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0AD, an open source historical RTS in development for 22 years

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Posted on Friday, May 26th 2023 by wsgeorge



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@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by robinhoodexe

I'm quite excited for a future macOS ARM build.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by postalrat | Parent

Can't you run it now or does that build include some arm only units?


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by pohl | Parent

Rosetta should run it, but a native build would still be desirable.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by adsche | Parent

Is the "M1" build not native? It shows up as "Mach-O 64-bit executable arm64" for me and is fast.



@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by pohl | Parent

Thanks for pointing that out! The system requirements for Apple, on the front page, still say...

Processor: 2006 or later Intel-based Mac, ARM based with Rosetta

...so there are mixed signals.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by psychphysic

I played 0ad nearly every day about 5 or so years ago. What a blast from the past.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by peter_retief

Really enjoy OAD, good to know it is being developed.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Phlogi

It's alpha for so long, how stable is it to play ? Why are they not focusing on a 1.0 release and seize adding features, new civs, and therefore complexity?


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Tuna-Fish | Parent

Because it's an OSS project ran by volunteers, each of whom work on the features they are interested in.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by suddenclarity | Parent

Even in OSS it's wise to have some people steer the direction. I tried the game about eight years ago but it didn't run well on my laptop. I've tried to keep up somewhat but lost interest when it felt like they just added new features instead of polishing and improving core functionality.

I had a similar feeling with Black Mesa. At a certain point, it feels like they've worked so long on the project that they lost the original selling point. At what stage does it make more sense to just remake the game in the latest UE than offering a 20 year old game that still isn't close to being released.

I don't want to talk down on the project but it's a question I think about every time I see these types of products.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by wsgeorge | Parent

Fair point. On my part, I like to think of them as "ever-green" projects. So they're never "done", they just keep evolving at whatever rate the community can manage, and people check out and check in once in a while to see where it's at.

>I tried the game about eight years ago but it didn't run well on my laptop

Care to try it now? I've been playing Alpha 26 for a few weeks, and I actually love it.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by saiya-jin | Parent

Not sure what exactly you meant, but Black mesa was mighty playable and 100% stable when it was released as full. Maybe stay away from half-working early builds of these kind of games, IMHO its not worth the frustration just because of some nostalgia.

Now if somebody would port first Deux ex into Unreal 5.2 engine that would get me interested (but still, keep your emotions in check and play when its ready, otherwise just a recipe for regrets)


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

It has been released 13 years ago.

Unreal Engine isn't an option if open sourcing it again was a goal and/or a means to attract new developers after the death of half of the previous core team.

Old engine foundations doesn't necessarily mean a bad thing : for instance the Spring engine was started in the late 90s, released in 2005, and not only is still used today, the fork of it that is even more successful (and with the fanciest looking games, and the best performance) today, Recoil, is the one that decided to stick with legacy OpenGL3 features rather than radically change to better fit with how OpenGL4 does things(?), in order to not break games !



@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by wsgeorge | Parent

It works very well. I used to run the Alpha 23 on my old Windows 10 device, but I got Alpha 26 a few weeks ago for my Intel Mac.

No noticeable bugs affecting my single player gameplay, except a few quirks with ship movements (they tend to overlap, which makes it look unnatural)

I have also noticed that clusters of units tend to look smaller than their actual number, so it might be a similar issue as I've noticed above. From someone who still enjoys the AoE 1 Ex, 0 AD is a really amazing game.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Phlogi | Parent

Thanks, how is the learning curve in comparison to AoE2 DE?


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by wsgeorge | Parent

I figured out the basics before bothering to read the docs, so anyone who played classic RTSs will get off to a good start.

Some specifics about this game that make it unique:

1. You cannot build anything any where. There's the concept of a "region of control" that surrounds your Civic Center (Town Center equivalent) that marks the borders of your settlement. Building right on the borders expands it. Exceptions to this rule are made for docks, outposts Roman army camps (if you play as a Roman)

2. Besides mounted and siege units, your soldiers are also your builders/resource gatherers. Citizen soldiers. Non-combatant builders/gatherers are female citizens. As soldiers gather experience from fighting, they become more capable soldiers and less capable citizens.

3. The default UI uses traditional, civ-specific names for units and buildings (with English equivalents as secondary), which can be jarring at first. I swap them to make deciding on what to build easier.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by heavyset_go | Parent

>2. Besides mounted and siege units, your soldiers are also your builders/resource gatherers. Citizen soldiers. Non-combatant builders/gatherers are female citizens. As soldiers gather experience from fighting, they become more capable soldiers and less capable citizens.

You can also train mercenaries who can only fight and not work.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by CameronNemo | Parent

I can only comment on Linux and to a much lesser extent macOS, but IME it is quite stable.

I think never going 1.0 is an open source game dev meme or something. Xonotic is still pre-1.0 even after over a decade in development. Stable as heck.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by imiric | Parent

Not just in game dev: https://0ver.org/


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bandrami | Parent

Remember that the "unstable" aspect of alpha isn't that "it's going to crash randomly" but that "you can't rely on a given feature being there in the future".


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by yjftsjthsd-h | Parent

>It's alpha for so long, how stable is it to play ?

It is 100% playable and has been for years. As sibling comments note, I think the only reason they label it as anything but stable is because there are still significant changes between releases. Although I personally think they could fix even that by just chopping the first parts of the version number off - if they stopped calling it "alpha" and just called it 0ad version 26, and then released version 27, everyone would still have the right expectations.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by baobabKoodaa | Parent

I tried to play it at a LAN party. It started off great, but as the number of units increased, the connection slowly deteriorated until eventually it was literally unplayable. You say that it is "100% playable and has been for years"?


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by yjftsjthsd-h | Parent

Honestly I've only ever played it single player or with 2 players. So yes, it's 100% playable under all conditions that I've been able to test. There are plenty of games with unacceptable performance on my machines; do I get to call all of them alpha-quality?


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by baobabKoodaa | Parent

My objection was not related to 0AD versioning their releases as "alpha". That's absolutely fine by me! My objection was related to you describing 0AD with words "It is 100% playable and has been for years". Clearly it has not been 100% playable for years!


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by pbhjpbhj | Parent

Some details would be good: what machine was the host, what network, how many clients, which 0ad version? Just curious.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by baobabKoodaa | Parent

This was a few years ago, so I don't remember all the details. I remember that we had 4 players in the LAN.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by lagniappe

Age of Empires ignited my passion for these games, but 0AD captured it just by sheer ubiquity and accessibility. That says something, to me.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by doctorpangloss

How did this find players? People want "more Age of Empires II" (and to some extent more Age of Mythology). In the most literal sense of those words. 0AD got there earlier.

