New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 11 Kronos

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of “0 A.D. Alpha 11 Kronos”, the eleventh alpha version of 0 A.D., a free, open-source game of ancient warfare. This alpha features new Celtic factions, many improvements to the graphics, functional gates, a new sound system, improved AI 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. on physical media, you will always have the option to download 0 A.D. from us over the internet, completely gratis. 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.

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Top new gameplay features in this release:

  • New Celtic Factions:Britons and Gauls will now replace the generic Celtic faction. Each faction features some unique characteristics, along with shared Celtic units and buildings:
    • The Britons have chariots, longswordsmen and powerful melee soldiers. Their special building is the kennel, which can train war dogs. These are both inexpensive and great for hunting and combat. Also, their heroes include Boudicca, queen of the Iceni, who led a revolt against the Roman Empire.
    • As experts of metalworking, the Gauls have heavy swordsmen and heavy cavalry. Special building: The Rotary Mill, which is available in Town Phase, and is set to increase the food production of nearby farms in mid- and late-game. (This feature has not been implemented yet.) One of the Gauls’ heroes is Vercingetorix, chieftain of the Arverni tribe and enemy of Julius Caesar.
  • New AI script: Aegis Bot – Combining the best of two AI scripts, qBot and Marilyn, Aegis Bot is the toughest AI implemented to date in 0 A.D. It gathers resources efficiently and quickly spends them on training powerful military units. Also, it can discern when it is being attacked by a dangerous army and when it isn’t, and then react appropriately to each case. What’s more, Aegis Bot’s flexible design sets the stage for exciting future AI improvements.
  • Gates – Wall segments of certain widths can be converted into gates. Once placed, gates can be either locked or unlocked: Locked gates prevent all units from passing, whereas unlocked gates are normally closed, but open automatically when your own units are nearby. Handle open gates with care, though, because your enemies can pass through them too!
  • New sound system – Fixes several bugs, supports Mac OS X, and sets a solid framework for future sound features.
  • Shared LOS among allies – You can see whatever parts of the map your allies have explored and vice versa.

Graphics improvements:

  • To increase the game’s realism, several post-processing effects and mapping enhancements have been implemented in 0 A.D.’s 3D graphics, using OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL). These will be disabled by default in Alpha 11 Kronos, since they are experimental and we don’t yet know which hardware best supports which options, but can be switched on by changing settings in the user config file:
    • Ambient Occlusion (AO) – Simulates a measure of how much each part of the model is illuminated by indirect sunlight. This effect darkens parts that are harder for ambient sunlight to reach, such as the areas inside arches (1-2, 4-5).
    • Normal mapping – A technique used to accentuate the lighting of bumps and dents in a 3D model, and add details without using more polygons, which would slow down the game. This effect is easy to notice on the bricks and floor tiles of buildings, and in some terrains (3b).
    • Parallax mapping – Enhances normal mapping, further increasing the “bumpiness” of surfaces, such as roof tiles, without adding polygons.
    • Specularity – Some terrains and parts of buildings are now shiny, such as snow and the gold rings on the columns of the Roman temple.
    • Trees in the game now sway gently in the wind.
  • Some extra improvements have been made to the way terrainsare displayed:
    • Custom terrain alphamaps – Allows different terrains to blend into their surroundings in different ways.
    • Fancy grass material – A multi-layered terrain material makes it look as if blades of grass are sticking out of the ground, and at a fast loading time.
    • Triplanar mapping for terrain – This fixes some ugly texture stretching that occurred in cliffs (6).
  • Smooth Line of Sight (LOS) – As units move into the Fog of War or the Shroud of Darkness, the map is fluidly revealed, instead of a few tiles at a time.
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  • New art assets: Updated Celtic Broch fortress (7-8); Two scaffold props (9); Hellenic docks, theatron, gymnasion and fortress (10-11); Several sets of rocks (12-13); New Hellenic civilization centers (From left to right: Athenians, Spartans, Macedonians; 14); Macedonian & Spartan siege rams with animations; Roman quinquereme animations; New technology icons.
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The Atlas scenario editor and Random Map Scripts:

  • Heightmap importing – Import an image file and Atlas will transform it into a 3d map, automatically rendering darker parts of the image as lower parts on the map.
  • Random maps – Seven new maps are available: Pyrenean Sierra, Oasis, Northern Lights, Lorraine Plain, Sahel Watering Holes, Gear and Unknown. Also, some improvements were made to existing maps, such as Fortress, to make them prettier and more playable.

