Author Topic: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn  (Read 40163 times)

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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PLEASE NOTE: This guide is outdated.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
    Official patches
    The Unofficial SMAC/SMAX patch

    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]
    • If you have the Planetary Pack or Laptop Collection, install both parts of that and skip to step 5
    • If you own the new sold out software pack, install the games separately and follow the instructions for owning SMAX. This version of the game comes with a form of SecuROM DRM, If you get any weird errors, please post here.
    • Grab your CD and install SMAC
    • If you have SMAX, install it now
    • [If you own the Planetary pack or Laptop pack] Install, in this order,  the SMAC Win 2000/XP Update and the unofficial patch.
      Move on to configuring Hamachi
    • [If you own SMAX] Install, in this order, the Alien Crossfire v2.0 update, the SMAC Win 2000/XP Update and the unofficial patch.
      Move on to configuring Hamachi
    • [If you don't own SMAX] Install, in this order, the SMAC v4.0 Update, the SMAC Win 2000/XP Update and the unofficial patch (obviously, you only need to use the terran.exe file if you do not have SMAX).
      Move on to configuring Hamachi
    Installing and configuring Hamachi
    [LIST=1]
    • Download and install Hamachi v1.0.3.0. Disable windows vulnerabilities at install time if you don't want other people to be able to access files shared on your computer.
    • Close Hamachi.
    • [In XP] Go to Control Panel > Network Connections > Advanced > Advanced Settings > Adapters and Bindings
      [In Vista or newer] Go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Centre > Manage Network Connections. Press ALT then go to Advanced > Advanced Settings > Adapters and Bindings
    • Move Hamachi to the top of the connections list using the green arrow on the right.
    • [Vista or newer only] Right click on the Hamachi network in Network Connection and select properties. On the networking tab disable (untick) TCP/IPv6 as in the image Hamachi.jpg
      Then go to the Networking and Sharing Center and ensure Hamachi appears as a private network. If it does not press Customise on the Hamachi entry and set to a private network. {Can someone who runs vista confirm these last two steps for me?}
    • Restart your PC.
    • Attempt to join a network via Hamachi, see the list below for some Alpha Centauri related networks.
    • Try to ping someone else in the group, if you can, ask them to ping you back (right click, chat).
    Playing a game:
    [LIST=1]
    • Join the same Hamachi network as those you want to play with.
    • Run Alpha Centauri
    • Select "Internet TCP/IP Connection For DirectPlay" from the multiplayer menu
    • Host: select host from the menu.
    • Other players: select join from the menu and either leave the box empty or input the hamachi IP of the host. Join the game by double clicking on the game name.
    • The host chooses the game settings and AI factions including handicaps (a lower difficulty level makes the game easier for that player, AI perform best at high difficulty levels. The global difficulty setting has no effect.)
    • Players press the green button next to their names to change their details and press the "mark ready" button to indicate they are happy with the game rules, factions, map etc.
    • Once everyone is ready, the host presses the launch game button and the game begins.
    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 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:
    • [network name], [password]
    • "Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri", "Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri"
    • "Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri b", "Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri b"
    • "Labyrynth", "Labyrynth"
    • "Sntml's Chaos Under the Big Dome", "garland"

    Useful modifications
    • The datalinks (in-game help) that come with SMAX are flawed and, in many places, incorrect; consider installing GooglyBoogly's Comprehensive Datalinks Update (SMAX only)
    • SMAC will always warn you when you play the game without the CD in the drive, this message may be useful once, but on the 100th viewing it begins to lose appeal. To remove this warning open Jackal.txt in your root alpha centauri directory and delete the section that starts #FILEFIND_NOCD. You may want to make a backup.
    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] [2].
    If you still have a problem ask in this forum (but not in this thread, your problem might get lost)

    • setup.exe won't run on the disc
      • Copy the programs folder off the disc (the folder that contains terran.exe) into an install directory of your choice. Rename it "Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri". Copy the fx, movies and voices folders from the disc into this root folder for a complete install.
        You can do this for both the SMAC disc and the SMAX disc, as long as you install SMAX after SMAC.
    • "terran(x).exe is not a valid win32 program"
      • Copy the orignal terran.exe and terranx.exe from the CD, this shouldn't occur after you've installed the patches.
    • "terran.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close"
      • This is a generic error and may mean a number of things. One solution may be to add the line "Directdraw=0" to the end of Alpha Centauri.ini (found in the root alpha centauri folder).

