Wildfire Games, an international group of volunteer game developers, proudly announces the release of 0 A.D. Alpha 23 “Ken Wood”, the twenty-third alpha version of 0 A.D., a free, open-source real-time strategy game of ancient warfare.
Alpha 23 was first released in May, and the development has been focused since then on preparing a second release including major bug fixes, and privacy updates allowing 0 A.D. to be GDPR-compliant. You can read about the detailed changes of the re-release in this blog post.
Easy Download and Install
Download and installation instructions are available for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
0 A.D. is free software. This means you are free to download, redistribute, modify and contribute to the application under the same licenses (GPL v2 or a later version for code and Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 for artwork, see license).
Although you might find some people selling copies of 0 A.D., either over the internet or on physical media, you will always have the option to download 0 A.D. completely gratis, directly from the developers. No “freemium” model, no in-game advertising, no catch.
Top New Features
- New Civilization: Kushites
- Mod Downloader
- Cavalry and Spartan Building Models
- Combine Victory Conditions
- Attack Range Visualization
- Diplomacy Colors
- Destruction Damage
- Unit Information Dialog
- AI Behavior
- Lobby Authentication to prevent impersonation
- Nomad Mode on all Random Maps
- New Random Maps: Lower Nubia, Jebel Barkal, Elephantine, Fields of Meroë, Hellas, Dodecanese, Scythian Rivulet
The most prominent feature of the new release is the introduction of the Kushites.
The Kingdom of Kush was a Middle Nile Valley civilization between 785 B.C. and 350 A.D. The region became known as Nubia and is located in present-day Sudan.
Steeped in pharaonic traditions, Kushites considered themselves the true heirs of the New Kingdom. They were fierce in the defense of their homeland, facing Persian, Ptolemaic and Roman invasions as well as constantly testing the strength of their northern neighbors.
The armies of Kush are diverse, with contingents recruited from all across its vast domain. With a wide array of trainable units, they can adapt to almost any kind of opposing army. Boosted both economically and militarily by their monumental pyramids, ingenious leaders, and special technologies, Kushites gain a variety of benefits. Lead the Nubian kingdom to bloody war and see the emergence of the mighty Kingdom of Kush.
Learn more about ancient Kush here.
Economic and religious Kushite sites (10MB 6k-HD)
A Nubian city in full bloom (6MB 6k-HD)
Temple Of Amun
Harsiotef, Kushite King of Meroë (404 B.C. to 369 B.C.)
Beginning this Alpha, players can install mod files just by opening them with 0 A.D.
This new version also comes with a mod downloader, which allows you to connect to the new mod.io platform and fetch mods from inside the game. Wildfire Games and the mod.io team have worked together to bring you this feature, and 0 A.D. is one of the first games for which mods are available from this new and powerful platform.
Since the launch of mod.io in May, 0 A.D. is the most popular game on the platform. We went over the 10k downloads milestone, and we are steadily headed towards the 50k one. We warmly thank the modders for their incredible work of making their mods work with A23, and uploading them to mod.io.
Don’t hesitate to subscribe there if you want to receive notifications about new mods and secure our place on the platform.
Please note that only mods that Wildfire Games has tested against blatant security issues will be available through mod.io. However, you are always free to install mods manually from other sources.
0 A.D. Mod Downloader
Millenium A.D., a free mod featuring Anglo-Saxons, Byzantines, Carolingians and Norse civilization at the time of Charlemagne and the Viking Age
Terra Magna, a free mod featuring the Han Dynasty of China and pre-Columbian Zapotecs
Similar to previous releases, meshes, animations, textures and materials for a number of units have been reworked. This time with a focus on helmets, shields, and clothing.
However, 0 A.D. Alpha 23 also comes with many new artworks, as the Spartan faction has received an entirely new set of models. All Cavalry units have been replaced with much more realistic looking, more fluently animated high-poly models.
