Super Quick Beta Update and IGDA Talk Tonight

I had hoped to do a more lengthy update by now, but I’ve been so deep in server code I haven’t had a chance to breathe, let alone blog.  Still, I wanted to say I’m giving a short talk tonight, 7pm, Wednesday, July 13th, at the San Francisco IGDA meeting, at the Autodesk Gallery, 1 Market Street.  There are some directions here.

The talk is going to be about the SpyParty network backend, and my goals, hopes, and dreams for it, and why I’m so late getting the Early-Access Beta up and running (sorry!).  When I say “short”, I mean it’s only 15 minutes, and then a Q&A session.  Then it’s back to work on the beta for me.

The good news is last night1 I finally got the beta registration flow working.  I sent myself a beta invite email, and then clicked the link, filled out the form, got forwarded to PayPal, paid myself pretend money from the PayPal Sandbox test environment, got forwarded to the page that waits for the payment to be completed, clicked through to the beta homepage, which automatically redirected me to the login page, logged in with the new account, got to the beta homepage, clicked the link to the beta forums, and I posted an unintelligible message to myself.  Progress!

Of course, an unspeakable amount of stuff happened behind the scenes in about 5 different languages to make all that work smoothly.

Not waving.


  1. This morning?  It all blurs together… []

14 Comments

  1. Phillip Wolter says:

    Does this mean that we will only be able to pay via paypal? :(

    • checker says:

      At the start, yes, sorry about that. I need to get one payment provider working smoothly or I’m going to die under my todo list. But, once things are working, I’m going to add Amazon and Google, which shouldn’t be too hard. I assume one of those other two will cover you?

    • Phillip Wolter says:

      I think amazon will work. I don’t have a paypal account but I do have a debit card. :)

    • checker says:

      PayPal should work with your debit card. You don’t have to have an account, you can just anonymously pay by credit card (which most debit cards can pretend to be, I think?). I will definitely test it thoroughly with anonymous PayPal payments. I’ll put something to that effect on the page, too.

  2. Jaqenn says:

    I keep seeing indie projects I care about self-roll their own registration/distribution backend (Natural Selection 2, Project Zomboid, Minecraft, Spyparty).

    Minecraft apparently made it work for themselves well.

    As near as I can tell Project Zomboid decided it was too much hassle and is shifting to steam for distribution (NOT sales) soon.

    As near as I can tell Natural Selection 2 is happy with steam for distribution/updates (NOT sales) of their under-development project.

    If you had it to do again, would you have looked harder at 3rd party distribution/update service instead of coding your own?

    • Jaqenn says:

      (I incorrectly claimed that NS2 handled their own registration/distribution backend. I don’t know if they ever tried this, but they do currently distribute over Steam.)

    • checker says:

      I still plan on putting SpyParty on Steam and everywhere else, but for the beta I wanted to control all the variables, both so I could learn what was necessary for this particular game, and also so I’d be in a position of strength and security and knowledge when it came time to make it work on other platforms. It’s incredibly valuable when using somebody else’s libraries/platform to be able to say, “feature X is broken”, and they say, “no it’s not, it has to work that way”, and you reply, “no it doesn’t, because of A, B, and C”, and they say, “oh, didn’t think of that, thanks, we’ll fix it.” I went into this not knowing much of anything about any of this stuff (authn, authz, payments, etc.), and thought it would be a good investment to learn it and be able to create a custom solution for SpyParty. If I end up throwing it all away after beta, that’s fine, because now I understand how all the pieces fit together.

    • Annie Moose says:

      Sounds like a good idea to me. The more you know about the processes behind it all, the easier it’s going to be to get your stuff to play nice with other people’s stuff later on. “Stuff” being a highly technical word with precise meaning in this context, of course. ;)

  3. seltzermx says:

    Yay progress! I can’t wait to throw my money at you to play this again!

  4. Anonymous says:

    …Moving to San Francisco in August to attend a PhD program at UC Berkeley. August can’t come soon enough. Seriously, between your and Blow’s presentations at the university and a handful of non-academic appearances this year alone, I feel that my time frame for the move is most unfortunate.

    Best of luck with the talk, can’t wait to hear it / read it online.

  5. Phil says:

    It’s great to hear an update on the beta, I can’t begin to imagine the dark magicks that bubble beneath the surface of the game code. Really, really really looking forward to the beta!

  6. Alex says:

    Luckily I’m already in SF today, I’ll be able to check out the meeting tonight.

  7. maarch says:

    I was wondering today what was happening on the Spy Party side and there a couples hours later I got my answer ! Good to hear that you got things figured out, can’t wait to give it a try and help you out test the game :D

  8. Jon H says:

    I am getting excited. Can’t wait to try this out!!!

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