Many of these things are easy changes, that could have been
implemented over the course of the past year since the development team
decided to go from ‘no updates on Source’ to ‘fix it once to tie people
over until beta 3′ to ‘make some more little fixes to keep people
playing,’ and will hopefully reach the point of ‘maybe we should have
been updating Source all along…’
In the rare event that the development team will suddenly wake up
and realize that they should actually have been continuing to build an
existing game better, rather than decide to make the same game on a new
engine, they will have this list to use as reference.
Please feel free to expand upon these ideas in the comments and I will add any ideas that fit in nicely.
The first few, I feel, are the most important and currently the most
neglected aspects of Insurgency. Some things lie outside of the game
Know Insurgency’s role: Sorting this out can help
INS find its place in the gaming world. Insurgency needs to
distinguish itself through its gameplay. This will determine the
health of its community (both in and out of game) and controls the
demographic of who plays the game. INS can also establish a reputation
for quality development and mature design. Many past developers have used their
experience and talent with the mod to be hired professionally in the
games industry. This can be used to its advantage to continue the
recruitment of aspiring professional developers looking for a
recognizable platform to express their talent.
There is not much use in trying to be like an existing game, because
it will already likely be better than INS if it’s been professionally
developed. Insurgency should be the most-played HL2 mod, and the
(better) alternative to mainstream first-person war gaming. It should
cater to its players who continue to return to its servers and bring
out the best gameplay experience. Insurgency needs its hook.
INS does not exist to generate revenue. It should exist to further
the development of game design. It should offer a fresh gaming
experience to the player, providing an unprecedented environment for
player collaboration to complete objectives as a team. In development,
it should take risks, make mistakes, learning and improving from both. That is how it survived to release.
Importance of community and culture: Every game
has a community of followers and develops its own culture of gamers.
Once the role of Insurgency is determined, the developers themselves
need to establish the infrastructure for its community and help shape
the fan culture. You can’t let this happen solely on its own, although
in almost all cases, games let this happen on their own.
Gameplay mechanics: Once the role and community of
Insurgency are determined, the gameplay must reflect them. Currently,
there are a few gameplay flaws, particularly with balance, that can
easily be tweaked and solved with changes to the levels’ .imc2 files.
These changes literally take minutes to get functional in a public
server, and can completely change the gameplay dynamic. When the
current gameplay dynamic has issues, it is very surprising that the
developers have not taken the initiative to solve them, especially when
it literally takes minutes.
Custom development: This can be the life-blood of
any mod, but the current leadership has seen it in the opposite way -
as damaging and exploitative. INS was originally designed with the
promotion of custom development in mind. We hoped that we could
attract talented level designers, 3d artists and 2d artists who would
develop new content for the mod and become the replacements for those
who moved on to work professionally.
Competitive play: There has been a little bit of
support from the developers to competitive play, but this only really
comes through promotion on the website. There are promises that
competitive play will be concentrated on for improving future
development, however there are also multiple types of competitive play
to be catered to. This should be acknowledged and the development
team should establish and maintain their own competitive play to
further their vision of the gameplay. Support to any other kinds of
competitive gameplay should also be provided.
In-game communication: The best experiences that I
have had in INS are when my team mates are organized through
communication to dominate the enemy. The communication methods for
those without a microphone should be greatly enhanced. There already
are orders/comms menus for players, but they should be automatically
prompted when needed (i.e. when reinforcements are depleted, the
commander should automatically be prompted to call in more; when an
order is issued, players should immediately respond; etc).
Level design: Unfortunately, not all levels work as
well as others. Some should be taken out of the default rotation,
although all should be provided as content to use at the server’s
discretion. Sinjar is undoubtedly the most popular level, and future
designs should learn from its success. All of the levels' gameplay can be changed via the corresponding .imc2 file found in the /maps/ directory. This should be taken advantage of to gain some fresh gameplay experiences.
Grunt support: ‘Grunt’ is the default alias for new
players. There should be support for new players, both in and out of
game. New players should always be pointed in the right direction so
that they can develop an understanding for the game early and not be
turned off by any difficulty they encounter that might ruin their
important first impression.
Re-branding the mod: Through out pre-release
development, the mod underwent multiple redesigns and changes to its
‘brand’ that influenced player expectations and feelings for the mod. It continued to evolve, not suddenly change and stall.
It is vitally important to match expectation with experience that the
player has both in and out of game. Insurgency is long over-due a
re-branding to make up for some critical mistakes that still haven’t
been corrected. Polish the brass.
With these few concepts in mind and focused on, I think that
Insurgency can live up to its full potential. Please feel free to
discuss and expand upon these thoughts.Originally published on INS Legacy - Inslegacy.wordpress.com - January 19, 2009
Revised: March 17, 2009