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0 A.D. Alpha 15 - Osiris (play0ad.com)
201 points by intull on Dec 25, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 47 comments

It's a open source RTS (real time strategy) game similar to the Age of Empires game series. It's great that 0 A.D. is coming along fine :)

Microsoft closed Ensemble Studios (the maker of Age of Empires). And EA canceled "Command & Conquer: Generals 2" as of October 29, 2013.

Sadly, beside Star Craft 2 (its SciFi theme is not for everyone) no triple-A RTS games are in active development :( Back in 2000 there was the last RTS hype and one had troubles to find a new roleplaying game.

As more and more players are moving back to PC/notebooks and tablets that all have better navigation interfaces than the bad controllers, I hope RTS games come back :)

Ensemble Studios might be closed, but Age of Empires 2 is still very much alive. For one, a 50,000$ team tournament is scheduled for March 2014[1], and a 20,000$ 1v1 tourney has just finished a week ago!

There is a UserPatch that is in active development, adding such things as widescreen, multi-monitor support and fixing tons of bugs that have existed for 14 years[2].

Of course there's also the new HD version, which is in active development, but also kind of bug-ridden. A popular AoE2 caster and commentator by the name of ZeroEmpires has a nice quick video on the current AoE scene[3].

AoE2 is still a triple-A RTS game, even after more than a decade of abandonment ;)

[1] http://www.aoczone.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=96960 [2] http://userpatch.aiscripters.net/ [3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_uOIV3SkAc

e; 0ad is really nice as well. Actually, I've not played it a lot at all, but from what I've experienced it's better than Age of Empires 3. It lacks some of the strategic aspect of AoE2 but wins in other areas (such as, not having archaic graphics, and supporting monitors > 1280x800 out of the box.)

Company of Heroes 2 was released this year, so while it's true none are in active developement, one did come out very recently from a non-Blizzard source. It would be most sad if SC2 effectively killed off competition, since it's going downhill in terms of popularity.

I think kickstarter is a decent chance of filling the gap - there are a lot of RTS fans who are dissatisfied with SC2 for a variety of reasons and don't like Dota.

i quite like planetary annihilation. It's on steam - but its absurdly expensive for some reason...not sure why.

They're matching the pricing of the Kickstarter -- pledging more got you early access, so they didn't want people to get the same early access for less just because the game is on Steam now.

Once the game is actually ready, and not in Alpha, the pricing will become sane.

It's the opposite of the e.g. Minecraft model where alpha was cheap.

Not all is lost.

Let's not forget to mention the Spring RTS open source engine: http://springrts.com/ which has some really good free games (usually based on Total Annihilation).

Also new currently in beta (it has already been mentioned), Planetary Annihilation: http://www.uberent.com/pa/

I can recommend Zero-K (http://zero-k.info/) and NOTA (http://nota.machys.net/) as very polished AAA RTS games based on SpringRTS.

As is always the case for games the available screenshots/media don't reflect the actual gameplay. I suggest you give it a try :)

There is also MegaGlest, which is under active development and already pretty good. One cool feature that I don't see elsewhere is the fully 3D positionable camera.

Thanks! I looooved Total Annihilation, I'd love to play some more!

Yeah I miss that RTS golden age haha. SC/War3 custom maps too man!

You'd think there'd be way more awesome RTS's for tablets, given the controls can work so well. The situation right now seems to be kind of stuck between the Farmville/Clans type stuff from the Facebook world, and tower defenses.

the sc2 custom map thing is pretty big these days. they have a whole 'arcade' section of the game designed around customisation, you should try it out :)

Has it changed much since the first year or so? I was pretty big in that community but the reality was the editor was too difficult for most people and the popularity system ended up creating a cyclical loop of the same maps (ie similar to the app store problem).

The brilliance of WC3 was the named-game system that allowed people to host whatever and fill games instantly. Battle.net was much more social-friendly too, and the editor itself provided a lot of power, but was not insanely difficult to figure out. I found the custom games in SC2 were of quite low quality just because of how much work it took to do anything.

the SC2 arcade is soon going free to play. Hopefully that changes something.

