Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Security Notice: Please Change Your Forum Passwords

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Last Thursday, someone tried to hack into the Wildfire Games forums and grab all the users’ personal information.

Although we have taken steps to keep your personal information secure, including encrypting it, some of your information may have been accessed by the hacker.

In the spirit of transparency, we want to inform you of the issue and ask you to take steps to protect yourself.

In order to prevent a security threat like this from happening again, we’ve updated our forum software, and reset our entire user base passwords. In other words, to log in again, you need to reset your password by clicking on the link that says “I’ve forgotten my password“.

IMPORTANT: If you have been using the same password both on the Wildfire Games forums and somewhere else (which we strongly suggest that you never do), we suggest you also change it there immediately.

We apologize for this issue and we are taking steps to prevent future attacks.

0 A.D. Development Report #13

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Wildfire Games, the international group developing 0 A.D. – Empires Ascendant, is happy to present the 13th 0 A.D. development report covering everything (or nearly everything) that happened since the 12th report in June. Most of the items covered in the current report went into Alpha 14 Naukratis, so you should be able to see them in action right now!

First and foremost, Wildfire Games has launched a crowdfunding campaign via IndieGoGo, with the aim of raising $160,000 in 45 days. If successful, the funds from this campaign will go toward paying 2 team members to work on the game full-time (40+ hours per week) for up to 2 years! For our fans, that means more features faster and better performance quicker. Our stretch goals include another year of paid development so we can create an exciting single player campaign for the game! Click the logo below to check out our campaign!

Screenshots for this Report (New Features)


TORCS version 1.3.5-test1 “Tuners Paradise” released

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

TORCS version 1.3.5-test1 is available for download.
The most important changes are the ability to modify/store/load car setups during
practice and qualifying sessions (screen reachable when you hit escape, “Car Setup, Restart” or during a pit stop, “Setup”), the ability
of robots to change the car setup during a pit stop (have a look at the tCarPitSetup structure), new Robottools API calls for handling setups,
improvements to the simulation engine (1.5 way LSD, third element),
adjustments to the car categories and physical models, a new 4 speed stock car and category,
improvements to the TORCS Racing Board (public download of robots from past championships, review best lap times per track),
and as usual, many little improvements and bug fixes.
There are a handful of things to do for 1.3.5, but I hope it will not take too long.
Hit Read More below to review the full set of changes.

Enjoy, Bernhard.

Car setup screenshot, click to enlarge

IndieGoGo Crowdfunding Campaign, New Release: Alpha 14 Naukratis

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, is raising $160,000 to support development of 0 A.D., a free, open-source game of ancient warfare. The announcement of the fundraiser coincides with the release of “0 A.D. Alpha 14 Naukratis”, the fourteenth alpha version of 0 A.D.

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.

Please Contribute to the 0 A.D. Fundraiser!

We’ve been working on 0 A.D. as a free, open-source project for over 4 years now.

We have made tremendous progress over the years. All of this was accomplished almost for free, depending almost entirely on volunteer work.

0 A.D. will always be 100% free, open-source, and without any in-game ads. We have established ourselves as a one-of-a-kind project, combining strategy gaming, the love of ancient history and a commitment to openness and freedom.

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But in order to complete the game soon, some of us will have to work on it as full-time contractors for the project.

To support speedier development of 0 A.D., please help us raise $160,000 over the next 45 days.

In exchange, you’ll get some of our amazing perks, such as soundtrack CDs, posters, and even your face on a unit in the game! This is a limited-time offer, so act soon.

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For this fundraiser, your donations will be processed by one of the top crowdfunding websites, Indiegogo, and by the non-profit payments platform FirstGiving. Funds will be held for us by a US-based non-profit, Software in the Public Interest (SPI). SPI accepts donations and holds funds for many open source projects, including Debian, Drupal and LibreOffice, and also for 0 A.D.

Importantly, SPI is a tax-exempt public charity described under section 501c3 of the US Internal Revenue Code. This means that for many US taxpayers, some or all of your donation towards this fundraiser may be tax-deductible. For details, please consult your tax advisor.

If you enjoy playing 0 A.D. and believe that it matters, please help →

Why “Naukratis”? Announcing the Ptolemies, the Seleucids and “0 A.D. – Empires Ascendant”

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, …).

