Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 17 Quercus

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of “0 A.D. Alpha 17 Quercus”, the seventeenth alpha version of 0 A.D., a free, open-source game of ancient warfare. This alpha features a major gameplay rebalance, units on walls, trigger support, improved mod support and more!

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. Although you might find some people selling copies of 0 A.D., either over the internet or on physical media, you will always have the option to download 0 A.D. completely gratis, directly from the developers.




Moreover, you can redistribute the game and modify it freely 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.

Top New Gameplay Features in This Release

Screenshot showing the lobby with the new profiles

  • Major Core Combat Rebalance: Now, if you send only one unit type to battle, it fares poorly against regiments of the same size that mix more than one type, e.g. melee and ranged units. Technologies as a whole have been made more expensive and unrelated technologies have been “unpaired”. Some stats have been adjusted to make training some units viable. Buildings are now a bit easier to destroy. Temporarily, we have removed formations, and we plan to re-implement them again in a more balanced way.
  • Naval Map Support: The computer opponent now uses transport ships to colonize other islands and attack enemy bases, but naval combat (i.e. ships against ships) is not yet implemented.
  • Improved Fog of War: The Fog of War is the part of the terrain that has been scouted already but is not in vision range of your units or allied units. Buildings and changes to resources such as trees or metal mines are now also hidden in the Fog of War, and not just units. Hence, players now need to scout more often to find unclaimed resources on the map, hidden enemy outposts and more.
  • Units On Walls: Units can be garrisoned in wall segments, and appear on the walls at predefined prop points. (Importantly, while the units can attack and be attacked individually, they cannot walk around on the wall.)
  • Multiplayer Lobby Profiles: Users can now view profiles of other players from within the lobby. Profiles contain user statistics such as rating, games won and lost, highest rating, and ranking that can be accessed on-demand.
  • New Maps: Siwa Oasis (skirmish map) and Schwarzwald (random map).

Screenshot of the random map Siwa OasisScreenshot of the random map Schwarzwald

Scenario and Mod Design

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  • Triggers: A “trigger” makes an action occur in the game if a specified event takes place. For example:

    If you build an outpost within a certain area (event), your enemy’s walls are destroyed (action);
    Alternatively, if a timer runs out (event), an army spawns on the border of the map and marches towards your city (action);
    Or, if a certain building is destroyed (event), the player who owns it loses the game (action).

    The new trigger system is perhaps the most important feature that was missing to make narrative campaigns and scenarios possible. Triggers also make it easier to design custom victory conditions, or even multiplayer maps with unique gameplay aspects. Events and actions are easily extensible with some Javascript knowledge and offer a huge set of new possibilities for creative map designers.

  • Two new maps make use of the trigger system in Alpha 17:

    Survival of the Fittest: Each player has one female citizen in the middle of the map where treasures spawn from time to time. The main bases are on isolated spots with no resources and some buildings are restricted. Enemy attack forces spawn regularly and attack your main base. The goal is to survive as long as possible by collecting treasures, recruiting troops and defending your base. (Map type: Random; Map Filter: Standard)

    Treasure Islands: Search treasures on small islands and on the water. Collect more treasures than your opponent to win. You can use fishing boats to garrison infantry and send them to other islands. Trade ships can be used to collect floating treasures, but you need to advance to Town Phase before they can be built. (Map type: Scenario; Map Filter: Naval Maps)

  • Screenshot showing the scenario Treasure Islands, which uses triggersScreenshot of the map Survival of the Fittest, which uses triggers

  • Mod Selector and Improved Mod Support: The new Mod Selector allows users to enable or disable mods, save them or just restart into them to test them out. This way, it is a lot easier to test and play mods. This can be reached at: Main Menu -> Tools & Options -> Mod Selection. Also, modders can now easily make small changes to the game without having to copy and modify many files.

Performance Improvements

Several parts of the game and the engine have been improved for better performance. Comparing with Alpha 16, you’ll notice significantly higher framerates at the beginning of the game. There are also some improvements observable later in the game, but also additional overhead from new features. Improvements have been made in these areas:

  • Simulation: Dynamic message subscriptions;
  • Rendering: Optimise silhouette rendering, new unit renderer, optimisation for non-animated units;
  • AI: Building placement code, handling of unreachable targets (i.e. for builder or gatherers), Defense — finding defending units;
  • Scripting: Using new Javascript Map objects at some places.

