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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

I Like That You Can Slow Down

Great new music is being released rapidly and randomly. Let me review some of it and give you some tracks.

Architecture in Helsinki – Moment Bends

Helsinki seem to reinvent themselves a little with every album these days. That Beep, the first single from this, has been out for almost three years, and is so funky and divergent that I’ve been itching to hear the rest of their latest experiments for way too long.

Surprisingly, Moment Bends is more conventional than their previous stuff: That Beep is nuts, but it’s more or less alone. The rest are polished pop, obvious but effective hooks and sometimes openly sentimental lyrics. Yr Go To is narrowly the best, for blending that with a slightly spacey feel, as if they got distracted while idly producing a great pop song.

Despite the loss of quirk, it’s a great album and easily the best of these three. The only bad track is Contact High, which they’re inexplicably using to promote it. It’s not just the worst track here, it’s the worst thing they’ve ever done. It has a last-verse key change, for Christ’s sake – why is that still legal?

£7.49 Amazon MP3

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The Sounds – Something To Die For

I only just got this, but Yeah Yeah Yeah is an instant favourite. The Sounds are usually pretty straightforward rock, but here they’re going a little more electronic – some tracks feel more about rhythms and samples than the conventional structure they’ve stuck to before. On Yeah Yeah Yeah it’s excitingly new, but the rest of the album isn’t standing up to Rubicon yet (see I’ve Got Confessions To Make).

£7.90 Amazon MP3


Low – C’mon

A few highlights here, not least the tumbling Try To Sleep (below). Especially Me (and probably you, the chorus adds) is another – disarming and gorgeous. Nothing But Heart is the one with the gut-wrenching distortion in what I guess you’d call a trailer for the album, but in the rest of the song the endless repetition of the title grates enough to distract from the wall of guitar.

The former two would have been at home on The Great Destroyer, a freakishly perfect album, so C’mon is a step up from the bleaker Drums & Guns.

£7.90 Amazon MP3

Bret: Agreeing on the Sounds.

Good, and I'm liking it better on further listens, but nothing even comes close to I've Got Confessions to Make.

Ed Fenning: I've been liking "Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros" recently, particularly these two songs - ...n-Rp2InGdA ...jFaenf1T-Y

Other than that there's "I need a Dollar" by Aloe Blacc, a nice traditional rythmn and blues track - ...R6oYX1D-0w

If anyone has Spotify, do you mind dropping some sunny tracks into a playlist? I'm just getting anyone and everyone to add a few songs-

http://open.spotify.... ...vhDxxBBKqu

Nersh: Hey, some good songs by bands I've never heard of before! Thanks for the heads up!

westyfield: I agree with you on The Sounds - Crossing The Rubicon is their best album so far. I haven't heard much Architecture In Helsinki before, I probably should have.
Also - where can I get a suit like the chap on the left of that picture? WANT.

Lack 26: I actually like the first two Sounds albums better, mind you, I don't actually own CtR so haven't listened to it as much.

I got turned towards some new bands the other day,

Fever Fever - ( ...qFVNw0pV6o) I like the high-temp beats, something not common in most of the music I listen to.

Big Deal - ( ...S1XrH9077Q) Kind of get a Warpaint vibe from this band.

John & Jehn ( ...dxJhzyNPbo)

Most of the other things I've been listening to are well known bands like The National, Arcade Fire, Los Campesinos! and, Matt & Kim.

James: AIH are one of my favourite bands. I'm going to see them next week for the second time, they are absolutely brilliant live.

cheers for the recommendations. I quite enjoyed The Sounds but Low not so much.

anyway, try out some of these.

Northcote by The Bedroom Philosopher ( ...xZiae16Ry8) so it's a comedy song, but it's catchy and bitchy and I love it.

Black Bugs by Regurgitator ( ...CA7--Qcp78) so the song's 14 years old now, and Regurgitator haven't released anything of quality since the early 2000's. but the first two albums are wonderful, and more than make up for their current crap.

Greg! The Stop Sign! by TISM ( ...wI2NrVYqIE) my absolute favourite band of all time, the chorus of this song just sticks in your head. they put on some absolutely insane live shows, but they broke up after their guitarist died.