Dr. Tomas Rawlings is Design & Production Director at Auroch Digital and its acclaimed news-gaming initiative GameTheNews.net which produced the global talking-point, Endgame:Syria. He is an award winning and experienced games designer. He has created games from original titles to well-loved IP such as Games Workshop’s Chainsaw Warrior, Star Wars:The Battle for Hoth and the multiple award winning Call of Cthulhu:The Wasted Land. He is a well known speaker on video games and also a consultant who has worked with major organisations such as the Wellcome Trust, the Royal Society, UK Parliament and the BBC. He has a doctorate from the University of the West of England in Software Studies. He also blogs at agreatbecoming.com, is a co-founder of the non-profit Bristol Games Hub and is named in Bristol’s Arts & Culture Power List.
- I’m on twitter at: @TomasRawlings. Feel free to say hello!
- I’m on Steam as tomasrawlings
- I’m on email at: tom at aurochdigital dot com
- I’m on LinkedIn too. If we’ve connected, let’s link too!
- My YouTube account is here. Auroch’s is here. I’m told web video killed the radio star.
My Game & Appography… (In chronological order, newest first…just some of the games I’ve made/been involved in)
- Last Days of Old Earth (Steam/PC) – A deep strategy game with publisher Slitherine set at the end of time.
- Elections of US America (Card game) – A crowdfunded physical newsgame in conjunction with US political site Wonkette.
- Ballot Bots (HTML5) – A game with BBC Newsbeat for the UK Election in 2015.
- Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night (Steam/PC, Mac, Linux) – Sequel to the Games Workshop classic, Chainsaw Warrior. Darkness is back!
- Fire the the Booth (HTML5) – Developed for BBC Radio 1xtra, a fun rap battle game featuring pixel version of their DJs!
- Plague Inc: Evolved (Steam/PC/Mac/Linux) – Auroch Digital has been working with Ndemic Creations to help make Plague Inc. on desktop a reality.
- Chainsaw Warrior (Steam PC/Mac/Linux, iOS and Android) – A digital version of the classic 1987 Games Workshop published board game. “Perfectly judged, brutally demanding and almost impossible to put down…” The Guardian.
- GameTheNews (HTML5/Mobile) – A project making games from news! Including the global-talking point that is Endgame:Syria and NarcoGuerra.
- Gamify Your PhD (HTML5/Browser) – A suite of 4 mini-games gamifying famous science experiments and explaining the principles of game design. I was the external producer on this title.
- Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land (iOS, Android, PC/Steam) – Game based on the cult writer H.P. Lovecraft and also on the paper RPG ‘Call of Cthulhu’ which has got some great reviews and was no.1 in the UK RPG category of the App Store. It also passed though Steam Greenlight into the Steam Store.
- Cthulhu Christmas Calendar (iOS, Android) – Red Wasp Design’s first title. “Red Wasp has produced perhaps the most interesting iPad advent calendar ever.” DigitallyDownloaded.net.
- Mirrornaut (Browser) – Developed for a GamesJam – it won an award at the jam and got picked up by the indie press.
- Bag It & Bin It (iOS) – A game for Wessex Water to help people have fun and learn how to save water and dispose of waste correctly. I was the designer on this project.
- Eat Them! (Playstation3) – Another PSN title for Sony – Monster-smashing action game. I was the Development Director during most of this title’s development period, so getting involved in design, testing and fan and press outreach. Here’s a review.
- Star Wars: The Battle for Hoth (iPhone, WM7 and iPad) – Lead Designer, community support and media campaign. The game hit number 6 in the US paid App charts, twice!
- Savage Moon: The Hera Campaign (PSP) – Also Lead Designer on this title and did the follow-up community support and media campaign.
- Two By Two – My first iOS title! A fun casual puzzle game.
