Archive for the ‘News’ Category

FlightGear v3.2 Released

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The FlightGear development team is delighted to announce the v3.2 release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bugfixes. Highlights in this release include an experimental aircraft manager allowing users to download and load aircraft in-sim, a very capable built-in HTTP server, built-in voice synthesizer for ATIS messages, and many improvements to the Canvas rendering framework.

Founded in 1997, FlightGear is developed by a worldwide group of volunteers, brought together by a shared ambition to create the most realistic flight simulator possible that is free to use, modify and distribute. FlightGear is used all over the world by desktop flight simulator enthusiasts, for research in universities and for interactive exhibits in museums.

FlightGear features more than 400 aircraft, a worldwide scenery database, a multi-player environment, detailed sky modelling, a flexible and open aircraft modelling system, varied networking options, multiple display support, a powerful scripting language and an open architecture. Best of all, being open-source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.

Download FlightGear v3.2 for free from FlightGear.org.

FlightGear – Fly Free!

Major enhancements in this release

Aircraft Modeling

  • A Failure Management Framework for FlightGear has been added
  • The JSBSim flight dynamics model now has support for ground effects like bumpiness, solid-ground detection and adjusting of friction factors. Additionally, bogey type contact points sink in non-solid surfaces, making it no longer possible to ride on water.
  • YASim now has versioning support. The YASim FDM now checks a version tag in it’s configuration file to allow improvements to the YASim FDM without risking breaking older aircraft.
  • Additional aircraft have started adopting the Canvas navigation display that was introduced with FlightGear 3.0.

Graphics

  • Improved rendering of VASI, PAPI, runway and taxiway lights.
  • Orbital rendering using textures from the NASA Visible Earth project
  • Additions to the Atmospheric Light Scattering (ALS) rendering include:
    • an experimental framework to render cloud shadows on the ground (requires Advanced Weather)
    • a substantial extension of cloud layer visibility using impostor techniques to 150 km
    • a new agriculture effect allowing to render fields without tiling artifacts
    • a new forest effect to simulate managed forest, varying tree size by patch
    • sparkle and fog effect on runway lights
    • much improved visual appearance of rock faces

Usability

  • An experimental aircraft package manager allows the download of new aircraft, and changing the current aircraft in-sim.
  • A new internal web server (aka httpd) based on mongoose httpd has been added. It supports various AJAX requests, a screenshot server, a property tree browser, and a web-based moving map and much more.
  • The integrated Map dialog now uses an azimuthal equidistant projection, for better representation in polar regions and across the International Date Line.
  • Windows users are now able to use the scroll wheel in dialog lists

Canvas System

Improvements to Canvas, FlightGear’s scriptable 2D rendering system include

  • Better performance
  • MapStructure-based layers can now be customized and styled
  • Support for mouse button and modifiers
  • CanvasImage now supports the http:// protocol for dynamically retrieving raster images.
  • An experimental Map dialog using Canvas is available under the Equipment menu.
  • Canvas Layout Engine

Nasal Scripting

  • A new fully-interactive Nasal GUI console based on Canvas has been added: Interactive Nasal Console
  • the hard-coded flight path history subsystem which samples aircraft position is now exposed via Nasal.

Documentation

  • Nasal documentation is now included,

Highlighted new and improved aircraft

Other

  • A text-to-speech system based on flite+hts_engine has been implemented, which is used for ATIS and other messages.
  • Improved loading behaviour for AI/MP aircraft

Bug fixes

  • A serious bug was found late in the release causing large numbers of crashes. Fixing this delayed he release, but had a nice side-effect of improving performance on some systems that were previously CPU-limited.
  • See our bugtracker for an extensive, yet incomplete, list of the bugs fixed in this release.

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.

Feedback on dds textures required

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Should Flightgear switch to dds texture format?

What is this about?

The FG development team is considering to switch the format for terrain textures from png to dds. This would offer a number of significant advantages:

– dds is a compressed format, hence the download size of the FG base package may be decreased
– compressed dds can be directly used by many graphics cards, reducing also GPU memory consumption
– dds stores all texture resolution levels, i.e. no lower resolution levels have to be generated when the texture is used, hence it loads much faster into memory
– the resolution levels (‘mipmaps’) can be customized, allowing for some interesting effects at no performance cost

Practically all commercial simulations use dds for these reasons.

However, the dds compression algorithm is patented, which means that it is not readily available for OpenSource graphics drivers used by Linux distributions. Dependent on the specific hardware, this may or may not be a problem (modern graphics cards typically do not need the driver to process dds, for older graphics cards there are non-patented workarounds available which decompress the dds on the software level). The development team is concerned about making the Flightgear experience pleasant for all users, hence we would like to gather feedback how many users would be affected by a change in practice.

If there are no problems reported, FG will change defaults to txtures in dds format with the 3.4 release, and then phase out the use of png textures.

What would we need?

