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Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

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What is Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri?

Sid Meier's Alpha centauri is a game, it came out 02/12/1999

it was later ported to both OSX, mac OS, and Linux.

more specifically it's a strategy game, one similar to but incredibly different than Civilization, in some ways it was Civilization 2.5.

here is a bit about the game's Lore as taken from wikipedia.


Space-race victories in the Civilization series conclude with a journey to Alpha Centauri.[2] Beginning with that premise the Alpha Centauri narrative starts in the 22nd century, after the United Nations sends "Unity", a colonization mission, to Alpha Centauri's planet Chiron ("Planet").[3] Unbeknownst to humans, advanced extraterrestrials ("Progenitors") had been conducting experiments in vast distributed nervous systems, culminating in planetary biosphere-sized presentient nervous system ("Manifold") on Chiron, leaving behind monoliths and artifacts on Planet to guide and examine the system's growth.[4] Immediately prior to the start of the game, a reactor malfunction on the Unity spacecraft wakes the crew and colonists early and irreparably severs communications with Earth.[5] After the captain is assassinated, the most powerful leaders on board build ideological factions with dedicated followers, conflicting agendas for the future of mankind, and "desperately serious" commitments.[5][6] As the ship breaks up, seven escape pods, each containing a faction, are scattered across Planet.[7]

In the Alien Crossfire expansion pack, it is learned that earlier alien experiments had led to disastrous consequences at Tau Ceti, creating a hundred-million-year evolutionary cycle that ended with the eradication of most complex animal life in several neighbouring inhabited star systems.[8] After the disaster (referred to by Progenitors as "Tau Ceti Flowering"), the Progenitors split into two factions: Manifold Caretakers, opposed to further experimentation and dedicated to preventing another Flowering; and Manifold Usurpers, favoring further experimentation and intending to induce a controlled Flowering in Alpha Centauri 's Planet. In Alien Crossfire, these factions compete along with the human factions for control over the destiny of Planet.


The game focuses on the leaders of seven factions, chosen by the player from the 14 possible leaders in Alpha Centauri and Alien Crossfire, and Planet (voiced by Alena Kanka).[9] The characters are developed from the faction leaders' portraits, the spoken monologues accompanying scientific discoveries and the "photographs in the corner of a commlink – home towns, first steps, first loves, family, graduation, spacewalk."[10] The leaders in Alpha Centauri comprise: Lady Deirdre Skye, a Scottish activist (voiced by Carolyn Dahl), of Gaia's Stepdaughters, Chairman Sheng-Ji Yang, a Chinese official (voiced by Lu Yu), of the Human Hive, Academician Prokhor Zakharov, a Russian academic (voice by Yuri Nesteroff) of the University of Planet, CEO Nwabudike Morgan, a Namibian businessman (voiced by Regi Davis), of Morgan Industries, Colonel Corazon Santiago, a Puerto Rican militiawoman (voiced by Wanda Niño), of the Spartan Federation, Sister Miriam Godwinson, an American minister and social psychologist (voiced by Gretchen Weigel), of the Lord's Believers, and Commissioner Pravin Lal, an Indian surgeon and diplomat (voiced by Hesh Gordon), of the Peacekeeping Forces.[9][11] The seven additional faction leaders in Alien Crossfire are Prime Function Aki Zeta-Five, a Norwegian research assistant-turned-cyborg (voiced by Allie Rivenbark), of The Cybernetic Consciousness, Captain Ulrik Svensgaard, an American fisherman and naval officer (voiced by James Liebman), of The Nautilus Pirates, Foreman Domai, an Australian labor leader (voiced by Frederick Serafin), of The Free Drones, Datajack Sinder Roze, a Trinidadian hacker (voiced by Christine Melton), of The Data Angels, Prophet Cha Dawn, a human born on Planet (voiced by Stacy Spenser) of The Cult of Planet, Guardian Lular H'minee, a Progenitor leader (voiced by Jeff Gordon) of The Manifold Caretakers, and Conqueror Judaa Maar, a Progenitor leader (voiced by Jeff Gordon) of The Manifold Usurpers.[12][13][14]

