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    Default Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Nice article on the greatest sci-fi videogame ever made (but I love you too, Deus Ex ).

    https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2...alpha-centauri



    On two decades of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

    Fascists, communists, eco-warriors and the remnants of the old world's liberal order violently squabble for humanity's future on a planet trying to kill them. The gulf widens between the haves and have-nots as long-lived Talents lord over toiling Drones kept in line by mass entertainment and police brutality. Artificial intelligences see everything, even into dreams, as humans become more like machines and machines become ever more like gods.



    Twenty years ago last February, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri challenged players to make a new home for humankind around our nearest star. Beginning where Civilization 2's space race victory left off, SMAC represented a completely new direction. Freed from Earth's gravity, the game combined sci-fi horror and wild utopian possibilities with innovative mechanics and engrossing story. Yet the most interesting thing about SMAC is that it acknowledges and even embraces the moral implications of the 4X genre. Where Civilization has often strived to put a cute gloss over the cold machinery of progress, Alpha Centauri asks what that gloss hides. In many ways it feels like the beginning of a conversation mainstream games are still reluctant to have.

    From the moment your faction's escape pod crashes to the surface of an alien world, SMAC emphasises your fragility on this unknown frontier. Gone are the green fields and snow-capped mountains of Earth. This world, known only as Planet, is covered in red dust, smothering fungus, dense jungle and lethal mindworms. Between this hostile landscape, the sparse soundtrack, and the isolation from the other six factions you know are out there, SMAC tells you this isn't civilisation. This is survival.

    By the time your technology has advanced enough to terraform the new world, it feels earned, clawed from the teeth of an environment utterly resistant to your intrusion. The native fungus will bloom and spread at random, choking farms and concealing hidden packs of mindworms that home in on vulnerable settlements. But plant some Earth trees and, in the peculiar conditions of Planet, they will soon turn invasive and spread to create vast forests. Planet's prevailing wind blows eastward, so by elevating the terrain you can create ridges that capture rain on one side and leave desert on the other - potentially an act of war, if your rain shadow covers your neighbour. The coastline can be altered to form land bridges or defensive channels. Few 4X games allow players so much control over the environment. Fewer still show the consequences as well. Invasive forests can be inconvenient; excessive pollution risks mindworm attacks in greater numbers and rising sea levels as the climate boils over. Absent 15 years in Civilization and most of its imitators - only recently reintroduced in Gathering Storm - climate is a crucial part of SMAC's living world.



    Seven factions vie for control of that world. Despite their functional similarities, each represents a different vision for humanity's future, with an immediately intelligible concept: Gaia's Stepdaughters are environmentalist pseudo-mystics; the Spartan Federation are might-makes-right survivalists; Morgan Industries stands for unbridled capitalism. Ideologies are reflected in baroque city names like He Walked On Water, Cosmograd, Seat of Proper Thought, Last Rose of Summer. And, of course, each faction has its leader.

    These are the real stars of Alpha Centauri. The Civ series is known for its cartoon representations of national leaders, but they are just that - cartoons, somewhere between emperor and mascot. Alpha Centauri's are complex characters with motives and histories, and the game places you firmly in their shoes. Instead of being an ephemeral representation of a people, you are Lady Deirdre of the Gaians or Chairman Yang of the Hive, kept alive through the centuries by longevity tech. Whoever you pick, the others leaders are omnipresent, on and off the world map. New discoveries, base facilities, and secret projects come with voiced quotes, usually from one of the seven faction leaders, that flesh out the world of Alpha Centauri. Brief snippets of lore expand on their character and worldview of the leaders, and provide context for your new discoveries. Deirdre, the environmental scientist, shares her wonder at Planet's native ecosystems or her philosophical conversations with the gestalt consciousness of Planet itself, but reveals every now and then a disturbing comfort with psychic warfare. Lal's reports on human rights are intermingled with his melancholy personal reflections. Miriam, Bible-thumping theocrat, is also a perceptive social theorist, often right about the dangers of technology. Many of the voice actors are from the same country as their character, and they lend a distinct personality to their quotes that becomes familiar, even comforting, like old friends. As the tech tree marches on, their stories, the story of their societies, and their possible fates are hinted at in snapshot.