Naukratis (alternate spelling: “Naucratis”) was a city in the Nile Delta of Lower Egypt, mainly inhabited by Greeks from the 6th century BC onwards. It also contained pottery that demonstrated the earliest known examples of the early Greek alphabet. Until the rise of Alexandria, Naukratis was the most important port city in Egypt. (Thanks, ImperiusDamian!)

We chose “Naukratis” in honor of the Ptolemaic Kingdom, which we are proud to announce will be the eleventh faction in 0 A.D. Another Hellenistic state set to be included in 0 A.D. is the Seleucid Empire, which ruled the Near East after Alexander’s empire fell apart. The Ptolemies and Seleucids are each set to be released in one of the next alphas, and they join the ten factions already portrayed in 0 A.D.: 3 Hellenic factions (Athens, Sparta, Macedonia), 2 Celtic factions (Britons and Gauls), Carthaginians, Iberians, Persians, Romans and Mauryan Indians.

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

The Ptolemies and the Seleucids probably conclude the set of factions we intend to make for the first edition of 0 A.D., covering the period between 500 B.C. and 1 B.C. We have decided to call this first edition “0 A.D. – Empires Ascendant”. In future editions of the game, we hope to represent notable civilizations from 1 A.D. to 500 A.D. The list will not be finalized until the first edition has gone gold, but some possible civilizations include Late Rome, Imperial Rome or Eastern Rome, the Germanics, Vandals, Sarmatians, Saxons, Parthians, Huns, Dacians, and the Goths.

Top New Gameplay Features in This Release

Now that we’ve got all the big announcements out of the way, let’s review what’s new in Alpha 14.

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  • Blacksmiths: A brand new building type for the game, complete with models for all factions. Researches attack and armor upgrades.
  • Infinite farms: A farm will now keep yielding food until the end of the match, without need to rebuild it, but with diminishing returns. Only up to 5 gatherers can work on each farm. (Veteran players will notice that more space is now required to produce the same amount of food.)
  • Exponential armor and realistic health: Technologies now have the same effect on all units. Also, changes to the way units’ health is calculated in the game allowed us to correct some unrealistic phenomena, like archer damage to buildings.
  • Allies can now garrison in each other’s buildings.
  • Shared trade gain with allies: When you trade with an ally, there is a +25% bonus over trading with yourself, that is now split between you and your ally.
  • Ranged units can hit farther from high places.
  • Ranged units had to be within a minimum range from their targets to fire at them. This requirement has been removed.

Graphics, Sound and User Interface Improvements

  • Hero button: A persistent button in the top left appears when you train your one allowed hero(ine). Clicking it selects the hero(ine) wherever he or she is on the map.
  • Game speed controls: In single-player games, change the game’s speed whenever you want to.
  • Location hotkeys: You can now mark camera positions and jump back to them later with hotkeys.
  • GUI dropdowns support typing for quick selection.
  • Sound manager improvements: The game now plays a list of multiple songs per match, instead of playing just one song in a loop. Also, the user interface now responds to the user with sounds.
  • Terrain anchoring: Units now move more realistically on hills.
  • Saved games can now be given descriptions and deleted or overwritten in-game.
  • Several random maps were changed to be more beautiful and playable.
  • Fancy water rendering is now faster and improved.
  • Ships look better when sinking.

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The Atlas Scenario Editor, Bug Fixes and Miscellaneous Features

  • Pike elevation tool in Atlas: Allows for making mountains and cliffs more easily.
  • Mod improvements: Saving maps in Atlas will no longer make it crash.
  • Fixed some common out-of-sync and out-of-memory errors.
  • Alert sounds no longer heard by all players, off-screen sounds only heard when appropriate.
  • Fixed crash with Nvidia Optimus graphics and some netbooks.
  • Walls can be placed along shores.
  • Improved hotkey support for non-QWERTY keyboards.
  • Several performance improvements.

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!

Subscribe to 0 A.D. Development News

Contact info for press, bloggers, etc.: without the capitalized name of an ancient priest or priestess whom people would consult for advice or predictions of the future.

0 A.D. Financial Report, September 2013

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

In the interest of transparency, the Wildfire Games team would like to report on the finances of the project as of 2013-09-04.

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 2013-07-10, 0 A.D. has an earmark of USD 5743.51. The bulk of that (USD 4,140) comes from funds raised in two Pledgie fundraising drives in 2010-2012, which were only partially used (Links to fundraisers: #1, #2). The rest of the sum comes from other small donations, collected without any fundraiser.

