Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

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Overview

Mankind begins its most monumental task – the colonization of space. A crew of internationally renowned scientists and security strategists, with wide-ranging convictions and diverse ethics, embarks on a mission that will change the world. One Planet. Seven unique factions. Which will you lead? Each faction has its own agenda, each leader a final goal. You must play to each strength and exploit each hidden weakness in your quest to rule the future.

Release information

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri includes the Alien Crossfire expansion, after GOG published EA expansion sets for several games on December 19th, 2013. Note that the additions of the expansion, developed by a different team, are slightly controversial: Some feel that the balance (both in story line and in game factions) suffers in the expansion.

Extras

  • A 1.94 MB manual (252 pages) in PDF format; even if you don't need the manual, have a look at appendix five which gives a lot of additional well researched background to the setting.
  • Seven avatars - the leader heads of each faction as they appear in the game.
  • A quick reference card (3 pages) in PDF format listing all keyboard shortcuts.

Patches and modifications

Official patches

Both the original game and the expansion are already patched up to the latest official version, as of January 14th, 2013.

Unofficial patches

As the GOG download is already updated to the latest version, including the SMAC Win 2000/XP Update, all of these patches can be applied directly, but the user should make a backup of the executable in case he wishes to revert to the unpatched version. The patches are at this location. http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;cat=2

Yitzi's patch for the expansion (SMAX) builds on Kyrub's patch, which builds on Scient's patch. Besides additional bugfixes and the inclusion of Kyrub's AI enhancements, it has also improved the modability of the game. http://alphacentauri2.info/wiki/Yitzi%27s_patch

Yitzi's patch now includes PlotinusRedux's PRACX for resolution changes. This can also be downloaded separately at alphacentauri2.info.

The SMAC 444 patch by kyrub for the original game (SMAC), adapted from scient's patch, adds bug fixes to the game and also adds experimental alterations to the AI intended to improve it. The AI improvements may be considered the primary feature of the patch. The patch was last updated November 2024. http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=107 http://alphacentauri2.info/wiki/Kryub%27s_patch

Kyrub ported a number of the fixes he made for his SMAC patch to a patch for SMAX, the Unofficial patch PLUS. This should also contain the fixes of the scientt patch below, but for the AI only includes the AI terraforming improvements. http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=108

Scientt's patch for the expansion by fixed a number of crashes, bugs, and exploits. This is the original unofficial patch before it was adapted by kyrub, and is not updated. The user should note that this patch removed the unit limit, but this crashed the game. The unit limit was restored by kyrub's SMAX patch. http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=27 http://alphacentauri2.info/wiki/Scient%27s_patch

More languages support

Despite the game officially supporting only English, there is a free download of all texts and voices for the German and French version. The German texts have some quirks like words written in capital letters, but are readable and translated.

Modifications

Widescreen support

It is possible to run the game in full screen on pretty much any resolution by editing Alpha Centauri.ini in the game directory. Simply add the following lines under [Alpha Centauri]:

 [Alpha Centauri]
 DirectDraw=0

Note: This may make the game unstable on some systems. Experiment. If it causes problems undo the changes to Alpha Centauri.ini.

Users of the OSX version need to find the Alpha Centauri.ini in the application package. Go to the Alpha Centauri / Alien Crossfire app where it is installed, right click and select Show package content. The ini file is located in drive_c/GOG Games/Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri/. Edit the file as described above. After that, run the Wineskin app and open Set screen options. Different display methods can be selected. Recommended methods are Rootless (windowed) and Virtual desktop at current resolution.

Yitzi's patch now includes PlotinusRedux's PRACX for resolution changes. This can also be downloaded separately at alphacentauri2.info.

Known issues

The game crashes frequently for at least some users - either related to the direct 3D settings (see widescreen modification above), when the videos start playing, or both.

Game crashes when opening cinematic or a secret project movie plays

Open "AlphaCentauri.ini" in the game directory and add / edit the following line under [Alpha Centauri]:

 [Alpha Centauri]
 DisableOpeningMovie=0

Also, after starting a new game, disable the Secret Project Movies in the Audio / Visual preferences.

Restoring Alt+Tab support

GOG deliberately disabled the Alt+Tab support in the latest installer versions, but it can be re-enabled. To do so, you will need to create a batch file (e.g. alt_tab.bat) with this content:

@echo off
set SMACDIR=C:\Games\Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
sdbinst -u "%SMACDIR%\game.sdb"
sdbinst -u "%SMACDIR%\game_add.sdb"
pause

Change the directory path behind set SMACDIR= to the one where you have installed Alpha Centauri. Leave everything else as it is and save the file somewhere on your computer. Open the file manager, navigate to the batch file’s directory and run it as Administrator: right-click the file and select Run as Administrator. You should see a command prompt confirming that the uninstallation of alpha_centauri and alien_crossfire has been finished (on Windows XP you may need to confirm two dialog boxes for each SMAC and SMAX). After that Alt+Tab should work again, please test it by starting the game. If everything is fine, you can delete the batch file.

If problems occur when using Alt+Tab in the game, you can revert the action by editing the batch file and removing the -u option in both lines behind sdbinst. Save and run the batch file again as administrator. It will deactivate the Alt+Tab support for both Alpha Centauri and Alien Crossfire.

In any case, Alt+Tab behaviour can still be obtained by using Ctrl+Alt+Tab.

Game crashes on launch when running non-English default input language

Several users running Korean or Japanese IME have been unable to launch the game.

  1. Go to Control Panel>Region and Language>Keyboards and Languages>Change Keyboards...
  2. Ensure that English (United States)>Keyboard>US is present and at the top of the list of keyboards. If not, add it as appropriate.
  3. Set Default input language to English (United States) - US

This, in combination with other compatibility fixes, should allow the game to launch normally.


GOG trivia

Sale History

Price Discount Promo Date(s) [Y/M/D] Notes
$2.39 60% Elite EA Assembly 2014/04/18 - 2014/04/21

Links

  • Brand New Colony: Alpha Centauri Retro: A retrospective on RockPaperShotgun that highlights the differences to the Civilisation Series and why Alpha Centauri still is a unique and unsurpassed game to this day.