    This kind of storytelling is now common, and Alpha Centauri wasn't the first to do it by any means. But the brevity and often the beauty of the writing is still impressive, especially in a strategy game, where the player is usually at such a remove. It's closer to the piecemeal narratives of Sunless Sea or Cultist Simulator than the more staid pop-ups of Stellaris. At turns philosophical, informative, or poetic, the Datalinks breathe life into the cold business of statecraft. Launch an orbital hydroponics lab, and Deirdre's melodic voice describes their strange beauty: "life-giving stars on a desolate planet, gardens on the wing." Build one of the earliest facilities, the innocent-sounding recycling tanks, and Sheng-ji Yang reveals "It is every citizen's final duty to go into the tanks and become one with all the people."



    SMAC is full of these Wait, what did I just build? moments. The world you're making is not necessarily a happy one. The game won't punish you for creating a nightmare. Some factions might judge; most won't, especially if you repeal the UN charter. But more than any other 4X game I've ever played, SMAC wants you to think about what kind of society you wish to create.

    What surprised me when I returned to the game recently is how often it talks about ethics. From the opening cutscene, where the seven factions divide "not by nationality, but by ideology, and their vision for the new world", the human soul is identified as a terrain of conflict. When you select a faction, the first thing you see isn't their stats, but a statement of their philosophy. Social breakthroughs are accompanied by quotes from Aristotle, St Augustine, Plato, Lao Tzu and others discussing what it means to build the good society. Other discoveries hint at the unintended consequences of progress, as Lal notes the thoughtless destruction of native environments by oblivious human settlers, or Yang boasts that his genetically engineered slave-workers feel no pain.

    When playing Civilization, I think nothing of building a few death robots and stomping on my neighbours. In Alpha Centauri, I steadfastly avoid Punishment Spheres, Genejack Factories, or nerve-stapling rioting drones. Even as the science goes from near-future plausibility to crystal spires and togas, even as the ethical systems of Planet mutate from traditions rooted in Earth's past to ever more distant philosophies, the descriptions of these technological terrors gives me pause.



    Alpha Centauri isn't self-consciously a 'message game'. It doesn't feel like Bioshock or Spec Ops: The Line, where I'm punished for following the rules supplied. Nobody will know but me. Nobody on the dead Earth will ever know what their far-flung children become. It's simply that, in a way that is still unfortunately rare outside of indie titles, Alpha Centauri has a basic interest in ethics and a willingness to confront its own implications with some measure of honesty. It acknowledges the imperatives of the genre while nonetheless suggesting that the true victory is not winning the battle for Planet but transcending it.

    Planet is a bleak, lonely world, where the last remnants of humanity are most likely doomed to repeat their worst mistakes, to spread death and devastation even to the stars. But Alpha Centauri never gives up hope in the possibility of breaking the cycle. As your faction transitions from a frontier society to something truly new, exploring Planet's mysteries reveals that it, too, has been repeating through the millennia, its dormant hive mind almost reaching sentience before collapsing again into oblivion. Ultimately, you can choose to merge with the vast collective consciousness of Planet, transcending humanity and becoming something altogether new. Or you can crown yourself king on the last living rock in the universe.

    "You are orphans, your homeworld already buried so young among the aeons. Yet now you fill the skies where we watched a million sunsets with flame and contrails, paying no heed to the hard lessons the universe has tried to teach you. Are you a breath of life to invigorate a complacent world, you earthhumans, or an insidious cancer which must be excised?"

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Silva View Post
    Nice article on the greatest sci-fi videogame ever made
    Nothing in the article mentions Brood War.

    It's been a while since I got a Transcend game going, so I might try running it next week.
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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Been a while since I played AC. I remember being younger and modding the University faction to have some ridiculous number of bonuses, it was fun to annihilate all who opposed me with my unstoppable fleet of Gravships.
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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    I bought it in a double pack with the Alien Crossfire expanded version, and I usually played the Alien Crossfire version, mainly for the different factions, of which I usually played as the cyber types, because they got tech faster.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Thank you for making me feel even older than usual.

