4. Training Units

Most buildings in 0 A.D. can train (create) units. If you select a building, you can see in the bottom right panel what types of units can be trained at that building, and how much each type costs.

Population

Every new unit counts toward your population limit, indicated on the top left of your screen. The limit can be increased, by building more buildings such as houses.

Rally Points

If you select a building and then right-click a spot on the ground, you will create a rally point, which is a destination each new unit created from that building will automatically go to. Rally points can be set on resources, so that units will automatically gather that type of resource when they are created.

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5. Working with Units

Units in 0 A.D. can be placed on a continuum from “civilian-only”, which are almost exclusively used for accumulating resources, to “military-only”, which can only fight. In the middle, the game features a wide variety of citizen soldiers, which can do a little bit of both.

Female Citizens

You usually start out a game with a few female citizens, who are the driving force of your economy. They specialize in gathering resources, particularly Food, by foraging and farming more efficiently than other units. They can also build civic buildings, such as resource dropsites, and cause nearby male units to work faster. Although they can attack enemy units, they are very vulnerable to practically any other unit.

Citizen soldiers

Some units have the dual role of both workers and soldiers, meaning they are citizen soldiers. For example, hoplites can not only fight but also chop wood. Citizen Soldiers have bonuses for gathering wood, stone and metal. Certain buildings, such as fortresses, can only be built by citizen soldiers.

Ranks

The more citizen soldiers fight, the more battle experience they gain, and automatically go up the ranks. With each rank, they become stronger, and don a unique appearance, but also get gradually worse at “civilian” tasks, such as gathering resources.

Champions and Heroes

You may also train champion units, which are more expensive than citizen soldiers and cannot do any task but fight, but are stronger and better at fighting. You can also train exactly one hero in a game, which is a very strong unique unit.

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6. Exploring the Map

Shroud of Darkness

You begin with only a small portion of the map revealed to you; The rest is covered in black. This black cover is called the Shroud of Darkness, and it may be hiding your enemies’ base, useful resources and more. The shroud is gradually removed and the map is gradually revealed when you send units to explore new parts of the map.

Fog of War

Areas that you have explored, but currently do not have any units or buildings in them, appear with a grey shading covering them. This is the Fog of War. Even if things change on the map, under the Fog of War you you will only see objects as they were when your units or buildings last “saw” them. For example, if trees are cut down or a new enemy building is built under the Fog of War, you won’t see the change unless you send a unit there again. Importantly, enemy units are not seen at all under the Fog of War.

If you have allies, you can see whatever parts of the map your allies have explored and vice versa.

Gathering Intelligence

When exploring the map, you should be trying to find:

  • Treasures,
  • Resources,
  • Strategic areas on the map, such as river crossings,
  • The location of your enemies’ bases,
  • How fortified your enemies’ bases are,
  • What sort of military units they have been training,
  • and more.

All of this information can help you make the decisions that will make you victorious, such as the best direction to expand your base, and the types of units you should be training to counter your adversary.

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7. Dynamic Territories

Most buildings can only be built within your own territory, marked by colored borders on the ground. Players can expand their territory by constructing buildings near their borders. (Some types of buildings will expand your territory more than others.) Borders may change throughout the game, based upon the buildings built and destroyed by the players.

If one of a player’s buildings falls into enemy territory due to shifting borders, then the building will slowly lose loyalty until finally converting to the enemy’s side. This can be stopped and slowly reversed if the border shifts and the building comes back to the player’s side.

Important Exceptions

There are a few important exceptions to this rule:

  • Outposts, Docks and Roman Entrenched Army Camps can be built outside your borders, but none of these will gain you new territory;
  • The Civil Center can be built either on your territory or on unclaimed territory, but must be built a certain distance away from your existing civil centers. Building a civil center can gain you lots of extra territory. Moreover, as you progress through different phases of the game (see “Technologies and Game Phases”), the territory controlled by your Civic Centers will expand by a small amount.

Docks do not lose loyalty/health outside your territory, but Outposts and Roman Entrenched Army Camps do. Roman Entrenched Army Camps can also be built in enemy territory.

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8. Technologies and Phases

Technologies

Technologies, or techs, are economic or military bonuses that can be “researched” (bought) for resources at designated buildings. Hover over the technology buttons to learn about the costs and benefits of each technology.

In 0 A.D., some technologies come in mutually exclusive pairs: This means that within each pair, you can either research one technology or the other, but not both in the same game. These technology pairs are represented on your screen by a link symbol “connecting” two buttons.

Phases

0 A.D. describes the progression of a city from humble beginnings to greatness in three phases: the Village Phase, the Town Phase, and the City Phase. When the game starts, you are already in the Village Phase. If you want to progress to the Town and City Phases, you need to research each of these at the Civic Center.

