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0 A.D. Goes Open Source 88

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-on-ya dept.
DoubleRing writes "Wildfire Games has announced that it will be moving its previously closed development process for 0 A.D. to open source. All code will be released under the GPL and all art under CC-BY-SA. 0 A.D. is a historically-based RTS, and while it's not yet complete, this trailer is purportedly actual gameplay footage. With a codebase of over 150k lines of C++ code plus 25k lines in development tools, this is looking like a fairly promising entrant into the open source RTS field. The screenshots are definitely pretty, to say the least."
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0 A.D. Goes Open Source

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @12:42PM (#28705697)

    Waiting over 2000 years for the port is not a sign of success.

  • With this game Open Sourced, it's just one more great the the Community has at its disposal. Perhaps some algorithm in the code will enlighten someone's kernel performance decisions, or maybe just give Linus a break between patch audits :):) Go Open Source!
    • by godrik (1287354)
      I am curious to see how open sourcing the game will improve it.
      • by Shinobi (19308) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @01:12PM (#28706105)

        The first map hack patch will be out in 1 hour instead of 8 hours.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @01:54PM (#28706629)

        Coders with enough time and skills will look at the code. If they will find things that can be improved they'll improve them, if they find things that can improve other games they will port them. Open sourcing stuff is like allowing people to communicate, before we have each person and his/her own idea, after we have each one evaluating others perspectives. That's how human knowledge progresses.

        • by bh_doc (930270) <[blhiggins] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @11:12PM (#28712365) Homepage

          That sort of approach is wonderful for science, since science has a target: the true state and function of the universe. But it's not so simple for something that amounts to a work of art like a game. There is not an absolute target; the target is arbitrary fiction. Without good central leadership the artistic expression risks becoming fragmented. Now, I'm not saying it's impossible for the open approach to work, but suggesting that it's equivalent to the progress of human knowledge is missing an important complication.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Antidamage (1506489) *

        They'll be able to get more precious lines of code in.

        I wonder how many lines of code slashbot editors feel is enough to make it a triple-A title.

        • by fuzzix (700457)

          They'll be able to get more precious lines of code in.

          I wonder how many lines of code slashbot editors feel is enough to make it a triple-A title.

          Oh, for a spare mod point! :)

  • by Zakabog (603757) <john@NOSPAm.jmaug.com> on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @12:46PM (#28705775)
    I'm very impressed by the graphics of a game that was never meant to be commercial. I haven't spent much time looking for open source games lately but from the screenshots this looks a lot better than free civ.
  • What the devil? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @12:51PM (#28705843)
    There never was a 0 AD... it went from 1 BC to 1 AD... Did I wake up in an alternate universe? Am I in Star Trek?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by godrik (1287354)
      mmm, the date on the calendat never was 1 BC. :)
      • Re:What the devil? (Score:4, Informative)

        by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @04:10PM (#28708323)

        mmm, the date on the calendar never was 1 BC. :)

        Nor was it ever AD 1 in any sense other than retroactively. Wednesday, the 28th of August, Diocletian 247 was immediately followed by Thursday, the 1st of January, AD 532. (The Diocletian calendar started with August 29.)

        Retroactively, 1 AD, the 1st of January was a Saturday, so the last day of BCE was a Friday. TGIF! (cal 1 1)

        Determining what calendaring systems were observed contemporaneously with our CE 1/1/1 and the corresponding dates thereto is left as an exercise for archæochronologists.

      • by Xtifr (1323) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @07:52PM (#28710939) Homepage

        Really? So what about this "Authentic Roman Coin(tm)" I have that is clearly stamped "34 BC"?

        (Apologies to Terry Pratchett for mangling his joke.)

    • Re:What the devil? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by andrewd18 (989408) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @01:00PM (#28705975)
      If you would read the FAQ [wildfiregames.com]:

      Are you aware that the year 0 A.D. did not technically exist?
      Indeed. Think of 0 A.D. as a hypothetical time period that never existed. It is a snapshot in time where major players of the classical ages were placed in an observatory. This is your chance to see them 'duke it out'. Your job as the player is to create the hypothetical and recreate the historical.

      It's called suspension of disbelief, and there are times when it's a good thing. Situations may include books, movies, video games, and other works of fiction.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by vertinox (846076)

        It's called suspension of disbelief, and there are times when it's a good thing.

