SpyParty is an asymmetric multiplayer espionage game, dealing with the subtlety of human behavior, character, personality, and social mores, instead of the usual spy game explosions and car chases.

SpyParty is very early in development, but it has been playtested a lot, with more to come, including occasional public playtests, and eventually internet playtests.  There is some documentation written for playtesters about how to play the game in its current state, which you might find interesting, here and here.

Edit 2013/6/30: This page is woefully out-of-date, and needs updating, sorry about that!  The beta is open, I’ve been lucky that there’s been a bunch of press about the game over the years, and development is going slowly but really well, and I’m really proud of the game and the community.

A very early prototype of SpyParty was shown in public for the first time at the Experimental Gameplay Workshop at the 2009 Game Developers Conference.   It got a fair amount of press after this demo, and even more after I got laid off and started working on it full-time, which was very nice.

The next year, a bunch of journalists played it at the 2010 GDC, and they seemed to like it a lot!

Various press clippings:

  • AVC at GDC ’10: Spy party! by John Teti on The Onion AV Club
    “I don’t want to beat around the bush here; this game is awesome in too many ways to describe here.”
  • GDC 2010: Enjoyed and Annoyed by Evan Narcisse on Time Magazine’s Techland Blog
    “Even in its pre-natal form, Spy Party does a great job of creating a new kind of multiplayer psychological tension. It’s something that wasn’t even on my GDC agenda, yet it wound up rocking my world.”
  • Why you need to be excited about SpyParty by Anthony Burch on Destructoid
    “There has never been a videogame like SpyParty. … SpyParty is as cerebral and personal experience as I’ve ever had with a multiplayer game. … Despite being two years away from completion, the early version I saw still remains one of the most subtle, enjoyable, and surprisingly playful multiplayer games I’ve yet played.”
  • Innovative SpyParty Is Ultimate Mind Game by Gus Mastrapa on Wired’s Game|Life
    “SpyParty is like nothing else I’ve ever played. … When the laser focuses on you, the tension is intense. And the relief, when the beam swings away, is powerful.”
  • I Know That You Know That I Know What You  Know by Chris Dahlen on Edge Online
    “Both players are tense with the joy of knowing or not knowing or thinking they know what’s about to happen.”
  • The Next Smart Video Game Only Lets You Kill Once by Stephen Totilo on Kotaku and Gizmodo
    “Part of what is so exciting about Spy Party is the stuff that happens around the game. Hecker has seen the game trigger strong emotional responses. I even felt it… guilt of all things. I’ve killed thousands — millions? — of enemy characters and even some friendly characters in video games with none of the pangs of consequence. I shot one innocent partygoer in Spy Party after tracking them for a few minutes, after being sure they were Chris Hecker’s avatar and up to no good, and then, as they lay dead on the floor I realized I was wrong. I felt bad.”
  • You Only Shoot Once: SpyParty by Kieron Gillen on Rock, Paper, Shotgun
    Kieron couldn’t make it to GDC this year, but he wrote up his thoughts on the game from reading the other articles!
    “Pure battle of wits stuff here, and seems totally fascinating. It’s a couple of years away, at least in part due to a major general aesthetic upgrade, but we’ll be watching it. Closely. Trying to work out if it’s a spy.”
  • …he’s using his newly found free time to develop one of the most interesting-sounding independent games we’ve heard of in a while.
  • …first revealed at this year’s GDC Experimental Gameplay Sessions that I’m now and forever kicking myself for missing, SpyParty intends to do precisely what more games need to do: forgo games as big budget thrill-rides and focus instead on the richness of subtle interaction.
  • SpyParty Gets Back to What Spies Are Really About
    Spies are stealthy, aren’t they? Then how come every single spy video game tends to contain the same elements – explosions, shooting, and generally being as un-stealthy as any human being could be? Chris Hecker is changing that around a bit with his upcoming game SpyParty…
  • In the announcement Chris reveals that he’ll be working on SpyParty, a game which he demoed at this year’s Experimental Gameplay Workshop. In the game you play a sniper watching a cocktail party from another building, trying to figure out which of the partygoers is the spy by looking for various tells. I saw it at EGW and it’s a cool take on the spy genre.
  • From the Experimental Gameplay Sessions: I couldn’t make it out to GDC but I wish I could’ve seen this…This is exactly the kind of thing we should be doing more of…
  • This game, developed by Chris Hecker (“Spore”) has a character doing suave and subtle things in a cocktail party, trying not to get spotted. One player is the spy, whose animations are a little different from everyone else’s, and who has to complete a few stealthy missions like bugging an ambassador. The other player just watches, looking for subtle animation tip-offs. They are the sniper. Their one move: to shoot the spy. The game looked like a cocktail party of characters from “The Sims.”
  • Chris Hecker’s project was inspired by the simple fact that “spies are cool”, particularly early Bond-esque spies who have the ability to “hide in plain sight.”
    Hecker’s design in turn was inspired by the Turing Test, and the difficulty in which a computer has in fooling the user it is human when asked to do natural language processing. But what if, Hecker considered, you only allowed the player a “simpler, more responsive” form of interaction with the computer? Could he be fooled?