Other previous discussions (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10684532) were about pathfinding in this game. The pathfinding in AoEII is something. It's neither naturalistic, immersive, nor intellectually stimulating, which would be goals of mine and probably the average game designer in 2023. I'm not going to say how I really feel because I don't want to be downvoted over something stupid. The important thing is people love this pathfinding. It's worthy of copying.

0AD: People love more of the same. Another free & open source example is Pokemon Showdown. People want original untainted Pokemon so badly that Pokemon Showdown still has concurrents in the tens of thousands. Who wants to play competitive Wikipedia? Nearly a million people a day do.

Commercially: There was an audience for "more Breath of the Wild" before TOTK: Genshin Impact. League of Legends is more than a decade old now. Counter-Strike is almost as old as 0AD. Old reigns supreme.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by CoastalCoder | Parent

Tangent about bad pathfinding:

Another game with really frustrating is (still pre-release) Age of Darkness.

Units typically get slaughtered if they traverse uncleared regions of the map. But you can't tell them not to, and you can't even see ahead of time what pathfinding will choose for them.

It's amazing how much cognitive load is added by having to prevent units from doing super-stupid stuff.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by doctorpangloss | Parent

This stuff has been solved by middlewares like Unity for ages.


What I really wanna get into: the cognitive dissonance of being a programmer and an AoEII ultra at the same time.

Game mechanics do have a certain objective truth to them. They are also pieces of software, they follow a lot of the same rules as Gmail and Instagram and whatever. As a matter of objective reality: when your game does not aspire to specifically be clunky - this distinction is sometimes called "QWOP" - it seems valid to say, okay, this pathfinding is the word you used. I have the wisdom to not use that word you used in this forum to describe something people feel ultra about. But it is true.

People feel so strongly about bugs and clunk in their social media YouTube drip. The same ADHD personalities love clicking around villagers! I mean what a "something" piece of gameplay.

I wonder how to harness the resources poured into something like 0AD to make "Better AoEII" or "Better AoM." I'm not sure how often that question is asked and how it is answered. That's why this cognitive dissonance matters.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by lukevp | Parent

Your phrasing and word choice is very peculiar. It's a bit difficult to follow what you're saying to me. For example, you say you're an AoEII ultra. Is this an ultra fan? Or ultra what?

>People feel so strongly about bugs and clunk in their social media YouTube drip. The same ADHD personalities love clicking around villagers! I mean what a "something" piece of gameplay.

If I had to rephrase this section based on my understanding, I would interpret it to say something like:
Often, people are bothered by bugs and other issues that happen in commonly-used apps like Facebook or YouTube, but when these bugs manifest in video games, it's viewed as part of the character of the game. For example, the micromanagement of villagers that's required due to bad pathfinding in AoE II (to prevent them from running under turrets and such).

Is that correct? Any ideas why your phrasing would seem so foreign to me? I'm very curious why.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by doctorpangloss | Parent

>Is this an ultra fan?


>you say you're an AoEII ultra

No. I can't say how I really feel about the game.

>it's viewed as part of the character of the game


>I'm very curious why.

People feel very, very strongly about their nostalgic retro childhood fun cozy times like playing AoEII. They're ultras, right? It's like talking about football. It can be perilous.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by jaredhallen | Parent

I see where you're coming from, but (in my opinion) you're over indexing on the issue. If someone gets bent because you said some video game has bad pathfinding, so what? Seems like their problem. It isn't a mean spirited or unreasonable thing to say.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by sesm | Parent

But if pathfinding is too smart, then it becomes hard to micro-control the units, see StarCraft 2 vs StarCraft Brood War.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bee_rider | Parent

N.B: Age of Darkness is an inherently player-vs-environment game (Survival RTS... it is sorta like They are Billions if you've played that). So, I think super high action-per-minute PVP style gameplay is not really the goal.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by doctorpangloss | Parent

StarCraft is a great example because we can talk about it now without the threat of ultras. Like its audience has gone away, people only feel nostalgia for it but they don't really play it anymore. It's easier to talk about the objectively bad and clunky things about it.

I personally don't think micro, as it exists in StarCraft, is interesting or even worthy. It only made that game harder in ways that were not fun. Which is too bad, because it was a phenomenally engineered RTS engine (starting with WC3) that brought us many other game formats in its custom scenarios.

Compare to Supreme Commander, which had very sophisticated pathfinding and in my memory more interesting micro. Compare to all MOBA formats, where if you're going to have WC3/SC style micro, you might as well focus on micro of one unit. There were many ideas that came after StarCraft that are in an important way, objectively better.

It has a lot of other clunk. The way you have to manage resource gathering. The unit building queues and how spending occurs. The spellcasting. The selections. It has so much legacy.

StarCraft 2 had to cater to a very specific eSports skill base that probably led to it going into the same level of obscurity as EverQuest: Gen X people still have strong nostalgic feelings for it, but they don't play EVE Online, they're not 20 anymore with oodles of time and no responsibilities, they don't want hard permadeath single instance experiences. They want something much gentler but they still feel very positively about like, this one clunky thing they may have mastered a long time ago when their brain power was so much more plastic.

Is the AoEII engine similarly as worthy as SC2, like from a technical engineering point of view? In my opinion, no. So besides the existence of an ultra audience, I don't think there's a good reason to celebrate the crappy pathfinding anymore.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by qu4z-2 | Parent

StarCraft is a lot more fun to watch than SupCom though.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by dumpsterlid | Parent

I couldn't disagree more, Forged Alliance Forever or Beyond All Reason are infinitely more interesting to watch if you don't care about obnoxious micro skills.


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

BAR (and BA, Zero-K...) have about as much micro than SC1/2 though, it's SupCom1 that is really the outlier here...


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by doix | Parent

I find it really hard to believe that AoE2 "ultras" exist. It's a pretty small community with mainly older players, just like StarCraft. Many people still play SC:BW and SC2, there are still tournaments and hardcore fans that cheer for their favourite players.

>I personally don't think micro, as it exists in StarCraft, is interesting or even worthy. It only made that game harder in ways that were not fun.

That's you're opinion. I think the exact opposite. If those games didn't have the micro opportunities they did, they would have died long ago and would have been forgotten in history like most other RTS games out there.

