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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

Designing Floating Point

My game about swinging through randomly generated spaces has spilled out from a game jam entry, to a four-day game, to a week-long game. This is a series of three video blogs talking about interesting things that happened in its design.

Here’s my previous video showing the game itself.

Update: it actually took five weeks, but now it’s done and out and on Steam and free and half a million people played it! More info on the tag.

More ,

RetiredSphinx: Nice! I reckon I'm one of the testers, then, so here's my feedback:
I do enjoy the grappling hook mechanic, but it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with it. I felt that the amount of momentum you could gain from pressing left or right wasn't enough to get the speed I wanted, because I was more fixated on having the grappling hook on one block, and trying to build my momentum to swing to the next block, rather than swinging to another block TO give myself more momentum. I was also kinda bummed that I couldn't tweak these parameters until they felt right.
What I ended up doing instead was to increase my retract speed REALLY high. This allowed me to quickly and easily build up tons of vertical speed, which, if timed right, I could release and fling myself at utterly ludicrous speeds upwards and some other direction. To me this felt more inherently "fun". Then, of course, came the problem that the red bars you're supposed to get are far too small to hit at this speed, so I set some values negative so they grow every frame rather than shrinking. While this, of course, took out any form of difficulty from the game whatsoever, it made the extremely "difficult" levels incredibly fun to play. A single launch would propel you across the top of the entire level, and you'd quickly end up with negative points because of integer overflow.
Interestingly enough, I never felt like hitting a block or wall was a "lose" condition; being stuck without speed for me was far more infuriating than hitting something. If you have enough speed, you're bouncing off walls like a rubber ball, and hitting things is part of the fun. This is probably also why I made hitting things increase the points bars more.
Anyway, I could tell that I wasn't quite "getting" this game per se, but I thought it may be interesting to see my take on it. It definitely was a fun little physics toy that kept me entertained for a little while.

Fortuitae: Hi Tom, this sounds really interesting. I would love to see a video of what the latest version looks like, with the music etc.

Max: I regret this more

Max: Apologies for that last one, thought it was an account registry. This looks fun, I remember fondly judging Worms players by the precision of their hook skills.

The underwater hookery is a nice new angle too, it looks like it's more than the normal play field inverted though, do you move slower through the water? If so, maybe your multiplier builds higher down there but it's more crowded and difficult to maneuver. If there was a time limit to narrow the scoring window, that would be a nice risk reward choice if say you're coming up shy of a new high score

DevLog Watch: Gastropoda, Gangster Tactics, M.I.N.T. | Rock, Paper, Shotgun: […] game Floating Point began as a Ludum Dare entry but has grown into something more. He’s made a three-part video series about the design decisions he made along the […]