Author Topic: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)  (Read 9830 times)

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Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« on: March 23, 2012, 12:45:51 PM »
This thread is still work-in-progress..



By Chris Jensen, Doug Radcliffe and Elliott Chin
Design by Ethan O'Brien
source: Gamespot - no longer available.
    
    
This guide:
* Details the basics of exploration, facility and unit construction, science and technology, and the military.
* Reveals the strategic possibilities of Alpha Centauri
* Offers advanced tactics for maximizing city growth,
* Provides the how-to for social, political, and economic, engineering
* Explains the values system so you maxamize every aspect of play - from terraforming to designing custom units
* Covers every faction, technology, base facility, secret project, and basic unit building block.
* Discusses multiplayer games, with both setup issues and multiplayer strategies.
* Shows you how to modify the Alpha Centauri rules, create cutsom factions, and make your own maps and scenarios.


Introduction
As with all grand strategy games that challenge you to forge a world-spanning empire, in Alpha Centauri the road to victory is a long and arduous, but not without its benefits. In a game of such magnificent scope and depth, the journey is every bit as rewarding as the ending. And that journey can be as beguiling as the alien fauna that populates the harsh, new world of Alpha Centauri.

Your paths to world domination or technological superiority are many and varied. However, just in case you find the journey to be more daunting task than you surmised, and the goal a little beyond your grasp, we offer you a map to speed you on your journey.

Alpha Centauri begins with nothing but discord and strife between the new citizens of the planet. Your efforts will hopefully restore order and unity, with you at the head of this new empire. The path you take is up to you, but this guide will ensure you have no trouble getting there, no matter which path you choose to become the master of Alpha Centauri.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 01:48:10 PM by sisko »
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Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2012, 12:52:50 PM »
Part 1: Leadership Academy

Chapter 1: Exploration
All great adventures begin with exploration. Safely away from the mutiny on the U.N. Starship Unity, your faction arrives on Planet with little more than a colony pod and only a few squares of landscape visible to you. What lurks beyond your initial borders will remain a mystery until you venture forth like a modern-day Christopher Columbus and examine the world around you. Are you secluded on a small island? Did you happen to land on a large continent rich with resources? Are you surrounded by competing factions? You must answer many questions if you intend to be the supreme leader of Planet, and the act of exploration is your gateway to answering them.

First City
When Alpha Centauri begins, your colony pod will land on Planet in a random location, in turn creating your first city. It is from this initial starting point that your empire in the making will begin to branch out into unexplored territory. This initial location will have a tremendous impact in the early stages of the game.

Since your first city is founded in a random location, you may be at an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your immediate surroundings. For instance, if you see no water around you, you may be placed in the middle of a large continent somewhere, or the ocean could simply be just a few tiles away. Of primary importance are the abundance of resources within reach of your initial base; the more resources you have, the quicker your city will grow, the more research you can conduct, and the more units you can build, and so on. Lacking abundant resources at the outset of the game means your development will be stunted. What to do? Explore!

Scout Patrol
Now that the colony pod is safely on land and has been recycled into your first city, your initial plan of action should be to explore as much of the surrounding territory as possible. Fortunately, your new city comes with a prebuilt scout patrol, a unit with weak offensive and defensive abilities. The scout patrol is intended for exploration and not warfare - though it can hold its own against the occasional mind worm attack (mind worms are indigenous life forms on Planet that don't appreciate all these new visitors invading their home).

     
   
Build a few rovers early and explore the map as thoroughly and quickly as possible.


Scout Patrol Vision
Your initial scout patrol is capable of viewing terrain one map tile in every direction. Since it begins at your base no new territory will be visible, as a city is capable of viewing two tiles in every direction. However, once you pick a direction and move your scout patrol, new terrain will emerge, and the mystery of your location will slowly unfold.

TIP
The more scout patrols you have blanketing the area, the better. While you get one free patrol at the outset of the game, you should have your base manufacture at least two more so you can uncover hidden territory with much more speed.


What Am I Looking For?
You should be on the lookout for several things when moving your scout patrol:
* Resources for new cities
* Other faction leaders
* Supply pods and monoliths.

Let's take a look at each and see why it is important.

