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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

Hyperthreaded Depleted Uranium Turbothanks

To anyone who nominated me for a Games Media Award. I am a finalist! With any other award it’d be corny and false to say the nomination is what counts, but with GMAs that’s actually true. Like last year, the nominations are open to the public but the judging is by a panel of games media types and PRs. I’d love to win this year, but I’ll be honest, I’m not super concerned about my popularity among games media types and PRs. The really nice thing is to have a bunch of people put your name forward out of the blue.

In return, I will try to be slightly less inadequate over the next week about posting stuff, both here and on PCG. Starting with some fun news from Valve about Team Fortress 2 I’ve only just had time to write up, and a short series of stupid posts here that have nothing to do with anything. Yes. This plan makes sense.

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If you are a judge, you don’t have to vote for me, but you should definitely vote for:

  • PC Gamer for Games Magazine. We’re actually pretty good. The thing I really enjoy about our mag these days is being able to read a preview knowing it’s not just going to be, “This looks like a game that has some classes and some weapons and the graphics seem good”. There’s going to be something mechanically or conceptually interesting and we’re actually going to spend the words telling you about that. Also we do reviews. Oh no! That’s mine! How did that get there?
  • Rich McCormick for Rising Star. Rich has already established himself in our office as the person capable of the most tortured pun when we’re sitting around coming up with headlines, and this company is the Abu Ghraib of pun torture. Here’s his piece on Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden. It’s a crime that Jaz McDougall isn’t also up for this slot, partly because it would lead to hilarious in-office brawling, and partly because his work on is making me laugh every day.
  • Christian Donlan for Specialist Writer Online. I’m also a fan of Simon, Ellie and Dave, but I think I’m right in saying this is the first time Christian’s been up for this, and it’s way overdue. His stuff on Eurogamer and in Edge always shines, and he is quite literally The Nicest Man In Games Journalism, a title which I must some day kill him to steal.

Jonas: Stop laughing at poor Jaz :(

Bret: Never.

Garg: A while back I was considering stopping my sub to PCG, but the addition of Rich and Jaz changed that. They're both rather good writers, and often splendidly funny. Oh and I need my monthly dose of They're Back. Hope Rich wins.

Joe!: Jaz is a good writer but I used to follow his blog and he sounded like a pre-pubescent emo self-harmer in some of his posts. Glad to see he's got the success his talent warrants though.

Jaz?: D:

Dan: Who is the fella on the left of the photo there? I met him once at a game launch. Proper rude twat.

Tom Francis: I know the face but don't have a name to attach to it. Next to him is Eidos PR Rich Eddie, who's lovely.