Images

I’ve started sending out screenshots to the press who have playtested SpyParty and want to write about it, so I figured I’d start collecting them here1.

These are screenshots of a gameplay prototype.  This means the look of the game will change drastically as it’s developed, and everything you see is temporary artwork and UI for testing!  Thank you for your understanding!

I will continue to add images and video to this page as development proceeds.

If you want to write an article about SpyParty, don’t hesitate to ask for different screenshots if you don’t find what you want here!

2013/10/09: Finally updated with the new environment art style.  Read it here.


2013/10/4: Video of the new art in game!  Details here.


2012/08/27: We revealed the new character art style.  Read more about it here.


2010/08/11:  Some shots that illustrate holding objects, ik, etc.


2010/04/03:


  1. Also, as Jonathan predicted, people have used the silly April Fool’s debug image in blog posts about the game, so it’s better to provide real images for people to use. []

126 Comments

  1. jordy says:

    It would be cool if you could slip something in someones drink wich make them being drugged and wander a bit of there straight path and wich changes there vision in some sort of psycho trip-feeling, like thre movie fear and loading in las vegas if you know what I mean, would be fun picture.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, I plan to do something like this. In the Peter Sellers movie The Party, which I’ve mentioned briefly before, there’s a waiter at the party who is serving drinks, but every time somebody turns down his offer, he sneaks away and drinks it himself. He’s sauced by the end of the party, of course. I want to have “drinks too much” be one of the characteristics of one of the partygoers, so if you choose that person you’ll have to act like you’re drunk by the end of the party. :)

  2. Gavin Clifton says:

    It’s a shame the graphics have to change. I think prototype graphics look awesome :)

    • checker says:

      Hah! Thanks! Maybe I’ll put in a cheat code to switch it back to the prototype graphics for the early fans. :) The new Monkey Island on XBLA apparently has both the old graphics and the new graphics in there, so you can switch between them.

    • Gavin Clifton says:

      I was impressed how they well they managed to blend between the HD graphics with the old retro ones so well; and have everything line up too. Good stuff :)

    • Ron says:

      This also is planned to happen with the new Techmo Bowl game being released on XBLA and PSN

  3. jordy says:

    I think the graphics ain’t too bad, but some more atmosphere would serve the game well I think.

    • Gavin Clifton says:

      I agree. Though I think the animation is more important for a game like this. I mean, if you’re trying to pick out the spy then you’re going to be looking for slight differences in how they’re acting/moving compared to everyone else. So the animations for those subtle differences could be important.

    • checker says:

      I want to nail both the static look and the animations, of course, but I agree, given finite resources, I’m going to allocate them towards awesome animations before I add more polygons. :)

  4. Mik says:

    With such an amazingly interesting concept I don’t think the graphics have to be high end at all. This game has the potential of becoming one of those that is all about the experience. Personally, I’d suggest to choose a rather minimal/stylized graphical style. Because this game seems to ask a lot of concentration of the player, the visuals shouldn’t become a distraction.

    I really can’t wait to get my hands on this game to the extent that I wouldn’t even mind buying it in the current graphical state. And I really think I’m not the only one here :)

    • jordy says:

      > I really can’t wait to get my hands on this game to the extent that I wouldn’t even mind buying it in the current graphical state. And I really think I’m not the only one here :)

      You sure ain’t!

  5. tajlund says:

    I love the look of this the way it is. I’m afraid when it’s done it will be far too graphic intensive for me to use on my system.

