It's July 2014, Armadillo Run has been going for 8 years, but the one remaining challenge forum (AR2 A League) has dwindled to just three regular competitors, with the occasional fourth or fifth.
A recent extended holiday by one of those three has exposed what we have all feared for some time - that it might not be possible to keep this going.
We all know Armadillo Run is probably the best "physics" simulator game available. None of the "indie" games I've played come close, and while "Bridge Constructor" and suchlike are reasonable for what they do, AR does all that just as well, and so much more.
It would be a shame to lose this challenge forum. Is there any way to inject new life into it? Your thoughts are wanted. Please help, if you want to see AR survive.
This thread is for ideas and planning a mission that seeks to revive the attendance. We can but try.
- This forum has only ever had about 640 members in it's lifetime to date. Trying to cajole existing members into returning thus seems limited.
- AR continues to be purchasable from the Armadillo Run home page, for the same original price. (20 dollars, 15 euros, 10 pounds)
Mark_man and I (bythelee) had a brief PM exchange where we discussed likely strategies. Mark_man had already been spreading the word in a couple of places. That alone was useful in highlighting how the lack of a price drop instantly turned people off. Here's what we came up with:
1) Write to Peter Stock, suggesting he drop the price. I reckon halving it as a minimum
. But even 10 dollars, 7 euros, 5 pounds feels a bit too much.
A price drop alone won't do much, if anything, for sales. But it helps immensely if greater publicity gets potential players looking at it.
This probably needs to be done first, before we "go public" with anything else. Because persuading folk to buy now, only to have the price drop later, will annoy them all.
It also strengthens the case for folk to gamble and buy it if it's cheaper. At the present price, you would have to know it is a game you want to play before buying it.
2) Suggest to Peter Stock that he move or extend the sales outlets to include more popular contemporary digital sales outlets. Such as Steam and GOG (Good Old Games). GOG in particular looks like an excellent fit, as AR is now a vintage veteran, the game is stable and doesn't need patching, and it works just fine as is on Windows 7. And it might relieve Peter of any admin requirements, which I know is something he would prefer to avoid. If the greater exposure on those commercial sites leads to a revival of sales (especially with a price drop) we might get a whole new batch of challenge players joining in.
3) I reckon we should try to get educational places interested. I'm thinking engineering departments of universities. If we can get lecturers to play the demo, they might show it to their students, or even add it to their course material. I discovered the game far too late for it to help with my understanding of stiffness and strength. But it would have been useful if it had been around in my schooldays.
Personally, I like this game primarily because it tickles my engineering aptitude, and not because I'm a gamer (although enjoying PC games helps.) I'd be quite sure that most young engineers today will be gamers, or PC familiar, at least.
In the UK, it might be easiest to start with the IMechE (Institute of Mechanical Engineers), rather than attempting to contact all higher education establishments directly.
4) I had a look at the wikipedia page. Could not resist adding a link to this challenge forum on it - shame it wasn't there already. And once started, I went ahead and edited it a bit, because it said that 1.0.6 was the last release. I added a bit about the gameplay too.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armadillo_Run
Please have a look and either add your own edits, or suggest what else should be there. This is part of the public face shown to the world, so I felt it should give as accurate and true picture as possible, but especially of how the game is today (in version 2.1.3).
I don't think the wikipedia entry will win us new players, but I don't want it to mislead people and put them off playing if they buy it for what is written there, and then discover it is something "else".
5) spam PM/email the existing 640 forum members. Just a pleasant reminder and invite to have a look at where things are these days. I'm not good at saying this sort of thing, so if someone else would like to write an appropriate PM and send it to me, I can admin/moderator send it to everyone.
There might be a few that have forgotten about it, and would return for a while.
We are so low profile, even our host and site admin, PeterT, didn't know that the forum was still running last year. And it's on his server.....
6) waiting for the next idea in the next post.....