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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

Briefly: The King’s Speech

I liked it a lot. It’s pretty much a comedy, albeit a heavy-hearted one. As a drama, it’d be slightly too simple: we never truly understand the exact nature of Albert’s speech impediment or its causes, since both physical and psychological remedies both help somewhat, so there’s no real narrative to that element. The plot is simply that it becomes increasingly important he be ready to take the throne, and his speech continues to be a problem until it isn’t.

Which is fine, because it’s funny. Helena Bonham Carter is charming as the queen mum, Geoffrey Rush has some fun with the class difference, and Colin Firth shows an entertaining disdain for aristocracy and also swears and sings.

Chris Fox: Funny, I thought the problem behind Bertie's stammer was quite clear: his father always correcting him, so he became afraid of doing anything. The physical exercises only helped a little, it didn't solve his problems at the factory. It wasn't until he accepted that he didn't need to remain under his father and brother's shadows that he was capable of speaking clearly.

Tom Francis: That solution is posited some way through, but it doesn't seem to help any more than the mechanical exercises or other psychological tricks. If your take was that he only realises this properly in the walk from his practice to the broadcast booth, that's valid but I don't think it's specified.

Ed Fenning: I liked his speech when accepting the oscar for this role ...H7Yd7FCygw

Ryan: The physical remedies don't actually work, there really aren't any physical ways of treating stuttering apart from some breathing excercises and techniques, shaking your face and shouting out of windows aren't by the way. The Queen's Mother said that she wanted a physical problem treated in a physical way and no questions about his private life. The whole reason they do the physical "excercises" is to break the ice between them and help build up a relationship that otherwise he wouldn't have been able to after being strictly told not to ask. Just pointing out that there is no physical treatment for a stammer, I should know the only thing that seem to help me is a strong sotch and packet of fags ands there are social implications to those lifestyles

Ryan: don't want to double post but I have to agree with Chris Fox, being told "Spit it out!" is every stutterer's worst nightmare, especailly by someone as terrifying as Michael Gambon

Tyshalle: Way off topic, so I apologize, but is there anything you can do about the images on your posts from having links that stretch out on both sides through half the page? It makes it awkward when I try to scroll or try to click back on the window and instead wind up navigating away from the page.

Zacmanman: Pretty brief, especially for a film that's so heavily decorated. I haven't seen this film, but to beat out Black Swan for best picture at virtually every turn is outstandingly impressive.

Tom Francis: Tyshalle: it's bothered me before, too. I've looked into it now, and the answer is basically no. CSS is useless. The only methods that might work require every image to be in its own container, which'd mean not only doing that manually each time but also going back and editing 500 posts.

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