The player controls one of the leaders and competes against the others to colonize and conquer Planet.[6] The Datalinks (voiced by Robert Levy and Katherine Ferguson) are minor characters who provide information to the player.[9][15] Each faction excels at one or two important aspects of the game and follows a distinct philosophical belief, such as technological utopianism, environmentalism, capitalism, militarism, anti-authoritarianism, piracy, classic liberalism, or the Gaia philosophy.[12][16] The game takes place on the last "character", Planet, with its "rolling red ochre plains", and "bands of lonely terraformed green".[17]


The story unfolds via the introduction video, explanations of new technologies, videos obtained for completing secret projects, interludes, and cut-scenes.[2] The native life consists primarily of simple wormlike alien parasites and a type of red fungus that spreads rapidly via spores.[12] The fungus is difficult to traverse, provides invisibility for the enemy, provides few resources, and spawns "mindworms" that attack population centres and military units by neurally parasitising them.[18] Mindworms can eventually be captured and bred in captivity and used as terroristic bioweapons,[19] and the player eventually discovers that the fungus and mindworms can think collectively.[19] Soon the player dreams of a voice.[20] This voice later intrudes into waking moments, threatening more attacks if the industrial pollution and terraforming by the colonists is not reversed.[18][21] The player discovers that Planet is a dormant semi-sentient hive organism that will soon experience a metamorphosis which will destroy all human life.[22][23] To counter this threat, the player or a computer faction builds "The Voice of Alpha Centauri" secret project, which artificially links Planet's distributed nervous system into the human Datalinks, delaying Planet's metamorphosis into full self-awareness but incidentally increasing its ultimate intelligence substantially by giving it access to all of humanity's accumulated knowledge.[24][25][26] Finally, the player or a computer faction embraces the "Ascent to Transcendence" in which humans too join their brains with the hive organism in its metamorphosis to "godhood".[27]Thus, Alpha Centauri closes "with a swell of hope and wonder in place of the expected triumphalism", reassuring "that the events of the game weren’t the entirety of mankind’s future, but just another step."[17]

now as I mentioned earlier the game is similar to Civilization, in fact a lot of the stuff developed for it would later go on to being used in later titles in that series especially in Civ 3 and 4.

the game plays using a grid based system rather than hexagons, typical of the time.

there is a very wide and complex tech tree, and you can customize and develop your own units using whatever tech becomes available to you.

the game looks like this after you land.

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to start with you pick one of 8 factions which you will be competing with for control over the planet, not including the planet's own native life which is also attacking you (and you thought those barbarians were bad?)

there are a total of 15 factions if you include the expansion pack here is a synopsis of each.

Quote:Original Alpha Centauri factions

Spartan Federation

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True to its namesake, the militaristic Spartan faction places the highest priority on strength, discipline and combat readiness. Colonel Corazón Santiago, a survivalist from Puerto Rico, and a UNS Unity Security officer, leads the faction, and led the initial mutiny aboard ship. Spartan units receive morale upgrades (making them better fighters) and their disciplined society is naturally tolerant of martial law, allowing two military units to help suppress a colony's drones. The Spartans' skilled military expertise allows them to build prototype units without extra mineral cost. However, the society's devotion to military imposes a 10% penalty to industrial production. The Spartans prefer the Power social engineering choice and may not pursue Wealth, all the while remaining wary of those who don't choose an emphasis on Power. They make Planetfall with the Doctrine: Mobility technology. The Spartans are likely to press vendetta against the University.[1]

Gaia's Stepdaughters

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The Gaians are a faction that values living in ecological harmony with Planet and abhors ecological destruction, particularly after the way humanity left Earth. They are led by Lady Deirdre Skye (Unity officer in charge of hydroponics) of Free Scotland. The Gaians make planetfall with the technology Centauri Ecology. The Gaians' ecological safeguards allow them to avoid ecological damage and to capture native mind worms (they also automatically succeed on their first attempt to capture a mind worm), and their experience with lifecycles and recycling gives them an efficiency bonus. The Gaians also receive one extra nutrient from fungal squares and their infantry units can move through xenofungus with reduced movement penalties. The Gaians are pacifistic and freedom-loving, giving rise to their weaknesses: low troop morale and a lower tolerance for policing. The Gaians prefer Green economics and may not use a Free Market system in social engineering, and look upon Planned economics as little better - which usually leads them to bitter hostilities with the Morganites, the Spartans, and the Hive.[1]