      This also has the effect of making the game use your normal desktop resolution (as set by windows) and of preventing you from alt tabbing at all. This fix should only be used in SMAX; directdraw=0 makes SMAC unplayable.
    • SMAC(X) won't start!
      • Edit the Alpha Centauri.ini (you will need to run either terran.exe or terranx.exe at least once to get this file) and add the line (without quotes): "ForceOldVoxelAlgorithm=0" to the end of the file.

      If this doesn't work and you are using Vista, try running terran(x).exe as administrator.
    • Hamachi cannot connect to the mediation server
      • Close Hamachi then go to %appdata% (just type that as the file path) and delete or rename the Hamachi folder there.

    • I still can't find the Adapters and Bindings settings in Vista
    • No one can ping me on hamachi
      • Your firewall is probably not configured correctly, or it may be blocking ICMP Ping requests, you may still be able to connect to games if the latter is true.

      To test whether the former is true, disable your firewall completely and attempt to connect to a game, if you can now connect and play a game correctly then your firewall is at fault. Go here to see whether there is documentation regarding Hamachi and your firewall.
    • I'm using COMODO Firewall and get dropped from games all the time
      • DirectPlay, the networking system used by SMAC and many games from its time fragments packets whenever they get above a certain size. COMODO blocks fragmented packets by default. Therefore, stop COMODO from blocking fragmented packets by opening the COMODO GUI, going to the firewall tab then advanced > attack detection settings > miscellaneous then disable (untick) "Block Fragmented IP datagrams". Everything should now work.
    • I am running Vista and cannot see games I know are hosted in SMAC(X)
      • You may not be able to connect to or see games hosted by XP users, try hosting yourself and getting others to join your game (XP users should be able to join your game).

    • I, or players joining my game, get a message telling us we do not share the same version
    • I've tried everything you've listed here and Hamachi still won't work
      • Are you sure that you did everything that I suggested?
        You're really sure? You tried disabling your firewall?
        Ok. There is another guide for Hamachi, a dark and terrible thing. You may find a solution to your problem there but it is also outdated and filled with information that is just plain wrong or simply not applicable to SMAC.
        Before you try anything from this guide, try asking the people of this forum for help first.
        Though, if you've tried everything else, then sure, go ahead.
    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).
    « Last Edit: June 03, 2016, 08:59:21 AM by DrazharLn »
    Anyone else feels like it's time to fix the faction graphics bug?

    Offline Geo

    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.


    Online Buster's Uncle

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    Bump - stickied threads have overpopulated the top of the page, but I want an easier time finding this when someone needs the info...

    Offline Petek

    Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
    « Reply #3 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.

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    Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
    « Reply #4 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.
    « Last Edit: September 21, 2013, 06:58:36 PM by BUncle »

    Offline Kirov

    Re: From installation to tcp/ip games; SMAC(X), Hamachi and you - by DrazharLn
    « Reply #5 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.

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    Bump.

    Offline Petek

    This is just a guess: When DrazharLn wrote his article in 2009, 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.)

    Offline Thaumasurge

    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/ 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.

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    Here's a brief, heavily-screenshotted, installation guide for W7, for what it's worth: http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=8731.0

    Offline mcshame

    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?


    Offline DrazharLn

    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.

    Offline DrazharLn

    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

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    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...

    Offline DrazharLn

    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.

     

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