0 A.D. Alpha 15 (Osiris) Has Been Released!






The international team behind Wildfire Games have been busy this holiday season and have now released Alpha 15 of 0 A.D.!

About

0 A.D. has to be the most awaited open source game in the history of histories but today during this festive season we got a gift from Wildfire Games, alpha 15 of 0 A.D. and I can’t wait to start playing.

0 A.D. (pronounced “zero-ey-dee”) is a free, open-source, historical Real Time Strategy (RTS) game currently under development by Wildfire Games, a global group of volunteer game developers. As the leader of an ancient civilization, you must gather the resources you need to raise a military force and dominate your enemies.

This game should be held up as a shining example of the quality that open source projects can produce. With very little backing the team at Wildfire Games have produced a stunning looking game with a soundtrack that matches the visuals beautifully. And this is just an alpha, I can only imagine what the finished project is going to be like. It’s rare that a game still in development can excite me so much and hold my attention (pushing on now, the old brainwaves are starting to fluctuate) but 0 A.D. captured my imagination a long time ago and I just get more excited with every new release. So with that said lets take a look at what goodies Alpha 15 brings us.

Video

0 A.D. Alpha 15 Trailer from BrynnOfCastlegate on Vimeo.

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.
  • 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!)

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.

Sound Track

Two new 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).

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

  • 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.

Download

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.

Conclusion

Everyone is invited to join and contribute to 0 A.D. on a completely voluntary basis, to gain game development experience, to comply with a school project or just for fun.

If you are a programmer, please jump right in and just start offering patches according to the instructions below, and with time we will contact prominent contributors and put them officially on the team. Artists and other contributors can do the same, or just ask to be interviewed and get a volunteer gig in 3d modelling, animating, sound, music etc.

 

Get it, play it, love it, if RTS is your thing you definitely won’t regret trying 0 A.D. It’s well worth a look and I may yet add it to my top games of 2013 even though it’s still in alpha. Also, lets not forget that the guys at Wildfire Games work really hard to bring us these releases so if you can help them out with a donation, translations or in some other way please do. At least give the game a shot and if you like it help spread the word. Hope you’re all having a Merry Holidays, thanks for reading!

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Author: Kereltis View all posts by
Linux advocate, born in Liverpool, grew up in Cork City Ireland and currently living in Corvallis, Oregon. I love all things Linux, my favorite distro being Ubuntu followed closely by Kubuntu and Linux Mint (Cinnamon and KDE). As far as I'm concerned Linux is the future of gaming. Lets make the world as open and transparent as we can!

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