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. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Jasper’s Bomber Guide!

    Well, first you’ve gotta load a weapon. Preferably before takeoff. Then flounder around a bit with F1 Help-tips up for a half hour until you figure out how to fly.

    Also, while money is the big balancer between large and small teams, it’s really easy to exploit the server to get around the money limitations that having multiple teammates and no factories will impose on you. This’ll probably be fixed later, though.

    Doc MacRae here’s “Stripey,” whose coat of arms is presumably a red stripe on white with little hearts on the upper left and lower right corners. I’m “Quilty,” whose flag is basically a red-and-white quilt. I’ve not yet seen other RPSers confirm their identities.

    I could make a few wild guesses as to who “Penisman,” “Marathon,” and “Angry Legoman” are. But trying to divulge the identity of “Generic White Cross Flag Guy” is nigh impossible.

    EDIT: Apparently the Edit function has returned! Let us celebrate by Editing the crap out of everything we post.

  2. pepper says:

    This game is a lot of fun, i wish more games had this kind of ‘simple’ gameplay! Although it doesnt run too good on my laptop or desktop, i think it is because everything is proceduraly generated.

    Yeah the battersea powerstation in Red Alert and i believe seeing it too in a Path Beyond.

  3. Tei says:

    My stripe is a black flag with a red slash plus two cross on sw/ne. Somewhat like Telejano.

    I can make a better coat of arms, as this character set is somewhat like the one from a C64, and I have lots of books full of C64 ascii-art (read: I am too lazy to make a better one, but I suppose I can, has I have created tons of draws with this very character set)

  4. Schmung says:

    Cheers TWOD.

    I shall try and play with fellow RPS’ers tonight. Surprisingly, the game runs ok on my weakling PC. Sweet.

  5. nabeel says:

    As a fighter, I don’t know what the bloody hell I’m doing.

  6. Tei says:

    @nabeel: load a bomb first (key 1, on the runway as you start with the fighter) move to a enemy building and press space to drop the bomb. Right-button is freelook, may help you se if the bomb hit something. shift is turbo, to get away from the turrets shots. You may also kamikaze, and drop the bomb a second before the collision, but this game have a fun phisic engine and I suggest you not to, or fun things may happend.

    The icons floating over the enemy base are the players. “b” is for bots, everything else are newbies.. people with a customized icon are players with more time invested on the game :-)

  7. nabeel says:

    I … can’t stay in the air long enough to do anything -_-
    Missile Boats, on the other hand, ftw.

  8. Tei says:

    @nabeel: pick a server with good ping ( <250ms) or practice hosting a game.

    If is dark, just wait, you are likely to be eatean by a grue^H^H crash into the factory :-)

  9. dracko says:

    God, this thing is a gorgeous experience.

    If we’re talking procedurally generated content, RPS should give Derek Yu’s Spelunky a go.

  10. Jubaal says:

    Gave it a quick go and looks fun. However I could not find any option to invert the mouse. Unfortunatley I cannot play any FPS games without inverting the mouse so I’ll have to wait and see if they add that in.

  11. pepper says:

    I just launched a missle from a fighter just after takeoff on a 45 degree angle, it hit a enemy fighter dead on whom was flying, epic!

  12. Pod says:

    Just played this with the office at lunch time. Much fun. Cant’wait for it to get better (and the planes to have guns and be easier to fly ;))

  13. Pod says:


    I did a fly by on a boat and knocked the little guy out of it, bounced of the water (pure luck) and managed to afterburner my way back into flight.


  14. pepper says:

    Pod, try doing that by a plane when your not carrying any ordenace, fun fun fun! Also, try shooting a missle at the start of the day so you can hit em when there still in a group!

  15. braveotaku says:

    Wee that was fun. I was playing as “mdot” a blue m and dot on a white background.

  16. thefanciestofpants says:

    Excuse me? It has dashes of Mechwarrior, Tie fighter, Battlefield and battlezone in it?!

    Since when are people making games directly for me? Freakin. Awesome.

    Oh and bring back the Peggle unit of measurement permanently!

    P.S. Mexico is NOT in Australia, unfortunately. The mexican food here is disgraceful, and I weep for it.

  17. Ziv says:

    some of the best explosions I’ve ever seen, and like someone here said only bested by FC2 and GTA IV (which my computer slows down when showing) and the explosions in the scene w/ tons of tanks in crysis.
    also, we need servers on computers that can hold them, right now there are two and they are both very laggy.

  18. pepper says:

    Indeed Ziv, the explosions are great, its fun when a missle strikes a group of boats when flying over them, and then feeling the shockwave. I think they should give this guy a development team and a studio and see what he could pull off given enough time and resources.

  19. Scundoo says:

    Bloody Freaking Awesome!!

    They do have to optimize the engine though. It lags like hell, and its not the connection’s fault.

  20. Tricky says:

    I think there’s some terrible netcode in here. The framerate drops as latency increases. That is a Very Bad Thing.

    This is in a super beta, though. Hopefully it’ll improve.

  21. Terr says:

    I’m enjoying this, but the performance is lacking. Even at 800×600 I’m having a very low frame rate.

    (in case the developers read this: GeForce 260 with the 180.60 drivers)

  22. Haml3t says:

    I am really angry that a free game one 10,000th its size is preventing me from playing L4D. Very, very angry, especially when I get a wing shot off my plane and have to constantly correct for that on my way back to base. I have a red background with an X across it, and in the middle two aces. That description’s not too good but it’s the best I can do. Can someone explain plane-launched missiles for me in greater detail? I’m only using bombs because I’m not too sure how missiles work.

  23. SirBolimia says:

    Planes are quite tricky, you haev to get used to them.
    The first time I got my hands on one I flew into the water in a matter of seconds.
    Now I am able to peform succesfull bombing runs at night.

    First get a fighter,
    Then press and hold 1 or 2, 1 will arm your fighter with a bomb and 2 will arm it with a missile.
    If you want to fire press space.
    Bombs fall and are very usefull aganst buildings.
    Missiles are good for taking out turrets and missile boats.
    Gunboat is extremly usefull for clearing out missile boats.
    Missile boats own buildings and turrets.

  24. ur mum says:

    there is a help button with all the intructions on t just press f1 then all your problems will be solved