War In 432Kb: A New Zero

Your cost-free indie curio of the day is a bravura work-in-progress from Alex Austin, the other half of the Gish team. Unlike the surreal ‘toonery of his and Edmumd McMillen’s joint projects, A New Zero is very much straight down the line. A simulation, almost. Austin cites the likes of TIE Fighter and Mechwarrior as inspirations, and they’re certainly there in the combat mechanics. As for the game as a whole, it’s got a definite scent of Battlefield and a dash of Battlezone to it. While there’s bot play in there if you’re scared of strangers, really it’s a team-based multiplayer game: two squads of planes, boats and bigger boats trying to wipe out each other and each other’s base.

Impressively, it’s all the work of Mister Austin on his lonesome. Doubly impressively, it’s only 432k big. Just one 10,000th the size of Left 4 Dead, as Austin points out – hell, it’s less than a 30th of a Peggle.

You’ll have spotted from the shot above that there’s not a lot of textures going on, and that’s because everything in the game is procedurally generated when it loads. The result is an oddly evocative brown and orange Tron-like landscape, but one containing some pretty sharp vehicle control modelling. Which is my way of saying “I’m rubbish at the planes.”

A New Zero’s merry blend of demanding precision and gigglesome screw-ups strikes me as the kind of thing a bunch of folk in our Steam group should hop onto to give it a thorough try out. Have community, will leverage…

Here’s a trailer, in case your mousing hand just fell off, leaving you physically incapable of clicking through to the game’s site. Again – 432k. Crivens.


  1. jsutcliffe says:

    kkrieger had textures, and was under 100k! Shenanegans!
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    • frightlever says:

      (Yeah I know, but you know how I got here)

      Krieger spent several minutes generating fractal based textures, it didn’t come packed with any.

  2. Srejv says:

    It’s always interesting to see what people can cram into small executables.

  3. Srejv says:

    jsutcliffe: isn’t .kkrieger 64k? but it’s not multiplayer. :(

  4. Pags says:

    Sweet! That’s all I have to say for now, I must rouse a rabble of merry men to play it with before I pass complete judgement. But mostly: sweet!

  5. Down Rodeo says:

    Interesting. It runs very badly on my laptop but from what I can tell this is good stuff.

  6. Pags says:

    Might sound like a stupid question but: how does I drop bombs?

    In the fighter I mean. I arm myself at the base and everything but yeah… I don’t understand why left-clicking shoots on the boats but doesn’t shoot in the fighters.

  7. Benjamin Finkel says:

    I’m like a drunken sailor in this. Why is the y-axis so unintuitive? Why can’t I flip it?


  8. Heliocentricity says:

    THE BOMBERS RULE. you have you press the appropiate number to load on the carrier, space to drop. You get 1 shot.

    missile boats can blow throgh the walls, the fighters when carrying missiles can be quite good boathunters. But the only purpose of that is to drive through a water offensive because bombers can kinda win the game if unharrased, thus the gunboat becomes useful.

  9. Gunrun247 says:

    If only there was some sort of instructions available to you, by pressing F1 or similar.

  10. Pags says:

    Okay just used F1 to look at the in-game help and OH MY GOODNESS BOMBERS RULE. Seriously, the satisfaction you get from timing your drop perfectly is awesome; especially when a building is down to it’s green centre and you time the bomb just right so it lands right in the middle of the green cube.

    Also, pitch black night times! So good!

  11. apa says:

    carrier command!

  12. jonfitt says:

    I am so there this evening. Cyrenic are you reading this?

  13. Sajmn says:

    Yea, the darkness makes for some fun moments when you’re flying a bomber and can use the bomb-vision kinda like NV. Or when you make a landing by coordinationg only by the spawner lights and end the landing in a powerslide.

    For bombing I prefer to fly as high as possible (abit over 300) while flying toward the enemy, and then just as I’m over the enemy base I charge down from the heights dropping a bomb down into a factory throught the roof and turbo back off to my base while dodging flak from behind…
    Yea it’s fun ^^

  14. Pags says:

    The afterburners definitely come in useful after a bombing run; still haven’t got my landing technique down pat yet though. In many cases I end up a few feet short of the landing pad in the water. At night, I tend to just give up completely and nosedive into turret fire after I’ve dropped my load.

    Fun times!

  15. Magic says:

    The night always kills me… I think I landed once on the carrier but the game decided i crashed so maybe I never managed to land at nigth ^^
    Also when its all dark the explosions are about 10 times more spectacular, therfore the game is about 10 times more cool…

  16. subedii says:

    The graphics remind me of the 3D visuals in the early Battle Isle games. Except with physics. Groovy.

  17. Rich_P says:

    That was really fun.

    Imagine how cool it would be if they took this concept to the extreme: huge battles with 50+ players, a dozen vehicle types, persistent front lines. Get the graphics out of the way and focus on the gameplay. Basically PlanetSide without the system requirements and shiny textures.

  18. Plopsworth says:

    I take it everyone noticed the Battersea Power Stations, as featured prominently on Pink Floyd’s Animals and the Children of Men film?

