0 A.D./Printable version

0 A.D.

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Birth of 0 A.D.

The concept behind 0 A.D. has actually been in the works since the year 2000. It started out as a collaboration between several groups advocating several different ideas.

The first idea was a fan request put together by a gamers’ group called Tonto Clan. They compiled a game design for a remake of Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome, and intended to send it to Age of Empires developers Ensemble Studios and suggest that they implement it. This fell through because ES had a different concept in mind, which was to develop a game based on mythology rather than history. This game is now known as Age of Mythology.

Second, Wildfire Games’ predecessor, a modding team named Wildfire Studios, had completed a successful, large-scale mod for Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (AoK) named “Rome at War”. Seeking to expand their success, they had started developing another mod at a much larger scale, changing many more art assets — a “total conversion” mod. While developing the mod, the team constantly ran into the limitations of modding a closed-source, proprietary game, and found that they could not change some features of the AoK engine, leading them to look into developing a standalone game.

Last but not least, a fantasy modding project, later called The Last Alliance (TLA), began looking into creating their own mod, and was also interested in the prospect of creating a standalone game with its own engine.

While at first, these three groups interacted independently on the forums of Age of Kings Heaven, an AoK fansite, they unified their ideas into the concept of a freeware, independent game engine to support 0 A.D. and TLA in the winter of 2001/2002. Jason “Wijitmaker” Bishop, a 23-year-old from Edwall, Washington, took the lead and would continue to manage the project for the next 6 years or so.

Closed-Source Development

After months of collaborative research and game design, a unified game design document was finalized in the summer of 2003. The chief game designers for 0 A.D. were Bishop along with Ken “TheRealDeal” Wood, a retiree in his 60's from Arizona, and Stuart “Acumen” Walpole, a programmer in his 20's from the UK.

Development continued until 2009 as a closed-source, proprietary freeware initiative, meaning it was supposed to be offered at no charge, and it was always meant to be easily moddable, yet the source code was closed for team members only. Team membership was rather open compared to most closed-source games at the time, and to join the team all one had to do was file an application and pass an interview.

Throughout 2003 to 2009, the game developed at a varying pace, mostly in the art area, with a large number of units and textures designed from scratch, mostly for the Celtic and Hellenic factions. Progress on the programming side was achieved on issues like gameplay logic, random map generation, water rendering, and multiplayer networking. Two topics in the programming side served programmers as projects for undergraduate degrees in Computer Science: The water rendering by Matei Zaharia and the file ordering and caching system by Jan “janwas” Wassenberg. (Both would go on to graduate school in computer science.) Art development kept going strong under the sustained leadership of Michael D. Hafer (“Mythos_Ruler”), a contributor in his late 20's from Indiana.

Wood sadly passed away in 2006 after a long fight with cancer. Bishop stepped down as project lead in 2008 due to family obligations, with Erik “feneur” Johansson succeeding him.

Although contributions to 0 A.D. continued more or less steadily over these years, interest in TLA waned over time. As of September 2012, development of The Last Alliance has been officially discontinued. All the existing contributions to that project have been archived as study and discussion of Tolkien's works, and as inspiration for those interested in fantasy mods and games.

Over time, programmers for 0 A.D. were becoming hard to find as well, stalling development of the game. Over 2009, the team re-evaluated the development system, and looked seriously into an open source model. Finally they went for it.

Open Source Release

In July 2009, the project switched from a closed development process to open source, making the code available as GPL and the art content available as CC-BY-SA, and encouraging external contributions. The team wished to attract new talent to 0 A.D., share some ideas, tools and code with the game development community, and simplify a number of issues with distribution and debugging.

Shortly afterwards, Philip (“Ykkrosh”) Taylor, a PhD student from Cambridge, made large changes to the codebase sorely requiring redesign and reimplementation, making it easier for new contributors to join.

The game has attracted many contributors in all fields of development and they have picked up the pace considerably. Shortly after the OS release, they began releasing pre-alpha and alpha versions of 0 A.D. every two to three months, each with new features, and drawing the project closer to finish step by step.

Changing teams

Passing the Torch


At the end of 2016, Johansson passed on the torch of project leader to Nicolas (“Itms”) Auvray, a Physics student from France in his early 20’s. Johansson continues to be the Administrative Head of Wildfire Games, thus continuing a sustained involvement of more than ten years in the project.

Current State


0 A.D. is over 15 years in development and still not done, but it has come a long way and continues to make substantial improvements. Missing features are less and less numerous, and the community of players and contributors is thriving. The time and effort contributors have put in is comparable to what goes into developing a regular AAA title, and those can take up to 7 years to create, even with a greater and steadier input of work. Open source game projects of this scale lasting for this long is truly a rare, yet positive, occurrence.

Time range

The time period 0 A.D. attempts to simulate spans roughly 1000 years, from 500BC to 500AD.[1] This was a time of massive change around the Mediterranean sea, as well as neighboring regions.




