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As you’ve probably gathered, Age of Empires IV does not cross the rubicon into the era of guns, germs, and steel. Instead, it returns to the battlefields of the most acclaimed and popular in the series, The Age of Kings. In that sense, Age of Empires IV feels more like a remake than a sequel, which is precisely why it doesn’t seem like 16 years have been and gone. After 2013’s HD and 2023’s Definitive edition of AoE 2, Age of Empires VI could easily pass muster as Age of Empires II 4.0.

Advancing an Age

Actually, that’s a little unfair. While successive versions of Age of Empire II have prettied up the sprite-based graphics of the 1999 game, increased the resolution, and piled on more civilizations and campaigns, you don’t have to excavate too deeply to find evidence of the original game beneath. Conversely, Age of Empires IV is a complete rebuild rather than a refit. The streets look and feel familiar, but the building materials are weirdly pristine, with a modern infrastructure beneath the furrows and faux-cobblestones to facilitate seamless multiplayer and persistent character progression. 

For those that missed the golden era of Age of Empires (before the words ‘age’ and ‘empires’ became despairingly synonymous with ‘clash’ and ‘clans’), the games were celebrated for taking the then-ubiquitous real-time strategy formula popularised by the likes of Command & Conquer and Warcraft, and layering them with the ability to move through different historical eras in a manner reminiscent of Civilization. Rather than a single resource to collect (tiberium, say), you had four (food, wood, stone and gold), and when you had enough of each and the right collection of buildings, you could essentially level up your civ. As such, you were forever locked in a race to collect the most resources, to manage your population and ambition, to stay ahead in the arms race, and to have an army of a suitable size and/or quality to be able to defend your territory and expand across the map. Predating Total War and Crusader Kings, it was in many ways the first truly epic real-time strategy game.

Resources, walls and regiments

So far, so Age of Empires. Where IV feels different is by way of nods to the games that succeeded in building upon AoE’s failings; namely Cossacks, which featured significantly bigger and more regimented battles, and the early Stronghold games, which offered a vastly more enjoyable castle siege experience. In Age of Empires IV, troops organize themselves into ranks that are more convenient and effective than in games past. If you’re an RTS veteran that likes to memorize every keyboard shortcut and have units assigned to very specific control-key combinations, you can of course go hog roast wild. Meanwhile, newcomers that might have gotten used to more automated combat, can select and direct troops en masse with the confidence that each unit type will prioritise targets with some degree of competence.

Siege and sea battles

While the odd villager assigned construction detail can get trapped in the map furniture, building a stone fortification is a simple affair that requires dragging the cursor across where you want a wall to appear. Repairing walls is much the same, and adding turrets and gates is simply a matter of adding to rather than making space for them at the outset. Troops that you order to take up a position on a battlement will do so directly and without the fuss and frustration of either walking to their doom on the way there, or falling off the wall when they get into position, all of which makes siege battles – whether in defence or attack – one of the game’s triumphs. Plus,  the maps are plenty big enough to support not just extensive stoneworlds, but a soft civil infrastructure within. 

Like the fundamentals elsewhere, sea units and battles are curiously unchanged from earlier games. I say curiously because collecting resources from the sea and directing ships to attack other ships never really felt distinct from land battles in Age of Empires, and was perhaps one area of the game that would have benefitted from a more extensive evolution. Fishing boats, trade cog, war galleys, and caravels all spin and flip about like toys trapped in a draining bath, but at least they do so smoothly, which was never a quality you could apply to Age of Empires of old.

Units and civilisations 

Despite the reduced number of medieval civilizations in AoE IV compared to the last Age of Empires release – eight compared to AoE II Definitive Edition’s overwhelming 39, there’s clearly been a big effort to distinguish them from one another. It’s no mean feat that the developer has largely succeeded in that regard, especially when you consider that most RTS creators struggle to balance three warring factions. The differences between them extend far beyond the cosmetic, too, as you would expect, with variety not just between units, upgrades and buildings, but in eras as well. Then there are the units that one civilization will excel in, not just the English longbow, for example, but the even more historically significant ability for English villagers to pick up a bow and join in a fight. 

