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Requiem for Alpha Centauri

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  • Requiem for Alpha Centauri

    These days it is rare that I can get motivated enough by Smac to play through a whole game. I think it is finally starting to show its age if I'm honest.
    However, rather than being sad about this, I have decided to compile a few random thoughts/questions on my favourite game of all time, to ease its passing to the next life:

    1. Does Smac represent the best value for money ever in a computer game? I wouldn't even attempt to estimate how many hours I've spent on it, but the price per hour must be so low as to be almost non-existent.
    Considering most games go on and off my hard drive in a month, Smacs 4 year stay is truly amazing.

    2. Has there ever been a game that assumed such a level of intelligence in its audience, and actually makes you think (in the way a good book does)? References, and applications of Nietzsche, Milton, Collectivism vs Individualism, genetic engineering, the list goes on and on. This made Smac one of the few games for mature adults to be made.

    3. Does the fact Smac is STILL top of the tree in the TBS genre mean it was way ahead of its time, or that TBS is a dying art form?

    4. Damn, that game had soul: From Yangs smirking face to the brain in a jar philosophising on the nature of existence, there was more personality in one pixel of Smac than in the whole of Civ3/Moo3/the entire RTS genre combined.

    5. Alpha Centauri - you got my girlfriend into strategy games and so quite possibly saved our relationship. Many happy hours have been spent hotseating together. I wonder if the more intelligent nature of the story and aesthetic sensibility have produced more female smac players (women in my experience being generally not too mad on strategy games)?

    6. The Free Drones - the first tiime socialism has been taken seriously in computer games, and not just treated as 'the enemy'?

    7. I think it says an awful lot that a game with non-existent ai, pug-ugly graphics, no real scenario editor, and base management from hell, can still be so revered.

    Alpha Centauri - a flawed masterpiece, and a beautiful if diminishing light in an era of FPS, RTS, and lowest common denominator blockbusters. I salute you.

  • #2
    Re: Requiem for Alpha Centauri

    Originally posted by Col
    These days it is rare that I can get motivated enough by Smac to play through a whole game.
    Heah Col,

    have you tried mod'ing your Alpha(x).txt file to make the game more challenging/ different? If you haven't, then check out This SMAX Game that I posted at another website, where I have sunk the Unity Wreckage and replaced the Mining Laser with the "Unity Submersible", which is a unit I designed specifically for a water-centric game. I also changed some prerequisites so that Aircraft Carriers and Submarines are available much sooner than they were previously, as well as some other surprises...
    Also, currently I and another player named Rubin are busily plumming the very depths of the game to make it more unique/ challenging as I speak! In a week to ten days, we'll be posting a new, very unique SMAX game @ Civgaming which should hopefully pique the interest of those like yourself who are saying the game is passe' . In a nutshell, why in addition to what I posted above, we have enhanced everything from making Artillery more lethal, to enhancing native lifeform capabilities, to being able to build sea enhancements such as Sea Boreholes and Sea Sensors!
    So, to reply to your comment above that the game is not worth playing thru anymore, why I personally think there is still some very good turnage left in this game - the Alpha(x).txt file is very receptive to being modified/ enhanced, and essentially is almost only limited by the imagination of the person modifying the file, as people who play my next Challnge will shortly find out!


    D

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    • #3
      Re: Requiem for Alpha Centauri

      Originally posted by Col
      1. Does Smac represent the best value for money ever in a computer game? I wouldn't even attempt to estimate how many hours I've spent on it, but the price per hour must be so low as to be almost non-existent.
      Considering most games go on and off my hard drive in a month, Smacs 4 year stay is truly amazing.
      Yes, I think so.

      Originally posted by Col
      2. Has there ever been a game that assumed such a level of intelligence in its audience, and actually makes you think (in the way a good book does)? References, and applications of Nietzsche, Milton, Collectivism vs Individualism, genetic engineering, the list goes on and on. This made Smac one of the few games for mature adults to be made.
      The fact that all of these philosophies were used is truly amazing.

