INS Legacy

Open letter to the INS Community

Posted in essentials, insurgency, news by Argyll on November 11, 2008

To the Loyal fans of Insurgency

In the summer of 2002, I spent a particular afternoon with a shovel in my hand, trying to penetrate the clay earth.  That night, I sat in the bottom of the trench, shivering and waiting for each minute to pass.  My buddy needed sleep, so we swapped positions.  I pointed my rifle in my designated arc of fire, watched and listened.  I saw weird colours, red and green, shifting in the sky… I thought I was hallucinating, but it turned out to be the northern lights.  I thought I was hallucinating again when I heard and saw shadows moving across my line of sight.  Going by procedure, I shouted ‘Halt!’ … I waited a few seconds in silence and shouted ‘Halt!’ once again.  ‘Halt to this asshole!’ a faux-accent responded as the first blank rounds opened up.  Somehow the ‘enemy’ had crossed in front of three other trenches and was only challenged by me on the left flank.  Everyone else had fallen asleep while on watch, except for me.

What kept me awake was my inability to stop thinking about how video games just got the experience of being a soldier all wrong.  An odd thought at the moment… but it wasn’t odd to me, a 16 year old avid gamer at the time with a life-long fascination of conflict.

Last night my mind unwillingly kept me awake.  I finally put to words a simple statement of understanding that was always in the forefront of my mind since my first thoughts on game design.  The thought never formulated into these words until now.

Communities have long been established by the fans of games.

Multiplayer games should be designed based upon creating their community’s experiences.

This probably isn’t a groundbreaking idea, and something professional designers are probably well aware of.  To me it just seems that the whole process of game design just clicked when I thought of that.

The creation of a community and designing a game based on the desires of its players is what I was doing when I started the mod Insurgency.  I was targeting players who liked to be organized into clans and were attracted to the buzzwords of ‘tactical’ and ‘realism.’ I also wanted to maintain a broader war shooter fan base, who were just looking for some casual shooting fun.  Insurgency’s public image grew so big that we could not ignore the latter.  However, for personal reasons (pursuing school, moving several times, etc) I had to leave the development team. 

The original purpose and plans of creating a community for ‘tactical’ gamers did not sink in well enough for the present developers to understand and pursue that aspect.  I do understand the importance of developing towards the broadest fanbase, but I figure that it’s worth the time and effort to develop the alternative community experience. 

I realize the importance of maintaining a community for a game, as most importantly it increases the game’s longevity.

I should clarify that when I say ‘community,’ I don’t mean a collection of fans having similar individual experiences.  I mean community in the sense of organized gamers who come together to pursue a collective vision, which is a vision for the whole of the community.  It does come down to the individual’s ideal vision for themselves, but the vision involves the entire group.

It seems to me that games release their product to the fans, who in many cases find a collective vision and create that for themselves.  This is why clans and competitive leagues are born for shooters.  With Steam, I think it is brilliant that the Steam Community has been introduced, since it enhances the ability for fans to get organized and create communities.  It gives them a reason beyond their sole experience to play for.

I will be introducing plans for an alternative community website for the fans of Insurgency.  It will show ways to install tactical gameplay modifications to servers that provides a different experience – one closer to the original vision of the mod.  It will provide a rendez-vous point for clans and tactical units to consolidate and wage combat.  It will bring out the best Insurgency tactical gameplay experience as dictated by the community.

If you are interested in becoming involved with the community, join the Steam group @


One Response

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  1. thomson85 said, on November 11, 2008 at 17:28

    Very well put, and I cant wait to see what you accomplish! :D

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