        If I, the player, have to actively suspend belief at the expense of my self esteem, the entertainment has failed.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          If utilising your imagination leads to automatic loss of all of your self esteem, perhaps you need more self esteem.

          • by vertinox (846076)

            If utilising your imagination leads to automatic loss of all of your self esteem, perhaps you need more self esteem.

            My point is that if a work of entertainment requires me to imagine myself to be insultingly dumb without a good explanation then immersion simply fails.

            I'm not saying you can't have a plot device to fill in the gaps or a universe that has fantastical things, but if we have a setting that requires me to forget the laws of universe without some crutch (either magic or sci-fi) then I'm not going

            • Re:What the devil? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @03:32PM (#28707911) Homepage

              Fine. They magically created the concept of "0 A.D." to illustrate that while attempting to be historically accurate, it is still essentially fiction and fantasy ultimately designed to be fun. How's that? Good enough for the ol' ego? Okay, wait, I've got a better one...

              The only reason there wasn't a year "0 A.D." is because the people who created the calendars back then weren't as smart as you are and didn't fully understand the concept of zero-offsets, and this game gives you the chance to see what an ancient civilization -- including its calendar -- would have been like if they had been ruled by someone so amazingly intelligent that mentioning "0 A.D." in the context of the real history that was not ruled by their stunning intellect is, to them, insultingly dumb.

              There ya go. That has to be at least as good as invisible entryways to magic universes, which I should point out is implicitly implying that you, a stupid muggle, are too dumb to see even when crowds of rambunctious children vanish into them.

              • Re:What the devil? (Score:5, Informative)

                by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @04:21PM (#28708483)

                The only reason there wasn't a year "0 A.D." is because the people who created the calendars back then weren't as smart as you are and didn't fully understand the concept of zero-offsets

                Actually, retroactively re-dating the dates before AD 1 wasn't considered until the Anglo-Saxon historian the Venerable Bede, who was familiar with the work of Dionysius, used Anno Domini dating in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, finished in 731. In this same history he also used another Latin term, "ante vero incarnationis dominicae tempus" ("the time before the Lord's true incarnation"), equivalent to the English "before Christ", to identify years before the first year of this era, thus establishing the standard of not using a year zero (i.e. ordinal, not cardinal numbers), even though his work did show that he did grasp the concept of zero.

                • by Chris Burke (6130)

                  thus establishing the standard of not using a year zero (i.e. ordinal, not cardinal numbers), even though his work did show that he did grasp the concept of zero.

                  Well damnit, man! You have to help me out here. I'm trying to save an ego!

            • by tbird81 (946205)
              Harry Potter!! That's a kids' book. And the writing and the plot shows it! Whenever they're in a tough spot they just make up some new magic spell - which for whatever reason wasn't used previously. The number one offence in HP was that fundamentally flawed game (Quiddich or something) where the game is over and won by the team that catches the flying ball. How ridiculous. Speed 1 (but definitely not Speed 2) was much more realistic and believable that HP, with more realistic characters. Anyway, why are
        • Who ever said this was a historically accurate RTS game anyway? I can just see you frothing at the mouth as you play God of War, I'm sure.
          • Re:What the devil? (Score:4, Informative)

            by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @03:52PM (#28708131) Homepage

            Well, the game developers did actually:
            "How historically accurate will 0 A.D. be?
            As much as we can make it. Our dedicated historians oversee all of our content to ensure it's historically accurate. Ancient history is a rich resource to exploit, and we hope to promote greater interest in it. However, there are various factors we have to take into account that won't allow us pure realism and authenticity:"(insert obvious things related to this being a game).

            Which still makes "0 A.D." a silly thing to find requiring an ego-destroying suspension of disbelief. I think it works perfectly to both establish the game's period in history, and to designate that it is still outside of that history and somewhat fantastical as a game requires. The name works by assuming you are aware that the date does not exist, rather than assuming ignorance.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's called suspension of disbelief, and there are times when it's a good thing. Situations may include books, movies, video games, and other works of fiction.

        You forgot elections.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sgt scrub (869860)

        you forgot marriage.

