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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

My Skyrim Review

Skyrim is out, my review is up, and it’s spoiler free.

Although I was hugely privileged to get to play this early, there is a special kind of agony to being this excited about a game and believing you’re just about to get hold of it, every day for nine days.

I was out for my parents’ anniversary dinner the night the mail finally came in, and the code was waiting when I got home late. It was going to take seven hours to download, so I set my alarm for six and went to bed.

I haven’t woken up early for Christmas since I was about 12, but for Skyrim I woke up at 4, then 4.30, then 5, then 6, then 6.30, then 7. Every time the download had about two hours to go, and it seemed to get slower as it went.

I made breakfast, tidied my room, exercised, showered, brewed coffee, did laundry, cleaned my kitchen, fretted, and then finally saw it finish. It would definitely crash. It would be encrypted. It would work, then be removed from Steam the next day.

But it worked, I had time to play it thoroughly enough to review before the embargo, and it was this good.

“Hey Greg, why didn’t the skeleton go to the party?”
“Because he’s a fucking skeleton, Jen, we’ve talked about this.”


Eagle0600: Hnnng... I'm going to wait before buying this, as much as it pains me. I want a few bug-fix releases before I try it, and I might even wait for the price to go down (we'll just see how patient I am, I'll probably cave before then). Plus, there's mods to consider. I'll be playing through my first game 'clean', but there might be some interesting UI mods or something like that. Short of something catastrophic, however, I am definitely getting this game.

Davie: I'm still having trouble believing I'm actually playing it. Ten months of anticipation and hype and then the box is suddenly in my hands. And it is a beautiful thing.

Also the only bugs I've encountered are of the hilarious variety--a flying mammoth that suddenly forgot how to do so and crashed to the ground, providing me with a hell of a lot of free meat.

1stGear: I hated Oblivion and never really got into Fallout 3. I only pre-ordered Skyrim because I am a giant sucker for rugged northern environments and I was fully expecting it to be the same disappointment as Bethesda's previous games.

Instead, I got the first open-world RPG that has honestly sucked me and promptly vaulted up my list of top ten games.

TooNu: Hey Tom great review and the Tourists Guide was also a good read, thanks for that :)
I'm loving Skyrim, I've made a Destruction Mage who sneaks around firing arrows into things.

The missus and I also suffered from the "it's Skyrim day!" much like a child on Christmas (and I still get excited for Christmas) but Skyrim day was something special indeed.
I took a week off work for DXHR.
I took a week off for Skyrim. That and my NY trip over my 30th back in March and I have no holiday time left until April. Time well used I'd say.

If Gunpoint is out around Xmas, I have 4 days off where we are closed so I can concentrate on that too. 2011 the biggest year for games for YEARS.