That long image there to the left is a picture of the current spyparty.com homepage as I write this. As you read this, there will be a new fancy doesn’t-look-like-a-default-WordPress-install homepage. Welcome to the 21st century, spyparty.com!
Plus, to go along with the new homepage design, we made the first SpyParty trailer! More on that below.
The development blog is staying the same old design for a while,1 but I wanted people who came to the site looking for information about or to play SpyParty to be able to find it easily, which was not the case with the old homepage.
So, I went with a design like most indie game websites, with the name, a trailer, a short description, some screenshots, and a “buy button”, all near the top of the page. Of course, since I am…well, let’s just say I’m never at a loss for words…you can keep scrolling and get more information about the game. I wanted to highlight all the various ways to follow the game and get more info, talk about how cool the community is, call out some of the great quotes from the press, acknowledge that I have no idea when the game will be done but that I will keep making it cooler, and finally talk about John and Keith a bit. Oh, and proudly display the game’s laurels, as required by Indie Game Law.
I wanted to show some of the new art on the page, but also mix in the old art since it’s the art you actually play right now.
Also, there’s finally a link to the beta site login for existing players to find the forums or re-download the game, which has been requested a million times here and elsewhere, except I probably hid the link too well so no one will actually see it. I also think I might make the blog link a little more obvious. I’ve got a way to put a headline near the top of the page for important news, but I also might make a section for the latest headlines from the blog, and maybe even a list of live streams currently playing, kind of like the streams page.
One important goal of the website was to make it fully responsive,2 since apparently these mobile telephones and tablets are a thing now. I got a bunch of help from the totally awesome Chris Remo with how to implement my design in HTML and CSS and make it use CSS media queries to work on small-ish devices. You can resize your desktop browser window to see all the dynamic stuff happening as the width shrinks, I’m pretty happy with how it came out.
As part of this homepage redesign, we finally made a trailer for the game! Keith did a great job with it. We’ve had trailers for specific features before, like the New Art Trailer, and the Replays Trailer, but never for the game as a whole. Here it is:
I wanted this trailer to give the flavor of the game, but not explain too much. It should have a bit of a narrative arc and tell a light story, but nothing too distracting. In the end, I think it might be a bit confusing for complete strangers to SpyParty, but I hope people can figure it out from the video and the short description, and hopefully the trailer makes people who are just hearing about the game want to learn more. I also worry that the trailer implies there’s a fixed character who’s the Spy, but it wasn’t clear how to correct that without a lot of exposition that would have messed up the flow.
You’ll notice this trailer is almost completely the old art and is completely in-game footage. This is intentional, because the last thing I want is somebody watching some super polished pre-rendered trailer and then loading the game and feeling misled. Of course, this means the Spy pours a drink down her face in one shot because the runtime code for taking sips from a drink isn’t aligned with the mouth properly in the old art. Oops.
The one place where we diverged from the game was having music in the trailer. The music was a relatively late addition; we were originally going only have the crowd walla, but in the end it felt necessary and I think it really helps tie the whole thing together.
We’ll be making new trailers every so often now that there’s a good place for them right there on the shiny new homepage, so as the new art comes in expect the new trailers to reflect that. I’m also thinking about inviting fans to make trailers to see what people come up with; I really liked it when Minecraft showed fan-made trailers on their homepage.
Also, here’s to the little details:
Bugs and Comments
Please post comments below if you have trouble with the new page on your preferred internet viewing device. It’s impossible to test all the different ways to browse the web, so I’m hoping my limited stochastic sampling found most of the big stuff, but I’m sure I missed some things. If you want to report a bug on the page, mention your browser and device and what you saw when things went wrong.