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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.

  • html color: This is the information I am looking for. This article is clear and easy to understand. I’m...
  • Grant: Thanks to the start of this video, I’ve just now noticed that during the static flickers while staring...
  • Ben: Great analysis. During the lab sequence in the Prey intro, you were looking around for tells that Morgan is in a...
  • 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...
  • 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

    On PC Gamer Lately

    The PC Gamer site moves pretty fast these days, so I might occasionally recap what I’ve done there recently. Here’s some of my stuff from the last month:

    The complete Minecraft Experiment

    Finally finished my Minecraft diary about playing in hardcore mode. Response to its end was amazing, for a story about a man trying to eat a cake while falling to his death on fire. Definitely looking to do another in a different game.

    Mass Effect 3 wishlist

    Relapsed on both the previous games lately – the differences are extraordinary. Mass Effect is by far the most compelling main story of any BioWare game I’ve played, it’s so weird that Mass Effect 2 is narratively bankrupt when it improves so much else. This list is how I want to see the best bits combined.

    Games as art masterpieces

    I put up a collection of awesome art/games mashup images by artist Drew Northcott. We used them in our mag a few years back, but few seemed to get the references. Wanted to see them get a bigger exposure.

    Playing the first three hours of Deus Ex: Human Revolution

    It’s brutal, and should be illegal on a gamepad.

    Magicka Vietnam is a thing now

    One of the most sublime announcements I can remember, a game whose very name is both setup and punchline, and an indulgently batshit trailer. Starting to really like the Magicka guys.

    Mojang interview: why they’re making Scrolls

    Got to talk to the Minecraft guys about why their next game is a turn-based strategy based on collectible card games.

    Dawn of War 2: Retribution review

    Loved it. Relic are now the best RPG developer never to have made an RPG.

    Picks from Dead End Thrills’ ridiculous Crysis gallery

    Old but still astonishing, even next to Crysis 2.

    Editorial: How mainstream games butchered themselves and why it’s my fault

    Realised the restrictive tropes that frustrate me about modern games are probably my fault. Bulletstorm’s creative director responds to explain why his game is made that way, which starts an interesting discussion.

    ‘A very good chance’ of Spelunky HD on PC

    Megaton hypernews of the millennium. So goddamn excited. Also, a little on why the days of XBLA as the ‘big time’ for indies may be over.

    Battlefield 3 wishlist

    Not all me this time, since Bad Company split office opinion somewhat and we wanted to get a good selection of views. My main one is for a return to the emergent camaraderie of leading a squad of strangers in Battlefield 2.

    Reinstall: System Shock 2

    I go back to the cold metal corridors of the Von Braun, and remember how personal stories kept me going in this place.

    Skyrim preview

    No revelations, just my overview of what we know so far and which bits are exciting.


    Max: Ahhhhh I want Spelunky HD on PC so badly. I honestly consider Spelunky to the one of the best games ever made.

    Bret: Good stuff, as usual.

    And, of course, reading the comments was immensely depressing.

    On a more uplifting note, thanks for the Belle and Sebastian recommendation. Great even by their standards.

    Poe: I just had a very enjoyable hour browsing the Dead End Thrills website and flikr archive. Not just great shots from games, but also some really interesting concept art, much of which is from games I would otherwise have no interest in (or even heard of, "Sphira: Warrior's Dawn" or "Bodycount")

    FraktuRe: Hey Tom I was wondering if you knew what has become of Christopher Livingstone over the past few months? All his sites are dead or no longer hosted, and his twitter account was deleted, I'm worried about him!

    Oak: I love that Dead End Thrills exists.

    Tom Francis: http://www.pentadact... ...ent-222457

    EthZee: That's something; I recently played through System Shock 2 for the first time a few weeks ago. I found it a very good game indeed.

    Engineering Deck. The cargo bay... those doors. Damn all of those doors.