    The perfect setting, Hecker decided, would be a cocktail party, where a variety of people interact in an already very stylized way and the social rules are an already tight subset. So Hecker’s prototype asks one player to take the role of a spy attempting to complete missions at a party filled with other AI characters, while an opposing player observes the party (as a “sniper”) and must attempt to observe the player enough that they can work out who it is and kill them before they complete their missions.
    In Hecker’s current, “very early” prototype, the gameplay was formed around “tells” — observable, if subtle, occurrences such as a brief look to the left when stealing a book rather than returning it to a shelf — but he hoped that, in time it would evolve to become a game about observing subtle differences in behaviour.
  • Chris Hecker’s Spy Party is a game of deduction between two players. The scene: a cocktail party for spies, where one of the attendees is a live human being trying to complete a mission, and everyone else is an AI-driven decoy. Player number one plays the spy; player number two is a sniper, waiting from a balcony across the street and deciding who to pick off. The sniper’s challenge is to figure out which spy is controlled by a human, and which are just AIs. It’s harder—way harder—than you might think. In fact, when a handful of attendees got the chance to identify the target (using laser pointers), they guessed wrong and shot a civilian, which ends the game and hands the victory to the spy.
  • Spy Party by Chris Hecker is a two-player game inspired by an inversion of the Turing test. The Turing test is so difficult for a computer to succeed at because language is so complex and difficult that only humans or truly functional AI could master it in a realistic and believable way. But what if you made the language very easy and instead of a computer trying to be human, you made a player try to act like a computer? Two players — one a spy, one a sniper — are in asymmetrical competition. The player must move around a party completing objectives that the other AI party guests will not even attempt to accomplish. Everytime the player accomplishes one of these objectives, they give a slight “tell” — if you try to bug an ambassador, the player’s hand will dart out and suddenly retract, just like if you try to steal a book, you’ll motion to put it back until suddenly shifting it into your coat. The sniper’s job is to look at the crowd and figure out which of the dozens of characters is the human spy, and kill him. As it stood the game was almost exclusively based around recognizing these little telltale signs, but Hecker planned on expanding and deepening the gameplay.
  • This ‘side-project’ is a game based on the principle of the Turing test, but a bit more complex. Let me explain the game first: it is a multiplayer gamer, set at a cocktail party hosted by the ambassador. One player is a sniper outside the room looking in. He has a mission to kill a double agent but doesn’t know who that is. Most guests are NPC’s, but an other human plays the double agent. The game is: can the sniper distinguish the AI from a human player? Hence the Turing test.
  • Spy Party is a game by Spore man Chris Hecker for two players: Spy and Sniper. A cocktail party provides the setting, in which the Spy will be asked to complete an objective such as bugging an ambassador. The Sniper, on the other hand, will simply have to sit back and watch, looking for minute and subtle giveaways that will identify the Spy who can then be shot in the face.
  • Spy Party — perception. Spy/counterspy sim where people’s observed behaviors tell you how to proceed.
  • – 20 people at cocktail party (some players, some A.I.). 1 is a spy.
    Assasin observes party, attempting to determine who the spy is. Bam!
    – Spy can only be distinguished by subtle “tells”.i.e. spy reads book from bookshelf, but places it back strangely
    i.e. spy secretly slipped a piece of paper from someone
    i.e. spy wears a T-Shirt saying “spies do it in the dark”
    – “affordance” and “actors” mentioned. must… remain… calm.
    – Game demoed. Audience plays assasin watching 20 people, attempting to finger the spy.
    Laser pointers highlight innocent man. Audience shoots – “you killed a civilian”
    Audience quickly picks someone else (game developers are cold hearted bastards)
    – Most memorable moment: When civilian was shot.
    Ambient chatter stopped, replaced by piercing female scream, everyone ran from victim.
    [Shocking. Can’t remember last time I felt bad for killing someone.]
    Reminded me of wedding.
  • “Spy Party”, by Chris Hecker. Really seems to capture the intrigue, danger, and more importantly, subtelty in some of the more realistic spy stories…you know, the kind where the spy doesn’t advertise his presence by blowing up most of a city. Really fun to watch players compete in this one.
  • Spy Party creator Chris Hecker is looking for more martinis and less explosions in his spy fare, so he turns to a cocktail party as the setting of his game where one player is an agent and one a sniper outside. Spies take on missions to fulfill, such as transferring a book from one shelf to another (who knows what secrets are contained within?) or bugging the ambassador, all while chatting it up like a pro at a hoppin’ social gathering. The animations have very subtle differences that the sniper will have to learn to pick up on. Right now he admits that it mostly relies on looking for these tells, but he hopes that he’ll be able to ramp up the complexity as he continues development.
  • What is it? A multiplayer whodunnit mystery puzzler
    25-word pitch: Infiltrate a cocktail party, accomplish espionage missions, avoid detection.
    Inspiration: ‘Fugitive’ from Indie Game Jam01. James Bond. Cocktail party etiquette. The Turing Test.
    Why it works: You’re a sniper who’s got to shoot the only human-controlled person (spy) at a cocktail party, basing your decision only by reading social cues. Like Minesweeper, but using social interaction.
  • & now: Chris Hecker’s Spy Party
    Design after my own heart–simplify the symbols.
    This is a very promising mechanic. Can’t wait to see it mature. Has some fleeting commonality with one of my mystery game designs.