I find RTS games without micro extremely boring. I
Micro makes it exciting because it's not immediately obvious who will a win a fight. You can choose to gamble and be slightly greedier in your economy and rely on winning a fight that you should lose. It also forces you to constantly choose between where your focus should be. Do you focus on the fight or your economy? And when there are multiple fronts to a fight it gets even crazier. I think those things are core to the RTS gerne.

>Is the AoEII engine similarly as worthy as SC2, like from a technical engineering point of view?

I mean you are comparing games from different eras. But I think AoE2 is extremely worthy from a technical engineering point of view. You have so many ranged units shooting many projectiles, each with it's own collision detection back in '99. It's nothing short of a work of art.


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

AoE2 doesn't have much in terms of simulated ballistics (and units pushed around by impacts !) though, compared to Total Annihilation (and derived) games.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by omginternets | Parent

What's an "ultra"?


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by PeterStuer | Parent

I think he is repurposing the term from the Euro football scene where it refers to hardcore radical fans ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultras )


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

In this context, not the best term, due to it also being a shorthand for Ultralisks ! :p


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by tsimionescu | Parent

Mostly a nitpick, but StarCraft has little to do with the WC3 3D engine, and is a full 4 years older than WC3. Perhaps you meant WC2?

Also, the SC2 and even SC communities dwarf Supreme Commander, EverQuest, or EVE Online. There are still worldwide SC2 tournaments, sometimes televized, with price pools in the millions (well, until this year, when Blizzard dumped the prizes significantly). SC is still quite popular at least in South Korea.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bee_rider | Parent

This sort of RTS sub-genre (of which They Are Billions is the only other example I can think of) probably needs different unit AI than a typical RTS.

In case anyone is not familiar with these games, you are building a base, the map begins unexplored and is populated by monsters which will attack you in waves, so it is a sort of inherently player-vs-environment, very asymmetrical game.

Because the enemies are basically expendable and your units aren't, your units should... try not to sacrifice themselves so much. They should avoid the fog-of-war areas unless explicitly instructed to go there. Melee units should flee when injured. Ranged units should stay out of melee range. Total War unit AI (where ranged units typically skirmish by default) might be a better starting point than Age of Empires style unit AI.

Although, it is a niche within a niche, so I guess I'll take what I can get, haha.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by 3np | Parent

Sounds a lot like Factorio. Quite different and you generally don't do things involving pathfinding in the first place; so not sure if it scratches your itch.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bee_rider | Parent

I did enjoy Factorio (and also Mindustry) a bit. For Factorio a lot of the fun seems to be in really optimizing the heck out of your factory, which I didn't really enjoy as much, so it was only good for like one or two playthroughs for me. One or two fun playthroughs though, no complaints.

It is sort of funny, I do enjoy optimizing, but in a game I prefer setups where you have to kinda intuitively optimize by your gut rather than really tweak things. The 50-80% efficiency range, rather than hitting those 80-99% targets, so to speak.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Cogito | Parent

There are a few playstyles, both modded and unmodded, that will allow for more of the "we're under attack!" panic and less optimisation of your factory.

Ramping up the number of biters in an unmodded world (deathworld) can be really fun.

Modpacks like Warptorio 2 add a very different dynamic but has that same frantic feel.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bee_rider | Parent

I'll have to check that out, the adding to the time pressure would, I think, probably be a big improvement.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by ilyt | Parent

You don't need to get in 80%+ optimization in the slightest in factorio. The jankiest factory in the normal difficulty settings in the end will get there just fine.

But in vanilla yeah, if you don't enjoy optimization for sake of optimization and building bigger there is not that much more to do once you played it once or twice.

There are few more directed mod/modpack experiences to play, but they generally also add complexity to the build and not everyone enjoy figuring out complex builds for that.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by billfruit | Parent

Some games have issue in moving groups of units, with some units moving slowly while others move faster, end up reaching the destination at different times, and get easily taken out by enemy units one by one, unless the player painstakingly babysits the entire movement to ensure same time of arrival.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by tm-guimaraes | Parent

People play showdown because of easy UX for netplay on both official, fan formats or old formats. It's not about "untainted pokemon", and more about "build a team without grinding and have an online matchmaking with different formats". So, that one in particular is a bad example.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by doctorpangloss | Parent

>It's not about "untainted pokemon"

It's not about original ideas in Pokemon either.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by tm-guimaraes | Parent

How not so? I don't get what you mean.
Supports every new thing and has new formats. Only one gimmick was disabled in the devs/smogon formats on the previous gen as it did work very well for those (but was great in the official ones)
So I would really like to know what you mean by it not about the new.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by tsimionescu | Parent

I think they're trying to say that it's not trying to progress Pokémon, to make something new or better out of it.

I don't have any opinions on this (I'm not really into Pokémon).


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by tm-guimaraes | Parent

>it's not trying to progress Pokémon, to make something new or better out of it.

But it is addressing one of its "failings": No decent online PvP play. And it's only about that.

While the 2 latest "main" games addressed this, showdown it's still important, because building a team ingame needs some time commitment (catching/breeding the mons and training them) while on a simulator its "instant". Also, there are more formats to play.

Yes, showdown doesn't try to make something new/better out of pokemon, but that misses the point. Their examples were about picking something popular and making something like that, either by the community/opensource or commercially

Showdown is not that, showdown is not alternative,a rehash or competitor to a main pokemon game, showdown is better seen as a tool rather than a game, it's where you go to validate/test your team, it's where you play some alternative format that the game itself doesn't care. So it obviously doesn't try to move game design forward, if it changed things it would no longer be where people would bring their pokemon teams online. "bringing pokemon forward" is gamefreak/nintendo job, showdown is just a tool for competitive players, and it's not a tool job to make something new or better than the original game.

It's just a glorified "online matchmaker" why is it even being lumped together?


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by feldrim | Parent

The pathfinding discuss was good. I remember that around 2008-2010, I read the Killzone AI related papers and presentations. Basically, all the planning, tactics were based on pathfinding algorithms. Because, if you find the shortest path by scoring the nodes, if you add multiple layers - like line of sight as a triangle- you can also update the scores, which eventually help the character move most optimal path: short but safe path.

The idea made it possible to convert the graph into either way finding meshes or influence maps, a great abstraction layer to build complex scenarios on top.

What makes me sad here is that, even though the paper written for 0 A.D. is newer than the paper I had read around 15 years ago, it is primitive. It is also a good thing as it is a low hanging fruit here for game devs. But I am not sure if there is enough interest for game devs here.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by seventhtiger | Parent

In game design terms it's interesting how old games pathfinding is so much better than modern games.