      Originally posted by Col
      3. Does the fact Smac is STILL top of the tree in the TBS genre mean it was way ahead of its time, or that TBS is a dying art form?
      I think that now is the time that Firaxis made a game that reached much higher in the tech tree, like an Alpha Centauri 2. Because of my high obsession with future technology, I would REALLY like to see such a game reach the shelves.

      Originally posted by Col
      4. Damn, that game had soul: From Yangs smirking face to the brain in a jar philosophising on the nature of existence, there was more personality in one pixel of Smac than in the whole of Civ3/Moo3/the entire RTS genre combined.
      Heh, yeah.

      Originally posted by Col
      5. Alpha Centauri - you got my girlfriend into strategy games and so quite possibly saved our relationship. Many happy hours have been spent hotseating together. I wonder if the more intelligent nature of the story and aesthetic sensibility have produced more female smac players (women in my experience being generally not too mad on strategy games)?
      I wouldn't know. Since a few years ago I noticed that my sister likes to play Civ2 every once in a while, but I wasn't able to get her to try Alpha Centauri at all because she liked a setting in history more than one in the future.

      Originally posted by Col
      6. The Free Drones - the first tiime socialism has been taken seriously in computer games, and not just treated as 'the enemy'?
      Perhaps. I rarely play Alien Crossfire, so I've never grown an opinion about the Free Drones or Domai.

      Originally posted by Col
      7. I think it says an awful lot that a game with non-existent ai, pug-ugly graphics, no real scenario editor, and base management from hell, can still be so revered.
      I do mean it when I say that I don't mind poor AI, graphics, scenarios, and governors. It's Alpha Centauri's good traits that I just happen to find important.

      Originally posted by Col
      Alpha Centauri - a flawed masterpiece, and a beautiful if diminishing light in an era of FPS, RTS, and lowest common denominator blockbusters. I salute you.
      I couldn't have worded that last paragraph any better myself.
      Known in most other places as Anon Zytose.
      +3 Research, +2 Efficiency, -1 Growth, -2 Industry, -2 Support.
      http://anonzytose.deviantart.com/

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      • #4
        I started up SMAC last night for the first time in a long while. I had just finished up some Tropico2 after trashing MOO3, uninstalling and literally breaking the disk, throwing the whole stinking mess in the trash.

        It was the first game I put on this old computer and it's still around after all these years.

        Oh, how I wish for SMAC2.
        A dictatorship wouldn't be so bad. As long as I'm the dictator. G. W. Bush

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        • #5
          Too early for the requiem, good tho it was.
          I still play this game in preference to all others.
          "I'm so happy I could go and drive a car crash!"
          "What do you mean do I rape strippers too? Is that an insult?"
          - Pekka

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          • #6
            As Miriam would say: Amen, brother!

            SMAC/X has so much personality and depth that it has kept me interested since 1999. Many other games get trotted out every once in a while (BOTF, Moo2, Moo3), and others become shelf-ware fairly quickly (GalCiv, SEIV). But not SMAC/X.

            I had almost decided that I was only interested in PBEM, since that is a challenge (or, in my case, and exercise in story writing - Master Builder and my traded yearly dialogs were over 400 pages long for our 6th PBEM).

            But then I fired up a SP game while I was out of town on business and was hooked again. It was a simple setup - 2 humans with 5 aliens. Lal was quickly absorbed (eaten?) by Marr, and I gifted him a few bases to keep him around. My Gaians really had to work to keep up since the aliens were spreading like rabbits, and were keeping up through mid game even as they tried to beat the snot out of each other (and me). It was like an unfolding epic.

            The SMAC/X moral: if you are predisposed toward SF this game can stay fresh for a long, long time. Thank you BR!