Campaigns, quests, and multiplayer

The bulk of Age of Empires IV single player consists of four campaigns, The Normans, The Hundred Years War, The Mongol Empire and The Rise of Moscow. Unlike previous games, which tended to focus on a single historical character that it was easy to tire of, here each campaign takes a broad sweep through history, meandering through royal family trees over the course of 200 years or so, with each battle bookended by video sequences that could probably be stitched together to form a History Channel documentary. With additional snippets of video to unlock, this is where Age of Empire IV manages to feel distinct and more accessible than any game in the series before. Add to it a layer of contemporaneous progression, which hands out XP for completing campaign missions and daily quests, unlocking banners and the like along the way, and you have a thoroughly modern RTS.

For Skirmish battles, there are six preset battles, or you can set up your own parameters using any of the eight civs across 17 maps. There’s also a bunch of “Art of War” standalone missions, which are effectively tutorial challenges, each tasking you to complete a simple task within a time limit. They’re not going to seal the deal, but it’s a fun distraction all the same. As for the multiplayer side of things, there are 1v1 encounters all the way to 8v8 team battles, as well as free-for-all and co-op PvE. Not a bad selection, especially as it’s sure to be expanded as DLC and the inevitable Season Pass is rolled out.

In conclusion

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The Languages Of Game Of Thrones

The Languages of Game of Thrones CAS linguist on the origins of Dothraki, Valyrian

Language construction wasn’t a strength of Game of Thrones’ author George R. R. Martin, and that’s why he needed a linguist, says Alexander Nikolaev, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of classical studies and of linguistics. Photo by Cydney Scott

Athchomar Chomakaan!


That means “Hello” in Dothraki (but only when directed at a non-Dothraki), one of the languages spoken in the HBO hit show Game of Thrones, whose seventh season starts Sunday night.

The Dothraki and the High Valyrian heard on the show were invented by linguist David J. Peterson, who won a 2009 contest dreamed up by the Game of Thrones creators. They contacted the Language Creation Society (Peterson is a cofounder) and asked members to create the Dothraki vernacular, since Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin had not developed the language in his books.

Peterson’s skills have impressed linguists around the world, including admitted “medium-size” fan of the show and the books Alexander Nikolaev, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of classical studies and of linguistics. An expert in ancient languages, Nikolaev has led workshops on fictional languages in Game of Thrones, Star Trek, and Lord of the Rings. He was recently named a Center for the Humanities junior research fellow for the coming academic year.

BU Today spoke with Nikolaev about the real-world history that went into creating the Game of Thrones plot, how languages are created, and what he, as a linguist, thinks of the phrase “Valar morghulis.”

BU Today: When George R. R. Martin was creating the world of the Song of Ice and Fire series, did he have any real history in mind?

Nikolaev: Yes, absolutely. Basically, the history of Westeros is a mirror-image of the history of the British Isles: the original population of Westeros were the Children of the Forest, later ousted by the First People, who in turn had to move to the North when the Andals came along. Then came the Rhoynars, who took control over the southern part of the continent. Finally, with Aegon’s Conquest, the era of Targaryens begins.

Now think of the British Isles: the mysterious Picts, whose artifacts are found in northern Scotland, may or may not have been the earliest inhabitants of Great Britain. They probably had to move to the north when people who spoke Celtic languages (today’s Irish and Welsh and Scottish Gaelic) migrated from the continent. But Celts in turn had to move, first when the Romans came in the first century CE and then again when Great Britain was invaded from the continent by Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, collectively referred to as Anglo-Saxons) in the fifth century. And then of course there was the Norman conquest in 1066, with William the Conqueror being the prototype for Aegon, bringing new gods and new language to Westeros.