Resources for New Cities
You'll never get anywhere in Alpha Centauri if you don't branch out and create new cities. You can bet the competing factions are actively seeking out new territory, expanding their bases, and funneling every last resource into the creation of new military units and technological discoveries. At the outset of the game, you may be surrounded by factions that are staking their claim in territory perilously close to your base. You should uncover as much hidden terrain as possible as fast as you can, hopefully discovering new regions that would be suitable for a strong city.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 02:00:36 PM by sisko »
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Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2012, 01:41:31 PM »
City Sweetspots
Finding valuable locations for new cities is of primary importance. If a city lacks valuable resources, don't expect the city to evolve into a super power any time soon. Important elements for a city and its growth can be broken down into three categories:
* Nutrients
* Minerals
* Energy.
     

Manage the tiles around you efficiently so you get the most nutrients, minerals, and energy out of your surrounding city squares.
    

Nutrients are your food supply. Without nutrients, your city will not grow in population. Without population growth, the city will be at a loss for workers, and without workers you can't do very much, so having a food supply is critical.

Tiles that have grassy plains will produce more food than a hilly flatland, and tiles infested with xenofungus produce no food whatsoever unless the fungus is removed by terraforming. Having a city next to water is an excellent way to ensure future growth, as sea formers (units that can terraform water tiles) can plant kelp forests that are rich in nutrients. However, since sea formers are still a ways away in the early goings of the game, you should concentrate more on land tiles than water in the beginning of the game.

TIP
The greener a terrain tile is, the more rainfall it sustains. The more rain it receives, the more food it is capable of producing.


Minerals are required for your city, so it can produce new units and create an infrastructure. Without minerals, your city can grow in population (if it has nutrients), but can't build anything, ultimately making it all but useless. Minerals are extracted from rocks, so the more rocks you see on a tile square, the more minerals it can produce. You can turn a mineral barren tile into a mineral producing one by building certain enhancements (like mines or forests) on the square. This is called terraforming and will be covered at length in Chapter 6.

Energy is used for research and supporting your labs. The more energy you produce, the faster you can evolve your city and empire with new technologies and base enhancements. The primary factor for determining a good energy tile is its elevation. The higher the tile, the more energy it will produce (especially when a solar collector is built there later in the game).

TIP
A tile will produce one energy unit for every 1,000 meters of height. Therefore, a tile at 3,000 meters will produce three energy units.

Recap
* Nutrients are produced in wet, grassy squares.
* Minerals are produced in rocky squares.
* Energy is produced at high elevations.

With this in mind, your scout patrol should be on the lookout for regions of terrain that offer these resources. If you're not strong in all three areas, the growth and functionality of your city will be stunted. On the other hand, the power of terraforming can make even the bleakest of situations more fruitful, but this is a time-consuming process and not something you should be engaged in at the early stages of the game.

Last, when creating a new city near these resources, make sure the city is within two squares of all three resources. A city only benefits from resources within that two tile radius. Everything else is beyond its reach. Remember this two tile radius when founding new cities so that you create cities that overlap and thus steal each other's resources.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 02:01:13 PM by sisko »
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Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2012, 02:22:26 PM »
Discovering Other Factions
As you move your patrol around your base, uncovering new terrain, you may come across a competing faction. This is either good news or bad news, depending on who the faction is and where it is located in relation to you. For instance, if you're pressed against the back end of a continent with nowhere to go but one direction, and there happens to be a competing faction in that direction, well, you've got problems. You're must either get along with that faction by signing a Pact or, alternatively, destroy the competing faction as soon as you possibly can.

If a faction is pressed up against yours, you'll both be fighting for limited space and borders. This isn't a good way to start the game, as you should be focusing on expansion and establishing several strong cities, not haggling with a neighbor that may or may not have your best interests at heart. It is for this reason that you should seriously consider channeling all your funds and resources into creating several military units and wiping out the competing faction as soon as possible. This may sound rather brutal, but it's better that you get them out of the way sooner rather than later, if for no other reason than the faction will begin to amass its own army of units.

There is a downside to wiping out a competing faction in the early portion of the game. For all you know, there may still be other factions within the vicinity, so if you present yourself as a ruthless warmonger early, don't be surprised if everyone else finds you untrustworthy and assumes a hostile stance towards you. Fortunately, attitudes can be smoothed over with some technological exchanges, so you can get yourself out of a nasty situation in the early stages as opposed to later when grudges are backed up by earth-scorching firepower. (Diplomacy is covered in Chapter 8.)

TIP
Competing factions are far friendlier at the beginning of the game than at later stages. With little in the way of military or technological might, they will seldom rush into a fight. Use this to your advantage by striking early and clearing the way for your expansion.

