Ares is a sci-fi real-time strategy action game developed by Nathan Lamont from Bigger Planet Software and published by Changeling Software in 1996 for Mac OS 9 (aka Classic). Nathan didn't earn any profit from the sales of the game, due to Changeling's poor marketing. Changeling Software became defunct in 1998, so Nathan modified Ares and re-released it as shareware by Ambrosia Software. Thanks to Ambrosia's marketing efforts, the game became successful and reached its peak in the late 1990s.
In 2008, Nathan Lamont released the original source code to Ares under the GNU GPL 2.0, and most of the media under the CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. This has produced Antares, which is a port of Ares for Mac OS X.
The player is cast as the commander of the U.N.S. Apollo, humankind's first interstellar vessel, dispatched at light speed to investigate the source of a signal broadcast at Earth from one hundred and fifty light years away. On reaching the source, the crew is told that, due to relativistic effects, Earth has by now been taken over by the religious Cantharan Order, and the signal was a ruse from the friendly Ishiman, who wished to maintain humanity as a free race; the Ishiman planned to find a new world for the crew of the Apollo. Although the advanced but peaceful Ishiman are unwilling to enter into direct war with the Cantharans, the Apollo's crew is able to persuade them to supply a limited amount of their technology in an attempt to free Earth. Upon undertaking their new mission, the ship is renamed the Ares.
The main game mechanic of Ares is the power to control any single built ship with top-down shooter controls while strategically commanding the rest of the fleet by giving nearby ships simple orders, or zooming out to get a more strategic view of all ships, planets and stations - from where the player carefully can control and manage the whole fleet. Ships are built using resources generated from planets and stations. Therefore, it is essential to capture and defend as many of them as possible to gain the upper edge on the opponents.
The single player mode contains a campaign of 21 missions, starting with simple patrol missions and ending with planetary invasions. In the campaign, the player mostly controls one out of six playable races - the humans, which is one of the less advanced races in the universe.
The multiplayer mode consists of five different game modes, in which each mode requires specific strategies to conquer - yet finding the right strategies can take time and adaption, as there are no clear descriptions of them in-game. Only in multiplayer, all six races can be played freely.