    • checker says:

      It’s too early to tell what it’ll look like in the end, but I really value keeping the requirements down, not just because it widens the audience, but also because chasing the highest end graphics tends to cost nonlinearly more to produce, and it distracts from the real goal, which is awesome gameplay. I think Blizzard shows with WoW that you can hit low specs and still have a coherent aesthetic. The key is smart art direction. Also, I develop on a laptop, and I’m cheap so I use my laptops until they completely fall apart…I find developing on slow machines keeps me honest about the game’s performance. :)

  6. kyle says:

    Will the circles and line of site lines still be there? They may be beneficial for the spy to really know who is talking to them and who is interested in what they are doing. Like if you make an action that is noticeable you may get glances from people around you. This could be good to draw attention or be a giveaway for the sniper. This way a spy can tell if he is making too much of a scene by the amount of lines of sights on him. And I am not sure what the circles are for but I was thinking they could be the interest level of someone who does have line of sight on you. A spy would be able to tell all of this because let’s face it their a spy :D

    • checker says:

      The lines and stuff are only there on the Spy side, they’re (prototype) UI elements for being able to tell when you’re in a conversation circle, or at a painting, etc. The Sniper can’t see any of them, so that way the Spy doesn’t have to line up exactly right. I’ve actually got an article I’m going to post about this soon, it’s turned out to be an interesting part of the game. Obviously they will be something a little prettier than just plain old debug lines in the final version, but they’re good enough for testing gameplay now. :)

  7. Alex says:

    Wow, the whole concept of this game is amazing. I’ll definitely be first in line to grab this game. I particularly like the prospect of working together with multiple spies to accomplish a goal. If this has anything near the attention to detail that Spore did (which I’m confident it will) then the subtleties will be astounding. Will there be any possibilities for players to choose their attire, or for the snipers to choose different load-outs that will affect their abilities during the game?

    • checker says:

      Thanks!

      I’m not sure about the customization options yet. It’s certainly going to have to be slightly different than the normal thing you see in games where you decide to wear a stylish purple hat, since that would get you shot. :)

      As for sniper gadgets, yeah, I’m assuming there are going to be gadgets on both sides, with different tradeoffs. Once I get the core loop going, I’m going to add a few to see how they fel.

    • Alex says:

      Awesome. If you ever need a game tester for this I’m your man! haha

  8. Tyler says:

    This game seems really really intresting, the whole deception and how we see things to change the game.. but the graphics that are above now look “sim like” and i really hope thats just for now untill you fully design them, like have them in the style of some major games, call of duty, gta, battlefield? just dont have it looking like sims and really shobby, make the sniper aim and the whole atmopshere more detailed and better. I cant wait to see.

  9. jordy says:

    I agree it looks like sims, at first I thoughed it was ok, but maybe something more grim would fit the game better, altho it has to stay a party ofcourse! But I don’t think it’s realistic to go like battlefield or call of duty, simply cause it seems to me such animations take a lot of time and money.
    I guess he has to think of some shortcut that does have the right feel for the game and wich doesn’t take too long relatively speaking.
    Then again, I wouldn’t mind this art style either, if that makes me play sooner ^^.

    • Ron says:

      I think that a break from the normal “realistic” palette would be good for a game like this. I don’t think the game is going for “Bourne Identity”, but more like a 1960ish spy movie. Suave a sophisticated is the name of the game, not brute force.

  10. Srgsweet42 says:

    I really think this is going to an amazing game, the only thing I am worried about is how many different objectives and things will there be. I’ll probably preorder (when I can haha) this game just because it seems like its going to be a great one, but right now, it seems like it might get old fast. Do you have any extra objectives or different things to add to it? But so far, looks like its gonna be a great one. Can’t wait to play it :D

    • checker says:

      Yeah, there are going to be a ton of Spy missions to choose from, and ways of choosing them, including having the Sniper pick them, or calling them out, if you’re a really studly Spy and want to own the Sniper. I’m actually hoping to open up brainstorming for missions here on the blog later this year, so you’ll all have to watch a bunch of really bad spy and mystery movies and pull out all the tropes and cliches. :)

    • Srgsweet42 says:

      Haha Can’t wait, this is going to be an amazing game I just know it

  11. Richard says:

    Can’t wait to see the polished product, I think it would work with a sort of over the top flair.

    What would make a round highly interesting, would be to have a spies go against eachother, each trying to do more tasks than the other, and trying to find out who’s the other spy, and have ways to point out to your sniper which one’s the one to kill.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, the teams of Spy+Sniper versus each other has been brought up before. I’m going to prototype that and some of the other extensions to the idea after I get the core loop working. I can’t wait to see how they play out!

