A couple interviews…

Martin Davies from PC Gamer UK just posted an interview with me to accompany his SpyParty preview in the print magazine where I talk a bit about some of the aesthetic goals for the game and how it got started:


And, Alice Bonasio from The Escapist posted an interview/article about games as an art form and film and comics and all the usual stuff I babble about incessantly:


It’s really wonderful that people in the press are giving more and more attention to indies these days, I think it’s great for the industry.  I mean, not just because I’m getting some of it, but in general!  :)


  1. Ron says:

    /*In regards to the first link, you mentioned the local multiplayer trash talk. In the final iteration, voice chat for online play should definitely be incorporated. This could even be taken to the point of strategy for the spy.

    To illustrate this idea, let me preface it with Little Big Planet. When you are chatting in the LBP world, your sackperson’s mouth moves as well. This could be incorporated into SpyParty, by having the spy player talking at more opportune times in order to appear as if they are in a conversation with the other members of the party.*/

    /*Another gameplay element concept could be the use of bonuses for the sniper/spy. Such as, for the sniper, choose their boost for the round to tap into the feed for the bug that the spy might place. Once the spy activates the bug, the sniper then would hear an auditory signal that the bug had been placed.*/

    captcha: coital rarities

    • checker says:

      Yeah, definitely voice chat. That’s an interesting note about LBP, I’ll check that out. On a similar note, somebody was telling me about a Rainbow Six (I think) thing where it would open up a chat channel right as you were about to slit somebody’s throat from behind, so you could whisper in their ear first. Hard core!

      Definitely on the bug thing as well. There are going to be two phases of “tells”, “action tells” and “completion tells”. The action tells are things that happen when the Spy does a spy verb, like planting the bug will show up as a hand movement. A completion tell is something that notifies the Sniper that a mission has been completed, like static on their audio and headquarters saying “I think we’ve picked up a bug transmitting from the embassy!”

      Hilarious captcha!

  2. Ron says:

    I have one other quick question. I read in another post you made that the spy would be able to choose which missions to complete in order to prevent camping by the sniper. Will this be decided before the round, or will this decision be made on the fly?

    • checker says:

      The current design is that it will be a characteristic of the handicapping level between the two players. So, the players decide that the Spy can choose some subset of available missions. There are a lot of options here, like “calling your shot”, meaning the Spy says “I’m such a studly spy that I’ll tell you that I’m going to bug the ambassador and you still won’t catch me.”, or setting the number of missions, like 3 out of 10 for newb Spies, 7 out of 10 for James Bond himself, and those sorts of thing.

  3. jordy says:

    You’re getting more then your fair share of it, it seems ;p

  4. jordy says:

    > “I look at it like a Venn diagram: there’s the circle of stuff that is interesting, artistic, creative and meaningful, and there’s the circle of stuff that will sell. Those circles overlap, so why not pursue ideas that are in the intersection?”

    I agree with this. Yet, practically you seldomly see it happening. I think a big part of this is the limited resources these indie developers have, mainly in man hours, wich will unavoidably show in the polishing off the game. Plus the non-exsisten marketing-budget, but wich can nowadays be largly overcome by good press responses and other media.

    But maybe, and if feel kind of like a dick to say this, cause I don’t know shit about indie developing an all it’s troubles, these indie developers aim to low to quickly, and don’t take into account well enough the general customer satisfaction, who is expecting the same kind of polishing as in a multi-million dollar game.
    Yet, the games that do become quite succesfull are those that spent the extra mile on this feature of there game, like World of Goo, Braid etc.

    Maybe indie developers should follow your example, and I mean this, and really focus first on a good core idea and gameplay, that will be able to carry the game all the way long, then limit the scope of there game at first, so that they can manage to finish it in an reasonable time, due to there costs. Because I rather play a single game over and over again on the same map if it’s good, then once play it trought 10 different maps if it’s not that great. Also I think multiplayer is hugely important for most indie games due to this. They can’s afford to spent too much time on a great story and level art and what not.
    And at last, thus try to really polish there game and make it shine, like you say you’re planning too, this will help, I believe bring in the more casual game, wich might be put off by graphics and akward controls quicker then a game who already is intrested in the indie scene.

