As you may remember we had a fundraising campaign to support one of the developers working full-time on the game for a month. It was a success and we got the money needed. However, it took a while until one of our programmers (Philip Taylor) had the time to start this work, but now he's started. Below is his summary of the first week of work.
First some background information: I've been involved with 0 A.D. since 2004, and like everyone else I've been working in my free time (increasingly limited as an undergraduate and then PhD student) since it's been fun and a great way to gain practical experience. This kind of game takes a huge amount of effort to create - an end is nearly in sight, but there's still a lot left to do and it needs more time spent on it. Thanks to donations from supporters of the game, I now have the opportunity to devote a month of full-time work to the project and make useful progress on various long-standing challenges. If you think this kind of work seems worthwhile, we're asking for donations to support more of it!
Currently I've done the first week of the work. I've posted some progress reports in the forum, but here's a quick summary.
One of the most commonly requested features is saving in single-player games. I've implemented that now - you can simply hit the "save game" button when playing ...
... and then select "load game" from the menu screen ...
... and it will let you continue from where you left off. This isn't perfect yet (it needs AI compatibility and better UI) but the fundamentals are working, and it will be tidied up before the next alpha release.
Another new feature is the ability to reconnect to a multiplayer match while it is still running. If you are disconnected when playing (by an unreliable internet connection, or perhaps by the game crashing), you no longer have to abandon the match - you can simply connect to the server again, and it will launch you back into the match in a few seconds. (Technically, the server makes a saved game and then uploads it to you, then you can load it and join back in). The process looks like this:
I've also started working on a new tool for recording and analysing the game's performance with support for multi-threading and for detecting occasional freezes or inconsistent framerates. This won't be directly useful for players but it should help with optimisation work, and the plan is to spend the next one or two weeks improving the pathfinding and AI performance to ensure the game remains playable even with large maps and large numbers of units.
As he mentioned you now have the ability to keep him working for more than a month by contributing to our new Pledgie:
The Pledgie page has all the info, but just one thing before you leave: If you aren't able to pay any money yourself you could still help by linking to this page or the Pledgie page directly to help make other people aware of it.