    • by denttford (579202) *
      Actually, if we are in nitpicking mode, it *goes* from 1BC/BCE to 1 AD/CE: no one at the time was having epoch rollover parties.
      The calendar is a scale that remains in use, present tense is called for.*

      *To avoid the next nitpick, it would be fine to say that the date went from 4 Oct 1582 to 15 Oct 1582 in Catholic Europe, because that was an event that happened.
      • by HTH NE1 (675604)

        no one at the time was having epoch rollover parties.

        Well, it is implied at least one person was celebrating it: Mary.

        Whether it was intended to commemorate birth or conception was not made clear when the calendar was established centuries after the fact, but most calculations compared to historical references have that it is wrong anyway, from either 6 years too early or 4 years too late.

    • Astronomers use a year zero. It's one of those little irregularities that doesn't make any practical difference, since they're dealing with error margins orders of magnitude larger.

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      See if Scotty will beam you up. If he doesn't answer your still screwed.

    • by PhilHibbs (4537)

      ISO 8601:2004 [wikipedia.org] defines the year prior to 1 to be year 0.

  • Lines of code.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RisingROI (1011409) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @01:06PM (#28706047) Homepage
    Any project that has progress measured in lines of code scares me a bit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hyppy (74366)
      I'm not sure if it's a progress metric, just an interesting factoid. I think about it as a developer releasing 175 thousand lines of possible solutions to coding problems that game developers may face.
    • by Eudial (590661) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @04:33PM (#28708629)

      It's a metric used to give you a fair idea of how big something is. Like libraries of congress, or Olympic swimming pools. Naturally, just how much actual useful code there is per line varies.

      • If you set a physicist to write a program, he will give you 15,000 lines of Fortran code that (probably) runs reasonably fast, but is completely useless for any other task, and contains copypasta from previous programs in which what little comments there are make no sense what so ever in this new context, and 80% of the code has nothing to do with the current problem at all.
      • A professional programmer does the same in 150 lines of C++ code. It runs reasonably fast, and it's easy to use it to solve similar problems.
      • A computer scientist writes a koan-like one-liner in Haskell. It runs 100 times faster than any of the above solutions, but unfortunately, since nobody knows what the hell the code is doing, it's not re-usable.
    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      I agree. The best code I ever worked on reduced in size exponentially from its inception because the participants were good enough to turn multiple functions into single functions that did what was needed. Give me a programmer that looks at my code, and doesn't laugh until they barf, then churns out 14 lines that does what sending a variable through 2 of my functions once did.

  • Finally... (Score:5, Funny)

    by rtilghman (736281) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @01:08PM (#28706063)

    Access to the often overlooked and underappreciated "Make Dude" command. And on the lord created The Dude, and it was good.

    http://www.wildfiregames.com/0ad/album_image.php?pic_id=10984 [wildfiregames.com]

    -rt

  • The video is impressive, but I'm wondering if that's a typo. 150k lines of code would handle just the graphics engine- barely. Then there's the AI, the character objects, etc. Pretty dense coding..

    Seth
    • by ledow (319597)

      Apparently, there is no AI. It's not clear what else is missing, either.

    • by EvanED (569694)

      It's possible that the 150K are lines they wrote or something like that, and they used an existing engine?

      (I'm just talking out of my ass here)

      • by Migala77 (1179151)

        TFA says they didn't

        There's roughly 150K lines of C++ for the game engine, and another 25K for editing tools. Gameplay scripting uses JavaScript. We build on top of low-level libraries (OpenGL, OpenAL, ENet, ...), not an existing game engine (like OGRE).

    • 150K lines of code for that is too much. There's probably all kinds of stuff that could be simplified.
    • by Andor666 (659649)

      Probably that 150k lines are... very long :P

  • by wowbagger (69688) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @01:14PM (#28706143) Homepage Journal

    RTS like this are my addiction - I've gotten more fun out of Civilization:Call to Power (under Linux) than just about any other game I have, and was saddened when no more Civ games came out for Linux. I have Civ for the PS3, but it's not quite the same: too video-gamey, not enough strategy.

    This looks very interesting, and I plan on sending some money these guy's way when I get home tonight.

    • by lpcustom (579886)
      I thought Civ: Call to Power was turn-based not RTS.
      • by wowbagger (69688)

        True, but I was trying to simplify my post a bit - any strategy game, RTS or TBS, are like crack for me. There aren't many of either for Linux....

