For all you race fans out there, don't think that your days on the tracker lapping the newbies have been for nothing. A group of players have set up something that quickly sorts the weak from strong, the fast from the slow, and the crack bunnies from the Sim-only's.
This is the Redline Racing League, or RRL for short. The RRL is an idea that orginated almost as soon as Ambrosia released Redline to the world. The first incarnation of this group occured in late 2006, and was created without any assistance from Ambrosia or it's crew. Set up by the fans, for the fans! This first league was rather short and simple with only a few races with 4 to 5 racers. Quick, dirty, great fun and over sadly too quickly. But, the idea wasn't dead, it was simply ahead of it's time. This sim-only racing setup suffered from a small player base and a limited choice of tracks and cars. But, with the explosive interest from the Mac racing community and Ambrosia foresight to include the ability for fans to expand upon the game, it was only a matter of time where this would all come together.
The league appeared to sit on the back burner for a while, but with the release of hi-grade, hi-quality plugin tracks like Pembrey, Brands Hatch, and Bardagi Road, there was finally a large enough mix of stock tracks and add-on tracks to allow for a much longer season with a great deal of racing variety.
Redline has also gone from the nineteen built-in game cars to more than forty cars in at least six classes, depending on who's counting and who's racing.
The Redline Racing League, which had been simmering quietly until May 2007, suddenly came to a boil when the racing community decided it was high time for the Sim racers to demonstrate what racing was all about.
Signup proceeded briskly, with 32 players quickly registering, blowing past all estimates of participation. First races were delayed while the rules were rewritten to accomodate so many players. The first two sessions have been races, with races proceeding until August 19.
Race participants all take redlogs, which are available on the Redline Racing League site.
Interviews and commentary will be available in the near future, so folks are encouraged to download and look at what the RRL is today!
Once the Summer Season is finished, the post mortem will begin. Rules will be modified based on experience, and the Autumn Season will be open for all comers!
The RRL 2007 has a bright future so far, it looks like. Questions and comments can be posted on the Redline forum, or sent to Race Director "ElGuapo7" or Webmaster of the RRL "Brook".
Rules and Regulations are available on the RRL website:
Download the latest version of Redline.
Download the latest add-ons (cars, tracks, etc...).
I have to be honest, having this job is good, especially when I get to test out all the games before the public release. The job is only the better when this 2D scrolling fanatic got his hands on the underwater adventure game Aquaria.
Like Ulysses, in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, you too might have to be tied to the mast when you hear of Ambrosia's newest singing aquatic heroine. Because this game is amazing, addictive, and unfortunately not available.
Like the sirens from that great tale, this little character uses songs to get what she wants. It's no surprise that this is the Winner of the Independent Games Festival's Seumas McNally Grand Prize. From the moment you start the game, you are swallowed up by the sea, the sounds, and the stunning visuals.
Aquaria is a non-linear side-scrolling game that is extremely easy to pick up and learn. The game progresses gradually, so you don't have to worry about combat until you're prepared. You play as Naija, a lonely sea creature who has led a simple, feral life - never questioning the strange world around her. That is until one fateful day, when a mysterious figure appears - inspiring Naija to begin a journey to undercover the history of Aquaria.
The ruins of this once great civilization are everywhere, and as you play through the game you uncover abilities and songs to help you move through the entire world of Aquaria.
Each song is sung by notes you access while holding down a single key or mouse button. Some songs interact with the environment itself helping you lift boulders, open doors and affect the creatures around you...
...while others actually change Naija to different forms to battle baddies, swim faster, or simply light the ways in times of darkness.
The levels are vast, with tunnels, caves and seemingly endless corners to explore. Each area has such a distinct look, that it's hard to imagine that this was created only by two determined individuals.
This is the truest nature of what Ambrosia's games are meant to be: Fun and unique - with additive, elegant game play. The developers are working as quickly as they can to finish this game, and I know the public will be extremely excited about getting their flippers, fins, fingers on this underwater fantasy adventure.