If, on the other hand, you want to resist the military alternative and instead go the friendly route, there are a few things you should take into account. While you may be on friendly terms with the opposition, that doesn't mean you can simply move your units through the faction's territory without ruffling a few feathers. More often than not, a faction will demand that you move your units out of his or her terrain or risk starting a conflict. The only way to get around this is by seeking a pact with the faction. A pact lets you freely move through the faction's territory without risk of conflict.

With all this in mind, an early military strike is still your best bet for future success. Having a neighbor is a risky prospect, and one that should be dealt with early and swiftly.

WARNING
Make sure you leave at least one military unit in your city at all times. Not doing so could find your city easily taken over by a lowly mind worm or a sneaky enemy unit!
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Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2012, 07:04:55 AM »
Unity Supply Pods
While your colony ship plummeted toward Planet, the Unity mothership dropped tons of supply pods across the surface of the planet. These cargo pods can be found on both land and water squares in random locations all over the world. They are important because they house all sorts of benefits - new units, powerups for the discovering unit, enhanced resources - that can give you an early boost. As you move your scout patrol across the landscape, you will see these pods just about everywhere. It is crucial to your future success that you move your patrol over as many supply pods as possible. Don't leave them sitting around uncovered, or a competing faction may come in and claim the pods for itself, potentially gaining new technologies beyond your reach.

     
    
Unity supply pods can bequeath you some very useful knowledge or gifts:


For the most part, supply pods are extremely useful. On the other hand, in rare instances, pods can sometimes be infested with mind worms that will attack the closest unit you have. In the early goings of the game, this can be quite risky. Fortunately, your average scout patrol can usually fend off at least a few attacks before being destroyed. The risk of uncovering a few mind worms, though, should not deter you from uncovering all the supply pods you can. More often than not, you'll find free resources and units. In some instances, you might even uncover a more valuable prize: an alien artifact.

Alien Artifacts
Alien artifacts are the most powerful item to be held within a supply pod. Unfortunately, their power can only be tapped by moving the artifact to a base that has a network node constructed. If no network node has been constructed, you can still bring the alien artifact to one of your bases and connect it to a node when you do finally build one.

WARNING
You can only take one alien artifact to a particular base. If you happen to come across a second alien artifact, you must take it to a secondary base outfitted with a network node.


Simply put, an alien artifact contains a free technology that doesn't need to be researched. Once the artifact is connected to a node, the technology immediately becomes available to your faction, opening the gateway to bigger and better technologies, base enhancements, or units. When you consider that researching new technologies takes a considerable amount of time, the value of getting one for free (and immediately) should be obvious. What's more, gaining a technology in this way can quickly put you ahead of the competition. While they're waiting years and year to discover something, you've gained the ability in the blink of an eye.
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Re: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 12:43:51 PM »
Monoliths

Monoliths appear in random locations throughout the world of Alpha Centauri and can be quite useful to the resourceful player. Unlike alien artifacts and cargo pods, the abilities of a monolith are unwavering constants. A monolith will always:
* Increase a unit's morale by one level (morale levels are covered in detail in Chapter 5)
* Repairs any damaged unit
* Produce two nutrients, two minerals, and two energy units every turn.

WARNING
A particular unit can only use a monolith once to raise its level, though it may repair itself at a monolith an infinite number of times.



     
Monoliths are important to hold, because they aid your military units.
    
As you can see, monoliths are very powerful and useful, especially if used properly. It usually takes many successful battles before a military unit increases in level, which makes it more potent and more difficult to destroy. A monolith can do the same thing - without bloodshed - and the effect is immediate.

TIP
Use the monolith to increase the morale level of already advanced units. It's quite simple to go from level 1 to level 2, but when the unit in question is already highly ranked, the next level can be quite challenging to get. The wise player will bump up the level of an advanced unit using a monolith.


Since a monolith can repair a unit instantly, having a monolith near one of your cities can prove invaluable. A great tactic is to place a military unit on top of the monolith and have it sit there for as long as possible. If an enemy happens to come strolling by, let them come to you. By doing this, your unit will be repaired automatically at the beginning of the next round while the enemy is still damaged!