        • by lpcustom (579886)
          Ah gotcha. I wish there were more strategy games across all platforms. About the only type of game made these days is FPS. I have all three major consoles and the only one that offers something different is the Wii, and it has possibly the best interface for an FPS game. That's strange. PC games once had more variety however. They seemed to be more "thinking" games while console games were more action-only. I wish the "quest" games would come back. My favorite RTS so far has been Empire Earth I and II. I w
      • by kisak (524062)
        Check out Sacred [linuxgamepublishing.com] for a nice commercial RTS game for linux. Another excellent port from Linux Game Publishing [linuxgamepublishing.com]. Buy the game at Tux Games [tuxgames.com].
        • by Elshar (232380)

          You know, I'd actually buy games from them, but after browsing their store, you start to almost feel like they're trying to rip you off. Like, Majesty Gold for $40? Really? I just got it off Impulse for $10 and I'm sure I could get it to run in wine if I wanted to. Poking around, none of the games have seem to have dropped in price.. Knights and Merchants (1998) $38?! Kohan (2001) $46? Oh, and Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood (2002, $40), and I got it from Stardock years ago in a bundle with Disciples 2 (

    • by Abreu (173023)

      I have Civ for the PS3, but it's not quite the same: too video-gamey

      I had seen people complain about tabletop roleplaying games becoming "too videogamy" ...but complaining about a videogame being "too videogamy"? This just went meta

    • The question is: Where is the donate button?

  • Usefull link (Score:3, Informative)

    by coolsnowmen (695297) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @02:32PM (#28707145)

    http://trac.wildfiregames.com/wiki/GettingStarted [wildfiregames.com]

    ...
    Playing 0 A.D. - details on how to run the game. ...
    How to build 0 A.D. ...

  • by TerranFury (726743) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @02:33PM (#28707157)

    It looks like there's a fairly large amount of artwork involved in this game -- and it looks good; this isn't just programmer art! My only suggestion (if any of the authors read Slashdot) would be that in general the contrast and saturation of the various graphics could be increased. It'd make the graphics "pop" out a little more, and go a long way.

    • by Reapy (688651)

      One thing I'm curious about, have they released the artwork, models, animations etc for this game? I am not sure if there is a large library of nicely developed/organized stuff like this out there to say use in your own game. I have myself finally started trying to write my own game in XNA, and while XNA really helps a newbie with the game logic, the "art" that i'm putting on the screen is just plain terrible.

      Artwork has kinda been what's stopped me from figuring out game programming. While I know for me al

  • Don't get me wrong, I love that this is happening.

    But how, exactly, are they planning to make money?

    • by f0dder (570496)
      Hopefully they're gonna use the Ubuntu business model.
    • Re:Business model? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @08:11PM (#28711061)

      They don't really address that, I can see it as:
      1) Great advertising for the companies other games!
      2) Get OSS development kickstarted on their engine, once they have a kickass engine they can release 100 A.D with proprietary game-data.
      3) Package and see this in shops, the uninformed masses will probably buy it anyway, many of the informed will anyway just to support the company.

      The don't really lose much either, so even if the gains are marginal the loss is just the cost of some bandwidth.

  • Nice.
    If it's 150kLoc, then you could base an operating system on it.
  • Is that like a game based on historical ancient Japan involving battles with a giant enemy crab?

  • Actual game? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Taulin (569009) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @06:46PM (#28710301) Homepage Journal
    How close is it to being an actual game? Just having an engine that runs simulation code (fighting, harvesting, etc) is actually just one of the many pieces. There still needs to be all the setup menus and tools for networking, map designs, and everything in between.
  • 175,000+ lines of codes. Conservatively, there is 10 bugs per 1000 lines of code.[ref] [blogspot.com] Thus, there are at least 175 bugs in the game.
    • 175,000+ lines of codes. Conservatively, there is 10 bugs per 1000 lines of code.[ref] Thus, there are at least 175 bugs in the game.

      There seems to be a bug in your math.

      175,000+ loc * (10 bugs / 1,000 loc) = 1,750+ bugs

  • Lessee, a laundry list:
          1) nobody cuts down perfectly nice trees on the edge of their village
          2) the stone towers are completely at odds with the village
          3) THERE WOULDN'T BE A SINGLE ABLE-BODIED PERSON IN THE VILLAGE DOING *ANYTHING*
                    other than either fighting, or running away from the battle.

        mark "nice graphics, though"

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