The game is in development in Oakland, California, by Chris Hecker, with no current release date.

Site Credits


  1. jordy says:

    Sprang to mind, if you’re trying to think of more inventive ways to poison/kill someone search for all the inventive plans CIA made for Castro, probably some nice ideas there :)

    • checker says:

      Yeah, I’ve got a stack of reading and watching to do for research. I’m actually thinking of ways to get the community involved in this part…more on that in a couple months.

  2. jordy says:

    Would be happy to help.

  3. hooray290 says:

    Just found this while reading an old article about “The Ship” This looks great, but I almost wish I had not heard about it until later in the development lifecycle. I am a software QA tester, and if there is anything I can do to contribute in my spare time, I would be more than happy to help if it will get this released quicker. :-)

  4. Ray says:

    I was thinking that it would be cool if the sniper could chose to be an undercover agent at the party insted of a shooter and try to find the spy and kill him up close. I think this game may be the coolest idea that ive seen in a long time good luck making it!!

    • checker says:

      Cool, thanks! Yeah, once I get the core mechanic in I’ll be able to experiment with different variations like that. I do really like the asymmetry in the design, though, so I want to preserve that. But, it might be more unnerving if the Spy knew who the other player was hunting them in the part. We’ll see!

  5. jordy says:

    I think it’s quite a fun idea, cause you know you’re so close to your killer, you could maybe even rub shoulders with him, or engage in a conversation^^.

    By from a stylish point of view, I think the whole set-up of sniper outside in the dark looking into a bristling party is nicer.

    I am intrested to see with what kind of ideas you will turn up with at the end, I hope you really add alot of depth to the psychology of the gameplay in addition to the observation gameplay.

    • Ron says:

      I kind of like the idea of being able to choose as a sniper whether to be in the party or out. However the in party sniper would have to be nerfed something heavy to make it worth it to play as the outside sniper.

  6. Xamuel says:

    I’m soo looking forward to this game. Finally some real, true innovation in video games :)

  7. Ron says:

    I know this is a rough question, but are there any plans for players who lag? Basically, if someone is playing on a slow connection, will the system compensate for in between movement in order to make sure the spy doesn’t teleport across the map.

    Also, this brings up an interesting point. AI position/interaction HAS to be on the spy(s) side for this reason.

    If the AI was hosted on the sniper side and the sniper forced lag by pulling the Ethernet cable in replaced it in succession, the spy would be the only thing to lag, which would be rather visible (and cheating).

    • checker says:

      Yeah, the game design is actually inherently massively latency tolerant, which I didn’t realize when I was first thinking about it. There are some points where there are direct real-time interactions between the players, like the Sniper’s laser dot showing up on the Spy’s side, but even that does not need < 1 second latency, and as long as the Sniper is seeing a consistent world, he or she can be playing behind the Spy by a second or so as well. So, in other words, lag should be no problem whatsoever (famous last words). And yes, the Spy is the "server" always, so when two players connect, it switches authority back and forth depending on who is Spy. In fact, there's really only one way to cheat right now by snooping the network, which is that only the Spy will play the animations with the tells in them, besides that the Spy is just in the mix of characters moving around like everybody else. :)

  8. Darktan says:

    Really looking forward to this, asymmetry in games can breed some really interesting battles. I’d be particularly excited by the possibility of two spies and one sniper. Not only can the spies go about their business as normal, but if they could figure out who the other spy was, could attempt to force their adversary into making a mistake that gets them shot. Would require some tricksy coding though.