Last, because a monolith tile can also be a valuable resource supplier, you should consider building a city near one and tapping into the resources. Just make sure that the region in question has plenty of other tiles worth harvesting, as a solitary monolith isn't enough to grow a small city into a larger one.
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Re: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 12:48:25 PM »
Exploration Insight

You've uncovered a wide area of terrain around your base and now have a pretty good understanding of where you are situated. But what does this information really mean in the scheme of things?

You could find yourself in an almost limitless number of situations, all of which speak to where you and your faction should head in terms of technology and research.

For instance, if you find yourself on a small island in the middle of nowhere, obviously you're going to be hard-pressed for quick expansion because of the limited terrain for building. Therefore, island dwellers should concentrate their research on naval units, so they can get off the island quickly and explore new regions of the map.

Quote from: Bernard Bailey
"When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it."
   
Alternatively, you may be situated on a large landmass with no enemies in sight. This fortunate position lets you earmark less research for a military build-up and concentrate more on peaceful activities like expansion and infrastructure.

Ultimately, where you are dictates a course of action. It is the leader who doesn't take his situation into account in the early stages of the game that is doomed to failure.

WARNING
Just as being alone for long periods of time lets you engage in all manner of research without worrying about military action, the same is true for the enemy. It's the enemies in seclusion that are perhaps your biggest threat for the simple reason that no one has been bugging them, diverting them, or attacking them, allowing for an impressive build-up of technology and units.


Exploration Recap:
* Build several scout patrols at the beginning of the game.
* Uncover as much hidden terrain as possible.
* Seek new areas that are rich in resources for the construction of new cities.
* Hoard every supply pod you can.
* Repair injured units at monoliths.
* Raise the morale of units at monoliths.
* Guide alien artifacts to a city with a network node, unleashing a new technology.
* Wipe out enemy factions that are too close for comfort... before it's too late!
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Re: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2012, 12:51:53 PM »
Chapter 2: Infrastructure

Throughout human history, powerful and important leaders have always pointed toward their cities as examples of their abilities. Whether it was Rome, Greece, or Alexandria, great cities were held up as a symbol of advancement and culture. With Alpha Centauri, this heritage continues. A city is your lifeline to research, resources, and military might. Without powerful and evolving cities under your thumb, your future will be bleak and short-lived. This chapter will ease you into the concepts behind a successful city, such as how to promote growth, build infrastructure, allocate workers, and suppress the occasional riot.

Humble Beginnings
Now that your colony pod has safely touched down on the surface of Planet, a shiny new city recycles itself into existence. It is from this humble beginning that your empire will grow and expand, leading to the founding of even more cities under your control.

Population
The first thing you should make note of is the number displayed over your city, viewable from the main game screen. At the outset of the game, this number will be 1. This number represents how large the city is, translating into 1,000 citizens. If the number were 2, you'd have 2,000 citizens dwelling within the city, and so on. Every new city will start at 1 and progress up as the growth rate takes hold, and your citizens procreate.

The population number also indicates how many workers you currently have available to collect resources within reach of the city. A population 1 city will have one worker that can be placed on any tile within the radius of the city. A level 3 city would have three workers to be allocated each on his own tile.

The tile upon which your city rests automatically generates resources without a worker assigned to it, so consider the city tile a freebie.
   
When your city reaches a population of 7, you cannot progress past this number until you build a hab complex. Once that has been constructed, your population will flourish until it reaches 15, when you must build a hab dome to continue growing.

Growth
The growth of your city depends on the availability of nutrients. Without solid access to nutrients, the growth of your city will be severely stunted. Having an ever-expanding population is extremely important. The more workers you have, the more resources you can have them collect; and the more resources you're collecting, the faster you can research new technologies and develop new military units.

The more nutrients you collect every turn, the faster your city will increase in population.
    
For every 1,000 citizens you have, you must generate a minimum of two nutrients to support them. If your city happens to be breaking even on nutrients, your city is stagnant and will not increase in size. The only way to prevent this is to ensure you're generating more nutrients than your city consumes.

WARNING
If you have more citizens than your intake of nutrients allows for, your population will begin to die off until a balance is reached between population and nutrient intake. This can lead to rioting by your citizens!
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Re: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2012, 11:52:39 AM »
The City Screen
When you double-click on one of your cities, a window will pop up, offering all kinds of information about the city - information you must digest and understand to be a successful leader. Novice players are in luck because the computer does a fairly good job of running most of the micromanagement of the city, though it is by no means perfect. When you feel you're ready to tackle the details for yourself, you should head to Chapter 5 and learn the advanced tactics.
     