Roman Republic


A jack of all trades faction.[2]

The Carthaginian Empire


Carthage specializes in naval warfare, mercenaries, and walled defense.[2]

Hellenic States


Includes Athenians, Spartans, and Macedonians.[2]


  1. "0 A.D. | A free, open-source game of ancient warfare". Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  2. a b c "0 A.D. | A free, open-source game of ancient warfare". Retrieved 7 July 2021.


Screenshot of the Gaul Civilisation with all of Pyrogenesis' graphical effects enabled

Pyrogenesis (from Greek pyr, "fire" and genesis, "origin, beginning") is the name of 0 A.D.'s game engine.[1] It was originally named Prometheus, after the Greek mythological character who stole fire from the gods, for the use of mankind. That name was changed in 2004, after another development team advertised the use of the name Prometheus for their own game.

Pyrogenesis is mostly written in C++ and uses Mozilla's SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine for scripting.[1] It also uses such open-source libraries as OpenGL, OpenAL, Boost, SDL, Vorbis and wxWidgets. It supports open data formats such as COLLADA, XML and JSON. It is cross-platform, supporting Windows, OS X, Linux and various Unix-like OSes.


  1. a b "Overview". Wildfire Games. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2012.

Wildfire Games

The Wildfire Games logo

Wildfire Games is the developer of both 0 A.D. and the Pyrogenesis game engine it runs on.


On June 8th, 2018 the group Materia Collective published a soundtrack for the game.[1]


  1. "0 A.D. (Original Game Soundtrack)". Materia Collective. Retrieved 17 June 2021.

Educational uses

Simulating historic battles


0 A.D. might be used as an educational exercise, showing why leadership in a real battle may have made certain decisions.


The following table contains the 0 A.D. version history, showing all of its release versions.


Version Name Release date Features
Pre-Alpha 1 2 April 2010 Snapshot for developers with source code, resources and compiled version of project.[1]
2 12 June 2010 New unit movement system (precise pathfinding and obstacle avoidance); training queues in buildings; added units to the minimap.[2]
3 11 July 2010 Added multiplayer support, redesigned GUI; improved pathfinding: added terrain passability constraints and terrain movement costs, added floating units.[3]
Alpha 1 Argonaut 16 August 2010 chat.[4]
2 Bellerophon 20 October 2010 formations; victory conditions; improved pathfinder performance, improved in-game GUI; added new biome (savanna), remodeled Celtic buildings, added new maps.[5]
3 Cerberus 11 December 2010 Added resource shuttling, circular maps, garrisoning, improved pathfinding; new Hellenic and Celtic ships, Greek buildings; improved game setup screen, redesigned loading screen and added summary screen; new maps.[6]
4 Daedalus 12 March 2011 Added initial prototype version of opponent AI; improved fog of war rendering, added opt-in automatic feedback system; new naval units, siege weapons, bridges, new in-game sound effects.[7]
5 Edetania 20 May 2011 particles: fire, smoke, construction dust, sparkles near mines, falling leaves; unit silhouettes; new map, sound effects, music track.[8]
6 Fortuna 10 July 2011 Unit stances: Violent, Aggressive, Defensive, Stand ground, Avoid; new terrain textures, sound effects, maps, units and buildings; scenario editor interface improvements; flying units support and test map with P-51 Mustang planes.[9]
7 Geronium 17 September 2011 Carthaginians; all-new dynamic territory design, a brand new main menu design, several new music tracks, new maps.[10]
8 Haxāmaniš 23 December 2011 Persians; bartering system, support for saving and loading games, multiplayer reconnection support, improved AI, and three new music tracks.[11]
9 Ides of March 15 March 2012 Romans; trading system, new combat system, improved AI, new random maps and new animations.[12]
10 Jhelum 16 May 2012 Athenians, Ancient Macedonians|Macedonians, and Spartans (replacing the generic Ancient Greece|Hellenes civilization); basic technologies, click-and-drag walls, healing, specular effects, and new graphics options.[13]
11 Kronos 7 September 2012 Britons and Gauls (replacing the generic Celts|Celtic civilization); new AI script: Aegis Bot, gates, new sound system, shared LOS among allies, new graphics improvements: ambient occlusion, normal mapping, parallax mapping, specularity, terrain improvements.[14]
12 Loucetios 17 December 2012 New gameplay features: Diplomacy, Packing Siege Engines, Formation Order Queueing, Heroes, Slaughter Attack, Unit Training Hotkeys, New Match Setup Options, Five New Random Maps
13 Magadha 2 April 2013 Mauryan Indians; Improved AI: Aegis bot, with several difficulty levels; New attack/move command; Improvements on building; New music tracks[15]
14 Naukratis 4 September 2013 New gameplay features: Blacksmiths; Infinite Farms; Exponential armor; More realistic health; Shared trade gain with allies; Ranged unit improvements[16]
15 Osiris 24 December 2013 New gameplay features: Multiplayer lobby; Auras; Debut of the Ptolemaic Egyptians; Skirmish Maps [17]
16 Patañjali 17 May 2014 New gameplay features: Localization; Formation Updates; New AI - Petra; Town Bell; Global Resource Trading Settings; The "Wonder" Victory Condition; "Explored Map" setting [18]
17 Quercus 12 October 2014 New gameplay features: Major Core Combat Rebalance; Naval Map Support; Improved Fog of War; Units On Walls; Multiplayer Lobby Profiles; New Maps: Siwa Oasis and Schwarzwald [19]
18 Rhododactylos 13 March 2015 New gameplay features: Nomad Game Mode; In-Game Technology Tree; New Seleucid buildings [20]
19 Syllepsis 26 November 2015 New gameplay features: Building and Siege Engine Capture; New Victory Modes: "Conquest Structures" and "Conquest Units"; Ceasefire Game Mode; Attack Coordination; New Skirmish Maps: "Tuscan Acropolis", "Northern Ireland", "Alpine Mountains" [21]
20 Timosthenes 31 March 2016 New gameplay features: New Random Maps: "Ambush", "Empire", "Flood", "Hell's Pass", "Island Stronghold", "Lions Den" and "Stronghold"; New Skirmish Maps: "Forest Battle" and "Golden Island"; Use allied drop sites; Murder Holes; New technologies for fishing; Loot resources that killed enemies carried[22]
21 Ulysses 8 November 2016 Seleucid Empire is officially introduced. Building upgrade system is added. 11 new maps. New game modes introduced.[23]
22 Venustas 26 July 2017 Relic capture gamemode introduced. Graphical and audio improvements. Various polishing of existing features and mechanics.[24]
23 Ken Wood 18 May 2018 Introduction of Kushite civilization. Improved mod support. Graphical improvements, especially for cavalry and clothing. Granular control over victory conditions. 7 additional map types added. Various improvements to existing features.[25]
24 Xšayāršā 20 February 2021 Gameplay balanced. Building snapping. Anti-aliasing support. UI Improvements including a map browser. AI Improvements. Updated models. 7 new map types. Improved Javascript Engine to Spidermonkey 78. Support for versions of Windows below Windows 7 removed. Support for MacOS versions below 10.12 removed.[26]
25 Yaunā 8 August 2021 Pathfinding And Netcode Improvements. Order Restructuring. Improved Unit AI. New Biomes Incorporating New 2k Textures And Normal/Specular Maps. Initial Implementation Of Single Player Campaigns. GUI Improvements. Extended Graphics Options. Improved Mod Support And Game Filtering In The Multiplayer Lobby. Ongoing Civilization Balancing. Various Other Game Stability Bug Fixes And Speedups.[27]
26 Zhuangzi 24 September 2022 Introduction of Han civilization. Two new maps. 26 new songs. Texture and model improvements. Balance adjustments.[28]
27 Vulcan In Development