Graphics and User Interface

post-13528-0-68424300-1412955330 post-13528-0-88757800-1412955339

  • Improved Culling for Shadows and Reflections: This fixes ugly pop-in effects for shadows and reflections while scrolling.
  • Improved Water Rendering.
  • Improved CJK text input using the Windows IME.
  • Music: Omri has created a new and improved version of Honour Bound — the 0 A.D. main theme.
  • Miscellaneous: Hellenistic ranged siege animations added; Carthaginian ballista added; Iberian barracks replaced; Rotary mill added; Ptolemaic blacksmith modified; Gaul farmstead modified; Ptolemy I hero for the Ptolemies; Snow wolf modified; Iberian wonder added; New Iberian tower models added (see screenshots above).

Getting Support

Please see the “Get Support” page on our website to find ways to get help from the active and friendly 0 A.D. community.

We are well aware there is some room for improvement in 0 A.D. Some known issues are: Lag, visual glitches or textures not loaded, missing animations and more. When you provide feedback, we would ask you to focus on some of the other points that could be improved. Thanks.

Please Contribute!

We are seeking volunteer contributors in programming, art, sound, documentation and more. Programmers are especially welcome and can get started immediately.

Interested? Log onto #0ad-dev on QuakeNet on IRC and meet the developers. Also, you are invited to register on our forums and start participating!

Map Design Contest!

Do you want to try your hand at creating new maps? Especially now that triggers have been added? Then you get some extra motivation from the Council of Modders who are now hosting a map making contest. They do encourage you to make use of triggers and graphical mods as triggers and better mod support are important features in this release. The deadline is 30th November.

Why “Quercus”?

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, …).

“Quercus” is Latin for “oak tree”. The name relates to 0 A.D. as it could refer to the oak leaves used in the corona civica, a military honor given to a citizen who saved the life of other citizens or soldiers whilst in battle. Recipients were allowed to enter the Roman Senate, and were required to wear them at public gatherings. (Thanks, Jonathan L.!) This name suits this version well because of the many bugfixes and optimizations in Alpha 17 that make the game stabler and more mature, like an old oak tree. Also, the increased support for mods allows the game to easily diverge into more varieties of gameplay, like branches growing from a tree trunk. (Thanks, ltms!).

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

Subscribe to 0 A.D. Development News

Contact info for press, bloggers, etc.: aviv@wildfireLATINgames.com without the capitalized name of a language spoken in ancient Rome.

CoM Hosts Map Making Contest

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

In celebration of the five year anniversary (It’s really been five years?! Time flies!) of 0 A.D. going open source the Council of Modders are hosting a map making contest! Please head over to the forum topic to read more about the rules and rewards, and to submit your maps of course ;)

Alpha 16 Patañjali OS X Bundle

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

The OS X bundle has finally been released. The bundle should work on Mountain Lion (10.8) or later. Users of an earlier version of OS X are advised to upgrade. Note that there is no 32-bit bundle anymore.

Documentation Updates and Random Bits

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Here are some documentation updates and random bits:

TORCS 1.3.6 architecture and API documentation download
Vicente’s “Build your TORCS track in 20 minutes” tutorial download
Track tutorial by ST
Videos of race 1 and race 2 of the current TRB championship
Raul works on a track converter (called 2TORCS), watch this video of a converted NFS track
For the “TORCS specialists” I packaged up unmaintained tracks, feel free to work on it, download it here

Enjoy, Bernhard.

New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 16 Patañjali

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of “0 A.D. Alpha 16 Patañjali”, the sixteenth alpha version of 0 A.D., a free, open-source game of ancient warfare. This alpha features localization into more than 10 different languages, an improved AI, a new GUI, big changes “under the hood” and more!

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. Although you might find some people selling copies of 0 A.D., either over the internet or on physical media, you will always have the option to download 0 A.D. completely gratis, directly from the developers.

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dlbtn_win.png
dlbtn_linux.png
dlbtn_linux.png

Moreover, you can redistribute the game and modify it freely 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.