   
Our example city has 5 workers assigned to 5 tiles, brining in 13 nutrients, 8 mineral, and 12 energy.

Example City
Let's take a look at a sample city screen for a population level 5 city and see what all these numbers mean. Keep in mind that this is just an example city and not indicative of what every city will look like.

A level 5 five city translates into a total population 5,000 people, in turn representing five available workers on five tiles. Looking at the city screen, we would see five workers on five tiles around the perimeter of the city. Take a gander at the following table for a breakdown of what each worker is currently doing.

TileNutrientMineralEnergy
1211
2222
3212
4211
5212

All together, this translates into:

Total nutrients per turnTotal minerals per turnTotal energy units per turn
13812

Since we know that for every 1,000 citizens, two nutrients are required to keep them alive, we can see that of our 13 total nutrients, ten are being used just to support the workers, leaving a surplus of three nutrient units. What happens to this surplus? It is sent into a pool, indicated on the city screen at the top-left under nutrients. This section is made up of lots of little boxes that fill in over time. The rate at which these boxes fill is dependent on your surplus. When the pool fills to maximum capacity, you gain another population point and the pool empties to be filled again. In the case of our example city, we are filling in three boxes every turn. At this rate, we will raise our population one point in 18 turns, making it a level 6 city!

    As a city grows in population, the nutrients required to raise its level also increase, so more nutrients must be harvested in a level 6 city than a level 5 city; that is, each jump in population growth will take longer than the last.
    
Ultimately, a solid city that has a bright future will have a surplus in all three categories of resource: nutrients, minerals, and energy. This doesn't mean that a city is a lost cause if it's not showing a surplus in all three, as micro-managing your workers can squeeze a little more out of the city, something we'll cover in greater detail in Chapter 5.

More often than not, a city will generate one type of resource more than any other. This happens because of the city's particular location to nearby resources. While not every city can be perfect, the wise leader will use a city's strength to maximize its potential.

For instance, if a city is generating a high surplus of minerals, it is a great candidate for producing the bulk of your military units. On the other hand, if a city is pumping out energy with plenty of surplus, this city is contributing to your research of new units and secret projects. At the bottom of the scale, we would have a city that is growing in population, but producing little in the way of energy or minerals. This city would be contributing next to nothing to your efforts. With all this in mind, it should be apparent that every city should show a surplus in either minerals or energy, or it will be a wasted effort.
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Re: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2012, 11:55:51 AM »
Faster Research and Building
One of the keys to success in Alpha Centauri is out-producing and out-researching the competition. Alpha Centauri has so many potential discoveries and advanced military units that often, the victor is the one who gets to the higher levels first. To accomplish this, you need high surplus rates.

When you order a city to build a particular unit, say a scout rover, the time this takes to produce is directly related to how many minerals you show in surplus. The more powerful a unit, the more minerals it requires for completion. If your city is showing a low surplus in minerals, you can expect to wait around for quite a few turns until the unit is finally constructed. It is for this reason that you should resist building mineral-hoarding units or base enhancements until your city is showing a high surplus rate.

Pumping up the Surplus
There are three ways to increase your surplus of minerals, nutrients, and energy:
* Terraform the surrounding landscape
* Build base enhancements
* Reallocate your work force.

Let's take a look at each in detail.

Terraforming
Terraforming is the act of building new facilities on landscape tiles or affecting the land itself by raising or lowering its elevation. To terraform, you must first build a former, a special unit that has no offensive capability but can build a wide range of improvements to increase your resources. The advanced use of terraforming is covered in detail in Chapter 6.

TIP
The more formers you have, the quicker the region around your city will benefit from terraforming improvements. If you want a particular terrain tile terraformed rapidly, gang two formers up on it, and they will complete the task in double time!


When you finally have a former in action, you can manipulate it in one of two ways: manually or automatically. If you're a new player to Alpha Centauri, you should consider toggling your former to autopilot by selecting it and pressing shift-A. From this point onward, the former will travel around your city and create roads, mines, forests, sensors, and so on. All these improvements will increase the amount of resources generated by a particular terrain tile. A mine, for example, will enhance the number of minerals produced in that tile. Farms will increase nutrient output.

WARNING
When the former is set to autopilot, it usually creates roads first before moving onto farms and mines. If you are desperate for nutrients, energy, or minerals, you should manually give the former orders.

