Replays Are Here!

I just released build v0.1.3240.0 to the beta, which has some minor bug fixes, but also In-Game Replays, the coolest thing since the new art went in!

I am incredibly excited about the potential for replays!  I can’t use enough exclamation points!!!

I wrote about replays a bit, but seeing them in action is way cooler.  As usual, I streamed the release notes on the SpyParty twitch channel, but I cleaned up the video and put it on the YouTube channel.  It’s about 35 minutes long, and shows off some of the cool aspects of replays, and then I answer some interview questions from the beta testers until Comcast decided it was time for the stream to end:

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I think replays are going to really help people take their play even deeper than before.  Even in the few games I’ve played with it in the wild, it’s made me think about how things I did as a Spy looked from the Sniper side, and how better to protect my Spy actions.  I used to think replays were going to help the Sniper more, since you could study Spy moves, but now I’m not so sure…it’s really useful to be able to see your mistakes from the Sniper’s perspective, so you can learn to blend into the crowd more effectively.

And, now that the “hard part” is done, onward to Spectation and the Replays Database!

Oh, I put this note up after editing this stream:

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Triple Birthday Stream Tonight, Monday, February 24th, 6pm PST!

The awesome folks in the SpyParty beta usually ask me to play them for important milestone games, usually when there are a lot of zeros in their game count.  I’ve done a bunch of these before, as you can see.1  I call these “birthday matches”, and I love doing them.  I’ve done 500′s, 1000′s, 2000′s, 3000′s, 5000′s, 9000′s (and OVER), and 10,000′s.  One time we did three different 1000 games in one stream, and today I’m going to do another 3-for-1 stream:

  • First up is kikar‘s 1000 game birthday,
  • then, warningtrack for his 5000,
  • and finally, kcmmmmm for his 10000!

This will all take place tonight at 6pm Pacific Standard Time, at http://www.twitch.tv/spyparty

I will record the games and put them on the SpyParty YouTube channel after the stream.

Edit: Hey, it’s the future, and the 2.5 hour video is up:

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Here’s the leaderboard for tonight’s matches:

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That’s me, there at the bottom.

Yes, I wrote the game, but I’ve been heads down on this In-Game Replays feature so I’m pretty rusty, and so I expect to be beaten with increasing alacrity as the stream continues into the night.  Luckily, I love playing SpyParty,2 even when I’m getting crushed.

Here are the full stats:

detailed-stats

The gory details.

It should be a fun set of matches, come join the stream!  I will try to get my DIY greenscreen set up again!

Oh, and the In-game Replays are coming along really well.  It is so cool, it turned out even better than I thought it would.  I’m going to release a teaser video, hopefully tomorrow, and then the feature very soon after.


  1. So sad that I couldn’t find another link to put on “see”, but I guess today’s stream will qualify! []
  2. Which is a very good thing after all these years! []

In-game Replays Update and Preview

One of the things I want to do going forward is to talk about what I’m working on and what my near-term priorities and plans are…basically I want to put my todo list up on the blog somehow so you all can see what’s coming down the pike for SpyParty. Some indies, like Klei, actually schedule their updates and make an event out of releasing them on a certain day, but I don’t think I have the production competence to hit those kinds of tight dates consistently, so I figure the next best thing is to at least talk about what I’m doing and how it’s going more regularly. While I figure out how to do that effectively here on the blog, here’s another ad hoc post on my current focus, “in-game replays”.

What are replays?

In a skill-based competitive game like SpyParty (or Starcraft or Counter-Strike or Go or Poker…), watching and studying games is an important part of learning and improving your skills. Right now, the only way to watch a game of SpyParty that you’re not participating in as a player is to watch a stream or a video. I stream on the SpyParty twitch.tv channel, and I post videos to the SpyParty YouTube channel, and lots of other beta testers stream and post videos too. You can catch a lot of streams by signing up for the SpyParty Streams Notifier, and you can check out all the Let’s Plays by searching YouTube, but if somebody didn’t capture their game, there’s no way to go back and study it and it’s gone forever. Even if somebody did capture the game to video, if their camera angle wasn’t right, you might miss the thing you want to see.

Replays are the solution to these problems. A replay is a recording of the game, but it’s a recording of the stream of animation commands and events and movements instead of just a stream of images like a video, so you can move around in the replay while it’s playing, freeze it and look at the layout of the party, where the Sniper’s laser is relative to the Spy, and even rewind and study a section from different camera angles. Once replays are in, they’re going to revolutionize the study of elite SpyParty games; the plan is to capture a replay of every game ever played, and add them to a database that can be queried by any beta tester to study any game. About to play in a tournament against kcmmmmm? Study the last 100 of his games against other high level players and try to get a feel for his play style. Heck, you can even sort of play the games from the Sniper’s point-of-view, trying to find the Spy, although since the Spy won’t repond to the laser sight it’s not going to be a real test. I don’t know whether this is going to benefit Spies or Snipers more,1 but it’s definitely going to raise the level of play across the board.

After I get replays working, the same technology will be used to implement “spectation”, which will allow you to log onto a game in-progress and watch it live, which is like watching a stream, but you can move the camera and see the action from either side, or even from a different camera position. At that point, if you join the lobby and everybody else is playing, you can just go spectate until somebody else joins to play. This will be huge for streaming, since it will allow people to cast other games, and commentate on the play! I’ll even implement mini-tournaments and simple betting within a spectation match, like some of the Starcraft mods do.

First, though, will come raw replays saved locally. You’ll be able to review your games, but to see somebody else’s you’ll have to get the replay file from them. The files should be pretty small, like hopefully one or two megabytes. After the bugs are worked out for that, I’ll get the replay database server up and running, and then spectation.

I really excited about replays, and I think they’ll increase the depth of the meta-game, and help the community share and discuss strategies.

Video Previews

Here’s a video I recorded from last night’s stream for drawnonward‘s 10,000th game (!). I gave a short preview of the current state of the replay system, which is still buggy but the hard part (rewind) is mostly working:

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If you’d like to see videos of the terrible things I did to the partygoers as I was getting rewind working, you can check out these two videos:

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  1. my hunch is Snipers will benefit a bit more, but I don’t know []

Release Notes for 3076 and 3091! (Let’s forget about 3075, shall we?)

Here’s the latest release notes stream, co-hosted by virifaux.  It is just release notes.  It is not 2 hours and 44 minutes of me trying to fix showstopper bugs live on stream.1

These builds were a long time coming because I had to re-do the entire inside of the game in preparation for spectation and replays, which aren’t quite done yet, but are getting closer.  However, I put in a bunch of really important bug fixes, the cool looking “menu party”, the oft-requested “back button” on the game setup screens, and Practice Mode is now handled properly so it can be used for bug repros much more reliably.  Also, you can see some nascent spectation action developing with the addition of hitting <tab> to switch between Spy and Sniper views in Practice Mode.

Oh, and of course:

santalanterns!

Santalanterns! Inspiration courtesy of zerotka, as per usual with our holiday Easter Eggs!

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  1. If you really want to see that, here is your link. []

Zero’s Notebook #2: Breaking News

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog visit with this important news bulletin:  There is a gunman on the loose and the local police department refuses to comment!  There have also been reports of an unknown illness in Spypartia! Citizens are advised to stay away from classy houses until further notice.

You can catch the full story below.

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