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.
I’ve just got back from sixteen days of travelling: first to the Game Developers’ Conference in San Francisco, then to the indie game show Rezzed in London. I was showing Heat Signature to the press at GDC and to the public at Rezzed, but events like these are also huge meetups for a bunch of geographically separated friends – and people who are very likely to become that. So it’s been more pleasure than business, and the evenings have been as hectic as the days. Continued
We use the phrase ‘your fault’ in a way that’s different to the sum of its parts. A fault can be any kind of problem, defect, or undesirable property. ‘Your’ just means belonging to you. If you have very unsteady hands, that’s a problem of sorts, and it’s yours. But if I hand you a full mug of coffee and you spill a bit of it, if you apologised, I’d say “It’s not your fault!”
Your faults are not ‘your fault’ if you’re born with them, if they’re forced on you, if you didn’t know about them, or a whole variety of other conditions. Language forms organically and messily, and it only makes sense to talk about it in generalisations. But the most prevalent trend I can see in the types of faults that are not ‘your fault’ is this: they’re the ones you can’t reasonably change. Continued
I don’t argue on the internet anymore. The short version is: it usually gets hostile, and that drives everyone further away from changing their minds.
But I spend a lot of time thinking about whether there’s a way to contribute to a discussion without derailing it. Whether there’s some way of knowing, in advance, that what you’re about to say will make you look like an asshole, start a fight, or be outright wrong.
I think there is. Continued
My last post about happiness was about why success isn’t a good way to be happy, and three things that are.
In the comments, Johannes Spielmann said this:
Johannes: Great article!
For a more nuanced (and scientifically proven) view on the topic, have a look at this Google Tech Talk by David Rock.
The video he links, the one I’m about to embed, has changed the way I think. It’s like being given the owner’s manual to your brain after 29 years of muddling along with the default settings. It’s not only spectacularly improved my understanding of how people behave and why we feel what we feel, it’s actually made me more consistently happy. Continued
This is a series of reminders to my future self about what I’ve figured out about happiness. The gist of the last one was basically this:
The reason we want things isn’t that they’ll make us happy.
Often, getting what you want does give you a little rush of happiness. We can be fooled into thinking this is the sensation of having that thing. In fact, of course, it’s the sensation of getting it. We are feeling the change in our status, not its new level. Which is why it fades. Continued
This section of preaching is directed at me rather than you, but I want to write it publicly to force myself to make sense. I’ll probably include some irrelevant music or photos with each post to distract you in case you get bored – this one’s the first big win of 2011’s adventure into the music other people discovered in 2010. Continued