The 707

No, really, this Boeing 707 belongs to John Travolta.

No, not that 707.  That one belongs to John Travolta.

The 707 I’m talking about are the seven hundred and seven people who signed up for the SpyParty Early-Access Beta without knowing that’s what they were signing up for.  You see, back on Valentine’s Day, I quietly put up a sign-in form on the sidebar of this blog, “below the fold”, just to test it out.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the list of names at that point, but I figured it’d be good to start gathering them.  A few folks noticed immediately, but I wasn’t ready to announce anything, so I just left it up there, slowly gathering email addresses for some unspecified “future playtest”.

In all, 707 people signed up between February 14th and April 15th, when I took the form down to get the backend code ready for accepting Early-Access Beta signups.  A few of those are my test accounts, but most were just people who came to the site and entered their email address.

The good news (for them) is they are first in line for the Early-Access Beta.  If you tried to sign up after the announcement but were told you were already subscribed, then you must have signed up during the spring and are one of the 707.

The bad news (for them) is since I didn’t have any of the beta stuff figured out back then, I’m going to ask them to reconfirm their sign-up to keep their place in line.  As I’ve said before, I want to make sure a high percentage of people I invite will actually pay and register for the beta so I don’t have to churn through tons of invites to get a given number of registrations.  I’d like to be able to send 20 emails and know I’m going to get about 18 registrations, or something close to that.  I don’t want to have to send 500 emails to get 20 signups, because then I might randomly get 150 signups, and that would screw up my work on slowly scaling the backend.  I don’t want to invite 500 and then have 480 people see an “oops, sorry, already full” message, because that’s annoying too.

So,  I want to make sure people who have signed up are going to register.  Since the 707 had no idea what they were signing up for, or that it would actually cost money, I’m going to send them all an email with a link to reconfirm their subscriptions.  The email will explain the situation, link to the details of how the beta will work,1 and ask them to click a link to reconfirm.  There’s no time limit on this, and I’ll always invite in order of earliest sign up date,2 so if you are in the Antarctic and don’t get the mail immediately, you’ll still be able to reserve your place in line, you just won’t get invited until you confirm.

I’ll have more details about the registration process in a few days.  Sadly, I still have a bunch of work to do, but I’m getting closer.  Thanks for being patient!

Oh, and since I was asked on twitter, there are currently 8006 people signed up and confirmed, or 7299 if you don’t count the 707.  647 people have not confirmed the initial opt-in email, which is about 8%, which I’m told is very good for this sort of thing.3   I might send out a single “hey, did you forget to confirm” reminder to those people, but I’m not going to worry too much about them.  The long tail sign-up rate appears to be about 20 per day.


  1. I really need to go through the comments on the sign up page and put together the Beta FAQ! []
  2. …maybe with a few random choices for each invite batch from anywhere in the line just to keep people on their toes! []
  3. So, I guess that means the tens of thousands of emails I sent while load-testing didn’t get me marked as a spammer, which is nice. []

47 Comments

  1. Thomas says:

    I always read your updates through RSS feeds within Outlook, I wish that I was part of the 707 though I doubt it. I signed up for beta testing the first chance I could, really hope I can help with this game.

  2. Soupnazi says:

    Sweeeeeet. I just wish I knew about this long enough to have signed up for that. XD

  3. jordy says:

    It’s good you posted this heads-up, otherwise there would have been severe chances of me fainting and then acutely com-busting into flames after I saw it was just a re-conformation e-mail…

    But yea.. “I still have a bunch of work to do” ;( and “getting closer” hardly makes me feel better. Though it’s good to hear from you more often and I’ll help you pay for your own 707 soonTM.

    8000 thousand or so doesn’t seem too much, but it seems you got quite a persistent fan base and I would really expect that number to grow sharply after some coverage of the BETA

  4. Corey says:

    Sweet! Can we get or buy some elite spy team 707 swag?

  5. Bjartr says:

    So for the average person on the main list how much longer are we going to be waiting before we get to help make this the best game ever?

    • checker says:

      There’s only one list, it’s just these 707 people are first (assuming they re-confirm).  I don’t know how much longer, I’m still drowning in server stuff, and then I’m going to start invites slowly.  I hope to have everybody who signed up in by fall, and I hope to start inviting in a few weeks, but I’m famously terrible at estimating time, so don’t believe a word I say.  :)

    • Bjartr says:

      Fair enough, I just hate to think I might miss out on the fun*!

      *bugs

    • checker says:

      There will be plenty of both to go around!  Well, I’m sure about the bugs, and hopeful about the fun.

    • jordy says:

      But it can go 2 ways right? So technically speaking, I might even expect a invite tomorrow, knowing how bad your time estimations are.. ;_; .. right?

  6. Ian says:

    We of the 707 salute you. Then most likely die from a sniper round for such an obvious tell. 

  7. Nocturna says:

    I simply can’t wait. I saw your presentation with the Minecraft thing, and I realized what you meant. This really needs allot of anticipation. I also heard there’s nothing in the terms against YouTube vids, so Ill definitely put some up right when I get this game.

  8. HothMonster says:

    Did you send out the re-conformation emails? I didn’t get one yet not even in my spam folder. Can you consider this my re-conformation? Also I’d be willing to compile the common questions and answers from the beta comments for your faq if that will speed you along at all.

    • checker says:

      No, not yet.  I’m waiting until I write up the pricing details blog post, so I can point to that and be concrete.  This week sometime, hopefully.

    • Ron says:

      Oh good, I was in self-denial about whether I had confirmed yet or not. I know I was in the first round of signups, but had to double check my confirmation.

    • jordy says:

      I know what you mean, the waiting is really getting tougher on me as well, few weeks can as well be a few years it feels like.

