Spy DNA by Shy Snake, project overview

Project basics

The game plays about 70 years in the future, and the player controls a squad of genetically-enhanced superspies with unique talents.

When the genetic enhancement research is stolen from the lab, it is your character’s task to recover it and prevent a rogue nation from creating an army of super-soldiers. In the course of the game, you will face a variety of baddies, such as endangered animal traffickers, unethical researchers, and rogue military organizations.

We are greatly inspired by the RPGs of the past that made the genre popular in the first place: Jagged Alliance, Silent Storm, and the original XCOM.

The player controls 1-4 characters from a bird’s eye 3rd person view. A player is not in direct control of a character. Instead, the characters are controlled by giving them orders which they execute based on their abilities.

Spy DNA will be available to play on Windows PCs.


Spy DNA uses C++ as the development environment. The codebase is medium sized at a couple hundred C++ files. We do not use an editor based scripting language.

The story and game database is created and stored with a 3rd party tool called Articy Draft.http://www.nevigo.com/en/articydraft/overview/ We use their C++ library, Articy Access, to read the database fom the game engine.

The cover system in Spy DNA is based on line-of-sight. To visualize this for the player we provide two extra views using Render Targets. One is the gunsight view allowing them to specify how to make their attack. The other is the body cam view which shows the eye view of the currently selected character.


Level design

Spy DNA has two forms of levels. The first are hand generated levels such as the player base. These are created in the editor, very similar to a normal game.

The second type are procedural maps. Most of the mission in the game will take place on maps that are generated at level launch. This allows us to generate a much more varied experience for the player and provide an increase replay value. The terrain is generated using a midpoint displacement and then the building and other items are added in a second pass.

Studio basics

Shy Snake is made up of two people, who also happen to be married. We use independent contractors for asset creation.

Jason Sams: Game developer and enthusiast.

Got started in software development writing games on a TRS-80 model 3 and later Apple IIc and then PCs. Spent time as a specialist in computer graphics at Be where he created the OpenGL hardware driver and wrote the 3Dfx and ATI Radeon drivers. Worked on performance issues as part of OpenGL team at NVIDIA. Led the team that created the CPU and GPU compute runtime for Android OS at Google.

Now Jason is back doing what he enjoys most: writing games.

Alex Maier: Game designer. Community marketing professional. Open source believer.

Spent most of her career building user and developer communities for companies like Red Hat, VMware, and Google, as well as startups. In free time, she enjoys writing short stories, drawing, and painting, which she’s had a passion for ever since she could hold a pen in her hand :slight_smile:

With Spy DNA, Alex can finally pursue her artistic passion full-time by writing the story, dialog, and creating the levels for the game.

This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing!