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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 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.