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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

Why Graham, Rich And Jaz Should Get Forged Alliance

I was about to send an e-mail to Graham, Rich and Jaz explaining why they should get Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance and play against the AI with me sometime, then I started digging out screenshots for supporting evidence, then I realised I’d put way too much effort into this and that the shots were kinda cool.

SupCom 2 is now truly brilliant, but it’s still a different game. Here’s what’s still cool about the last one.

Forged Alliance - CarrierThis is what it looks like when you launch fighter/bombers from an aircraft carrier.

Forged Alliance - SaucerThis is what it looks like when you launch torpedo bombers from an aircraft-carrying flying saucer.

Forged Alliance - MonkeylordsThis is what a lot of Monkeylords look like.

Forged Alliance - WaterlordsIn SupCom 1, heavy shit just walks on the sea bed.

Forged Alliance - StormAnd Monkeylords don’t really care about transport fire.

Forged Alliance - Laser FaceFace lasers were longer range.

Forged Alliance - AssistYou sure could set a lot of shit to assist a thing.

Forged Alliance - BomberThe fourth race has a bomber the size of a stadium. Those explosions? Those were battleships. That was one bomb.

Forged Alliance - CitiesThe fourth race has kind of awesome cities.

Forged Alliance - LoyalistsTech 3 units are utterly badass. Here’s me discovering that Tech 3 Cybran assault bots can turn tactical missiles around mid-air.

Forged Alliance - MoonYou can play on custom maps, such as the fucking moon.

Forged Alliance - Seton'sAnd Seton’s Clutch was actually big.

It’s £10 on Impulse.


Jaz: I actually had it at one point. I wonder if it's sitting in a packing crate somewhere. It may just be easier to do Impulse, though. HMMM.

Davie: The first game never did much for me. I haven't played FA though, and I have to say, those screenshots are damn snazzy. I do miss not being able to play on a 1000-square-mile map.

Octaeder: Well, I came close to buying this before remembering to check various download services to find that I already owned it. Hooray for drunken sale purchases!

Steve: Is there any real reason why Sup Com 2 has smaller maps? Of all the criticisms that some people voiced about the design decisions of the original game, I didn't think that "The maps were too big" was one of them.

Tom Francis: I hate to be this guy, but in this case it legitimately was The Consoles. You can do lots to make a game look nice on a 360, but memory is its hardest limit. The console version of SupCom 1 was dragged through the coals by most, including me, for chugging appallingly.

Mickiscoole: Seton's Clutch was amazing. So very huge

Skusey: I forget how much smaller SupCom2 is. Unless somebody reminds me of SupCom1, I always think that 2 is massive. Although the new Seton's Clutch is a bit shit.

Joe: I have Forged Alliance! Was an amazing expansion, the incorporation of the Sorian AI made it hard as nails - I, like you, found the original Sup Com AI to be somewhat lacking, but Forged Alliance really taxed me.

Also, echoing what others have said, Seton's Clutch is astonishing, probably one of my favourite RTS maps of all time actually.