    • Ron says:

      What would also be interesting is a team mode. 2 spies working together vs. 2 snipers working together.

  9. jordy says:

    It would be great if there was a forum on this side, just to talk to other early fans.

  10. jordy says:

    That would be great! Just to share thoughts and whatever, but don’t let it slow down your game too much!

  11. Ron says:

    Kind of an odd overall question. I actually have a close personal friend who was on the development team of the flash “Spore: Creature Creator”. I know that Spore kind of had the creative customization working for it, and it might be way too early to even be thinking about this, but do you think there will be any form secondary gaming for SpyParty like this?

    • checker says:

      It depends on what you mean…I don’t think there’s going to be a User Generated Content aspect to SpyParty in the sense that there was on Spore, where players make stuff while playing that shows up in the game, but I definitely plan on involving the community during the creation of the game in various brainstorming ways that I’m still trying to figure out. :)

  12. Steffan says:

    I’ll pre-order the collectors edition now please,
    with the “Totally just another AI” t-shirt, soundtrack and Artbook if you dont mind.
    I find the “A room full of people, and only have one bullet” tshirt to be just a tad to cheesy and lengthy.

    So, how much do i owe you?

  13. jordy says:

    You have good humor. It made my daily visit to this site worth it’s time, thanks!

    I guess the last one is a bit cheesy, but I smiled anyway ^^

  14. jordy says:

    3 month anniversery of me hearing about this game is coming up on my calendar, I can’t believe it’s still only 3 month’s!! Anyways, you’re planning something special ^^? But seriously, I checked, over about 3 months it’s a 1 year anniversery of this game publicly announced? Or atleast this site, can we expect a major content drop…. ;p?

    * Note that I will accept any excuse to learn more

  15. jordy says:

    I dunno if they stole this from you or not ^^, but it’s kind if similiar: http://www.joystiq.com/2010/06/15/preview-assassins-creed-brotherhood-multiplayer/ assassin creed brotherhood multiplayer, where you play a charachter that is being hunted by another character, you can hide and act like AI to escape your exucutioner or if he spots you anyway you can run away assassin style.

    Probably not very important, since I feel the premise of the game your making is quite difference, but 2 intresting things perhaps;

    1. Multiplayer has for example 6 players, each player has to hunt another character, and is also being hunted down, the better you do the more people you get hunting you, visa versa I imagine the worse you do the less or no people you get hunting you.

    2. The article mentiones they only played 1 match, but they had some doubts about how it would hold-up in the long run, in terms of replayability, I think that’s a bad sign for a game if you already come up with that question after one match then there is something not right.
    But again probably no worries, since Sid Meier? already mentioned your game had that kind of, “once you pop you can’t stop” feeling.

    Last thing, they mentioned you could choose 2 abilities, and one of these was the fact that you could change the way you look. Since your hunter is directed in your vicinity and also knows how you must look, i.e. wich cloths, changing your cloths at a cost of an ability could fool your hunter.
    This might be an intresting perk perhaps for your game.
    Like maybe the sniper got intel of what kind of “cloths” you’re wearing, and you can choose to change these cloths at the cost of something, or whatever, altho now I write it down it does sounds gimmicked and wouldn’t probably a good idea, keep it real!

    • checker says:

      Yeah, I played it at E3 yesterday, and I’m going to write up a post about it next week. It’s significantly different from SpyParty in a bunch of different ways.

  16. jordy says:

    Cool! You’re at E3, lucky guy, seen any intresting under the radar games?

  17. jordy says:

    I was wondering, did you settle on the spy party theme exclusively for this game, or do you have other themes in mind as well, or leave that option open?

    Granted, one theme will probably more then enough, since it’s mainly about gameplay anyways, and art is a very cost/time expensive work.
    But I was just wondering, because there are some nice themes you could think off that tap into the same gameplay mechanic possibly, and wich would allow for slight gameplay modifcations trough the theme.

    Then again, it would make the game rather messy in the sense what’s the IP all about, I would be more then happy to play in one big ambassador’s house.

    • checker says:

      The current plan is for there to be multiple settings, not just a single party in a mansion. Really, any place people gather is fair game, including cafes, clubs, etc. That said, I’m focusing on the behavior based gameplay for now, but it won’t be too hard to add new settings once the core is there.

  18. Jordy says:

    How where the reaction on SpyParty at E3?

  19. Jordy says:

    Looking forward too!

  20. Jordy says:

    How the 36 stratagems could possibly be used* while playing SpyParty
    * (Actual use will depend on the actual game and gameplay of course)

    Cross the sea by deceiving the heaven (from a spy point of view)

    This stratagems refers to a Chinese story in which a Chinese emperor refuses to cross the sea, despite his general urging. The general then ordered his man to built large barges on the water and to decorate them with dirt, trees, and military tents. After this was done he invited his emperor to enter the camp and while the emperor was entertained within a windowless tent his man launched the barges and moved to the other shore.