Flightgear already provides the simple option to test a dds texture set. If you are running on Linux and especially if you use an OpenSource graphics driver, please take 5 minutes to help during your next FG session:

– Open the dialog under View -> Rendering

– Under ‘Terrain texture scheme’, change the default ‘Region-specific’ to ‘Global alternative (DDS format)’ (see red circle)

– Press ‘Okay’ – FG will reload the terrain

– Do you see proper textures on the terrain (they may look different and may also not fit the location perfectly)? If yes, you’re fine. If you see monochromatic colors or other rendering artifacts, your system may have problems with dds.

– Change back to the texture scheme you like best

– Go to the wiki page and report your experiences, ideally including the graphics card you have and the driver you’re using.

Thanks for your time!

Some context for those interested

The visuals you get to see of the terrain in Flightgear depend on texture scheme and rendering scheme being used.

Simply put, the texture scheme selects a set of texture sheets which are mapped to the various landclasses in the terrain, such that a forest is rendered as forest rather than as grass. The old ‘Global’ texture scheme uses one such set everywhere in the world, the ‘Global alternative’ scheme uses a different set, but the format the textures are stored in is dds rather than png, and the ‘Regional’ scheme selects different textures based on what part of the world you are in. So the texture scheme selection governs things like the basic appearance of the terrain, the format the textures are internally stored in and the definitions where in the world certain textures should be used.

However, modern graphics cards allow to modify textures dynamically, or even create them on the fly by Procedural Texturing using shader effects. Dependent on shader quality level, these effects may have quite a pronounced impact on the visuals. If you are not running Rembrandt, you can switch the main rendering schemes runtime using the ‘Atmospheric Light Scattering’ (ALS) checkbox in the rendering dialog (blue circle in the image above) and explore what it does. So in summary, the rendering scheme selection governs just what is done in detail with the basic texture layers selected above (but, confusingly enough, shader effects may even replace textures).

Some examples exploring the different texture and rendering schemes below:

This is the South Rim of Grand Canyon using regional texture definitions and ALS procedural texturing:

Regional texture definitions allow to adjust the rock color to what is prevalent in the US Southwest, whereas the banded rock structure is not part of the texture file but generated procedurally.

Same scene using global texture definitions and ALS:

Using global textures, the rock and grass color is no longer adapted to the region, and also the shader effect no longer replaces the steepest forest patches by rock.

Same scene using global alternative (DDS) textures and ALS:

Switching to global DDS textures does not alter the visuals significantly in this case, the main difference is the texture format and detail resolution.

Same scene using regional textures and default rendering scheme:

The default rendering scheme at high quality contains some texture replacements which are coded globally into the effect framework and do not mesh too well with the regional texture colors seen elsewhere in the scene.

Same scene using global texture scheme and default rendering scheme:

Such global texture replacements in the shader however work better with a global texture scheme.

Same scene using global alternative DDS texture scheme and default rendering scheme:

Here, the dds texture scheme leads to somewhat different colors.

FG supports this wide variety of textures and rendering schemes so that users can customize the visuals to the performance offered by their computer and select the best compromise between good framerate and compelling visuals.

We need different schemes for this, since in trying to render a scene faithfully, we need to decide questions whether an average level of dust should already be included into textures (as done in the global scheme) or added dynamically according to weather (as done in the regional scheme in procedural texturing). The first alternative is preferable on low-end hardware where procedural texturing is too slow, but the second alternative works much better on high-end systems. Similarly, having different texture schemes allows us to provide a quick fallback for users who might experience problems with a dds-based scheme.

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.

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.

dlbtn_top.png
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.

FlightGear v3.0 Released

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

February 17, 2014 – FlightGear v3.0 is Released!

The FlightGear development team is happy to announce the v3.0 release of FlightGear, the free, open-source flight simulator. This new version contains many exciting new features, enhancements and bug fixes. Highlights in this release include integration of the FGCom voice communications client within the simulator, improved terrain rendering, faster scenery loading, and improved usability. This release also coincides with the release of FlightGear World Scenery 2.0 – massively improved scenery data covering the entirety of the planet and incorporating OpenStreetMap roads and detailed terrain information from a variety of sources.

A list of major changes can be found at: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Changelog_3.0.

Founded in 1997, FlightGear is developed by a worldwide group of volunteers, brought together by a shared ambition to create the most realistic flight simulator possible that is free to use, modify and distribute. FlightGear is used all over the world by desktop flight simulator enthusiasts, for research in universities and for interactive exhibits in museums.

FlightGear features more than 400 aircraft, a worldwide scenery database, a multi-player environment, detailed sky modelling, a flexible and open aircraft modelling system, varied networking options, multiple display support, a powerful scripting language and an open architecture. Best of all, being open-source, the simulator is owned by the community and everyone is encouraged to contribute.

Download FlightGear v3.0 from FlightGear.org and “Fly Free!”

FlightGear – Fly Free!

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 !!!