University of Planet

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A technocratic faction that values knowledge and scientific advancement above all else, including ethics. The University is led by Academician Prokhor Zakharov of Russia, Unity's chief science officer. The University makes planetfall with Information Networks, as well as one other level 1 technology of the player's choice. The brilliant researchers of the University allow it to discover new technologies 20% faster than normal, but the openness of their academic networks leaves them prone to infiltration from other factions' probe teams. Every University base comes equipped with aNetwork Node base facility for free (nodes boost research by another 50% and allow the base to study alien artifacts, and have other benefits related to certain secret projects). Due to the University's lack of ethics in regards to research and experimentation, the faction suffers from more drones, representing the underclasses' discontent with and distrust of their amoral, well-educated leaders.

Peacekeeping Forces

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This faction works hard to keep the peace through diplomacy and maintaining the United Nations charter. Led by Commissioner Pravin Lal of India, the UNS Unity's Chief Medical Officer and third-in-command after its arrival in the Alpha Centauri system, the Peacekeepers make planetfall with the technology Biogenetics.[1] The United Nations-style bureaucracy of the faction causes them to have a negative efficiency rating, but the Peacekeepers attract intellectual elites. Peacekeeper colonies may grow two sizes beyond normal population restrictions. In votes for Planetary Governor and Supreme Leader, Lal's experience with politics means the Peacekeepers' votes are doubled. The Peacekeepers favor democratic politics and may not use a police state government in social engineering, and neither are they keen on religious dogma thanks to their liberal universalist tendencies. As a result, they tend to go to war with the Hive and the Believers, who favor these forms of government.[2]

Human Hive

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A totalitarian faction founded on the principles of security and control, probably based on Legalism. They are controlled by Chairman Sheng-Ji Yang of Great China, the former Executive Officer (second-in-command) for the Unity mission, who tends to see his people as only being of value if they contribute to the growth of society.[1][2] The Hive makes planetfall with the technologyDoctrine: Loyalty. The Hive has its growth rate boosted by 10% and its brutal serfdom decreases the mineral cost of units and facilities by 10%; however, the lack of political freedom causes each base to generate one fewer unit of energy per turn. The Chairman is the proverbial "incorruptible man", and watches his subordinates closely for any sign of laziness or corruption, with him and his immediate circle of advisers in command - thanks to this, the Hive has an immunity to inefficiency caused by social engineering choices; this greatly bolsters the Police State government favored by Yang as it removes negative side effects caused by that choice. The Hive may not use a Democratic government, and is wary of religious hyperbole. This may lead the Hive into conflict with the Peacekeeping, Gaian, and Believing factions.[2]

During development, this faction was named "The Labyrinth" and had a stronger scientific inclination, before being changed to "The Hive" in the final release; however, one of their bases is still called The Labyrinth. In the pre-release version of the game, the Hive's belief in the greater good greatly raised the morale of Yang's army; however, this is not present in the final version of SMAC or the SMAX expansion pack.

Lord's Believers

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A fundamentalist faction wary of secular technology, led by Sister Miriam Godwinson (Unity's chaplain) from the Christian States of America.[1] The Believers make planetfall with the technologySocial Psych.[3] The Believers' convictions give them a 25% attack bonus as well as increasing the morale of their Probe Teams and their ability to resist enemies' probe attempts.[3] Their eagerness to defend their faith allows each colony to support up to four units without cost of minerals. Because the Believers feel that Chiron is their promised land, ecological tensions are increased and production of resources in fungal squares is decreased. The Believers are also skeptical of secular technology, thus their research rate is decreased by 20% and they may not accumulate any research points in the first ten years on Chiron. The Believers prefer Fundamentalist government and may not use Knowledge as a social engineering choice, and for reasons best known to themselves become very upset with neighboring Democratic and Police states; Sister Miriam generally decries them as "Godless". While the game was being coded, this faction was named "The Conclave" before being changed to "The Believers" in the final release. Their founding base is named New Jerusalem. The AI behavior of the Believers tends toward aggression and forceful actions to get what they want. Because they cannot gain technology at the rate of most of the other factions, the Believers prefer to deploy large numbers of technologically inferior troops, overwhelming their foes by force of numbers or relying on probe teams to seize research data.