  12. Joshyy says:

    Looking forward to this game, I want to try and make a next-gen version of it, but I lack the skills you do :p So i’ll just satisfy myself with the low-spec version :)

    Wouldn’t you be able to create high-spec style graphics for low-spec computers? I know someone did it ( I can’t remember who exactly ).

    • checker says:

      Oh, it’s going to be “next gen” looking by the time it ships (hopefully), don’t worry. That’s part of what’s going to take so long. And yeah, I’m going to try to make it stylish by still playable on reasonable machines, so more like WoW or TF2 than Crysis. :)

  13. jordy says:

    > by the time it ships

    This is what is worrying me the most honestly. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night, thinking, when will it ship!!!

  14. Ben says:

    This is exactly the kind of game I’ve been looking for. Keep up the good work, man. I’m sure a lot of people have already offered, but I’ll go ahead and say if you need any beta testers I’d love to. :D

  15. Nat says:

    I love the concept of this game. Subtly is a great feature in games, and I think your idea is fantastic. Feel free to contact me if you need beta a beta tester.

  16. jordy says:

    I don’t think he’ll have any problems getting beta testers for this game! ^^

  17. brambleg says:

    This = Awesome. I personally think it would be cool if it had sims style graphics, the main thing I’m hoping for is more textures, like wallpaper, scenery outside the window, etc. I think it would also be kinda funny if outside of the window, you can see buildings and a sniper on top of one of the roofs. As many other people have said before me, I am looking forward to see how this turns out.

  18. Jordy says:

    Let’s theorize about the optimal coverage of a gathering of people as a sniper. At the very least a part of the gameplay will be about watching people (bots) vigilantly to discover some human behavior between all the inhuman behavioristics.

    What I could gather so far is this:

    1. When you watch trough your sniper scope you can see all tell-tales of abnormal behavior, bots might at certain occasions also show these behaviors. You have a limited field of view.

    2. When you watch trough your goggles you can see more of the party as a whole, but certain tell-tales might not show.

    3. Players have to perform certain actions, which will show tell-tales.

    So, how do you increase your chances of spotting the human?
    Logically, you would watch trough your goggles and once a movement hints to human control, you follow that person more closely trough your scope, or, you zoom in with your scope if any person moves to a possible objective.
    But the spy will have probably abilities to counter these, so how would you realize optimal chance of catching the right signs?

    • checker says:

      Currently, the experienced players stay all the way zoomed out, and then put their nose on the screen, so they can see everything, but still see close up. I call this the “manual zoom” technique. :)

      I’m going to come up with a bunch of things to make the decision of what to do more nonlinear, like having a shotgun mic attached to your zoom level, so some audio tells are easier to localize when you’re zoomed in, etc.

      It’s going to take tuning to get the right mix of zoom and situational awareness, and even then everybody will have different styles. I remember playing Doom with Romero at the id offices a zillion years ago, and he sized his viewport down to a tiny postage stamp so he’d max out the frame rate. :)

  19. Ron says:

    One thing that would be could be a cool addition is kind of a replay of the match so you can better learn your opponents, especially if you play versus the same people regularly. If you look at Uncharted 2, it implements a system of gathering replays, which I’m theorizing that they basically record the actions everyone uses to keep the replay data size down, and reconstruct it on demand.

    Also, as a side to this, you could almost have the bots choose random portions of the replay data to reproduce occasionally to make them feel more human. (Might break the spirit of the game though)

    captcha: junk exposure

    • checker says:

      Yeah, totally. I’m definitely going to do the “replay the key moments” of the game during the post-game analysis. The iPhone game Primrose does a cool thing here, where the high score table itself is a set of links to the replays of the games, so you can see exactly how a score was attained.

