Frequently Asked Questions

I probably should have put this FAQ for SpyParty up a long time ago, but “better late than never”, I guess!

I’ve tried to look over most of the comments on the blog and roll them into this FAQ, but I’m sure I missed some, and I’m sure people will come up with more questions as time goes on.

If you have a question that’s not answered here but should be, or if you want clarifications on any of the answers, please post in the comments below, and I’ll promote them up to the page.

  1. When are you shipping?
  2. What!?! Why do I have to wait so long?
  3. Will there be a demo?
  4. Will there be a beta? Can I help you playtest SpyParty?
  5. Okay, there’s a beta, but why is it going so slowly?
  6. Is it an open beta, an early-access beta, a paid beta, a pre-order, or what?
  7. Where can I find the infamous Four Page Instruction Manual so I can read it and not get completely owned the first time I play?
  8. What platforms will SpyParty be on?
  9. What will the hardware requirements look like?
  10. How much will the game cost?
  11. How is SpyParty different from ______?
  12. Will there be other modes besides just two-player Spy vs. Sniper?
  13. Will the Spy and the Sniper be able to play on the same screen, like on a couch?
  14. Will there be other settings besides parties?
  15. How many maps will there be?
  16. How many missions will there be?
  17. Will the Sniper be able to do anything else besides observe the party?
  18. Can the Sniper influence the Spy and/or partygoers?
  19. How many characters will there be?
  20. Will each character have different behaviors? What about genders, races, ages, etc.?
  21. How can the Spy see the laser sight but no one else at the party can?
  22. Will the Spy be able to make distractions?
  23. Will there be a Spectator mode?
  24. Will there be a single-player mode?
  25. Will there be LAN support? Spawned copies? Can I run my own dedicated server?
  26. What is the art/music style going to be? Will it be stylized or realistic?
  27. What about dialog?
  28. What about plot, or campaigns?
  29. Will I be able to play with the current prototype graphics?
  30. Banana Bread.
  31. If the game is hard core player-skill, how will new players not just get owned? Will I have to read a manual when the game is released?
  32. I’ve heard you have a mechanic like Gears of War’s Active Reload, doesn’t that detract from the psychological skill and make the game more about twitch skills?
  33. What language is SpyParty written in? What engine do you use? What’s your development environment?
  34. What kind of animations will SpyParty use?
  35. What are your inspirations for SpyParty?
  36. What are your aesthetic goals for the game?
  37. How did you name the game? What about the poor Sniper, doesn’t he or she feel left out?
  38. How many people work on SpyParty? Are you hiring?
  39. Will there be any kind of User Generated Content, or customization, or XBox Live Avatar support, etc.?
  40. Can I put on a SpyParty LARP?
  41. Can I live stream and post and monetize videos of SpyParty?
  42. Will I be able to get a Steam code when it’s on Steam if I pay for the beta now, and what about redeeming it on consoles too?

When are you shipping?

The short answer is: I don’t know. The long answer is: probably a couple years from now, where ‘now’ is spring, 2011. Update 2013: the Early-Access Beta is now open.

What!?! Why do I have to wait so long?

I want SpyParty to be perfect. I think the game has a lot of potential to explore themes and mechanics rarely explored in this medium, like perception, deception, and performance, and others I mention below. I want the the game to be deeply tuned so it supports competition-level player skills,1 but instead of being twitch skills, they’re psychological skills. I also want the game to be beautiful artistically and aurally. All of these things take time to do right. I talk more about each of these topics below.

Will there be a demo?

I assume so, but I’m not sure yet.

Will there be a beta? Can I help you playtest SpyParty?

Yes you can! Please head over to the Early-Access Beta Sign Up Page and read about the beta plan.

Okay, there’s a beta, but why is it going so slowly?

I’m really sorry the invites to the Early-Access Beta are trickling out so slowly. The quick answer is, I would love to invite everybody in at once, but my server would melt. Making the game’s back end servers scale to the 12000 people signed up so far is going to be a lot of work, and there are going to be (and have been) a lot of bugs that need fixing along the way. Trust me, I want to invite you in more than you want to be invited in, I just can’t go faster yet! This blog post talks about the roll-out plan in more detail. Update: wait, it’s open now!

Is it an open beta, an early-access beta, a paid beta, a pre-order, or what?

It appears there’s some debate about what to call this kind of beta. I call it an Early-Access Beta, because you get the game now and all the updates and the final version, and I say it’s “open” now because it was “closed” and invite-only for a long time. So, I use “open” to contrast with “closed” in that sense. Some folks use “open” to mean “free”, which this isn’t, since I’m using it to fund the development of the game, as I explain here. So, I guess it’s an Open Early-Access Paid Beta?

Where can I find the infamous Four Page Instruction Manual so I can read it and not get completely owned the first time I play?

Thank you for asking! Reading the manual is the best way (short of actually playing) to get a feel for SpyParty! You can find the latest version here.

What platforms will SpyParty be on?

I hope to have it on all the major platforms that will run it. This includes PC and Mac (on Steam and other distribution sites, including this website, and they will all be able to play each other), Xbox Live Arcade, and PlayStation Network. I’ve been talking to Nintendo about their next generation console, and if the controller screen (exists and) is good, that could solve one of my “couch issues” I talk about below, so that could be cool. (Clarification for the Internet: I have not signed an NDA, but I read the same rumors as other people, and when I talked to some Nintendo folks recently, I said, “I know you can’t confirm or deny, but if the controller screen is good, then that might make it a perfect SpyParty machine because of my ‘couch problem’.”) Also, the iPad is another solution to this problem of how to have players in the same room, so I’ll probably look into that as well. Linux is a real possibility too, especially since the successes of the Humble Bundles with Linux users.

However, I am 100% focused on making the game as deep and as awesome as I can right now, and I’ll worry about the platforms later, after I’ve got the gameplay where I want it.

In some updated platform news, some beta testers have gotten SpyParty working with Wineskin, a Windows emulator for MacOS! There’s a thread about how to set it up in the beta forums, so once you’re invited into the beta you can try that if you’re a MacOS user. It is incredibly easy to install and it works really well, I just tried it myself!

What will the hardware requirements look like?

It’s too early to say for sure. Right now, it runs on incredibly low end laptops (even netbooks!), but obviously the graphics are going to improve a lot and that’s going to cost some performance. However, I want as many poeple as possible to be able to play SpyParty, and that’s vital for a multiplayer indie game, so I want to keep the hardware requirements as minimal as possible. I do all of my development on an old Lenovo T500 laptop, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, so that’s another thing that will help keep me honest and the specs low.

How much will the game cost?

I assume it will cost $15, but I don’t know for sure. $15 is kind of the “AAA Indie” price point these days, and I think it’s good for the industry to standardize on a single price in this segment so players have a basic intuition for what level of polish and production values they will get for their money. Update: I figured out and posted the pricing model here.

How is SpyParty different from ______?

