0 A.D. is a strategy game that has been around for quite some time now, and it reached a decent level of completeness despite the fact that Wildfire Games are releasing only alpha versions. It’s free, open-source and available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X and the latest alpha, codenamed ‘Ides of March’, comes with a whole bunch of new features and fixes.
The game resembles an ancient warfare universe, much in the way Age of Empires series did. The new key features in this version include (from the changelog on the official website):
- a new, complete faction called Roman Republic, which comes with a new art set for buildings, units and ships
- a new combat system adding bonuses and weaknesses to units
- a new trading system, which allows you to choose which resource to be gained by a trader, available on both water and over land
- new random map scripts
- new animations for several ships, units and animals
- new AI improvements, including including a serious bug fix and performance increases
- four new music tracks and a re-done track
- many other bug fixes and minor features
Features & Gameplay
The game comes with 3D graphics using OpenGL, allowing you to zoom in/out and to rotate the image. After starting a new game only few options can be configured though, like enabling or disabling shadows, water reflections or the music. 0 A.D. features both single player and multiplayer, with the single player mode offering a skirmish-like mode, no campaigns being available at the current time. In single player you will fight versus qBot, the default A.I. used by the game. A scenario editor which can be started in-game via the Options menu is also available.
The multiplayer mode features direct connection only, there doesn’t seem to be an Internet server, so you can either host a game or connect to another game by specifying the machine’s IP.
It can be ran in fullscreen mode or windowed mode using Alt+Enter to switch between them.
0 A.D. features a lot of maps, several factions like the new Roman Republic, Iberians, Celts or Hellenes, combat units, buildings for training new units and technologies, a trading system, and naval ships.
The gameplay is pretty much similar to the one of Age of Empires in that you gather food, stone, gold and wood, expand and upgrade your buildings and units, build up a strong army and defeat your opponent.
The new Roman faction (from the official screenshots)
Currently 0 A.D. doesn’t offer configuration options like changing the resolution, configuring keyboard shortcuts or changing the sound/music volumes. The available hotkeys are listed here.
You can use Alt+Enter to toggle between fullscreen and windowed mode, or F2 to take a screenshot in PNG format.
Instructions for installing 0 A.D. in various Linux distributions can be found here. To install 0 A.D. in Ubuntu you can use the repositories provided by the official project by issuing the following commands in a terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:wfg/0ad
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install 0ad
Then run it by typing 0ad in a terminal.
To conclude, 0 A.D. has a pretty slow development rate, but once all the remaining features are implemented it should make a great, classy, real-time strategy game. Plus, it’s completely free.