Morgan Industries

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A corporate capitalistic faction, led by self-made mogul and diamond tycoon Nwabudike Morgan (whose company funded the Unity mission, and had a secret, private sleeping pod installed on the ship for him) of Namibia.[1] The Morganites make planetfall with the technology Industrial Base and an additional 100 energy credits.[3] Because they are an industrial conglomerate, and thus skilled in matters of economy and production, they receive an energy bonus in social engineering - an extra unit of energy in each base, and one energy per square and even larger bonuses if this is combined with social engineering values such as Free Market or Wealth. However, because of the faction's followers' expensive tastes and demand for creature comforts, Morganite units have high mineral maintenance costs and colonies cannot exceed population size four until the Hab Complex Facility is built (the default is seven). The Morganites receive extra energy from commerce due to their marketing and trade expertise. They prefer Free Market economics and may not choose a Planned economy in social engineering, and find that Green economics 'hinder the just and proper flow of capital'.[2]

Morganites can easily make astronomical profits with the right social engineering, but while doing so cannot effectively maintain a large army due to their support penalties (at least not until the invention of clean reactors, which erase support costs for military units using them). Like any other faction of course Morgan has quite enough social engineering choices to raise the Support rating, or he can increase production and build more bases. It may be worth mentioning (in the biggest understatement of all time) that Probe Teams have no support costs. Really big armies are just a magnet for Planet Busters anyway.[3]

Alien Crossfire factions

Cult of Planet

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Fanatical worshipers of Planet. Led by Prophet Cha Dawn, who is believed to be a physical manifestation of the "Voice of Planet". The Cult makes planetfall with the technologies Social Psych andCentauri Ecology as well as a Mind Worm boil. Because the Cult is devoted to promoting the growth of Chiron's Environment they cause less eco damage and have a greater ability to capture Mind Worms than any other faction, including Gaia's Stepdaughters, but it also causes the mineral cost of units and facilities to be increased by 10% as they are reluctant to pollute the environment. The Headquarters of the Cult no longer receives an extra unit of energy as their disinterest in material wealth makes them less focused on their economy. Once the Cult discovers the technologyCentauri Genetics every base becomes equipped with a Brood Pit facility. Due to the fear and reverence for the native life possessed by Dawn and his followers, Mind Worms are twice as effective at police duty, quelling drone numbers by two. The Cult may not use Wealth as a choice in social engineering because of their disinterest in material goods. Their founding base is Dawn of Planet. Social benefits (+2 planet, -1 industry, -1 economy).

The Cult's Green tendencies tend to put them at odds with Morgan Industries, and frequently the Free Drones along with both alien factions. The journey of the Cult is seldom a smooth one.

Cybernetic Consciousness

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A race of cyborgs (in fact, "Cyborgs" is a common nickname for this faction) led by Aki-Zeta 5 (Prime Function Shell), formerly Aki Luttinen of Norway. The Consciousness makes planetfall with the technologies Information Networks and Applied Physics. The Consciousness' cybernetics allow it greater efficiency and increased research capacities, so it discovers new technologies 20% faster. The downside of the Consciousness is that, because the citizens are humans "possessed by algorithms", they find reproduction awkward, thus lowering their growth rate by 10%. Due to their computer integration, when the Consciousness seizes control of a base it is able to download the files containing one tech known to the former owners of the base before the base system goes offline from the rest of the enemy grid. The Consciousness may not use a Fundamentalist government in social engineering because its ideologies seem to be in conflict with those of religion. However, it may use a Cybernetic future society with no ill effects: it is the logical choice, and thus it causes no discontent. This faction views both Eudaimonic and Thought Control societies as irrational. Its founding base is Alpha Prime. Social benefits (+2 efficiency, +2 research, -1 growth).

The Consciousness is an unusual case in that its preference is usually a late-game advance, which means you can establish a flourishing trade relationship with it, but as soon as the opportunity to become Cybernetic presents itself and you do not take it, it will become increasingly wary—eventually breaking contact altogether.

