INS Legacy

Last Chance

Posted in commentary, designtalk, essentials, insurgency by Argyll on February 14, 2010

I write this from California – Santa Monica to be exact – where the sun is shining bright. I return to frozen Canada later this week, with a broadened perspective and opportunities.

The weather isn’t the only difference between LA and Toronto. They are completely different worlds.

I have experienced many different worlds in my 24 years on this planet. I don’t wear blinders while I go through life. I have the eyes and mind of wonder and discovery. I don’t take it for granted, and use these opportunities to view things differently. I question the world around me and think about how to make it a better place. There is no correct answer to do anything.

That’s why I pursued photojournalism – so I could enter different worlds and be there to see, document, and share.

During my trip to California, I went into a Barnes & Noble book store. I have a habit of buying books. I picked up a copy of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Once I read that book, I went back and picked up another Gladwell book called Tipping Point. Finishing that, I went back again and picked up his other book Blink. I’m about half-way through.

Gladwell is brilliant. He has been named one of the most influential thinkers by major publications. Born in England, he grew up in an Ontario town, attended the University of Toronto, and now is a writer for The New Yorker magazine. Gladwell has experienced many different worlds with the same sense of wonder and value that I have. His books are about decision making and success. They aren’t found in the self-help section, but in psychology and business sections. They possess a very sociological outlook.

My advice is you read those three books I mentioned above.

– – –

Jeremy wants to be involved with the mod again, which I feel is the last chance for Insurgency to avert death. His approach however is in line with where the current regime stands – taking it in a new gameplay direction on a new engine. Some of the ideas are similar to “Beta 3”.

His return to the community opened with a thread outlining his ideas and consultancy with the community.

Details aside, I want to look at strategy.

When I approached to join the mod again over two years ago, I also approached the community looking for their ideas and feedback. I could see that they shared my frustrations with the direction of the mod at the time.

Jeremy evidently understands this importance too. His timing though, is much better than mine.

When I approached the project, before it received the Mod of the Year title, the team was still high on the false sense of self-confidence in their ability. They blatantly ignored the community’s frustrations, stating that any problems were insignificant because the solutions lay in their magical “Beta 3” design ideas. They obviously spent very little time actually in the game itself to draw that conclusion. My main concern then was about the regime’s ambition taking the mod in an entirely new direction from scratch, while ignoring the immediate issues at hand. It defied logic. The direction they set on was coming from inside their head and not inside the game.

I felt, while many of the community members also voiced concern, the mod required more immediate fixes and changes that should not be ignored while planning on starting something fresh. I could see that the team was a skeleton of what it once was in terms of talent and experience. They disagreed with my concerns. I got pissed off because they were blatantly naive and ignored the voice of experience that learned from being ambitious and naive. However, in the two years since, they obviously saw how I was correct – going from a stance of not updating on Source (to concentrate solely on OB) to minor updates on Source. My criticism stemming from my worries at the time remain: they have done too little in too much time.

I also have a little concern with the details in Jeremy’s approach. Once again, it seems the community could be left in shambles. I don’t know how much time he has spent in game, but from my point of view (hours spent in game) and some of the community feedback to his ideas, it seems his vision is coming from inside his head and not inside the game. That’s the same fatal error the current regime made.

There is a difference between how the mod plays today and how it could potentially play, if given a fresh approach. Future iterations would not be aligned with the design as it was established or currently behaves, and therefore they think it doesn’t matter how it currently plays. But the thing is, the community do not get to play with the new mod until it’s done (if ever). Sure, they can play with the ideas, but that isn’t as fun as it is while you’re developing the ideas.

– – –

My stance today has changed little from two years ago…

The mod still requires immediate action to fix issues that actually matter to the fans. There needs to be a change of gameplay based on how the mod plays today – not how it should play months or years from now – because that is really how the community expects and sees how it can evolve. There are bugs that need to be fixed. If custom content wasn’t suppressed so much, the art could have been updated directly from the community.