On 2013-08-09, the 0 A.D. treasury committee and an SPI board member approved an agreement with contractor Jorma Rebane (RedFox) that will cost a total of USD 3,310, or approximately 80% of the Pledgie funds.

Under the agreement, Jorma is set to perform the following duties:

  • To enhance the memory performance and allocation of the game, its GUI rendering and implementation, and add a new efficient and feature-rich text rendering module.
  • To overview implementation of code architecture and design decisions, while also consulting other developers.
  • To review patches submitted by other developers.
  • To assist the programming team in efficient task management.
  • To publicly report on his activities to the team and the fans no less than twice per week, with the intent of encouraging public interest in and engagement with the game, as well as inviting new contributions from the FOSS community.

You can follow up on Jorma’s contributions on the forums. Here is his activity status report for August 2013. So far he has made extremely large improvements to the game, that will be readily apparent in Alpha 15.

Other Accounts & Total

In our “legacy” US bank account, we have USD 130.05.

On Flattr, we have EUR 276.06 available, which are approximately USD 363.87.

In total, at the end of Jorma’s contract, and assuming no more revenue, we will have USD 2927.43. This sum would allow us to keep contracting out work at the current spending level for just 9 more weeks.

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“.

The 0 A.D. project finances are managed by the Treasury Committee: Erik (“feneur”), Kieran (“k776″) and Aviv (“Jeru”). We welcome your comments on the forums.

Thanks to all our donors. Stay tuned for the release of 0 A.D. Alpha 14 and the announcement of our biggest fundraiser ever.

Car Creation Video Tutorial Series is Complete

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Finally I finished the car creation video tutorial series:

Part 1 – Car Modeling
Part 2 – Texture Mapping
Part 3 – Painting
Part 4 – Using the Car in TORCS
Part 5 – The Physical Car Model

So there is no excuse anymore for not being creative;-)

Enjoy, Bernhard

0 A.D. Development Report #12

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Wildfire Games, the international group of volunteers developing 0 A.D., are 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.

If you want to be part of this project, we urge you to post your application in our forums. 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 a Sound Lead, 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 !!!

On Performance

Performance has been a major bottleneck for quite some time. We know the problems, and we are committed to resolve them. Last two months we’ve seen an influx of new contributors who are keen to help us fix the lag. sbte committed some patches (sim interpolation optimization) and a couple of memory leaks have been fixed (Markus). Kuranes has also been working on optimization and his work seems very promising. He added VBO support to minimap entity rendering (1,5 ms/frame to 0,8 ms/frame, which may seem trivial but every millisecond counts!). But this is just the tip of the iceberg, his many other optimizations are WIP or being reviewed by us, but when they are committed to the game the increase in performance will be noticeable! Last but not least we have Redfox, a retired 0 A.D. programmer who became active again. Currently he is working on font rendering, but like Kuranes, he is dedicated to implement major code optimizations, and he has the know-how. Their work will make 0 A.D. the enjoyable and fluid experience, you always wanted it to be!

Screenshot of the Month
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Team News

Peter a.k.a. alpha123 has joined the programming team. Peter has contributed quite a few patches to the game and has been a valuable contributor in design discussions.

Programming, Art & Sound

Our new project lead, Mythos_Ruler has been busy as well. So busy in fact that I’m reluctant to write down all the things he has been working on last two months. The major new feature is the blacksmith. Although the models are placeholders for now, in the near future you’ll be able to upgrade your units in this new building. He also added new technologies, a new Spartan hero (Brasidas), rebalancing and tweaking the stats of almost every unit ingame, a new map, normal and specular map for desert terrain … we could go on and on, but we insist you check out our next alpha release.

historic_bruno committed a lot of patches and bug fixes. I’ll mention just a couple of them: updating Valgrind headers and fixing some memory leaks (patches by Markus), updating Boost Library to 1.53.0 and improving SDL 2.0 support among many other. He also added a game speed option to the match setup.

Leper also had a productive period. He cleaned up code, and reviewed and committed many functionality patches, that were written by contributors like Josh and KareemErgawy among others.

stwf has kept working on the Soundmanager. Memory leaks have been removed, code has been cleaned up and multiple song playlists are now used by civs that have multiple tracks defined.

Wraiitii committed a few fixes and improvements related to water. More importantly, he is completely reworking the water code: adding support for different water heights (e.g. lake vs. sea), optimizing foam and shore waves … On top of that, ships received a sinking animation! Never has loosing your fleet been more pleasant to watch.

