As I mentioned before, I playtested the hell out of SpyParty at GDC this year. I tried to take pictures of everybody playing, while simultaneously taking copious notes, as one should while people are playing your game. Since I’m doing the depth first design methodology, the game required a fair bit of explaining to get people up and running, but after that, everybody got into the rhythm.
First up, my old friends Mike Mika and Chris Charla. I had added a bunch of features in on the runup to GDC, including adding console controller support to the Sniper so it could be played without needing room for a mouse, and I needed to make sure I didn’t break anything before setting it up at a big party on Tuesday night, so I had Mike and Chris over to the hotel room to pretest.
Mike and Chris have known each other forever, and so they know each other’s game play styles pretty well. Mike used this knowledge to his advantage when he decided to just stand around talking, while loudly flicking the camera joystick (which doesn’t move the Spy) in time with another AI moving. Chris took the bait and shot the civilian. Hard core metagaming! I really need to figure out how to get this level of in-the-same-room metagaming going across the net.
After this, Mike tweeted:
Just played ten rounds of Spy Party at GDC! This is te best game I’ve played in a LONG time. Hecker is pulling it off. 5:55 PM Mar 9th
While Chris tweeted:
Yay! Okay, so I didn’t bust anything, now it’s off to the party…
Tuesday night there was a private party with a bunch of awesome indie game developers in attendance, and a back room where people were setting up their games. After working out the power situation, I set up both laptops and off we went. In general, the game worked perfectly in this loud social environment, with the exception of the Contact Double Agent mission, which has an audio tell. Oh well, advantage: Spy! I think I’m going to add a party mode where the audio tells have a visual message associated with them so you can play in a loud environment without losing any information, and also it will work as an accessibility feature for deaf people.
One great thing about the game is the Sniper side scales arbitrarily with the number of people spectating, so a lot of people can watch and help the Sniper find the Spy. This counteracted the lack of audio for the Sniper to some extent.
By the way, you’ll notice #numbers in some of the captions. I didn’t catch everybody’s name, so please post in the comments if you know who one of the mystery indies is!
The next night was the IndieCade party, and I figured it worked so well the previous night, why not set it up again?
We closed the place down; people played for hours.
Now back to the hotel room for more playtesting!
That’s it for the developer pictures. I have a bunch of photos of press playing, and I’ll post those soon.
Don’t forget to help me figure out who the mystery playtesters are by posting in the comments or sending me email.
Oh, and if you’re in one of the pictures and don’t want it to be public here, let me know and I’ll take it down immediately.
Update: #1, #2, #4, #6, #11, #12, #14 identified, thanks Ron Carmel and Tim Ambrogi!
Update: #3 & #13 down, identified by themselves!
Update: #9 down, thanks Mike Kasprzak!
Update: #5 & #8 down, thanks Alexander Bruce!
Update: #15 down, thanks Austin Grossman!