Thief Town originally started out a few years ago as a web-based online multiplayer game made for a class project. The original inspiration for it was a game called Spy Party. Basically, the idea behind Spy Party is that one player stands in a crowded party full of NPCs, and has to perform small tasks whilst blending in. The other player is a sniper looking down at the party through a scope, and must discern which character is the other player, and shoot them. It's an interesting game, but I wondered what it would be like if both players were forced to juggle with both roles at once. Hence, Thief Town.
The Original Game
In 'old' Thief Town, up to four players are connected to eachother through their web browsers, and are dropped into a desert full of NPC cowboys. Everybody looks the same, and all of the NPCs move in a consistent manner. Players have to study the movements of the other thieves in order to find and stab the true players, while also not revealing themselves. As time goes on, NPCs are removed from the map. After 60 seconds, only players remain.
What Worked and What Didn't
It was a very simple idea, and made for some fun gameplay. However, there were flaws with the original game:
- Fully online play wasn't fun: There wasn't enough feedback with taking out other players, and the lack of any online communication options made it a pretty dull experience. It was extremely fun when all players were in the same room, however.
- Not enough gameplay variation: The game rounds and levels didn't change and got old fast. Players were encouraged to simply wait until everyone else revealed themselves so that they could capitalize on it and maximize their points.
- Buggy: As with many online games, it had some serious lag issues.
New Thief Town
Recently I've gone back to revisit and fix this game, with major improvements:
- LAN play: Instead of relying on the buggy and boring mess that is online play, the game now runs over local wireless networks. This forces players to be near eachother to maximize the entertainment, and removes a myriad of headaches on my end.
- Multi-Platform Support: The new game is programmed in Java, allowing me to drop the browser requirement and deploy it to PC, Mac, Linux, Android, and maybe others.
- New Round Types: Spy Town gives each player a unique gadget they can abuse every round. Drunk Town gives one player a gun and lets them run wild. Many more have been added as well. Round rules change randomly every 3 matches.
These aren't the only changes, but I felt they are the main ones worth mentioning at the moment.
There is still a lot of work to do before the game is finished, such as adding controller support, sudden deaths, and a whole lot of polish, but I anticipate releasing Thief Town sometime this Spring. I'll try to write a quick blog update once every couple weeks. Oh, and did I mention it will be 100% free??