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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

Floating Point Passes 70,000 Players

As of today, 70,163 people own Floating Point, the free game about grappling hooks I released last Friday. 31,700 of those got it on day 1, and the count is now growing steadily at around 3,000 new players a day.

This is pretty amazing. I didn’t contact any press about it, and the only promotion I did was the long and rambly videos I’ve been posting here, if you can call them that. Being free, unsurprisingly, makes a big difference. More interesting stats:

  • 71% of Floating Point players own Gunpoint, 22% own the Exclusive ($30) Edition.
  • 203 people have reviewed it, 198 of them positively.
  • After the US (15k) and the UK (6k), Russia and Poland have the most players with 5k each – all other countries are under 3k.
  • The average play session is 12 minutes, which is about how long I usually play for too.
  • The 22,000 players Steam has sampled to get play-time stats have, between them, spent more than a year playing.
  • If the other 48,000 have played similarly, that’d be more then four years of play time.
  • The game took 21 days to make.


Jordan: Congratulations Tom! I've been a follower of yours since back when TB did a video on Gunpoint, and I'm a big fan of both of your games so far. I'm super excited for Heat Signature! Keep up the good work!

Fortuitae: Nice, it's a fun little game! Tricky at first, but it only takes a few minutes to get the hang of it.

Paul: This is one of the best relaxing games I ever seen. Thanks man. No wonder so many people are playing it

Tazling: Hello. Beautiful game, I can see that it will become addictive. It has some of the dreamlike serenity of Osmos, and a like Osmos an unusual and creative gameplay. I have only one plea to the developer: custom key bindings seem to be broken in my (Steam, OSX) version. I just can't set the controls I would prefer.

I can get into "Controls" dialog box all right, and I can bind any game action to any keyboard key I like. But I can't bind any game action to any mouse button! I get the "stubborn beep" when I try to bind to a mouse button, be it via trackpad or magic mouse or a hardwired usb gaming mouse. I have been ransacking the installed files looking for the key bindings but so far have not found them in human readable form anywhere, so now I am stuck -- cannot restore default mouse bindings, cannot impose new mouse bindings, I am now keyboard-only. Help?