    The meaning of this stratagems is generally conceived as hiding actions behind a “normal, everyday, front”. Spies use this stratagems quite a lot, I imagine, in order to stay unnoticed, while going about there secretive work. For example, a weather broadcast (the normal front) could actually be a secretive code (the real action packed within the normal front). Reading a paper in the park, a spy is really observing someone/something, watching at a picture on the Internet, there actually could be a whole image, or message, be hidden within a single pixel of that picture, the examples are to numerous to recount all.

    In my opinion the actual gameplay of SpyParty is based largely on this stratagem. You try to create a normal front of bot behavior, and within this front of bot behavior you try to accomplish actions secretly.
    So how would you apply this stratagem, as a spy, to a game that is exactly about it, and in which your opponent already knows he is going to be deceived? I’ve come up with 2 possibly actions, one based on a story related to this stratagem:

    He Nuobi, a Chinese general camped with his man on the shore of the Yangtze river, opposite to the King of Chen, who stood at the other side of the river. Soon He Nuobi ordered his man to prepare for battle, at the sound of activity the Chen army prepared for the attack, the army of Nuobi marched, dust rose in the air, and drums were beaten, but no attack game. Nuobi was just maneuvering, he practiced this maneuvering for a couple of days with much show, and after a while the Chen army grew less and less vigilant. Until it didn’t react anymore at all at the beat of drums and the movement on the other side. At this point He Nuobi ordered his troops to cross the river and the Chen army was defeated by surprise.

    This story is much like the western “cry wolf” story, but applied to the military, and as a ruse.
    Applied to SpyParty this could mean visiting the possible objectives more often as a spy, but not performing any actions, at first, the sniper will follow you when you walk to a possible objective, but after he has seen you walk there a couple of times, he might grow weary and not pay attention to you anymore. Of course if you go to the same objective to often, or you go to all the different objectives to quickly, it might become suspicious in itself.

    A variant I think could be, that you don’t walk to any possible objectives and act perfectly bot-like for the first half of the game. This way, you will be out of the question for the sniper as a spy, and hopefully he will have focused his attention to other “possible spies”, that did walk to objectives or acted strangely. After his attention is more focused on these bots, you might perform your actions more safely, cause your character was not noticed at the beginning of the game when the sniper was vigilant of characters that moved to objectives or otherwise acted strange.

  21. Bobrhorman says:

    I’m not sure if you addressed this somewhere else already, but what platformwill this game be published on?

    • checker says:

      Not sure yet. I’m kind of assuming the XBLA/PSN/Steam trifecta in some order or another, but it’s too early to tell for sure. Wii is probably out due to performance, but maybe Wii HD if it comes out. It’s developed on PC right now, since that’s what I have in front of me. :)

    • Powerlord says:

      I’m actually glad to see that this will be out on Steam. I’m looking forward to it.

    • checker says:

      Well, nothing’s for certain right now, but hopefully it will be everywhere that can run it well.  :)

  22. jordy says:

    Great pointers! I have told some people about this game, asked them to check it out, but I can imagine it isn’t very clear to someone first visiting this site where this is all about.
    But with this nice explanation I’m sure more people will stick or bookmark it at least.

    I hope when you’re further in the design cycle you can make a cool front page, to welcome new visitors, all though you’ll probably work on art as one of the last things, so that will be kind of hard.
    Anyways, I’ll start bugging some more people about this game xD.

  23. jordy says:

    You got coverage on RPS again!!!

  24. jordy says:

    Awesome article, you mentioned before that you’re thinking of ways how to recreate this intensity between 2 people when they’re in the same room when playing online, I think that’ll be really hard, but perhaps intensive chat features might help a bit. An idea mentioned on another forum for another game, was that you could write text in-game which would pop-up in little text-balloons. For spy party this could mean that you can write text’s for cpu’s talking to each other. For example; “don’t you think that man over there is acting a little weird?” or “I feel being spied on”. That way you could drop false, or real hints to the sniper to mess with him. Either referring to yourself, in a blazing is fashion, or to a cpu that you made act weird but is not actually you.

    I really hope this game is gonna have a big following, so perhaps it might grow out into an e-sport! Who knows…
    One thing I have some doubts about is the gears or wars re-load feature, I don’t played gears of war, so I don’t know the feature, but it brings to mind a mini-game of the sorts you find in golf games or whatever, which does seem a little banal to me for this game, but I think you said you planned to write about this in the future, so let me not judge to early.

