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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

Trust Me With Your Ears: Volume Seven

A regular feature in which I attempt to share the mystifying, alarming process of digging through my unhelpfully named MP3s by uploading one of the files I found that way and not telling you what it is.

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.

In this case, while you can tell pretty quickly what it is, I still have no idea where I got it, who it’s by, or why I would have such a thing. I think I’ll try moving the logo to beneath the text to impair eye-drift to potential spoilers in the comments.


Half Loaf 2: I wouldn't have a clue even though it sounds reminiscent of Jethro Tull

Rafmunkur: I'm ashamed to admit that I recognise the tune as "fernando" by Abba. Gods damn you, 1970s!

Also, Cthulhu rules.

nine: I googled "fernando cover cthulu" and found the source: http://www.khaoswork... ...pipes.html

Nice find! I recognised the tune before the lyrics started, and it took a few lines before I realised something had REALLY changed with the song.

Quasar: Shamefully, it took me 'til the chorus to recognise the tune.

Even so, this is brilliant. I'll definitely be downloading the mp3.

Smurfy: I recognised it just as soon as my eyes drifted onto Rafmunkur's comment, ruining the whole point of it for me. Thanks.

Zig13: Well it is clearly to the tune of Abba - Fernando, but the vast majority of the words have been changed. I presume their referring to a sci-fi/fantasy TV programme, film or book but it is one I am not aware of...

EGTF: Trust me with your mouse -

Came up whilst searching for the source of this song before I looked at the comments and saw @Nine had tracked it down already. Just a shame that it's not Christmas.

Roadrunner: And here I was pronouncing it in my head "Choo-loo."

Bret: Ah, the tender melodies of the all consuming terror that is Cthulhu.

Not quite as good as the time he met Bertie Wooster, but still solid.

Ronin08: @Zig13, it's referring mainly to early 20th century horror writer H.P Lovecraft's most famous Eldritch horror, "Cthulhu," though I think I caught references to Dunwich Horror and other works of his in there.

Ludo: So THAT'S how you pronounce Cthulhu!

Discount Ninja: Fantastic! As an avid Lovecraftian and Mythos lover extrodinaire this was a delightful treat!

Oh yes, plenty of Mythos references - I think I caught some for Shadow Over Innsmouth and there were onew or two for Dagon as well =D

Ronin08: @Ludo and Roadrunner, I don't think there's any one way to pronounce "Cthulhu," and I seem to recall reading that the actual pronunciation isn't physically possible by humans. Or something. Eldritch Horrors, you know, always with the confusing names.

Jason L: Not to mention Tom Smith's O Yog-Sothoth.

Zeno Cosini: Good old Cthulu. I've been watching a lot of children's TV show In the Night Garden with our one-year old son recently, and I reckon that there's something slightly Lovecraftian about the Hahoos. Check it out. Are those really smiles, or just the rictus gurnings of mindless slaves of Shub-Niggurath? ...den460.jpg

Caleb: Eh, nothing beats Shoggoth on the Roof.
(A Cthulu-based parody of Fiddler on the Roof, of course).

Especially good is the song "Tentacles!"

Listen to it here: ...aJckcCZtBQ

Bret: It's also cursed. Cursedness is always a plus.

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