Most importantly, the community needs to be refreshed. They are the lifeblood measuring success or failure of a project. The developers think they can control the sway of opinion by banning any naysayers. Purging the community is not helping.

The question posed in the post below is redundant. There’s no getting that $1500 back invested into the mod unless Spielmann (or whomever he gave it to) coughs it up. I doubt they would know what to do with it, or else we would have seen its impact two years ago.

Nor does the mod really need that kind of money invested anyway. It can be for less.

vBulletin 4 CMS costs roughly $300 for a license, and I see that as community building software to save the mod. You might lose the current forums, but they are full of abusive admin posts that have tarnished the mod’s reputation and scared away fans. It is also full of threads expressing fan frustration; that is what led to admins becoming fascists. You would also lose the 15,000+ member accounts, but many of which now are spammers reposting old threads with links to their spam agendas hidden within their signatures. Or they are spamming private messages, which ironically brings members back to the forums.

If a fresh start is going to be made, it starts with the community. Actually, it really needs to start with the development team, as the current regime have proven over the past few years to be the wrong people for the task. Just as I had suspected of them.

But they hold the keys to the ignition. I doubt they will let Jeremy drive – because Jeremy driving is a smart thing to do for the mod. He’s an experienced  guy, with INS and RO under his belt, and he can likely see the incompetence in the devs for himself. Therefore they will feel threatened, once again, as they had when I returned. They will feel especially threatened now that they have had two years to prove themselves, and failed.

So even if Jeremy can get on board, there will be no trust amongst the team. The team dynamic will not be healthy enough to bring immediate action for the fans of Insurgency to benefit.

– – –

The only solution I see for the benefit of the project is what Xanthi, creator of the most popular INS level Sinjar, suggested in his comments in the post below.


The community has no trust or faith in the ability of the developers. It is evident that they can trust Jeremy, as he offers a glimmer of hope for them since he is partially responsible for making Insurgency into the success that it was.

I have represented the voice of the suppressed, the frustrated, the banished members of the community. I also am partially responsible for making Insurgency into the success that it was to become. I would also need to be involved in the reconciliation process, as I can promise hope for those who see none. Gaining the support of this demographic is far more important than the current devs think, and that’s probably why reconciliation will never work out. They will listen to me if I say hope is possible, just as they have when I said it is hopeless.

Fans need to see a return of the old leadership who are responsible for making Insurgency into the success that it was – Jeremy and Argyll – in order to see any sign of hope in the future of this project.

We started it, and we deserve to finish it.

– – –

Having said that, this is optimistic thinking out loud, and I have no part in Jeremy’s decision to return. I was surprised of his appearance probably as much as any other fan who remembers him.

Even if somehow Spielmann decides to allow me to take part in reconciliation and the future development of the project, I don’t know whether I would invest my time, ideas, energy, and money into the project.

Is Insurgency worth saving at this point?

I have started on other game project ambitions, and have gained certain opportunities that INS – particularly those who drove it into the ground; who would directly benefit from my help – may not be worthy receiving.


18 Responses

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  1. TDBNUB said, on February 14, 2010 at 18:40

    You worry too much about Insmod Inslegacy. If you lived in California, you would learn to take it easy and not worry so much.

    It’s just a game. It’s gonna stay at 2.5 untill the noobs running the show decide to quit.

    Those noobs I’m referring to are: endless, jaboo and spielman.

    Mark my words: there’s gonna be a lot of trolling on the forum and the same usual bullshit with the 10 people who have an opinion ON EVERY SINGLE thread.

    There might be a small update. But nothing is gonna change (that is until the shotcallers – endless, jaboo, spielman decide to go away somewhere dark and die).

    If I were you I would not waste:
    my energy
    my health
    my time
    on this shit (unless it’s for comedic effect, which in that case it’s allowable).

    I suggest Inslegacy readers (and I know a couple of developers monitor this blog) to scan the forums once in a while, who knows? there might be a barely legal smoking hot Barista brewing a shit-smoothie of colossal proportions and we are all invited to witness it being dumped on everyone involved. Those involved eat it, and ask for seconds.

