View Full Version : Innovative SpyParty Is Ultimate Mind Game

03-24-2010, 10:39 AM
Innovative SpyParty Is Ultimate Mind Game
By Gus Mastrapa March 23, 2010 | 3:57 pm | Categories: Game Development, Indie Games


SAN FRANCISCO — At last year’s Game Developers Conference, designer Chris Hecker unveiled a prototype of a new game called SpyParty.

This year, he let me play it.

SpyParty is like nothing else I’ve ever played. It’s an asymmetrical multiplayer game: One player mingles among computer-controlled party guests, attempting to perform sly feats of espionage. The other player watches the action from afar through the sight of a sniper rifle, hoping to pick out the human spy from a roomful of robots, then assassinate him.

Chris Hecker is one of the liveliest, most outspoken personalities in the games industry. His yearly “rants” at GDC are the can’t-miss moments of the show. This year, he railed against developers not finishing their game designs. In 2007, he made waves when he called the just-released Wii a “piece of shit.”

Until 2009, Hecker worked at Maxis creating Spore. Now, following Electronic Arts layoffs, he’s a one-man game development team. Showing me and a friend SpyParty at his hotel room at the W, Hecker talked a mile a minute about his new project, which is still in the early prototype stage of development.

“Games are still in the Wild West, design-wise,” he said a followup e-mail. “We really don’t know what we’re doing yet. In movies, sometime around 1900 somebody realized, ‘Hey, we could actually move the camera around while the scene is being filmed,’ and that was a revelation.”

“We’re having those moments in game design these days, and will be for the next 10 or 20 years, and that’s incredibly exciting to be involved with as a creative person.”

I needed to bring a friend, he’d told me, because the game’s learning curve is so steep. Experienced players can easily trounce newbies.

Hecker sat us down in a corner, where two laptops with Xbox 360 controllers hummed silently.

SpyParty begins with the spy player, who first selects his character. The player can chose to slip into a handful of different character models: a guy in a tux, women in a variety of dresses, a rotund chap in a top hat.

The mind game starts immediately, because even on this character-selection screen, the spy is trying to outwit his opponent: Which character do they suspect I’d pick?

The spy player has to complete four tasks to win the game: Plant a bug on the ambassador at the party, make contact with a double agent, move a book from one shelf to another and swap a statue for a different one.

Each of these actions has a “tell,” a giveaway that the sniper can pick up on if he is paying attention. In the case of the physical actions, it’s a quick character animation. For the double agent bit, it’s a secret code phrase — somebody will say the words “banana bread.” (Hecker says this is what he was having as a snack when he recorded the audio.)

I'd play this. ;)

Read More http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2010/03/hands-on-spyparty/#ixzz0j6Z9kyz3

03-24-2010, 02:12 PM
I'd just shoot 'em all to save time.

03-24-2010, 02:17 PM
I'd just shoot 'em all to save time.

Or not play at all thereby saving even more time! :p

03-24-2010, 02:18 PM
Or not play at all thereby saving even more time! :p

What, and miss out on getting to use a sniper rifle? Please.