Top New Gameplay Features in This Release

  • Localization:
    • 0 A.D. is now available by default in 13 different locales, contributed by volunteers from all over the world: Catalan, Czech, Dutch, English (United Kingdom), English (United States), French, Galician, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Scottish Gaelic, and Spanish (Spain).
    • The Japanese translation is also completed, but due to the large font files, it would cause a larger download for other players and it also requires a computer with higher specs. So, we offer the Japanese translation together with the font files as a separately downloadable mod. See installation instructions for East Asian locales on our Wiki.
    • Many more languages are currently being worked on and are planned to be released in future alphas. You are welcome to contribute in this area.
  • Formation Updates: The Testudo formation (for Roman melee infantry) and the Syntagma formation (for Macedonian, Ptolemaic and Seleucid pikemen) have received new animations, and their movement has improved further over the previous version. The formations are also more moddable, which sets the stage for further developments in formations.
  • New AI – Petra: Petra features more aggressive expansion and combat and builds defence towers and fortresses as a human would. Petra manages resources better in late game than the previous AI, Aegis, and is more robust to external conditions. It will also trade over land with allied markets, if there are any.
  • Town Bell: Click on the new “town bell” button to sound an alarm and make your citizens garrison in the nearest structure until the enemy is gone. Once you sound the bell again, your units will ungarrison and go back to work.
  • Global Resource Trading Settings: You now set the chance a trader will trade a certain resource, rather than selecting it per trader. This gives you a better overview of your trade, and makes it easier to manage.
  • The “Wonder” Victory Condition: If you set “Wonder” as victory condition, a counter counting down 5 minutes appears after you build a wonder. If the enemy can’t destroy the wonder in this time, you win.
  • We also have an “Explored Map” game setting now, in which the entire map is covered with the Fog of War. This is an option that gives something between the “revealed map”, where there are no secrets, and the default “dark map”.

Graphics and User Interface

  • New GUI, new font: The new GUI style seen in the multiplayer lobby in Alpha 15 is now used nearly everywhere. The GUI font has also been changed to Biolinum, a free font created by the Libertine Open Fonts Project.
  • Multiplayer “Ready” button: In a multiplayer game, all users must confirm game settings before host can start game. When the host changes a setting, players are set to “not ready” again. This is to avoid sneaky behaviour amongst some hosts, who would change the settings right before starting.
  • New art assets: Animated flying hawks, Ptolemaic ships, Eurasian Wolf, Nile Crocodile, Ptolemaic buildings: Military settlement, Docks, Market, and quite a few new animations, e.g. a new seeding animation for farming units.

Music

  • New music track: “Water’s Edge” (click to listen). This beautiful track is assigned to the Britons and Gauls.

SpiderMonkey Upgrade & Other Development Updates

  • We have implemented a new version of the JavaScript engine “SpiderMonkey” in 0 A.D. It supports new features of JavaScript such as Map and Set objects. These two types, for example, have improved performance compared to normal objects when working with certain kinds of collections. Modders and developers who are used to working with the latest features of JavaScript are also happy about the new features which are now available.
  • SpiderMonkey also brings improved Javascript profiling and analysis features which allow for producing graphs. These features are another useful tool for performance measurements and for finding performance problems.
  • The version in Alpha 16 (v24) does not improve performance yet. But there will be improvements for the next version (v31) which should be included in Alpha 17.
  • Most importantly, the upgrade from v1.8.5 (which was released in March 2011) to v24 was quite a big step and a lot of work. Being on a current version means we avoid writing code for an old API that doesn’t exist any more and it saves us a lot of work compared to staying with v1.8.5 and upgrading years later.
  • Last but not least, it’s a “must have” from the security perspective, and it enables us to report bugs or even request new features from the SpiderMonkey developers.
  • This release contains many more changes and bugfixes not mentioned here. In terms of tickets closed on the project management and bug tracking system we use, Trac, this was another record.

Getting Support

Please see the “Get Support” page on our website to find ways to get help from the active and friendly 0 A.D. community.

We are well aware there is some room for improvement in 0 A.D. Some known issues are: Lag, visual glitches or textures not loaded, missing animations and more. When you provide feedback, we would ask you to focus on some of the other points that could be improved. Thanks.

Please Contribute!

We are seeking volunteer contributors in programming, art, sound, documentation and more. Programmers are especially welcome and can get started immediately.

Interested? Log onto #0ad-dev on QuakeNet on IRC and meet the developers. Also, you are invited to register on our forums and start participating!

Why “Patañjali”?

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, …).

Patañjali was one of the three most famous Sanskrit grammarians of ancient India. In honor of languages everywhere, we have decided to dub Alpha 16 “Patañjali”.

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

Subscribe to 0 A.D. Development News

Contact info for press, bloggers, etc.: aviv@wildfireSANSKRITgames.com without the capitalized name of a language spoken in ancient India.

0 A.D. Financial Report, April 2014

Friday, April 25th, 2014

In the interest of transparency, the Wildfire Games team would like to report on the finances of the project as of 2014-04-21.

