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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.

  • 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...
  • Jack: Are you going to release Morphblade for iOS or the Nintendo Switch? I would really like to play this on my...
  • Spaceman Moses: One-eyeing this on my phone from the depths of my covers I lazily ask: what do you mean XCOM2 clarity...
  • kripto: For what it’s worth, I also like Morphblade more than Imbroglio. Although, to be fair, I’ve also...
  • 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

    Thief: Deadly Shadows Development Quotes

    I love these – files developers make of things said during development, taken out of context. This one, via Randy Smith, is for Thief: Deadly Shadows, and I’ll paste my favourites below. For reference:

    Randy is Randy Smith, designer on Thiefs 1, 2 and 3, went on to design Waking Mars.
    Emil is Emil Pagliarulo, who did the Dark Brotherhood quests in Oblivion, was the lead designer on Fallout 3, and a designer on Skyrim.
    Jordan is Jordan Thomas, lead designer of Thief 3, did the Cradle level, Fort Frolic in BioShock, lead on BioShock 2, writer and more on BioShock Infinite.
    Terri is Terri Brosius, voice of SHODAN, and writer on Thief 3 (thanks Nat).

    And the others I don’t know from their first names.

    Terri: It’s like ‘Honest Earthman’. It’s like the name an alien would make up to blend in with human society. ‘I’m Frank Terran. No need to be suspicious of me!’

    Randy: (RE: Linkin Park’s Xbox deal) I love it when ‘artists’ fake enthusiasm for whoring themselves out.
    Mike D.: Hey, I AM happy to be working on this fish beast thing for Thief!

    Emil: (holding one shoe) Oh, sure, I can get my map running on the projector. I mean, I can only find one of my shoes, but…

    Ian: it’s just like real life.
    Like if you were leaning and I shoved a big bookcase under your arm.
    What you’d do is move to a bigger room and try to shake the bookcase off.

    Serg: The other thing we can do is just skin a dog. So… if you can imagine a dog with make-up on…

    Jerome: Yo, he’s Warren Spector
    The gameplay injector,
    Eatin’ other companies like Hannibal Lector
    Warren: You be stylin’. (leaves)
    Jordan: Okay, I think it’d be best if you never do anything that causes Warren to say that ever again.

    David: What were you going to say dude?
    Jordan: I was going to say “I need to get in my requisite Flesh Slam in for the day,” but that just would have sounded bad.

    Jordan: Randy, you’re notorious for flying out of your body, passing through a wall, spinning wildly and then complaining that you’re confused.

    David R: So, if you were a nine-foot fish-person-monster, what sort of treasure would you have in your aquatic realm?
    Elan: Um, stuff that floated down, or remnants of my previous civilization.
    David R: What if you could only have coins, forks, or bowls?

    Dave K. (looking at source code): So over here, in the BlameUnsolvedMurdersOn() function–
    Wendy: That is the coolest function name ever. They should have that at the FBI.

    Matt W: How’d the killing spree go?
    Dave K: Good. Nobody ever stopped fleeing.

    Nat: Hey, I think "Terri" would be Terri Brosius voice of SHODAN and co-writer of Thief: Deadly Shadows. :)

    Tom Francis: Mobygames says you're right! Cheers!

    Ray: Always loved the Quote Scrolls in those games – although not sure if these came from a different source later on. It's one of the more fun ways to implement a "look behind the curtains". I'm curious as to what that function does, though ;)

    Devlosirrus: Could the "Mike D." in the second quote be Mike D, or Michael Diamond, of the Beastie Boys? I can't recall any instances in which Garrett fights a fish beast, though there is a frog beast in the first and second games. Did Mike D do some kind of uncredited work on the frog beast? Or did they originally plan to have staged rap battles between Garrett and a fish beast of unusually smooth flow and funky-freshness?

    I guess we may never know.

    S-writer: Fish beast is most likely Kurshok from Thief: Deadly Shadows. Because this is apparently Thief: Deadly Shadows developers quotes. Not the first two Thieves.

    kinkywizard: This reminds me of shift clicking credits in fallout... good days... oh look, pez.