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Friday, January 14, 2005

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MWSF: IMG Chats With Ambrosia's Welch
7:50 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

IMG managed to snag some valuable time with Andrew Welch, President of Ambrosia Software at Macworld Expo San Francisco today. As most gamers are aware, Ambrosia is currently working on four different titles for release: GooBall, Redline, Darwinia, and El Ballo.

GooBall, as discussed in a previous article, has players take the roll of a ball of goo, maneuvering through a variety of fantastic worlds in an attempt to reach a series of goals. Easily the most approachable of the games coming out, some new info we dug up today includes the ability to post high scores online for competitive reasons as well as the fact that the game is very nearly complete, and is expected to be available in a few weeks.

Redline, which is currently several months away from release, looks like just another racer at first glance. What sets it apart is a number of items. One of the most notable of these is that a huge amount of work has gone into making this game playable via keyboard controls. Beta testers have contributed much input, and the control scheme has been tweaked so that each car has a different feel to it, even via keyboard controls. Welch stressed that he wants this one to be playable from a laptop, and it's remarkable how well the game controls even when using the simple arrangement of arrow keys.

Other notable features for Redline include a sophisticated engine, which boasts a different physics model for each individual wheel on a given car, smooth internet play (which has been tested between U.S. and European players), and the fact that both cars and tracks are included as plug-ins, meaning it should be simple for interested tinkerers to create and add their own vehicles and tracks. Some examples cited include a flying carpet and a Good Humor ice cream truck, each with its own handling and feel.

Darwinia, which is slated for a mid-February release, is a difficult title to describe. One of those "have to see it to appreciate it" titles, it's best described as an RTS with a retro-look that is nevertheless beautiful to behold. The premise of the story is that a computer system has gone out of control, and it's up to the player to retake the system, with the help of some AIs known as Darwinians.

The look of the game borrows heavily from old-school arcade games and the venerable movie Tron. Polygons are made obvious in the construction of environments and characters, with a sky made up of floating squares, triangular mountains, and digital seas. The animation is silky-smooth, however, and gives one the impression of actually being in a digital universe. Tron fans in particular should take note of one of the units, which looks a lot like a Recognizer.

Creation of units is done in a unique manner - the player must actually draw shapes on the screen. Draw a triangle and a combat squad appears, while a 3-sided square creates an engineer.

Last on the list is El Ballo. We weren't able to get much information on this title, as it's still in early development. What we did see consists of an extremely cartoony world that looks a little mad, as well as features that slant the game towards the adults-only crowd.

Unity Technologies
Ambrosia Software
Introversion Software

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MWSF: IMG Chats With Ambrosia's Welch7:50 AM
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