If pathfinding is too efficient, and the same for all units, then the micro aspect of the game is killed. Micro is the "real time" part of real time strategy.

If you play something like Starcraft 1, Warcraft 2, or AoE 2 you'll see the pathfinding has immense peculiarities that as you get better at the game you learn to manage. Units get stuck on each other and so on.

Starcraft 2 has a very good pathfinding algorithm but it still intentionally adds a lot of variety to how units move to recreate that cumbersome peculiar pathfinding that rewards micro. Yet if you look at Starcraft 1 you see the units still move in much more unique ways.

I think it's too easy to fall into a technical rabbit hole and try to do the best pathfinding when it actively harms the game.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by grozzle | Parent

Interesting. Could you give a bit more of a concrete, specific example of "good pathfinding hurting the experience"? It's an odd sounding idea, to me.

Also, you seem to be deep in this world, I'll also ask you - are there RTS games out there where the specific terrain is crucially important for various unit types - like we've seen in the real world recently, with weather updates waiting for deep mud to dry out being the main factor in when tanks and other sorts of vehicles can be useful? My experience of RTS games is limited, but I remember maps being very flat overall, with very few types of steepness modelled.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by TulliusCicero | Parent

It's a well known phenomenon in StarCraft 2 that the super efficient pathfinding increased lethality and reduced defender's advantage compared to the first game. And the game is overall considered to be VERY high lethality with a very weak defender's advantage.

Small fights don't make the difference as noticeable, but larger armies are so much more efficient in SC2 compared to SC1, that it's harder to hold off a larger force with a smaller but better-controlled force. The bigger "deathball" tends to just win, it's harder for someone to come back from an army disadvantage with skillful play.

Another small example there is that "ling runbys" in SC2 are vastly more punishing for even small mistakes in leaving a gap open in a building wall, because a huge number of lings can run through a small gap extremely quickly.

If pathing efficiency is the goal, why not make every unit in an RTS extremely tiny? That would make it more efficient for sure. Or, hell, just turn off unit collision entirely. Or make units all move ultra fast, or get rid of all map choke points? All of these things would improve how efficient pathing is.

Pathing efficiency isn't the goal itself, it's part of the game designer's toolbox. Plenty of things are intentionally pathing-inefficient -- like big, slow units -- as part of the game's design and balance.

The lead designer of Stormgate, which is the closest thing we're gonna have to StarCraft 3 probably, has talked about SC2's pathing efficiency problem himself. Granted, it doesn't sound like he wants StarCraft 1-style pathing, he just wants to compensate for the efficiency in other ways, like maybe making unit hitboxes bigger.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by feldrim | Parent

Great insights. The gaming experience and pathfinding relationship can also be expanded to game AI in general. I found Lars Liden's slides specifically mentioning "intelligence! = fun". So, for a better gaming experience, it is better to dumb down the AI.



@ Tuesday, May 30th 2023 by TulliusCicero | Parent

Well, it really depends on the game and user. Personally I'd love smarter AI in some of my games, for some enemies (I realize that I'd probably hate smart AI in other games).

Like, StarCraft skirmish AI is pretty basic, having a smarter opponent to practice against would be nice. As it stands, I can practice a build vs the AI just to get the timings right, but otherwise the AI is mostly useless because it sucks too much compared to a regular player.


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by seventhtiger | Parent

If you look at basic zergling vs zealot combat in SC1 vs SC2 you'll see what I'm saying. In SC2 they almost move like liquid and they don't form accidental choke points. The fight is over much faster and simply rewards the beefier army.


For example in Warcraft 3, which is much smaller scale with 10 - 20 units per player at any time, players constantly look for ways to block each other. While the fight is happening you might sneak a unit around just to block their path when they escape. This wouldn't be possible if the pathfinding was better at steering.


In terms of terrain maybe land/sea/air in Red Alert 2?

The more tactical RTS like Company of Heroes and Dawn of War 2 use the terrain a lot, but in small scale ways like moving from cover to cover and building to building. The terrain is very complex there.

The new Dune Spice Wars only has desert but it has some interesting ideas about movement. It's a much slower RTS and has been described as real time 4X.


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

Spring-Recoil engine games like Zero-K and BAR have not only various unit types affected differently by slopes and water depth, some maps even has terrain like ice that makes some units faster on it ! (Also Zero-K has terraforming.)


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

You are only talking here about a very specific sub-genre of RTS. BAR and Zero-K have quite good pathfinding, and (especially Zero-K) advanced unit AI, and also much more powerful user commands available, yet they still manage to have unit micromanagement matter a lot.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by nephanth | Parent

0ad is always the first listed package of linux distro repos (in alphabetical order). That might have helped with discoverability


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by scrapcode | Parent

Ye ole Yellowpages marketing trick!


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by mattigames | Parent

The modern version of that trick is adding "near me" to the name of your business, there was a viral pic of a restaurant called "Thai food near me".


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by doesthiswork23 | Parent

Also as a fan of the genre when I was younger, I recall just trying to find other RTS games that I could play, including free ones. This game came up pretty often.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by Ruq | Parent

You are 100% correct. I remember over the years always seeing it when viewing alphabetical listings of packages in various distros.


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

Damn, Zero-K really missed on that one...


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by silisili | Parent

I found it years back looking for games in the repo. The only two were tux racer, and 0ad. Been playing it off and on ever since(not so much tux racer).


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by npunt | Parent

Back in the day when I was working on another RTS of the era (Dark Reign 2), pathfinding was the bane of our existence. We weren't able to dial the pathfinding in because we'd pivoted late in the development cycle from the more innovative but complex 'walk anywhere on a 3d terrain' design to the ship-it-quickly traditional grid unit placement of 2d RTS'. This was the era of 2d RTS' transitioning to 3d, so everything was new and a bit harder than anticipated.

