The Imperial Manifesto
(Open letter to the Imperial Wars community and game participants)

This document is to give you a better idea of who we are and what you can expect from the Imperial Wars team.

(Developer note: there are some things changing since Imperial Wars went dark for re-versioning. The commitments won't change though there will hopefully be some other dramatic changes. More later. 11/11/2010)


At Intelligent Life Games, we are doing our utmost to bring to you the best and most professional game experience we can. This open letter is to let you know a bit about who we are and what our goals are what your expectations of us should be.

The 3 Imperial Wars teams are made up of a core of 5 developers (2 programmers, an artist, a systems and web coder and a designer/project manager) plus a composer, 2 part time community managers, a system administrators, and a forum moderators, one of which acts as IRC channel op. People often belong to more than one team. We have also had some "guest" programmers who have added pieces to the game.

The 5 core dev members all work at other jobs to support themselves while they give as much time as they possibly can to realizing the vision of Imperial Wars. For the most part they have sacrificed higher paying jobs, so that they can continue to work on the game project and most of them have been making this commitment for several years.

The members of these teams (core dev, web and community) give up their weekends, evenings, off-hours and spare time to develop, deliver and host the game and its infrastructure or to work in the game development process. These sacrifices are not borne only by the members but by their loved ones, their families and their friends.

The development team does not work in an office or are they even in the same time zone. Members are spread from California to New York, Florida to Alaska. Two of the most current moderators are in Norway and several of the major community contributors are in the UK.

The team has made this commitment and is now delivering on it because we believe we are bringing you a great game! We are backing up that belief with a passion and effort that will only be repaid monetarily if we are succeed in a pretty major way. Because of that everything you see is a labor of love, meticulously designed with all the care and carefully conceived thought we could give it. Though we have made no money in this project in all these years, it is not a hobby. We want you to see it as a professional product, designed to give everyone who plays it a maximum number of hours of enjoyment for the cost in both money and time.

We think our game will stand up against the rest of the persistent-world competition even though many of them have cost from $2 to $40 million USD to make and promote. We believe that even though our game was created from the sweat and perseverance of some astonishingly talented and brilliant people and paid for with promises for the future and with tools scrounged from wherever we could get them and from outside support from organizations like Webcountry who hosts our servers and OpenBase who has given us the time to find our audience with their excellent database product to create our project, that we will be a legitimate online game choice for people's time and money. That’s our goal and that’s what we believe.

The problem is that since we are not a big company we have limited resources. In one sense that is a good thing. Our project is not limited by or defined by guys in gray suits who are trying to promote some other product, like a movie or a superhero. We are delivering to you a game that we personally love to play and want to share and play along with you. But because of the limited size of our team and resources, sometimes we can’t move as fast as we want to or do all that we want to do - yet.

Our customer service is going to be really great in one sense and not so great in another. The great part is, whomever you deal with in the capacity of the GE will have the power to influence the developers since they are more than likely to be a developer or a team member so close that they might as well be. The bad part is, we are finding it hard to switch from a development team to a service oriented "live" team. We don’t yet have a lot of mechanisms to make that happen, though we're working on it. We do have email and the forums and we religiously answer and follow up on these communications.. You’ll be able to email us from the game. Later we’ll have a messenger part of the game where you can usually reach one of us, or later full time GE's. But we don't have trained customer service personnel though we believe in it thoroughly and we still have to spend the majority of our time finishing, correcting or adding new features to the game even after launch. That is another cool thing about this game since we can’t yet see a point when it will be actually finished with it, we can't see a time when we'l be finished developing it. There is so much neat stuff yet to do, some of it from player suggestions, that will greatly improve the gameplay experience.

We are not asking you to give us any slack as far as how our game stacks up. We consider ourselves in a partnership with you in our commitment to offer you a great game and we make no apologies whatsoever for the game and the gameplay itself. But we are hoping you will understand that the process that takes place between when we first offer this game to you and when we are able to provide you with the type of customer and technical service and support we want to give you may be painful for both of us. We aplogize for our lacks in advance. And we want you to know that by giving us this leeway, you are voting for and promoting the independent game developers out there who cannot afford gigantic teams of people and are trying to bring their own special passion to online gaming . You are sending a message that you want to continue to see fresh ideas and concepts developed by people who just love to play the games and not by marketing concepts based on cloning other successful games alone. We will appreciate the vote you make and the support you give simply by paying, playing and enjoying Imperial Wars. We will also appreciate you pointing us out to anyone whom you think would like this kind of game and we are working on some incentives for this. We also will try to find ways to give back to you, especially those of you who have become veterans and help to make the community of IWars Starlords strong and healthy.

Last, Imperial Wars has not been designed to be the breakthrough game to the masses on the Internet. It will not appeal to the lowest common denominator of Internet user. In fact, IWars may set the bar higher for players than most of the other online games available. We also do not propose that it is the only game you should play. The IWars game mechanics are designed to be relatively easy to learn and use (and we're constantly trying to improve this), broadening in scope as players continue further into games and deepening in complexity and texture as the game play develops. We expect it to have great re-playability because it is always different and there should never be a sense of complete mastery. We believe that it will appeal to the playfully intellectual part of the minds of individuals and groups. We believe it will create relationships and engender emotions that you might never thought possible in a game. But it is a game that will require some commitment from you to sense its scope and breadth. Like nearly everything else in life, you'll get back what you are willing to put into it. This is not a game that will make you feel strangely unfulfilled when you stop playing it, like so many empty calories, like you just wasted hours of your life. We believe you will feel challenged, enlightened and rewarded by the time you have spent here with us, besides just having a heck of a lot of fun.

In short, while this game just won’t be for everybody, if you took the time to read this note to this point then it is probably a game you should try. It just might be we that we made this game for you. And that is, of course, why we have put so much effort into it in the first place.

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