Also considering connectivity is so much better - people could set up local networks really easily now.

Planetary Annihilation is in development.

I like it. I went into it completely blind, not knowing what I would get.

The display felt like it was making the units, buildings and scenery seem too small and I was often squinting. This caused tension to build up in my neck and head, which caused some frustration.

Although it feels low-energy, it's fast paced. I had 1 wave that I could repel but they almost wiped out all of my units. The 2nd wave sure did.

It wasn't totally obvious that I could upgrade units through buildings, but I got that much eventually. The resources are up in the upper left hand. I guess I need 3 resource types? Not quite sure what the elephants were for or how to get them to offload.

Couldn't tell if there was advantage to one race over another.

Over all it was kind of fun. I think i'll play again.

I believe you can scroll up and down to zoom in and out so that the world and the units appear bigger and smaller. I am not sure about this, but it had worked when I had played the game a few months ago.

True. It seems that when you're far out, scrolling is kind of slow. It's like watching Robbie Robot play NES. :) Zooming in scales up the speed because you're closer to the ground

But it's fun. It seems like it's kind of complicated but not in a way that is overwhelming.

This is written using an OOP language - C++

I was always fascinated at games like this one as to how perfectly they are a use case to OOP paradigm. All objects are sharing a common object, and the player can create, destroy objects, do stuff on the objects ( call their methods ). Objects can upgrade to different versions. Objects exchange information with themselves or even battle among themselves! Really cool perspective, isn't it?

Many games use Entity-Component-System pattern, which doesn't necessarily require an OOP language.


That is a new trend though, primarily pushed by the fact that the popular Unity game engine uses this model I think.

OOP is a perfectly serviceable model for developing games like this, especially if you use modern OOP i.e. heavy on composition and interfaces as opposed to the byzantine inheritance hierarchies of the 1990s.

The pro-ECS propaganda always contrasts ECS with said 1990s Java style OO, correctly pointing out that inheritance (alone) does not allow clean modelling of certain game world entities.

No, it's primarily pushed by the complexity of modern games. The game industry is notoriously introvert about their development practices, but the popularity of ECS surely precedes the popularity of Unity. (i.e. games like Tony Hawk Pro Skater and World of Warcraft use ECS architecture). Its use is obfuscated further because the architecture is called many different names, and is implemented in many different ways (i.e. I think many programmers find the 'systems' part weird and mix parts into components and other parts into 'engines' and such)

That being said, I think it's hard/unproductive/awkward to implement ECS in a non-OOP language. ECS is basically composition taken to the max, OOP languages give it much needed structure.

Entity based design goes back to at _least_ late-90's Looking Glass; for example, Thief: The Dark Project (1998) used "a set of appropriately abstract reusable game components designed for creating object-rich, data-driven games" and "In _Thief_ there was no code-based game object hierarchy of any kind."[1]

It's used in Unity because it's a flexible approach to developing games.

[1] http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3355/postmortem_thief_...

One of the Thief game devs wrote the book Game Coding Complete, 4th Ed. it mentions Thief game several times and it has some code and explanation about component-entity system.

Also 3 articles about this topic: http://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/1f83c5/3_articles_a...

Btw. 0 A.D. uses the Entity-Component-System pattern too.

Search for "optimized the entity-component system, a core part of the engine" on this page: http://play0ad.com/0-a-d-development-report-13/#more-3342

The page doesn't provide any info about how 0ad uses ECS.

  In 0 A.D., entities (units and buildings and other world
  objects) consist of a collection of components, each 
  of which determines part of the entity's behaviour. 
  Entity template XML files specify the list of components 
  that are loaded for each entity type, plus initialization
  data for the components.
-- http://svn.wildfiregames.com/public/ps/trunk/source/tools/en...

Have a look at the source code: http://svn.wildfiregames.com/public/ps/trunk/source/simulati... and other code there: http://svn.wildfiregames.com/public/ps/trunk/source/simulati... and there: http://svn.wildfiregames.com/public/ps/trunk/source/simulati...