Just that one thing of having sub-par pathfinding made the game far worse, I'd guess at least a full point off a 10-point game rating. I believe we had to slow the whole pace of the game down because the player had to babysit units as they moved, which made the game far different from its extremely fast-paced predecessor and which the players expected from a sequel. I played DR2 again recently and it doesn't hold up almost solely due to pathfinding and the pacing that results.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by KptMarchewa | Parent

On the other hand, specific, suboptimal pathfinding is like 80% of a Brood War charm. The game without die decades ago if dragoons and zerglings would blob optimally.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by nerdponx | Parent

Arguably, low tech pathfinding is what gave us the tower defense genre.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by en3r0 | Parent

Remember playing that demo over and over as a kid! Really cool that you worked on it.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by Aeolun | Parent

For what it's worth, reading about one of the first true 3D RTS games (after Ground Control) at the time was really cool. Even if I never actually played the game.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by formerly_proven | Parent

>Ground Control

A surprisingly unknown title. Always wished it had a third campaign with base building or a level editor though.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by OOPMan | Parent

Ground Control and it's sequel were great. Battlezone 2042 was also pretty good


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by NSMutableSet | Parent

Dark Reign 1 was the first online game that I ever played, back in 1997. I still have the manual somewhere...


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by trog | Parent

I worked on that game! Started at Auran about three months before it shipped. Fun times.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by gregoryl | Parent

Fantastic game!


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by eiginn | Parent

Loved Dark Reign, I have the discs still, somewhere.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by Fuzzwah | Parent

I'm confident that I'm not the only old crusty Australian Quake player who got a smile from seeing trog comment on hn. Hope you're well bud.


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by hakonhaki | Parent

Can't recall Trog. I was living on the Labyrinth, Netspace, Ozemail and a few other quakeworld/TF1 servers back in the day :) Omega Enzo Red was the name :)


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by somethoughts | Parent

I'd say a key element for me was that it is multi-OS (even installs on Google supported ChromeOS Linux Developer Mode), does not require any store account, does not require crazy powerful external GPUs and still supports LAN only mode.

This meant I could setup a LAN party by dusting off a collection of semi-retired Windows, MacOS and Chrome machines.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by bombcar | Parent

I'd love to configure a PXE boot server so you could have a LAN party in a box.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by smcleod | Parent

I remember discovering 0AD from it being installable from package managers in various distros maybe 12-13 years ago.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by COAGULOPATH | Parent

AoEII has fantastic pathfinding. That and the formation system was the game's secret sauce.

In early RTS games like Warcraft, half the game was micromanaging your units from place to place. You'd send your army to a location, and if there was an obstacle in the way (such as a forest), they'd awkwardly path around the edges of it, one tile at a time (causing massive congestion, because the units at the front would obstruct the ones behind). They'd arrive at their destination one by one, and if the enemy was waiting, they'd get slaughtered.

In Age of Empires II, your army would arrive in a solid mass. It was a relief: you could actually play the game, instead of babysitting a bunch of units.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by adastra22 | Parent



@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by stodor89 | Parent



@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by imiric | Parent

Vulome. Etimos. Pani.




@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by calvinmorrison | Parent

Much improved. AoM has some buggy pathfinder edge cases still but its enough that its an annoyance not a mainstay.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by rollcat | Parent

>In early RTS games like Warcraft, half the game was micromanaging your units from place to place.

This is probably the most annoying aspect of StarCraft 1 / BroodWar (1998), considering the game still has a very strong player base and is very enjoyable to watch (even if the clunky mechanics are too much to bear for me to play it).

>You'd send your army to a location, and if there was an obstacle in the way (such as a forest), they'd awkwardly path around the edges of it, one tile at a time (causing massive congestion, because the units at the front would obstruct the ones behind). They'd arrive at their destination one by one, and if the enemy was waiting, they'd get slaughtered.

In SC1, they wouldn't even arrive on location half the time, because the pathfinding is so stupid they'd get stuck trying to walk up a wall. It's so infamously bad it's still being mocked: https://youtu.be/mCEZ2hIcUW0?t=134 - still, a great game!

In SC2 (2010), the pathfinding has been massively improved. You can give orders to hundreds of units and they will all figure out how to navigate complex terrain. They will still clump up at chokepoints or occasionally get a bit stupid when trying to path around other units that are engaged in a fight but this is more easily fixable with even a tiny bit of micro.

However SC2 makes no attempt to make units maintain formation. So if you're moving your army across the map, still best to keep an eye on it, and group up / pre-split / set up before attacking. It's a bit less of an APM game, and more of an SPM (screens per minute) game.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by bee_rider | Parent

It is amazing how well Age of Empires 2 aged. My regular gaming crew likes RTS sometimes, usually AoE2. So, we decided to try out some Brood War, since it was the decidedly superior RTS 20 years ago. Could barely finish the game! All the comforts they've added to AoE2 over time (bigger viewport and better graphics mostly) and the grouping/pathfinding made us spoiled.

I played a ton of StarCraft growing up and it definitely has a high rank in the pantheon of games, but I've been converted to AoE2 I guess. Wololo.


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by rollcat | Parent

Blame the pro players! When SC Remastered (released 2016) was under development, they specifically protested changing literally any single thing impacting the gameplay, including resolution (the 16:9 aspect ratio can be toggled back to 4:3). They were all rightfully scared of the remaster having very little support moving forward, and getting stuck with new bugs that upset 18 years of accumulated "balance" (as in: everyone figured out how to play around the existing bugs and the game converged on a ~50% winrate in all 6 matchups).

I think it was the right call, considering (unlike the AoE series) that SC has always had very asymmetric factions and matchups. It's very easy to make a trivial "fix" and wreck that balance, leaving a significant part of the pro player community with no tournament wins = no income.


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by rvba | Parent

StarCraft Brood War worked on computers with 16MB of RAM.

The game was incredibly impressive when it came out: technically, graphically, sound, single player, multi player, map editor with a custom programming language that allowed to make very complicated maps (there are tens of thousands of them, including custom maps with own minigames).

On top of that the game was just nice to play in both single and multiplayer - where it had great balance of 3 distinct factions.

SC:BW is a game from 1998 yet still probably the best RTS ever.
And it worked on machines back then.


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by rollcat | Parent

>a custom programming language

You mean the trigger/action system in StarEdit? I wouldn't call it a programming language, but it was a very nice introduction to scripting, especially for me as a 10yro kid at the time. I probably owe a bit of my career to it.


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by rvba | Parent

Staredit trigger system allowed to make a lot great things for a game made in 1998. It was like Minecraft before Mindcraft?

Obviously fair share of problems, but there were some clever workarounds with "hyper triggers" to make triggers fire very often, instead of being recalculated every 2 (?) seconds... or stuff like counting minerals to do things (what to be honest was horrible, but worked).

Those custom maps grew as our computers grew (I cant imagine some of the custom maps working with 16mb of RAM, luckily I upgraded to I think 192) and spawned whole generes - MOBAs and Turret defense. There was even that "the unknown" map what is basically Among Us long before Among us.