    • checker says:

      The active reload thing is really pretty subtle, and it’s totally opt-in. You can just ignore it, or decide to take the risk/reward. I think it’ll work well, but only playtesting will tell. I definitely don’t want it to feel like playing a “mini-game”, more just like a little skillful button press. We shall see!

  25. jordy says:

    Just realized watching the body IK solver clips that music is probably a quite important part in the games feel, since you’ll have to listen to the soundtracks in the game for hours to come.. and it’ll will definitely leave it’s mark on the feel of the game. So, was wondering, do you still need to pay royalties for using old numbers from legends like Miles Davis and such? Some good and different music would be much appreciated on my part, but if you have to pay royalties for all the numbers you wanna use, then it seems like an unnecessary cost for an indie-developer. You have any ideas on how you wanna incorporate music into the game?

    Would certainly be funny to have a couple of tracks that apply to certain characters in the game, which a spy or sniper could possibly request ^^

    • checker says:

      I’m still trying to figure out the music plan, but yeah, it’s definitely important. There are all sorts of different licensing schemes, it’s all over the place.

  26. jordy says:

    I don’t understand twitter, so I’m holding my breath here…xD, since I didn’t see your name on it, but is this true?:

    @dtgreen @CrimzonRayne no public playtesting yet, but will announce an upcoming opportunity soon

    *fingers crossed*

    • checker says:

      Yeah, that feed on the side is what I’m tweeting, so those people were asking about playtesting. I’ll post some stuff soon about that.

  27. jordy says:

    Thanks, great!

  28. derpface says:

    Almost as soon as I understood the concept I thought, “What if you could fire twice?” I think it would add another dynamic seeing how AI and the player react to either a miss or another party-goer getting shot.

  29. Jordy says:

    I can see how firing twice might fun, or unlimited bullets for that matter, but it will make it twice as hard, if not more for the spy to gain victory, if all other circumstances are equal.

  30. jordy says:

    I guess today or tomorrow PAX will start, so a final goodluck wish, I hope a lot people will come watch and play SpyParty, and perhaps some monaco (if they have to wait for SpyParty..;d). I’m really curious how non-gamejournalists will express them selfs about this game and how it goes in general, in any case I hope to read a lot of reactions, perhaps from the people of the clan Ron is in and, fingers crossed, lots of video^^

  31. anders says:

    God damn this Jordy guy is the worst. Jordy you’re the worst! This game was fantastic at PAX, everyone was very excited about it, kept a constant crowd, and had a loooong line. Everyone in line would cheer at the end of every game, it was a complete win for your booth. It is a fantastic game so far and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. People stop trying to throw in your ideas, lets root for this game to get finished.

    • checker says:

      Hah! I assume you’re joking and just being snarky, but just in case: all ideas are welcome here!  The game is a long way from being finished, so it’s going to be a wait!  Sorry!  I can only promise it’ll be even better when it’s done, or, I guess I can’t promise that, but I can promise I will try to make it even better!  :)

  32. jordy says:

    ^^ I know, I know I’m too f*cking addicted to this game already, without ever playing it, I feel like a complete SpyParty junky… But great to hear it was a major success on PAX!! I read somewhere you preferred no line cause then people could get more into it, but surely you can’t complain about this ^^

  33. jordy says:

    I read somewhere (think in one of your posts) about how the spy in your play-tests picks the bookshelf mission, despite being it harder, because it’s less expected, and since I’m doing some rudimentary reading on game theory, it came to mind again, and I think the Nash equilibrium in the mission picking game is a randomized strategy. Meaning when both players utilize a randomized strategy, for picking missions and watching objectives, they both respond with maximum profit^^. Ofcourse you cannot choose completely at random, cause they spy have take into account that the bookshelf mission is harder to accomplish, thus pays off more for the sniper when countered with sniper watching that objective more.

    Anyways, I thought maybe for double spies maps you could use some prisoners dilemma theme or chicken game model: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_(game). Only thing is, social interaction and expectation can simply ruin this because of an emerging unofficial rule that will tell the players what to do.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, I noticed people even being smart about their Spy character choice.  One dude just averted his eyes, and cranked the stick to scroll through the characters, and randomly pushed the select button, so there was no bias.  :)

  34. jordy says:

    hahaha, yea, I was already thinking about that, mostly you play male (if your male) and of your own race right? But as soon as that is common knowledge, you will randomize that as well, and it becomes useless ^^. But that kind of small stuff is great I think, a battle on all scales and gameplay aspects.

  35. checker says:

    I can’t wait to analyze the journals of all the PAX games for stuff like this.

