Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

0 A.D., one of the best free, open source real-time strategy games, has reached alpha 14, codenamed "Naukratis". The new release features a brand new building type (with models for all factions), exponential armor and realistic health along with other gameplay changes as well as many graphics, sound and user interface improvements.

0 a.d. alpha 14

0 A.D. is an open source, historical war and economy RTS game developed by Wildfire Games which features several ancient civilizations at their prime, from Greece and Rome to Carthage and Persia. The game is available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.

While it features great sound and graphics and has both single-player and multi-player functionality, the game still lacks some features, such as no matchmaking service (multi-player uses peer-to-peer networking, without a central server).

Gameplay changes in the latest 0 A.D. alpha 14 "Naukratis":
  • A brand new building type, complete with models for all factions has been added: Blacksmiths;
  • Infinite farms: A farm will now keep yielding food until the end of the match, without need to rebuild it, but with diminishing returns;
  • Exponential armor and realistic health: Technologies now have the same effect on all units. Also, changes to the way units’ health is calculated in the game allowed us to correct some unrealistic phenomena, like archer damage to buildings;
  • Allies can now garrison in each other’s buildings;
  • Shared trade gain with allies: When you trade with an ally, there is a +25% bonus over trading with yourself, that is now split between you and your ally;
  • Ranged units can hit farther from high places;
  • Ranged units had to be within a minimum range from their targets to fire at them. This requirement has been removed.

0 A.D. alpha 14
New building type: Blacksmiths

Graphics, sound, user interface improvements, etc. in 0 A.D. alpha 14::
  • A persistent Hero button will appear in the top left when you train your hero;
  • In single-player games, you can now change the game’s speed whenever you want to;
  • You can now mark camera positions and jump back to them later with hotkeys;
  • GUI dropdowns support typing for quick selection;
  • The game now plays a list of multiple songs per match, instead of playing just one song in a loop. Also, the user interface now responds to the user with sounds;
  • Terrain anchoring: Units now move more realistically on hills;
  • Saved games can now be given descriptions and deleted or overwritten in-game;
  • Several maps were updated;
  • Pike elevation tool has been added to the Atlas Scenario Editor. This lets you create mountains and cliffs more easily;
  • Saving maps in Atlas will no longer make it crash;
  • Fixed some common out-of-sync and out-of-memory errors;
  • Alert sounds no longer heard by all players, off-screen sounds only heard when appropriate;
  • Fixed crash with Nvidia Optimus graphics and some netbooks
  • Walls can be placed along shores;
  • Improved hotkey support for non-QWERTY keyboards;
  • Performance improvements.

And speaking of 0 A.D., Wildfire Games is trying to raise $160,000 to support the development of 0 A.D. If you want to contribute, see THIS page on Indiegogo. Perks include soundtrack CDs, posters and you can even get your face on a game unit. More information HERE.

According to Aviv Sharon, a contributor to 0 A.D. who has emailed me today, some or all of the sums donated towards this fundraiser may be tax-deductible for many US taxpayers.

Also, if you can contribute to 0 A.D. (programming, art, sound, documentation and more), see the programmers getting started page and join #0ad-dev on QuakeNet on IRC.

Install 0 A.D. in Ubuntu

0 A.D. alpha 14

The latest 0 A.D. alpha 14 is available in a PPA for Ubuntu users. Add the PPA and install 0 A.D. using the commands below:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:wfg/0ad
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install 0ad

For other Linux distributions, Windows or Mac OS X, see the 0 A.D. downloads page.

via play0ad.com, some screenshots via 0 A.D. @ Google+