Alpha Centauri 2

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire => The Theory of Everything => Topic started by: sisko on March 02, 2012, 07:47:49 AM

Title: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: sisko on March 02, 2012, 07:47:49 AM
From installation to TCP/IP games; Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri / Alien Crossfire, Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn

PLEASE NOTE: This guide is outdated. Just try gameranger. If that doesn't work, try a VPN service like Evolve. If that doesn't work, try this stuff.

Heading demanded by formatting OCD
I've had problems setting this up myself, with the benefit of hindsight, this was partly due to some problems individual to my PC. However, getting SMAC up and running for tcp/ip games from scratch is not an intuitive process, so I've written a guide.

Indirect Download links:
Hamachi v1.0.3.0 (http://www.filehippo.com/download_hamachi/4536)
Official patches (http://alphacentauri2.info/downloads/?cat=2)
The Unofficial SMAC/SMAX patch (http://alphacentauri2.info/downloads/?sa=view;down=27)

If you can't do part of these instructions, scroll down to the troubleshooting section at the bottom of this post.

Installing SMAC

N.B. If the CDs won't autorun then just open setup.exe on the disc. If that doesn't work check troubleshooting for an alternate solution.
[LIST=1]
Installing and configuring Hamachi
[LIST=1]
Playing a game:
[LIST=1]
It is worth noting at this point that there are a fair number of exploits and weird bugs in SMAC (until scient finishes his patch anyway). For this reason it is advisable that you agree amongst yourselves rules over these exploits as what some regard as a feature is to someone else an exploit. Some people may also be accidentally cheating.

For this reason bdanv proposed these rules (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=1519.0) for multiplayer games. You could do worse than to follow them. The potential of these exploits to be game breaking should not be underestimated.

If you intend to play competitively you must read these rules.

Two possible "exploits" in particular are very easy to use and are considered as valid tactics in as many circles as they are considered heinous crimes. Namely, reverse engineering and upgrading supply crawlers for use in rush buying secret projects. You should definitely decide before the game starts or in the first turn whether these are allowed or not.

Appendices

Hamachi networks:

Useful modifications
Troubleshooting

If you can't find the answer here, or the answer given here doesn't work, check out these two excellent FAQ threads: [1] (http://apolyton.net/forums/showthread.php?t=184375) [2] (http://apolyton.net/forums/showthread.php?t=143989).
If you still have a problem ask in this forum (but not in this thread, your problem might get lost)

If I have made a mistake anywhere in this guide, please correct me.
If you have anything to add to the guide please post your suggestion below and I will see about adding it.

Past changes:
22/12/09 - Added PP, LP info (thanks Petek); Useful Modifcations; Vista specific info. Reformatted and moved a lot of text. Fixed two links.
23/12/09 - Added rules, yet more reformatting (appendices), alternate language patches, more troubleshooting entries
??/??/?? - Added information on handicaps (thanks vyeh), changed COMODO specific firewall info (thanks mail2345), added Directdraw related troubleshooting thing (thanks ecmarine). Refinements (thanks Petek)
??/??/?? - Updated unofficial patch links to WPC
17/11/10 - Added warning, recommended gameranger, promised update.


SMAC can be played over Gameranger now but not on all Windows versions (needs testing).
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Geo on April 19, 2013, 09:33:44 PM
It looks like every url placed below the following text doesn't work:

Quote
[If you own the Planetary pack or Laptop pack] Install, in this order,  the SMAC Win 2000/XP Update and the unofficial patch.

Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Buster's Uncle on August 16, 2013, 02:07:13 AM
Bump - stickied threads have overpopulated the top of the page, but I want an easier time finding this when someone needs the info...
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Petek on September 21, 2013, 06:36:48 PM
I'd like to point out a possible problem that might occur when using the instructions in the section Installing SMAC in the first post in this thread. Also, some of the links need cleaning up.