    I loved SMAC so much, and the article nailed it in that the story and the leaders made it so memorable.

    I really wish Beyond Earth wasn't a total failure at capturing the magic of SMAC. Why they simply didn't remake it with updated graphics and a few tweaks to balance a few things out, I will never know, it would have been able to print money after the controversy that was CiV.

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    What Drasius said pretty much.

    I played that game so much when it came out, often with custom nations.

    I was hoping Beyond Earth would be an updated version of it, and was disappointed with how it turned out, on the scale of how much a disappointment Master of Orion 3 was after the phenomenal Master of Orion 2. Or how Mass Effect 3 turned out.

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Drasius View Post
    Why they simply didn't remake it with updated graphics and a few tweaks to balance a few things out, I will never know, it would have been able to print money after the controversy that was CiV.
    Same reason the new Colonization game was based out of the Civ4 engine and sucked I imagine. It's easier (read: cheaper).

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    Same reason the new Colonization game was based out of the Civ4 engine and sucked I imagine. It's easier (read: cheaper).
    A ) isn't colonisation the console version of civ? If so, it would be garbage no matter what.

    B ) I would have played the hell out of a Civ4'ified SMAC update.

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    There was an attempt at a fan mod for Alpha Centauri in the Civ 4 engine. I mean, they got it to work, they had all the tech, the units, even an option to play the old special projects videos and voice quotes in Civ 4 if you had AC. But they couldn't do climate change or terrain modification in any way, since the engine didn't support that.

    They had a few nice updates, though. Like modelling some civics as religions that could spread.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2019-09-12 at 04:02 AM.
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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Drasius View Post
    A ) isn't colonisation the console version of civ? If so, it would be garbage no matter what.

    B ) I would have played the hell out of a Civ4'ified SMAC update.
    No. Colonisation is the civ-derivative set around the colonisation and independence of the US. Civilization: Revolutions is the console version of Civ, and it's quite good.


    Any engine that can't do variable terrain height can't do ACEN.

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Terrain height and terrain changes, is the big one. That probably took some quite specialized code back when.
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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Terrain height and terrain changes, is the big one. That probably took some quite specialized code back when.
    I mean, SMAC is mostly a souped-up version of Civ2, and Civ2's Engineers could turn the entire world into a Grassland if you were so inclined, so I assume that some proto-code for it was already there.
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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter Noventa View Post
    Been a while since I played AC. I remember being younger and modding the University faction to have some ridiculous number of bonuses, it was fun to annihilate all who opposed me with my unstoppable fleet of Gravships.
    It was much more fun being Gaia and annihilating all who opposed you with Mind Worms, at least until they added Resonance armour in the expansion...boo! (Without Resonance armour the only defence a unit had against a mind worm boil was its experience level, y'see).

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Winthur View Post
    I mean, SMAC is mostly a souped-up version of Civ2, and Civ2's Engineers could turn the entire world into a Grassland if you were so inclined, so I assume that some proto-code for it was already there.
    Not really.

    Civ gives each tile a tile type that decides whether it's sea, land, hill, or mountain and its properties and available modifiers derive from the tile type, whereas ACEN doesn't have tile types, each tile has an altitude and a set of modifiers.

    Although a lot of the components you move around the world are similar to Civ 2, the way the world is constructed is completely different. A "mountain" in Civ is a tile that says mountain and all mountains are the same base tile. A "mountain" in ACEN is a group of tiles with a high altitude value and the modifiers on those tiles might be different if, eg, one is rocky and the other isn't.

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Winthur View Post
    Nothing in the article mentions Brood War.

    It's been a while since I got a Transcend game going, so I might try running it next week.
    I think Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is a much better sci-fi game than Brood War is. Even at its best, Starcraft is definitely more space fantasy than science fiction. Star Wars, not Star Trek, basically.