I send out the link to this entry often enough, and the %3F in the anchor confuses enough url shorteners, that I made this pseudo-permanent pseudo-handy shortlink:

SpyParty is not the first game to explore psychological themes, nor pretending to be an NPC, nor hiding in plain sight, nor any of these concepts. I think it is a particularly interesting take on them, but there have been many games before with similarities. These include:

  • The Ship and Bloody Good Time, by Outerlight, the multiplayer modes in Assassin’s Creed by Ubisoft, and Murderous Pursuits by Blazing Griffin (who bought The Ship from Outerlight). These are basically games of Assassin, which is a popular live-action game played on college campuses. They’re mostly symmetric, meaning each player is playing the same role, they use large maps where occlusion and environment traversal is a big part of the gameplay so they have features like radars for telling where your target is, and they don’t focus on the same level of behavioral performance and perception that I’m going for in SpyParty. I have a long post I’m writing that will do a detailed analysis of these games, that I’ll link to here when it’s finished. Actually, I ended up talking about this a lot on a Kotaku podcast, and they happened to transcribe this exact part, which was nice.
    Jason: It’s really fun. Once you start getting into it, playing as a spy, you can find lots of clever ways to mimic the AI. There are a lot of misdirection tricks you can use to try to fool the sniper.
    Kirk: And you know, I’ve played games like this before, and watching the game, getting ready to play the game, having Chris explain the game to us, there’s a lot going on. This is a very complicated game, there are a million mechanics and systems that we didn’t see.
    Hecker: Yeah, the [full] tutorial takes almost 40 minutes to play.
    Kirk: So, having played a game like Assassin’s Creed, the multiplayer in that, where you’re kinda pretending to be AI and blending in… there’s a level of specificity to [Spy Party] that I found. Where, just because it’s me versus you, we’re head to head, we’re at a table, and it’s this one moment that we’re building toward. It’s gonna be this shot. Jason’s probably gonna take the shot, and it’s either gonna work or it’s not. It really raises the stakes.
    Hecker: And there’s more than that. Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, and there’s an old game on Steam called The Ship, which are both games of Assassin. Which is that college campus game where there’s a hat, and all our names are in the hat, and you pick my name, and he picks your name, and then you’re chasing me and I’m chasing him.
    Kirk: Right. It’s a more cyclical thing.
    Hecker: Yeah, it’s asymmetric in the sense that [your target is] a different person than who’s chasing you, but it’s completely symmetric in the sense that everyone is chasing and being chased.
    Kirk: And has a similar move-set, similar skills.
    Hecker: Right. So I’ve thought about this a lot, about why Spy Party actually is different and deeper than those games. Because The Ship came out before Spy Party, obviously. And Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood came out after. And so you know, people are like, how is it different from this, or whatever. So I’ve thought about that a lot.
    Kirk: It’s very different.
    Hecker: It’s very different! First, when Assassin’s Creed multiplayer started coming out, it was Brotherhood, when it came out, I was like, oh shit. And then I was like, okay, they’re just doing Assassin, and I know how [Spy Party] is different from Assassin now.
    And so what the difference is: Spy Party is 100% asymmetric. There is no way for the spy to get around behind the sniper and stab him in the back with a knife. The sniper doesn’t have to worry about watching their back at all. I can take 100% of the sniper’s brainpower and devote it towards the party, which means I can make the tells way more subtle. So the spy also knows they have to commit to the deception part of it. If you get what happens in Brotherhoodmultiplayer, is, you get someone who’s better at combat or whatever, or jumping around roofs, and then they’re like screw this hiding in plain sight thing, I’m just gonna wait for somebody to do it and then just do the pile-on thing.
    Kirk: When you’re playing as the spy, there’s never a moment where you’re thinking, I have this other avenue to victory.
    Hecker: Exactly. Like, “I’m gonna shoot back,” or anything like that. So you have to commit 100% to the deception thing or you’re toast. And I didn’t know this [off the bat], it’s not like I’m some super genius where I was like, “Oh, this is how it’s different” a priori before I even did it. It was more just like, oh, this is working, why aren’t those other games working at the same level? Oh, I see, it’s because each person is totally committed to their role.
    People don’t make completely asymmetric games most of the time, because they’re really hard to balance. By diving into the completely asymmetric thing, it unlocks this thing that no one knew was there, just because you can’t get to it in that more locally asymmetric but globally symmetric game like Assassin. I mean those are cool games, those are fun to play, but they don’t seem to have… [Spy Party’s] top players have 20,000 games, over 1,000 hours at three minutes a pop. It’s way deeper than those games, right?
    I have a list of clones and demakes, people who have made other similar games, and Assassin’s Creed and The Ship are on there, as like, other games that are similar. I have a list of those on the FAQ, [since people will ask] “aren’t you worry about getting cloned” or something like that? And I’m like no, I want more games in this area, it’s just such unexplored territory! You can just pick up game design off the ground as you’re walking around, because nobody does games about normal people.

    People ask if I’m worried about these games, and the opposite is true, actually. I wish they explored subtle psychological gameplay more than they currently do, because we need more games pushing in these subtle behavioral directions, not fewer!

  • Puji, Ninja Convention, Lucas Debes, SPY PARTY, Remote Shepherd, Hidden in Plain SightNintendo Game & Wario’s ThiefBetraille: Part Deux, Crime Scene, A Letter to my Valentine, XX13, inconSPYcuous, The 80 Spies, The Good, The Bad and the BotAlien Laser Bunnies, Dark Day LA, No Photos, Please!, Hey You!!!, Mimic, Framed!, Intrigue, Where’s Tango?, PanopticonParty Saboteurs, odlaw, Thief Town, BLADENET
    There are a bunch of “demakes”, clones, games inspired by SpyParty, or games designed totally independently that just have a similar mechanic! I collect links to these and love to hear about them, so if you know of one not on this list, please comment below so I can check it out. They’re listed here in the order in which I learned about them. It’s fun to see different interpretations of the idea. I’ve thought about having a game console in a room in SpyParty, with some of the 2D games running on it, and the two players can “push the stack” and go play one of these in the middle of their normal SpyParty game. That’s probably a pipe dream though, but it’s a cool idea! Most of these differ from SpyParty because they’re done as “Jam games”, or for competitions, or just for fun, and the developer isn’t trying to take them to a full polished game. Daniel Benmergui has an awesome SpyParty 2D demake design he’s been kicking around, so hopefully I’ll be able to convince him to make it. People often ask me what I think about other developers making these kinds of games relative to my work, so here’s a link where I discuss it a bit with the developer of Hidden in Plain Sight (also read the comments). The short answer is, as I wrote to Adam:

    My attitude towards derivative game designs is that they can contribute significant value to the art form, they simply have to move the game design ball forward. If they’re just clones of an existing thing without pushing in any new directions, then that can be fine for game development practice (just like copying a painting at the museum while you’re training to be an artist is an effective learning tool), but it’s not something you want to focus on as an end goal.

    In general, I want more experimentation with subtle psychological gameplay!

