0 A.D. is a free, open-source, cross-platform real-time strategy (RTS) game of ancient warfare. It's a historically-based war/economy game that allows players to relive or rewrite the history of twelve ancient civilizations, from Iberia to Mauryan India, each depicted at their peak of economic growth and military prowess. Developed using Pyrogenesis, a ground-breaking new game engine custom-built to suit this project, 0 A.D. will give players a rich and entertaining real-time gaming experience.

Report article RSS Feed A year in review

It's been an interesting year for 0 A.D. Read up on what's new since the last IOTY and to get a glimpse of what's coming in the future.

Posted by feneur on Dec 18th, 2011

How ready is the game?
The game is playable, both single-player skirmishes against AIs and multiplayer matches against one or more opponents. There are still some important features missing, among the more significant are: technologies, a multiplayer lobby and diplomacy.

Posted Image
The setup screen for multiplayer games showing the options for random map scripts, one of the new features since last year. As well as the new GUI. Click the image to see it in greater detail.

What are some of the bigger improvements since the last IOTY?
Since the last IOTY we have added two of the remaining civilizations: the Iberians and the Carthaginians. In the upcoming Alphas we will add the final two, the Persians and the Romans. We have added several important gameplay features, including: Territories which adds new strategic options - limit your opponents access to resources by expanding, but don't expand too fast or you might not be able to defend it all. Unit stances, control the behaviour of your units - will they be defensive and only attack enemies coming near them or aggressive and follow them? A new AI, and the basic system to support many more. Random map scripting, with random maps the map doesn't have to look the same every time you play on it - a couple of maps are included, but users can easily create new ones if they have enough JavaScript knowledge. Unit promotions allows your citizen soldier units to become better fighters as they gain experience, remember to produce new citizen soldiers to have the most effective economy though as the higher promotion they achieve the less adept they are at economic skills. We've also updated the GUI in general and the main menu in particular, the old one had been used more or less since the project was started so it was in great need of an update. Another update which was pretty small, but that made a big difference was the change of FOV from 20 to 45. A less technical description is that 45° makes it look more 3D than 20°. The best is probably to take a look for yourself, see the following screenshots to compare: 20° and 45°. Open them up in two tabs in your browser and toggle back and forth to quickly see the difference.

How much has going OS promoted development so far?
During the last year being Open Source has proved very beneficial, both in code and art. We've seen several contributors going from Open Source contributors to becoming official team members, and also people who prefer to stay non-team members but continue to contribute in their own pace and in cooperation with the team. It's also proved a valuable way to evaluate possible applicants as we can ask them to prove that they are able to for example create a 3D model and then put it in the game for us to see.

Posted Image
Rally point marker line, the line going from the building to the rally point. One of the things implemented by an open source contributor (our key word for anyone who contributes to the game without being a part of the official team).

What's next?
Upcoming is our eighth Alpha which includes the following major new features: Barter (exchange one resource for another), qbot (a new AI), the Persian civilization (many completely remodeled buildings and reskinned/re-animated units as well as new maps), better selection boxes (removes many of the previous issues where clicking on one unit/empty space often resulted in something else being selected), saving and loading of games, the ability to reconnect to multiplayer games if the connection is lost or if the game crashes on your computer, new and extended profiler, new music tracks, new sound files, new art, performance fixes and a host of smaller fixes and additions.

Posted Image
A screenshot showing the new feature "Barter" in the market. As well as some of the new Persian buildings included in the upcoming Alpha 8. Click the screenshot to see the image in greater detail.

Some major features we hope to include in the next couple of Alphas: The Romans will be included meaning that all civilizations will be available, there is still much to do in terms of smaller fixes and updates though. Technologies, at first the system has to be implemented and over time the tech trees for the different civilizations will be implemented as well. There is also work on a redesigned sound system (which will mean sound will finally be supported on Macs, and will also add a bunch of new features as well as help get rid of bugs), the first part of it should be included in Alpha 8, but to most users it will not be noticeable until later when more features are added. A custom multiplayer lobby server, and more. 