0 A.D. has funds in three places: (1) Funds earmarked for the project and held in trust by US-based non-profit organization Software in the Public Interest, Inc. (hereafter “SPI”); (2) A private account in the US, under the name of former project leader, Jason Bishop (Wijitmaker). This account is a legacy of the time before we became affiliated with SPI; (3) Flattr, a Sweden-based microdonation provider.

SPI Earmark for 0 A.D.

As of 2014-04-21, the 0 A.D. earmark is USD 34,272.78.

We had intended to start using these funds to pay a programmer to develop 0 A.D., but unfortunately, he has parted ways with Wildfire Games several months ago, and we wish him all the best.

We are now planning to use the funds to pay other programmers, who may already be contributing to the project voluntarily, to work more intensively on core features and on improving the game’s performance, so that the game won’t lag so much.

Part of these funds are planned to go towards buying the perks we promised our donors. We will be distributing surveys to our donors shortly to make sure which perks they want. Then we will budget accordingly.

We know donors have been waiting for their perks for a long time. We sincerely apologize for the long delay in perk fulfillment.

Other Accounts & Total

In our “legacy” US bank account, we have USD 383.54.

On Flattr, we have EUR 430.82 available, which are approximately USD 595.13.

In total, we have USD 35,251.45 in all three accounts.

Concluding Remarks

A monthly report of funds held by SPI in trust for 0 A.D. is also available on the SPI website under “approved minutes of past meetings“. Currently, the latest report available on the SPI website is from November 30, 2013. We have obtained updated data from SPI through personal correspondence with its treasurer, Michael Schultheiss.

The 0 A.D. project finances are managed by the Treasury Committee: Erik (“feneur”), Adarash (“MishFTW”) and Aviv (“Jeru”). We welcome your comments on the forums.

TORCS version 1.3.6 released

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

TORCS version 1.3.6 is available for download. First I would like to thank the contributors which helped with patches, bug reports and feedback, these are Wolf-Dieter Beelitz, David Savinkoff and Rick. Thank you all very much.

The most important changes in version 1.3.6 are new racing rules, new race manager configuration options (e.g. a fuel consumption factor from 0 to 5),
better handling of penalties, more input device adjustments in the player options GUI, historic car setup adjustments based on real world data, and as usual
bug fixes and code cleanups. To learn more about the new configuration options hit read more to review the full set of changes.

Enjoy, Bernhard

OpenArena Community Mappack Volume 1 v3 Re-Release

Monday, January 20th, 2014
Due to some certain problems, first with a pair of bugs and then with a non-Free asset, the OpenArena Community Mappack Volume 1 had to be, well, repackaged. The good thing is that this time the 100% of it is still GPLv2-compliant. Server admins who are going to use the pack should delete the old versions of this pack (and if you were using betas, those as well) and use this new version instead. Likewise, people who's going to mirror this pack must use this version and delete the older ones.

And, in the name of the OACMP team, sorry for all of the inconveniences!

For information about the pack, head this way.

We are also gauging interest for the second volume, so if you like to map, we're waiting for you in the Maps subforum!

OpenArena Community Mappack Vol. 1

Thursday, January 16th, 2014
The OACMP team is proud to present…


OpenArena Community Mappack Vol. 1!

The OpenArena Community Mappack (also called OACMP) is a mappack containing GPL'd maps made by the community itself. The idea is to give GPL servers something else to play aside of the official maps and the already GPLv2'd maps.

This idea started in the official OA forum. Anyone, as long as they respect the rules of the mappack, could be part of the DevTeam for this pack. They don't even need to be mappers, even if they can't produce assets, this doesn't mean that they can't test the maps themselves and give feedback. The style of the map was up to the mappers themselves, with the only important restriction being that everything must be GPLv2'd, like OA itself.

Over the course of a year and a month and a half, the Team worked very hard in this pack. The result is 13 high-quality maps, 10 FFA-oriented and 3 CTF-oriented, from 4 authors and a plethora of collaborators.

Bundled with the pack is a mod which adds the OACMP FFA maps to the Single Player Deathmatch/Unlock Tiers mode. It (like the pack itself) requires OpenArena 0.8.8 in order to work.

The installation is as simple as “unzip everything in your OpenArena directory with routes enabled”.

With all of this said, we hope you enjoy the pack as much as we enjoyed making it!

