Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 13 Magadha

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of “0 A.D. Alpha 13 Magadha”, the thirteenth alpha version of 0 A.D., a free, open-source game of ancient warfare. This alpha features the Mauryan Indians, AI improvements, six new songs 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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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

  • All-new and unique Mauryan Indian civilization, including new units, from war elephants to Brahmin priests; and new buildings, reflecting this culture’s original architectural style.
  • The default AI, Aegis bot, has been greatly improved, be it at defending, attacking, or building a strong economy. It now supports researching technologies and should work much more reliably than most other AIs before. (Known problem: Aegis now has some issues with saved games. Sorry, we hope to fix this in A14.)
  • Aegis can now play at several different difficulty levels, so beginners can easily learn to play, and more experienced players can get more of a challenge.
  • Attack/move command: If you select units and then Ctrl + right-click on a location, they will go to the location, but also stop to attack enemies they meet along the way.

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Graphics and User Interface Improvements

  • Helpful messages appear when a building can’t be placed somewhere. (See screenshots below.)
  • When you select a place to build a building, the building preview always shows the precise final variation that will be built.
  • When some buildings are built, they now rise from the ground, and some also have lifelike scaffolds surrounding them.
  • Tribute stats added to the summary screen.
  • Players are notified when any tributes are given to them.

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Music and Sound

  • New Celtic songs: “Cisalpine Gaul” and “Celtica” (the latter featuring Jeff Willet’s percussion),
  • New Hellenic song: “The Hellespont” (also featuring Jeff),
  • Combat music featuring taiko drums “First Sighting” and “Elusive Predator” by Jeff.
  • First Mauryan song: “Land Between the Two Seas.”
  • New and improved animal sounds for lions, tigers and bears.

Development Updates and Miscellaneous Features

  • User mod support: See our modding guide to learn how to create your own mods for 0 A.D.
  • The new Javascript Debugger supports the basic features of debuggers (breakpoints, continue, step calls…), and allows 0 A.D. developers and modders to debug Javascript scripts used by the game, saving a lot of time to understand some unexpected behavior or issue. 0 A.D. uses Javascript in many different areas like gameplay logic, UI, AI and random map scripts. Thanks to mmayfield45 for contributing the web GUI. (See screenshot below, and the documentation wiki for more details.)
  • Improved OS X build process, without need for MacPorts or Homebrew.

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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 “Magadha”?

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, …).

Magadha was an ancient kingdom in northern India from which the Mauryan empire originated. The empire was founded by exiled general Chandragupta Maurya, who overthrew the reigning king of Magadha and went on to conquer most of the Indian subcontinent, as well as parts of Persia and Central Asia. Years later, the third monarch of the dynasty, Ashoka, would become famous for renouncing all violence, converting to Buddhism, and spreading the faith throughout the empire. Ashoka is also remembered as one of the most exemplary rulers in world history for his advanced social and animal welfare programs.

Magadha also happens to be the birthplace of Jainism and Buddhism, two of India’s historically significant religions. These religions’ shared belief in rebirth and karmic retribution most likely derives from the culture of Magadha in the last five centuries BC. In honor of the release of the Mauryan Indian faction, we have decided to dub Alpha 13 “Magadha”.

For the next alpha, we welcome fan suggestions for words relating to the ancient world beginning with the letter N. 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@wildfireORACLEgames.com without the capitalized name of an ancient priest or priestess whom people would consult for advice or predictions of the future.

Requesting donations

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

As you may have noticed occasionally, the server that this forum is running has at times been resource constrained. We are using it for automatically building snapshots and releases, for tracking bugs, this forum, the games server, and several other tasks. So far the costs for running this server has been paid by a member of the team. We need to move to a better server, but this costs more money than one person should pay on their own.

We are therefore looking for people to help us out with this. Server rental expenses are recurring on a monthly basis, so if you could donate a small amount of money each month to help us run this show, we would be much appreciative. You can also donate once, if you want. The more money we get, the bigger and faster server we can afford. We will keep a list of donors, income and expenses updated publicly. Regular donors may get a special forum badge if we can find someone to draw one. You may of course be anonymous, if you want.

