Time limitted demos

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by DanK, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. DanK

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    I'm seeing this around a lot lately, and I'm liking the concept, does anyone know how it's being done? For an example most of the games featured on shockwave.com that have a downloadable version will only allow you to play for 60 minutes, I also seen very similar setups with a few other sites, I don't think that everyone has implemented this independantly since every place I've seen it they all looked extremely similar.
     
  2. joe

    joe
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  3. bentlegen

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    Hey Dan, is the Armadillo license per-title or lifetime?

    Thanks,
    - ben
     
  4. DanK

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    Thanks, that looks like what I need. Their website is pretty vague, doesn't really list features or anything, I probably wouldn't have a clue what they were actually selling without this forums help (and even with it, the recent name change kinda left me thinking I was on the wrong site).

    BentleGen: I don't know, it doesn't appear to be per title.
     
  5. bentlegen

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    If anyone knows the answer, I'd appreciate it. I'm not quite sure why I originally phrased the question to Dan exclusively, especially given that he is the thread starter ;)

    - ben
     
  6. DanK

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    Because over the years you've come to respect my near infinite wealth of knowledge on the subject, oh wait, that's not me...
     
  7. Greg Squire

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    Okay, I have to share a recent personal experience with timed demos. About a week ago, my wife, who is not a gamer by any means (as she rarely plays video games of any sort), downloaded and played a demo of "The Incredibles - Escape from Nomanisan Island". (I believe this was Disney Interactive's first attempt in the downloadable game market.) The demo cut her off after just 10 minutes of play, but in that short time she was "hooked". She installed it on our second computer and played it again for another 10 minutes. She told me later how much she liked the game, and how she almost pulled out the credit card. So I bought it for her for valentine's day (along with roses and the like, lest you think I'm "unromantic"). Most timed demos I've seen have been 60 minutes, and this was the shortest one I've seen, but in our case, this worked for them as it yielded a sale.

    For more discussion on timed demos see these threads
    http://forums.indiegamer.com/showthread.php?t=1964
    http://forums.indiegamer.com/showthread.php?t=516
    http://forums.indiegamer.com/showthread.php?t=175

    Another thread on nagging techniques http://forums.indiegamer.com/showthread.php?t=1730

    (Side Note: It appears that this game is using TryMedia's ActiveMARK a competitor to Silicon Realm's Armadillo. Also the game no longer seems to be available from their site. Not sure why, as it was only released three months ago? Maybe it didn't sell as much as their other retail titles, and are chalking it up as a failure? Just guessing.)
     
  8. Jim Buck

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    Strangely enough, going to that Incredibles webpage says that game is no longer available. How can a downloadable game be "no longer available"??
     
  9. DanK

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    I've seen the incredibles game a few different places, I suspect maybe someone purchased exclusive rights to distribute it (edit: Or more likely pixar or whoever made it found something they didn't like... little mermaid p*n*s tower or something 'typical disney')?

    I personally got hooked on a time limitted demo game myself (it was called alien shooter... and I've been tempted to make a similar game myself just for a little more of that style of action... reminds me a lot of syndicate assassin by bullfrog back in the day... game play wise). Anyway, time limitted demo is definitely a good thing for the type of game I'm playing with.

    So does anyone know how to actually make a time limitted (ie 60 minutes) license with armadillo, I saw the buzzwords game used it and that was supposedly with armadillo but I don't see how to do it, I feel I'm missing a step.
     
  10. Greg Squire

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    I wish I knew on that one? I just bought it Monday. It had been out only three months, and it appears that Disney (or maybe a partner) has pulled the plug on it. Further, the AIAS gave it the "Downloadable Game of the Year" award (see here), so that adds to my perplexity. The AIAS site list the developer as Backbone Entertainment, but there is no mention of the game on their site (or subsites) that I could find.
     
  11. DanK

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    Nevermind... I just missed it somehow... I figured it out and shall now give myself 3 lashings for once again missing something fairly obvious.
     
  12. Sybixsus

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    The TryMedia site is a navigational nightmare. Is ActiveMark only available when you distribute with them? I was looking for an alternative to Armadillo, but I want something I can purchase once, use on all my games and sell from my own site.
     
  13. Duke

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    I'm not an Armadillo expert, but I've prepared our game for distribution with Armadillo for two portals, so this is what I know:
    Amongst other functions, armaccess.dll has a function called IncrementCounter(), which I suspect was intended for 'number of times played' limitation. When you setup Armadillo for your game, you define after how many uses the trial should expire, and you call this function from your program every time it's started.
    But you can also use this function for the time-based trial (as I've used it) by calling this function every second (or minute) and setup Armadillo to expire the trial after some number of 'uses' (in this case seconds/minutes).
    I don't know how do you actually setup Armadillo, as I've never done it.
    Hope this helps.
     
  14. Matthew

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    This is the older way to do things, and it's as you described: you set up a 60-use trial and trigger a "use" every minute. Armadillo 4.x now supports time-based trial conditions, though, which is an option that doesn't require game coding. I haven't actually looked into implementation on it yet (we're just sticking with what's already in place).

    Time-based trials are only available in the Pro version of Armadillo, but then again manually-triggered uses are only available in the Pro version as well.
     
  15. Vectrex

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    umm.. wouldn't this be extremely simple to implement yourself? Why pay someone else for such basic functionality? Plus a cracker could easily make a 'crack everything that uses armadillo' crack.
     
  16. Matthew

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    I'm not much of a system programmer, myself, but Armadillo spends a lot of time on protection. My understanding is that you'd be hard-pressed to make an "un-Armadillo" tool without a huge amount of effort, and certainly not easily. For us, though, we aren't concerned about hardcore protection. If your game is released on the major portals protection against pirates is moot. They'll go for your RealArcade version before bothering with whatever it is you're releasing 1st-party.

    We use Armadillo for two reasons: code-less wrapping and implementation of nag screens and unlocking, and integration with the payment processors. All of the major processors support Armadillo, so all we need to do on the order side of things is paste in our encryption passphrase and modify the order confirmation email template.
     
  17. Sol_HSA

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    On, "downloadable game no longer available" - the answer is simple. Support. Even though it's a 'free demo', there's always some support. For a license like the incredibles, the download count is probably quite high, and there's always bound to be some incompatibilities. Just saying that the free demo is not supported is bad pr for a huge company.
     

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