Enrique has been working on shields, unit props and buildings for our next civilization: the Ptolemaic Egyptians! He is also designing, modeling and texturing the new blacksmiths.

Omri Lahav has been working on some new material for the Mauryans. He has just invited two new guest musicians (didgeridoo and celtic harp) to capture their performance. How many freeware, open-source projects have a live recorded soundtrack? We are sure you will hear the difference.

Yves is working hard on upgrading Spidermonkey. The first benchmarks are a bit disappointing, but Yves won’t give up. This is not a simple task, but in the end performance and functionality will benefit greatly from the upgrade.

alpha123 and quantumstate reworked the armor system. Damage = Attack – Armour was changed to: Damage = Attack * 0.9^Armour (in case your unit has a 10% armor bonus). This change was necessary as techs now have the same effect on each unit. So a 10% armour tech will decrease damage by 10% for every unit.

We also want to thank all our contributors that are committing patches with new features and fixes. Not all of them make it into the report, but we are grateful. We can’t do it without you guys and gals!

This month special kudos to sanderd17 who is giving archers range bonuses based on map height and Micket who modeled a Hippo and an Oryx (and a WIP tiger).

See you next month with the latest development news!

New Art Department Leader, Changes in Committee Members

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Our project leader, Michael, has appointed Enrique Keykens Espolio (known on the forums as just “Enrique”) as leader of the Art Department. Enrique is a highly capable 3D artist in his 20′s from Zaragoza, Spain.

Also, we welcome Peter C., to the team, and to replace Enrique on the Design Committee. Peter, known as alpha123 on the forums, is 16 from Colorado, USA. He is both a capable programmer and valuable contributor in design discussions.

Current committee members are:

Design committee: Peter (“alpha123″), Michael (“Mythos_Ruler”) and Jonathan (“quantumstate”).
Treasury committee: Erik (“feneur”), Kieran (“k776″) and Aviv (“Jeru”).

Reminder: Do not use Tor (or any other proxy) to post

Monday, May 27th, 2013

This is a public service announcement regarding the use of the Tor anonymization or any other proxy service to post on this forum.

Due to persistent abuse, this is expressly (see viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9836) forbidden, and users caught using it will be banned.

As said in the original announcement, if you do not know what I am talking about, you have nothing to worry about.

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Music Blog #6

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

As a composer, there is nothing more exciting for me than watching my music come to life… but this post isn’t so much about music – but about the people behind it!

First and foremost, a heart-felt “Thanks” to… you: the fans! I never imagined so many people would fall in love with the music of 0 A.D., but the feedback I’ve received in the past few years has blown me away! I am absolutely thankful to each and every one of you for expressing such love and interest in my music – without you, I would never have recorded a single note.

Since day 1, I insisted that as much of the music as possible be recorded by live musicians (as opposed to using MIDI-based sounds), and the results speak for themselves…
Several musicians have come together to really bring my music to life, and I would like to extend my ever-lasting gratitude to them as well :)

Marta Mc’Cave – Flute
She is the beating heart of the Hellenic Tribes, and also plays the flute solos from “Honor Bound” and “The Road Ahead”. Her solo on “Forging a City-State” was 100% improvised!

Shir-Ran Yinon – Viola
She is the soul of the Britons in “Highland Mist”, and the reason why “The Road Ahead” sounds so big… over 40 separate Viola channels were recorded to create the big string section sound!

Avior Rokah – Trumpet
Avior’s trumpet rings true in the win/loss music, tragic and melancholy on “Dried Tears”, triumphant and epic on “You are Victorious!”

Dror Parker – Percussion
The score of Carthage wouldn’t have been the same without this master of drums. His frame drum, darbuka, riq and toms were recorded freestyle – with nothing but a click track! I then sat down and arranged “Peaks of Atlas” and “Mediterranean Waves” on his inspiring work.

Jeff Willet – Percussion
Jeff is a personal friend and collaborator of mine, who has contributed two of his taiko drum tracks to be used as combat music in game. He also played a wide array of percussion on “Cisalpine Gaul” and “The Hellespont”!

Bar Guzi – Percussion
I’ve been playing with Bar since I was 13… and he was the first percussion player to chime in! His djembe playing can be heard on “Forging a City-State”.

Honest, heart-felt thanks for listening, stay tuned for more 0 A.D. music!
– Omri Lahav.