Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

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Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri cover
Firaxis Games
Mac OS Aspyr Media
Linux Loki Software
Electronic Arts
Mac OS Aspyr Media
Linux Loki Software
Release dates
Windows February 12, 1999
Mac OS February 2000
Linux August 2000
OS X January 24, 2013

General information

Official Website - Active Alpha Centauri modding, patching and multiplayer community. Perhaps the last on the web.
Civilization Wiki - A detailed wiki for all Civilization games and their spin offs
Apolyton Civilization Site's Alpha Centauri section - A huge forum dedicated to all Civilization games and their spin offs. Community Discussions Support Page


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail The game will run without the CD if you have performed a full install. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Planetary Pack. Windows and OS X.
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Planetary Pack includes the base game and the Alien Crossfire expansion

Downloadable content (DLC) and expansions

Name Notes
Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire Included with Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Planetary Pack. Mac OS

Essential improvements[edit]

In-game general settings.
In-game general settings.
In-game advanced settings.
In-game advanced settings.

Official Patches[edit]

The version already has the official patches, but you should strongly consider installing an unofficial patch.

Unofficial Patches[edit]

The most up to date information on improvements and patches tends to be available on the wiki at Unofficial Patches. Download links are kept more up to date there as well.

It is highly recommended that you use a patched .exe, the original is filled with major exploits, and prone to crashing. A fully patched game will very rarely crash and almost all the major bugs are solved.

Recommendation: You should install Yitzi's patch if you're using SMAX and kyrub's if you're using SMAC. It is safe to install both.

The only caveat is that Yitzi's patch breaks backwards compatibility for alphax.txt and overwrites it. If you use old scenarios that require a custom alphax.txt this means that you may need to manually move the changes over. This will not be a concern for most users. Not using Yitzi's patch means that some newer scenarios and custom alphax.txt will not work for you.

  • Yitzi's patch (SMAX only) - Built on scient's patch and including all his fixes, also fixes more bugs and adds many more alphax variables. Replaces the original terranx.exe, alphax,txt and helpx.txt files. Includes PlotinusRedux's PRACX graphical patch and Guv'nor and GooglyBoogly's Datalinks Upgrades from version 3.4.
  • kyrub's patch (SMAC, and a very early SMAX version) - Built on scient's patch and including all his fixes, aimed primarily at improving AI performance (still recommended for new players) but also fixing some bugs. SMAX version has only minor AI improvements and is superseded by Yitzi's patch, SMAC has many but is still a work in progress.
  • scient's patch (SMAC and SMAX) - Fixes a large number of crashes, bugs, and exploits. No longer actively developed.

Yitzi and kyrub's patches are both in active development and new releases are announced on the Chiron News Network. All published versions of the patches are available in the patches download directory. As of July 2015, the latest versions of all patches are linked from this wiki.

To use any patch, typically download the zip file and extract it into the game directory, overwriting the pre-existing files.

If you use SMAX, you're best served by Yitzi's patch, otherwise you should use kyrub's. The AI improvements won't make the AI too hard for new players, and instead aim for a reasonable level of challenge at "Librarian" difficulty. Tweaks mostly involve teaching the AI how to do not-terribly without cheating.

This page is not updated with the latest releases of these patches. scient no longer works on the patch project, but kyrub and especially yitzi are both still active with a couple of releases a month from Yitzi in 2014 and two releases from kyrub in that year.

Patches are primarily developed on the Alpha Centauri 2 forum.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Mac OS

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\saves
OS X ~/Library/Application Support/ Meier's Alpha Centauri/saves
Mac OS

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes

Video settings[edit]

In-game audio/video settings.
In-game audio/video settings.

Widescreen resolution[edit]

Try PRACX, a modified renderer for Alpha Centauri with a number of other improvements. Included in versions of Yitzi's Unofficial Patch since version 3.4, also available separately.

Warning PRACX and/or SMAC are incompatible with Windows 10. Not yet clear.

Edit Alpha Centauri.ini
  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Open Alpha Centauri.ini.
  3. Add DirectDraw=0 under [Alpha Centauri]
  4. The game will now run at your desktop-resolution

Input settings[edit]

Audio settings[edit]

Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
EAX support was added with 2.0 update[1]


Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
Online play

Issues fixed[edit]

The game hangs[edit]

Try the Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri#Unofficial patches latest copies of Yitzi or kyrub's patches.

Otherwise, might be related to a bug with automated artillery units (though I think Yitzi might have fixed this one sometime). Try turning off automation and see if it helps. More info here.

AMD/ATI compatibility[edit] recommends using Catalyst 13.4 or earlier but the game also works with 14.x or earlier.

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95, 98
Processor (CPU) Pentium 133 MHz Pentium 200 MHz
System memory (RAM) 16 MB 32 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 60 MB
Video card (GPU) DirectX-compatible
2 MB of VRAM
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 10.6.8
Processor (CPU) 1.8 GHz
System memory (RAM) 512 MB 1 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 2 GB