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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

    Ending, An Interesting Roguelite Puzzle Game With Extraordinary Sound Design

    Found via Mike Bithell and Dan Cook, Ending is a puzzle game where you move around a tile-based dungeon, one square at a time, and enemies only move when you do. That’s normal for Rogue-like games, but here it’s also used as a puzzle: it’s all about trying to get enemies to walk into your attack range before you walk into theirs.

    There are a bunch of cool things about it.

    Ending 4

    The Sounds Are Amazing

    It’s just little text-like characters, but when you kill them or they kill you, the crunch is brutal. It sounds like they get shattered, little bone-like fragments clattering to the floor. The screen-shaking visual effects are part of it, but the sound especially is deeply satisfying.

    Ending 3

    The Puzzle Mode Is Extremely Neat

    The first mode, the leftmost icon, is a series of hand-built puzzle levels that teach you how each enemy type works, then test your understanding with tricky situations that have a specific solution. It works really well because:

    It teaches purely with play, always letting you learn the rules first-hand rather than telling you.

    It does so with almost no cost for failure: you restart the room, but they’re small rooms and it’s quick to redo bits you already understand.

    It teaches everything in two stages. The first puzzle featuring a new element will be tiny and simple: “Do you get it?” The next one will be more complicated, but only involve elements you’ve already been taught: “Do you really get it?”

    Ending 2

    You Don’t Have To Keep Playing The Puzzle Mode

    I get puzzle fatigue. Even in a slick game like this, at some point I suddenly think “Alright, fuck this, I’m gonna do something else.” Not because I’ve been playing too long, but always because of a shift in the game’s balance between ‘How interesting this is to me’ and ‘How much work it is to play’.

    For me, the “Fuck this” point happens much, much sooner if a puzzle game introduces:

    – A sharp jump in difficulty or complexity
    – A way to fail that requires redoing a lot of progress
    – A challenge where I know the solution but it’s fiddly or time-consuming to execute

    Ending is good at avoiding all that, so I lasted maybe 20 levels before I got slightly tired of learning about new enemy types and fiddling with very strict grid-movement solutions.

    But it’s also got an interesting answer to this: a separate mode where you roam through huge, randomly generated dungeons made of these elements. The puzzles are much less difficult at first, but the randomness often leads to tricky situations, and just exploring it is refreshing.

    You could see the first mode as the tutorial and this one as the main game, or the first mode as the main game and this as a sort of experimental aside. Either way, giving me the choice is what made me want to keep coming back to this.

    It’s Available On Everything

    You can play it in your browser for free, download an offline version for Windows, Mac or Linux, and buy it really cheap on both Android and iOS.

    Ben: Interesting, I will definitely check it out.

    Marc Forrester: It's like a tiny portable version of Deadly Rooms of Death, which somehow manages to be the most aggravating and relaxing game ever devised. http://caravelgames.... ...2/KDD.html

    Will: Oh, interesting. I played through several levels of the Puzzle mode, up until it got too frustrating, and I loved the aesthetics and the sort of calm danger that roguelikes are so good at creating, but I didn't even poke at the exploration mode. I'll have to go back and check it out.

    jenson: I really .this .game ,,,.

    niks: Looks good