There are two to four teams (green, red, blue, and yellow). Each player pilots a ship of his or her team's color. The ships move around a plane. There are obstacles which the ships cannot pass through (walls, areas with no floor, etc.)
Capture the Flag
In "Capture the Flag" mode, a team wins by bringing the other team's or teams' flags to their own flagpost corresponding to the color of the flag. A team may have multiple flags. There are also neutral flags, which are white. A player carrying a flag moves more slowly than normal; also, he or she cannot use a teleporter or move "against" a conveyor belt.
If a player drops a team flag (not white), a player from that team or another opposing team can pick up the flag after a few seconds. If a player touches their own dropped flag or the flag is left alone for a certain time, the flag is returned to its home post immediately. Neutral flags do not return by themselves.
In "switch" or "button" mode, the map has one or more switches on it. A player "claims" a switch for their team by touching it. A team wins by gaining control of all the switches.
There is no team objective in this mode. Players only attempt to kill each other to gain a high score.
The game has developed into a cult hit since the first beta releases, and its small but devoted fanbase has followed it for several years. Initially ARC was hosted on a server rented out by Hoopy, and clients ran it via Hfront (Hoopy Front End). The original developers of ARC, John Vechey (jv) and Brian Fiete (bf), took ARC to Total Entertainment Network (TEN) (now pogo.com) in 1998 for its 1.0 release. In 1999, TEN went under and ARC appeared to go with it. But by December 1999, World Opponent Network (WON) had acquired ARC and began to run another beta test. During this time, WON attempted to make ARC a source of income, by adding advertisements into the game interface. However, the idea never got off the ground, and WON suffered the same fate as TEN in 2001. The future of ARC was again uncertain, but Sierra Entertainment kept ARC going under much the same operation as WON had. However, in a fairly expected turn of events, Err0r resigned on April 29, 2005. The future of ARC is uncertain
The timeframes are rough.
1995 - 1998: Hoopy/Hfront (subdivided into the versions of ARC, e.g. beta32, beta40, beta45, beta52, beta60)
1998 - March 1999: TEN
Dec 1999 - Feb 2001: WON
Feb 2001 - 2006: Sierra (Current)
Note: Sierra is currently owned by VUGames
ARC has a very strong community, perhaps the reason for its longevity. Some players have played for close to 10 years. The length of time a player has played is somewhat of a status symbol within the community, and players are frequently classified by when they started playing (see the ARC Eras). The community also revolves around clans and leagues.
Near the end of Hfront, a player named sedition organized a tournament he called Clanwars. This single elimination tournament had plenty of problems, but when TEN arrived, Clanwars came under new management and became ARC's first league: the Arc Premier League. The APL and other leagues ran seasons and tournaments between the clans, mostly for pride, but occasionally a prize was offered. Naming of the chat lobbies on TEN was a prize for the first APL, and a few seasons later, APL was sponsored by Diamond Multimedia, resulting in the winning clan receiving mp3 players..w00t
bf - Brian Fiete, co-founder of Hoopy Entertainment
jv - John Vechey, co-founder of Hoopy Entertainment
C:\ - Josh Langley, graphics designer
bob - Hoopy webmaster and server administrator
WarPig - Jason Kapalka - Hoopy, TEN liaison
Err0r - Andy Fewtrell - Lead Admin (Retired)
Osiris - Head Administrator of ARC throughout Sierra Era. R.I.P. (From-to: date?)