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Re: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2012, 11:58:16 AM »
Base Enhancements
You can construct quite a few base enhancements to help stimulate your surplus rates. Unfortunately, the bulk of them cannot be discovered until much later in the game. However, there is one base enhancement that arrives very quickly and should be built at every one of your cities: recycling tanks.

Recycling tanks are cheap and quick to build, and the payoff can make the difference between a city that sits at population 3 and doesn't evolve and one that blossoms into a huge metropolis. Recycling tanks only effect the city tile itself, but this can usually generate at least a nutrient or two extra. What's more, recycling tanks influence mineral and energy production!

Beyond this, you must engage in quite a bit of research before gaining access to such surplus enhancements like tree farms, sky hydroponics labs, nanoreplicators, and quantum converters. You'll find all the details on these advanced topics in Chapter 13.

Reallocating the Work Force
Your workers are an ambitious lot and love to show their drive by venturing out into the terrain squares and working where they want. For the most part, they make sound decisions, but not always.

If you find yourself running low on nutrients, minerals, or energy, your first stop should be the city screen. Click the button labeled Resources, and you will see a map of your city along with all the surrounding terrain tiles. On some tiles, you will see the values for the various resources you're pulling in. Let's say you want to pump up your nutrient intake by at least one point. Scanning the terrain tiles, you may find a worker on a tile that is generating, say, two minerals and nothing else. If you can afford to sacrifice the minerals and still maintain a surplus, you could take the worker off the mineral tile and have him work on a farm tile instead. You do this by clicking on the mineral tile first, thus taking the worker off, and then clicking on the farm tile once to put him back to work. You'll now be making far more nutrients than you were before, increasing your growth rate, and still showing a surplus in energy and minerals.

TIP
Always be sure to check your resources often and tweak the location of your workers. Letting the computer always make the decision guarantees you'll be operating slightly under your potential!
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Re: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2012, 12:02:44 PM »
The Governor
The governor is a great option for new or inexperienced players. Simply put, the governor automates a lot of the micromanagement involved in running and building a successful city. When activated, the governor will decide which units and city improvements to build. For the most part, the governor makes sound decisions and will greatly help you expand your empire.


A governor can be useful when you are just learning the game,
but make sure you give it clear orders so it doesn't build
Tree Farms when you need Impact Rovers.

Activating the Governor
By default, the governor is toggled off at the beginning of the game. To enable the Governor, you must click on a city, so the City Detail screen appears. Across the top of this window, you will see a large button in the middle labeled "Governor." Clicking this button will tell the governor to take over control of the city and begin building units and improvements. While this may seem rather vague, you can refine what the governor does by toggling the four buttons: Explore, Discover, Build, and Conquer.

Explore
When you toggle the Explore button, the governor of the city in question will focus on creating scouts, colony pods, and transports. No effort will be taken to manufacture city improvements. Setting the governor to Explore plays a critical role in the early part of the game, when venturing out and exploring your surroundings is of utmost importance. When you feel you have a nice chunk of territory explored, you should return to the City Detail screen and assign the governor a new role.

Discover
When the governor is set to Discover, he will guide your city by engaging in new secret projects, developing new military prototypes, creating probe teams (used for covert activity against enemy cities), and constructing network nodes (increases research by 50 percent). A city should be set to Discover when it has already attained a sizable defense force and is well protected. Ultimately, the Discover option will lead to scientific research and the construction of city enhancements that promote further research opportunities.
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Re: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2012, 12:04:02 PM »
Build
When set to Build, the governor will focus on the infrastructure of your base, building any and all improvements that benefit your citizens and promote growth and happiness. Additionally, the Discover option will find your city producing formers for terraforming the surrounding landscape. You should set your governor to Build in times of peace and when you are at a low risk of being attacked.

Conquer
When push comes to shove, and you are forced into military action, setting your governor to Conquer mode will focus all efforts within the city to the production of military units and city enhancements that promote a strong show of force. Usually, the governor will produce the most advanced military units you have access to, and occasionally he will produce city improvements such as command centers that assist in your military efforts. You should toggle the governor to Conquer when under attack or, better yet, when you want to begin building up an invasion force.

Advanced Governor
If the governor of a particular city keeps producing units you don't want, and you're a little tired of correcting it, you should consider tweaking the responsibilities of the governor by bringing up the Advanced Governor screen. This is done by clicking the small arrow next to the Governor button on the City Detail screen.