To help out in this manner, please go to http://donations.wz2100.net and click on the shiny new PayPal buttons.

Don’t feel bad if you can’t contribute monetarily, though. We know that not everyone has money to spare.

If you have any questions, please feel free to PM the Staff account.

(17 comments)

Music Blog #5

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Alpha 9 introduced the Roman Republic into the game. As I was looking forward to working on the Romans since I first joined the team, needless to say I was excited! However finding the proper sound proved to be challenging, and several options were thoroughly examined before finally deciding to go with a mandolin, an English horn and pizzicato strings. This combination of sounds resulted in two tracks: “Juno Protect You”, and “Elysian Fields”.

Also, early peace tracks were added for two civilizations: The Celts got “Highland Mist” with live fiddle performed by Shir-Ran Yinon, and the Iberians got “An old Warhorse goes to Pasture”, with live guitar, fife and percussion played by me.

“The Road Ahead” was remixed, and now features live violin and viola by Shir-Ran Yinon (besides the solo parts, about 40 separate viola channels were recorded to create the vast string section sound!), as well as a flawless flute solo by Marta Mc’Cave.

Alpha 10 included “You are Victorious!”, the first victory track in the game (and a polite nod to AoE!), as well as the Hellenic tribes’ early peace track, “In the Shadow of Olympus” – based on the Greek bouzouki!
This is actually an instrument I have never played before, and borrowed from a friend solely for creating this score!

Thanks for listening, stay tuned for more 0 A.D. music!
- Omri Lahav


Tracks mentioned in this post:





Addons is now live!

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Today, after some unfortunate delays, we now are ready to go live with the new addons section.

We would like to thank all the hard work that forum members Duha, NoQ & Fastdeath accomplished in helping us make the new addons site a reality.
We would also like to thank the following members, Berg, effigy, Shadow Wolf TJC, karamel, aubergine for all the testing & feedback that they have provided.

Everyone who wants to add new content, or to vote for the content on the site must first register using their forum credentials.

  • You do not need to be logged in to be able to download things.

If you decided that you wish to upload your addon to the site, then you must follow these simple instructions: Addons

Remember, the addons site is for the FINAL versions of your addon, please upload it to the Addon discussions area for general debugging and feedback.

  • No addon should have any errors/warnings in the logs, so always check your logs!
  • The moderators are NOT beta testers! Don’t waste their time.
  • Once you upload something, then you can’t access it again until a moderator approves it.
  • You can report addons that have issues via the report button, only moderators will see it.
  • While not mandatory at this time, it is highly suggested that you have a forum thread for your addon, so we have a good way to communicate with the author about possible issues.

Lastly, please be patient with the moderators that we have, they are doing this on their own time, like the rest of the developers.

–Warzone 2100 dev team

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Music Blog #4

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

I’m taking a break from the regular blog progression to address a recent question I received – regarding the instruments I own that were used to create the sounds of 0 A.D. :

All these blogs make me wonder: Just how many instruments does Omri have? He seems to own 5-6 instruments for every civilization!

Let’s start with admitting that I have a problem… I am an instrument hoarder, I have around 40 different ones in my studio… Let’s take a look at the instruments that were used to create each civilization’s distinct sound:

Celtic Tribes: The sounds of Celtica are based on a duo of D tin whistle and low D tin whistle, along with an Irish bouzouki, a Bodhràn (traditional Irish drum), a rain stick, and a fender acoustic guitar. Some tracks also feature a Celtic harp (sampled) and a fiddle played live by Shir-Ran Yinon!

Hellenic Tribes: The Hellenic sound was created using a Greek bouzouki and a flute (played by Marta Mc’Cave!), as well as large frame drums, a djembe, a harp (sampled) and horns. The Greek bouzouki is so prominent, some of the Hellenic pieces are based entirely on it!