  20. Ron says:

    Also, I know you’re doing dialog between party members, and this is still early on, but how do you think you’re going to do audio?
    A. No Audio – With visual representation (The Sims-esque)
    B. Gibberish (Little Big Planet NPCs-esque)
    C. Full Dialog (Mass Effect-esque)

    I know it’s always odd to get so many questions, but also will it just be kind of sample dialog, or more like Mass Effect/Scumm where your choices could cause alternate reactions from the members of the conversation?

    captcha: slothful activity

  21. checker says:

    Hmm, I wonder if I should add a Q&A post for general comment questions…

  22. Jordy says:

    > Manual zoom, ^^ LOL, that’s awesome technique, but I don’t think my eyes would appreciate it too much after a while.

    Of course everyone has different play-styles, and everything can be countered by the spy I think, but in general, thinking about it.

    You might wanna scope in on larger groups, cause normally you have a greater chance of finding your spy there.
    Also, you might wanna zoom in on the middle of the map, cause the spy will probably be there, or move trough there.

    But I think you really got to find the right mix, and of course have certain strategy, hunches, to which one you should follow, should you follow the first member that leaves a group, or the second? etc.
    I think if I were a spy I wouldn’t feel comfortable to move as the first away from a group, and I would wait first for a bot to move.

    The mic idea coupled to the zoom level definitely sounds great, also dialogue tells would be great. I dunno mass effect (shame on me) but what Ron is talking about sounds awesome.

    I’m reading a book(s) on 36 stratagems, which talks about Chinese ruses used in ancient history, and how you may apply them to different kind of things, if you don’t mind I wanna post a hypothetical translation to SpyParty for all these ruses here ^^.

    NOTE: Be aware of the fact, that might you add a Q&A section, it will be spammed by my countless questions in no time ^^, no kidding, I will restrain myself to those relevant and general and possible to answer, it would be great tho, especially for new people visiting the site, to get most relevant information quickly.

  23. Max says:

    these prototype graphics remind me of the original sims game hahaha. I really love how you’re keeping your fans updated through the development process! I can’t wait until the whole project starts to come together :D

  24. J. Edgar Hoover says:

    I have to say what a great idea this is for a game. I cannot wait to play the finished project. Kudos to you for being brilliant! :)

  25. chris says:

    i have this friend at work raving about this game he was reading about. tells the basic overview of the game and im hooked…just wish their was more vids…

  26. ev says:

    Hey man, this game is very refreshing, can’t wait for it. One question though, I know it will be on PC, but what about other consoles? And do you plan on a full retail game or more of a XBLA/PSN type? Now that I think about it an iPhone version would work well also. =)

  27. Ryan says:

    Holy shit i want

  28. Jamie Robb says:

    Love the game so far, you have to include the ability to fart. the sniper could hear the fart but wouldnt always know who did it. He may be able to work out who farted by seeing where everybody looks when the fart busts out! Then u could have characters with flatulence problems!

  29. TheWicked says:

    I’ve been following this game for a couple of months now. I have a knack for finding little known games before they blow up into huge things. I found and followed Left 4 Dead before it became a huge thing, so my friends have sort of given me the title of “unknown awesome game finder”. I have a feeling this is going to be one of them. I’ve got them watching it, too. I’m a fan of character options, so I think of the little things. A couple of people have already mentioned the whole “Spy vs. Spy vs. Sniper” thing. How about Spy + Spy vs. Sniper + Spotter? Two spies work together to get the objectives completed, while the sniper holds the gun and the spotter helps to locate the spies? Maybe the spotter can mark targets he thinks are the spies while the spies can use some actions to displace notice? The basic mechanic of spy vs. sniper is great, I’m just thinking of ways to expand the game to include more players at once. I liked the idea of spies and mercenaries speaking to each other during frantic games of Splinter Cell multiplayer. Also, I’m thinking about upgrades you can earn by getting points. Maybe after achieving a certain level/getting a certain amount of points, you can upgrade your things, such as a sniper rifle with no laser, or bump up your tolerance so you can safely drink more as a spy. Maybe you could upgrade your mark count as a sniper, earning more mark slots so you can mark additional targets. Like, you start by being able to mark one or two targets, but maybe at max you can mark up to five by buying mark slots. Maybe you can upgrade your switcheroo skills as a spy, being able to do them more subtly, or faster than usual. Even if none of these things show up, I’m still in, and when it arrives, I’ll be there. We are watching intently, keep up the good work. I’m a bit far away, so I can’t test for you, but anything else you need, within my power, I shall provide.