    The question whether Brood War is a better RTS than Alpha Centauri is a turn-based 4X in the Civilization style is much more difficult to meaningfully answer, of course. I do think Alpha Centauri is the best out of all the Civilization series. But between the statements "BroodWar is the best iteration of StarCraft and also the best RTS" and "Alpha Centauri is the best iteration of the Civilization franchise and also the best 4X", the former will find more supporters. (Lots of people favor Civilization IV, and I can't fault those people. It is quite good. And the genre has a lot more great titles, compared to the RTS genre.) And then there's the legacy - Brood War is a national sport in the country of South Korea to this day, and Alpha Centauri is in rights limbo and badly in need of a remaster but isn't getting one, in a day and age in which everything is getting remastered if people suspect it might sell, even poorly if need be.

    But when it comes to just the science fiction aspect, I don't think Alpha Centauri has been surpassed. It was just a blessed production in that way - gifted designers undertaking a creatively ambitious project and nailing almost every aspect of it. Just an impossibly tough act to follow.
    Last edited by Silfir; 2019-09-12 at 07:45 AM.
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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Silfir View Post
    I think Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is a much better sci-fi game than Brood War is. Even at its best, Starcraft is definitely more space fantasy than science fiction. Star Wars, not Star Trek, basically.
    Oh sure, I agree with you, I was mostly joking; that stretched tongue emoticon should have been of the in-cheek variety.
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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    It was much more fun being Gaia and annihilating all who opposed you with Mind Worms, at least until they added Resonance armour in the expansion...boo! (Without Resonance armour the only defence a unit had against a mind worm boil was its experience level, y'see).
    I always enjoyed playing as the Morganites, even if it felt a bit too overpowered. With the Wealth doctrine giving +1 Economy, and the +1 you get naturally from the Morganites, you get +2 Economy which nets you +1 Energy per SQUARE, which was hella OP. Since research is based off of what percentage of energy is devoted to it, doubling or tripling your energy also doubled or tripled your research, which made the Morganites an even better research magnate than University or the expansion faction.

    I mean, it had its downsides, your units were going to start off as Green pretty much the whole day, which meant they sucked against psionic attacks and generally weren't all THAT powerful, but when you've got that substantial a tech advantage, and you start getting helicopters (which were horribly OP) it was pretty much over.
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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Honestly a bittersweet anniversary. I'm glad that the game is still evergreen even after all these years, but I'm also slightly upset that no modern game could even come close to dethroning it.

    At this point however, I'd settle for a updated version with prettied up sprites, and scalable UI.

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Grif View Post
    Honestly a bittersweet anniversary. I'm glad that the game is still evergreen even after all these years, but I'm also slightly upset that no modern game could even come close to dethroning it.

    At this point however, I'd settle for a updated version with prettied up sprites, and scalable UI.
    Yeah a scalable UI would be nice. The GOG version runs perfectly fine, but the UI is awkward. I am surprised that the playable area scales though, which is nice.
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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    I always enjoyed playing as the Morganites, even if it felt a bit too overpowered.
    Speaking of overpowered, I always found it odd that the Human Hive were the only faction in the base game who couldn't get the sweet +6 growth (meaning all your cities grow by 1 pop per turn so long as food is available) that you got from having a Creche, Democracy, and something else I forget, because they could never take Democracy!

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter Noventa View Post
    Yeah a scalable UI would be nice. The GOG version runs perfectly fine, but the UI is awkward. I am surprised that the playable area scales though, which is nice.
    Have you tried the PRACX hi-resolution patch? It's far from being OMFG BEAUTIFUL stuff, but it makes the game and UI hi-res and implement some quality of life improvements (like mouse-wheel zoom, for eg).