  • Hitman by IO Interactive. There is some disguise in Hitman, but they don’t explore it very much. Hopefully they will more in the future. There’s a level where you dress up as a waiter in a restaurant, for example, and there’s another level where you’re a sniper and getting a description of a guy in a room, and slowly trying to figure out which one it is. Also, Mission: Impossible on N64 has a deception level where NPCs react to your behavior. It looks like Grand Theft Auto V added a level similar to the Hitman one where you get directions on who to snipe.
  • Team Fortress 2 by Valve. They have a fictional Spy and Sniper rivalry, but that’s about it! But hey, people ask, so here it is.
  • There is also a whole genre of Flash “Sniper Games”, where you’re given a description of somebody and you have to find them in a crowd (usually of stick figures!).
  • Werewolf/Mafia. These are great party games, and have a different take on the performance and deception idea. Because they’re real people in a real room, they tend to be more about politics and bluffing.
  • Trouble in Terrorist Town by BadKing. This is a Garry’s Mod mod, and I haven’t played it yet, but it sounds interesting. It sounds a bit more like Werewolf than The Ship. There are a few other mods like this, like the Bystander mod for Quake, and the Prop Hunt and Suicide Survival mods for TF2 and Counter-Strike: Source, which sound hilarious from the descriptions. There’s a SpyParty mod for Minecraft as well.

If you have others that should be on this list, add a comment below!

Will there be other modes besides just two-player Spy vs. Sniper?

Yes, definitely! I’m just focusing on Spy vs. Sniper 1v1 right now because it’s the most “pure” asymmetric mode that gets to the heart of the core game design. After it’s where I want it, I will branch out into multiple players on both sides, Spy/Sniper teams, Snipers who can be at the party, and all kinds of other craziness.

I’ve gotten a bunch of ideas for different game modes and features from fans, so if you have an idea for the game, don’t hesitate to suggest it in the comments!

Will the Spy and the Sniper be able to play on the same screen, like on a couch?

This is hard. As I mention above, the Wii 2 and iPad might help with this. It’s also been suggested that the Spy player be able to play through the Sniper’s view, but that presents a lot of problems. A hot-seat design is also on the back burner. This is an important play style for some people, so I’m going to try to do something here, but it definitely is not a natural fit for SpyParty. That said, the Sniper side scales well to groups of people sitting together, and it stays fun (although multiple people watching the Sniper view and cooperating makes the game very challenging for the Spy).

Will there be other settings besides parties?

Yes, basically any place people gather where a limited and stylized set of social mores express the basic interactions will work, so this could mean a nightclub, a queue outside the velvet rope of a nightclub, a park during the day, a classroom, lunch at a cafe, etc.

How many maps will there be?

I don’t know yet, but hopefully lots. I’m still focusing on the core game loop, and I haven’t run out of gameplay depth there without having to resort to making more maps, so I’m going to keep digging. I have done two more maps as an experiment to see how it changes the gameplay and that’s been successful in playtests, but I’m not going to focus on map building right now, since it’s a lot easier to build maps than getting the core design solid, so I’m not worried about it as a risk.

How many missions will there be?

Again, hopefully a lot. There are 6 right now (Bug Ambassador, Swap Statue, Transfer Microfilm, Contact Double Agent, Inspect Statues, and Seduce Target), and a couple more that are partially implemented (Steal Plans and Poison Drink). I tend to do new missions to explore completely new types of tells, like trying out an audio tell, or figuring out if the Sniper can perceive when two people at the party are spending a lot of time together. There are three main categories of tells: 1) hard tells, which are when a character plays an animation no NPC will play, and if it is seen, identifies him or her as the Spy, 2) soft tells, which allow the Sniper to reduce the number of suspects, but not positively identify the Spy, and 3) behavioral tells, which are cues like “that character is acting funny” but that don’t have any specific indentifying characteristics. The space of these tells is a very large design space to explore, so I’m confident I’ll be able to add many missions that are completely different from each other.

Will the Sniper be able to do anything else besides observe the party?

Yes, that is the plan, although I’ve been surprised by how much gameplay there is in just trying to perceive without have any other verbs available. But, the plan is to add things like the Sniper can control a video camera to record areas of the party that are offscreen, but rewinding and playing back the tape takes attention, and the Spy knows when you’re doing it, and having the Sniper be able to ask the Security Guard to take someone aside and ask them questions from their dossier. Both the Spy and the Sniper need to know the correct answers, of course. And, to make it more ludicrous, the Spy could choose to be the Security Guard, so the Sniper can’t even trust that character.

Can the Sniper influence the Spy and/or partygoers?

Right now the only feedback is the laser sight, which definitely influences the Spy’s behavior. In fact, a great “newb test” is to just aim the laser at each character’s head and see which one starts moving—that’s usually the newbie Spy. In the future, I hope to have lots of ways for the Sniper to influence the party, including deciding when it’s time to serve dinner, when the musical act goes on stage, dimming the lights, etc.

How many characters will there be?

I don’t know for sure yet, but I have the number 30 floating around in my head. The game is basically unplayable for a single Sniper with 30 partygoers in a room simultaneously, though, because there’s just too much visual information flooding the screen, but of course each map uses a different number of characters, and eventually there will be modes with multiple Snipers. I have a list of 50 or 70 “spy fiction archetypes” that would be hilarious as SpyParty characters, so it’ll just depend on time, resources, and art direction which ones make it in.

Will each character have different behaviors? What about genders, races, ages, etc.?

I hope to have different behaviors for all the the characters and characteristics, but this is a stretch goal. I would really like it if the General would “chase skirts” and “drink too much”, and the Mad Scientist would “alienate people in conversations”, and both the Spy and the Sniper would have to learn these behaviors to get good at the game. This makes the game deeper, but even more complicated, and it’s a lot of programming, debugging, and animating, so I’ll have to see how it goes.

How can the Spy see the laser sight but no one else at the party can?

The Spy is wearing infrared sensitive contact lenses. Duh.

Will the Spy be able to make distractions?

Yes, although none are in yet. Spilling a drink on somebody, or asking the Double Agent to spill a drink on somebody are obvious candidates. Making the stereo system start smoking, turning off the lights, drawing the blinds, the list goes on and on.

Will there be a Spectator mode?

Definitely. SpyParty is almost as much fun to watch as it is to play.

Will there be a single-player mode?

Yes, although it remains to be seen what form it will take. There are three levels of single-player: 1) tutorial – I obviously have to have a good tutorial since the game is so different; 2) practice – I want the game to be skill based, so players need to be able to practice on their own; 3) campaign – this is like StarCraft II’s single-player relative to its multiplayer. Obviously all three would be great, but man, I want to ship this game before the heat death of the universe.

Will there be LAN support? Spawned copies? Can I run my own dedicated server?

Hopefully, yes to all these questions. I found this post called An FPS Server guide for developers that I’ll also try to follow, although man, some of that stuff is a lot of work. The game is at its best when played by two people in the same room with their laptops back-to-back, trash talking over the screens, so I definitely want to make that play style possible for people who have the hardware to pull it off.

What is the art/music style going to be? Will it be stylized or realistic?