  30. TheWicked says:

    I also figured that, if we’re going for a bit of realism, wouldn’t the other party goers lose it if they noticed a laser lingering on people’s heads and whatnot? Maybe the sniper could have a bit of a higher vantage point or something so the laser would be a little less obvious. I know if I saw the laser tracking around the party it wouldn’t bug as much as if it suddenly appeared on my head from above me, then tracked away and vanished. I’d probably jump if I was new to the game and the laser just appeared on my head.

    The Next Smart Video Game Only Lets You Kill Once. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’d consider that a tagline for the game.

  31. jordy says:

    I like your idea of spy vs. spy vs. sniper vs. spotter. If the spotter gets more “advantages”, then the sniper, to find the spies there could be a really great dynamic where all parties are fighting for there own goals and each player can cooperate/backstab the other players.

    I’m really not into the “perk”/leveling thing though, it’s kinda fun no doubt, but in the end I don’t think leveling up adds much too this game, although different perks might be cool if the represent really different ways of tackling a game as a sniper or spy (one example already in: the spy can choose which person he plays).
    If anything, you might wanna reverse it, the higher your level the less perks you have ^^

  32. Austin says:

    This Game looks like it would be an amazing game to play! What would be awesome is a Spy+Sniper vs another Spy+Sniper team work? Maybe a point system for that!

    Definitely one of the best ideas for a game!

  33. TheWicked says:

    Spy+Sniper vs. Spy+Sniper? Awesome. I think it would be cool to have two snipers and two spies, but each spy is tied to a sniper. Problem is, the sniper doesn’t know which spy is his/hers. They may spot a spy, but how do they know that it’s not their spy? If the spy has a tell (i.e. scratching their head, checking their watch etc.), maybe that just makes for more interesting gameplay. The spy has to complete the objectives, but also has to flash their tell so that their sniper knows not to shoot them, but they have to flash their tell and hope the other sniper doesn’t notice. It would be kind of silly to have the spies talking to the snipers. “I think the guy in the gray suit with the turban is the spy. Yeah, I’m pretty sure, just shoot him.” If I heard that at a party, I would freak out.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, I’ve been trying to figure out how to have Spy+Sniper teams communicate without giving themselves away…I can’t wait to prototype some of these modes.

    • Russacky says:

      Well if you want to go for Cliches you should make an animation where they put a hand up to their ears to speak to each other.

      To pull this off without the attention of the sniper you could stand directly sideways so the sniper would not be able to see you do it. Furthermore, while you had the “talk” button down your hand would be up the whole time you were speaking so you would be unable to do actions similar to those with a drink in your hand. Having it up the whole time would be risky as well, as the sniper could change positions and see you with your hand up.

    • checker says:

      Hah, that’s a great idea!  The security guard already does the hand-to-ear thing, and it’s a total cliche spy move, I love the idea of tying it to the talk button.  I’ll have to prototype that when the time comes, thanks!

    • Russacky says:

      Glad I could help with development.

      Now I can say “Hey guys, see that animation in Spyparty? Totally my idea.”

      ;D

  34. TheWicked says:

    I can’t wait to play this game.

  35. Nelson says:

    Hey man. Like the game concept sounds interesting. Arrived here from your page about rigid body dynamics, and just wanna say thanks for putting that together. I’m working on a really basic 2d flash platformer and started getting into programming the physics. Your physics articles definitely look helpful for making my physics engine anything more than the really really basic thing it is now. So again thanks and all the best with SpyParty ^_^

  36. Miles Lennon says:

    Hi Chris,

    I play tested SpyParty last night at NYU. What an amazing achievement. The game is really nuanced and cerebral, but the dramatic tension in the game is always present.

    One question: Have you considered the fact that your game is called SpyParty and you position it as a game about being a Spy, but many players might prefer and derive value/emotion from playing as the sniper? You asked a question in your talk: “What is your game?” And you answered it as consequences with uncertain/little information. This seems to apply to both the sniper and the spy, if not arguably more the sniper.

