Thursday, August 17, 2006

Armadillo Run

Name: Armadillo Run
Author: Peter Stock
License: Commercial

Armadillo Run is a great example of an indie computer game. It shows what one programmer with a good idea can do. Armadillo Run is basically a sophisticated physics simulator turned into a game. The quality and realism of the simulator is impressive.

The goal of each level is to guide the basketball, which they claim is an armadillo, to the blue region. It must stay in the blue region for a few seconds to complete the level. To do this, you have to build a contraption using rope, cloth, metal bars, metal sheets, elastic, rubber, and rockets. The physical properties of the items are modeled remarkably correctly.

To make things interesting, you operate under a budget. Each level comes with a limit on how much you can spend. The various items each have a different price tag. Staying using budget is the hard part. You actually want to come in under budget on enough levels. Every time you accumulate $1000 of unused funds, one of ten bonus levels is unlocked.

On top of the tutorial, there are 50 levels. Even though the goal in each level is the same, the mechanisms which you build vary greatly. In some levels, you just have to build a ramp. In others, you have to build a jump, swing, see-saw, catapult, or scoop. The variety of structures shows the robustness of the model.

Armadillo Run is not perfect. The levels must be completed in order. Most of the levels require precision placement of the pieces. Even when you have basic idea right, you often have to fine tune it to complete the level. The graphics are minimal, but functional.

One of the best things about Armadillo Run is its fan support. There are best solutions to each of the levels. You see how your solutions compare with the best. You can also sneak a peak if you get stuck or want to unlock a bonus level. Then are a wide variety of additional levels. Some of these are really hard. There is also a forum where you can get a hint.

For a little background on Armadillo Run, check out the postmortem at Gamasutra.

There is a series of bridge construction games by Chronic Logic which are similar to Armadillo Run: Pontifex, Bridge Construction Set, and Bridge It. The goal in these games is to build a bridge which can withstand the weight and stress of traffic (car and train) passing over it.

I learned about Armadillo Run from Fun-Motion, a blog specializing in physics based games. This is a great gaming blog by Matthew Wegner. He puts a lot of effort into his site. His reviews usually include video clips instead of screen shots. Well not all of the games are logic/puzzlers, Fun-Motion is worth a regular read.


At 6:27 AM, Anonymous kamagra said...

Armadillo Run is the title of a transport puzzle video game created by Peter Stock,I have been playing it since 2006, I think that it is one of the most interesting ,The game has been well received by reviewers!!22dd


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