Definitely stylized, not only because it’s an indie game and even big budget games fall into the Uncanny Valley when they try to do realism, but also because I think it suits the design better. Spy fiction is always absurd and exaggerated and stylish. That said, I don’t know what the aesthetic will be yet. Retro? Modern? Timeless? I don’t know yet! This post has a lot of visual inspirations, and feel free to add suggestions to the comments there.

What about dialog?

It’s a stretch goal due to time and cost, but I would love to have voice acting in the game. More on that later.

What about plot, or campaigns?

For single player, this remains to be seen, as I say above. For multiplayer, the current plan is to do it kind of like Left 4 Dead, where there’s a loose fictional arc to a given multiplayer session, that gives a sense of progression but without any kind of heavy-weight plot.

Will I be able to play with the current prototype graphics?

Really, I get this question a lot! The answer is probably ‘no’, simply because it would take a ton of work to keep them functioning once they’ve been replaced, since all the animations and skeletons will be changed, but then again, the new Monkey Island on XBLA apparently lets you switch between the old and new art, so I guess I’d possible. Of course, that’s a 2D sprite game, so it’s a different level of complexity. However, I really want to encourage developers to make more games with normal people, rather than aliens and orcs, so I’m thinking about how I could open-source the current assets as a “normal people game engine” so other indies could play around with a bunch of animated characters. Too early to say whether that will work, but it would be cool if it does.

Banana Bread.


If the game is hard core player-skill, how will new players not just get owned? Will I have to read a manual when the game is released?

Right now, I’m doing the Depth-first, Accessibility-later development methodology, which is why you need to read a manual to play. After I nail the depth, then I’ll work on the accessibility. There will be a tutorial and a mentoring system and ranking and matchmaking and all that stuff. But, I secretly hope there will also be a manual, and if you read it, you’ll do better. Maybe I’m just old fashioned that way.

I’ve heard you have a mechanic like Gears of War’s Active Reload, doesn’t that detract from the psychological skill and make the game more about twitch skills?

I call it an Action Test, and no, it didn’t, thankfully! It’s different in a couple of important ways, but the core idea is definitely stolen directly from Gears. This post and its comments talk about these issues, and this post has the results of the Action Test playtest.

What language is SpyParty written in? What engine do you use? What’s your development environment?

SpyParty is mostly custom C++ written by me. I use OpenGL for low level rendering, a modified libjingle for networking, and I’m currently using an open source animation library called Cal3D that I’ve heavily hacked up, but it’s not very good, so I’m going to rewrite it from scratch soon, since achieving high quality character animation is such a vital technology for SpyParty. I talk a bit about the game’s custom AI system in this lecture. I use GNU Emacs for editing code, and Visual C++ for compiling and debugging.

What kind of animations will SpyParty use?

Animations are critical for both the visual aesthetics and style of SpyParty, but also for the gameplay, so the core of every animation is going to be done by hand, and then there’ll be some light procedural “touch up” done. An example would be picking up a statue…there will be a custom animation done for this motion (and maybe even custom per-character!), and then there will be an Inverse Kinematics system that warps the animation’s target to the statue’s current position relative to the character. This is important for making the character actually grab the statue, but it’s also important for the animation system to be able to deal with misaligned characters. Normal games would just have the NPCs always register themselves properly relative to the statue, but SpyParty has to deal with the Spy player not aligning correctly, and so I also have to have the NPCs not align correctly so the Spy isn’t the only one messing up, which would be a recipe for getting shot.

What are your inspirations for SpyParty?

Game-wise, there are a bunch. Counter-Strike is a huge influence on the player-skill depth and multiplayer community aspects of the game. I played a lot of Left 4 Dead to “research” asymmetric multiplayer games, and I came up with my mentoring plans for SpyParty while playing L4D pubbie pickup games. The Sims is obviously influential in terms of it being one of the only other games about people in a room, talking. More games need to explore this human scale level of interaction. Similarly, Ico shows you can have a very simple mechanic (calling and holding hands), with very simple animations and AI, and very simple controls (push a button to call the Princess) and you can get an immense amount of expressivity and emotion out of it—you don’t have to have a million polygons per-character and solve the Strong AI problem, you just need to be smart about your affordances and feedback. Go, the board game, is the most beautiful game ever created, and also maybe the deepest, so it’s a huge inspiration. Poker is another beautiful and deep game, and the bluffing and psychology aspects are directly relevant to SpyParty. Frank Lantz gave a great GDC talk about Go and Poker you should watch if you’re interested in these games. A big inspiration for the game, and in fact, in some sense the “prequel”, is Thatcher Ulrich’s Indie Game Jam 0 game, Dueling Machine. At IGJ3 I was trying to figure out what a more intimate version of Dueling Machine would be, and came up with the Inverse Turing Test idea, and then the Spy fiction, and then it basically designed itself from there!

What are your aesthetic goals for the game?

I’m interested in exploring a number of themes with SpyParty‘s gameplay. Here’s a list from a recent lecture I gave:

  • perception vs. deception & performance
  • attention as a resource
  • consequential decisions with partial information
  • deduction vs. intuition
  • analysis paralysis vs. extinct by instinct
  • extreme asymmetry
  • intense focus on player-skills about subtle human behavior

By the way, I think all game FAQs should be required to answer this question.

How did you name the game? What about the poor Sniper, doesn’t he or she feel left out?

I struggled with the name a fair amount, but at the end of the day, “SpyParty” is punchy, and gets across the vibe of the game, makes you wonder what it’s about, and is unique (well, there are a lot of people throwing spy themed birthday parties for their kids out there, but I finally have them beat on google :). I think names serve a lot of different masters, and being descriptive is one of them, but it’s fairly low on the list compared to being memorable and making people wonder about it. The game was originally called SniperParty, but that set the wrong tone, I think. I also think of both the Spy and the Sniper as spies, fictionally. They just got different assignments!

How many people work on SpyParty? Are you hiring?

It’s currently just me, Chris Hecker, and the amazing artist John Cimino. You can read more about me on my personal site, which is composed mostly of my technical game development writing. I’ve also had some awesome help here and there from various friends (especially Ian and Paul, my elite playtesters, and Ocean Quigley, my friend and rock climbing partner). I am not really looking for more people right now. With AAA indie games, it’s really important to keep your burn-rate as low as possible to give yourself enough time to get the gameplay exactly right.

Will there be any kind of User Generated Content, or customization, or XBox Live Avatar support, etc.?

It’s unclear right now. Customization is hard with this design, because obviously if you have a purple hat, you can’t just wear it, or else you’re going to get shot pretty quick. I think the Avatars design here is to have the party composed of your and all your friend’s avatars, and then you pick one. We’ll see, I’m not worrying about this right now.

Can I put on a SpyParty LARP?

Sure! There have been a few, and I’m going to post a list of the ones I know about at some point. People find it challenging to get the players playing the NPCs to “act normal”, apparently. Let me know how you solve that problem!

Can I live stream and post and monetize videos of SpyParty?