  2. byzantine90 said, on February 15, 2010 at 01:19

    i’ve said this before and i shall say it again. ins mod is great and i enjoy it alot but i think i’m going to move to ARMAII:operation arrowhead which is looking like everything ins could be (minus the vehicles and some different weapons).

    personally i would really like for you to help if you were offered BUT some things may never change and you may find yourself back in the same position you are now (exiled by the current regime). unfortunatly due to that massive failure of a patch (which i have no fucking idea how something like that could not be picked up in testing) which was the one that crashed the game on round win or 3rd round, the australian and new zealand commuity is in shambles.

    theres no more clans, except 1 main one that represent the aus/nz (aka anzins) as a whole, the servers are always dead and the dedicated ins players of the community are forced to play on an international server with 32 players on at the one time and a bad ping (i rather have a bad ping than play in a 16v16, personally i think 12v12 is as big as you wanna get.

    • TDBNUB said, on February 15, 2010 at 13:22

      Lawlz and with half of the anzins guys getting banned for cheating, you poor australians are running out of servers to play on.


      Poor aussies….

      • defunkt said, on February 15, 2010 at 15:25

        Yeah, anyone who routinely hands out a hiding to American clans in spite of a 200 ping disadvantage has just got to be cheating don’t they?

  3. TDB NiK said, on February 15, 2010 at 01:19

    If the developers want to make the Beta 3, they need to get off their ass and start recruiting developers, instead of just tossing around ideas in their precious design document. You either do it, or you dont. And if you can’t get the manpower to do it, then focus on making small incramental changes and fixes to what already exists. Making the ‘Beta 3’ will take years anyway.

    Insurgency, as it is today, is a very good game. I have played tens of matches, ran countless Boot Camps and hosted many tournaments. I have found myself being very creative in bending the mod’s gameplay without making any changes to the game itself with great success. It doesn’t take much from a team leader or clan leader to exploit the core of Insurgency to make it more enjoyable, to create a greater focus on teamwork, to support a clan tournament that breaks away from the ordinary. The changes to the game do not have to be grandious to ‘revive’ insurgency. You’ll be surprised how much a small step in the right direction can affect the game and community overall. By the way, making a new and different map will be as big of a boost as any gameplay improvement. It is not that hard, you do not have to think outside the box for this one, just tough it out and keep moving forward… hopefully without upsetting the community.

    Argyll: I hope that you do not lose too much sleep over this. What you helped to create has already given thousands of people hours of enjoyment, and I will keep playing it until I have formidable opponents to play :). I would love to see you come back into the dev team. I think you have a very good idea of where the community and the game stands, but if you feel like moving on, dont hesitate; you’ve already given us so much.

    By the way, an amazing win by Alex Bilodeau at freestyle skiing today, Canada has its first gold :D

  4. Dylan said, on February 15, 2010 at 15:27

    My grade school used to have an oratory competition where we would recite around 1-5 min worth of text. Given a time machine, I would recite the code they have done for Beta 3!

  5. Dylan said, on February 16, 2010 at 15:37

    There’s at least 2 years of code, config lines, models, materials being put into Beta 3.

    Yes, but how come we never HEAR about it! With that one liner, Beta 3 actually sounds promising!

  6. Dylan said, on February 16, 2010 at 18:42

    Regarding BFBC2:
    Comparing Insmod to BFBC2 is so idiotic, it does not even deserve a response from me or any other Dev.
    Besides BFBC2 is not free.