One of the instructions calls for installing the SMAC v4.0 Update. Care must be taken when doing so, since the installer places the update in the folder C:\Program Files\Firaxis Games\Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. However, in all modern Windows OSs, SMAC is installed by default in C:\Program Files (x86)\Firaxis Games\Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. The default installation path has to be corrected, if necessary.

Also, some of the following links point to a firaxis.com page that no longer exists:

Alien Crossfire v2.0 update
SMAC Win 2000/XP Update
SMAC v4.0 Update

Finally, one link to the unofficial patch points to WPC. The link is broken.
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Buster's Uncle on September 21, 2013, 06:38:58 PM
Fixing now...



Done.  The problem with most of the links contained was that the post was originally made on a vB4 forum, and the link format was different enough to not work in SMF.   :-[  Everything should work properly now...  Thanks for the heads-up.
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Kirov on September 22, 2013, 10:50:00 PM
Can anyone tell me why the instructions above want us to disable TCPv6? I don't fully grasp it really.
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Buster's Uncle on April 24, 2014, 10:50:21 PM
Bump.
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Petek on April 24, 2014, 11:42:07 PM
This is just a guess: When DrazharLn wrote his article in 2009, IPv6 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPv6) wasn't in general use and probably wasn't supported by most home routers. (A new router that I received a few months ago was the first one of mine to support it.) Perhaps Hamachi didn't support IPv6 back then. Perhaps it still doesn't. I don't know.

(IPv6 came into existence because the old protocol, IPv4, was running out of addresses. IPv6 provides enough addresses to last for a long time.)
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Thaumasurge on January 09, 2015, 02:44:20 AM
TCP/IP games kick me back to the main menu when I try to join them. I finally found IPXWrapper, which allows Windows Vista on up to be capable of emulating IPX packets (the original LAN for this game). Provided that everyone is on Hamachi VPN, hosting an IPX connection game is far easier and more reliable without any additional mess.

All you need to do is download IPXWrapper from here - http://www.solemnwarning.net/ipxwrapper/ (http://www.solemnwarning.net/ipxwrapper/) and copy the contents into your SMAC folder. Run the registry file inside based on whatever version of Windows you have (I run both versions just to be safe) and restart your computer. If successful, SMAC/X should have IPX connection as a multiplayer option and you should have no trouble finding games provided you're all on the same Hamachi VPN.
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Buster's Uncle on July 05, 2015, 08:10:16 PM
Here's a brief, heavily-screenshotted, installation guide for W7, for what it's worth: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=8731.0 (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=8731.0)
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: mcshame on May 09, 2016, 04:44:18 AM
Is the method for on-line play the same today as posted on the 1st thread?  I'm looking to play against my son within the same home network.  Is there an easy way to do this?  Also, if I played against my son, can I play with 2 players alone or at worst fill the other slots with the AI players?

Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: DrazharLn on May 10, 2016, 01:53:09 PM
If you're within the same home network, you don't need to do anything complicated. In this case, the first post is only useful for some of the troubleshooting steps. In fact, the Hamachi instructions are pretty much superseded now that GameRanger works tolerably well (last tested >2 years ago, though).

Two easy approaches:
1. Download and install GameRanger on each PC, set up accounts, add each other as friends, host invites guest to a lobby, press play game - everything should work.

That's more steps, but it has the benefit that it should work across the wider internet, too.

If that doesn't work or you want a simpler life, do this:

2. Arbitrarily chose a host computer and find it's internal IP address (cmd.exe ipconfig, or go to the network and sharing centre and find it in the properties somewhere); start a tcp/ip game running as host on the host computer, start SMAC on the guest, select tcp/ip and enter the host's internal IP address. You should end up in a lobby.

In either case, you should have both versions of SMAC running the same .exe patches and using identical alpha(x).txt files. You're using the mod manager, so that should just be a case of enabling the same mods in the same order on both machines.

Oh, and don't use IPX, it's a dead protocol not supported by default on modern PCs.