New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 15 Osiris

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of “0 A.D. Alpha 15 Osiris”, the fifteenth alpha version of 0 A.D., a free, open-source game of ancient warfare. This alpha features a multiplayer lobby, skirmish maps, auras 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

    • Multiplayer Lobby: The new in-game multiplayer lobby is a place to meet other players and play games together. Meet the entire 0 A.D. community online and face the challenge of a multiplayer game!
    • Auras: Units get a bonus when they are in range of a special building, like a wonder, or another unit, such as a hero. This feature adds a new layer of strategy to the game. So far, in Alpha 15, temples regenerate health for nearby units, and most heroes have auras. This feature is set for expansion and further refinement over the next few alphas.
    • Debut of the Ptolemaic Egyptians: Alpha 15 debuts the Ptolemaic Egyptians as a new playable civilization. Some new buildings, units and unique gameplay features can already be tested, but it’s not finished yet and still contains a lot of placeholders. The Ptolemies will be completed in the next alpha releases.

A Ptolemaic Egyptian settlement along the Nile.

  • Skirmish Maps: Skirmish maps are a new game mode in 0 A.D. They’re similar to scenarios, but can be easily changed according to your preferences. Like scenarios, these are hand-crafted maps in which the terrain, starting positions and positions of resources on the map remain constant every game. However, unlike scenarios, other aspects can be changed every time you set up a game, like starting resources, factions and teams.Also, in skirmish maps the map creator also placed some generic entities on the map, which will change according to the factions players choose as soon as the game starts, such as generic Civil Centers that will immediately transform into Civil Centers specific to the faction chosen. Skirmish maps are another option available to the player, on top of scenarios and random maps. (Try the first skirmish map, “Alpine Valleys”, bundled with Alpha 15!)

 

The Alpine Valleys skirmish map.

User Interface

  • Escort / Guard Order: You can now order your troops to protect other units or buildings. When the guarded unit is attacked, whoever is guarding it will come to help, either by attacking the offender, or by healing or repairing the guarded unit.
  • Attack Notification: Whenever you’re attacked, you’ll hear a sound and receive a chat message, and the minimap will shows some blinking pixels on the map so you can quickly see where the attack is happening.
  • Auto-Garrison Units: When possible, you can ask your newly-produced units to garrison in the production building by setting the rally point in the building itself, using the Ctrl key.
  • Automatic Naval Pickup: When units are asked to garrison into a ship, the ship will sail to the shoreline to pick them up.
  • “Back to Work” Button: The last civilian task a unit was doing (i.e., gathering, building, trading, …) is remembered when ordering a unit to do some military task (i.e. attack, garrison, …). After you’re done defending yourself from an enemy attack, you can quickly send units back to their previous tasks using the back-to-work button.

     

New tech icons.

Music and Sound

  • Two special tracks have been composed for the Ptolemaic Egyptians: “Valley of the Nile” (feat. Shlomi Nogay on flutes and Jeff Willet on percussion) and “Ammon-Ra” (feat. Jeff Willet) (see YouTube videos below).
  • A new generic peace track, “Tavern in the Mist”, contributed by Mike Skalandunas.
  • “Celtica” and “Highland Mist” now feature an actual Celtic harp, played by Avital Rom.
  • “Eastern Dreams” and “Sands of Time” have been completely remade, and now feature Jeff Willet on percussion.
  • “Honor Bound” remixed and remastered.
  • New selection sounds.


Graphics

  • Better Unit Movement in Formations: The units in formations run around less, and now know how to get to the closest available place in the formation. This way, the formation is formed faster, and the pathfinder doesn’t have to compute long paths for big formations.
  • New Asian elephant and tiger animations.
  • Some new buildings were added to Brits and Gauls, complete with AO, normals and specularity.
  • New terrain textures.

Development Updates, Bug Fixes and Miscellaneous Features

The new GUI design, modelled by the new Multiplayer Lobby.

  • New GUI Design: Work on a new and improved user interface design has started a while ago. With Alpha 15 you can see it in action the first time! At the moment the new design is only used for the multiplayer lobby, but other menus will hopefully also benefit from the improvements in the future.
  • Internationalization Work Started: For the next Alpha we intend to include a translation system, and work on such a system has already begun. Volunteers have begun translating 0 A.D. into dozens of languages. If you have the necessary skills to help localize 0 A.D., feel free to head over to the web-based translation platform Transifex!
  • Multiplayer OOS Problems Fixed: Several causes of out-of-sync errors in multiplayer games have been fixed. These issues made multiplayer games with AI players nearly unplayable in Alpha 14 but should now be fixed.
  • Increased Support for Multiplayer Hosting: If you were unable to host multiplayer games before because you couldn’t manually setup port forwarding, now the game will try to automatically negotiate port forwarding with routers supporting UPnP. This should allow more people to host multiplayer games without connection issues.
  • Some recent graphical changes make it possible to make particle jet trails and more realistic smoke in the future.
  • Random map generation is now faster.

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 “Osiris”?

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, …).

Osiris was an ancient Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. In honor of the release of the Ptolemies, we have decided to dub Alpha 15 “Osiris”.

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

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Contact info for press, bloggers, etc.: aviv@wildfireNILEgames.com without the capitalized name of Egypt’s most important river.