Wildfire Games, the international group of volunteer game developers, has released the ninth alpha of their open source real-time strategy (RTS) game, 0 A.D. yesterday. The aptly codenamed “Ides of March” release debuts the Roman civilisation and introduces new combat and trade systems.
The new Roman units come with their own models. art and building style
Besides the new Roman faction (which includes units, buildings and custom scenarios), Alpha 9 also delivers a new combat system that introduces a bonus and weakness system to each unit. Similar systems are well known from games such as Age of Empires or Sid Meier’s Civilization series, and introduce a new level of tactics to unit combat – spearmen are more effective against cavalry, but are vulnerable against skirmishers, etc. Furthermore, the new trading system lets players connect settlements via sea and land routes which will increase their resources but also make these routes primary targets for rival civilisations.
Other improvements in the new version of the game include better artificial intelligence and new animations such as moving oars on rowing ships, new catapult animations, animals, traders and more. The game soundtrack has also been expanded by four new tracks, including two providing background while playing the Roman Empire.
Open sourced in 2009, the RTS game is similar to Microsoft’s Age of Empires in that users create and build civilisations and must defend them against their enemies. The game’s main focus lies on the years 500 BC to 500 AD, but it also includes units such as modern fighter planes and more. All in all, the game now features seven playable civilisations and several multi-player modes.
To help the game reach the 1.0 milestone, which is planned for later this year, the development team is currently seeking contributors to help with programming tasks, art, sound, web design and the production of YouTube videos.
Additional details on what is included in this release can be found in Wildfire’s forum announcement. Aimed at developers, testers and early adopters, 0 A.D. Alpha 9 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux; installation instructions are provided. Feedback is welcomed in the game’s forum and on their IRC channel (#0ad on QuakeNet IRC – irc://irc.quakenet.org/0ad).
Source code for 0 A.D. is released under GPLv2 and the art, music and sound content in the game is made available under the CC-BY-SA Creative Commons Licence. Interested users can follow @play0ad on Twitter for more updates.