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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.

  • RoboLeg: this game would be PERFECT for mobile, and I’d happily pay 10 bucks or so for it.
  • Jepp: 1) Please keep critiquing games by building new ones :) 2) The non-hand holding, simple systems integrating...
  • Jack: Are you going to release Morphblade for iOS or the Nintendo Switch? I would really like to play this on my...
  • Spaceman Moses: One-eyeing this on my phone from the depths of my covers I lazily ask: what do you mean XCOM2 clarity...
  • kripto: For what it’s worth, I also like Morphblade more than Imbroglio. Although, to be fair, I’ve also...
  • 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

    Terriers Again

    I was pretty rude about the plot when writing about the pilot episode, but impressed by everything else. This is a quick update to say that, in the four episodes since then, that simple set up has changed dramatically every episode, and led to some superb twists and tense situations.

    The pilot establishes a rich guy as the villain, getting away with murder, as if that’s going to be the overarching plot for the whole season. Instead it’s picked apart and inverted in a few episodes, and the jobs-of-the-week get much more inventive and entertaining as they unravel it.

    Everything else I’m watching at the moment treats its series-scale plot with kid gloves, never daring to move it more than an inch in a single episode to preserve precious plot juice for the finale. Terriers goes at its own with a wrecking ball.

    Basically my only complaint has been totally overturned, and unless I’m forgetting something big, this is the best new drama since Dexter Breaking Bad.

    More ,

    Pete Myall: Breaking Bad! You're forgetting Breaking Bad! The first two seasons are easily some of the best TV I've ever watched. I'm only not including the third because I haven't seen it yet.

    I'm in total agreement with you about Terriers, though – I've never seen a show so solidly conceived right from episode one. It's a damn shame that it's only managed to attract about thirteen viewers. I'm almost scared to keep watching it because I don't want to get too invested in characters that are probably going to be yanked off the air in a few weeks' time. It's like asking somebody on life support out on a date.

    Tom Francis: Oh yeah! I came to that late, so I had it mentally filed as super old.

    UberSprode: I'd love this show even more if it didn't have the same curse on it as Wonder Falls and Drive, and Firefly.
    Quirky new show breaks mold, produced by Tim Minear, airs on Fox, canceled before end of first season.

    SenatorPalpatine: I watched the first five episodes in the past few days and this show is great.

    Simon: On your recommendation I downloaded the first 5 episodes and watched them over the weekend.
    Thanks for the tip, it's a great show!

    Tom Camfield: I got bored during the first episode (exactly as the rich man was being set up as an evil man, but not, y'know, the kind of man who would throw out trespassers...). Which episode should I skip to so I can get a better feel of the show?

    Andytizer: Thanks for post about this, I love the show.

    I remember seeing Donal Logue in this fun film called Tao of Steve. He won some award at Sundance for it, and you get to see him in a fat suit.

    Chris Evans: Thanks for mentioning this one Tom! Watched the first episode now and I am already hooked, seems good ;)

    Jim Nathlich: Very very sad this was cancelled.

    Tom Francis: Yeah. Had a feeling it would be, part of the reason it's so good is that it doesn't conform to any obvious 'hook'.

    Satisfied with the final episode, though - more 'final' that most season finales.

    Jim Nathlich: Agreed. I'd guess the writers knew that cancellation was a possibility, and wrote with that in mind.

    The good: Plot, characters, and the actors doing some campaign work to get the word out on the show.

    The bad: The name, and more importantly the lack-of-campaign by the rest of FX marketing to get the word out. Many people thought the show was about dogs.

    The next: Hope to see these people in other shows and endeavors.