Spy Hunter homage almost complete

Spy Chase screenshot

Spy Chase screenshot

Spy Chase, my Spy Hunter inspired arcade game, is motoring along and very nearly complete.

I finally got around to adding guns and missiles to the game which for me was a vital final piece of the game’s design. I think I balanced the action pretty well so that the player, with a little skill, can be the dominant force in the game.

I like to design my games based on a countering method to the obstacles and challenges.

From the outset the player faces the challenge of simply steering to remain on the road. At the head of the screen the player sees a radar. Before long it becomes apparent that the white blip is the player and the black blip is the target spy car.
Collecting flags increases the car’s speed such that steering becomes more of an issue. To avoid that becoming a breeze for the player I penalise him for hitting the road verges by a) slowing the car down and b) adding damage (reflected with a red damage bar).

This in itself is enough of a challenge to carry the game along a bit but I wanted a lot more early on.
So I added other cars to the road. Initially I intended to have the cars run the player off the road but ultimately I settled on having them as a distraction. The player can bump them from the road and earn a points bonus after each stage. It’s still a challenge just to bump them (or shoot them) from the road.

Finally I added a chopper which at set periods drops oil bombs on the road.
If the player collides with the oil his speed is reduced, the car spins and loses the missiles powerup if the player has collected it.

All in all there’s some high-speed fun to be had en route to actually capturing the spy.

Once the game is complete I’ll add some more detail to these design notes.

The game is designed with mobile devices in mind and has been tested on iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and HTC Desire.
Any feedback from other handset owners would be gratefully recieved ;-)

You can play the latest version here: http://www.wilfscorner.co.uk/sandpit/spyhunter/


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  • bonder  On December 29, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Fun! :)

    On iphone 3G it is pretty enjoyable but takes around 70-170 seconds to catch the spy.

    On FF 3.6.13 it’s very choppy in places and is kind of slow – 30-40 seconds per spy.

    On Chrome dev build it’s nearly blindingly fast – 12-17 seconds per spy!

    I find this game still too easy compared to your other games, and would like to suggest a few things:

    1) missiles should be less frequent and limited duration. When you run out of them, you are out until you find another ammo power up.

    2) you shouldn’t start with machine gun – you should earn it.

    3) I want Bump & Jump style jumps! This would be great.

    4) Chopper doesn’t seem dangerous enough. I think instead of the chopper having to get far enough upscreen to give you a fighting chance, let it drop bombs on you as soon as it’s over you — give a sound effect so you know something’s falling on you.

    5) where is the speedboat? :)

    6) maybe some badges for getting certain numbers of spies.

    7) spies should drop oil slicks or something.

    8) the ice road doesn’t seem to be slippery enough.

    9) missiles should be more powerful – one hit to kill anything.

    10) handling on dirt road should be looser.

    Hope this helps!

    • markw1970  On December 29, 2010 at 9:12 am

      Thanks, Bruce. All very valid :)
      I confess I may have rushed the final part of the game.
      I’d implemented the slippy surface but found it infuriating :)

      Before the missiles the chopper was a real challenge. Also I reset the car damage in each new environment which does make things much easier.

      I think I’ll give it a few days and take a fresh look. Will look at implementing a few of your suggestions ;)

      Thanks again.

  • bonder  On December 30, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I think making the missiles have an ammo of 5 and also making them fire less frequently will require the user to be more thoughtful in their driving.

    I’m not the best at action games, so the fact that I could play this on a single life until I gave up is a sign it’s too easy. :)


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