  19. Radiant says:

    I can’t shoot anything in a bomber…
    Do you have to arc it in?
    Or is it fired like a missile?

    I’m a BEAST in a gunboat though albeit only vs other boats :) I can’t shoot down the planes with my guns at all.

  20. Radiant says:

    oh yeah I’m the guy with the pakistani flag.

  21. ...hmm... says:

    played a little, seemed nice.. but.. no invert for the plane!! omgwtf!!!!!111 /RAGEQUIT

  22. Bob Arctor says:

    Very nice but runs like turd!
    It really shouldn’t!

  23. dozer1986 says:

    Yes, Battersea Power Station! I used to live a couple of miles from it. This is the first time I’ve seen the world’s largest brick-built structure in a game which didn’t have the words ‘Microsoft Flight Simulator’ somewhere in the title…

  24. Rich_P says:

    Aren’t the advanced power plants from C&C Red Alert inspired by the Battersea Station?

  25. Schmung says:

    The lack of invert in planes is making this nigh unplayable for me. I can’t find anything anything in the config file either :/

  26. Doc MacRae says:

    I can’t figure out what the missile boats do, but the bombing is honestly the best.

  27. Radiant says:

    missile boats are like the bombers but with an extra cannon ability.
    If you hold the right mouse button you can aim where the missile lands [its really slow and very hard to notice] they’re proper dangerous.

  28. Hypocee says:

    There are various keyboard/control emulators which render all control mappings customisable. One such is JoyToKey. link to oneswitch.org.uk

  29. Tei says:

    the master server seems down just now :(

  30. Leelad says:

    Nicely done, how many -peggles would that be?

  31. Wedge says:

    I only had enough money for a plane once and I crashed it before getting in the air.

    The Gunboat was awesome though, I love how the cannons blow pieces out of the level all Worms like.

  32. jonfitt says:

    Wait, the demo shows up as 938kB for me. Is it a new version (0.71)? I hope there’s a lot more content, in this economy we can’t just go throwing around 500kB extra you know.

  33. Ginger Yellow says:

    “Just one 10,000th the size of Left 4 Dead, as Austin points out – hell, it’s less than a 30th of a Peggle.”

    I prefer “3 centi-Peggles”, myself.

  34. wat says:

    Why does this run so horribly for me? Its going like 1 frame every 2 seconds. Putting the resolution down to 640×480 at low detail almost makes this playable. I’m on a C2D E8400 @3.8Ghz Win7 build 7000 x64 4gb ram.

  35. TWOD says:

    You can make the mouse inverted by going into the config.txt file and setting keypitchup=273 keypitchdown=274

  36. Doc MacRae says:


    Bunch of RPSers on now.

    /I’m “stripey”

  37. LukeE says:

    …or 30 millipeggles.

  38. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Gunboats are surprisingly handy. I’ve taken out many a factory with just them alone. Then again, I’m terrible at the Fighter.

  39. Plopsworth says:

    More games should have boolean operation cleaving damage modelling. The explosions, (especially when striking the critical green blocks at dusk) are indeed very nice, bested only by Far Cry 2 and GTAIV in my subjective opinion.

  40. Rich_P says:

    Been playing this on-and-off all day. Chatting with the RPS folks is almost as fun as the game itself :D

    Seriously, this is the most fun I’ve had in a vehicle-based online FPS since the glory days of Battlefield ’42/Desert Combat. There’s so much potential there.

    And dear lord are the destructible buildings fun. My strategy is to blow open the sea wall on one of the flanks and sneak over to the factory.

  41. Aftershock says:

    Best. Explosion. Ever.

  42. Aftershock says:


  43. Jon says:

    I wish there was some feedback like, ‘reduced factory by 9 percent’ or ‘took out a turret’.

  44. Scandalon says:

    Interesting…a bit tough to control/get used to, but fun. It also downloaded a lot faster than that bloated install of Gravity Bone. :)

  45. Scandalon says:

    Also, connecting/spawning for the very first time playing at night, and seeing just a few random lights, along with a message saying “Choose a vehicle” with no other menu was frustrating. I almost gave up and quit then and there.

  46. Tei says:

    It feels somewhat like Airquake. So this needs a copter and a hovercraft, and a anti-air vehicle

  47. malkav11 says:

    When you have no art assets and 100% of the graphics are generated on your machine in real time, you can do a lot in very little file size. Program code is, after all, pretty much just text.

  48. Radiant says:

    Radiant’s Gunboat Tips!

    1) Lead your shots
    2) Get BEHIND the flight path of planes.
    3) Attack a turrent whilst it is firing at your bombers.
    4) When you run out of guns wait for boats to go through the tunnel and pummel the tunnel walls with your cannon.
    5) When the boat’s cockpit goes ‘pop’ stop.

  49. Radiant says:

    Now someone teach me how to fly a bomber!

  50. A New Hero says:

    You had me at “Mechwarrior”.

    Frustratingly, I’ve just started work (no rules specifically stopping me from visiting RPS…yet!) and now have to wait until I get home tonight to give this a goaaaarrrghh! I can only tell myself that the game looks pretty but will play like an absolute pig, otherwise I’m in for a very special kind of torture. :(