0 A.D. Development Report #15

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

0 A.D. Development Report #15

Wildfire Games, the international group of volunteers developing 0 A.D., is happy to present this week’s 0 A.D. development report.
If you want to find out more about the development of this open-source, cross-platform real-time strategy game or if you are interested in game development in general, it might provide an interesting read.

 Screenshot of the Month

Enrique’s new horses (WIP). Animated transparent manes and moving armor are also in the pipeline (thanks to Wraitii).

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Team News

Our ‘family’ keeps expanding! A warm welcome to Scythetwirler, who has been working on our multiplayer lobby among other things.

Translations

Work has begun on translating 0 A.D. into many, many languages. Using the Transifex translating system, everyone can help! Check out this link.

 Programming & Art

Mythos_Ruler added a new map (Savanna River), rebalanced many units/technologies/… and laid the groundwork for our next civilization: the Seleucid Empire.

Yves has been hard at work upgrading Spidermonkey from 1.8.5 (which is old and unsupported) to a more recent version (v24 or later). He committed one patch that solves the massive performance problems we got with the new SpiderMonkey versions in lategame by changing the way different AI players are separated from each other. The second big patch adapted our code with the old SpiderMonkey version to match the most important constraints required by newer versions without updating yet. The third patch removed the JS Debugger temporarily because it will require a partial rewrite but doesn’t have priority for the update.

After these changes the WIP patch for the new SpiderMonkey is now much smaller and easier to handle (test, update and review).

Wraitii added a fishing boat for our latest civilization: the Ptolomaic Egyptians. He also implemented some new animals done by Micket: crocodiles, sharks and hawks. He optimized the water code making it faster (speed-up of foam generation code, …) and more modern. Last but not least, he is overhauling the Aegis bot (AI), squashing AI bugs and improving their capabilities.

Sanderd17 implemented countless functionality fixes; his energy/time went primarily to reworking formations and chasing (i.e. attacking fleeing units, animals).

Enrique has been reworking our horses, as they were getting a bit outdated. Your cavalry charges will be even more heroic!

Leper & Historic_Bruno fixed a number of crashes and other bugs. A full list of changes is available in the SVN log (any similarity with 99,9 % of all Google Chrome change logs is pure coincidence…)

Bajter and Kabzerek are working on the summary screen. Their changes should provide more information to the player (after-battle statistics…).

AnnieQ has been working on new unit cards for the Celtic factions.

BoeseRaupe has been working on the hero icon and a way to delete a units group with a right mouse click.

Lordgood: Artiste extraordinaire and My Little Pony-afficionado, has created a new Roman tower and a new wonder & homestead for the Carthaginians. Our “Brony” (Brother + Pony) also started working on the building set for the Seleucids.

Dumbo has been working on improving unit behavior when choosing opponents.

Itms added a town bell function. Enemy raid incoming? With one mouse-click your female citizens rush to the nearest building to find shelter.

Scythetwirler Josh have implemented various multiplayer lobby fixes to the alpha 15/16 server and alpha 16 client. They are hard at work fixing the post-game lobby disconnects and the problems with hosting to improve your multiplayer experience in alpha 16.

Apart from the lobby, Josh has also been working towards a more intuitive lobby login UI in the new “modern” style (WIP by Pureon), has done various UI engine cleanup, and re-worked the selection back-end to yield ~2% overall performance increase.

Mimo improved the way trade works. Now the trade management is centralised so there’s no need to click every trader.

Stanislas69 has been reworking the Iberian barracks and corral, and the Gallic mill and farmstead.

 Music & Sound

Omri_Lahav has been working on new peace tracks for the different civilizations and freshening up the score. A professional tin whistle player will redo the Celts / Gauls, a trombone player will record the low brassy parts on Honor Bound / Elysian Fields, and the Qanun player will be brought in to add another unique color to the Ptolemaic Egyptians. I think it is fair to say Omri is setting new standards for music in freeware software.

LAVS has been working on battle sounds that will make every melee more compelling.

Want to help out?

If you want to be part of this project, we urge you to post your application in our forums or just grab a task from our list of open tickets and get right to it. We are currently looking for Gameplay, AI, Sound and Graphics Programmers along with Animators and 3D & texture artists. You prefer to do something else than programming or drawing? Luckily for your portfolio we are also looking for Video Editors, a Documentation Manager and Scenario Designers. Still no luck? Head to our forums and join our active community!

 

!!! We are in need of (skilled) programmers. If you are one, redirect yourself to this thread. Your contributions are crucial !!!