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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

New York

New York 004
Restaurant at London Heathrow misunderstands the relationship between round pegs and square holes with their Asian menu.

New York 037
In the seven years since I was last at Ground Zero, they have put up a banner with a link to a website where you can read about the progress you’re not seeing.

New York 051
A melted girder from the World Trade Center at the memorial museum.

New York 055
A thousand paper cranes.

New York 074
Kim and I wandered into this weird, twisting, faintly industrial shopping center somewhere in the meatpacking district.

New York 087
A Mexican Day of the Dead vignette (I think) in a shop window.

New York 116
This is where you start in Deus Ex.

New York 125
This is me playing Deus Ex near where you start in Deus Ex.

New York 132
Manhattan seen from Liberty Island.

New York 141
A statue seen on Liberty Island.

New York 191
Kim and the jellies of the aquarium on Coney Island.

New York 196
Pink tendrils.

New York 199
Even for a shark, this guy was kind of a creep.

New York 214
He made this sonorous blooping noise as he gnawed his flipper.

New York 224
Everything North of the Empire State.

New York 228
Everything South of the Empire State.

New York 238
God-rays over Jersey City.

New York 253
Their dad was taking the real photo from the tunnel below me at Grand Central.

New York 256
The whole of 4th Avenue was closed for the longest and thinnest market I’ve seen in my life. No-one we asked about it anywhere else in New York had ever heard of this phenomenon.

New York 312
Kim and I both bought hats.

New York 295
Chocolate bars at Dylan’s Candy Bar.

New York 301
Gumballs at Dylan’s Candy Bar.

New York 315
Times Square on a sunny day.

New York 316
The gloom of Times Square on a sunny day.

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I was as sad as Kim looks to find that Max Brenner the Chocolate Man, a hot chocolate emporium beyond compare, has closed down.

New York 340
Even death turtles are pretty okay with.

New York 347
The Rivington, which we splashed out on for our final night, is the only hotel I’ve stayed in to combine apartment-sized rooms, monochrome decor and a transformative shower.

New York 359
Kim flew back to London and I flew on to Los Gatos for a press trip. We stayed at this Greek hotel.

New York 368
Bag of feed spotted in San Francisco, the day I left.

I took so many photos of the obscene food we ate that I put them all in a separate set. Part of me wants to review them. The other New York ones are here.

The_B: How many guards around the Statue of Liberty did you kill?

bbot: That Times Square photo reminds me of some turn of the century polemic where it was direly predicted that this whole skyscaper fad that the kids were so fond of would result in the street level being reduced to grim, lightless canyons.

Tah dah!

cixelsyD: The "progress" at Ground Zero is appalling. I've been following it for awhile, and they've really pretty much just started construction around a year and a half ago, 6 years after 9/11. Good news is that they're starting to look like they're making progress.

It will be interesting to see whether Tower 4 managed by private contracters will go up before 1 world trade center, built by the port authority.

PS, Bank of America tower on left side in picture of things north of empire state. Apparently the "greenest" or one of the greenest buildings in the world.

EGTF: Did you see if they had a GEP gun at the Liberty Island gift shop?

Jazmeister: Ed, remember that we're police. Stick with the prod.

Under my marital vows, I am contractually obliged to assert whenever appropriate that Liberty Island is in New Jersey, although the wikipedia article clears it up a little bit - it's still owned by New York, NJ provide all the utilities, and interestingly, NJ actually own the "submerged mass" of the island. Sure, until they try to remove it.

Lack_26: I demand you fly back, and recreate Deus Ex by having to walk, laptop in hand, and recreate every step possible as you play.

Also, aww, I want to go to New York. I hope you had fun.

Nano: @Lack_26 Believe me, he pretty much tried to do this when we were there. I tried to look as though I wasn't with him. Wasn't helped by him going 'Kim, this is where I meet Jaime. Hey, come back!'

Little Green Man: @Lack_26/Nano
That sounds like the best thing EVER. I do feel sorry for you to have to actually be with him at the time though...

Nano: @Little Green Man It was mostly pretty funny. Until he asked me if I could act like Jaime and teach him how to pick locks.

AlexW: When I saw the Deus Ex pic I laughed.
When I saw the 'chocolate' (butyric acid added to make it as rubbish as Hershey's is naturally), I wasn't so amused any more.
And when I saw the last few comments I laughed again.

Congrats on the trip. Did you get vertigo from the top of the Empire State Building? It's really, really tall. And also the elevator doesn't go all the way up, which seems inconsiderate to me.

Nicomallo: I like a man who never goes sightseeing without a mouse. Who wants to be stuck up Mount Everest playing an FPS with a touchpad?

Jazmeister: AlexW: It's actually only half as tall as the PCG office.

Ludo: Great pics, especially excellent hats.

ZomBuster: I'll trade my Ushanka for that Tyrolean!

And did you had to take pictures of all your food? Makes me hungry..

Dr. Nerfball: Those hats are awesome. However they certainly cannot be described as foppish. Therefore they plae in comparison to the mighty: ...athers.jpg

Tremble in fear! Because as we all now, hat awesomeitude shows status. Also if you look up feathered hats in google you get some really trippy responses.
(gee I hope that link posted properly)

Bret: What is the death turtle okay with?

Inquiring minds want to know!

When due process fails us, we really do live in a world of terror.

Rei Onryou: @Nano: At last, we finally meet the brains behind the legend. Keep doing whatever it is that you do. And at least he didn't ask you to be Gunther.

J-Man: I remember last time I was in Manhattan I visited Battery Park. Not like Deus Ex at all :(

Nano: @Rei_Onryou Aw, thanks! I'm not sure what exactly I'm a legend of...anyway, next time, I get to choose the game to roleplay. And I'm a BIG fan of J-RPGs...

skizelo: Bret! I can't tell if you know this already, but since the syntax threw me the first pass at it, I'll err on the side of caution: the caption can be rephrased as "Turtles are ok with many things, even death, as demonstrated by how happy this skeletal turtle appears."
Also, I was wondering why the site went down but now I know. Don't put hats on beds Tom, haven't you seen Drugstore Cowboy?

Walternat0r: Nice pics, especially the Manatee that's so hungry its gorging on itself.

Quick Q, what is that first pic in your NY Food group? It has banana and strawberries on so i'd have though its a pancake type thing, only its massive, like an oversized slice of bread.

Tom Francis: The first pic is a ricotta and pear polenta waffle from Locanda Verde, but I guess you mean the big one? That's The Rivington's french toast with fresh fruit and maple and vanilla syrup.

TooNu: Did you get to Battery park aswell? I'm just asking. If it were my trip I would be damn sure to go to Battery park.

Jazmeister: Just began laughing at the shark a few minutes ago. I'll let you guys know when I stop.

Pod: "This is where you start in Deus Ex."

That's exactly what I thought, too.