- Savage Moon & Waldgeist DLC (Playstation3) – Lead Designer on this title, pushed the media campaign for the game and did the follow-up community support. This was the top selling full game on PSN for the period following it’s release. (Waldgeist’s music was also nominated for an Ivor Novello award.)
- Hidden Danger UXB! (iPaq) – A GPS game for Hewlett Packard’s Mscapes platform. I was Lead Designer on this title which included an online user-generated content system.
- The Dark Mirror (Paper RPG supplement) – Developed and wrote this add-on for the Call of Cthulthu RPG game which sees the players as the cultists rather than those trying to stop them.
- Conflict: Vietnam (PC, Platstation2, xbox) – Level design and scripting, script-writing and testing.
- Conflict: Desert Storm II (PC, Playstation2, xbox, Gamecube) – Testing and gameplay evaluation.
- The Great Escape (PC, Platstation2, xbox) – Based on the 1963 film, I was Lead Designer on this title. It charted in the UK at no.2 (below Eye Toy).
- Conflict: Desert Storm (PC, Playstation2, xbox, Gamecube) – Testing, gameplay evaluation and multiplayer lobby design. First title in the million ‘Conflict’ selling series of action/tactical shooters.
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Dreamcast, PC & Playstaion) – Script-writing, testing and liaising with the IP holder. This was the biggest selling UK computer game until GTA4 game along…
- Abomination: The Nemesis Project (PC) – Level design, testing, interface and other design tasks.
Some of my writings…
- Designing Card Game – A Quick Guide (Medium)
- Why we’re working with a political news site (GamesIndustry.biz)
- Jack The Ripper — 5 Mysteries Within the Mystery… (Medium)
- Playing the headlines (GamesIndustry.biz)
- Games Killed the Video Star: Five Ways That Play Is Beating TV at It’s Own Game (Huffington Post)
- How We Evolve Fun (GamesIndustry.biz)
- Gary Gygax: The Father of Games Design (GamesIndustry.biz)
- War in Syria: Using Games to Understand Conflict (GamesIndustry.biz)
- In the game for the Console Throne, Valve Have Played a Master-stroke (Huffington Post)
- The Board Game Renascence (Huffington Post)
- What News-Games Are (GamesForChange)
- Authenticity in Games & The Wasted Land (PocketTactics)
- Gamesindustry.biz: From Paper to Digital: The Cthulhu Strategy of Games Development, Store Wars: Which is the right app store for you?, Gary Gygax: The Father of Games Design, How We Evolve Fun.
- Wellcome Trust Blog – Deus Ex, the Scientific State of Mind, Crysis & the Biological Singularity & On the Brink of climate change, What World War I and medical history brought to our game.
- Gamezebo.com: How to Start a Games Development Studio – Parts 1,2 & 3, The Future of Consoles.
- Narrative and Interactivity (originally for Develop magazine)
- The Independent: The world’s best video diarists, Open source websites: All change on the internet, New Media: Who are the real winners now we’ve all gone Wiki-crazy?
- PlugIn&TurnOn: A Guide to Filmmaking for the Internet. Published by Marion Boyars Publishers (May 2004).