This is something that I find great pleasure in, with Martin and even more so with J.R.R. Tolkien and some other writers. When I read their books, it always becomes an intellectual game of sorts—when I see a plot twist, a name or a historical figure, I can sometimes say, OK, I see what you are doing here, I know exactly where you got this from. Tolkien, as I said, is a bit more fascinating for me personally since I have worked on some of those languages and texts that Tolkien taught as a professor at Oxford and that were the source of inspiration for him as he created the universe of the Middle Earth. This is Old English language and literature, but also Old Norse and the awesome world of Scandinavian mythology, Old Irish with its heroic saga, and the Finnish epic Kalevala. If you have read that stuff, it often becomes possible to identify Tolkien’s sources exactly and know where he gets the names of his heroes.

Why did the creators of the TV show need Peterson to create the languages of Dothraki and Valyrian?

In contrast to Tolkien, who was a language nerd, Martin is not a language guy. By his own admission, constructing languages isn’t Martin’s strength. He creates wonderful plots and fascinating relationships and strong characters. The only thing in the books that Martin had by the way of language was the phrase “Valar morghulis,” meaning “All men must die.” It was more or less the only phrase in a foreign language that he managed to coin, and it is not a very clever coinage, if you think about it: “morghulis” just reeks of the English word “morgue”—it’s not inventive. He took the word “morgue” and made a foreign verb out of it. Come on, you can do better than that. “Valar” is clever, because we can immediately connect it with the city Valyria. This is why the creators of the show were looking for a linguist to create the languages for them.

“Valar morghulis” is the only thing Peterson had to go on when he started, and he did an admirable job.

It was pretty clear from the books how many languages he had to create and also what the historical and sociolinguistic context there would have been. We know for instance that Targaryens are the only ones who speak High Valyrian natively; it’s a dead language used as the language of learning and education among the nobility of Essos and Westeros. But in the show, there is also Low Valyrian, a group of vernaculars spoken in places like Astapor and Braavos. As a model for this, Peterson clearly took the history of the Romance languages. Those languages, like French and Portuguese and Spanish, have descended from Latin, or rather its postclassical form known as “vulgar Latin,” the language that the legionnaires spoke when the Roman Empire started dissolving. But even though Latin was no longer a living language (it was not anyone’s first or native language) throughout much of European history, it was still maintained as the language of liturgy, scholarship, and science—just as High Valyrian is.

When you watch the show, what do you find interesting as a linguist about the Dothraki and Valyrian languages?

I think Dothraki culture was clearly inspired by the Mongols. Khal Drogo’s words, “My son, the stallion who will mount the world,” is something Genghis Khan would have said in the 13th century, or 14th-century conqueror Tamerlane two centuries later. The idea that the Dothraki have no word for “thank you” matches these historic models rather well. I don’t think there is much, if any, Dothraki in the books, but Peterson did a wonderful job here as well. One extremely clever thing he did is that the main auxiliary verb, verbs like “is” and “are,” in Dothraki, is the verb with the lexical meaning “to ride a horse.” In the question, “How do you do?” in Dothraki, it’s “How are you riding?” Horses play such a large role in the daily life of Dothraki that it affected their language.

What is the process of making up a language? What are the necessary tools?

Frequently when people think of languages, they think of writing systems. You think of Arabic, and you think of the Arabic calligraphy. You think of Chinese and you think of characters. But writing systems, more or less, have nothing to do with language proper. It’s the spoken language that is primary. In 99 percent of cases, any language can be written in any written system. My primary language is Russian, and I could write Russian using English letters, or using Arabic letters, whatever I want. Peterson and his team developed some special writing symbols for the show, I think, more or less inspired by Scandinavian runes, but this is the last step of creating a fictional language.

