PAX, Day 2

Still alive after two days of PAX, one more to go!

Today there was a line from the instant the show floor opened to the public, until closing time!  I feel bad people have to wait to play, but the line has turned out to be a blessing, actually, because it gives people a chance to read the Four Page Instruction Manual and observe the game in progress, so it seems like people are needing less instruction by the irreplaceable and awesome Tom Bui and Ian Hetu.

Highlights of the day include:

  • Anthony Burch brought fiance (or did they get married already, I’ve heard conflicting reports?) Ashley Davis over to play.  Of course, because he’s a mean person, he put her against somebody who had already played.  So, to get him back I had him play Ian.  Anthony played a lot of SpyParty and got pretty good at GDC earlier this year, but that was a long time ago:  Ian: 2, Anthony: 0.  Video of the final moments of their match is below.  It was great, kind of like an exhibition match of two pros, and everybody in the crowd was paying close attention!  They’re both cold as ice while playing…Anthony doesn’t move anything except his lip when he shoots.

  • Apparently we were nominated by for Best of PAX 2010, since somebody came by and gave me a sticker to put on the booth!  I haven’t found anything about it online yet, though, post a comment if you find something.
  • Listening to people in line telling their friends about it.  It seemed like the lines today were from word-of-mouth, which is the best kind of attention you can get!  The idea of a spy game about subtle behavior is really sinking in and making people take notice, which feels great.
  • We’ve had enough repeat players that we’re going to run an “experts tournament” Sunday at PAX at 3pm.  If you’ve played more than a couple times, you can enter.  Depending on how people do, we might use some of the more advanced rules, like “subsetting” the missions, so the Spy picks 3 out of 4 missions, which means the Sniper can’t camp.  I think we’ll have the winners play Tom and Ian.  Ian can be kind of like Goro in this tournament.
  • Justin McElroy from Joystiq played this morning and wrote up a great piece on SpyParty.
  • The awesome repro of a bug by a player, so helpful!


Here’s a link to the first day’s report!


  1. jordy says:

    Nice vid, I think really no one came to your booth and was disappointed. But please tell me you mean by a couple of years just 2 years?..;( Wishful thinker as I am sometimes I was already counting down from the last time you said at least 2 years ^^, I hope you can upload the tourney vids to youtube later this month or so, do you record them on your computer? Anyways, have fun, and thumbs up for PAX nominee!

  2. nine says:

    It’s pretty painful to click through your gallery and there are some choice shots so I want to! If you get some time please stick them on a public flickr/picasa gallery, or find a better wordpress(?) plugin.

    • checker says:

      This is supposed to be the good wordpress gallery plugin!  You do see the >>> and <<< at the bottom, so you can just cruise through them?  Or is something else wrong?

    • nine says:

      Ah yes, I didn’t see that before, but it’s buggy! With chrome the image takes up the full browser frame and you have to scroll down to see the arrows. Then the next image appears lower on the page and you have to scroll down again… repeat ad nauseum. Damn! This is the first rendering issue I’ve had with Chrome since switching during the week.

    • nine says:

      Actually, the image appears in the same spot after the first image, but clicking ‘next’ sends me to an anchor further up the page, neccessitating scrolling for each image. If you see what I mean.

    • Doeke says:

      After clicking >>> the next photo moves down half a page, so I have to keep scolling. 

    • jordy says:

      Same with opera, but it’s not a huge burden since you only need one scroll if the pictures are the same size.

    • checker says:

      Okay, I hacked the plugin to add the navbar on the images at the top and bottom, so now at least you shouldn’t have to scroll.

  3. Gallery works fine for me (24 inch monitor = no scrolling it seems).

    Glad you’re having a good event Chris, its always good to know that people see what youre doing is inventive and interesting (which believe me it is).

    One thing that strikes me is that you could potentially scale up the gameplay from 1 v 1 couldnt you? It seems like 1 v 1 is a bit limiting. How about adding 2 v 2 mode? Most of the fun of Worms (game I last worked on) was that you could get some friends around and all play together hot-seat. It seems like you might be able to get that same feel. I suppose doing tournaments of 1 v 1 matches would work, but I’d have thought a 2 v 2 would offer some unique choices, plus add some co-op to the missions for the agents.

    Anyway, looking forward to seeing more videos of the game being played!

  4. jordy says:

    2v2 is already on his agenda I believe, or atleast more then 1v1, but although 2v2 might make things more fun, I think you have to be careful not to ruin the tension existing in a 1v1 match, and the balance.
    I think 2v2 will surely be there, but I hope 1v1 will be the meat and bones of the game.

  5. Ron says:

    I thought I had seen Anthony and was about to post about it before you posted day two. I just pulled up the recent episode of Hey Ash, and noticed in the pic he had A LOT more hair and beard than the recent episodes. I Thought that basically meant it couldn’t be him. I had copied the link and everything to ask. Hah. Oh well.

    There was a suggestion a while back to have a screen capture of both sides of a single match side by side as a promo, and I thought that would be amazing. But keep up the amazing PAX presentation.

  6. CLJNT says:

    I can’t wait to see some gameplay footage.

  7. Squishy says:

    Sounds like everything is going great for you at PAX. I am so pleased. This should really raise the profile of the project and help generate some great word of mouth. I look forward to the next update (from someone who couldn’t live much further away from Seattle if I tried.)

  8. Anthony Burch says:

    I failed like a champ!

    • checker says:

      Full disclosure:  Ian was nervous while playing Spy; he specializes in Sniper.  It made for better narrative that he beat you twice, though, so I’m glad it went down like that.  :)

  9. jordy says:

    Hahaha, auch, needling a bit here? Are you still the best in your game? Or can Ian or Hui beat you?

    These captcha’s are getting crazy, almost like a mathematical formula: ((zw)(w))w, offernay

    • checker says:

      I’m still the best, but mostly because I know exactly what the AI will do in any given situation, so it’s a bit of an unfair advantage.  That said, I’ve always been surprised by how much stuff even my hardcore playtesters don’t pick up on in terms of behavioral biases in the AI.  It just goes to show that people interpolate and extrapolate a lot when they’re thinking about human behavior.

      Yeah, ReCAPTCHA has gotten really annoying recently.  I’m guessing they ran out of the easy OCR problems, and are now mixing in the stuff that is really hard for the scanner to figure out.

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