When we are born, we all have talents. Some are born musical, others athletic and some rare individuals can go through a whole day of work without a single cup of coffee! (I'm not one of them, no sir. Three espressos per day is the minimum to keep me going.)
Yet there's no way to determine these talents upfront, you only discover them after you spend some time and observe the individual over a period of time. People can also make choices on which talents to develop into skills. A person might become a lawyer or an accountant without ever seriously considering developing his or her innate musicality to rockstar level. So talents combined with choices determine your skills in real life.
And that is precisely how your spies will work in Spymaster.
Each spy has hidden DNA that determines which skills each agent can or cannot learn. When you recruit a rookie into your roster, he or she will be a level one operative with a single level 1 skill visible to you.
For instance, you might see that recruit Charlie has the gun skill but the other two skill slots are empty. You have no idea if he can learn to be a great recruiter, or a "pianist" (code word for radio operator). You have to get to know Charlie over time.
After an operation or two, Charlie has enough experience points (XP) to level up and you will choose a skill to develop. You might choose the existing gun skill but the exciting part is that now you discover some options that you could put into those empty slots. Warning! Charlie's DNA has more potential skills than he has slots! So you have to choose carefully how to develop each agent to get the team you want. Do you want highly specialized agents with one high level skill each? Or maybe everyone should have many lower level skills? Are you happy with the number of pianists, gunners, recruiters and so on? Choices, choices!
By now you have guessed that those pictures are actual skill icons from Spymaster. The first two are are pretty obvious but can you guess what the third one is for? :)
Disclaimer: Game development is an iterative process where things tend to change many times over before the game ships. That's a fancy way of saying that we can't promise any exact features discussed in this blog.