      You know what would be nice though, if you send out these confirmation e-mails and say, if you still want to be part of this beta, confirm here, pay there, and follow the instructions for the download :D

      PS. at this point I’m even prepared to play with a huge lag

  9. Chad says:

    What would your email address be so that I can unblock it in my inbox?

  10. Adam says:

    I forget if I signed up to the list that early. I must play this game.

    Chris, I’m curious if you have seen this multiplayer flash pool game. Has the best implementation of 1v1 multiplayer I have seen in a casual game. Seeing something similar to their tournament system implemented in SpyParty would be awesome, especially if it were fleshed out.

    http://www.miniclip.com/games/8-ball-pool-multiplayer/en/

    • checker says:

      Thanks for the link!  I just played a couple of pickup games, but not a tournament. Can you describe what you liked about it?

    • Adam says:

      Ahh, The actual game is fun. Even if it’s not the most original gameplay, the pool itself is fairly polished. The tournament part is what makes the game special in my book. I’ll do my best to tell you why.

      The best way I can think to describe what I like about it is that it recreates the feeling of being at a live tournament of some sort very well. The key is their very well done bracket screen. After entering a tournament (even the 32 player ones fill within seconds), you are shown the bracket for a few seconds before your first game starts. It reminds me of the beginning of a poker tournament where everyone is seated with chips waiting for the “Shuffle up and deal!” announcement.

      Once the tournament is underway, the bracket screen comes alive with constant updates from each game being played – how many balls are left and so forth. It’s a good way to keep players connected to the tournament and make their 1v1 match feel like something much bigger. As players win matches, they are rewarded by seeing their opponent’s avatar grayed out and seeing their avatar get larger. The result is that games in later rounds become fairly exciting, and winning a 32 player tournament is one of the more satisfying gaming experiences in recent memory.

    • jordy says:

      I can see what you mean, my only remark is that it could somehow (if it even exists) detract from the exclusiveness of a game of spyparty. I would really like tournaments in SpyParty, but I don’t want the tournament distract me from playing SpyParty in the sense that I can fantasies less about what role I’m playing and it becomes more about winning/losing. I want each game to be unique to me and at each game I should play to my extremes, I don’t want to think about taking out my opponent of the tourney, instead I want to think about taking out the Spy, or deluding the Sniper. If I do that successful and I move onto the next stage of the tournament then that’s fine, but I wouldn’t like the main attention to be focused on the tournament itself. Although, again, I would really love to see a lot of tournaments with SpyParty, like starcraft 2 style.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, I’m going to have to balance the two, the fictional immersion and the e-sports aspect.  I think you can do both, and if the game is good enough *knock on wood* then they should mesh nicely.  Thanks for the details Adam, I’ll have to enter a tournament and check it out (after I get the initial beta invites out :).

  11. Mark says:

    For a SpyParty tournament, just change the “flavor” of the tournament from a competition to a setting more suited to the situation. (agency A vs agency B, played out in several 1v1 games at a time)

    • Adam says:

      Exactly, just a few little touches could keep the level of immersion. Did anyone else play Assassins in High School? That would be a great SpyParty game mode

  12. jordy says:

    No e-mail yet, but that’s because your pricing blog isn’t up yet, I assume you will put it up after you’re done with most of the network code? Hope all is going well.

  13. stan m.d. says:

    Will you also be sending us 707 T-shirts?

  14. Martijn says:

    Will you post another blog when you have send the emails ? i signed up rather early and was confirmed, but i fear i might miss the mail >_>

  15. Adam says:

    I wonder if the other 706 are checking this website every 3 hours like I am.

    Also, do we get tee-shirts?

    • tim says:

      I’m not even sure I’m in those 707 and even I am, hoping my buttocks off

    • Ron says:

      No merch as of yet. But rather than checking it myself every 3 hours, I just have an rss reader with text-alert. Simpler for most people to set a text-alert to @spyparty, however.

    • Corey says:

      No need to keep checking.
      This is from the SpyParty Facebook page:

      SpyParty Still drowning! I really hope to get the first 10 invites out in a couple weeks, but I don’t know, that’s running up against PAX. Ugh. Sorry it’s taking so long!

    • jordy says:

      I’ve days where all I do is go from spyparty facebook page to this page xD.. But apart from those days, yea something along that time-frame usually :)

  16. M says:

    Just got it. So excited! :D

  17. Chris says:

    I just re-confirmed as well! I feel like I just got my (albeit sliiiiiightly less rare) golden ticket!

    • Collin says:

      I’ve got a golden invite. I’ve got a golden chance to take a bite, of the first access to the sppyyyy par-tyyyyyy!

      I always figured when I signed up I was signing up for early beta access. 

  18. Foo says:

    Huzzah!  Reconfirmed!  707 Mile High Club, here I come!

  19. stan m.d. says:

    So pumped about this!! It is strange though to be getting notifications about how excited people are that we are going to carefully try to SHOOT each other. :) Yay 707! And more!

  20. hunter4hire says:

    Yay! I’m glad to be in the 707, I can’t wait to be a beta tester for you guys, looking forward to hearing from you.

  21. Carl says:

    from SpyParty List Manager noreply@spyparty.com
    date Tue, May 10, 2011 at 1:49 PM
    subject Thank you for confirming your SpyParty Early-Access Beta sign up!

    Hi Carl, you have successfully signed up for the SpyParty Early-Access Beta. Your name and email have been entered into the database and your place in line secured.
    ————————————————

    I know you said BEFORE this date BUT, I want to double check. I want to play SO MUCH!!!

    -=Carl=-

    [I edited your post, you don't want to post your confirmation link and email.]

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