All posts


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

    The Newsroom

    That leaked Aaron Sorkin script I wrote up a while back is now a show, called The Newsroom. It goes behind the scenes of a nightly news show with a grouchy celebrity anchor, and revolves around him, his new executive producer and the crew. This means I would watch it religiously even if it wasn’t a Sorkin thing – I have no particular interest in the news, but every show or film made about it seems to be great.

    Newsroom, though, has been panned. The only piece I’ve read that was positive about the show ended on a bizarre and contextless account of an exchange that makes Sorkin sound like a patronising sexist prick. Particularly bizarre given his work, which typically mocks sexists, features some of the best female characters on television, and even has them competently discuss their differing takes on feminism.

    Weirdest of all, Newsroom does seem sexist. It opens with the male star dressing down a female student for her dumb question about America, in which he takes pains to use “sorority girl” as a pejorative, imply she couldn’t possibly be politically engaged (despite her presence at this political debate), and claim America was the greatest country in the world back when “we acted like men”. If it’s meant to be a sexist character rather than a sexist writer, it’s awkward that a) he’s the protagonist, b) he’s so obviously acting as the writer’s mouthpiece at the time, setting up the manifesto for the show.

    Most of the reasons to dislike Newsroom stem from that character, Will. His opening meltdown speech is half great (“America is not the greatest country in the world”) and half terrible (“But it used to be”), and that’s as close as we ever get to a reason to like or care about him. Some reviews object to the amount of preaching – I think the preaching itself is excellent, but when it does get old, it’s because people are having to preach at Will, to persuade him to stop being so pathetic.

    Despite all that, I really like it. I’m not convinced Sorkin actually is sexist, I think he’s just misjudged how some of this stuff sounds. And I don’t think Will is going to be a problem forever: once he’s on air, we finally see his virtues.

    The emerging news story and the crew’s frantic reaction to it is exciting and inspiring for exactly the reasons it seemed to be in the script, and that’s what I’m expecting more of. News is important, and live TV is tense – it has the potential to combine the virtues of his last three shows. It also has the potential to focus on the kind of emotional stubbornness that made Dana and Casey’s relationship get old in Sports Night, Matt and Harriett eternally tedious in Studio 60, and Will so hard to like in this pilot. I’m optimistic it won’t.


    TychoCelchuuu: He's not sexist, he's just misjudged how "America was better when we acted like men" sounds? I don't see how that's anything other than sexist. At best he's unwittingly sexist.

    Jason L: The character's definitely sexist. He said Sorkin might have misjudged the extent to which it sounds like the authorial voice rather than the character's.

    Athatar: Not sure if you have seen this, but the Nerdist has linked a vid demostrating Sorkin reusing lines in many of his shows. Now this is most likely unintentioned but it demonstrates why his shows always seem to have a "deja vu feeling"


    ThirteenthLetter: I suppose if you like having clapped-out conventional wisdom rammed down your throat, you might enjoy Sorkin's work. Other than that, not seeing the appeal.