What's beautiful, addictive, and able to make hardcore gamers put down their copies of Unreal, Halo, and StarCraft to take notice. If you answered a beautiful woman offering caffeine, then you are close. What I'm referring to is Ambrosia latest game DEFCON, the online, multiplayer strategy game that has you fighting your opponents with thermonuclear weapons.
Ambrosia's PR man and resident Schmoozehound, John Champlin, recently was invited to demonstrate this game, as well as many others, at Nazareth College for their first ever official LAN party being held in the Golisano Academic Center. Laden heavy with games, computers, and prizes for the winners, John showed up to see a surprisingly large group of games both from the PC and Mac side.
He sat up a small Ambrosia HQ between the walls of machines with custom lighting, detailed paint jobs, and other tricked out computers that would give "Pimp-my-Ride" a run for it's overly flashy money! Within moments people perked up excited to see "The People who made EV Nova" here at the gathering. It was a solid evening, speaking with people proclaiming how they had lost many hours in school over playing our games over the years. "Bubble Trouble X was my addiction in 10th grade", "GooBall got me through Finals Week last year", "Uplink is Greater than Awesome", and many other highly quotable comments came pouring in from fans, stunned to learn of our local status. Not surprisingly there were very few folks in attendance that were unaware of the company.
Midway through the evening, while the other tournaments dwindled and came to a close, the Ambrosia demonstration was broadcast over the large projector in the front of the room. With videos and demos of all the games being shown in larger than life style, people quickly shifted from the dull first person shooters and watched the dotted lines of nukes across the screen, or the smoking tires leaping from the starting line. Going down the list of games found on the Ambrosia DVD, there was something there for everyone.
A chance at DEFCON Tournaments captured the attention of the party goers, also the announcement that the winners would be getting free stuff didn't hurt either. The interoperability between the Mac and PC meant that everyone could play. Tournament machines were being set up as groups sat down to learn the tutorial and plan their techniques to attack.
An hour of game play had whittled down the players to the remaining few who seemed quite at home with destroying the world with nuclear weapons. In the end, when the smoke cleared and the radiation returned to safe levels, the Master of ThermoNuclear War was crowned, as he didn't really win, but in truth lost the least.
As the tournament played on, demos of Ambrosia's racing game Redline was also shown to the hungry masses. With the projector showing the stunning graphics and surround sound system playing sound effects and pumping music from iTunes, the car races seemed epic, within minutes those that had drifted from DEFCON, found themselves behind the wheel and racing for the finish line.
The party went on from 8pm, well past 2 in the morning when the PR guy finally ran out of steam, and surprisingly words, as most of the evening was filled with Ambrosia related game-play and praise for the company offering free shwag. As he loaded up his equipment he could still hear the sounds of an assortment of Ambrosia Games being played through the room. With the gamers happy with new games on their system, and the masses more fashionable with Ambrosia Clothing on their back, John rode off towards the overly caffeinated horizon, to spread truth, justice, and the enjoyment of thermonuclear war to the Mac and PC.
Story and Artwork by John Champlin
(With severe apologizes to Random House and Dr. Seuss)
All the Crew
down in Ambrosia
Liked Christmas a lot...
who lived in a cage in the office
She did NOT!
Hector hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
Whatever the cause and we have no real clue,
She stood there on Christmas eve, hating the crew
For she knew all the crew at Ambrosia Software
was busy being gleeful with out a single care.
And the crew they'd do something, She liked least of all!
All the crew of Ambrosia,the tall and the small,
They would not come to work, and stay home for the day
Their computers stayed off, no one programming away.
"Why for 10 birdy years, I've put up with it now!
I must stop this Christmas from coming!
... But HOW?"