First you need to decide if you want to create a natural language or an unnatural language. In fiction, an example of nonhuman language is Klingon. How do you do that? You violate some universal properties of human language. You have to be a really good linguist to know how language works. Linguists have discovered that languages that may look very different in fact all operate on the same underlying principles. There is this thing called universal grammar, which we think is something that children are born with, a set of innate rules that makes it possible for children to achieve the extremely hard task of acquiring their language with full proficiency. One of the big questions of linguistics is how on earth can one- or two-year-old kids—who really aren’t that smart and cannot do much on their own (you have to change their diapers)—perform this formidable task and learn to speak a language without making any mistakes. As grown-ups, we are supposed to become smarter, and yet we take 10 semesters of German later in life and then can’t form a single sentence.

Back to Klingon. The creators of this language did a very smart thing: they skillfully violated some core rules of human language. For instance, the way that sounds in Klingon work, there’s no language on our planet, out of 7,000 languages, that has a similar phonological inventory, a set of sounds. What is considered to be impossible in a human language becomes a feature of an alien language.

How many languages do you speak?

We linguists get this question a lot. The problem with this question is that linguists and polyglots are two different things. A linguist doesn’t have to be a polyglot. We work with language as the object of scientific study. As a linguist, I may come to a new country and only speak a few phrases, but I can notice things about how the language works that the native speakers would never know.

I deal with dead languages, languages that no one speaks anyway, so I have an easier time with this question. I am a historical linguist and my specialty is ancient Greek and Latin, but I also work on Sanskrit, Iranian languages, Celtic languages, Anatolian languages that used to be spoken in modern day Turkey, and so on. I would say I have dabbled in about three dozen ancient and medieval languages, but of course there is no question about conversational fluency.

Have you ever created a language?

It’s been said that every college professor has a novel in the drawer. As a humanities guy, I would probably write a novel first, create a fictional universe, and then create a language for it.

Are you a big sci-fi fan?

I’m a big fan of Isaac Asimov (Hon.’80), who was a faculty member at BU, Clifford D. Simak, and Ray Bradbury.

The seventh season of Game of Thrones premieres Sunday, July 16, at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Explore Related Topics:

Can Hackers Be A Force For Good?

The way in which we think of hackers is usually shaped by the immediate effects we see after a data breach, an act of sabotage, or a massive DDoS attack. All of these things depict hackers as people who are disruptive to the Internet and everything we are trying to create on it. If you think this way, you are right, for the most part. There are, however, hackers out there who actually do good. And I’m not talking about “hacktivists” like Anonymous and other groups that usually destroy things for causes they perceive as positive. I am talking about hackers that have a net positive effect on the Internet’s ecosystem as a whole. Do they exist? And if so, what motivates them?

Defining “Hacker”

The oldest definition we have of the word “hacker” comes from the 1960s in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It describes a person who is an enthusiast at programming or systems engineering. The negative connotation came with the dawn of the Internet era, when circumventing computer security became something profitable and somewhat easy. Today, this connotation still exists, but we now split hackers into three categories: White hat (doesn’t destroy anything, but rather fixes it), grey hat (does things outside the confines of the law), and black hat (disrupts things for profit or fun). For all intents and purposes, I will be using the modern definition of the word “hacker” and use each category to describe what type of hacker I’m referring to.

Why Would a Hacker Want to Do Good?

In the middle of July in 2023, United Airlines awarded a million flight miles to two hackers who discovered security flaws in its web system and disclosed them privately to the company. There are many companies that provide rewards to people who, instead of destroying their infrastructures, reveal the problems to the company staff so that they may repair it. The profit motive is perhaps the most powerful one white hat hackers have to do some good and inform private sector and public sector entities of their security flaws. This scheme is known as a “bug bounty” scheme, which is practiced by several entities around the world and provides a strong incentive for hackers to inform them of their security flaws which sometimes is more profitable than selling a hacked database or attempting to profit off of it yourself.

Good hackers aren’t always motivated by money, though. There are people who sometimes spot security flaws and provide a tip to the company owning the database without expecting anything in return. This sort of altruistic white hat hacker does what they do because they are enthusiastic about information security and may want to get on people’s good side so that they may eventually use their recommendation as leverage for employment in information security-related fields.