  1. Jeru (2 April 2010). "0 A.D. Debuts Pre-Alpha Version". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  2. "0 A.D. Pre-Alpha 2 Released". Wildfire Games. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  3. "0 A.D. Pre Alpha 3 Released". Wildfire Games. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
  4. Jeru (16 August 2010). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 1 Argonaut". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  5. Jeru (19 October 2010). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 2 Bellerophon". Wildfire Games. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  6. Jeru (11 December 2011). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 3 Cerberus". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  7. Jeru (12 March 2011). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 4 Daedalus". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  8. Jeru (20 May 2011). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 5 Edetania". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  9. Jeru (10 July 2011). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 6 Fortuna". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  10. Jeru (17 September 2011). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 7 Geronium". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  11. Jeru (23 December 2011). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 8 Haxāmaniš". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  12. Jeru (15 March 2012). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 9 Ides of March". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  13. Jeru (16 May 2012). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 10 Jhelum". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
  14. Jeru (7 September 2012). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 11 Kronos". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
  15. Jeru (2 April 2013). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 13 Magadha". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  16. Mythos_Ruler (4 September 2013). "IndieGoGo Crowdfunding Campaign, New Release: Alpha 14 Naukratis". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  17. Feneur (24 December 2013). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 15 Osiris". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  18. Jeru (17 May 2014). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 16 Patañjali". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  19. Jeru (12 October 2014). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 17 Quercus". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  20. feneur (13 March 2015). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 18 Rhododactylos". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  21. feneur (26 November 2015). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 19 Syllepsis". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  22. feneur (31 March 2016). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 20 Timosthenes". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  23. feneur (8 November 2016). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 21 Ulysses". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  24. Nicolas Auvray (26 July 2017). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 22 Venustas". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  25. feneur (17 May 2018). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 23 Ken Wood". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  26. stan (20 February 2021). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 24: Xšayāršā". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  27. stan (8 August 2021). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 25: Yaunā". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  28. stan (24 September 2022). "New Release: 0 A.D. Alpha 26: Zhuangzi". Wildfire Games. Retrieved 8 May 2023.