Out of curiosity, I'll test both approaches when I'm back home in maybe +4 hours. I haven't used GameRanger in a few years, so I've no idea if it still works.
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: DrazharLn on May 10, 2016, 11:05:04 PM
I didn't bother testing GameRanger, but tcp/ip between windows machines seems to work fine.

Can't get it to work with WINE in linux, though, even with DirectPlay installed. Not something I'll look into right now.

You can certainly fill the extra slots in the game with AI, in fact, you have to make a scenario to get rid of them. (Or you can use one of Firaxis' included scenarios, check out the Faction v Faction folder, for example)

In MP games, each player normally starts with a single base at 3 population, a colony pod, a scout and a former, but you can of course start with whatever stuff you want if you're making the scenario. If you don't want to see the map before you play, post in the Command Nexus with a request for a map, saying what factions and map parameters you want. If none of the CMNs are around to help you, I'll generate a quick map for you (but they know more about it than me).

Alternatively, we probably have some good 2P scenarios in our Altera Centauri collection, but it's not very well indexed. Searching for "2 player" I found one of Darsnan's old scenarios, it might be too difficult, but then, maybe you want to team up with your son?

http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=8516.msg47864#msg47864 (http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=8516.msg47864#msg47864)
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Buster's Uncle on May 11, 2016, 12:39:16 AM
I'm open to suggestions about better indexing of those scenarios.  ISTR just posting them in the order Darsnan did...

If you're talking about our search function -as is seemingly a forum tradition, ours isn't very good- but you'd know better than I what can and can't be done about that...
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: DrazharLn on May 11, 2016, 02:13:20 AM
Well, I'd like to be able to pick scenarios out based on:

* Number of players
* Difficulty
* Vanilla or modded
* Author

This might be another thing to plug into the repo program I'm building out of the mod manager.
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Buster's Uncle on May 11, 2016, 02:43:08 AM
...That would be a lot of meticulous work for the index thread I never caught up on, but it's only less than 90 scenarios, IIRC, and I'll put that in the mental rolodex to get to for my next bored-for-a-project-and-manic spell unless someone beats me to it.  Tedious work, but totally doable given time and will - for a valuable content asset we host, value added...

Your thing with the auto-sorting would be great - sounds like something a business database-type program would sort with ease once someone took the time to enter what information was with each scenario.  You'd know better than I how easy or hard something like that would be to code; it would require not-many fields apiece for this.
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: DrazharLn on May 11, 2016, 08:26:11 AM
I think most of it should be automatable.

Can tell if it's modded or not if the download is more than just a scenario, player count will be in the scenario file somewhere. Difficulty I can't predict. Author might be scrapable from the posts, but a good default would just be to set Darsnan as author for everything and fix the few wrong'uns.
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Buster's Uncle on May 11, 2016, 01:54:38 PM
He gave author if he could find out - site of original post, always, a lot of the kind of things you're looking for - one of us will have to look at a few threads to get a better idea, and I don't know how hard he tried for information while he was searching and processing so many...
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: DrazharLn on May 11, 2016, 03:57:07 PM
Added to my todo list for after I finish the revised mod manager.

As an extra attribute, it might be good to support ratings or something? I dunno.
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Buster's Uncle on May 11, 2016, 04:24:17 PM
...That last would require either the compiler doing a lot of playtesting of a LOT of scenarios and publishing a personal snap judgment, or just as unlikely, alas, a lot of audience feedback...
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: DrazharLn on May 11, 2016, 04:38:37 PM
I was imagining putting a button in the manager to rate or recommend a mod or something, but yeah, audience is probably too small.
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: Buster's Uncle on May 11, 2016, 07:12:44 PM
Put the button in anyway - not a lot of lines of code, is it?  You never know...

(I think have the rating line only appear if there's a 'recommend'.  "One user recommends this" -or more- is not nothing, but "0 users recommend this" could end up being self-reinforcing.)
Title: Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
Post by: DrazharLn on May 11, 2016, 07:35:20 PM
Agree