Post comment Comments
Tpiom
Tpiom Dec 19 2011, 9:48am says:

An interesting read... I might have told you this already, or maybe I haven't? But anyway, this is the game I'm looking forward to most - of ALL games (including the commercial ones)

Also, campaigns will be included in the *final* release, right? :)

+8 votes     reply to comment
Heaney
Heaney Dec 19 2011, 2:50pm says:

Looks great!

I haven't been following this game for a while, have you added the Romans yet?

+1 vote     reply to comment
feneur
feneur Dec 19 2011, 3:10pm replied:

A hint, read the last paragraph ;) But no, not yet, they will be added in an upcoming Alpha. As it looks now Alpha 9 (not the one we will release really soon, but the next one), but at least within the next couple of Alphas :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
Heaney
Heaney Dec 23 2011, 8:02am replied:

Sorry I didn't read down to the last paragraph :S

+1 vote     reply to comment
AirborneSn1p3r
AirborneSn1p3r Dec 19 2011, 3:39pm says:

great, nice little review of the year

+2 votes     reply to comment
myles
myles Dec 19 2011, 5:58pm says:

Nice going guys, I'm glad that going Open Source worked out for you. So how modable is the engine now? Tanks? Battleships? Jets? :P

+2 votes     reply to comment
feneur
feneur Dec 20 2011, 11:22am replied:

Tanks and battleships should be possible without too much work apart from the modelling/texturing. Jets are likely to take more work as they need to work a bit differently. We do have some demo flying units though, so the flying part should already be there. It's more the landing etc that needs more work, and perhaps some other things that need tweaking. Shouldn't be too hard if you're determined though :)

+4 votes     reply to comment
myles
myles Dec 20 2011, 8:07pm replied:

Awesome, thats great to hear. Would you suggest to wait for the next release before starting to create mods for it?

+2 votes     reply to comment
feneur
feneur Dec 22 2011, 7:18am replied:

Depends on the scope of the mod I'd say. If it's large enough to require a lot of planning I'd say starting as soon as possible is a good idea ;) Since the next release should be out this week you can just as well wait for that for that matter though :)

Depending on how much you will want to rely on the 0 A.D. gameplay features you may want to wait longer or shorter amounts of time before actually implementing things. Creating 3D models, designing how you want the mod to play, etc can be started as soon as you would like. And implementing could start soon as well, the only issue would be that there's always a risk that something changes in the main game that means that you will have to change something in your mod. On the other hand most things shouldn't change that much, and once you are into it they should be quick to implement. For example, in Alpha 9 we hope to add a RPS (rock-paper-scissors) system where units have bonuses against each other, and for that the unit template XMLs will have to be edited a bit from what they look like now. Things like that. If you want to avoid having to do such things you might want to wait until we get into Beta to actually implement it. Up to you.

I suggest you start asap though, things like this tends to take time :)

+4 votes     reply to comment
myles
myles Dec 22 2011, 7:59am replied:

Thanks for the excellent explanation :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
DaggerClassStudio
DaggerClassStudio Dec 19 2011, 9:05pm says:

Very Interesting :), looks like this will be the best out of these type of games available out there... Carthaginian s will be fun to play as, so will the Romans, but to be honest, all will be enjoyable and exciting to play as.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Wulfburk12
Wulfburk12 Dec 23 2011, 5:36pm says:

So i guess its time to change the name from alpha to beta? Seems quite developed!

+1 vote     reply to comment
feneur
feneur Jan 1 2012, 6:34pm replied:

We will change the name from Alpha to Beta once we have all the essential gameplay features done. Beta should be for when we test, balance, fix bugs, improve performance and perhaps add visual enhancements (along the lines of bloom etc, though I'm personally not a fan of that specific effect, but it seems there are others who are, so who knows :) ).

+1 vote     reply to comment
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0 A.D. Empires Ascendant
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Developer & Publisher
Wildfire Games
Engine
Pyrogenesis
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