New Redwoods Venue Live!

There’s a new venue available this week, and the Sniper is going to have a work a harder than usual to find the Spy. You can play Redwoods right now, and there’s even a tiny two-day tournament this weekend open to everybody. More details on the tournament below at the bottom of this post!

It has been so long since I made a blog post that I’m not even sure if this is going to work. It all started with a botched server move and, well, here we are, a year and seven months later. Instead of spending time recounting all the stuff that’s happened with SpyParty in the past year, I’m going to pretend I’ve been updating regularly and just talk about the latest build, and I’ll recap stuff in a later post.

The Forest & The Trees

Redwoods is the third venue exploring different kinds of view occlusion. I’ll talk more about the overarching experiment in another post, but for now, we have the Spy partying in a house on the hillside somewhere north of San Francisco. This venue was inspired by a hike I took on Mt. Tamalpais above Mill Valley, California. Here are some of the reference pictures I took.

With Redwoods, I wanted to explore “static occlusion,” meaning the trees aren’t moving around (like a shark might) and they’re in the same place every game (unlike a shoji screen), but there are a lot of them. Here are some views from the Spy and Sniper perspectives.

I originally tested the venue at PAX 2019, and then did a semi-private beta release to PAX helpers to do the final tuning this fall. I added a bunch of trees, a conversation circle, and cleaned up some of the pathing chokepoints.

Originally I assumed the venue would be Spy-biased, since the Sniper has to move around to see everything. The trees are carefully placed to avoid any positions on the Sniper’s path being “too good.” However, after playing, several players brought up the point that the Spy—at least in these early days—can’t really tell what the Sniper can see from any particular vantage point, and also has to look around to see where the Sniper might be out there in the forest. So maybe it’ll end up being Sniper-biased? We shall see how it evolves.

Inspect Yourself

The other interesting new mechanic on this venue is when your Spy is standing at the small bookshelves in the front, you can inspect the neighboring statues. This currently seems like a small Spy buff, but time will tell.

Redwoods Weekend Tournament

When new venues are released, the community obviously gets excited to play them and find strategies,1 and recently players have been organizing weekend “Venue Tournaments” for each one, under the theory that a competitive tournament is the best way to figure out how a venue really plays.

The tournament is over now, but here’s a “slowcast” of some of the games. slappydavis and warningtrack do an in-depth analysis of a random selection of games from the first day of the tournament, pausing, rewinding, and meandering slowly through the trees.

Well, the Redwoods Rumpus Tournament is tomorrow, Saturday, November 9th, at 3pm US Eastern time. These weekend tournaments don’t require signups, so just show up in the lobby at 3pm (or maybe a few minutes before) and you’re in. Usually the organizer will make a lobby room that’ll be obvious when you log in. There’s a round-robin stage on Saturday, and then a top-4 finals bracket on Sunday. I wrote a script to help with tracking the round-robin stage, since it got a little hectic the first couple times, so you just play your games, and then check the discord for updates of the rankings and who you still need to play.

Oh, which reminds me, the active community tends to hang out on the discord, which is a fun place to chat with other SpyParty players, find a match, and just hang out with cool people in a healthy and supportive community. You can join here:

  1. and of course bugs []


  1. skreww L00se says:

    Really cool to see that the venue was inspired by a real place you saw! You did a great job of re-creating it in the game. Thank you again!

  2. f l says:

    definitely a fun challenge for the sniper. well done :)

    • checker says:

      Thanks! I’m very interested to see how it evolves…eventually Spies will have a good idea of what’s visible from where the Sniper is…

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