SpyParty

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SpyParty
SpyParty Characters and Title.jpg
Developer(s) Chris Hecker
Publisher(s) Independent
Artist(s) John Cimino
Platform(s)

PC

OS X
Genre(s) Strategy
Mode(s) Multiplayer

SpyParty is an indie video game currently being developed by Chris Hecker. SpyParty was first shown at the Experimental Gameplay Workshop at the 2009 Game Developers Conference. Hecker describes his game as "an asymmetric multiplayer espionage game, dealing with the subtlety of human behavior, character, personality, and social mores, instead of the usual spy games explosions and car chases"[1]

Gameplay[edit]

SpyParty Beta Gameplay
A spy attempting to complete a mission

In SpyParty, the player takes control of either a sniper or a spy in a two-player match. It is the spy's objective to complete a certain amount of missions within a given time limit while the sniper has the objective of identifying and killing the spy with his one shot before the missions are completed. When a match is created between two players the player who has selected to be the spy has the option of choosing the map and the mission objectives for the game, with potential handicaps for either the spy or sniper depending on how many objectives are shown or need to be completed. After both players have agreed upon the game, the match is launched.

The player being the spy has a third-person perspective of their character with the ability to freely move the camera and their character. The spy is shown a list of objectives on their screen which will show their progress on each available mission or their completion. A countdown starting at 3:30 is also shown as the time limit, but can be increased by the spy with a certain wristwatch action while playing which Hecker has also described as being a taunt type action within the game.[2] When attempting an objective the spy is given an action bar test which determines the subtlety or success of the attempted mission by the player's ability to time the test correctly. If the spy completes all of their missions, there is a 10-second countdown shown only to the spy which when depleted will cause the end of the game and the spy to win. In the scenario that the countdown passes 0:00 on the timer, the countdown will continue until completed. The spy can also win the match if the sniper kills an innocent AI.

SpyParty Beta Gameplay
Sniper gameplay

The sniper views the game through a first-person perspective of a character located outside of the party area. The sniper has a specific area in which they can move around to observe the party and has binoculars with two levels of zoom to get a closer look when wanted. The sniper is shown a list of possible or guaranteed missions that the spy is required to complete depending on the chosen settings while setting up the match. The sniper must closely watch the party in order to determine which player is the spy, either by witnessing missions, abnormal AI behavior, or other various tells. If the sniper deduces who the spy is, they then have the ability to take a single shot and kill their target. If the person killed is the spy, the sniper will win the match. If the person killed is a civilian, the sniper will lose the match. The sniper will also win the match if the timer hits 0:00 before the spy has completed all of their missions.

Hecker has stated that there will be modes other than the current two-player Spy vs Sniper in the future after the completion of the core game design.[3]

Development[edit]

Development of SpyParty began in 2009. Signups for an invite-only closed beta opened in May 2011.[4] Beta access for the public opened in June 2013.[5]

In-game screenshot of new character & environment art
In-game screenshot of the new character & environment art released October 2013.

As of March 14, 2013, SpyParty features 19 different playable characters plus two additional, non-playable characters (Toby the Waiter and Security Agent Damon). Along with the rest of the textures in the game, the characters are currently low detailed non-unique models that will be updated in the future following the design that Hecker describes as being "illustrative" and "timeless".[6] To help with the illustrations in the game, John Cimino joined the SpyParty team in September 2011. The updated artwork that Cimino worked on was revealed to the public the following year on August 27 on SpyParty's official website.

In early October 2013, Hecker and Cimino released new character and environment art to the open beta.[7] This included five new playable characters and one new level, "Modern." Describing the new art style, Hecker says that he and Cimino "designed the art style to be timeless and illustrative. Timeless means it doesn’t look retro or futuristic, or from any specific time period, it could be taking place at any and all times. By illustrative, we mean we aren’t shooting for photorealism nor cartoons, but for a style that looks like it is the 3D version of the sophisticated illustration work from the early 20th century."

A February 2014 update added a new feature to the game: replays. After each game, players are able to watch a recording of the game from multiple perspectives: the Spy view, Sniper view, and Free Camera.[8] Clicking on an event in the existing post-game results log jumps the replay to that moment, and the timeline is fully scrubbable to allow for easy fast-forward and rewind. This feature is expected to increase the depth of skill and play because, as Hecker noted a month before releasing the feature, "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."[9]

Despite claiming, in March 2010, that the game would be released in two years,[10] Hecker has not provided a release date for the final product, apart from a somewhat humorous tweet saying the game is still another two years away from completion in March 2013.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chris Hecker (2009-08-29). "SpyParty About". Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  2. ^ Magrino, Tom (2012-01-12). "The HotSpot - Spy Party - 1/25/12". Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  3. ^ Chris Hecker (2011-05-07). "SpyParty FAQ". Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  4. ^ Chris Hecker on May 10, 2011 (2011-05-10). "Here we go…it’s SpyParty Beta time!". Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  5. ^ Chris Hecker on June 4, 2013 (2013-06-04). "The Early-Access Beta is Open!". Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  6. ^ Jessica Conditt on Aug 27th 2012 (2012-08-27). "SpyParty redesign: the new art of espionage". Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  7. ^ Chris Hecker (2013-10-09). "The New SpyParty Environment Art Style". Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  8. ^ Chris Hecker (2014-02-27). "Replays Are Here!". Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  9. ^ Chris Hecker (2014-01-20). "In-game Replays Update and Preview". Retrieved 2014-03-12. 
  10. ^ John Teti and David Wolinsky on March 13, 2010 (2012-03-10). "AVC at GDC'10, Day Four: Spy party". Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  11. ^ SpyParty on March 14, 2013 (2012-03-14). "SpyParty Tweet". Retrieved 2013-03-20. 

External links[edit]