New Helmets and Siege Firing Animations (7MB 6k-HD)
Combine Victory Conditions
The addition of new victory conditions throughout the last releases, such as Wonder Victory, Regicide and Capture The Relic game mode have made it reasonable to allow players to combine all these modes arbitrarily. So if you ever wanted to play a game where you can choose between defeating the enemy by taking out the hero or starting an ambush on the relics after building a city-state and assembling an army, now is the time!
Two heroes fighting for victory (9MB 6k-HD)
Attack Range Visualization
Similar to the aura range visualization of the former release, fortifications, and mobile towers now reveal the range they cover upon selection. Furthermore, the attack distance is also drawn when in the building placement preview, so that the player can find the best suitable location before settling the position.
Attack Range Visualization during building preview mode (7MB 6k-HD)
Players often need a quick way to find out where the border to the enemy lies and which parts of the territory can be considered a safe space. With 0 A.D. Alpha 23, players can now toggle between the player colors and team colors (one color per diplomatic stance), enabling them to react to every threat to their city instantly. Blue indicates the player, green indicates allies and red indicates enemies.
Blue indicates the player, green allies and red opponents (12MB 6k-HD)
Units can now deal damage to surrounding units when they are destroyed. For example, if your fireship is about to sink, it can also damage and sink small vessels nearby. If you like, you can move your heavily damaged fireship near some small enemy ships to make sure that when it does sink, it will take some of them down with it!
Unit Information Dialog
Players and observers can now open a dialog that displays all the game related details by right-clicking on a unit during a match. It is also designed to provide sufficient space for historical background information in future versions of the game.
Everything you wanted to know about the Amun Temple
The Petra AI now supports configuration of different behaviors, such as Aggressive or Defensive. Although still in an early stage of development, it aims at a more diverse singleplayer experience.
AI Configuration Dialog
To establish a safer multiplayer environment, the possibility of player impersonation was ruled out by an improved connecting mechanism that requires lobby players to remain authenticated at the lobby server when joining games.
Furthermore, the lobby chat was made accessible in the match setup, running games, and the summary screen, so players can stay in tune with upcoming games without having to leave the party early.
Nomad on all Random Maps
Players have enjoyed the “Unknown Nomad” random map since years. It required players to scout the randomly generated map and find a suitable location to lay the foundation stone of their city. With 0 A.D. Alpha 23, this game mode is not restricted to this map anymore but can freely be chosen on any of the random map scripts.
A Persian player starting the city at the river (10MB 6k-HD)
The entire random map generation code has been revamped. The results of this endeavor are many more possibilities and comfort for map authors to generate landscapes and a new quality standard in map design.
With Alpha 23, 0 A.D. was enriched by seven random map scripts and three new skirmish maps. Six of these maps take place in the domain of the Kushites.
New Random Maps
Lower Nubia is the area between the first and second cataract of the Nile and formed the traditional border region between Kush and Egypt. The hostile and merciless Sahara desert makes defending your position on the river and its steep banks an absolute necessity. This map, like most other real-world maps below, was created using real-world elevation data from the NASA Blue Marble series.
The “Jebel Barkal” is the holy mountain that was used as a landmark by traders crossing the Nile River, near its fourth cataract. It is located near the Nubian city of Napata, which later became the capital of ancient Kush. The remains of the Napatan temple complex and the nearby pyramids were declared a world heritage site in 2003.
Stone Ruins and the famous Pinnacle of the Hill, photograph by Maria Gropa, UNESCO, CC BY-SA 3.0
“Jebel Barkal” is the first 0 A.D. map to present a vivid, procedurally generated cityscape combined with regularly spawned attackers of adjustable difficulty.
Temple Guards patroling Napata (9MB 6k-HD)
Players start near the fertile banks of the Nile river. To attain resources, players have to either establish a tradeline there or reach the mineral abundance in the shelterless desert. Contrary to the average map, players find complementary advantages and disadvantages depending on the starting location, making cooperative team play and strategic decision-taking much more relevant.
