I’ve followed 0 AD for several years now and I am very impressed with how the game is developing, especially with the last few alpha updates. It is really evolving into a very special game in the same spirit as Age of Empires. I would like to help it get there a little faster if that is possible.
Unfortunately I’m not an experienced or formally trained programmer or computer scientist by any description. However I am one of those people who likes taking a peak at how their games work, and messing with gameplay to suit my personal tastes where possible. Recently (i.e. in the last year or so) I’ve started fiddling with 0 AD’s modding system, focusing mostly on unit templates, technologies, and auras. It’s wonderfully user friendly and I’m having a lot of fun with it.
It seems only fitting then that I should try to give back to this wonderful project. I might need a bit of introductory help with whatever version control system 0 AD’s development is using, and anything to do with Java or C++ is probably a bit beyond my depth. However, surely there are some things someone less skill could help with.
Some things off the top of my head I might be able to assist in:
1. Writing/editing unit tooltips or histories (a task too tedious for those with better things to do, I imagine).
2. Fine tuning ranged-attack ballistic parameters. The game is using a gravitational acceleration of 9.81 m/s^2 to match real world physics. However, 0 AD uses exaggerated spacial scaling for gameplay purposes, meaning that real world parameters will look out of place. In my own experiments, setting gravitational acceleration to 50.0 m/s^2 with a projectile speed of 40.0 m/s produced very attractive ballistic arcs for most units.
3. Customizing fauna. I get the feeling there’s still some work to be done with the AI and animations for hunt-able animals, which is probably beyond my depth, but I could still help out with adjusting some of the unit parameters so they better reflect their real world inspirations.
4. Balance experiments. Granted it would be rather foolhardy to trust something so important to an unproven newcomer, but this is something I have some experience in. I was heavily involved in theory crafting during the development and post-release balance patching of the indie time travel RTS Achron. It taught me a lot about the science of unit scaling and game flow. Perhaps I could offer a fresh perspective.