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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.

Hitman header tunnel

Rewarding Creative Play Styles In Hitman

Far Cry Primal Thumbnail

Postcards From Far Cry Primal

Snowball jack header

Solving XCOM’s Snowball Problem

Kill Zone and Bladestorm

Kill Zone And Bladestorm

BAFTA Featured

An Idea For More Flexible Indie Game Awards

Sectors Header

Teaching Heat Signature’s Ship Generator To Think In Sectors

DXHR Open area

What Works And Why: Multiple Routes In Deus Ex

Heat Signature Natural Numbers

Natural Numbers In Game Design

Pharma Header

Naming Drugs Honestly In Big Pharma

Writing vs Programming

Make A Game Tutorial Thumbnail Featured IMage

Let Me Show You How To Make A Game

New Heat Signature Video: Galaxies, Suction And Wrench-Throwing

Her Story banner

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

Invisible Header

What Works And Why: Invisible Inc

Super Game Jam Header

Our Super Game Jam Episode Is Out

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What Works And Why: Sauron’s Army

Heat Signature Talk

Showing Heat Signature At Fantastic Arcade And EGX


What I’m Working On And What I’ve Done

Murder, She Wrote

The Formula For An Episode Of Murder, She Wrote

Heat Signature Wide 2

Heat Signature Needs An Artist And A Composer

Heat Signature Floorplans Header

Improving Heat Signature’s Randomly Generated Ships, Inside And Out

Gunpoint Steam Workshop

Gunpoint Patch: New Engine, Steam Workshop, And More

Distance Header

Distance: A Visual Short Story For The Space Cowboy Game Jam

The Magic Circle

Raising An Army Of Flying Dogs In The Magic Circle

Floating Point Blog Launch

Floating Point Is Out! And Free! On Steam! Watch A Trailer!

Floating Sine

Drawing With Gravity In Floating Point


What’s Your Fault?

Hoplite banner

The Randomised Tactical Elegance Of Hoplite

Gone Point

Here I Am Being Interviewed By Steve Gaynor For Tone Control

Heat Signature Thumbnail

Heat Signature: A Game About Sneaking Aboard Randomly Generated Spaceships

GRappling Hook Thumbnail

The Grappling Hook Game, Dev Log 6: The Accomplice

Alien Swarm Heroics

A Story Of Heroism In Alien Swarm

FTL Story

One Desperate Battle In FTL

Spelunky Banner

To Hell And Back In Spelunky

Game vs story graph

Games Vs Story 2

Gunpoint Breakdown

Gunpoint Development Breakdown

Max Payne 3

Five Things I Learned About Game Criticism In Nine Years At PC Gamer

This is how you die

My Short Story For The Second Machine Of Death Collection


Not Being An Asshole In An Argument

Skyrim Diary - Frostmere

Playing Skyrim With Nothing But Illusion

Mainstream Games

How Mainstream Games Butchered Themselves, And Why It’s My Fault


A Short Script For An Animated 60s Heist Movie

Dark Messiah

The Magical Logic Of Dark Messiah’s Boot


Arguing On The Internet


Shopstorm, A Spelunky Story

Stealth Games

Why Are Stealth Games Cool?


E3’s Violence Overload, Versus Gaming’s Usual Violence Overload

Suspicious Manifesto

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

What Makes Games Good

Seat Quest

A Story Of Plane Seats And Class

Deckard: Blade Runner, Moron

Beneath Suspicion

Avoiding Suspicion At The US Embassy

Open Worlds

An Idea For A Better Open World Game

Level Up

A Different Way To Level Up

BioShock Ending

How I Would Have Ended BioShock

Meet the Spy

My Script For A Team Fortress 2 Short About The Spy

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2 Unlockable Weapon Ideas

Football Manager

Don’t Make Me Play Football Manager

EVE Assassins

EVE’s Assassins And The Kill That Shocked A Galaxy

GalCiv 2

My Galactic Civilizations 2 War Diary


I Played Through Episode Two Holding A Goddamn Gnome

Machine of Death

My Short Story For The Machine Of Death Collection

Blood money and sex

Blood Money And Sex


A Woman’s Life In Search Queries

Second Life

First Night, Second Life


SWAT 4: The Movie Script

Dishonored Header


I like Dishonored quite a lot. Here’s my review.

After mentally rejecting three even crazier ideas, I hoist the Overseer’s body over my shoulder and jump out of the window.

If you’re playing it now, you might want to know what counts as a kill, what the threshold for ‘low chaos’ is, and whether dogs seeing you mean you’re not a ghost. Here’s a guide.

The game itself doesn’t fully explain how it works. I misunderstood it, and accidentally committed myself to a darker path than I wanted.

If you’ve finished it, we did a special spoilercast where we discuss the merits and faults of the plot, amongst much else.

You fascinate me, Corvo. You’ve eaten fifty cans of tuna today Corvo. Why did you do that? How did you do that? How do you eat all the tuna on a shelf almost instantly?

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I also wrote an account of the first time I tackled the Lady Boyle mission.

He’s wearing a whale the size of a dog on his head. Her mask is a fly, with plate-sized compound eyes. They both stare at me for a moment, then the fly woman says:
‘I don’t know how you can wear that mask.’


Chris: I should really pick up a copy of this!

Tom, how much more of an appreciation do you have for games like this now that you are making one your self?

Samorai: I've just finished playing this for a second time (second time was the psychotic stabby playthrough) and it's probably my game of the year - tied with Spec Ops: The Line.

I really enjoyed the review and podcast, it's interesting to see how other people tackled the game (and a relief to find I wasn't the only one who often put sleeping people onto beds). Being the pedantic nerd that I am, I wanted to say you can non-lethally takedown Daud (the whole put him into his bed afterwards so he doesn't wake up aching is optional) by sneaking behind him. I don't think knock-out darts work on him - I tried doing the Bend Time thing to subdue him and his guard but he says something like "Nice try, Corvo" and then attacks you whilst the other dude is frozen.

Did anyone spot that the more you quicksave/load that previously knocked out guards seemed to reset and start patrolling again? Or was that just my imagination or a glitch?

Nonomu198: My experience was constantly fighting the cheating AI, e.g. waiting infinitely for a guard to move only for him to not move but not because he noticed me but rather because the game did, forgetting to crouch before teleporting behind guards triggering them to notice me, without me even moving, mind you, they just know I'm there because I'm not crouching, and hours upon hours of exploration and save/reload because I thought treasures and good endings are worth it. They aint.

Maybe they should just start the game with a big warning, "DO NOT GIVE A FUCK!". Maybe that would have made it less of a horrible experience for me.

Nonomu198: Oh, and Samorai, I don't know about that, but since I liked hoarding unconscious bodies in the same room (played the whole game without a single kill, other than one "kill" in which I threw a dead body I found into a wall of light hoping this would help fight the plague. The game thought otherwise.) I noticed that if I save/reload all but one body were gone.

Samorai: I noticed a few odd AI glitches - mostly when an enemy would suddenly stare at you hiding in shadows above them, but completely un-alert. They'd do a few circles whilst eyeballing you before wandering off. Which was odd. Along with a audio glitch in the first level where all the guards were constantly saying "eh" or "hm" to indicate they'd spotted something, even when I wasn't anywhere close.