    (don’t forget the ‘Reply to this comment’ link, it makes it easier to keep the threads together)

    (hah, if you type the captcha wrong, it messes up the nesting…sigh)

  36. Ron says:

    I was bored at work today, so I ended up creating a quick mock interface for SpyParty. Just messing around.

    Ignore the framerate on this, my computer was kind of fritzing out

    • checker says:

      Ha, thanks! I’ve been thinking about the Y as martini glass for a while, and can’t decide if it’s too much, or the right thing. Don’t have to decide for a while, but I saw a bar in Seattle that was using it…here it is: http://www.jimmysonbroadway.com/

    • Ron says:

      It’s definitely something that has to be done right. Trying to do “stereotypical” spy things is a dance being overplaying and homage.

      The menu thing I did was just trying to maintain a minimalistic suave interface, without resorting to the almost cheesy 50’s spy content. Also, the typography from that era is now considered anything but suave.

    • Ron says:

      Oh, and eesh on the aliasing on jimmy’s site. Also, the stroke doesn’t make it feel like a part of the logo really. :/ oh well. I’m critiquing stuff I don’t need to be.

    • jordy says:

      Very stylish, I think you’re martini Y is quite good, and I like the interface it’s really nice, but it still seems just a bit too clinical/business like for spyparty to me.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, I put it out there as an example of the slippery slope around the Y martini glass.  I think it might be too much of a trope…

  37. Conner says:

    Stumbled upon this. Screw COD-Black ops, Halo Reach, this looks 10x better!

  38. jordy says:

    Just listened to this interview: http://gfbrobot.com/?p=7263

    Really excited to hear you’re aiming for E-sports as well. Hopefully E-sports will have grown in the mean time.

    • checker says:

      I don’t know if it’ll actualy catch on as an e-sport, but I definitely want to have that level of depth.

    • jordy says:

      Yea, it’s hard to control that, especially without a large sponsoring budget ^^, but a lot of people playing the game and some more exposure to e-sports in general and it’s definitely possible I think.

  39. jordy says:

    Sunday treat?

    • checker says:

      Crunching to try to get a build into a couple festivals, sorry for the lack of updates! The PAX tournament post is half-written, if that helps.  :)

    • jordy says:

      It does ;), but it better be a long one! ;p. Good to hear that you’re going to do more festivals. I’m trying to silently wait, but sometimes my curiosity just gets the best of me, apologies.

      Anyways have fun making this game and on the festivals as always.

  40. jordy says:

    Just watched episode 11 in season 2 of Breaking Bad a series, and I couldn’t help think of SpyParty in this particular episode: http://breakingbad.wikia.com/wiki/Mandala.

    The main character has a meeting set up with an unknown mystery man, he sits in Burger King or something, and the contact doesn’t show up, he later heres the mystery man was there, but said it was a no-go (the meeting), the main character goes back next day and figures out the mystery man is actually the Burger King manager, who was silently observing him the day before. I guess it’s kinda vague, and you have to see the episode to get it more clear.
    But as a game idea, you have a “spy” who has to complete a drug deal (or hand over papers or whatever) in a cafeteria or something and the “sniper” is another visitor of the cafeteria.
    Or, in this case, the “sniper” aka the mystery man, was observing the “spy” aka the main character, and the spy eventually got to figure out who is the “sniper”. So basically I guess you would get a spy vs spy game or something, were each spy has perhaps to do different actions and they have to figure each other out.
    Another setting that popped-up, a prison yard, totally off the chart, but there is always a lot of hassling and dealing going on in prison yards with the prison guards watching over the yard or the cell blocks.
    Well, at least that’s the picture you get from the movies ^^.

  41. jordy says:

    Interesting spy documentary, the spy whose story is told mainly got his information from garden parties and the like.

  42. jordy says:

    RPS preview of AC: B, http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/10/07/assassins-creed-brotherhood-impressions/#more-41156.
    Seems promising, I wasn’t really attracted to it at first, but it seems like they have added some feature to guarantee a more subtle approach. My main question would be how long it lasts, as I can’t see much deepness in it, at least not at the level you’re going for.

    • checker says:

      Thanks, I’ll check it out.  Ron just posted a big report on the “competitive analysis” post, too.

    • Ron says:

      That article did a great job summarizing how to play, and got much more into the nuances of the gameplay than I went into. However, it really didn’t address how people are playing it. Basically, their “gameplay style”. And that’s kind of a crucial element when you discuss a multiplayer game. :)

  43. jordy says:

    I really hope you win IGF, I heard somewhere that main prize is $100,000? Or maybe that was something else, anyway, you have a good chance for sure, and if I was a christian I would be praying right now.. call me a SP-extremist, but well, I’m not so I’ll just wish you the best of luck and I’ll try to mindcontrol the jurors..