    • checker says:

      Thanks!  

      Yeah, 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.  One word:  Braid.  :)

      I also think of both the Spy and the Sniper as spies, fictionally.  They just got different assignments!

  37. Doublecheck says:

    I assume you have played the very excellent Trouble in Terrorist Town? It’s a mod someone wrote for the mod called “Garry’s Mod”. A mod within a mod. Anyways, I immediately thought of it when I saw this game. Looks exciting, I hope to play it some day.

  38. Mitch says:

    I agree that animation, not realism, should be your main focus in terms of graphics. A simple, stylized look suits the game quite well.

  39. JD says:

    are you going to have different modes? i can see the possibility of tons of different gadgets and objectives being put in place, so it would be cool if there’s like a “bare-bones” mode where the objective is simple but the spy doesn’t have a lot of gadgets (like drugging people, or using whatever other abilities he might have lol) or be able to customize which objectives the spy needs to complete and the “abilities” of both of them.
    fantastic sounding game btw :)

  40. AVB says:

    This game sounds and seems great. Just a suggestion for a possible way to make the sniper side harder. Feel free to disregard it, etc. The guests could change clothes as the night went on, like put on an overcoat/sunglasses/hat.

  41. Nick Sanders says:

    This is a really great idea,I hope I can try it out once it releases.

  42. Sean says:

    This game looks amazing and I’m definitely looking forward to the release or being able to playtest it! It’d be interesting to see some sort way the sniper can be caught, which fails the game. Say for instance if the sniper had a red laser beam and he aimed it too many times at people he thought were the spy then the party goers suspicions would add and add each time until some contacts the authorities then you have a very limited time to find the spy before the police find the sniper.

    Also is there some way to make distractions? like what if your the spy and you walk over to a guy and say that the man across the room said ” your fat and ugly.” and then that guy goes and starts a fight with him. haha. thatd be cool. or similar variations of that.

    anyways im very interested in this game, and would love to playtest, please think of me when you do the next one!
    Keep up the good work!

  43. Kamil says:

    I wan’t to play this soo bad.

  44. Obatrops says:

    Played the game at pax twice, it’s just as good as it sounds everyone!!  :D  Cannot wait for public testing.

  45. Wombat says:

    Just found out about this game. The premise sounds really fun and exciting. I can’t wait to play it.

    On that note, have you considered doing a Minecraft like release? Meaning an early beta release (for the early adopters) and then a normal release at full price once it’s finished? 

    Because it looks like people are having a lot of fun with it currently, and it would be a great way to generate revenue for completing the rest of the game. Plus free Beta testing!

  46. Sean says:

    im sure you could get alot of inspiration from the hitman games if not build upon their ideas and workings.

  47. Scott says:

    Here’s an idea.

    What if the sniper has the option to leave his rifle, and go join the party as another guest?

    Advantages are that you can see places you couldn’t before due to line of sight issues, and you can still slip a knife into the other spy’s back.

    Disadvantages could be that it would take some time to get into the party, and the spy would be free to accomplish objectives if he notices your laser site is gone.

    • checker says:

      Yeah, there will probably be some more “symmetric” modes like that, where there are Spies hunting Spies, but I’m focusing on the asymmetric modes first, since they’re harder to design, so once I get the core gameplay loops where I want them, I’ll go nuts with different game modes.  :)

  48. Dan English says:

    I’d just like to say that SpyParty looks amazing! Will it release on PC as well as the Xbox?

    As mentioned in previous comments I hope that there is a cheat or an option to revert back to the graphics as they are now, I really like them :)

  49. Obatrops says:

    Just have to say that me and my friends have been talking constantly about SpyParty since Pax East and are going nuts. Cannot wait for a playable beta, best game at the show.

  50. kurt says:

    ive been checking in for a while now and this game look like a lot of fun. cant wait till some kind of release. a minecraft style release would be sweet, but whenever it comes out ill get it. indie developers ftw

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