Data Angels

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Hackers and crackers, experts at espionage activity. Their leader is Datajack Sinder Roze of Trinidad. The Angels make planetfall with the technologies Information Networks and Planetary Networks as well as a Probe Team. Because the Angels are highly motivated computer specialists, their Probe Teams gain a morale upgrade and any enemy Probe Team action costs double, while the cost of their actions is reduced by 25%; however because they are decentralized and have anarchist tendencies, they have a social engineering penalty in police control, an immediate effect being the lack of the ability to nerve staple. If any three factions of which the Angels have an infiltrator discover a technology, then the Angels will automatically discover the technology as well, due to their wide-ranged covert activities. Once the Angels discover Pre-Sentient Algorithms, a technology based on adaptive neural net heuristics, each base comes with a free Covert Ops Center. This raises the morale of Probe Teams and is supposed to make all colonies and units immune to mind control; however, due to a glitch in the game it lowers the cost of mind control against the Angels. A possible workaround for this is to change the Angels' faction file so that they receive 1 Probe instead of 2 Probe as their faction ability, or perhaps halve the penalty of choosing the intellectual social engineering choice known as Knowledge, and favor Democratic politics over other forms. The Angels may not use Power in social engineering as they prefer covert warfare over direct conflict. Their founding base is Data DeCentral. Social benefits (+2 probe, -1 police).

The Angels can usually be found in conflict with The Hive and The Believers (often allied with the Peacekeepers, although not always). One of the Angel bases is called the Googleplex.

Free Drones

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An industrial, socialist civilization that promises to be heaven to all workers, led by Foreman Domai of Australia. The Drones make planetfall with the technology Industrial Base. Because the Drones are composed of the lower class of other factions, they are skilled workers and can complete units, facilities and secret projects at 20% less mineral cost. Being of a lower class and more focused on productivity and distaste for blue skies research, though, their research suffers, making them discover new technologies 20% slower than the normal rate. Because of the opportunities for malcontents offered by the Free Drones, drones of other factions that overthrow their masters are more likely to join them than other factions. Also, Free Drone colonies have one fewer drone than usual. The Drones may not use Green economics in social engineering because they do not see the value in ecology-based economics, while their eventual goal is to create a Eudaimonicsociety. Their founding base is Free Drone Central. Social benefits (+2 industry, -2 research).

Their only natural adversary is the Consciousness, although the Drones frequently make industry-enhancing choices, thus putting them at odds with both the Gaians and the Cult, as well as Morgan Industries (presumably due to class conflict). The Drones often have a better relationship with the aliens than some of the other factions.

Nautilus Pirates

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A seafaring civilization, led by Captain Ulrik Svensgaard, of Gloucester, MA, USA [1]. The Pirates make planetfall with the technologies Doctrine: Mobility and Doctrine: Flexibility as well as a unitygunship and a sea colony pod as opposed to the land-based units that other factions receive. (As a side effect to this, starting a new game with Nautilus Pirates as one of the factions on a custom map without water may cause Alien Crossfire to crash.) Because of the Pirates' sea life, they are more inefficient and spend less time focused on families, causing their colonies to grow 10% slower than normal. Because they are skilled shipwrights, each base comes equipped with a Naval Yard upon discovery of the technology Doctrine: Initiative, and every ship is considered to have the marine Detachment special ability on discovery of the technology Adaptive Doctrine. In addition, a unit defending a sea base with a Naval Yard has a 100% defense bonus. Due to their advanced oceanic technology, prototypes for the Sea Colony Pod and Sea Formers are free. Due to their culture being adapted to sea life, they receive one extra mineral in ocean shelf squares and upon discovery of Advanced Ecological Engineering they may build terrain enhancements in ocean and ocean trench squares. The Pirates may use all forms of social engineering, but are wary of others making the Knowledge or Wealth choices. Their founding base is Safe Haven. Social benefits (-1 growth, -1 efficiency).

The Pirates are almost identical in ideology to the Spartan Federation, and as such frequently at odds with the University.