    A $100.000 could go along way in a significant art boost perhaps when the time is right, for sure it would help speed up things :).

  44. Ron says:

    BTW, thanks for actually having a print stylesheet. I’m not sure if it’s default with wordpress, but so many websites forget that sometimes people like to print large bodies of text.

  45. Ron says:

    I found this today. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but it might be useful to you.


  46. Miles says:

    I just saw this article on gamasutra and I have to say I liked most of it, though I did kinda feel shocked when you blatantly said that game journalists are evil (when has a journalist ever done something wrong to you?) the wii is sh*t (you obviously haven’t played cooking mama world kitchen before) and that nintendo is the worst thing to happen to video games since Jurassic park trespasser (I may have worded that differently but Im sure this is what you truly meant) I am appreciative though that you also pointed out that you are far from perfect by saying “Let me be clear: I screwed up”

  47. Jordy says:

    So, why I came down here, to these forgotten blog pages.. I couldn’t sleep and thought of a Spy versus Spy mode, I know it has been suggested before, but this is my take on it.

    2 spies in the room
    2 detonators in the hands of both spies
    And.. I guess you guessed it.. 1 bomb!

    Objective: Discover the rival spy and blow him up.

    How: there is a bomb planted in the room, use the detonator to activate it.


    – You cannot activate the bomb before you have marked the (supposedly) rival spy
    – You can pick up the bomb and place it somewhere else
    – You cannot start searching for the bomb until you marked the enemy spy (explanation follows)

    Winner: Whoever blows up the rival spy and stays alive himself. Or if the opponent marks the wrong spy. Or if the opponents blows up the wrong people.


    You both start in a room where a bomb is planted in 1 of either 4 (for example) locations. The bomb has a rather small blast radius so you either have to lure or wait for the rival spy to get close to it, or you pick it up and drop it somewhere else (perhaps in someones pocket, however, he would discover the extra weight quickly).
    Checking for a bomb is a soft tell, picking it up is a hard tell.

    However, the problem I think is the fact that once people found the bomb, they can simply wait for the enemy to show up. But maybe, with your plans for distractions and all this can be countered.
    Once you found the bomb, you should be forced somehow to actively plan to kill your opponent, perhaps let a timer start when you see the bomb. This would force players to be pro-active in using there knowledge.

    How I envision it, is 2 spies walking around looking for each other and trying to figure out where the bomb is placed.
    Once you know who the enemy spy is you have a (huge) lead, but can still mess it up if your opponent spots you (perhaps with the bomb in your hands).
    There is a great potential for trickiness I think, since the bomb could be anywhere if your opponent has picked it up.

    Say for example, you know the opponent has found the bomb, you pick it up, place it somewhere else, and then “accidentally” make a slight mistake in front of your opponent, then you walk casually to the place where the bomb used to be after a while and wait for your rival to push the button, cause he thinks he is going to blow you up ^^.

    And more of these kind of things. I’m not sure how clear I was, since I’m half at sleep, but I hope you got most of it.

  48. Jordy says:

    Oops, 3th rule is unnecessary, forget about that one.

  49. Dr. F. J. Stech, COL (ret.) says:

    The game poses a “reverse Turing Test” for the human sniper: the human spy player must act like the avatars (that are acting like humans), or get shot; can the human behavior of the spy be differentiated by the human sniper from the computer avatars?
    (I suppose Turing knew it would eventually come to this.)
    The game poses a “inverse Turing Test” deception game for the spy: Behave as similar to the computer avatars as you can; perform only avatar-like behaviors.
    (Haven’t we all known it was coming to this?)
    Key clues: do the computer avatars “see” the sniper dot? Do they noticeably react to it (so the sniper and/or the spy could tell they react to it)? Do the computer avatars react to human-spy-like behaviors (“Sir, why is your hand in my purse?!?!). And if so, what’s the accuracy, precision, and recall of the avatar’s spy-detection behaviors?

    Given the pre-release buzz, this proto-game is its own little ongoing social media experiment. And, possibly, a potential Web spoof or hoax.

    • checker says:

      > (I suppose Turing knew it would eventually come to this.)

      It’s funny, because the original Turing test had this aspect of a player misleading the interrogator, but it’s been lost in the popular conception of the test:


      > Key clues

      The partygoers can’t see the laser dot, because they’re not wearing infrared contact lenses, of course.  :)  They don’t react to the Spy very much yet, but they will.  One subtle thing they do now is if somebody interrupts them in conversation then sometimes they get mad and walk away, but it’s very subtle right now so it’d be hard to use it as evidence.  Soon I’ll have more stuff like this, hopefully!

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