0 A.D. Alpha 7 Released With Dynamic Territory

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of “0 A.D. Alpha 7 Geronium”, the seventh alpha version of 0 A.D., a free, open-source game of ancient warfare. This alpha debuts Carthage, a mighty, versatile naval civilization, includes a dynamic border game mechanic, a new main menu and several new music tracks featuring live performances by professional musicians.

Easy Download and Install
Download and installation instructions are available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. 0 A.D. is free of charge and always will be. You can redistribute it and modify it as long as you abide by the GPL. You can even use parts of the art and sound for your own projects as long as you abide by CC-BY-SA. No “freemium” model, no in-game advertising, no catch.

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Top new features in this release:

  • All-new dynamic territory design. Territories change throughout the game based upon the structures built by the players. Each structure has a “weight” given to it and a radius within which this weight has an effect based on the importance of that building, and these values affect borders proportionally. If one of a player’s buildings falls into enemy territory due to shifting borders, then that building is planned to slowly lose loyalty until finally converting over to the enemy’s side. (In the meantime, in 0 A.D. Alpha 7 it loses health instead, until it is destroyed.) This can be stopped and slowly reversed if the border shifts and the building comes back to the player’s side.

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    Screenshot of Hellenes (red) engaging in combat with Carthaginians (blue) across a dynamically rendered border. CC BY SA Wildfire Games.

  • An all-new and unique Carthaginian civilization, including:
    • Revamped and rebalanced units.
    • A completely remodeled navy from the ground up.
    • New docks, Iberian, Celt, and Italian embassies, walls, and civic center.
    • Dozens of new shields, helmets, and props.
    • New Easter Egg objects, including a Tophet structure, Samnite warriors, and the Sacred Band of Ba’al.

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    First from top left: 1. Civic Center; 2. Temple; 3. Farmstead; 4. Corral; 5. Fortress; 6. Outpost/Scout Tower; 7. Houses; 8. Mill; 9. Italic Embassy; 10. Iberian Embassy; 11. Celtic Embassy; 12. Barracks; 13. Tophet (An “Easter Egg” structure for the Carthaginians) 14. Market, 15. Commercial Port, 16. Naval Shipyard. Second picture: Another shot of a Carthaginian city in 0 A.D. Third picture: Hellenic (blue stars on sails, rowboat) and Carthaginian ships (all the rest). Fourth picture: Carthaginian land units. All works CC BY SA Wildfire Games.

  • A brand new main menu design with new dynamic background, depicting the Spartan tradition of mothers sending off their sons to battle, telling them to come back either with their shield or on it. (Thanks, dashinvaine!). The menu and UI graphics have all been converted to the new style.
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    The new 0 A.D. main menu screen. CC BY SA Wildfire Games.
  • Music and Sound:
    • Several new tracks, all composed and directed by Omri Lahav, most featuring live percussion and flute segments (Thanks, percussionist Dror Parker and flutist Marta Mc’cave!):
      • Brand new 0 A.D. main theme, “Honor Bound”, to go with our new menu.
      • Carthaginian peace tracks “Peaks of Atlas” and “Mediterranean Waves”, featuring live percussion with a North African feel.
      • “Dried Tears” defeat music track.
      • Re-done Hellenic peace track, “Forging a City-State”, with awesome flute improvisation segment.
    • 100+ new sound effects from the DynamiteSoundBytes team, dozens of them audible in-game.

    <a href=”http://play0ad.bandcamp.com/album/0-a-d-soundtrack”>0 A.D. Soundtrack by Omri Lahav</a>

  • New maps: Carthaginians Sandbox (Demo Map); Siwa Oasis; Cycladic Archipelago IV; Gallic Fields; Migration (Thanks, SMST, NOXAS1, and Yodaspirine!)
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    Screenshot of the Siwa Oasis map. CC BY SA Wildfire Games.
  • Miscellaneous: New Palisade objects, including wall segments, gates, towers, and spikes; Lion, Lioness, Infant Giraffe, and Giraffe death animations (Thanks, Athos!); A new “Islands” Random Map Script (Thanks, howlingflute!); An all-new Roman Triumphal Arch Easter Egg object (Thank you, Brightgalrs!); A LOTR-like Elven ship Easter Egg object (Thanks, Shield Bearer!).
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    Elven ship Easter Egg object. CC BY SA Wildfire Games.

Please contribute! (REPORTERS/BLOGGERS, PLEASE MENTION THIS! We need your help to finish the game. Thanks.)
We are seeking contributors in programming, art, sound, web design, taking YouTube videos and more. These roles on the 0 A.D. development team are great if you want to brush up on your skills and update your portfolio, if you’re seeking a project for school with real-life applications, or if you care about the cause of free culture and software and are willing to work pro bono with a group of dedicated volunteers from all over the world.

Interested? Please register on our forums and start a new topic introducing yourself in the applications and contributions forum following these instructions.

Who were the Carthaginians?
The Carthaginians, or Punics, were an ancient civilization centered on the Phoenician city-state of Carthage, located outside what is now Tunis, Tunisia. The Carthaginian culture is one of the most mysterious of ancient times. Little remains of the Punics’ literature and none of their history, except what was recorded by their bitter enemies the Greeks and Romans. From these sources we deduce that Carthage was originally founded by Phoenician nobility from Tyre, a city in modern-day Lebanon, and it gained independence around 650 BC. Carthage soon became a formidable force in the western Mediterranean, eventually taking over much of North Africa and modern-day Spain. Over time, Carthage established a network of some 300 colonies and many tributary states, and forged exclusive trading rights agreements with various partners, effectively turning it into an economic powerhouse.

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First picture: Bilingual Latin and Punic inscription in Leptis Magna, modern-day Libya. CC BY NC SA Sebastia Giralt. Second picture: Punic inscription, modern-day Tunisia. CC BY NC SA cons. maximus.