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, please do! I, Chris Hecker, the creator of SpyParty give you permission to stream the game, post videos of the game on the internet, monetize those videos, make animated gifs of the game, or whatever. I actually think it’s pretty messed up that I need to give explicit permission for this, but that’s a rant about copyright law that’ll have to come in a different post, so for now, consider yourself permitted. If you need even more permission than this, post a comment and I’ll update this entry.

Will I be able to get a Steam code when it’s on Steam if I pay for the beta now, and what about redeeming it on consoles too?

Unless Valve has a massive policy change, I’ll be able to give you Steam keys no problem, that’s definitely the plan. I am planning on asking the console folks, but I don’t know of any case where they’ve done that before, sadly. We’ll have to see about that.

  1. I sometimes use the phrase “e-sports level player-skills”, but some people really hate the word “e-sports”. I actually agree it’s a dumb and problematic word, but it’s also a succinct word that gets the point across in terms of being clear about the difference between a game designed merely for people to battle for fun, versus a game that’s intended to have serious competitive levels of balance, where player-skills are dominant over randomness or items or avatar-skills. []


  1. Jordan says:

    What game engine are you using to make SpyParty?

  2. Bruno says:

    Have you thought about a Linux version, or is that out of the question?
    Great work by the way, I’ve been following your talks and interviews, great stuff!

  3. IBanginmywhytea says:

    how are you going to let people know (aka how do i find out) when the beta comes out?

  4. Victor says:

    Do you plan on adding Gender specific behaviours?
    Does the whole game occur only in one location?(Would like to see a Bond inspired Casino. Maybe custom maps) .
    Did you ever consider having the sniper continuously update HQ on what he is seeing for some kind of AI advice feedback loop? As i see it the longer the game goes the easier it is for the spy especially since the world is ‘static’ and routines could be mastered easily a la Golden path (why no one plays sports game on-line seriously).

    Have you recieved any feedback that indicated whether the spies actually felt like spies trying to accomplish a mission?(Which is actually more important than their life). I mean stealing the blue prints to a nuclear war head and preventing a war then getting killed just before poisoning the General’s drink sounds more like a “Mission Success” to me.

    • checker says:

      Good questions, I added a couple about characters and behaviors. The location question is already answered above! :)

      There are definitely going to be ways the Sniper can influence the party behavior. That’s another good one!

      People have told me playing SpyParty is the first spy game where they’ve actually felt like a spy, and I think your point about partial credit is a good one, and can be reinforced fictionally rather than just something game-y like, “you got shot, but you got 2 out of 4 points”. Right now there is none of that metagame structure in place, and in fact, I’m just descriptive about what happened (“You shot the spy.” “You shot a civilian.”) and don’t even say “You won.” or “You lost.” This area needs more thought, for sure.

    • Dylan says:

      “the Sniper can influence the party behavior”

      Why stop at just the sniper? The spy already has a contact person. What if the spy could perform the secret signal (clears throat, takes glasses off, tugs ear, etc.) and a NPC accomplice would make a scene. The spy could take advantage of the hopefully distracted sniper to drug the ambassador.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, that is totally part of the plan.  I think the first implementation is that you can have the double agent spill a drink on somebody to cause a scene, but only after he or she has been contacted, which makes it a different kind of two-part mission, which I like.

  5. LdaQuirm says:

    Not a FREQUENTLY asked question as such, just a question about “intense focus on player-skills about human behavior”. Would someone with Aspergers syndrome be handicapped at this game?
    Aside: I’m highly analytical and very observant, but …I’m going to get pwned aren’t I?

    • checker says:

      I don’t know, but we have to find out, for science! I’ve had a really hard time predicting who is going to prefer Spy or Sniper, even amongst people I know well, so it could be that you’d be able to filter out extraneous information more quickly or something, I’d hesitate to predict!

  6. Ron says:

    One thing that’s both awesome and not at the same time is if I don’t hear much from you, it means that you’re probably hard at work on the game. This is awesome. But patience is the key.

    Thanks for the update!

    (sorry, I think you answered all my questions thus far)

    Actually just thought of a minor one. Will you be doing a private online alpha/beta before the public online beta?

    • checker says:

      There will be an announcement on the beta stuff super duper soon!  But yeah, there’s going to be a private/invite phase while I scale things up, then the floodgates will open.

    • Ron says:

      And I thought of one more question. And I can’t believe I didn’t think of asking this at any point before this. Will this game retain LAN support?

    • checker says:

      Good one. Answered above!

  7. Jakub says:

    Hi Chris,

    I am curious – how do you plan to get “production level” animations for all the characters? Are you going to hire an animator? Or do you plan to come up with some kind of a procedural-mixed-with-motion-capture-and-keyframing algorithm?

    Fumito Ueda (the developer of ICO) has mentioned several times that animation is such an awesome way to add personality to characters.

    Take care!


    • checker says:

      Hey Jakub, I moved this comment to the FAQ, hope you find it! :)

      Yeah, I’m going to hire an animator, I’ll add something above for this, good question! Actually, two good questions, I’ll add one about the procedural stuff too!

  8. nil says:

    Will I be able to buy differents hats for my character, no matter how stupid this would be? ;)

    • checker says:

      The problem with putting a purple hat on your character is that is basically a big sign that says “shoot me”. :) Now, if you could put the purple hat on somebody else, then I could sell you different hats for everybody at the party!

      There are currently no plans for hats in SpyParty. :)

    • Quirken says:

      can we buy construction paper to put over the windows? ;)

    • checker says:

      Yes, but the Spy has to put it up in-game.

    • keith says:

      Can the sniper ask the security gaurd to remove it?

    • Quirken says:

      Sounds like a challenge! Bring it on!

      (While I was joking, there’s a certain April Fools’-esque appeal to it. And I could imagine it working in certain situations.)

    • AngryTetris says:

      I could see blinds or drapes being an aspect.

    • checker says:

      Yep, current plan there is to try a room with blinds where the Sniper can only see the silhouettes!  :)

    • Quirken says:

      That sounds like it’s a room where the blinds are always closed? I still think my ‘construction paper’ idea (albeit a joke) would add for an interesting twist. A non-joke version would be to let the spy control the blinds – or NPCs.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, I definitely think it’s worth exploring having blinds, and maybe having them be controllable by the Spy!

  9. Josh says:

    I’m totally down when the Mac version comes out. Please do a Mac beta!

  10. Chris says:

    With respect to the limited beta, would you support signing up conditionally for platforms which are not yet supported (Mac, Linux)? I can see arguments against (it might appear to commit you to platforms you’re not committed to yet, and the person signing up might lose interest by the time you send out an invite) and in favor (it would help gauge interest in alternative platforms). I’m interested in a Mac version, myself.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, I think the right thing is for me to make another list that is for other platform people to sign up on, so this one stays the people who can and will play it on PC. I’m going to look into this.

  11. Fudz says:

    Well, if it is a game that can run on a 2 year old laptop (and not a 2 year old beast laptop at that), perhaps linux users (with a decent machine) may have the option of running the app in WINE.
    Looking at the gfx, it doesn’t look too taxing =)

    Multiplayer game mechanics offer awesome potential: 2v2 sniper/spy vs sniper/spy combination, or 1 sniper vs a room full of spies etc.