New random map “Jebel Barkal” (8MB 6k-HD)
The Pyramids and the Hill, photograph by Ron Van Oers, UNESCO, CC-BY-SA 3.0
Together with Philae, the fortified Island of Elephantine was situated on the Nile River at the first cataract and an important Egyptian city, often under Kushite control. As the border between Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia, Elephantine became an important way-station for the trade in ivory and other goods. It was considered to be the home of the god Khnum, guardian of the source of the Nile, and boasted an impressive temple complex whose remains can still be visited today. This map was created using OpenStreetMap data.
New random map “Elephantine“ (10MB 6k-HD)
Fields Of Meroë
The “Island of Meroë” is a vast peninsula flanked by the Nile and Atbarah rivers and formed the heartland of ancient Kush. This map comes in two variants, one depicting the dry season and one for the rainy season. The map demonstrates the new possibility to select the map biome in the match setup.
“Fields Of Meroë” – dry season (9MB 6k-HD)
“Fields Of Meroë” – wet season (10MB 6k-HD)
Temple of Amun in Naqa, photograph by Coordinamento delle organizzazioni per il servizio volontario, CC-BY-SA 3.0
This unique random map script chooses a random area of Greece each time, yielding a much greater surprise effect each terrain generation.
“Dodecanese” is Greek and translates to “twelve islands”. It names a group of 15 large and 150 small islands in the southern Aegean Sea. This is the first random map script placing little bridges.
New random map “Dodecanese” (10MB 6k-HD)
This is a map focusing on the beauty of pristine winter, featuring crispy mounds of snow, shown under a not-too-bright sun.
New random map “Scythian Rivulet” (8MB 6k-HD)
New Skirmish Maps
Alpha 23 “Ken Wood” comes with three new Skirmish maps: Egypt, Butana Steppe, and Via Augusta:
“Egypt” (6 players) comes with prebuilt cities of geographically accurate civs (10MB 6k-HD)
Under The Hood
This release consists of almost 2000 patches (r19923 to r21946), i.e. several hundred of bugfixes, commits restructuring of the engine code and small features that can barely be listed. It also includes solutions to prevalent crashes and performance bottlenecks. Finally, the Pyrogenesis engine can be compiled using Visual Studio 2015 and premake5.
The name “Ken Wood”
Ken Wood, also known as Phoenix-TheRealDeal or tonto_real, was one of the three original gameplay designers of 0 A.D, together with Wijitmaker and Acumen. He was a retiree in his 60’s from Arizona, but he sadly passed away in 2006 after a long fight with cancer. It is thanks to the amount of energy and passion he poured into the early stages of 0 A.D. that we are celebrating another great release of our favorite game! We managed to reach that symbolic letter W for our twenty-third Alpha, and we keep remembering him through the development of the project.
Ken Wood was instrumental in conceptualizing some of the core concepts of 0 A.D. Most notably, he laid the foundations of the citizen-soldier concept and its female villager counterpart. He was also fascinated by Celtiberian civilizations and designed the Iberian and Carthaginian factions. He designed a Rock-Paper-Scissors counter system for units of the game, biomes for maps, and had big ideas for naval combat and realistic ship movement.
And let us not forget his famous quote, which gives us all the motivation we can need:
For the next alpha, we welcome fan suggestions for words relating to the ancient world beginning with the letter X. Keep it original and related to the time frame portrayed in 0 A.D. (appx. 500 B.C. – 0 A.D.) and post your proposal here!
The work is still in progress and can use every helping hand.
Artists are always needed: in particular good animators and environment artists who could give our terrain textures a boost, and create more eye-candy.
If you experience a technical problem with the game, please report it at trac.wildfiregames.com. This is also the first address to visit when you wish to dedicate some of your time to help patching the code.
Contact info for press, bloggers, etc.: aviv@wildfireAETHIOPIAgames.com without the capitalized name Herodotus used to designate the Kingdom of Kush.