"I know just what to do!" Hector laughed in her throat
With her little birdy wings she made a Santy Claus hat and a coat
"All I need is a reindeer..." Then Hector looked around
In rochester, reindeer are scarce, there are none to be found
Did that stop our Hector...? NO! Hector simply said,
"If I can't find a reindeer, I'll make one instead!"
So she searched the office and the only dog to be found
Was Driver, the Rhodesian Ridgeback Hound
Out of old computer parts and office supplies
She built a quick sleigh right before the dog's eyes
To be pulled by her pseudo-reindeer named Driver
Was a sled that looked created by an evil MacGuyver
Loaded with bags, on this ramshackle sleigh
Hector started on her plan to ruin everyone's day.
The first home she came to was the receptionist Charlene
Her evil plan was simple to pick the place clean
All the Programmers and Artists in Ambrosia's Crew
Were robbed and stolen from and nothing they could do
Yes Andrew's house was last on the list to defame
Hector smiled to herself, as she checked off his name.
Down the chimney she went,needing no house key
To steal all the goodies from Andrew, Polly, and Moki
She stuffed all the bags up the chimney with glee
"And Now!" grinned Hector "I will stuff up the tree"
Grabbed in her talons, Hector held onto the Tree
She pulled and she tugged the spruce up the chimney
When she heard a small sound like buzz of a bee
She turned around fast and saw the face of Polly
She stared at Hector and said "Santy Claus, Why,
Why are you taking our Christmas tree? WHY?"
In her little bird brain a lie had planted it seed.
She said "a new tree is needed for Moki has peed,
Your Christmas tree is soiled, my sweet little tot
no worries at all, I'll get a new one at the tree lot.
So, I'm taking it out, so it won't bother you my dear.
I'll be back in the flash, I'll bring a new one back here."
There are no big Mountains for all these presents to take
So, her only real options were to push them into the lake
With the Ambrosia Crew's presents and the home decor
Hector would not need to worry of Christmas No More
"When the Crew wakes up, I'll know it will be fun"
"They will scream and shout, and call 9-1-1"
"Their mouths hanging open, and fire in their eyes"
"They'll scream into the phone 'I hope the person dies'!"
"What a nice little sound, that I really want to hear"
So, Hector turned her head and strained with her ear
To catch the sound of the Ambrosia Crew crying
as they realized that the holiday season lay dying.
Hector was right, there was no sound of merry
Just the screaming of people, that sounded quite scary
Hector laughed, knowing Christmas was quite dead
The crew with out presents were all seeing red,
for the first time in eons she felt sort of bad
for the holidays were ruined, and should she feel sad
She looked at the sleigh, and felt an odd feel
For she had taken their presents and even their meal
Should she bring it all back, all the things she did take
She shook her head "NO" and pushed them into the lake
All the presents sank down to the icy cold bottom,
And Hector sat laughing cause she knew she got them
For their holiday was ruined, and no one could save
Any of the food, or the presents they gave
And what happened then...?
Well... at Ambrosia they say
The little birdy vanished
in an odd sort of way
Her perch was left empty
only a few feathers were found
The empty shells of peanuts still litter the ground
The Ambrosia Crew still had a large xmas feast
Andrew himself carved up the roast parrot beast.
From all of us here,
the Ambrosia Software Crew
Hope your holidays are fun,
and your New Years is Too!
Moral of the story:
We have the holidays off, and Hector is evil.
You sit in your less than comfy chair, idly filling the hours at work. The desk is cluttered with papers, pens, old coffee cups and random stickies informing you of items to get before returning home tonight. The glare of the computer screen has made your eyes tired, and your arms feel numb from the constant tapping of the keys. As you think about making yet another stroll to the water cooler to take a break, you hear a ringing. Realizing that this ringing is coming from beneath the pile of TPS reports, flow charts, and yellow tabs of paper haphazardly tossed across the desk. Pushing the slovenly buildup of work remnants aside you pull your cell phone free. On the screen it flashes the name "Unknown Caller"... Wondering who it might be you press the connect button and the ringing is cut short as you horsely ask who this is. The response is a deep foggy voice, a mechanical one stating it has the information you have been searching for. Information from sources you never realized could be hacked. A promise to end the boring evenings with hopes of something for the future. This mysterious figure harkens back to the cold war days, when all information was passed not by internet cables, but by men meeting in dark alleys and old dirt roads.
