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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

Half-Life 2 Speedrun Is Beautiful, Ugly

The part where players invent unpowered human flight, and the part where they use the HEV suit’s optical zoom to look at a butt, are the two defining acts of the hardcore gaming zeitgeist.

YouTube commenter nobody960814 explains the trick:

“To prevent bunny hopping, valve created a system where repeated jumping should slow you down. Unfortunately they implemented it by applying a force on you in a direction opposite to the way you’re facing, not the way you’re going. So by bunny hopping backwards, you can accumulate ridiculous momentum.”

flaillomanz: I love speedruns. And HL2 speedruns, by benefit of the versatile but somewhat buggy Source engine, are some of the greatest speedruns around.

Fun to watch, but for the runners, certain segments must be utter hell to get right. YEARS of preparation, and thousands of attempts go into these things, and I might just suspect these are one of the primary art forms provided by video games.

Art, in that each one takes a long time to craft, and is made as perfect as possible.
They still may make small mistakes, but that doesn't really detract from the overall experience, it just tells you that HERE is a talented group of people, doing what they love.

John: I like how you can apparently fast-forward an NPC's script by smacking them on the head with a book.

Jon Wood: The butt part, in case you were wondering, is at about 46 minutes.

Jon Wood: And again at 48:20.

Welison Douglas: 29:39 too.

T045T: This is awesome, and thanks for posting that YouTube comment, I was wondering that.

That said, looking at butts might be funny, but humping Alyx with a piece of wood left me feeling awkward. As in, I'd love to show this to my (non-gamer) girlfriend, because it really is awe-inspiring, but I don't want to (and couldn't) explain that bit.

Motorsheep: You guys forgot to mention the time he has some time to spare which, naturally, he uses to shoot a dick-shaped succession of bullet holes into a wall.

Motorsheep: Oh wait, that's not a dick.

Or at least he changes it into something that is not a dick.