It was common for my sister and I to just hang out and play board games, and other self inventive ones also, sometimes all day long. I was 13 and she was just a year younger. One day, in the fall of 1988, as my sister and I were toying with some game ideas, we turned up with a huge map of Europe put together with single pieces of paper that comprised into the size of a large poster. The rough 2D drawings featured numerous provinces and castles of Europe. I came up with the rules of “world domination” based on strategy tactics of challenging provinces and their allies and conquering it. I called it “Das Tausendburgenspiel”, which in German means “The Thousand Castles Game” reflecting all the castles depicted on the map. The game was captivating to me, as elementarily designed as it was.
Since then, my academic studies have led me toward computer science. I never stopped playing strategy games. The two that impressed me were “Risk” and “Caesar (Atari)”. For some reason, I always had the game I invented in the back of my mind, and as I learned of other games, it seemed natural to further develop that game. Musing over it one day, I decided to apply a multiplayer format to it that allows players to interact online from all over the world. It made sense to have players from all over the world as this is a strategy game of world domination. Because the foundational characters of this game dealt with provinces, castles, kings, queens, prince, princesses, knights, peasants and so on, really the whole existing mindset stemmed from the Dark Ages, it seemed logical to call it “Aevum Obscurum”. Latin for the Dark Ages.
Within couple of months of obtaining the domain name and the launch, over 2000 players registered. But too soon later, the service provider for the domain shut down the site because the game took up virtually almost all of their servers. A year later, I set up the game again at the university I was working and studying at but then the DSN entry for the database broke and forced the server to be offline too many times. Discouraged, I gave up on it. In a little while, I started getting a lot of emails from disappointed players. I was incited to re-start the game and managed to reprogram and set it up all over again. This brings me to year 2006. There is now an established player base with daily new players joining. Aevum Obscurum is proving to be an exciting addicting strategy game, and with continuous updating and enhanced features, I find it more intriguing all the time, as well as my players as they tell me. But now, well into year 2006 and about to enter 2007, my own costs of keeping up with maintaining the game to meet players’ demands is starting to weigh heavy. I needed to apply a very reasonable game fee to offset some of these costs. My request is to have players contribute an annual fee toward Aevum Obscurum so that this strategy game can continue to be enjoyed by players from all over the world!
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Money has been wasted on http://www.milliondollarscreenshot.com/. The Million Dollar Screenshot site has a click-through-rate of couple of cents per click. Compared to $1 per click for standard deals on professional gaming sites. Cheap! Let’s lure some people on the site!
On another note, clicks on Google Ads have generated $63.84 since the last 12 months. That’s about $5 per month. Last month (October) was $7.06.
Reporting the first paying customer after 2.5 weeks! Thanks for the support.
It’s time for some stats. I was actually hoping to gain some momentum with 2.5.0, but I am not so sure about that anymore. We’ll see …
Registered Players: 7314
Total Number of Logins: 99292
Total Active Users (5L): 993 (>= 5 logins)
Total Active Users (100L): 227 (>= 100 logins)
Total Active Users (500L): 39 (>= 500 logins)
Current Active Users (14d): 148 (active last 7 days / registration 14 days or earlier)
Current Active Users (6M): 26 (active last 7 days / registration 6 months or earlier)
Current Number of Active Games: 251
Paying Members: 0 (since 2.5.0)
Monthly Costs (Hosting + Other): $90
Other stats of interest? I got others, but I do not want to give out private player data.
XCalibur has been declared the first tournament Champion! Congratulations. XCalibur has gracefully surrendered his prize which will go into a new tournament: “XCalibur Tournament”. The new tournament will start on December 19! It’s free to enter. The tournament prize is $50 – winner takes all and includes a certificate. The Europe Tournament 16 map will be used for game play.
The final standing (Players alive):
I finally managed to upload version 2.5.0! I did a major graphics update (I hope I am not the only one seeing it as major?). You might also want to check the web site which has been completely redesigned:
I hope the new look is cool with everyone? I have to admit, I am little bit worried about players complaining about it as well as the whole payment feature that’s new. I have to say to my defense, that all current players have a full membership account already! Nobody signed up so far will have to pay a dime. There is a campain now although it’s only single-player and the AI is still pretty weak.
From my business-perspective, I hope somebody is willing to put down some money? I wonder how many weeks it takes until someone finally steps down and is willing to pay the full membership fee? After all, it’s not mandatory and it does not give much of an advantage compared to regular members. You can create single-and multiplayer games, that’s about it. If I get 5 players a month willing to pay the 1-year fee, it covers the hosting/monthly fees I am paying now! That would be cool! Also, no, I am not planning to add any more restrictions – I want to keep the basics free for everyone!
Another concern might be the security of that whole payment system. Not sure what to say, but I would be glad to open the code to interested parties, however, it’s rather large. And yes, it’s safe! Credit card information are sent encrypted all the way from client, to the AO server, to ProPay for settlement (RSA + triple-DES). Also, I am not logging/storing any credit card numbers, so whatever happens to the server, the data is just safe because I don’t have it (except the billing statement). And I even used two of my credit cards to test the system. Going through smooth ;-)