Music and sound:

  • Three new tracks – “Helen Leaves Sparta” (Spartans), “Rise of Macedon” (Macedonians), “Harvest Festival” (Athenians).
  • Several revisited tracks – “Forging a City-State” (better bouzouki), “Celtic Pride” (total remake), “Honor Bound” (live trumpet added), “You are Victorious!” (live trumpet added), “Dried Tears” (total remake, plus live trumpet added). (Thanks, Avior Rokah!)
  • All the other pieces of the score (19 tracks overall) have been re-mixed and re-mastered to a uniform sound quality and volume.
  • New female citizen acknowledgment voices in ancient Greek, with phrases such as Ti esti? (“What is it?”) and eisbalomen (“I will attack!”).

User interface and other features:

  • Game setup and score screen changes – During match setup, small screenshots of the maps are available; The game summary screen includes player names, a market tab with trade and bartering data, and the map name and size (Thanks, hapsky!).
  • Queued rally points – Use shift to place a sequence of rally points for new units to walk to, or to provide a series of tasks to do in order, such as constructing a set of buildings.
  • New, more realistic ranged attack – Ranged units, such as archers, now miss their targets some of the time.
  • Team & private multiplayer chat – Restrict messages to your allies (“/team”), to your enemies (“/enemy”), to a particular player (type “/msg” followed by the player’s name) – or just chat with everyone at once (“/all”).
  • Other in-game changes – Hotkey to display all healthbars; Progress in technologies being researched is shown in the top right corner of the screen; Shallows represented on minimap; Improved wall system.
  • Cheats – Entering “i want pizza” into the chat box adds 1000 food to your inventory, “bring me my axe” adds the same amount of wood, “your money or your life” adds metal and “i see a mountain here” adds stone; “jame jam” reveals the map, “the hive master” maxes out your population, and more.
  • Increased support for OpenBSD and improvements to our build system (Thanks, anthonyjbentley!).

Known issues

Although we have made a great deal of progress, there are still many things left to implement and fix in 0 A.D. Here is a partial list (full list here):

  • Lag – The game does not run as fast as we would like because of several reasons, mainly pertaining AI and pathfinding. The problem worsens in these conditions: (1) When there are many units on the map, (2) On island maps and (3) With multiple AI players.
  • Visual glitches or textures not loaded – Sometimes this is a driver problem. Please make sure you have the latest drivers for your graphics card.
  • Missing animations – Some units glide around or don’t drop to the ground when killed. This is a work in progress.
  • Sound problems – We have implemented a new sound system in Alpha 11 and it still has several bugs. We intend to fix them in future alphas.
  • Errors and crashes – Unfortunately, these can happen for many possible reasons, and a closer look is needed to determine the source of the problem.

With your help, we can improve 0 A.D. Please report bugs with as much information as possible, including steps to reproduce the problem, on our bug reports forum or on the Trac system. (We prefer these media to the in-game feedback system, as we can use them to ask for more information and coordinate bug management.) Also, particularly when reporting errors and crashes, please post relevant parts of the logs (interestinglog.html) and crash dumps if available. These files are saved in paths detailed here. Thanks in advance for your help.

Please contribute!

REPORTERS/BLOGGERS, PLEASE MENTION THIS! We need your help to finish the game. Thanks.

We are seeking contributors in programming, art, sound, documentation and more. Programmers are especially welcome and can get started immediately.

These roles on the 0 A.D. development team are great if you want to brush up on your skills and update your portfolio, if you’re seeking a project for school with real-life applications, or if you care about the cause of free culture and software and are willing to work pro bono with a group of dedicated volunteers from all over the world.

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 “Kronos”?

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, …).

In Greek mythology, Kronos (or Cronus) was the leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans. At the request of his mother, Gaia, he overthrew his father Uranus, and took the throne with his sister Rhea. Kronos and Rhea ruled during the mythological Golden Age, a time of prosperity and harmony, when people lived without toil, greed or violence, and no laws or rules were needed.

To prevent any chance of losing the throne, Kronos swallowed all the heirs Rhea produced for him. Not fond of the idea of losing all her children, Rhea drafted a plan to give birth to a son, Zeus, in a discreet cave, where the divine goat Amaltheia would then suckle and raise the child. To fool Kronos, Rhea wrapped a stone in Zeus’ swaddling clothes, and Kronos took it and swallowed it, believing it was the child. Years later, Zeus returned, and with the help of Gaia, made Kronos regurgitate the stone and the five children he had previously swallowed. Along with his siblings, who had just been vomited out of Kronos’ stomach, Zeus led a rebellion against Kronos and the titans. They won this war of gods and imprisoned many of the titans, including their father, Kronos. In turn, Zeus and his siblings became some of the main deities of Greek religion, called the Olympian gods.

Kronos was worshipped in Athens as a patron of harvest, but his myth later took a much larger role in Roman religion as Saturn, a god of agriculture, liberation, and time. (Sources: English Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Mythica. Thanks for the name idea, Geek377!)

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

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.: without the name of the set of ancient Greek gods written in all caps.