SpyParty – Will You Play the Spy or the Hunter?

Wed, Apr 7, 2010


Game developer Chris Hecker is best known for his lively, loud personality, and his GDC talks where he lets his opinions fly. Leave it to the former Maxis developer to come up with a game that pushes the boundaries.

As reported by Wired, SpyParty isn’t outlandish, or even filled with action. Instead, it’s a psychological, and hard, multiplayer game that places one player in the role of a spy, setting out to complete four tasks in the middle of a cocktail party, and the other, in the role of the sniper, challenged with picking the spy out from the crowd and assassinating him.

The party’s other patrons will act as an AI controlled bot would, leaving the spy character the challenge of replicating their movements, so as to not give themselves away by carelessly bumping into things, among other actions. The spy’s four tasks consist of moving two different objects across the room, planting a bug on one of the party’s guests and making contact with another double agent. Completing each of these gives off a small, uncontrollable character animation or “tell,” that the sniper can pick up on if their paying attention.

However, the sniper is perched far away from the party, and if relying on his standard view he can’t make out these subtle giveaways. By zooming in, they’ll be able to see each person and their movements in greater detail, but their vantage points shrinks considerably and if they’re zoomed in on the wrong person, they’ll never spot you. To make matters worse, the sniper is limited to one shot per game.

All told, the game is far from complete, with Hecker wanting to update the game’s art style, add more scenarios and create a matchmaking system that will prevent seasoned players from wiping the floor with new players. That chalks up to another few years of development.

“I can make exactly the game I want to make, exactly the way I want it,” Hecker said. “Being indie converts all game-development problems you might find at a normal studio, like politics, team structure, selling your ideas and the like, into a single simple question: ‘Can I afford to eat long enough to make this game?’”

Let’s hope so.

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Brandy is the Social Editor at Frisky Mongoose, focusing on the social side of the gaming world.

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