Persia: The sound of Persia consists of several stringed instruments – a handmade Oud, (traditional middle-eastern instrument with 11 strings and no frets), a handmade Saz (Turkish instrument with 6 strings), and a slightly more modern – home made fretless acoustic bass guitar.
As well as some percussion sounds – an African djembe, a Syrian darbuka, and a pair of bamboo shakers.

Rome: The primary sound in the music of Rome is a mandolin, as well as the wind chimes which were recorded on my porch!

Iberia: The voice of Iberia is centered around the Spanish guitar, as well as a Fife, a tambourine and a shaker.

Carthage: For Carthage I brought in percussion artist Dror Parker to play frame drum, darbuka, riq and toms. He recorded those in freestyle, and I then built the music around his work. While the Duduk is sampled, the bamboo flute was played live.

Mauryan Indians: Sadly, I do not (yet) own a sitar, so I came up with a replacement and used my homemade fretless guitar. I also recorded a snake charmer that was actually bought in India, finger cymbals, and a homemade rice shaker.

On the next post we’ll go back to the chronicles of making this score :)

Thanks for listening, stay tuned for more 0 A.D. music!
- Omri Lahav.

Featured Contributor: Pureon

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

It’s time again to take a closer look at one of the contributors to 0 A.D. This time we’ve chosen to feature Pureon, one of the most versatile contributors we have, but I’ll let him elaborate on that below. Let’s just say that it was an easy decision to feature him, and that we are very grateful that he’s part of the Wildfire Games team and community.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Prior to joining the 0 A.D. team I participated in online community projects for games such as AOE3 and Supreme Commander, however my experience of RTS games started with the classics AOE1 and Total Annihilation. My enthusiasm for creating user generated content for the early generation of RTS games helped define what degree I studied at university and therefore my current employment in the creative industry.

Some AoE3 units I created in 2006:

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A couple of Supreme Commander units from 2009:

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What have you found most interesting about contributing to 0 A.D.?

I first heard about 0 A.D. about 6 years ago, and at the time it looked good but no alpha releases were available to play or mod so it slipped my mind until 2010. That’s when I heard it had switched from closed development to opensource and had released a playable alpha. I was hooked. Why work on mods for commercial games when I can use my skills to shape a ‘real game’.

The variety of tasks I’ve been able to contribute to allows me to acquire new skills and keeps me motivated. Some of these tasks include 3D modeling, unit animations, map making, texturing units, designing the new website, managing the sound department, creating the trailer videos, and illustration (icons). Once triggers and a few other key features are implemented I’d really like to work on some scenarios for 0 A.D., just like I did for AoE 1,2 and 3.

Some random 0 A.D. stuff I’ve created:

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Anything you want to add?

Some Nostalgia:

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Music Blog #3

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Alpha 8 introduced the mighty Persians!

Looking to create a distinct sound, I picked up my oud, saz, acoustic bass, darbuka, djembe and bamboo shakers, and just started recording different combinations and ideas.From one session of recording my own improvisations came two new tracks: “Eastern Dreams“, and “Sands of Time“. Parts have been refined and some orchestral work was thrown in, and the unique voice of Persia was ready to go into the game! A8 also saw the addition of the first generic peace track, “The Road Ahead” – which was (deliberately) long, with several changing moods. On November 2011, I was awarded WFG’s ‘Member of the Month’, for which I am still very honored and thankful!

Thanks for listening, stay tuned for more 0 A.D. music!
- Omri Lahav


Tracks mentioned in this post:


Music Blog #2

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

As we progressed to Alpha 7, the Main Menu was redesigned by the team, and the music changed accordingly with a track titled “Honor Bound”.
(By the way I’d like to take a second here and thank all the team members for suggesting track titles!) Two new introductions to the game were the defeat track: “Dried Tears”, and the Carthaginian civilization – complete with two new tracks: “Peaks of Atlas” and “Mediterranean Waves”.
Percussion artist Dror Parker came in to record riq, frame drum, darbuka and tom parts, and I then built the music around his inspiring work!
Other then these distinct percussive sounds, Carthage was portrayed with a duduk and wooden flute.
Last but not least for Alpha 7, my three original A5 tracks were remixed and remastered, and flutist Marta Mc’cave came in to record the flute part on the Hellenic track, “Forging a City-State”.
Her improvisation over it was so awesome, that I added a whole segment to the piece based on it – and it is thanks to her mastery of the flute that this track is so alive, and remains one of my favorites today!