    Then dont respond. BC2 (still a BETA!) is a fun game. Put paid devs aside for a moment…is INS fun? You dont even play it publicly. The last time I played INS, it was a hour of lag and instapwning from spots where your whole body is in cover, except a single pixel of your uniform. Wait, didnt you just unload half a mag into that guy you just shot (and see gallons of blood splatter everywhere despite a ping of 5 and a ping of around 30 on they guy you shot) ? Yes, thats why I was killed reloading. Reloading 20 times, because my mags kept flying back up into the gun. Should have gotten PMags, wait, its 2004 so they DONT EXIST and therefore have been banned by the devs. —- Good bye INS. Hello BC2,

  7. Dylan said, on February 18, 2010 at 11:17

    I dont remember sending any email. Also, BC2 only has crouch, to prevent excessive camping by snipers, MG gunners.

    Cant wait for the community that will arise and provide unlimited custom content for the game and keep it alive.

    Many of us have multiple steam accounts.-

    Then why arent they in the INSmod group?

    Insmod is set in 2004. That’s why you see marines with ironsights and shit, and we don’t allow optics on m16s/m249s. Pmags don’t exist yet, so reloading behavior as it is in the game now is completely realistic. It’s perfect in fact.

    It isnt. Reloading is a hellava lot faster with MOLLE gear and an AR15. I think the lack of animators causes you to call it realistic. CoD 1 was a WW2 game, but there are modern weapons mods out for it. BC2 even has a M1 and a Thompson. I dont think a game should claim to have realistic weapons and have WW2 crap in there, but let the community put in PMags, EoTechs, ACOGs, silencers if they want to! It prolongs the life of a game. Send INS players gaming computers from 2004 to make it as realistic as possible. (On a side note, in 2004, some troops still wore the old PASGT vests, not the Interceptor armor.)

    1. don’t move
    2. press reload key
    3. don’t move
    4. switch to semi if you were on auto
    5. fire a test shot
    6. switch to auto if you were on auto b4
    Should take you 10 seconds max!

    This does not sound like endless.

    1. don’t move
    2. press reload key
    3. don’t move
    4. switch to semi if you were on auto
    5. fire a test shot
    6. switch to auto if you were on auto b4
    Should take you 10 seconds max!

  8. Argyll said, on February 18, 2010 at 22:32

    [Removed because it was not directed towards the right person]

  9. Twsitedpretzel said, on February 19, 2010 at 01:00

    What does a Pmag have to do with reloading behavior?

  10. Twsitedpretzel said, on February 19, 2010 at 01:07

    I think a lot can be said for the unbiased stance taken on this website. I have seen threads trashed, disappear, when developers don’t agree with people on their forums. The censorship is quite atrocious. They blow it off saying people were being rude or other bullshit like that. The fact of the matter is that threads have disappeared just because the developers don’t want to explain themselves, there is a serious holier than thou attitude.

    I think Endless should appreciate that even though each comment on this webpage requires Argyll to approve it, Endless can still have his side of the story told. I think that tells a lot especially considering Argyll was banned from INS forums for having different ideas.

    Hypocrisy in its purest form. Argyll, I must compliment you for your unbiased approach to this.

  11. Twsitedpretzel said, on February 19, 2010 at 04:36

    I take back my previous post. I have good reason to believe that the person posting with the alias Endless here is not the same Endless who is a developer of INS.

  12. Twsitedpretzel said, on February 19, 2010 at 13:30

    That is the impersonator of Endless.

  13. Argyll said, on February 19, 2010 at 13:34

    Yes, it has come to my attention that the ‘endless’ commenting on this blog is a phony.

    Once I have independently verified, I will be removing the malicious posts he left here and responses to said posts.

  14. Twsitedpretzel said, on February 19, 2010 at 18:01

    You still get props in my opinion for allowing it uncensored. Fraud or not, you allowed someone to have their piece when at the time you thought this very person banned you for having a different idea from their forums.

    Too bad people have to mess around like that though.

  15. Dylan said, on February 21, 2010 at 19:10

    About PMags, I dont really know. It was sarcasm, saying that PMags wouldnt fly back into my M4 when I went prone.

  16. TDBNUB said, on February 25, 2010 at 17:40

    More intel on Ins Devs:

    Found another steam group via google:

    As you can see they are very busy testing Beta 3 while the forums are overrun by shitheads.


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