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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

    The Grappling Hook Game, Dev Log 6: The Accomplice

    I’ve decided to let people play this prototype of my Grappling Hook Game at IndieCade East in New York next month, partly to force me to focus on what it really needs to be a playable game. After a week and a bit, here’s what I’ve got.

    There’s now a second character who can cut through glass, and the grappling hook character can pull them up and swing them around to get them where they need to be.

    The test level now has three buildings and five stealable objectives, just to give a feel for some situations and spaces that might come up. Obviously these buildings would have armed guards and staircases rather than holes in the floor. These won’t be the only two characters, either, though you won’t have to take them all to every job.

    I don’t know if the game will be multiplayer – obviously that would be cool, but it all depends how hard that is to do. It will definitely be designed for single player first.

    It’s starting to feel cool, now. Dangling from a rope to break glass or snatch things feels very heisty, and that’s the main thing I want to achieve at this point. It’s going to be interesting to balance that with the silliness: the grappling hook is just sort of inherently nuts, and leads to wacky stunts that don’t look realistic but are sort of hilarious. I’m not gonna worry about that clash until it really feels like a problem – there will be fall damage, and that might make some of these hilarious deaths rather than repeatable madness.

    I’m posting occasional shots from development on Twitter.


    anothercommenter: I'm getting a kind of Gunpoint-y vibe from this, is this intended to be a sequel? Either way it looks great, I'm really looking forward to playing this.

    commendablecommentator: Just please promise me that you have a safe cracker guy, who is depicted as fat, cigar smoking, and wearing a cap. Also, the fatness could be part of game mechanic. He is hard to haul upwards maybe or something.

    Xavier: If you get any free time in between games, you should make one or two unity tutorials.

    Mark: Looks very interesting.

    Local coop would be pretty easy to do implement, but I'm not sure how good the grappling hook would work using a gamepad. But internet coop is still very doable. There's a multiplayer tutorial here. ...ture=watch
    Or you can ask me, I'd be happy to share some knowledge.

    One thing that sounds a bit troublesome, is that with coop, puzzle design is quite different. You probably don't want a player just hanging around waiting for others to do their thing untill it's finally their turn.

    Looking forward to the next iteration

    Dan: Looks good, reminds me of the commandos series and that is no bad thing!

    Can already see potential for a variety of levels in this.. Jailbreaks, bank robbing, jewel thieving. Awesome

    Vartul: Hello. Firstly, I loved all your articles on PCGamer(I fell down my chair laughing at the Hitman Absolution article), and will definitely play gunpoint some time. :) Also, I love grappling hooks. I was sadly disappointed by Bionic Commando Rearmed as there was no jump. You must have jump. That'll give the player mobility and momentum with the grappling hook. Also, I think that the second character could be doing much more. Her mobility should not be restricted by the other player. Perhaps you could do something like mutual dependence? Also, please do make this game! I love the physics of the grappling hook! You could make this a stealth game more focused on mobility with the player(s) being chased by guards(some of which could have their own grappling hooks) after a theft and what not. Oh, the possibilities. I would be really delighted if you even consider any of my requests.

    Alex: I'm loving this !

    Can't wait to see the finish product, There is really a lot of potential here :)

    Mike Z: Tom, I have been wondering as I have been following this if you focused on learning C# to start or are you just picking up what you need as you go along?

    Trevor: I'm sure you have more things planned for this game, but if you're making it as you described, a stealth game where trying to avoid guards and climb up buildings, it'll basically feel like Gunpoint with only one gadget.

    Zaki: This game looks really awesome, but I do have to admit that I like Heat Signature a bit more.

    gnounc: TomF, dividing up specialties for puzzle stealth and switching between characters sounds a lot like the lost vikings. You should play through at least a handful of lost vikings 2 (a childhood favorite of mine), I suspect that will help you a ton. Multispecialists hests also smacks of monaco, a game I'm sure you're already familiar with.

    Zetsu: Hoe make that the rope has a collider / hitbox?
    Is the rope a LineRenderer?

    Geetings Zetsu

    Jason L: Rope collision covered in http://www.pentadact... ...-slacking/

    iestyn: What if the other player WAS the grappling hook?

    So you alternate the two players, swinging end over end. The first player grabs the ceiling, the second player swings under them and grabs the ceiling further on, then the first player releases and swings below, etc - it would feel kinda like the two hands of a monkey swinging from branch to branch. Controls could be as simple as 'grab/release', and you could add 'extend/contract' to finesse momentum by adjusting rope length.

    5crownik007: Blublejshfuwbbllubulu
    I seriously can NOT wait for these games, I mean, Heat Signature, and This! and all the other stuff! You are a treasure trove of good ideas.