Thanks for listening, stay tuned for more 0 A.D. music!
- Omri Lahav


Tracks mentioned in this post:





Music Blog # 1

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

Welcome to The Greek Theater, official 0 A.D. music blog!

This blog will chronicle the making of 0 A.D.’s music, since I assumed the role of composer and music department lead for Wildfire Games!

It is most appropriate to begin with a brief thank you to Aviv (Jeru on the forums) for recruiting me to WFG in the first place.

It was March 2011, and around the release of Alpha 5, Edetania:

Being both a (casual) gamer and a (professional) musician, I knew exactly what I want to hear in game – I had no interest in creating a period score, nor do I posses enough knowledge of the actual music of 0 A.D.

I decided the score had to be first and foremost – game music, and it must be compelling in that context!

In the interest of maintaining continuity, and ensuring each civilization in the game had it’s own, unique sound – I decided to completely rewrite the score, one piece at a time.

The first three tracks that came to be are “Celtic Pride“, “Forging a City-State“, and “Harsh Lands, Rugged People“: peace tracks for the Celts, Hellenes and Iberians respectively.

Given that these pieces had to feel relevant and integral to a massive war game – I chose to fully orchestrate them.

A simple yet effective device to identify the various civilizations was instrumentation:

On top of the orchestra, the Celts were portrayed with tin-whistles, highland pipes, a bodhràn and a fiddle, the Hellenes with a harp, bouzouki and flute, and the Iberians with a classical guitar (true, it did not exist around 0 A.D., but within the context of modern game music – it worked for me).

 

Thanks for listening, stay tuned for more 0 A.D. music!

- Omri Lahav


Tracks mentioned in this post:

0 A.D. Joins Software in the Public Interest, Can Receive Tax-Deductible Donations

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, has successfully applied to make 0 A.D. an associated project at an organization called Software in the Public Interest, Inc. (SPI).

SPI is a non-profit corporation based in the USA, that acts as a fiscal sponsor to many open source projects, including Debian, Drupal and LibreOffice. This means SPI can accept donations and hold funds for the development of these projects, sign contracts on behalf of the developers, provide legal advice when they might need it and more.

Importantly, if you live in the United States, you can donate to 0 A.D. through SPI and deduct it from your taxes. (Europeans can donate to SPI through a non-profit association based in Germany, named ffis e.V., which has partnered with SPI.)

Wildfire Games has been developing 0 A.D. as a standalone game since 2003. We are always looking for ways to improve the speed and quality of development. That’s why we have recently re-considered many aspects of how our project is run, including setting up new and better ways to get funds. This is the first step in this direction.

To be sure, this partnership does not change things from the perspectives of developers, artists, or users. 0 A.D. will remain a free, open-source project run by the community, and SPI will not intervene in our decisions. The only role that will change is that of the project lead, currently Erik Johansson (also known as feneur), who now has the extra responsibility as the project liaison to SPI. This means Erik is the only person authorized to tell SPI how we want to use funds that were earmarked for 0 A.D.

0 A.D. was accepted as an SPI Associated Project by the Board on December 13th, 2012. Through this cooperation, we hope to both strengthen 0 A.D. as a project, and propagate free, open-source software everywhere.

We welcome your donations through SPI and will be phasing out the previous donation systems over the next few days. Edit: After further deliberation, the existing donation systems will remain in place in parallel to the new system. However, donors are advised that their donations are only tax-deductible if transferred via SPI.

Donating to 0 A.D. via SPI (U.S. Dollars Only)

Please find full instructions for donation on the SPI donations page.

If you have a credit card, you can donate via Click & Pledge directly to 0 A.D..

Donate Now

Donating in Europe

If you wish to donate to 0 A.D. through a European bank account, to save international money transfer costs, this can be done through the German non-profit organization, ffis e.V., following these instructions.