    A question; Are the objectives going to be time limited? eg, spy must switch the statue or plant a bug within 10mins or something (equally applicable to the sniper). Or would matches last as long as either of them has outstanding objectives?

    • checker says:

      There’s a time limit that’s per-map. But, the Spy can add more time by checking his or her watch at the window. But^2, if the Sniper is paying attention, he or she can see the timer change. NPCs also check their watches at the window, but don’t add time. Fun stuff. :)

  12. mannon says:

    Had a thought for getting the “NPCs” to act natural for a LARP.

    My thought was you could make them all think that they might be the spy. In this way they are actually players as well, or potential players, and they all know they too could be shot by the sniper if they act out of character. The actual spy won’t know anything until they receive a secret message from their handler giving them their mission. This could happen at any time, thus the others still don’t know if they are the spy or not. Nor do they know the mission. You would have to work in some subterfuge about how you manage to get the secret message to someone at the party without the sniper or anyone else noticing, but that’s all part of spycraft anyway and should be fun as long as it’s not poorly designed and gives the spy away early.

    I was also thinking a version of SpyParty (and I’m sure it’s probably been suggested) that would be cool would be to have more players on teams. In other words instead of just 1 spy and 1 sniper, maybe 2 teams, each with a spy and sniper, and different missions for their spies. The spies could act as an extra set of eyes for their snipers and could try to setup traps to find the other spy, or just try to complete their mission and get out before being caught. You could add more snipers and spies as well, but then you really need a larger area and more NPCs, and the game runs the risk of getting drawn out and overcomplicated… though it might be possible. Still it might be a fun diversion from the pure 1 on 1 mode. For that matter you could have more without going symmetrical. For example 2 spies and 1 sniper, but all 3 competing with each other. The 2 spies try to complete their mission or create situations that might give away the other spy and get them killed, but they have to be careful not to draw attention to themselves. Then again some of this may be done already with the double agent. I need to read the manual. I’m just commenting because this sounds really neat and I wanted to put in my thoughts while I was excited by first reading about this game.

    I hope it goes well because it certainly sounds like a fun game.

    • checker says:

      I think one of the LARPs tried that and said it worked pretty well. I should do that writeup of them at some point.

      And yes, definitely teams. One crazy thing I want to do is Spy+Sniper teams, but where you don’t know who your Spy is, and you have to figure it out. And, the chat channel is open for all 4 players! Not sure if that’ll work, but it’s a wacky idea.

    • Ron says:

      I like this idea. Friends could even create code words among themselves. Eg: ‘pumpernickle’ means the guy in plaid.
      This would lead to some ridiculous subterfuge going on. The tension would be palpable.

    • checker says:


  13. Ron says:

    I was rereading this FAQ yesterday (printed), and thought I might be able to comment on the couch issue.

    One way you could solve(ish) this is by allowing the spy to toggle between camera control and player control. Basically this would allow them to set a static camera, and move it based on however they feel. If they are being to obvious and always focusing on what they are doing, and the sniper is screen watching, they could pick that up. But theoretically, the player could blind navigate as well by having the camera not even looking at them while moving the character.

    • checker says:

      Hah!  That’s kind of a hilarious idea.  I’ll have to try that out.  I like how it mixes the metagame into the gameplay, like the watch-check does!

  14. Nick says:

    Hey, looking like a really great game so far, can’t wait for the beta :)

    Quick question: I read in the FAQ that you are working alone. Do you have any plans on hiring others that are specialized in certain jobs (Animations, Level Design, Game Modes, etc.)? Or perhaps even starting a small company, much like Notch did when he made Mojang?

    Oh, and hope to hear more about the game progress soon! The statistics of how many people sign up is cool, but I’d love to get an insight at, say, your to-do list or something like that.

    Thanks in advance :)

    • checker says:

      I answered this a bit at the bottom of the FAQ, but yeah, I’ll hire at least one other person, maybe two.

  15. martinlager says:

    I have just recently found out about this game, so I don’t know if it’s already in the game or suggested or anything. But when I read about the different “tells” that the Sniper could spot (especially “soft tells, which allow the Sniper to reduce the number of suspects, but not positively identify the Spy”), I thought it would be cool if you implented some kind of notebook system, kinda like the one in Cluedo. The Sniper could bring up his notebook with all the characters at the party and then cross out those that he dosen’t think are they Spy. This would make it alot easier to remember tells, especially if there are many characters. I guess it also would be quite time consuming (I don’t know how long the rounds will be) but I just thought that would be a cool idea. :)

    • checker says:

      Yep, there is a “suspect management” system like this already, where the Sniper can highlight/lowlight people at the party, which makes them easier/harder to spot in the crowd, and also marks up their portrait along the bottom of the screen. It needs some work, but it works pretty well in playtests.

  16. jordy says:

    Did you notice a trade-off in play-tests where people will wait for a longer amount of time before doing anything in order for the sniper to highlight the wrong persons and thus casting less suspicion on them selfs, but having less time to fulfill the objectives?

    I’m reading this book in anticipation of SpyParty:
    Where it says that if we do not suspect something we can easily overlook it, even though it’s happening right where we’re looking in plain sight. I don’t know how much this is applicable to SpyParty, cause you’ll probably train yourself overtime to recognize the different tells, but it might still help in the sense that you go to the window at the start of the game to look at your watch because it (probably) won’t be expected so early, or that you character is not highlighted thus people miss tells of that character more easily because they do not suspect it.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, complete beginners have trouble just getting the missions done within the time limit, but after you’ve played a few times, you realize you’ve actually got plenty of time, and you have to space things out or you’ll look too intentional.

  17. Phobia says:

    Will there be other settings besides parties?

    … a classroom…

    This doesn’t personally offend me, but you may want to skip this one. Could cause some media problems, seeing as it would technically be a school shooting.

    • checker says:

      A classroom or birthday party probably isn’t going to happen, yeah. :) I heard there was a Hitman level that was a birthday party, but you got in and out before it started. I never played that one, though.

    • Phobia says:

      I do think a good map would be a bedroom. 2 people, the only mission is seduce target. :P

    • checker says:

      I’m not sure my seduction code is full featured enough to support that scenario.  :)

    • jordy says:

      I think you forget the “spice drink” mission… or is that just me?!

    • Ocean Man says:

      Instead of a classroom why not do something like a University Library or dining hall. Principles and Professors often have parties celebrating their colleague’s successes.

      Also you could do a Birthday party if you made it the President’s or Mayor’s birthday, both would be fine settings for a match.

      Other typical hollywood spy locations would be neat, like a casino or poker game. Or a expensive boat party.

      Personally I think doing some missions/maps from different time periods would be really fun. The Cold war and WW2 had some really intense deep undercover espionage going on. Like having the spy reach a contact in a jazz club, or a crowded train compartment like classic detective films, or having the spy hide himself in a group of soldiers and needs to bug the commander.

