Beta Data

Everybody likes data, right?  Well, here’s a random collection of it from the past day and half of the SpyParty Early-Access Beta Sign Up

  • At 17:05:12 PDT on 2011/5/11, somebody named Steven, whose IP address is from Florida, became the 5,000th person to sign up for SpyParty beta access.  Thanks Steven, and everybody else too!  Oh, and an important note that people have been asking about:  everybody who signs up will get into the beta. I will talk more soon about how it’s going to be structured going forward, and I’ll provide a rough timeline.
  • The page went public at 10:30 PDT on 2011/5/10, so that’s 30.5 hours, or about 164 sign ups per hour averaged over the entire time.  Here’s a graph of sign ups per quarter-hour:
  • The beta announcement got a fair amount of press, which I really appreciate!  Here are some links, most with comments:
    SpyParty Beta Starting Soon, Here’s How to Sign Up – Stephen Totilo, Kotaku
    SpyParty ‘Early-Access Beta’ sign-ups begin, costs $15 when beta opens – Ben Gilbert, Joystiq
    Spy Party To Unwrap “Paid Beta” Access
    – Jim Rossignol, Rock, Paper, Shotgun
    SpyParty Goes the Minecraft Route, Launching Paid Beta – Patrick Klepek, GiantBomb
    Early-access beta sign-ups open for SpyParty – Jordan Devore, Destructoid
    SpyParty early beta sign-ups begin – Steve Watts, Shacknews
    I’ve Been Invited to a Party…. A Spy Party – David Liao, 4 Player Podcast
  • There were a bunch of threads in various places, here are some major ones:
    Spy party beta sign up $15
    – Reddit
    SpyParty Early-Access Beta Sign-up – NeoGAF
    SpyParty – You’ve done it Checker. I want to play this game. – Quarter to Three
    Spy Party: Read the Fucking Manual – Something Awful
    The SpyParty Facebook Page
  • And, of course, Twitter.  See that bump right there in the middle of the signups?  That’s Markus Persson, a.k.a. Notch, waking up Europe with a very nice tweet to his 174,000 followers.  Markus was very helpful answering my questions while I made the decision to do the Early-Access Beta, and the tweet was an extra helpful icing on the cake.  So, of course, I asked him to tweet again mentioning @spyparty
  • One of the reasons I structured the Early-Access Beta this way, with the sign up first, was that I couldn’t really predict how many people would be interested, so I didn’t know how to scale the game server for the unknown load, and I figured it’d be easier to scale a simple sign up form than the entire game lobby and backend.  I spent a fair amount of time loadtesting and optimizing the webserver, and in the end it purred like a kitten the entire time, barely breaking a sweat.  One of the ways I prepared was using Amazon’s CloudFront Content Delivery Network for most of the static assets on  Here’s that data…
    You can see the US and EU daylight hours pretty clearly here.  My total CloudFront cost from the past two days: $6.03
  • Once I had the static assets on a CDN, I just had to worry about the dynamic page traffic on my server.  I’ll write a more technical breakdown of this on my personal website some time soon, but the loadavg on the server rarely went above 0.2, even when the Reddit article was on the front page of /r/gaming.  Here’s the bandwidth, with a 5 minute average (blue is outbound, green is inbound, it’s a log plot):
    You can clearly see Notch’s tweet here as well.  The big spike off to the right is the last load test I did before launching.  It’s interesting to see the quicker falloff of the tweet and EU daylight, compared to the fatter area when all the news sites were posting.  The double-hump in the first hit is when the Reddit post made it to the front page of /r/gaming.  Reddit drives an insane amount of traffic, even from subreddits, and even from the bottom of the front page of subreddits.
  • Here’s a breakdown of the domains of the emails that registered with 10 or more registrations from that domain. clearly dominates amongst SpyParty beta testers! 3216 522 273 68 56 36 35 33 30 24 14 13 12 10
    others 766

Overall, I’m very happy with how things have gone so far.  I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect, but the initial 1/2/7 day estimates I made were 2,000/3,000/5,000, and we basically blew through that in a day.  I’ll be interested to see how it evolves over time.

Now I need to stop checking my stats, and get to work on making this beta more than just an email sign up!


  1. SpeedGun says:

    Thanks for posting these stats, now I can’t wait to see the stats of how many people are playing :P

  2. maarch says:

    Love the data ! I must admit, this is probably the game I will await the most this summer. 
    I dont think I ever saw anything on that subject, but will there be a way to chat with the people against who we play online. 

    • checker says:

      Yeah, there’s lobby and in-game text chat for now.  I’ll eventually do in-game voice between the two players, but not for a little while probably.

  3. Annie Moose says:

    That’s amazing! I follow your RSS feed, so I signed up as soon as I got online in the morning and saw the announcement, but I did see it on Kotaku and Notch’s Twitter later in the day too. A pleasant surprise to find out you’ve got so many fans, right? :)

  4. Swedish Pete says:

    While I love the concept, I’m not really sure whether or not I’ll sign up for the beta. To my understanding, beta customers will get access to the complete game once it hits the market. What I’d like to know is whether or not I can expect to get a Steam product key or not?

    • checker says:

      Yeah, the plan is you’ll be able to activate it on Steam.  I haven’t confirmed this, but that’s the plan, for sure.

  5. Soupnazi says:

    Awesome data! Is there any way for us to see which signup number we were, so we can know where we fit in the scale? Also, how many people will be getting in at once? I must know exactly when I get to play…

    • checker says:

      Not even I know exactly when you’ll get to play!  I was thinking about exposing the signup number, and then I was realizing there are some interesting game dynamics around that, so I should tread carefully.  I’ll figure it out soon.  Nobody’s getting invited before mid-June, is my current guess.  It’ll start really slow, and then ramp up.  I hope you all like buggy software!  :)

    • Soupnazi says:

      Okay, thanks for the answer!

  6. kurt says:

    beta testing has ramped up my excitement for this game another notch. will you be taking pay pal? seems like an obvious thing, but knowing for sure would put my mind at ease

  7. Simmostrikes says:

    Yes! Oh I was so worried that only a select few would get to play. I’ve been playing Frozen Synapse for a good 10 months and its still in beta. It’s nice though to see your purchase develop over time and get better. I’ll be eagerly watching my inbox over June!

  8. Stuart says:

    So will the windows version support mouse/ keyboard? All the video so far just shows x box controllers.

    • checker says:

      Mouse+keyboard or 360 controller (and I’m going to test with ps3 soon now that the wacky chinese drivers are signed). And yeah, I need to update the FAQ!

  9. Chelsea says:

    you are obsessed with the data lol. work on the game so we can play it!
    just kidding, but really.

  10. Chris says:

    Looks like someone put a “notch” in that first curve…

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