Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

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”).

Erik Johansson Steps Down from Project Leadership, Michael D. Hafer Assumes Role

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Erik Johansson (“feneur”) has announced he will step down from managing the development of the free, open-source game 0 A.D., citing his wish to focus on his writing and other hobbies. Johansson, 27 from Sweden, has been the project lead since 2008, and the team thanks him for his sustained leadership of the project. Back in ’08, 0 A.D. was a small, proprietary freeware project, but under Erik’s watch, the project has gone open-source and developed tremendously to a global community with thousands of fans and supporters. Erik has emphasized that he wishes to remain on the team, and he will continue to assist with certain administrative tasks, including serving on the Treasury Committee, a committee of contributors who make financial decisions for the project.

Longtime 0 A.D. contributor Michael D. Hafer (“Mythos_Ruler”) has agreed to take over leadership of the project pending the success of a crowdfunding campaign, tentatively set for May and June 2013, which he will plan and carry out. If the campaign succeeds, Hafer will work in a full-time capacity for one to two years from his home in Indiana, USA to promote all aspects of development of 0 A.D.

Starting from now, Michael will be replacing Erik on the Design Committee, which decides which features will be included in the 0 A.D. software. He will still answer to the Treasury Committee for all decisions concerning raising and disbursing project funds. If the crowdfunding campaign succeeds, the Treasury Committee will pay Michael’s salary according to the terms of a pending contract.

Current committee members are:

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

Edit (April 5, 2013): The new project liaison to SPI is Aviv Sharon (“Jeru”).

We invite contributors to advise our upcoming crowdsourcing campaign and help with related tasks. If you are interested, please let us know on our forums or on our contact form. Thanks!

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.

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.

We Won Second Place!

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

0 A.D. has just won second place in IndieDB’s Player’s Choice for Upcoming Indie of the Year contest for 2012.

Thanks so much to all the wonderful fans who voted for us! This is a huge vote of confidence in the project, and a huge encouragement for the developers.

With your help, we hope to make an even larger splash in 2013.

And of course, congratulations to the winner, Path of Exile, which like 0 A.D., is entirely free of charge to download and play. Hats off!

Indie of the Year Awards

New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 12 Loucetios

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of “0 A.D. Alpha 12 Loucetios”, the twelfth alpha version of 0 A.D., a free, open-source game of ancient warfare. This alpha features diplomacy, packing siege engines, super fancy water 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.

Please Vote for Us in the Indie of the Year 2012 Contest!

If you care about 0 A.D., please vote for us in the second round of the Indie of the Year 2012 contest.

Under “Upcoming games of 2012″, under “Real Time Strategy”, you need to click the word “VOTE” on the left of “0 A.D.”

Voting continues until December 21st. Thanks in advance, from all of us in Wildfire Games.

Top New Gameplay Features in This Release:

  • Diplomacy: Determine if you and another human player are allies, enemies or neutral to each other, and change this relationship in mid-game as you see fit. If you downgrade the relationship, the change is automatically mutual (i.e., by turning someone into your enemy, you automatically become their enemy); But if you try to upgrade relations, as in forging an alliance, you need the other side to explicitly agree. (As of Alpha 12, AI players will not react to diplomacy changes at all. We hope to add this in the future.) (See screenshot below.)
  • Packing Siege Engines: Certain siege engines need to be in a “packed” state to be moved from place to place, and in a stationary “unpacked” state to be able to fire. Moving a siege engine between these states is called “packing” and “unpacking”, and takes time, during which the siege engine can neither move nor fire. (This is important for both realism and balance, as siege engines can inflict lots of damage.)
  • Formation Order Queueing: Allows giving units several tasks to carry out in order, e.g.: (1) Build a house here, then (2) move near to the other player’s territory, (3) build a army camp there and then (4) attack the fortress first and then (5) go straight for the civic center. All these orders can be given in one sequence by pressing “shift” and right-clicking the relevant parts of the map in order.
  • Heroes are back, but now each player can have only up to one living hero at any time.
  • Slaughter Attack: All domestic animals are killed with melee weapons, even by otherwise ranged units. This speeds up meat harvesting.
  • Unit Training Hotkeys: If you select a building that can train units, and then hit “Z”, it is as if you clicked the first unit training button on the left on the GUI; “X” for the second button from the left, “C” for the third, etc., up to the letter “M”.
  • New Match Setup Options: Choose the population cap and the amount of resources players will start out with.
  • Five New Random Maps: Nomad, Syria, Corinthian Isthmus, Belgian Uplands, and English Channel.

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Graphics and User Interface Improvements:

  • Improved Water Rendering: The new, “super-fancy” water includes the white foam of waves crashing onto the shore, it can be much wavier, and it casts surface and underwater shadows.
  • Post-Processing Manager: Recent changes enable features such as distance fog, bloom and more. (See screenshots below. Top left is default. Effects on bottom right exaggerated for demonstration purposes.) No less importantly, the post-processing manager is extremely moddable, so from now on, developers can very easily add new visual effects to 0 A.D. using existing code from other projects. For an example, see the Bokeh Depth of Field effect shown below.
  • Rubble appears when you destroy a building (see screenshots below).
  • We have also added icons to the tooltips, instead of names of resources like “Food” and “Wood” and time units like “seconds” (see screenshot below).

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Music and Sound:

  • New song: “Calm Before the Storm”, meant to be played in menu screens.
  • Recent changes to the audio improve the way music sounds, and ensure it is heard in stereo.

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 “Loucetios”?

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, …).

Loucetios was a Gallic god related to storms and lightning, that was identified with the Roman god of war, Mars. He is often found accompanied by the goddess Nemetona, as part of a divine couple.

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

Happy Holiday Season!

Just for fun, we’ve made up this character, who is like Santa Claus, except he is skinnier, he wears thick glasses and has a penchant for hiding in large crowds.

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Can you find him in this winter-themed screenshot?

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Long Time, No Siege

Wildfire Games will keep releasing new versions of 0 A.D. from time to time. Watch our news feed to get updates, or follow us by e-mail, RSS, Facebook or Twitter. And you’re always welcome to join the 0 A.D. community on our forums.

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Contact info for press, bloggers, etc.: aviv@wildfireODYSSEYgames.com without the name of Homer’s ancient Greek epic written in all caps.

Welcome to the New 0 A.D. Website!

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Wildfire Games proudly presents the new 0 A.D. website, a new showcase for the game and FOSS project we have all grown to love.

You’ll notice that the content has been redone, the design better reflects the interface within the game 0 A.D., and it is easier to get to download the version of 0 A.D. that is right for you.

New Address

The new website is available on http://play0ad.com.

Please point your RSS readers to the new website if needed.

(The old website will remain at http://www.wildfiregames.com/0ad for posterity and so as not to break any links to old pages. We’ll put up a notice soon.)

New Features

A new game manual, with video tutorials, is available on the new website, to help newbies negotiate the complexities of an RTS game. (Thanks, BrynnOfCastlegate!)

Also, the global navigation on the top right corner will help surfers navigate between the main website, intended for a broad audience, and the forums and development wiki, which are usually for hardcore fans and developers.

For the more technically inclined readers, the current website runs on WordPress and conforms to modern web standards, which is important and a big step forward from our older website.

Credits

A huge round of applause goes to the team members who made this thing happen:

  • Geek377
  • Brian Stempin (bstempi)
  • GerbilOFDoom
  • Ludovic Celle (Ludo38)
  • Michael Hafer (Mythos_Ruler), and
  • Pureon

Please enjoy and give feedback on the new website on our forums!