      I don’t know if you plan on doing holiday theme maps in the future but places like a ski lodge or a Funeral, Haunted house would also work for winter and October.

      Whatever you decided I am sure it will be stunning, Spyparty really looks amazing and the fact that you are working on it alone really inspires me. Can’t wait for the beta, good luck!

  18. cyborgx7 says:

    i hope it will come out on linux
    looks great i’m looking forward to it

  19. Ron says:

    You might have to update the Nintendo blurb, now that it’s official. Also, I thought this might interest you.

  20. Andrew says:

    Who were the best two n00bs to ever play the game at a bar in downtown LA, shortly after E3 on June 10th, 2011, and were there names Andrew and Tim, and was Andrew admittedly a little better (admit it)?

    • checker says:

      That could in fact be true! Thanks for coming out! I’m going to post about it soon, and I’ll move this comment there when I do.

  21. Skyler Tarnas says:

    I’m loving that your characters are stock archetypes. I can see “the general”, the “femme fatale”, the “suave guy (black sheep nephew in mysteries”, the “rich snob”… I’d love to see ’em all, the grande dame, the doctor, the ingenue (innocent-looking blonde young lady), the creepy butler, the saucy maid, etc. in the final roster. It would be so much fun to have specific conversation dialogue for each character, at different volumes, too (the grande dame would be really loud and obnoxious, for example), with lines like “And my third late husband always said to me…” Having to have the sniper look for out-of-character things would be awesome!

    • jordy says:

      I believe that Chris Hecker already mentioned somewhere that he would really like for each character to behave in a specific way according to it’s role and that the spy should take care of these “character traits” to not get noticed. But, it also might be too much work and probably something for later stages in the development.

      I agree that such a thing would certainly be awesome.

  22. KroMagnum says:

    Will you be able to incorperate mouse controls? (Along with keyboard commands)
    Not a big fan xbox 360 controller for games on PC.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, it already supports mouse+keyboard. I just playtest with 360 controllers most of the time because they’re indestructible and easy to clean, so they’re better for mobs of people. :) That’s a good faq though, I’ll add it!

    • KroMagnum says:

      Thank you! Glad I could of service with FAQ inclusion.

  23. Badjuju says:

    I’ve done the music for a few indie games still in production. I was wondering if perhaps I might be able to submit a piece for your consideration. I think this game looks amazing, and I would love to help if I can. I have a portfolio of previous work if you are interested, or I could write a sample from scratch.

    • checker says:

      Thanks! I’m totally heads-down on beta stuff right now, so it’s a bit early, but I’m happy to listen to something later this year!

    • Badjuju says:

      I have a couple example pieces completed. If you still want to check them out, I can send you the links.

  24. Joe says:

    This sure is an awesome concept for a game! I like asymetrical gaming and I like games that require you to do things differently, and this fills both quotas. One minor correction, though:

    You say TF2 doesn’t have many similarities short of characters with the same names, but I say it does.

    As the spy in TF2, you can disguise yourself as any character on the opposing team. If you ask many experienced TF2 players, they’ll say it’s very easy to pick out a spy, just based on the way they move. Of course, there’s no friendly fire in TF2, so you can randomly shoot your teammates, and if they take damage, they’re obviously not your teammates. This makes the disguise much less useful, unfortunately.
    But the basic mechanic; imitating someone else’s behavior while trying to perform a task; is the same. It’s just that in TF2 you’re imitating the behavior of players on the opposing team rather than NPCs. So now that it’s a free game, I’d suggest downloading a copy and playing as Spy for a little while, see if it gives you any ideas.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, I was being a bit flip in that answer, but the friendly fire thing does seem to make it a way less behavior-driven mechanic. Plus, the pace of a shooter is much faster, which doesn’t give you a lot of time to be contemplative. :)

  25. Dylan P says:

    Continually excited for this game!

    Not to criticize, but I didn’t get an email yet to confirm the early playtest (I signed up before February, but not sure when). Should I be concerned at this point? Because I really want to play Spy Party and help give whatever feedback you may need.

    • checker says:

      I haven’t send the 707 mails out yet, I have another post I need to write so I can link to that in the mail. Probably a couple days…

  26. Juice says:

    I noticed most or all of the playtesting videos have been in noisy convention halls, and in the recorded audio it sounds like there’s a lot of other controllers and games masking the sound of spies and snipers hitting controller buttons. My roommate and I both have computers, consoles, and t.v.’s that aren’t in view of each other to eliminate the obvious “couch problem”, but they are within easy earshot. It occurred to me that the sound of hitting the “A” or right shoulder button, or clicking your mouse to perform an action could be a difficult-to-avoid tell if you’re playing in the same room in relative quiet.

    Has this been experienced at all in private playtesting, and if so, is it within the scope of the game to have to contend with keeping your button presses silent? It looks like, in the controller layout, that there’s room for “decoy” or “dummy” buttons that don’t do anything inside the game, but make the same noise as buttons that perform actions. If the spy’s controls for cycling actions were changed from the shoulder buttons to 1 shoulder and 1 trigger, you could hit the unused buttons to give the impression you were scrolling through possible actions (and the unused X to initiate those imaginary actions). A crafty spy could get those sounds to seem like they correlate to the actions of the other party-goers.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, this has been an issue, and it has been used to the Spy’s advantage. One game, two very competitive friends were playing, and one realized the other was paying attention to the stick movements, so he left the AI on at the beginning, and slammed the stick whenever a specific NPC moved. He ended up getting that NPC shot. :) There is always the camera and the other buttons, as you say, and it’s actually possible to use the controllers very quietly, if you’re thinking about it. I’ve even heard controller movements over voice chat if the other person isn’t being quiet. Mouse clicks are harder to hide, but there are keyboard equivalents for them that don’t have to make any noise.

  27. Samm says:

    Hey, I was thinking about buying the beta, but I was wondering when the beta is going to come out because I don’t want to get it and to have to wait months to play it.

    • checker says:

      You won’t get charged until you can download a working version of SpyParty, so signing up just gets you on the invite list.

  28. Grady says:

    Game looks like it will be a ton of fun.  Just saw the interview/demo you did with Giant Bomb, and am very excited.  I do have a question though.

    In both of those demos, the character had to do a set list of tasks.  Some were very obvious such as bugging the ambassador, or swapping statues.  Wouldn’t it be easy for the sniper to just stare at one of those objectives and wait for the spy to do the action?

    Or will the tasks rotate, and the sniper won’t be positive they will have to do the entire list?

    • checker says:

      Yeah, after both players have played for a while (maybe 10 or 20 games), they switch to a “subset” mode, where the Sniper knows the set of possible missions, but the Spy only needs to do 3 out of 4, or whatever. So, the Sniper can still camp the Ambassador, but it’s a huge risk, because the Spy might not have picked that mission.

    • Grady says:

      Perfect.  That definitely takes away one of the concerns I had.

      Can’t wait till this hits XBLA.

  29. Cameron says:

    So, I may have missed this, but are the 707 early access people still paying for the beta or do we get it for free. And on that same note, is the beta already available because I never got an E-mail for it.

