Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

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Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri cover
Developers
Firaxis Games
Mac OS (Classic) Aspyr Media
Linux Loki Software
Publishers
Electronic Arts
Mac OS Aspyr Media
Linux Loki Software
Release dates
Windows February 12, 1999
Mac OS (Classic) February 2000
Linux August 2000
macOS (OS X) January 24, 2013[1]
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri guide at StrategyWiki
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri at Wikipedia

General information

Official Website
alphacentauri2.info - 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.
GOG.com Community Discussions
GOG.com Support Page

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
DRM-free
The game will run without the CD if you have performed a full install. SecuROM DRM otherwise.
Windows
Mac OS
Linux
GOG.com
DRM-free
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Planetary Pack.
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Origin
Icon overlay.png
Windows
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.
Windows
Mac OS
Linux

Essential improvements[edit]

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

Patches[edit]

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

Unofficial Patches[edit]

The original .exe is filled with exploits and prone to crashing. The patches below will fix the vast majority of crashes and bugs.
  • Yitzi's patch (SMAX only) - Built on kyrub's SMAX patch and scient's patch, and contains even more fixes. v3.4 includes PlotinusRedux's PRACX graphical patch, but you need to install PRACX separately as it wasn't packaged properly.
  • kyrub's patch (SMAC, SMAX version not recommended) - Aimed primarily at improving AI performance but also fixing some bugs. SMAX version has only minor AI improvements and is superseded by Yitzi's patch.
  • scient's patch (SMAC and SMAX) - Fixes bugs, crashes and exploits and includes text file improvements.

Recommendation: You should install Yitzi's patch if you're using SMAX and either kyrub's or scient's if you're using SMAC.

Yitzi's patch breaks backwards compatibility for alphax.txt. 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.

To use any patch, extract the zip file into the installation folder and overwrite the existing files.

The patches' 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.

Patches are primarily developed on the Alpha Centauri 2 forum.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>/Alpha Centauri.ini[Note 1]
macOS (OS X)
Mac OS (Classic)
Linux
It's unknown whether this game follows the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux. Please fill in this information.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\saves[Note 1]
macOS (OS X) ~/Library/Application Support/GOG.com/Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri/saves
Mac OS (Classic)
Linux

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy
Origin

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. v1.06 is included in version 3.4 of Yitzi's Unofficial Patch, but lacks an essential file and won't work properly unless you've already installed PRACX. You should probably install PRACX separately from its release thread. PRACX Release Thread. PRACX Source Code

PRACX + Official Alien Crossfire doesn't work, you need to install an unofficial patch first. Yitzi's 3.3 patch has been tested to work.

Edit Alpha Centauri.ini[citation needed]
  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]

Keyboard and mouse Native Notes
Remapping
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller
Controller support
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.

Audio settings[edit]

Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Subtitles
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
EAX support was added with 2.0 update[2]

Localizations

Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
German
GOG.com version is English only. German text/audio/video files have to be copied over from the retail version. Due to game values and display texts being in the same file, many unofficial patches will overwrite German retail files.

Network[edit]

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
Hot seat
Requires the v2.0 Update or later.[3]
LAN play
7
Online play
7

Issues fixed[edit]

The game hangs[edit]

Try the 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]

GOG.com recommends using Catalyst 13.4 or earlier but the game also works with 14.x or earlier.

Alt-Tab not functioning[edit]

Applies to GOG.com distribution only
Disable compatibility shim[4]
  1. Open a command prompt as administrator.
  2. cd <path-to-game>
  3. sdbinst -u goggame.sdb

Notes

  • The filename has changed since the fix was discovered.
  • If problems occur by removing the shim, it can be restored with sdbinst goggame.sdb using the similar process.


Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
64-bit executable

Modifications[edit]

Using SMAC/X Mod Manager[citation needed]

Allows the installations of mods for the game.

Source code of the mod manager can be found here
  1. Download the latest non-python version of the program here.
  2. Extract the content of the archive to another folder (not to the SMAC/X folder)
  3. Run SMACXLauncher.exe.
  4. Go to options tab and select location of SMAC/X folder. Allow mod manager to make a backup
  5. Put mods into mods directory. Make sure to follow the instructions located in the text file in the mods directory
  6. Enable them with the launcher by moving them to the right and clicking apply.
  7. If multiple mods are enabled, mods further down the list override any files that are also shared by mods earlier in the list

To remove mods:

  1. Launch SMACXLauncher.exe
  2. Move unwanted mods to the left.
  3. Click apply, then force.

smac-in-smax[edit]

Allows the content of the original game to be played in the SMAX engine.
Source code for the latest version can be found here
Allows SMAC to take advantage of the bugfixes and unofficial patches for the SMAX engines
Can use the mods that are designed for the SMAX engine.

SMACX Thinker Mod[edit]

An AI improvement mod for Alpha Centauri: Alien Crossfire.
This mod has been tested to work with the GOG version of Alpha Centauri.
The developer of the mod recommends the use of PRACX and smac-in-smax with this mod.
Increase Challenges in the Single-Player due to AI improvements
Provides many gameplay enhancements.
Includes the Scient patch v2.0.
May not be suitable for New Players due to increase difficulty
Network multiplayer is not supported[5]
Some custom scenario rules in "Edit Scenario Rules" menus are not fully supported.

SMACX AI Growth mod[edit]

Overhauls many game mechanics.
AI improvements that allow it to play better
Rebalance the various factions to make them work better with the improved AI.
Includes additional map sizes (80x160 and 128x256)
Compatible with the Scient patch v2.0
Other tweaks to gameplay are listed in the mods homepage.
Not fully compatible with some mods such as Yitzi unofficial patch
Does not support unofficial binary patches. Use the Unofficial Binary patches at your own risk.

System requirements[edit]

Windows
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95, 98
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 133 MHz
System memory (RAM) 16 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 60 MB
Video card (GPU) 2 MB of VRAM
macOS (OS X)
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 10.6.8
Processor (CPU) 1.8 GHz
System memory (RAM) 512 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 2 GB

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 When running this game without Administrator elevation, activity in %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMFILES(X86)%, and %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore\ (more details).

References