picture of me as Adolf Hitler.
  • My reviews of Plants Vs Zombies and Red Alert 3: Uprising. One is unbelievably good and the other is barely fun.


Imperial Creed: "My reviews of Plants Vs Zombies and Red Alert 3: Uprising. One is unbelievably good and the other is barely fun."

No prizes for guessing which is which I suppose.

Thoroughly enjoyed the latest podcast, so very glad that Ross is back at the helm. Tim E is always nice to listen to but he tended to let things get a bit muddled.

So, Pentadact, how do you feel after 200 years of working at PC Gamer?

Sam: Best. Podcast. EVER!

Tim's hysterical laughter had me rofling.

Spy: Oh my god lol

Roadrunner: Needs some catchy background muzak while you deliver facts. :D

The_B: I feel in the upcoming redesign they should totally have a Hitler Francis regular slot, where you try and start fights between development teams.

Mr. Brit: Awesome issue, the big sister looks terrifying and I love that you can combine plasmids now. The other game that caught my attention was Boderlands, which looks absolutely beautiful. And I agree with the_B except, surely, it should be Adolf Francis or Tom Hitler?

Weird Fish: nice poster for the subs =] thanks!

Peterd102: Plants vs Zombies looks good, nice reveiw of it.

Chris Evans: Was a great issue, loved all the pieces you mentioned, especially the digs from the Bio 2 devs at the original game :D

Angus: Got my subscriber edition the other day, <3 PCGAMER :D

Rei Onryou: I haven't got the issue yet, but that was a pretty good podcast. Still doesn't beat the discussion about God being a developer/publisher and the crucifixion of Christ being a publicity stunt.

The Twitter questions were pretty good. Nice to see that Kieron has nothing better to do than harass you either. Good stuff.

And clearly PC Gamers graphics are the most photo-realistic out of all the Future game's mags.

Here's to another 200 years of Francis and PCG goodness!

Mr. Brit: Ross mentions a new logo at the end of the podcast that is on the next month page in the issue. Is it just me, or does it look exactly the same?

J-Man: @Mr.Brit: colours are inverted, I believe.

And here's a toast to 200 years of Mr. Francis and PC Gaming!

Redhawk: Augh! Its reason like that that I want to get into EVE Online if only it wasn't so fucking impossible!

Jimmay: Christ, are you only 27? I think the accents automatically give you guys a certain level of age and maturity... even when you're talking about listeners' mums.


Mr. Brit: @J-Man: Yeh, you're right. Different font as well now I look properly. Thanks :)

Bret: British people are assumed to be at least 30 some.

How they ruled thee world for so long, really. Everyone automatically assumes a Brit has decades of experience.

Alex Hopkinson: Damn you for making me desperately want Plants vrs Zombies. Also, the Bioshock 2 preview has me cautiously optimistic, which is much a better state than I thought I'd be in.

01d55: Hey, it's that magazine you allegedly reviewed Dawn of War 2 for!

Whatever happened to that thing, anyway?

J-Man: @Bret: Clearly Britain ruled because we had so much practice on Empire?

Actually, I haven't bought that yet, and I'm skirting away from it simply because of it's daunting-ness.

TooNu: As usual I Loved the podcast, the missus thinks you all laugh like geeks. I Tell her, "SILENCE!!" and that solves the issue.
No Mention of 'The Nameless Mod' though...your love for DX slipping Tom?
I played it today for 2 hours and got as far as the fan fiction bookshop :) so far, loving the allready obvious level of depth.

TooNu: Ok so I played TNM now for the last 3 days, it is humungous and I am loving it. Interesting fact about me, my birthday is 17th of March, same as JC :) I found this out today and now I am trying to convince myself to buy a trenchcoat, slick back my hair and walk around with shades on 24/7.

Jazmeister: Jim Rossignol's picture on the back page is expertly hilarious. Uprising seems painful. PvZ looks like a great birthday present.