When this window pops up, you will see a list of every action the governor is slated to make decisions on. Anything with an X next to it means the governor has permission for this particular action. So, if the governor of a particular city keeps on building transports when you feel that your empire has more than enough, come to this screen and toggle off the appropriate action.

For the most part, the governor makes sound decisions and will help the inexperienced player understand the basics of building a strong city, so this option shouldn't be fiddled with until you have a thorough understanding of the concepts behind Alpha Centauri.
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Re: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2012, 12:06:54 PM »
Workers and Talents
The backbone of any city is the workforce that keeps it sustained. In Alpha Centauri, your workers are a loyal lot, but they can only be pushed so far. As a city grows in population and overcrowding becomes an issue, you must always be on the lookout for the dreaded drone riot.

The best way to handle your burgeoning population is to monitor every city, every turn. Eventually, your city will benefit from talents, a derivative of the worker but with a unique ability to either calm people down, enhance research, or stimulate the economy. However, using talents isn't as easy as it sounds.

The biggest concern with talents is that turning a worker into a talent diverts him away from your workforce; that is, you have one less person out gathering resources. The trick here is to find the right balance between assigning talents and maintaining a surplus in the three key categories of nutrients, minerals, and energy. If you pull a worker off the terrain, you can bet your generation of resources will suffer. Therefore, only assign talents when you can afford to do so without jeopardizing the growth or profitability of your city.

Quote from: Martin Luther King, Jr.
   "The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat."
   
Drone Riots
Drone riots occur when the amount of drones within a given city equals or outnumbers the amount of talents available. When a drone riot happens, your citizens will continue to generate nutrients, but will cease all production, and nothing in the way of energy surplus will be produced.

Drone riots can be prevented or ended by the following methods:
* Build psych-related facilities, such as a recreation commons.
* If you have a high police rating under social engineering, placing military units in a rioting city can calm down the populace. (Social Engineering is explained in detail in Chapter 5.)
* Convert some of your workers to talents, such as a doctor.
* If you don't have enough talents to restore the balance, pump up your energy allocation to psych to create more talents (explained in Chapter 5).

Drone riots should be avoided at all cost, especially in times of war. The last thing you need while knee-deep in a military campaign is to divert your attention to a drone riot. Chances are, it could've been avoided in the first place!

Recap
* Each increase in population equals 1,000 people and one new worker.
* Population growth occurs by having a nutrient surplus.
* Every city should strive to have a surplus in nutrients, minerals, and energy.
* The more minerals you produce, the faster you'll construct new units and base enhancements.
* The more energy you produce, the quicker you'll research new secret projects and discoveries.
* Use formers to terraform the landscape around your base to improve the amount of resources you bring in.
* Build recycling tanks at every base to improve resource gathering.
* Fine-tune which terrain tiles your workers are operating on.
* Use the governor to micromanage the details of your cities until you are comfortable with the concepts behind the game.
* Use talents to keep your city in a good mood.
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Re: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game Guide (Gamespot)
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2012, 12:08:28 PM »
Chapter 3: Research and Development

You've explored the surrounding landscape and founded several cities that are bustling with population growth and resource gathering. Sounds great on paper, but none of this means anything unless you are actively engaged in research and development, uncovering new technologies and secret projects that will help your civilization continue to grow. Without research and development, you'll quickly lag behind the competition, and before you know it, you'll be like a caveman stuck in the Jetsons. This chapter will guide you through the basics of research and development and illustrate the basics you should understand to become a dominant force.

Blind Research - Pros and Cons
When starting a game from scratch, blind research is toggled on by default. This gives novice players a little less to think about and breaks down all the technological improvements into the following four categories:

* Explore
* Discover
* Build
* Conquer

Quote from: Anonymous
To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism, to steal ideas from many is research.

At the outset of the game, you will be asked what areas of research you would like to focus on. You can either select one category for faster research or even select all four, though this will slow down the research process of all categories involved. This is called blind research - you aren't shooting for a specific advance but rather casting your net at an ocean of scientific possibilities and seeing what comes up. Discoveries will be divvied out as the game progresses, depending on which areas of interest you have allocated. Unfortunately, blind research detracts from the big picture of the game and will not really assist you in learning the ins and outs of research and development, especially how all the technological pieces fit together. For this reason, you should start a new game with blind research toggled off, letting you pinpoint exactly those technologies you'd like to research. Ultimately, this will increase your understanding of the game and make you a much stronger player.
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