Are there any games nowadays that allow such things and spawn so many custom maps?


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by Darthbuddha | Parent

Wc3 reforged I guess but they made it so anything you make is owned by blizz so they don't let another Dota escape.


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by rollcat | Parent

>Are there any games nowadays that allow such things and spawn so many custom maps?

WC3 literally spawned DotA, and thus the entire genre of MOBA. It was originally just a WC3 map.

SC2's editor is also quite capable - the game is free to play, there is a lot of cool stuff in the arcade section, with some very active minigame communities (Direct Strike, Crap Patrol, etc). Sunspear Games are making Immortal, a new RTS which was initially prototyped using the SC2 engine; these same guys earlier did StarBow, which could best be described as "StarCraft 1.5", with many good elements of both BW and SC2. And of course there's that guy who's remaking all of WC3 in the SC2 engine, and it works better than WC3 Reforged (which I sincerely do not recommend to spend your money on). There's also the SC2 Mapster Discord server, some people are trying quite interesting things for regular 1v1 maps (considering how conservative normal 1v1 is), like water slides, destructible resources/watchtowers, etc.

Overall not the golden age, but it's very much alive.


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by rvba | Parent

DOTA was based on a Starcraft Brood War map :)

(Or there was a map with same idea before - in SC:BW).


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by rollcat | Parent

Well it depends how deep you wanna go in the history, there is no such thing as a tree. https://eukaryotewritesblog.com/2021/05/02/theres-no-such-th...


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by toyg | Parent

> Old reigns supreme

Advancement in computing capabilities over the last 15 years seem to have gone almost exclusively to graphics and duration. We get bigger and bigger games with better and better visuals, but fundamentally the same few gameplay modes.

Maybe it's just perspective, compressing the "glorious past" of 80s/90s games (breaking all sorts of barriers and inventing new ways of gaming with every other title) over a shorter timeframe in my memory, while the last decades feel long and bare. I probably sound like a boomer talking about rock'n'roll.


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

If you are looking at innovation, it's not the big budget games you should look at.

Spring(-Recoil) engine and games like Zero-K have tried a LOT of things over the years, and I am going to take a guess and assume that so did 0AD ?


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by arendtio | Parent

I think the path finding was one of the crucial elements that lead to porting AoE1 to the AoE2 engine (which was released just this month DLC Return of Rome). So there are some cases when it produces weird behavior, but in general I like it.

Nevertheless, I admire 0AD especially for the consistent progress and commitment to the game. It has been a while since I played it the last time. Might be a good occasion to start it again!


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by OOPMan | Parent

Pretty sure Genshin Impact was in development as early as 2016, before Breath of the Wild was released, although after it was announced.

Contrary to popular belief, Nintendo are not the only people that make open world games...


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by uoaei | Parent

>Who wants to play competitive Wikipedia? Nearly a million people a day do.

I wonder how many of these are bots developed by three-letter agencies trying to build their own AI.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by n3storm | Parent

About players, some parents are Linux users and we loved help our children develop computer skills and also play games with them in their Linux computers. In my case Gcompris for learning and pre-10 years old and TuxCart, TotalAnhiliation and 0ad when older.
In 0ad case, is both gaming and learning, about civilizations and history. We played together first and networking later, which helped learn some networking skills like looking his computer IP.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by otikik | Parent

I recently started playing StarCraft 2. Amazing game, can't believe it is free.


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

I paid full price for it on release. Now they are making money with the 2nd and 3rd part of the campaign (sadly, both inferior), and also probably from the coop commanders DLCs.

(Most players never touch competitive multiplayer, but quite a lot might try playing with friends vs the AI ?)


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by otikik | Parent

Thank you for clarifying, yes I should have mentioned that the multiplayer / vs AI is free, but there's paid content as well (single player campaigns, unit/building skins, etc).

To me the writing of the Single Player campaigns was grating ("bout time we kick this revolution into overdrive", rawr!) but the gameplay was good, so no hard complains. I liked the unit variety on the Protoss and Zerg campaigns compared to the WoL "buy upgrades and mercenaries" approach.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by atum47

Got all my friends hooked on it back in my college days. We attended class at night, but for some reason beyond my comprehension we did have classes at Saturday morning. Being a bunch of nocturnal beings, we usually bought some pizzas and stayed up all night from Friday to Saturday playing on lan and having pizza. Good times.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by johnisgood | Parent


Yup, we are on Hacker News!


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by atum47 | Parent

I usually swipe to type (which works 80% of the time) and honestly some times my eyes to catch spelling mistakes like these. Sorry, haha.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by johnisgood | Parent

Oh no worries really. Your typo was on topic as well! :P


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by princevegeta89 | Parent

played AOE 2 when it was just released, more than 20 years ago. And then 10 years later in 2011, online with real people which was a lot of fun and competitive touch.
Then again, I played the AOE 2 DE 10 years later in 2021, at 4k which was a great refreshment. I would say I got even better at it and had so many incredible achievements and games during that time.

I now see that more DLCs and patches were released after they did Poles and Bohemians, which were the last ones I played. The Poles as a civ were incredibly powerful btw. I felt really thankful for the team to keep supporting and developing the game in these recent years.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by rootlocus | Parent

They recently released Return of Rome, where they added Romans to AoE2 and also implemented AoE1 inside of AoE2, using the same engine and QoL improvements from AoE2. You can now play the full AoE1 game (except ranked multiplayer) within AoE2.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by heavyset_go

I actually prefer 0 A.D. to any AOE game, now.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by taopai | Parent

Me too. When I found it during the pandemic, it was like "Wow this game has everything I dreamt about when I was a little kid playing AOE". Capturing buildings and other awesome features!


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by pelasaco | Parent

for sure. AOE2 is ok, but the game controls are much better on 0 A.D.. i think 0.A.D is more dynamic and the civilizations much more interesting.. there is a middle ages mod to 0.A.D which is pretty cool too.


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by heavyset_go | Parent

The mods are really amazing, it's great that they're supported by the platform, as well. They can make for an almost different game, but in really well-integrated ways.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by hedgehog

28,827 commits. GitHub mirror of the code:


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by trollied

I'd give this a go if I wasn't so terribly addicted to Factorio...


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by hydroid7 | Parent

Try Mindustry instead


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by gwnywg | Parent

Yep, I was addicted to that... and to 0ad at some point too...