Carthage was remarkable in other respects as well: Its political system was a mix of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, which relied on a system of checks and balances and ensured a form of public accountability; It had a pantheon of several interesting gods, including Ba’al, Ishtar and Tanit; And it posed a formidable military force, with several great differences between its ground forces and its navy.

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Carthaginian ruins with Tanit symbol in modern-day Tunisia. CC BY Neil Rickards.

Carthage’s ground forces were primarily made up of allied peoples and mercenaries, including Libyans, Numidians, Iberians and sometimes Greeks. Carthaginian citizens served in the ground forces almost exclusively as officers, and were only required to serve as infantry in special cases. This ethnic divide led to a deep suspicion of the ground forces among the Carthaginian elite. The Carthaginian navy was quite a different matter, though, as sailors were often recruited from the lower classes of Punic citizenry, which provided them with a stable income and career. No doubt, this contributed to Carthage going down in history as having one of the largest and strongest navies of ancient times.

Carthage went to war several times with Rome in a series of events that came to be called the Punic Wars. The First Punic War was a clash with Greeks and Romans over control of Sicily. By its end in 241 BC, however, Carthage had lost Sicily to Rome. Corsica and Sardinia soon followed. Later, Carthage conquered Hispania, sparking what would come to be known as the the Second Punic War (218 BC – 201 BC). By the end of the war, Hannibal had crossed the Alps in attempt to invade Italy from the north, and he had resoundingly defeated the Roman army in several battles, but never achieved the ultimate goal of causing a political break between Rome and its allies. Eventually, the war was taken to Africa, where Carthage was defeated at the Battle of Zama by Roman general Scipio Africanus. The end of the war saw Carthage’s control reduced to the city itself. Carthage’s vast area of influence was gone.

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Carthaginian dependencies and protectorates through the Punic Wars.

In the fifty years since the Second Punic War, Carthage visibly restored some of its wealth and martial power, yet was still a client state of Rome. A weak Carthage was arm-twisted by Rome to go to war and undergo an extended siege, ending in the city’s thorough destruction, in a conflict now known as Third Punic War (149–146 BC). All remaining Carthaginian territory was annexed by Rome, and over 50,000 people of Carthage were captured and enslaved. Thus, the Third Punic War ended Carthage’s independent existence.

The Punic language and ethnicity continued in other Punic cities, however. Records of people speaking Punic date as late as the days of Christian theologian St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), suggesting that Punic cultural identity survived centuries of foreign conquest.

In 0 A.D. the Carthaginians will have many bonuses that match their historic strengths. These include:

  • The widest selection of units – Because Carthage always relied on mercenaries to make up the bulk of their forces. The Carthaginians can build Iberian, Celtic, and Italian embassies, which are specialized barracks for mercenaries of these tribes.
  • The strongest walls – Because of Carthage’s famous triple walls.
  • The strongest navy – Because of the historical dominance of Carthage on the sea-lanes.
  • More profitable trading – Because of the stranglehold Carthage had over trade in the western Mediterranean.

(Sources: Israel Shatzman: A History of the Roman Republic (Hebrew); English Wikipedia: Ancient Carthage; English Wikipedia: Punic Wars, English Wikipedia: Punics. Thanks, Dor Ben-Ari!)

Why “Geronium”?
We name our releases according to development status (“Alpha” or “Beta”), successive release number (1, 2, 3, …) and a word relating to the ancient world, in alphabetical order (“Argonaut” for A, “Bellerophon” for B, …). In honor of the release of the Carthaginian faction, we decided to dub Alpha 7 “Geronium”. (Thanks, mrjeremister!)

Geronium was the site of a battle in the Second Punic War, in which Carthage, led by Hannibal, won a small tactical victory against Rome in 217 BC. The Carthaginians had cut a swath of destruction in their southward march from the Alps throughout the Italian peninsula, ravaging farms and property, and collecting provisions and prisoners as they moved. They were followed by a Roman army that mostly avoided open confrontation in pitched battles in favor of a war of attrition designed to wear the Punic army down. (This tactic was highly unpopular in Roman political circles.)

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Location of the Molise region in modern-day Italy. Geronium was a village within this area.
By 217 BC, Hannibal reached near the modern-day village of Casacalenda, in what is now the Molise region in Italy, and took over a town named Geronium, using it as the Carthaginian winter quarters, while setting up a forward camp next to the Roman forces. As the Roman general was summoned to Rome to defend his tactics under the guise of a religious obligation, his army was left under the command of his deputy. Under the deputy’s command, Rome managed to kill many Carthaginian foragers trying to stock up for winter, leading to a Carthaginian retreat from their forward camp. This was rewarded in Rome by promoting the deputy to an equal rank to that of his general, which caused an internal division within the Roman army.

In the Battle of Geronium, Hannibal and his forces laid an elaborate trap and successfully attacked one part of the Roman army, mauling it severely. The Roman forces, however, promptly received reinforcements from the other part. Both Romans and Carthaginians retreated, and only small skirmishes between the sides followed throughout the winter.

As for the remainder of the war, this battle had less significance than the subsequent resounding defeat of the Romans in the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC, one of the greatest tactical feats in military history. (Source: English Wikipedia: Battle of Geronium. Thanks, Nicola Albanese!)

For the next alpha, we welcome fan suggestions for words relating to the ancient world beginning with the letter H. Keep it original and within the 0 A.D. time-frame (appx. 500 BC – 1 BC)!

Long Time, No Siege
Wildfire Games will keep releasing new versions of 0 A.D. from time to time. Watch our news feed to get updates, or follow us by e-mail, RSS, Facebook or Twitter. And you’re always welcome to join the 0 A.D. community on our forums.

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