    • checker says:

      You still have to pay, you’re just first in line. The beta isn’t available yet, sadly, but I am making progress. Updates soon.

  30. Skylar says:

    Just curious, do you have any plans for how many initial beta invites you are going to send? I know I’m in the first 707, but does that mean I’ll be in the first wave? I only ask this to quell my infinite desire to play this game :-(


    • checker says:

      I’m going to start slow, because I’m going to need to scale the servers. I’ll do 10 or so people at first, then fix those bugs, then 20, etc. Once I’ve got 1000 or so people in, I’m going to hopefully have the scalable server stuff going, so I can invite another thousand, etc. Once all that’s working I can invite bigger chunks of people.

    • Jordy says:

      I assume all those lovely people that helped you out on booth duty and FaF will get a free pass, so does that mean the 707 will only start flying at the 3th wave?

  31. Todd says:

    I know its still really early in development, but have you put any thought into one day making this more than a 1v1 game. Perhaps different game modes with more then one sniper or multiple spies that the snipers have to take out at the same time. I know how hard your working so I completely understand if not, but I thought I’d just throw some ideas at you.
    Keep up the great work

  32. Logan says:

    What about system requirements? Will Mac users be able to run this?

  33. meanandgreen says:

    I am an avid game player who longs for new, unique, and interesting offerings such as the game you are working on. I would like to donate some money to help with the development. What is the SpyParty email address associated with your PayPal SpyParty Business account?

    P.S.- I’m a PayPal Advantage member and would be willing to call them on your behalf to try and get that hold removed from your account.

    • checker says:

      Hi, thanks for the very generous offer, but I feel uncomfortable taking money until I let you into the beta. Once you get the invite, I feel very comfortable taking your money! So, sign up, and hopefully you’ll be able to give at the donation level I mention in the pricing post. Thanks again! As for the silly hold on the $14.26, I’m going to call them eventually, but I’m actually kind of curious how long they’ll keep it there, in all its absurdity.

  34. Peter Kavanagh says:

    Do you have any ideas what the PC specifications will be once the game is finished. It looks not too intensive on a processor or graphics card but I would love to have specifics.

    • checker says:

      No idea yet, and the graphics will get better, but I want to keep it as low spec as possible so a lot of people can play.  I develop on an old laptop, too, so that helps.  :)

      This should be in the FAQ, though, I’ll add it.

  35. Adam says:

    Will I be able to play local multiplayer on a single license? I don’t mean to sound greedy, but it’s a bit cost-prohibitive to have to buy the game again anytime I want to play the game with a visitor.

  36. Phil says:

    How did you come to decide the ratio of ordered/random invites? I think it’s 60% ordered, 40% random, yes? As someone who signed up on the day the beta signup went public my personal preference would be 100% ordered!

  37. Mike says:

    I paid and never got an invite… please e-mail…

    • checker says:

      Wait, you can’t pay without an invite…? You mean you signed up and didn’t get a confirmation? All mail comes from noreply at, check your spam folder.

  38. Charlie says:

    Can’t wait for beta access. I’ve been following this game for over a year now and I was super disappointed when I saw that I didn’t get on the early beta. I have always liked unique and innovative game play ideas like Toribash and would love to help out with something like this. Personally I have about 30-40 game ideas of my own, probably about 5 of them actually viable ones. I try to not get jaded working for a social games subsidiary of EA, but basically every day all we talk about is the successes of other games and how to copy them… All the power to you sir.

    • checker says:

      It’s a great time to go indie if you have some savings and can focus!

    • Charlie says:

      I’d love to but I’d also love to keep my paycheck lol. I guess that’s the savings requirement that you were talking about!

  39. Todd says:

    Hello, I would just like to know how long it usually take to get an invatation to the beta. Also, I’ve seen some footage of your game and I think it looks awesome.

    • checker says:

      Well, currently it’s over a year long wait, but that’ll change as I start speeding up the invites. I really hope to have everybody in by the end of the summer.

  40. Jack says:

    So are there any keyboard and/or mouse controls, since the manual shows only a 360 controller?

    • checker says:

      Yeah, keyboard and mouse work great. They’re documented in the readme.txt. The manual only talks about the controller due to space, so since I use it at tradeshows like PAX.

    • Todd says:

      Can you use a ps3 remote on a computer? I think I can because mine has USB ports

    • Keith says:


    • Todd says:

      Sweet! I’ll be trying that on spyparty when get invited

  41. SignT says:

    Regarding the Demo, is it possible to have a system like just the tutorial for spy and sniper. No multiplayer? If so, I will still like to get my hands on that since I am not in the beta yet.

  42. Tony says:

    It’s worth noting your “Are you hiring?” section only lists 1 person working on SpyParty, but the development team has doubled!

  43. vujcin77 says:

    Will you add some different roles like maybe The Admin or The Guard? I would like to see that one :D

  44. Reecer6 says:

    Have you thought of, along with having the double agent do distractions, allow them to make fake banana breads too? Or would that be too challenging for the sniper?

    • checker says:

      Not sure, I was thinking you’d have to contact the DA before they’d do anything for you, but that would mean two bbreads…lots of stuff like this to play with!  :)

  45. This Guy says:


    Is there any way I can get a refund on this game? Thanks for your time.

    • checker says:

      Send mail to support at spyparty dot com and we’ll figure it out. Looks like you never even logged into the lobby!

      Edit: oops, looked at the wrong db, you did play back in Sept. Anyway, mail support.

  46. FZ01 says:

    I recently got into the beta and would love to be able to be able to play this with a friend. Is there any chance an extra beta invite or some method could be used to allow beta testers to invite friends now or in the future? …they’re on the list now too… Thanks!

    • checker says:

      Yeah, you can just PM me your friend’s email in the beta forums, that’s the “invite-a-friend” feature right now. :)

  47. Aviad says:

    How long does it take to get into the beta these days?

    • checker says:

      The amount people have been waiting so far isn’t really relevant to how long you might wait now, because I’m going to be inviting larger and larger batches in from here on out, so hopefully it won’t be too much longer before everybody’s in and I open it up. There are people who have been waiting 18 month right now, but everybody’ll be in soon, hopefully within weeks.

    • Aviad says:

      Well, in that case I’ll wait here patiently :)

  48. rechetking says:

    Does a fake banana bread also cause the yellow words to appear at the bottom of the screen for the sniper?

    • checker says:

      If you’ve got “visual sound effects” on, yeah, fake or real looks the same to the Sniper.

  49. JK says:

    I signed up for beta and confirmed it with my email back on 7/8/12

    any chance i missed the email somehow for my chance to play or is the line really that long?

    Looking forward to play!

    • JK says:

      Sorry just read the last few comments and found my answer. Should have read the latest comments not the earliest ones :-/

  50. Mikkel says:

    Will there be a full 12 minute starwars style lore intro in the game? (unskipable)

I have temporarily disabled blog comments due to spammers, come join us on the SpyParty Discord if you have questions or comments!