28 Comments Rescued, Bonus Anecdote

So, the wp-recaptcha plugin I use for spam protection in wordpress freaked out when I upgraded the blog to wordpress 2.9.2 the other day, and started marking all the incoming comments as spam automatically, which was very helpful, especially right before all the press coverage for SpyParty this week.1  I could not figure out why there was enough traffic to melt my server, but nobody was leaving comments.  Well, here’s the explanation:



Anyway, it should be fixed now, and I rescued 28 comments from the spam folder, and I’ll go through them and reply to the questions over the next few days.

ObSpyParty:2  To rescue this post from utter mundanity, I offer you this little story about playtesting at the Stupid Fun Club a few weeks ago…

I sat Will down in front of the laptop to play sniper.  As I’ve said before, SpyParty is super hardcore player-skill right now, and is really raw and has no tutorial or anything, so I was starting to explain how to play, but he wouldn’t listen and said, “let’s just play”.  I protested, wanting to at least tell him how to take the safety off the sniper rifle, but he would have none of it.  Fine, be that way, I told him, I’m going to completely own you at the game because of the skill differential, so if you don’t want any hints, don’t cry to me later.  Just play, he repeated.  So we play, and I’m the spy, and when I’m about halfway through the missions, he takes a shot, and I fall over dead.  WTF?

I ask him what gave me away, but he just smiled and wouldn’t say, and just said, “let’s play again”.  I was kind of panicking, because previous playtests had affirmed the depth first design methodology, but did I break something?  Was the game not as player-skill focused as I’d thought?

Of course, then I went on to beat him 10 games in a row.  He’d just guessed on the first shot, and had lucked out!3  Phew, I thought I was hosed!

There’s actually some interesting psychology going on here I’ll write more about later.

After the playtest, he paid SpyParty a big compliment, by saying “it already has a bit of that potato chip thing”…just one more game…

Will Wright playtesting SpyParty at Stupid Fun Club. Sorry internet, I blurred out the whiteboards.

Matthew Sibigtroth playtesting SpyParty. This is a good expression to evoke in players.

Matthew Sibigtroth and Jason Shankel playtesting SpyParty at Stupid Fun Club.

  1. More about that soon! []
  2. Does anyone else even know what Ob______ means anymore on the internet? I am old, like, Usenet old. []
  3. 1 out of 12 chance on that level, or even 1 out of 8 if you know the current rules. []


  1. Mr. AFX_ says:

    I can’t wait.

  2. Pyleic says:

    Ob: Obligatory. Something in a post, usually tacked on at the last minute to keep it relevant to the group/thread/forum/blog it’s posted on. I.e., ObSpyParty, because this is the SpyParty blog, you are obliged to mention SpyParty in every post.

    I’m only twenty :P Ob is still used around the internets, yanno.

  3. Burninator says:

    Awesome, can’t wait tell it’s available for the public to play it. I’m more excited for this game then any triple A title.

  4. Nicomallo says:

    Sibigtroth’s expression looks like something out of a source engine machinima.

  5. Chris says:

    I read the article on Destructoid, looks like an amazing concept and I can’t wait to play it.
    Would be very interested to see what kinds of different dynamics you might be able to create with more than two players. Anyway, looks good, keep it up.


  6. and triage says:

    just heard about this project via rockpapershotgun. looks and sounds awesome. i love that there are still folks out there that have the ability and desire to innovate and move multiplayer ideas forward; i love team deathmatch as much as the next gamer, but we definitely need some innovation in the genre of multiplayer gaming. as an aside, i think it’d be cool to include a mode that supports more than 2-players. 1 sniper, 1 spy, and non-AI guests. something could be worked out, i’m sure. but as it is, this is a wonderful idea and i’ll definitely be keeping my eyes on it. godspeed.

  7. jordy says:

    This game sounds unbelievable. I have the utmost highest expectations for this game and hope that the development will proceed quickly and easily.
    Please release a DEMO soon enough for your fans to still there hunger.
    And might you need anymore beta-testers, maybe in a later stage please include me.

    Best of luck!

  8. Malifozik says:

    Hi Chris (Hecker),

    Could you please, please, pleeeeaaaase consider releasing the early prototype because i want to play iot really bad one time, and just experience how everything feels…
    I Don’t need any kind of tutorial, just please consider releasing some kinda test version..

    Greetz, An Early Fan

  9. mw says:

    Soon! Get us something we can try soon! I love that Will Wright was playing it. And the rest of the SFC crew. That gives me very high hopes. This just sounds like so much fun.

  10. jordy says:

    I think the first thing I’m going to try it too do nothing at all, that is nothing except the occasional walk, this is bound too frustrate the sniper since he can’t pick up any clues and he’ll probably take a lucky guess thinking he missed out on the action >:).
    It remains me of a scene in the movie assassin, where rocky stalone is waiting inside the bank all day knowing there is a sniper outside waiting for him. By waiting so long inside the sniper begins to question himself, has he missed him coming out?, other then that it’s a crap movie not worth watching.
    But would be fun if you would be able to pull this trick off, ofcourse there has to be a time limit for not to let this continue endlessly.

    • checker says:

      > I think the first thing I’m going to try it too do nothing at all

      One of the playtesters played this strategy a few times until his opponent figured it out. There’s a timer, and the spy loses if he or she doesn’t complete the missions within the time limit, so it’s a risky strategy, but it can pay off. The spy actually starts under AI control (I added this to give the spy a chance at the beginning while the party reaches a steady state, it was too abrupt before, and the spy would get shot while the player was trying to get his or her bearings), and you hit the A button to take over control from the computer, so you can actually just leave it in AI mode the whole time if you want to be completely undetectable, but if the sniper doesn’t take a shot, you’ll lose because you haven’t completed any missions. So, how well do you know your opponent? :)

  11. jordy says:

    That sounds awesome :), I guess it takes pretty much confidence too not shoot till the end, but maybe in a series of games you can throw it in once or twice just to mess him up. I guess the strategy where you go towards a goal but once there you do nothing has been tried already as well?
    It would be cool if the AI does not go more the once to a single goal per AI person, so if you do that trick then you have to go another time to that goal and if he remembers you got there before he got’s you.

    • checker says:

      > I guess the strategy where you go towards a goal but once there you do nothing
      > has been tried already as well?

      Yeah, that’s vital, because sometimes you’ll be in the middle of the mission and the laser dot will scan across you, and you have to bail out of the mission, and act normal (like just talk to the ambassador instead of plant the bug right then). The AIs will do stuff similar to the missions, and sometimes even in slightly suspicious ways due to randomness, but they’ll never actually do the missions themselves.

  12. Ben says:

    I am extremely looking forward to playing this game, and I think it’s great that you’re going to take the time to make it how you want it, and not be forced to make it in a certain time :)

    I think that while I’m the sniper, Ill be paranoid about shooting the wrong person, and will probably end up loosing because I doubt myself…

    Do you think that in the far future you’ll have a public beta of some sort?

    • checker says:

      > I think that while I’m the sniper, Ill be paranoid about shooting the wrong
      > person, and will probably end up loosing because I doubt myself…

      I have a post pending about this. You will be in good company. I’ll finish it up this week.

      I’ll definitely have a beta of some sort, not sure if it will be fully public or just a large invitation phase or what, but I’ll definitely post here about it.


  13. jordy says:

    I hope you stick to the credo you mentioned earlier on ;), “lots of early playtesting” as I recall. I think this game will be really great if it can bring the tension between the 2 players alive.

I have temporarily disabled blog comments due to spammers, come join us on the SpyParty Discord if you have questions or comments!