            Hydro

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            • #7
              SMAC Apology - in the classic sense

              Col wrote:
              1. ... best value for money ever? ...
              2. ... assumed such a level of intelligence in its audience ...? ... Nietzsche ...
              3. ... top of the tree in the TBS genre ... way ahead of its time, or that TBS is a dying art form?
              4. ... more personality in one pixel of Smac than in the ... entire RTS genre combined.
              5. ... more female smac players ...?
              6. The Free Drones ... socialism ... taken seriously ...
              7. ... ai, ... graphics, ... editor, and base management from hell, can still be so revered.
              Alpha Centauri - a flawed masterpiece, and a beautiful if diminishing light in an era of FPS, RTS, and lowest common denominator blockbusters. I salute you.
              1. Yes.
              2. I just bought The Portable Nietzsche at the local library's book sale Various comments here at Apolyton about the in-game quotes piqued my interest.
              3. TBS is far from dying, but has retreated somewhat to wargames, where it always has been alive and well
              4. SMAC ... RTS
              5. Surely Misotu and Alinestra Covelia are only two of many females among the denizens of Apolyton?
              6. Separating basic socialism from its many bastardized 20th-century forms allows it to become a viable alternative.
              7. Because the game is so much fun none of that bothers me in the least.

              Darsnan wrote: ... mod'ing your Alpha(x).txt ... there is still some very good turnage left in this game - the Alpha(x).txt file is very receptive to being modified/ enhanced, and essentially is almost only limited by the imagination of the person modifying the file ...
              Easily 1/4 of the time I spend with SMAC is tweaking alpha.txt

              TimeTraveler wrote: ... I do mean it when I say that I don't mind poor AI, graphics, scenarios, and governors...
              Rich gameplay makes all that irrelevant, imho

              PaulNAdhe wrote: ... It was the first game I put on this old computer and it's still around after all these years...
              I think it was the first game on my PC, too

              MattyBoy wrote: Too early for the requiem, good tho it was. I still play this game in preference to all others.
              I can't allow myself to set it aside to play SimCity, which I've played since the early 1980's on my C64, and I just bought SC2K/SE at a garage sale. BTW, you can use the SCURK (SimCity Urban Renewal Kit) to export SC graphics as bmp or pcx, then you can import them into the SMAC pcxs.

              Hydro wrote: ... so much personality and depth ... The SMAC/X moral: if you are predisposed toward SF this game can stay fresh for a long, long time. Thank you BR!
              I am, and it certainly has, so I, too, salute and thank you, BR
              I am on a mission to see how much coffee it takes to actually achieve time travel. :frantic:

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              • #8
                I can't stand RTS games.

                SMACx is the epitome of turn TBS, IMHO. I really would be nice if they would either fix the bugs or release the code so that someone else could fix the bugs, like the interceptor crash, and defects, like the crawler upgrade trick.

                I would also fix terraforming so non rocky/non rolling squares are always terraformed with forests.
                http://tools.wikimedia.de/~gmaxwell/jorbis/JOrbisPlayer.php?path=John+Williams+The+Imperial+M arch+from+The+Empire+Strikes+Back.ogg&wiki=en

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                • #9
                  About SMAC's AI bugs... the AI is not *that* bad for 1999.

                  Anyway, I would be *honored* to work for the AI of a SMAC2. Maybe it would make you drones look at your comp with more respect.
                  Artificial Intelligence is no match for human stupidity. [AI Paradigm]

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                  • #10
                    For me, it's the best game ever. Period.

                    No game has ever offered me such an immense replayability. No game has ever stayed on my harddrive for so long (allthough i suspect GalCiv will). No game has ever given me so much pleasure that I almost lost a job over it.

                    Best game ever.

                    Asmodean

                    P.S. For me there is no requiem yet. Just a happy anniversary, with the promise of many more to come.
                    Im not sure what Baruk Khazad is , but if they speak Judeo-Dwarvish, that would be "blessed are the dwarves" - lord of the mark

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