    And for those who used to finish the game on Transcendi in Ironman mode and find it easy (like me), I reccommend Yitzi AI patch. I'm playing on Thinker level with Datajack Roze and I can say it's... tough. Aki-Zeta and Domai are way ahead of us poor weaklings. I just became a protegé of Aki-Zeta though (AIs must love hackers or something ) and she is so powerful she didnt even ask for my help in the war. She just throw some bone (techs) at me now and then like I was her puppy. If things stay like this, it will be the first time ever I don't stay among top 3 factions in final score.
    Last edited by Silva; 2019-09-12 at 03:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    I always enjoyed playing as the Morganites, even if it felt a bit too overpowered. With the Wealth doctrine giving +1 Economy, and the +1 you get naturally from the Morganites, you get +2 Economy which nets you +1 Energy per SQUARE, which was hella OP. Since research is based off of what percentage of energy is devoted to it, doubling or tripling your energy also doubled or tripled your research, which made the Morganites an even better research magnate than University or the expansion faction.
    Morganites are below average in overall power and the weakest overall "economic" Civ because the faction's design contradicts itself. Morgan, ironically, doesn't really want to run his preferred Free Market doctrine past the early game. He's also banned from running Planned, which he would be absolutely terrific with, and his growth is stunted due to lack of easy pop-booms.

    Free Market economy is the civic that grants most factions +2 Economy, which is the biggest draw of the civic in the first place (+3 and +4 Economy give comparatively little; Morgan gains pretty much nothing from running FM and Wealth at the same time). The only real advantage later on, when the +2 Energy in every central square loses its luster, is that you can get +2 Economy while running Demo/Green.

    All Morgan gets is that he maximizes the hell out of the ICS strategy because +2 Energy in every base's central square means decent dividends from spamming Colony Pods, and because there's no point to building "tall" because you are suffering from a restrictive population cap for quite a while. Later on, he can avoid being in Free Market and still get +2 Economy.

    It's not a better researcher than University across the scope of the entire game. I'd hazard a guess that it's not even a better researcher than the Peacekeepers.

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Speaking of overpowered, I always found it odd that the Human Hive were the only faction in the base game who couldn't get the sweet +6 growth (meaning all your cities grow by 1 pop per turn so long as food is available) that you got from having a Creche, Democracy, and something else I forget, because they could never take Democracy!
    Morgan can't use Planned (the third ingredient in early-game pop-booming), either, so he's also exempt from +6 Growth. Both Yang and Morgan can still get there if they go Eudaimonic.
    With SMAX anyone can just pump up Psych and get Golden Ages, Civ2 "We Love the Consul Day" style.
    Last edited by Winthur; 2019-09-12 at 07:20 PM.
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    I disagree that Morgan is so bad as you make him sound, @Winthur . Sure, he is worst than the obvious ones like Hive or Domai due to the game unfotunately still favoring ICS*. But aside from that "first tier" he is one of the strongest ones due to his economy. And if you manage to grab enough initial land to expand and then turtle up in Wealth+Free Market / Wealth+Green he is pretty good. You can compensate for his small population with more bases and crawlers. And compensate his lack of support/morale with armored probe teams to guard bases and bribe invading forces. Now against him/while played by the AI it's another story. He is one of the weakest indeed due to it's pacifism and because the AI don't know to switch to green and/or use crawlers and probe teams.

    You want to see really weak factions? Try Cha Dawn or Datajack Roze. They are cool as **** (Muad'dib and a shadowrunner anyone?) but oh boy, they suck hard.


    *ICS = infinite city spamming, a common strategy in early Civs (SMAC including), which consists in setting your empire to constant popping cities in every nook of the map until you rape the game by sheer force of quantity. Luckly, later Civs like managed to mitigate it.