Manifold Caretakers

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A Progenitor (alien) race that seeks to protect the Sixth Manifold (Chiron) and to prevent the process of transcendence. They are led by Guardian Lular H'minee. The Caretakers make planetfall five years after the human factions with the technologies Progenitor Psych, Centauri Ecology, Field Modulation, Information Networks and Biogenetics as well as an extra Colony Pod and a Battle Ogre Mk I. Because the Caretakers understand the inner workings of the Sixth Manifold, they are able to avoid causing as much ecological damage and they can capture mind worms. Due to their ability to sense and manipulate the resonance fields around them, they gain a 25% defensive bonus and all prototyped units have a two-square sighting range. The increased infrastructure of the Caretakers makes all bases considered to have a Recycling Tank as well as an Energy Grid which generates more energy based on the number of facilities at the base, but prevents the base from engaging in commerce to generate energy. They also possess a physical scan of Chiron from when their ships were in the skies above Chiron. Furthermore, because they are rediscovering lost technology, they have the ability to direct their research. As an alien faction, the Caretakers cannot take part in Planetary Council meetings, thus making Diplomatic victory an impossibility. The alien factions also permanently have vendetta status against each other, to limit the effectiveness of their tremendous advantages against human factions. Alien factions can perform a Progenitor Victory, in which the faction builds several transmitters in different bases to call the rest of its alien fleets to obliterate the opposing factions. Additionally, because the Manifold Caretakers are seeking to prevent the process of transcendence, they cannot perform a victory by transcendence (however, a bug in Alpha Centauri allows the Manifold Caretakers to achieve such a victory; more details below). The Caretakers may use any form of social engineering, although they seem to favor a Planned economic model. Social benefits (+1 planet).

Often seen at odds with Morgan Industries due to economic differences.

Manifold Usurpers

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A Progenitor (alien) race that seeks to exploit the power of the Sixth Manifold by forcing the process of transcendence. Their leader is Conqueror Judaa Maar. The Usurpers make planetfall five years after the human factions with the technologies Progenitor Psych, Centauri Ecology, Field Modulation, Applied Physics and Biogenetics as well as an extra Colony Pod and a Battle Ogre Mk I. Because of the Usurpers' warlike culture, their troops receive a morale upgrade. Also, because they exploit the Sixth Manifold for their purposes, their colonies grow 10% faster than normal, but they cause more eco-damage and produce fewer resources in fungus squares. Due to their ability to sense and manipulate the resonance fields around them, they gain a 25% offensive bonus and all prototyped units have a two-square sighting range. The increased infrastructure of the Usurpers makes all bases considered to have a Recycling Tank as well as an Energy Grid which generates more energy based on the number of facilities at the base, but prevents the base from engaging in commerce to generate energy. They also possess a physical scan of Chiron from when their ships were in the skies above Chiron. Because they are rediscovering lost technology, they have the ability to direct their research. As an alien faction, the Usurpers cannot take part in Planetary Council meetings, thus making Diplomatic victory an impossibility. Also, the alien factions permanently have VENDETTA status (essentially "war" status) against each other, to limit the effectiveness of their tremendous advantages against human factions. However, alien factions can perform a Progenitor Victory, in which the faction builds several transmitters in different bases to call the rest of its alien fleets to obliterate the opposing factions. The Usurpers may not use Democratic in social engineering, although this is not listed in the faction info, and favor a Planned economy. Social benefits (+1 growth, +1 morale, -1 planet).

Basically the same as the Caretakers, but with the added twist (for both alien factions) that an ally of the opposing faction is barred from making any kind of treaties with your faction. e.g.: The Hive has contacted both the Caretakers and Usurpers, but because they met the Caretakers first and signed a trade pact with them, the Usurpers cannot enter into any agreement with the Hive who will now be viewed with intense suspicion by the Usurpers.


"No icon/leader portrait"

The hidden eighth faction, the Firaxians, can be accessed by opening the Faction Editor, going to "Load Faction", and either typing in "sid" (to set Sid Meier as faction leader) or "brian" (to set Brian Reynolds as faction leader) as the faction to load. Once loaded and saved, the Firaxians can be added to a game. The Firaxians do not start the game with any positive or negative societal traits, but receive one free technology - Singularity Mechanics, allowing them to build units with singularity engines from the start of the game.

the music was also really great in this game, so to end the article I will post a link to a video with some of the in game music.

anyway you can pick up the game at GOG for something like $5 usd or your regional equivilent, for windows/OSX, or should you wish, you can hunt down a copy of the linux version (I have one but I'm not selling it!)

pm me if you have the linux version and I'll link you to details on how to get it running on a modern distro, it's not difficult, but finicky sometimes.

SpookyZalost, Signing off!
"I reject your reality and subsitute my own." - Adam Savage, Mythbusters

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wow !!

the most incredible game postings ever for sure !

and its about one of the best games ever made too

Fantastic stuff here Smile 

Mod edit: real-life name removed at user request. Please avoid using real life names in the forums unless you're sure they'd be okay with it
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