Sex Work: Moralism, Markets & Marxism

The issue of sex work and how it should be treated by society has long been controversial, particularly on the Left. While generally rejecting the conservative view that sex workers are themselves immoral (and filthy, dangerous, evil, etc.), progressives and liberals of various stripes have nevertheless struggled to find a …

Game Texture and Liminal Spaces

Years ago Michael Brough gave a talk in which he used the concept of working with or against a game’s grain. That idea, of thinking about game design in such physical terms – a game’s texture, grain, surface, shape – has fascinated me, particularly given my own thoughts about the …

Omegaland

Omegaland is now available! I wrote this about its history: Omegaland has been a long-term side project for me. I’ve been very lucky to get to work on some big projects like The Talos Principle, Serious Sam 4, and Phoenix Point, but sometimes I missed the strange freedom we had …

Everything You Give Them Can And Will Be Used Against You

There’s a reason that unconditional support for the concept of free speech has been a defining characteristic of left-wing thought for centuries. Beyond the principle of the thing – and the principle certainly matters – there is the matter of power. And there’s a very simple fact about power: when …

Semper Fidelis / The Second Step

Here are two more stories I wrote for Phoenix Point. Semper Fidelis. An ex-marine finds himself reenacting history in Antarctica. The Second Step. A journalist interviews two radical scientists in Moscow while the world teeters on the brink of catastrophe. Someone commented to me on the amount of effort going …

Nature, Ability, and Value

Perhaps nowhere do the great philosophical issues of civilization become more evident than in how society treats the disabled. Take the current obsession with the notion of the “natural”, for instance. Human civilization is repeatedly criticized for being unnatural; the natural world is taken to be morally superior. But what …

Far Out There

Far Out There is another short story I wrote for Phoenix Point. This one is a bit shorter, but it has a flavour all of its own. (The most important aspect of writing a story, I’ve always felt, is voice. I can’t write a story without having found the right …

The Tomb of the Phoenix

The Tomb of the Phoenix is a Lovecraft-inspired short story I wrote for Phoenix Point. I had a ton of fun writing it and I’m really pleased with the result. Sorry if that sounds smug, it’s just one of those stories that show up in your brain almost complete and …

From X-Com to Phoenix Point

I remember playing the demo for X-Com: Apocalypse. I got it from a CD that came with an issue of now-defunct Greek gaming magazine PC Master. I’d only just recently gotten my own computer; I think the only game I’d bought myself so far was Shadows over Riva. (We weren’t …

2017: The Year Shit Got Finished

I’ve just taken a few days off for the first time since Christmas/New Year, and wow, I really needed it. I have to learn to stop working myself to the point of exhaustion. I always realize I’m totally burned out way too late. Of course, the main reason this keeps …