USA Games News
Nov. 10, 2008
Welcome to the November issue of the USA Games News. Admittedly there is
not a lot of news to report this month, but what I do have to say is
good news. Especially, for those waiting for USA Games to release
Mysteries of the Ancients.
Since mid September USA Games has been exclusively been working on
Mysteries of the Ancients in every ounce of free time we can spare on
the project. As a result there is nothing to report on USA Raceway,
Final Conflict II, and other projects we are working on. So I plan to
devote this entire news letter to Mysteries of the Ancients. With that
said let's get to the news.
Mysteries of the Ancients
In the last issue of the USA Games News we told you that we had decided
to go back to the .NET based engine with Microsoft DirectX 9.0C for the
initial release of MOTA instead of the newer Java engine we were
working on. We are happy to announce that work on the .NET based
version of the game is going very very well. Fortunately for us we
already had put several months into the .NET based engine so it was
merely a matter of picking up where we had left off. As a result we are
beginning to actually get back on schedule, and we are closing in on a
stable test release for the private testers with in the month. Assuming
that test release is stable enough to go public it is possible that a
new demo may appear before Christmas. It all depends on if the new game
is stable enough to post at that time.
One of the questions that often comes up off list is what is different
about MOTA vs Montezuma's Revenge? That is a good question. Lots
really. There are both technical changes as well as many changes in
game play. The game's story also has been completely rewritten from
scratch to give the game a new and interesting plot. Below is a
description of the game and its new story.
The story. After Dr. Angela Carter receives a long lost Greek epic
about a mysterious Orb of Wisdom, created by the Goddess Athena, Angela
travels to Greece in search of the lost Orb of Wisdom. After quite a
lot of research Angela eventually locates an under ground labyrinth
where Athena had hidden the orb. Little does Angela know that this is
the beginning of her troubles.
Inside the underground labyrinth she must over come various traps
including: poison darts, metal spikes, pits of boiling lava, and
towering walls of fire. She must fight or flee several creatures like:
fire throwing centaurs, sword wielding skeleton warriors, and flying
harpies. Inside the temple Angela will locate various dropped items
such as daggers, swords, a bow and arrow, guns and ammo packs left
behind by previous explorers, ancient reed torches, various gold coins,
and more. If Angela Carter makes it to the Hall of Wisdom alive she
must defeat a giant dragon before she can possess the Orb of Wisdom.
Besides the story the engine itself has undergone months of redesign
and work. When I had initially created Montezuma's Revenge it was
created to be a stand alone game. That is all of the game's code was
designed specifically for that single game. When I began work on MOTA I
decided to start over with the game engine. What sets this new engine
apart from the old engine is that MOTA itself is a modified version of
the Genesis 3D engine designed to support 2D side-scrollers instead of
3D FPS games. What is nice about this is it has a common game core with
our Genesis engine so what changes we make to the engine can be easily
plugged into MOTA in future updates. Here is a real life example of how
sharing a common game core works to our advantage.
About a week ago while testing the latest test build of MOTA I
discovered Angela would not pick up certain items, open doors, or kill
monsters if they were to her left. It worked fine if they were to her
right. I eventually traced the error back to the GetDirection()
function which is contained in Genesis3D.dll for calculating the
direction to monsters, items, doors, whatever. I had messed up the
formula on accident when writing that function and I was getting some
pretty off the wall results. I corrected the formula, recompiled the
dll, and suddenly everything worked fine. Since games like Raceway and
STFC also depend on the Genesis3D.dll for many in game calculations,
Sapi support, etc as soon as I fixed the error in the dll all of my
current projects were simultaneously fixed at once. I modified one
file, one formula, and since the Genesis3D.dll is in a common build
directory the next time I compile STFC, Raceway, or something else the
new changes will take effect. Pretty cool eh?
Bottom line, I've put a lot of time and energy into making Mysteries of
the Ancients very stable, error free, and making it more modular based.
With the new engine being designed as it has it will be easier to
maintain, and upgrade as needed.
aside from the many technical changes in the upgrade of MOTA there is
a lot of new things in the game itself. As stated in the description of
the story there is an all new cast of enemy monsters to fight. Instead
of skulls you are faced with an army of skeleton warriors. These undead
guardians will attempt to slay you with their bronze age swords.
Fortunately, most of them are are easy to kill and they have limited
range of attack. The centaurs are another matter. These half-man
half-horse creatures are extremely fast and are able to throw magic
fireballs at you. If hit with one of these deadly fireballs you will
suffer serious damage. The flying harpies are the stuff of nightmares
and legend. These flying half-bird half-woman creatures will try and
rip you to shreds with their claws. If they can't attack you with
their sharp claws they will throw magic lightning bolts at you. If hit
with one of these magic lightning bolts you will suffer some serious
pain. So beware of their fast and deadly attacks. Last, but not least,
is a giant dragon that guards the Hall of Wisdom. Being a magic
creature itself there is only one weapon made which can slay this
New enemies aren't Angela's one and only worry. MOTA has a host of
deadly traps and dangers you must solve and face. You must leap over
giant fires, jump over pits filled with boiling lava, cross rows of
deadly spikes, avoid poison darts, and jump over deep chasms. You must
watch out for falling rocks and rolling boulders. There are several
deadly traps and as many ways to die as you carry out your treasure
Along the way you will be able to collect bottles containing a powerful
healing potion to restore your health.Each healing potion has been made
from the tears of the great Phoenix of legend. As in the tales of old
these Phoenix tears will quickly restore your health and strength so
that you can continue your quest.
Along the way you will discover several bags filled with gold coins.
While in arcade mode these bags of gold coins may earn you several
thousand points. So collecting them is a real treasure.
In various corridors and chambers you will discover burning torches.
These torches are made with several reeds bound by twine. Use these to
light your way and locate lost and dropped items that may be in darken
rooms and chambers.
In order to run Mysteries of the Ancients on your computer you must
meet the following system specifications. Windows XP SP2 or newer, a 1
GHZ Pentium processor or better, 256 MB of RAM or better, 50 MB of
available hard drive space, a Sapi 5.1 or 5.3 compatible TTS engine,
Microsoft .NET Framework v3.5, Microsoft DirectX March 2008 or newer, a
multi-channel soundcard, and a set of stereo headphones or speakers.
Optionally, any USB 10 button joystick or game pad.
If you wish to speak to USA Games Interactive you can contact us in the
For tech support, sales questions, and other general question you can
reach us at
If you wish to speak to me directly I can always be reached at
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