May News from Wildfire Games

Dear members of the community, it’s been half a year since I took the lead of 0 A.D. (time flies so fast!) and I would like to give you some news of the team and tell you what we’ve been up to.

Programming

We faced big issues in the programming area during 2016. The game is more and more complete, and, as a consequence, more and more complex to maintain. With each new feature come new bugs, and we must be very careful as it is easy to create regressions, i.e. bugs that were fixed but reappear due to another change. The number of things to keep in mind when we change parts of the code also increased drastically over time. There are several ways to address this, and we decided on a new programming workflow, in which all our patches are reviewed to avoid oversights. On top of preventing a lot of mistakes, the mood has improved as we have clear and, it seems, efficient, rules.
The review process mainly happens on our Phabricator instance. It is integrated with a set of automated tools that help us automatically catch mistakes (with linting) and prevent regressions (with unit tests). Some of those systems have just been set up and we hope we can tweak them over time to continue increasing our efficiency. In the near future, we will look into using our AI to automatically test the game.
This new workflow also proved helpful to handle the stream of patches from occasional contributors. Some of the contributions were especially welcome and we are happy to have a working review process again, otherwise we would have lost the great work. We are looking forward to welcoming some of the contributors in the team when they are ready.
Speaking of which, we are delighted to highlight the arrival of s0600204 in the team! s0600204 made a lot of important contributions throughout the years and the team was unanimous in proposing him to join us, which happened a few weeks ago.

Art

The artistic team didn’t rest on their laurels either. As you already know, the new unit meshes, along with brand new animations, are now in the game! The cavalry units are still missing but they are being prepared and you can expect news in the near future. We also started working on new icons for a variety of units, structures and technologies, and you can already see a lot of them in the development version of the game.
The new units are a great milestone in the development of the game and we already have plans for the future and possible areas of improvement. We’ll keep you updated!

Acknowledging our design issues

Despite all those great news, a few of you have rightfully expressed their disappointment about our need for a better gameplay design.
The original vision of 0 A.D. founders is, naturally, not easy to follow when the project has accumulated more than a decade of various contributions. We received interesting gameplay proposals from dedicated members of the community but none of them met the unanimous enthusiasm of the team, which led to more frustration for both sides…
This is the topic on which we will focus our team discussions now. The ultimate goal is having a modern game design document that revives the original goal of the founders while properly allowing people to contribute to it. Nothing is decided yet, but rest assured that we are taking the issue seriously, even if it takes us time to reach a decision.

A new release is near!

Our next announcement should be the release of a new Alpha version, which is exciting. I’m not going to detail its content, but you are encouraged to test the development version, and help us catch some bugs before we start packaging it. Last minute additions may or may not happen, depending on the nastiness of the bugs that might delay the release, the weather, or the astral conjunction đŸ˜‰ Just stay tuned!

Thanks for your support, your enthusiasm, and for being the best community we could dream of.

New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 21 Ulysses

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of 0 A.D. Alpha 21 “Ulysses”, the twenty-first alpha version of 0 A.D., a free, open-source game of ancient warfare. This alpha features new game modes, plenty of new maps, the official introduction of the final civilization: The Seleucid Empire and more!

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Progress Update May 2016

In this progress update we tell you a sample of what we have been up to since the last Alpha release. We have added new Seleucid buildings, more work has been done on animations for the new unit models and last but not least we’d like to tell you what Omri Lahav, our composer has been up to.

A screenshot showing the new Seleucid wonder in-game

A screenshot showing the new Seleucid wonder in-game

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New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 20 Timosthenes

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of “0 A.D. Alpha 20 Timosthenes”, the twentieth Alpha version of 0 A.D., a free, open-source game of ancient warfare. This Alpha features 10 new maps, core functionality for a cinematic in-game camera, the ability to share dropsites with your allies, and more!


golden_island.jpgThe skirmish map “Golden Island”, new in Alpha 20

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Perk delivery for the fundraiser

Update on the fundraiser we had in 2013

Thank you for your patience, this has taken a lot longer than we hoped for, and we are sorry for this. We are also sorry for the lack of updates, but wanted to wait until we were absolutely sure the perks were going out soon before we contacted you again so we wouldn’t make any false promises. Now we have ordered things and they will soon be sent to the shipping agency (the first have already arrived) which will package things and send them out to you.

If you have moved since the survey we sent last year, please send an email to fundraiser@wildfiregames.com as soon as possible so we can make sure the perks reach you.

Please reply as soon as possible, after everything has reached the shipping agency we want to have it sent out as soon as possible. After the first of November we will send things out, if you for some reason don’t see this until after that date and have moved the package might have trouble reaching you. Unfortunately there isn’t much we can do about it, apart from trying to make sure everyone notices this. If you know someone who has contributed, but who might have missed this, please let them know.

If your perk level includes Ancient Warfare Magazine subscriptions you should have gotten an email from feneur@gmail.com. If you never got it, please contact us as soon as possible so we can get those taken care of as well.

Some quick questions and answers:
If I haven’t moved, will I have to do anything? No, but you might get your perks sooner if you do: things are sent out either when we get an email or when the time limit has been met.

What has happened with the money donated? Some of it went to covering the fees from Indiegogo and SPI (SPI manages our money). Some of it covers the perks, and some of it will be spent directly on the development on the game.

What happened to Michael and Jorma? Michael sadly left the team last summer since the fundraiser did not raise enough money to employ him full-time and since he no longer had time to work on the game in his free time. Jorma was unable to work for us when we did not raise enough money to employ him full-time.

So, how will you use the money now? As it is not as much money as we hoped it will be harder to find someone who is able to set aside time to work on the game, especially since the person should already be familiar with the game code to make the most of the time. We will definitely not spend the money on something else though, and will keep you posted as soon as something has been decided.

Discontinuation of the Alpha 15 Multiplayer Lobby

The Alpha 15 Osiris multiplayer lobby is now discontinued. Users of Alpha 15 are advised to upgrade to the latest version.

The only distribution bundling Alpha 15 is Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, for which Alpha 16 is available in backports, and the latest version is available in our PPA.

Alpha 15 was released December 2013 with the subsequent Alpha 16 being out for a year now. The Alpha 15 lobby isn’t used very often anymore; the bot told users to upgrade to a newer version and we haven’t seen more than one player at once for more than a month. The Alpha 15 lobby bot also has an occasional issue causing it to terminate. Due to the inactivity, obsolescence, and amount of extra work required to sustain it, we have decided to discontinue the Alpha 15 Multiplayer lobby. By giving up support for our archaic Alpha 15 bot we are able to streamline some things on the lobby server as we do not need any special cases for the Alpha 15 bot anymore. Multiplayer via the Host/Join dialog is still possible for those who do not wish to upgrade.

New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 18 Rhododactylos

Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of “0 A.D. Alpha 18 Rhododactylos”, the eighteenth alpha version of 0 A.D., a free, open-source game of ancient warfare. This alpha features improved performance, an in-game technology tree, a new map type (“Nomad”) and more!

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New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 17 Quercus

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!

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