    And thus I conclude my guide to developing indie games ;p o_O.

  5. jordy says:

    Very nice interview from computerandvideogames.
    Based on your game ideas and on the movie inside man, I thoughed of another scenario similiar to your play style, that of a bank heist gone wrong with hostages.
    It’s another tense asymatrical situation very much like what you envision.
    But with some little different twists, like;

    -The hostage taker has control over what happens outside, but absolute no control on the outside, for the negotiator it’s the other way around.

    -The hostage take knows he is eventually doomed, and has to take on a skilled professional in getting what he wants by a mix of negotiating and threatening

    And well more if you think about it. But in short, in my mind it seems to have some sort of the same catogery of tension and psychology in battling each other. Well anyways, if you decide to go with other scenario’s you might consider a hostage scenario in wich the sniper has to look for the hostage taker among the hostages, and wich I think of now, the inside man; http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0454848/, really provides a good fun scenario.
    Basically the hostage takers dress themselfs as hostages and then free all hostages and run out of the bank with them. After wich interrogation begins of NPC’s and humans ^^, how do you mimic a NPC in language haha, that would be crazy.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, the hostage scenario is a good point, and thanks for the reference! I saw this board game Fiasco, which looks like a similar kind of vibe going on:


      I haven’t played it yet, though.

    • Nicole says:

      Chris, if you ever tackle this scenario, check out The Loebner Prize (http://www.loebner.net/Prizef/loebner-prize.html) – it’s essentially the Turing Test with language. Doing the reverse of that would be fascinating – you’d essentially be deconstructing how computers think and form language.

      Anyway, I’m sure a sequel is far from your mind right now. heh. Good luck with SpyParty, looking forward to its release!

  6. jordy says:

    Funny and very good speech, I agree with your end statement completely.
    Altho believe you might have pulled some games out of there context to make your point, in the sense that I would regard these games merely as trial-balloons, and I believe once a game jammer like that hit’s the gold, with a core mechanic, and he’s smart enought to recognize it they’ll more easily inclined to invest that extra time.

    But you’re really completely right, too much we, consumers, have been regarded as some sort of trash bin were you can throw unfinished games in wich you don’t like working on anymore, and you get some money out of us.
    Like you said earlier I think, you got to from some sort of relation with your game, and it won’t always be a loving relationship I can imagine, but pulling trough until it’s all that you want certainly will make it worth while, not only for us consumers but also for your own satisfaction I seems to me.

    But maybe for some more cash needy developers, that simply can’t afford doing this, because they have a company and people on the payroll, I would consider a method of releasing your game in stages. This might seem highly controversial, but quite some times I really loved a game to death, and wish they (developers) would do more with it, exploring it to it’s fullest depth is deserves like you said, and I wouldn’t have cared to pay some extra for an expansion or sequel even it’s just merely a patch in content. I understand that developing the most important thing of game, it’s mechanics, costs alot of time if you want to do it too perfection, and this doesn’t always show in the form of game content, as in the much more subtle form of joyness in playing the game.

    And probably only a few hardcore fans might be willing to put money on the table more then once for a game. But intrestingly RPS just has an article about single player subscriptions fees for a game, you might as well translate this too indie game subscriptions fee’s.
    I for one wouldn’t mind if you sold you unfinished product to us a year in advance, then sell it to us again, with some new features, and then sell it to us again when it’s finished, but hell, I might by one of the few that can be shamelessly milked like that ^^. Seriously tho, going off-topic here, once people start seeing indie game in a different way they might be prepared to do this more easily.
    It’s like Biological food, it’s quite alot more expensive, but once you know where you’re paying for you can choose to do so, same as with indie games, yes it’ll be more expensive, but that’s the price you’ll have to pay for innovation and yet polishment, atleast until indie games become more main streamed.

    Ah well anyway, consider it, if only just for me ;p.

  7. Brian L says:

    “It’s really wonderful that people in the press are giving more and more attention to indies these days, I think it’s great for the industry. I mean, not just because I’m getting some of it, but in general! :)”

    I’m glad for this too. It’s great to see that some people still have a passion for producing something that is really special. The big names all seem to care too much about the frill and flashiness and forget about the substance. I can’t wait for this to see completion!

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