Is The Idea of Hacking Changing?

Until recently, the act of hacking was looked down upon for the destruction it caused. Slowly, many companies are starting to realize that hackers can actually be an asset driven by profit. The market itself is, in its own way, creating its own way of dealing with hackers that does not involve jail sentences or heavy fines in a way in which the hackers, customers, and the corporate world they both participate in all stand to benefit. This doesn’t mean that hackers are suddenly going to be driven to more positive and productive pursuits. Black hat hacking will always exist. However, it appears that we are starting to enter an era in which we can all cooperate towards a common goal, which is the hardening of security in both the corporate and government spaces.

Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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7 Of The Best Game Engines For New Game Developers

Game developers require a platform that provides an expression of creativity and performance without additional plugins or extra purchases. While there are hundreds of cool game engines on the market, few are as popular with new developers as those rendering cross-platform support, using artificial intelligence (AI), and creating immersive augmented and virtual reality experiences.

The following list of indie game engines use the most powerful technologies, have the most vibrant online communities for support, and provide the most essential tools and workflows to take your final output to the next level.

1. CryEngine V

Crytek’s CryEngine V is where this developer remastered one of the gaming community’s most beloved FPS titles: Crysis. Since Crysis titles are known for having impressive graphics, especially when first released, CryEngine boasts numerous features for creating appealing visuals such as Area Lights, DirectX 12 support, Physically Based Rendering, and 3D HDR Lens Flares. CryEngine’s next-level visual tools are evident in titles developed even in the software’s previous versions, such as CryEngine I, in which the Far Cry series was developed.

The latest version of CryEngine supports Windows, Linux, PlayStation4, Xbox One, Oculus Rift, open-source Virtual Reality, PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive. According to Crytek, support for mobile software development is underway.

CryEngine is 100 percent free to use but implements a royalty system. It works this way: the first $5,000 of annual revenue per project is royalty-free, then 5 percent of annual revenue exceeding the threshold is paid to Crytek.

2. Unreal Engine 4

Whether your game is meant to be played in Windows, Linux, macOS, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, or even the latest Oculus, Hololens 2, Samsung Gear, or Google VR, Unreal Engine by Epic Games provides an unmatched experience. Unreal Engine is by far one of the most popular gaming software and has been around since 1998 powering hundreds of popular games, including the Batman Arkham series, Dragon Ball Z, Fortnite Battle Royale, and Call of Cthulhu.

Having been in the business for so long, Epic has learned a lot from its mistakes. Doing so has allowed it to create the closest thing you have to an error-free, bug-free experience.

Unreal Engine also uses open platforms and a brilliant support system based on tickets as well as a vibrant community to help you in any sticky situation. It is also cross-compatible with other gaming engines such as Unity or Amazon Lumberyard.

The gaming engine is free to use. Once you publish a game, you pay them 5 percent royalties after the first $3,000 per game in a calendar quarter. This is good for someone who just started as a game developer. You don’t have to worry too much about costs, and there is only one catch: access to Unreal’s marketplace is not free.

Unreal Engine 5 Early Access

In 2023, Epic Games revealed Unreal Engine 5 (UE5). UE5 Early Access currently supports the same platforms as Unreal Engine 4 (UE4), such as next- and current-generation consoles, Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. However, new UE5 features, such as Nanite and Lumen, are only supported on next-generation consoles and Windows as of this writing.

Nanite and Lumen are two key features that make UE5 distinctive and better for creating immersive in-game worlds. Nanite allows you to import cinema-quality source art with millions of polygons and utilize them multiple times without sacrificing frame rate. Lumen, on the other hand, lets you create realistic scenes where indirect lighting adapts to changes in direct lighting. For example, Lumen’s solution is manifested in scenes when an in-game world’s shadows change angles throughout the day.