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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Silva View Post
    I'm playing on Thinker level with Datajack Roze and I can say it's... tough. Aki-Zeta and Domai are way ahead of us poor weaklings. I just became a protegé of Aki-Zeta though (AIs must love hackers or something ) and she is so powerful she didnt even ask for my help in the war. She just throw some bone (techs) at me now and then like I was her puppy. If things stay like this, it will be the first time ever I don't stay among top 3 factions in final score.
    I don't generally do mods, but that's definitely Alien Crossfire you are playing, Roze and the Pirates didn't exist in the original. Aki is who I usually play as, the peacekeepers sometimes show up, but I think that's a bug. I probably play at a very weak level, I usually do in Civ games, I'm not great at warfare but I can spam settlers with the best.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silva View Post
    I disagree that Morgan is so bad as you make him sound, @Winthur . Sure, he is worst than the obvious ones like Hive or Domai due to the game unfotunately still favoring ICS*. But aside from that "first tier" he is one of the strongest ones due to his economy. And if you manage to grab enough initial land to expand and then turtle up in Wealth+Free Market / Wealth+Green he is pretty good.
    Morgan is literally the one character whose best strategy is ICS. I can't deny he can be optimized, but his honest best period is the early/midgame right after getting FM, cashing in his free credits and reaping Energy from multitude of low pop cities with +2 Energy on central square each. He falls off immediately later. Morgans traits don't make him a good economist at all, or a competitive research powerhouse; Free Market does. What Morgan gets ultimately is FM while in Green, which isn't better than what University and UNP gets.

    He is simply not overpowered at all.
    Last edited by Winthur; 2019-09-13 at 02:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Winthur View Post
    Morgan is literally the one character whose best strategy is ICS. I can't deny he can be optimized, but his honest best period is the early/midgame right after getting FM, cashing in his free credits and reaping Energy from multitude of low pop cities with +2 Energy on central square each. He falls off immediately later. Morgans traits don't make him a good economist at all, or a competitive research powerhouse; Free Market does. What Morgan gets ultimately is FM while in Green, which isn't better than what University and UNP gets.

    He is simply not overpowered at all.
    I would really disagree with you here.

    By not needing to go Free Market to get the +1 Energy per city, he can afford to go Green/Demo/Wealth as his primary shtick, which kicks off pretty early in the game, and can be continued throughout your play. As Moran, you *NEVER* EVER pick Free Market. Ever. It's completely redundant to your strategy. That's his advantage, his shtick. You just go Wealth and done. Agreed that Planned might have been interesting for growth, but that would've been so OP that it would've literally been the only logical choice to take. As it is Green is still nice, giving you Efficiency and Planet at the cost of growth.

    This means that, unlike any other faction, he's not dealing with the massive police problem that Free Market causes, letting you wage a meaningful war without wrecking your economy or flooding yourself with drones. Having a positive instead of a negative Planet score means dealing with fewer mind worm invasions, which is always a bonus considering your morale penalty (although resonant armor fixed that in SMACX).

    The big kicker is the penalty to Support, since he starts off with a -1 and gets another -2 from Demo. The solution to that is, of course, Clean Reactors. The other is the -2 Morale which means your guys basically are pretty crap individually, so you'll just need to spam-a-lot. Yanno, when you aren't spamming crawlers to insta-build projects when they come up.

    Other than that, you've got huge efficiency ratings, so not only can you ICS, you can sprawl too. Imagine, an entire continent full of cities.

    If you get the Project that lets your cities start off at Pop 3, you've basically won the game. NOTHING is going to be able to match your production, be it mineral production or energy/research production. And you can continue riding that clear to the endgame. Pop growth becomes almost meaningless.

    And, of course, once satellites come online... you win that much harder, since they provide resources per city. You just spam the hell out of them and... win. Exponentially doing more research than anyone else can hope to match. Satellites are why ICS works so amazingly well in SMAC/X, even more than any other Civ game ever made.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    As Moran, you *NEVER* EVER pick Free Market. Ever. It's completely redundant to your strategy. That's his advantage, his shtick.
    Except Morgan with FM gets +2 energy per base. My entire advantage is in circumventing all of Morgans weaknesses by going ICS with mass cities for free +2 energy
    Then, you actually play to the faction's early game strength as that 2 energy compensates for the deceptively debilitating Support penalty, plays around Morganite's low pop cap (since you ICS). Saying to NEVER go FM is plain suboptimal especially since you get it earlier than Wealth and you still derive dividends from the central square bonus for a while due to hab limitations and popboom difficulties making the +1 energy hard to reap benefits from.