@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by martinald | Parent

Captain of Industry too. Lost so many hours to that. Though there's a new big update coming on the 30th May that isn't compatible with old saves, so you're probably better off waiting for that!

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by ransom1538

This game is awesome.

This is the only game me and my son(7) play together. It amazing for little kids. They learn history, building resources, building alliances, and destroying the dad empire.

I wish it was possible to play online multiplayer :(. Unfortunately, the people that play online are pretty elitist. Just reject your offers to play, setup the game for you to lose on join, etc etc. The multiplayer "collect resources" is not very fun - it would be awesome to start with 50k each and just create an awesome battle. I don't want to spend 2 hours collecting fake trees - only to have the opponent destroy me in 2 seconds. You can't do any strategy since you will never get to the stages where that matters.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by ARandomerDude | Parent

Same! Weekend 0AD LAN parties with my family is a real treat!


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by philipswood | Parent

There is a "deathmatch" mode you can setup during map selection where all players start with ample resources and you can enforce a starting timed ceasefire to allow some building before the battle starts.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by heavyset_go | Parent

The deathmatch mode also literally gives each player 50k in all resources to start out with.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by chickenimprint | Parent

The strategy is to start out with a couple of horse javelineers, send them to hunt game until you have at least 5 and then get raid other players' women. Remember to always queue women in groups of 2-4 and get the first berry upgrade asap. Play against people of a similar ELO, and you will have a lot of fun online!

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by winrid

NetPanzer is also an open source RTS in development for over 20 years!


I just setup a new masterservers and a couple game servers with bots (but you need v0.9x+ to play with bots).

I'm working with the maintainer to do one more release to the distros and then probably convert it to Godot.

You can download the latest 0.9 release from sourceforge. 0.8, in the distros, is pretty old.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by jonbaer

For those interested in RL portion, https://trac.wildfiregames.com/wiki/GettingStartedReinforcem... and https://github.com/0ad4ai

There has also been some work to establish a geospatial intelligence class using the game engine as well (map/market/resource analysis).

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by pelasaco

Best game. My kids play it every weekend - when they are allowed to consume medias other than books. They love to play historical battles, go through the history of the civilizations. I still beat them, but it's such fun to have some "LAN-parties" with them.. said that, we noticed that quite often, the network game gets aborted. Is that something that just happen to me (Linux, Mac, Windows, doesnt matter) or the network part of the code is not so robust as the rest?

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by hu3

Are there opensource RTS games made with JS that run in the browser?

Not having to install would be awesome. And JS would make it accessible to most devs.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by anonzzzies | Parent

>And JS would make it accessible to most devs.

Don't think it would be more than it is now; game dev is not the same as web dev and the sourcecode of this game is very readable and easy to work with. The language is not going to be the issue for getting collaborators.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by stodor89 | Parent

You can play Tzar in the browser: https://tza.red

Not open source tho.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by npteljes | Parent

There are a few on itch.io: https://itch.io/games/platform-web/tag-open-source/tag-real-...

Open source games are not really constrained by devs, I think. I'd say that dev work is the one that's best covered in the open source game development. Project management, marketing, asset production, user experience, quality assurance, product management seem to be much more underserved.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by hohg | Parent



@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

Source available :



>The web version is literally just a .js file, all the code is there. Fun fact: the user run servers (my own server Myxori and Magic) run a modified version of that file. I literally download the file via inspect element, add some wrapper code for networking, and get a fully functioning server.

@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by lagolinguini

I don't mean to disparage other people's experiences but I find a massive disconnect between what other people are feeling and how I feel about this game.

Actual AOE is still alive and kicking through the Definitive Editions and now AOE4 with a very active online community and developers. While 0AD is great and fully opensource, I still don't find it comes close to the Experience of the actual AOE titles. Maybe I'm biased because I don't mind paying for proprietary software and I sometimes use Windows. I do however definitely agree how great of an achievement 0AD is and it is definitely a great game when considered in isolation.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by wendyshu | Parent

Are you talking about custom maps? The size of the online community? Those are better in AoE2. What else is?


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by lagolinguini | Parent

Matchmaking and the gameplay experience in general. I spend a lot of time playing AOE4 and I also like the direction that game is taking.


@ Friday, May 26th 2023 by nylonstrung | Parent

A more interesting peer to this game is Beyond All Reason, an open source clone of Total Annihilation that has essentially revived a community for the franchise



@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by laputan_machine | Parent

Oh wow, thanks for this. I bought TA (& TA:Kingdoms) a while back but it wouldn't run on my machine


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by aragilar | Parent

The new AOM is really buggy (c.f. the original), so "alive" probably only applies to AOE2. I'm not sure I'd call AOE4 "AOE" (yeah, it's branded as it, but so was "Age of Empires Online"), so the series basically died at AOE3. The other thing is the new DEs (which are relatively recent) and AOE4 are Windows-only (there were Mac releases for the originals, and the originals were much easier to get running under wine), so there is more incentive to look at other games (or reimplement the engine like https://openage.sft.mx/).


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by lagolinguini | Parent

Age of Empires 4 is not the same as Age of Empires Online and is a a full fledged game in the Age of Empires Series incredibly similar to AOE2 with some learnings from AOE3 added in.[1] It very much plays like it's predecessors. It is highly enjoyable and has a very active community as responsive developers. There are many content creators and tournaments for this game now. It has a large enough userbase for you to be able to find a game quickly and they are constantly releasing new content and patches. The latest patch was released quite recently.[2]

AOE2, 3 and 4 have lots of tournaments, some of them with quite decent prize pools.[3]

I personally don't play AOM so I can't comment on that but as far as I have seen, Microsoft has done a good job at reviving the other games and with the new game so while I don't doubt AOM is buggy I do have faith they are actively attempting to fix issues.

As for the Windows only thing, as I said, I use windows at times myself and I don't mind paying for proprietary software. But I understand if others have qualms about that.

But to say that the Age of Empires series died with AOE3 is untrue, and while 0AD is a great achievement, to say it is a replacement for the actual Age games is also not true.

Also note that MS did reimplement the engine for the AOEI definitive edition, unsure about the others.

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Empires_IV
2 https://www.ageofempires.com/news/age-of-empires-iv-season-f...
3 https://liquipedia.net/ageofempires/Main_Page


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by aragilar | Parent

I've played AOE4 (during the free load balance trial), and sure, it's not Age of Empires Online, that doesn't mean it's an AOE game (another example: Halo 4 and 5 may be called Halo games, it doesn't mean they are ones). This view extends to the group of friends I play AOE2 with, so while I'm glad AOE4 has found its audience (so maybe they'll redo AOE1), I'm cynical that any sequels will be ones we want to play.