Aside from Nanite and Lumen, UE5 also features a new World Partition system, One File Per Actor system, Data Layers, Control Rig, Pose Browser, and MetaSounds, among others.

According to Epic Games, they’re aiming to ship UE5 to the public in early 2023. But if you can’t wait, try UE5 Early Access by visiting its official page and downloading the software.

3. Unity

Supporting more than 25 platforms, Unity is a highly-ranked gaming engine that prides itself on being “the world’s best real-time development platform.” It provides the behind-the-scenes action for some of the most engrossing and imaginative role-playing games, including Escape from Tarkov, Osiris: New Dawn, In the Valley of Gods, Harold Halibut, and Sonder.

While individual users can use Unity for free, the annual Teams subscription plans start at $399 per person. All the games you end up developing are royalty-free.

4. Amazon Lumberyard

Amazon Lumberyard, a fairly new game engine (launched c.2023), is a continuation of CryEngine, which used to power intensive games, including Far Cry, Sniper: Ghost Warrior, and Enemy Front. Amazon has improvised the features to support integration with AWS and hundreds of game-ready assets that can import files from Adobe Photoshop to Autodesk Maya. It also uses its proprietary animation editor to create compelling characters as well as a feature-rich sound engine.

You only have to create an AWS account, and the entire game development is free except for one catch: you need an AWS subscription (pricing varies). Other than that, Lumberyard is free to use, and you “don’t” have to share royalties with Amazon. In terms of features, compatibility, and support, Lumberyard is second to none.

5. GameMaker Studio 2

GameMaker Studio 2 is a 2D game development software from YoYo Games. It’s famed for being the home of games such as Undertale, Shovel Knight, Hyperlight Drifter, Katana Zero, and many other titles. It supports software development for Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, PlayStation4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Raspberry Pi, and HTML5.

GameMaker Studio 2 houses Geography Markup Language and its Drag and Drop visual coding tool to help 2D game developers.

Its key features include its Room Editor, which allows you to add and remove rooms and integrate them into camera controls and design tools. Its Workspaces feature lets you customize and organize your project through spaces where you create and view assets, write code, and design rooms. Lastly, its Object Editor allows you to create and define the behavior of objects inside each room. Using this tool, you can make an element visible, solid, or persistent.

You can use GameMaker Studio 2 for free or upgrade to a Creator, Indie, or Enterprise subscription starting at $4.99 per month.

6. AppGameKit

Are you an indie game developer with a small budget? AppGameKit is a no-frills development solution that supports the best games you can build on Visual Editor. For an all-inclusive deal at $80, you get one of the easiest tools in the market for developing games on iOS, Android, Windows PC, Xbox, Linux, Raspberry Pi, HTML5 browsers, and more.

7. Godot Engine

Godot Engine is a free and open-source 2D and 3D game engine. It provides developers with an extensive range of basic development tools without the fluff of feature-heavy software. It also lets you create custom tools and use its visual editor for improved engine navigation.

However, the best part of Godot Engine is that everything you create using the engine is royalty-free, and you have full ownership of everything that’s in your project.

So if you’re looking to start your game development project and want to make sure you get 100% of everything you worked for, Godot Engine is a great software pick.

Godot Engine also encourages people with the necessary knowledge to help them fix and create features in the software. If you happen to enjoy what Godot Engine has to offer, you can contribute through coding and documentation. You can also contribute by reporting issues within the engine.

Frequently Asked Questions 1. What kind of PC do you need for game development?

However, if you have a 3D game development project planned, having more powerful hardware can help speed up rendering times, improve testing, and support a heavy workload during development.

If you have a specific game engine you want to try, navigate to their official website to find out their system requirements.

2. Do these game engines offer learning resources for beginners?

Most, if not all, game engines on this list offer free learning resources for different levels of game development expertise. You can find resources by visiting the official website of the engine of your choice.

There are also third-party free and paid courses that can teach you how to use specific game engines, with most of them on platforms like Udemy.