Public Speaking & Talks…
- Creative Enterprise Insights Lab (Bristol, September 2016)
- Second Generation Kickstarter (Develop in Brighton, July 2016)
- Licensed Games for Indies (MGF London, January 2016)
- Keynote on Games & Literacy (British Library, London, December 2015)
- Newsgame Club on Syria Games (Mozilla Foundation, London, November 2015)
- Games for Good (Soho House, London, September 2015)
- Games & Authenticity (Respawn 2015, Cologne, August 2015)
- Keynote on Playing Democracy (PLAY15, Hamburg, April 2015)
- BBC Playback (Talk in Games & TV for BBC Staff, London, February 2015)
- Games for Good (Bath Digital Festival, Bath, October 2014)
- Keynote on Games & Democracy (PLAY14, Hamburg, September 2014)
- Keynote at Games for Change Europe (Paris, June 2014)
- Keynote at 1st ever European Newsgame Hack (Cologne, May 2014)
- Quo Vadis (Berlin, 24th April 2014)
- Subotron (Vienna, 29th November 2013)
- TEDx Bristol (11th November 2013)
- Keynote at Scoopcamp (Hamburg, 12th September 2013)
- Games for Change (New York, 17th June 2013)
- TEDx Houses of Parliament (14th June 2013)
- BioDundee (29th May 2013)
- Quo Vadis, Berlin (24th April 2013)
- Ignite Bristol (17th January 2013)
- Crossover Summit (Sheffield, 13th June 2012)
- RPC talking about Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land (Germany, 5th-6th May 2012)
- Making a Game from a Much Loved Meme (PM Studio, Bristol 6th January 2012)
- Strange Seeds: The Ethics of Artificial Sperm and Eggs (London, 13th October 2011, facilitation of event)
- Develop, Panel discussion about games beyond the console (Brighton, 20th July 2011)
- Goldsmiths University, Games as a Happening, as a Service (London, 3rd Febuary 2011)
- Develop, Why are Games Sequels So Often Better Than Film Sequels (Brighton, 16th July 2010)
- OKCon, The Evolution of Software: Why Open Beats Closed (London, 24th April 2010)
- Virt3c@Hull, Evolutionary p2p Systems (Hull, 20th March 2010)
- Pervasive Media Studio Talks; Software Palaeontology (Bristol, 16th November 2009)
- eComm, Technology and Biological Evolution (Amsterdam 28th October 2009)
- Develop, Diegetic Media (Brighton, November 16th 2009)
- How to Design Computer Games, Skill Swap (Bristol, 28th June 2008)
- Video Vortex, Reflections on YouTube (Belgium, 5th October 2007)
- Audio Visual production with FOSS tools (Glasgow, 31st October 2004)
About My Blog…
My blog title comes from a line in the 1986 film Manhunter; “I am the Dragon. And you call me insane. You are privy to a great becoming, but you recognize nothing. To me, you are a slug in the sun. You are an ant in the afterbirth. It is your nature to do one thing correctly. Before me, you rightly tremble. But, fear is not what you owe me. You owe me awe.” (Sampled in this great track). Why this? (It’s not that I’m a mentalist, honest!) I think that what we are witnessing with the rapid changes in technology all around us is a great becoming and yet we are so close to it that we often fail to recognise what is happening around us until the change is already the past. I am also a fan of the cool 80s style of the film. Manhunter also features the work of William Blake whose art is worn by the character (as a tattoo) that speaks the above quote. In addition, I’m a fan of the director, Michael Mann and so that snippit of the quote became my blog title.
A few other links:
- I’ve got some older game design documents on Scribd here.
- Plus a Vine here (don’t use it much currently)
- And Instagram here (don’t use it much currently)
Media blogger Jeff Jarvis in his book What Would Google Do? talks (and puts into practice) his ideas about how openness is important so readers know where you are coming from and can adjust your reading of my works and writings as such. So here’s my version (the bigger stuff, I’m not going to list all the small local companies/organisations I have done bits of work for…)
In terms of big companies and organisations; you can see who we work with at Auroch Digital here and what we get up to at Red Wasp Design here. I’m also a co-director of Bristol Games Hub (a non-profit). At FluffyLogic I worked with Sony and THQ (now gone). In the past I’ve done projects for Hewlett Packard, Bristol University, University of the West of England and the University of Gloucester, and Swindon Borough Council. Also back in the day I’ve worked for companies that developed for Eidos/SCi (now Square Enix) and I’ve also worked for Cardiff City Council (many, many years ago!). I have a (very) small amount of personal money invested in the Triodos Bank and also in wind power via Fenland Green Power Coop. Other than Auroch Digital Ltd, I have no other shares or direct financial interests in any games companies or games media outlets.