Phases are like technologies, but much more valuable, because by reaching a new phase you unlock many new types of buildings, units and technologies. Researching each phase is not only expensive but also requires you to have constructed certain buildings:

  • Advancing to the Town Phase costs 1000 Food, 1000 Wood, and requires having built five buildings of any type, except palisades and farm fields. (Five houses, for example, are sufficient, and so are three houses, a mill and a farmstead.)
  • Advancing to the City Phase costs 1000 Stone and 1000 Metal, and requires having built four buildings of any type that becomes available in the Town Phase (except Walls and Civ Centers).

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9. Combat

Types of Combat Units

With a few exceptions, all combat units belong to one of these types:

  • Infantry: Warriors fighting on foot, with swords, bows and arrows, etc.,
  • Cavalry: Warriors on horseback,
  • Siege weapons, such as catapults, and
  • War ships, such as triremes.

Melee vs. Ranged Units

Some of the units mentioned here are melee units, which can only fight when very close to the enemy (e.g., with a sword); Others are ranged units, which shoot or throw a weapon from afar, so they only need to get close enough to be within range (but not too close). Each of these types has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, some ranged units may be very powerful against certain melee units from a distance, but helplessly vulnerable to melee attack from up close.

Types of Damage and Balancing

Damage in 0 A.D. comes in three types: hack, pierce and crush. Units have different armor for each type. In addition, unit attacks may be of multiple types simultaneously, e.g., a hoplite does both pierce and hack damage.

On top of this, some units have special bonuses against particular other units, e.g., spearmen defeat melee cavalry, but are countered by skirmishers and cavalry archers.

Consider that different units have different movement speeds, firing rates, hit points and costs, and you get a complex game with many strategic choices to make when choosing how to spend your resources. In-game documentation can be found in each unit’s description when hovering above the button to train it.

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10. Trade and Bartering

Trade

Trading allows you to gain resources simply by having your traders shuttle between markets or docks. Traders that travel over land can be trained at markets, and merchant ships that sail over sea can be trained at the dock.

(The following explanation refers to both markets and docks; “Market” is used for brevity.)

Establish a trade route between two markets by selecting a trader and right-clicking two markets one after another, setting them as “origin” and “destination” markets. Your traders will then start shuttling between them, gaining resources for every round trip made; You can choose which resource will be gained by each trader. The longer time it takes to travel between the two markets, the more of that resource you will get at the end of each round trip.

You can have a trader shuttle between two of your own markets, or between your market and an allied market. The latter case yields more resources per trip than the former.

Bartering

Bartering allows you to buy and sell resources in exchange for other resources at the market. Resources are traded at exchange rates that vary with each deal. For example, to purchase 100 Food, you may initially have to spend 100 points of another resource type (Wood, Stone, or Metal). By the next deal, however, Food will become more expensive. The rates are global, so if another player buys Food it will be more expensive for you as well. Over time, the exchange rate gradually resets to the default rate.

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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! Continue reading

SourceForge interview with contributors to 0 A.D.

Q: As you’ve been working on this project, what’s been been your biggest surprise that’s come along during this process?
A: The biggest surprise would probably be the excellent reception that 0 A.D. has had in many different communities of fans. From indie game and modder fans to Linux communities – Linux and Free Open Source software communities, and all sorts of fun comments that we keep getting. It’s like Empire Earth, and Rise of Nations, had a baby and it came out free. All sorts of funny, heart warming comments that we keep getting from our fans, and we’d like to reach out and say thank you for all this encouragement that really keeps us going.

Read the whole thing.

We Won!

We won SourceForge’s June Project of the Month poll!

It was neck and neck for days with Sourcefabric’s Newscoop, a FOSS CMS for news websites, but finally, after a hair-raising run for the finish by both contenders, we won by 3 votes (527 to 524)!

This means 0 A.D. will get featured on SourceForge’s blog and mailing list, lending the project high visibility among a new audience of FOSS developers. Reaching out to such large, technically minded audiences helps attract new contributors and speed up the game’s development.

Thanks to the hundreds of our dedicated fans who voted, and a courteous hat tip to Newscoop, for putting up a great fight and for their excellent sportsmanship.

Last but not least, special thanks to 0 A.D. contributor Kieran (k776) for his initiative and leadership in this event. Way to go!

New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 10 Jhelum

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of “0 A.D. Alpha 10 Jhelum”, the tenth alpha version of 0 A.D., a free, open-source game of ancient warfare. This alpha features Hellenic factions such as Athens, Macedonia and Sparta; technologies, civilization phases, click-and-drag walls, healing and more! Continue reading