3. What are the best free and third-party resources for coding?

There are thousands of content creators that offer content on learning or improving your coding skills. Since this is a necessary skill to develop a game or any other software, learning is essential. Check out this list of the best YouTube channels that offer coding resources.

Natalie dela Vega

Natalie is a writer specializing in tech how-tos and gaming. When she’s not writing, she plays PC games and travels. Here at MakeTechEasier, you will see her write about guides, tips, and solutions for Windows and iOS.

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Game For Linux: 0A.d Review

Hits and Misses:

0 A. D. is currently in final alpha stages and will soon go in beta. Latest alpha version “0 A.D. Alpha 10 Jhelum” has been released couple of weeks ago. Since it is not even in beta, it is not surprising to find several missing features. I do expect the game to be more fully developed completely in the near future.

0 A. D. has almost all the features (or there is a scope for it) what you would expect in an ancient warfare RTS game. Any new game starts with simple “how to play” tutorials and unfortunately 0 A. D. has just one page with some instructions and control keys. Since I already have considerable experience with AOE, I did not need that but it is a must for beginners. Neither does it have Campaign mode enabled though they have displayed it in the main menu which gives a hint that it will be available by final release. I hope it will have great campaigns similar on the lines of AOE.

I tried the single player mode to get the feel of the game. Apart from occasional bugs (it crashed once as well), the playing experience was satisfactory. Game’s graphics are not as great as of other games available but it is pretty decent for a RTS game. The game has six civilization to choose from, with each civilization having their own special units. There are a number of maps/scenario available. There is also scenario editor to create your own custom maps.

One of the major drawback is that 0 AD takes too much of resources. I can feel that while playing it on my Ubuntu 12.04 powered by core i3 laptop and 4 GB RAM (not a powerhouse but pretty decent, I would say). The developers are aware of this issue and trying to fix it in future releases. To get a glimpse of the game, you can watch a gameplay video uploaded by the developers:

How to install 0 A.D.:

If you want to try the alpha version in Ubuntu and other Debian based distributions, try this in terminal:


add-apt-repository ppa:wfg




apt-get update


apt-get install


And then search for 0ad in Unity dash (or Application Menu).

For instructions regarding installing it in other Linux systems, please visit this page. One more thing, 0 A.D. is a cross platform game and is also available for Windows and Mac as well.

Download link for 0 A. D. Mac.

An appeal from the game developers:

As 0 A. D. is a completely free and open source game (it doesn’t even have a freemium option), it relies heavily on contributors across the world. Wildfire is seeking contributors in sound contribution management, documentation, and in programming, art, sound, taking YouTube videos and more. If you are willing to contribute to free and open source culture, please get in touch with the Wildfire team.

Abhishek Prakash

Abhishek is a Linux lover and Opens Source enthusiast. He takes a keen interest in day-to-day computer life and wishes to share his experience with others to make their computer experience better and easier. He is the owner of increasingly popular tech blog Computer And You and Open Source blog It’s FOSS.

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The Bard’s Tale Iv Review Impressions: An Enthralling Adventure Hobbled By Pc Performance Issues

The fate of the world is at stake, and I haven’t even made it out of the starting city. The Bard’s Tale IV seems long, to say the least—I’m ten hours in as I write this, and I feel like I just finished the prologue. Suffice it to say, we’re not slapping a score on this one yet.

A looming high-resolution shadow

Let’s just deal with performance first, because it really is abysmal. Listen, I’m running a PC with an overclocked i7-5820K and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. It is absolute overkill for even the most cutting-edge games, and The Bard’s Tale IV isn’t one of them. Art direction is strong, but you wouldn’t look at it and go “Wow, what a technical feat.” Indeed, the recommended specs on the Steam page are a fairly reasonable i5-4590 and a GTX 970.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