(I used Google to find the related code)

Yes, but to really exploit that perspective you need the features of dynamic languages which C++ is lacking. Which is why it's not uncommon that the actual game objects are represented in a dynamic scripting language, Javascript in this case.

Heard the hype about it so I thought I'd check it out. Pretty cool for open source.

If you have trouble using this release on Macbook Pro with Retina display (OS X 10.8+), the following worked for me:

1. In Displays preferences, scale down the resolution (so text is bigger) by one setting.

2. Run the game. For me, it appeared, full-screen, in a small portion of the screen on the bottom-left side. When I moved my mouse above that portion a few inches, I figured out how to get the game to think my mouse was over the buttons (fortunately they have hover effects). I had to move the mouse to a Y-position a few inches up on the screen from where the button actually appears (but the X-coordinate was correct).

3. Adjust the settings so the game runs in Windowed mode. Save setting and close the game entirely.

4. Return resolution to normal.

5. Re-run the game. Worked fine then.

Retina MBP here, had to have my mouse cursor about an inch and a half below the button I was aiming for. However even after doing the steps you laid out, pointing is still off in full-screen mode (only).

Yep. I keep mine windowed. Oh well.

It looks neat, but the performance was bad enough that I couldn't play it.

To mention another decent open source strategy game project, I'd say Widelands is to Settlers what 0 A.D. is to Age of Empires.


thanks for widelands. never knew about it :D

btw, 0 A.D. embeds Mozilla's SpiderMonkey JS engine for scripting: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/0_A.D._(video_game)

I tried this alpha out with a friend, it seems like the multiplayer is completely broken, each time we start a match we get out-of-sync errors and can't play. I wonder if this has to do with trying to play using linux and OS X

Any time I start looking through the source code of one of these games, I wonder how I get paid in the same realm (sometimes even more) as a meager UI developer than these guys doing "real" engineering. Makes me feel dumb, but also intrigued and intellectually stimulated. I'd like to become a better programmer someday, so I could understand this code.

I'm one of the developers for 0AD, and I have to say it's really not that hard to get started. I began checking out the source code and developing patches only about eight months ago (I didn't know /any/ C++ when I started, only some JS and Python), and in the mean time I'm gotten very familiar with the codebase and joined the official team. In fact, the multiplayer lobby in this release was primarily developed by myself.

Feel free to join us on #0ad or #0ad-dev on quakenet if you have any questions.

How does this compare to other (commercial) games in this genre?

Well, it's an alpha, so it's not really comparable yet. It's safe to say that it lacks some "probably expected" featured.

I don't know about now, but when I tried it a month ago, it lacked an options menu. Clicking "options" on the main menu opened a dialog with placeholder text. Maybe they've added one now, but I didn't see one skimming the updates list.

There is now a neat options menu with all kinds of the obvious settings you would want to change. even some graphics things, though most of them seem to be for water haha.

This is a very hard question to answer, because this genre tends to one game per player, just because the games take forever (a civilization 5 multiplayer game tends towards 10 hours), and this nature leads to a lack of game changing.

This game is an RTS (like Starcraft/Warcraft). It's not a Simulation like SimCity or Civ. Matches are meant to be played with 2 or more players and can last a few hours max depending on the map. With that said, my brother and I love it. RTSes for Mac have been lacking and this one is really solid even in Alpha. We can't wait until it gets more mature and modders get a chance to make mods on top of the already great core.

Would be cool if they distributed via torrent (though their d/l speeds are pretty impressive anyway).

That really look great on video, I definitely will have to check this.

I started playing the first Age of Empires such a long time ago. After Age of Titans (my favorite of all -- the God powers added a lot of fun), I didn't like as much the new ones.

Being an average player, I got the most fun watching recorded games from top notch players, so I hope this will be a feature if not in there already.

Thank you for this game. I especially love the music and the 2 new tracks definitely don't disappoint. Keep up the great work.

Wow, very impressive.

You should toss this up on http://itch.io

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