The deep voice of the speaker says this to you: "A new beta is coming, Ambrosia doesn't want you to know about it yet. But, I can offer what the future holds for games and utilities. Answer this now. Do you want it?"
While all the other Ambrosia crew members are busily filling their day with work, the Ambrosia PR Guru, John "MagnusApollo" Champlin has taken it upon himself to sneak out some news from the inner sanctum of the Ambrosia Offices. He has become the proverbial man inside, the mysterious figure in the shadows all for the benefit of the Ambrosia Fans.
If you look back at all the great games that Ambrosia has offered, you will see a certain trend. Nothing overly bloody, generally a good happy game, where you might have to kill off some cartoon-style bad guys to progress... Nothing that seems as though you would be nervous showing grandma should she walk up behind you during game play. Well, the new game coming out from Ambrosia is very much the same... Except that you are annihilating most of the human population by lobbing Nuclear (nuclur?) warheads like a person throwing ping-pong balls at a fair trying to win a goldfish. Yes, that's right, when Ambrosia decides to have a game where you are going to be killing people, we don't go for the bland ol' first person shooter.... Nooo no no, my friend. Ambrosia goes all out.
This is a first hands-on look at the elegantly simple, beautiful, and highly destructive game: DEFCON.
If you are a person that sits for ages with friends trying to strategically organize your fleets, troops, and other weapons of war in games like Risk, or my personal favorite Axis and Allies, then you are going to love this game. Though, you have to keep on your toes as DEFCON is a fast paced melee that has you at the edge of your seat from the moment the game starts.
You play the role of a military Commander hidden deep within an Underground bunker. Your mission - to successfully exterminate your enemy's civilian population whilst disabling their ability to attack your own. Pretty much, kill as many folks as you can, and try not to loose any of your own.
The game has a built in tutorial, something I'm thankful for. As the first time playing it I simply threw caution to the wind and attempted to figure it out on the fly. This of course ended with me with zero defense, no offensive fleets, and a lot of dead bodies to bury. After learning how to control my fleet, tricks to using my forces at my command, was ready to really sink my teeth into it.
You and 5 other players are able to divide up the globe for battle. You can join forces or play all against each other, and with a bit of added fun, you can join forces without some of your enemies realizing this. Once the players are there, and you have decided the locations on the globe you will play, it's ready to roll.
DEFCON 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Defense Conditions are what keep this game moving, and what keeps it from ending to quickly. Thanks to this countdown system, each player gets a chance to place their units and get things set, and makes for interesting stages of game play, inevitably moving towards total annihilation.
Use your planes and fleets to move in close to the enemy territory to learn where their ICBM launch sites are, to scope out the enemies. fly your bombers and fighters in to destroy air bases, radar arrays, and air defense. Once your path is clear, it's time for the nuclear rain. Some points of the game might be a bit slow, like when your fleets are moving. But, the developers thought of this.. as you can speed up game play. Moving 4 times the rate before might get your ships around the cape of good hope faster, but it also means that those 10 nukes on their way into the heartland, are also moving 4 times as fast.
Visually this game is captivating in the simplistic way it shows the globe, the country borders, even the ships, and others weapons of war are so crisp that I found myself staring at the screen quite often forgetting I should be destroying humanity. If you want to sit back and watch the AIs have a go and making a mess of the place, I suggest clicking on the "Rolling Demo" and watch as war rages across earth in brightly colored lines and flashes. Add to that a sound track and music score that fits the mood so well, that Hollywood couldn't do better.
Who knew Armageddon could be so fun?!
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