I cannot get smooth performance out of The Bard’s Tale IV though. It doesn’t matter if I’m running on Ultra, it doesn’t matter if I drop everything down to Medium, I can’t maintain even 30 frames per second at times let alone 60—at 1080p, no less! I do see a 5 to 10 frame per second bump when I lower the quality, but there’s still noticeable hitching in areas (especially the initial city and anything else outdoors), lots of texture pop-in, and lengthy load times.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

And The Bard’s Tale IV just doesn’t look that great. That’s the kicker. I’m never going to be excited about poor performance, but there are games where I at least sort-of understand the trouble. The Bard’s Tale IV has great art direction as I said, but the models and so-on, the raw guts of it, don’t look like anything special. There are a lot of moving parts, but coming off the back of Destiny 2 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider I can’t help but feel The Bard’s Tale IV needs another handful of optimization passes.

Then there are all the bugs, many of which are minor but still really damn annoying. My least favorite, and one I’ve come to dread in my seven hours, is a bug that makes it so none of your gear’s stats are applied correctly. This is important, because in The Bard’s Tale IV your stats (Strength, Constitution, Intelligence, and Armor Class) primarily come from your gear. Multiple times now I’ve thought “Why is this character doing almost no damage now?” only to check and notice their Strength is set to 0 for no reason.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

So yeah, it’s frustrating. Fixable? Absolutely, and I’ve no doubt a lot of these minor issues will get stamped out in the next week or two. That’s the way of things these days, and it’s definitely the way of things when it comes to InXile’s games. I loved Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera but bug-free they were not.

Down in the underground

It’s a shame too, because what I’ve played has been fantastic. How funny, to see inspiration come full-circle. First Legend of Grimrock borrowed from Bard’s Tale to create a modernized dungeon crawler, and now Bard’s Tale borrows quite openly from Legend of Grimrock—though not without some interesting changes.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

In The Bard’s Tale IV the map is still based on a grid, and in some areas you can pull up the map and see those squares. You have freedom of movement though, almost as if you were playing an Elder Scrolls game. (You can turn grid-based movement back on in the settings, if you’d like.)

It’s a change with far-reaching consequences, as it evidently required The Bard’s Tale IV to come up with a new combat system too. The solution is either a high-concept card game or a very constricted tactics game, depending on your point-of-view. Fights are played out on a 4×4 grid, and your actions governed by a pool of points. Swinging your sword might cost one point for instance, while a “Rain of Arrows” might take two points and an extra turn, although it’ll also strike three squares at once.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

I’m finding it very satisfying, especially as I get further into the game and have more options. The Bard class is particularly interesting, as most of their attacks require swigging alcohol beforehand—and later, you can open up a skill that throws the empty bottle at an enemy for extra damage. I wish you could have more skills accessible at a time, as the skill trees are large and you only get to “memorize” four per character. There’s a lot of depth though.

I’ve settled on level design, because that’s where The Bard’s Tale IV excels most, and it’s what kept me playing even after I got frustrated by myriad performance issues. You start in the oft-threatened town of Skara Brae, a throwback to the old Bard’s Tale games, but soon venture into a vast underground area (“Skara Brae Below”) with secrets packed into nearly every corner.

IDG / Hayden Dingman

I can’t count the number of times I’ve wandered deep down some corridor, pushed a switch, watched part of the wall disappear, walked out, and thought “Wait, I’m back here?” I love that feeling. It’s one of my favorite parts of any dungeon crawler, and in The Bard’s Tale IV it’s pervasive.

There are also hidden nooks and their equally hidden chests, weakened walls to bust down, mechanical gear puzzles to solve—so many secrets. And those are just the small ones. One area I’ve barely scratched the surface of, Mangar’s Tower, is essentially an enormous puzzle box. And then there’s this tantalizing door governed by seven switches tucked into the darkest corners of Skara Brae’s cellars:

IDG / Hayden Dingman

I’ve found four.

Or at least it’s a delight for me.

Bottom line

I’ll keep plugging away at it, and hopefully in the next week or two some of the more egregious issues get patched out. Stay tuned.

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