The issue for the new DEs/4 isn't that they're proprietary, it's they've gone backwards for cross-platform play (no MacOS, worse on wine), hence the open source implementation (with propriety assets) would enable playing on whatever systems people have.

EDIT: I will agree that 0AD isn't the same as AOE2 if I want to play AOE2, but given the option of playing a game that will work (0AD) vs. one that may work (new AOM), I'll take the one that will work.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by lagolinguini | Parent

As someone who grew up on playing AOE and AOE2, I remember people said the same thing about AOE3 when it came out. In the end I never got into it myself but then when AOE4 came out it felt like a breath of fresh air. They way I see it is that each iteration in the franchise is really a different game and not a replacement for another. So I still find myself playing the AOE2 campaigns from time to time in the definitive edition for the nostalgia factor. So I think it's a bit unfair to say AOE4 isn't an Age of Empires game.

At the end of the day the goal is to have fun so if the new game doesn't fit your vibe that's totally understandable. But I invite you to give it one more shot , even the Viper plays it from time to time :)

Also definitely agree about the no Mac/wine thing. A friend of mine ended up buying a new PC to play the game with the rest of our group.

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by kasztelan_

As someone unfamiliar with that project I looked up About Us on the main site. There wasn't a section that would just explain what the project was about.

I know this is more 'if you know you know' kind of hobby but it would still be nice to get a quick overview :)


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by MagicMoonlight | Parent


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by jgalt212

0AD is implanted in my as the first package listed in Synaptic.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by math-ias | Parent

I would guess that this drives a non-negligible number of people to playing the game for the first time. My personal anecdote is tab completing `apt-get install` by mistake and figuring I should research this 0ad package more to make sure I didn't screw up configurations.

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by mproud

OK, that has fellow open-source project The Battle for Wesnoth beat by 4 years.

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by est

It's a cool game and all, but does it still burns the cpu0 only?

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by mikae1

When it comes to open source RTS games, https://www.beyondallreason.info really deserves an honorable mention.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by yread | Parent

looks like a Spring TA successor, nice!


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by rand846633 | Parent

Looks compelling!
Could you offer a 3 sentence summary of what I would lean, were I to sped 10 minutes understand what exactly this game is? Also is it fully playable already?


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by concordDance | Parent

It's a sci-fi RTS game. Focused on multiplayer (co-op, 1v1 and teams). It has cool explosions and giant robot armies.

Yes, it's fully playable (and indeed being played by thousands of people) right now.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by egeozcan | Parent

How is it possible that as an RTS fan, I've never heard about this? They even had a pro tournament: https://youtu.be/_dq9Xwfh4h4

Some aspects vaguely look like C&C Generals, and some like Starcraft, if I'm understanding stuff from the video correctly. Thanks for sharing!


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by Kiro | Parent

As an RTS fan, I'm surprised you compare it to Generals and Starcraft instead of the obvious inspiration: SupCom. BAR is basically Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander reincarnated. I think even the devs call it a clone or derivative.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by egeozcan | Parent

I had skimmed the video from my phone, and I still didn't have the chance to look at it in detail, so apologies if I misled anyone! I still long for a successor to RA2 and C&C Generals, that is also probably skewing my perception heavily :)


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

BA/Spring still has tournaments too, and predates SupCom1 (though Spring was of course following the promotional materials released for it, the Supreme Strait map was already in it before the name of Seton's Clutch that it's based on was even known), and BAR(/Recoil) used to stand for Balanced Annihilation Reloaded.



@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by wurzeltrick | Parent

Beyond all reason is not open source though, since a lot of its artwork is licensed CC-by-NC-ND.

Another Total Anhilation clone is ZeroK which is unfortunately also not completely open source because of its artwork license (Wikipedia mentions CC by NC ND but I could only fjnd this summary https://github.com/ZeroK-RTS/Zero-K-Artwork/issues/16).

Unfortunately it is near impossible to setup a local LAN game with ZeroK, since there are no current instructions to setup the required spring-engine lobby server.

Edited, because I recognized to late, that Wikipedia mentions that zeroK-Artwork might also be under CC-by-NC-ND.

Edited again to clarify, that its not open source because of the artwork.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by concordDance | Parent

Difficult without Steam? A friend of mine plays Zero-K on Linux without Steam.

Maybe drop by the Discord to see if anyone can help you debug the issues you've run into.

Also, just because it might be hard to use on non-closed systems doesn't make something not open source.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by grozzle | Parent

Hmm. I read the licence.md. Does this mean if I fork the game to try my own patches, I'm forbidden from using the game's artwork in my forked version?

If so, that is a serious impediment, tbf.


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by wurzeltrick | Parent

It just concerns some of the artwork, which is a major endeavour to recreate.
For example
is under a Noncommercial License, so you can probably fork ZeroK just fine, as long as you don't have commercial plans.

Unfortunately non-open source artwork is a problem with many games whose sources were released by the original publishers, after they abandoned any commercial plans.

For example I'm a big fan of OpenRA, but its artwork is still non-free.

I think ZeroK is a great game, and BAR probably also, so I didn't mean to distract from the great accomplishments of its FLOSS gameengine authors.


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

>Since version 4.0 [of ND], derivative works are allowed but must not be shared.


@ Monday, May 29th 2023 by BlueTemplar | Parent

It's still somewhat easy for Zero-K : just copy the game and maps into the respective folders inside the engine folder and run the engine binary (bypassing the lobby).

It's somewhat easier for BAR despite in theory being harder due to the lack of these standalone files due to the rapid file system, but in practice easier because you can just use the unofficial Skylobby (BAR still uses Springlobby protocol, at least for now).


@ Thursday, June 1st 2023 by xela79 | Parent

played Zero-K at local LAN party without any issues, it was a breeze to get to work.

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by mishftw

I started my coding journey by fining OAD. I was able to contribute to the project in my early days. Truly amazing to see how far it's come!


@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by wsgeorge | Parent

Thank you for your contribution to this amazing game!

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by pelasaco

The openage is as well a fantastic project https://github.com/SFTtech/openage

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by badnogooderevil

I've read about this.

@ Saturday, May 27th 2023 by gatane

This appears just when I'm getting into OpenRA... Might check it someday.

@ Sunday, May 28th 2023 by silveira

0ad is a great game on its own merits. I have played countless hours on matches against the PC.

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