    Yes, I was the one to argue for a DemoGreenWealth Morgan in the first place, except there is still quite a few turns before you can achieve that combo compared to an FM Morgan and Morgan still has a timing window of opportunity for Psych-induced popbooming with the +2 Energy per base if he run FM. Never running FM is inefficient. Morgan is at his peak in the early game when his starting credits rushbuy his progress, ICS is sprawling and every base gets +2 Energy. Then it peters out and is slower to get going than his other peacenik colleagues. Morgan HAS to ICS to maximize his potential, otherwise he is mediocre.

    Everything else is just talking about a Morgan who already reached a winning position through getting the beelines and winning SPs but that is irrelevant because both Uni and UNP simply snowball much harder and don't suffer from contradictory design that Morgan does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winthur View Post
    Morgan...

    ..is simply not overpowered at all.
    Sorry I haven't seen this. Yes, if your point is this, I agree. I thought you said he was actually weak or something.

    Anyway, what is you rank for the factions (aliens excluded for obvious reasons) ? Do you agree Cult and Angels are last tier?


    Edit: oh, and what happens if I undo/empties a base with a secret project? Does the project vanishes forever or something?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silva View Post
    Sorry I haven't seen this. Yes, if your point is this, I agree. I thought you said he was actually weak or something.
    Well, as I said, he's the weakest "commerce-oriented" faction in my book. My argument is that Morgan isn't ultimately an amazing economic faction. In my opinion, also, Shneekey plays him suboptimally by stunting his one early game "trick" that makes him stand out (+2 Energy per base from FM). You can do that and still win at Transcend, so it's not like it matters in the grand scheme of things; I just think that he's quite the opposite of overpowered and his weaknesses force his hand to certain concessions, most notably working around his hab limits. And it's not like I even personally dislike him; he's probably my favourite personality in the game, in a "really cool villain" sorta way as we don't even share an ideology. I also think he's genuinely really hard to play to maximize his potential. He is still very much an "eco" Civ which is still a great spot to be in, but his strength isn't really in becoming the ultimate research powerhouse but in rushing down key tech to snowball off of.

    Without SMAX's golden ages from Psych (so vanilla SMAC), Morgan is in a pickle.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silva View Post
    Anyway, what is you rank for the factions (aliens excluded for obvious reasons) ?
    Don't think of it much in absolute terms especially since there are various conditions to consider like map size. Probably University as the overall #1 due to weaknesses that can be circumvented (unlike some of the "hard" caps like Miriam's research penalty), best potential for fast Transcendence finishes and plenty of room for abuse with the free Network Nodes and all that. Aside from that there's a lot to be said about Yang's sheer industrial potential (it's very hard to pass up the sheer potential for Colony Pod spam and productivity, which eventually outweighs his issues) - running Police/Planned/Wealth at a proper timing means easy Conquest / Diplo wins on Transcend. Same with Deirdre; losing FM hurts but you can snowball really hard off of early worms and the high Efficiency somewhat lets her emulate a "true" techer.

    As per usual in 4X games, the factions with strong eco / production benefits are still generally on top, so stuff like the Believers or Spartans are somewhere lower. Sparta probably is the "worst"; they do everything everyone else does (kinda like Angels), but slower (due to penalties), and their advantages are meh. They are great explorers early on with their scout but that's about it; not much to snowball off of.

    I don't care enough about SMAX factions to bother with them but Cult is indeed pretty meh. I don't see much of an issue with Data Angels as their one weakness doesn't do much; they can popboom and run FM early, so they work; they're more "eh" in that they don't really have a whole lot of an advantage either; they're pretty much a blank faction with an emphasis on the sorta fun spying mechanic. Of the SMAX factions I'd vote Drones as the best human faction by far with Cybernetic Consciousness being a close second.
    Last edited by Winthur; 2019-09-15 at 02:50 PM.
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    Default Re: Sid Meier Alpha Centauri - 20th anniversary

    Hey @Winthur , have you tried this Thinker Mod for SMAX ? Apparently it improves the AI significantly, making it much better at terraforming for eg.

    https://github.com/induktio/thinker

    The only think that makes me cautious is the possibility of it breaking the game fiction by, say, making Deirdre ferociously building boreholes or Morgan a warmonger etc. If you try it, lemme know what you think.

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