Low Grav alphax.txt, v2.36b


Sep 12, 2007
Air and Space museum.jpg

Hi All,

First off, what is the alphax.txt file: It is the file which contains the rules for the game Alpha Centauri. Simply put, you change the rules, and you change how the game plays.

Background on the low grav experiment: with a few notable exceptions (The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, The Integral Trees), almost all the settings in Science Fiction have the gravity set at either the Earth-standard of one gravity (re: Aliens), or else it is zero gravity (re: Gravity), however the reality is that, because humanity is so adaptive, there eventually will be a myriad of colonization efforts that take place in environments outside the norm. The following is my ongoing attempt to create a set of "believable" rules that mimic a low gravity environment in the Alpha Centauri universe.

The way I've organized this is by the sections of the alphax.txt, so if you open the file (I use Word Pad) you can search on the key word and follow along.

- Movement rate along roads changed from 3 to 4. Rationale: lower gravity increases movement. Also this assists the AI in that they can more quickly congregate units at threatened points in their empire.

- Max artillery range changed from 2 to 4. Rationale: lower gravity increases artillery distance. The AI will use this on occasion. Forewarned is forearmed in this case! (Note: you will need Scient's patch or better, as this does not work in the base game).

- Max airdrop decreased from 8 to 6. Rationale: flying around a battlefield is exponentially more dangerous than for planet or sea-bound military units, as drop units are exposed to a larger field of enemy units while airborne. In a low grav environment these dangers are compounded even moreso: from battle damage, malfunction, or just plain inexperience while airborne, a drop trooper can literally reach escape velocity much more easily and be lost forever in the depths of space. Thus the decision has been made to lessen the strength and duration of a drop pod's thrusters in low grav environments.

- Intrinsic base defense increased from 25 to 40. Rationale: benefits the AIs as they are typically on the defensive.

- Global warming changed from 1/1 to 1/12. Rationale: don’t want global warming present in this game.

- Boreholes changed to have a -2 nutrient intake. Rationale: simulates the horrid conditions workers face while slaving away in the boreholes (i.e. this "fits" with the darker theme present throughout Alpha Centauri).

The following are the changes I've made to how the worlds are built, and are designed to give more varied coastlines than the base game's worldbuilder (which gives relatively mundane coastlines and continents):
Land base changed from 384 to 260
Land modifier changed from 256 to 345
Continent base changed from 12 to 15
Continent modifier changed from 24 to 26
Deep water changed from 15 to 10
Continent size ratios: deleted the largest of 24, and substituted in a smaller value of 15
Islands: changed from 36 to 230

- Infantry movement changed from 1 to 2, Speeder changed from 2 to 3, and Hovertanks changed from 3 to 4. Rationale: lower gravity increases movement.
- Hovertank chassis now available at Monopole Magnets. Rationale: with the decreased gravity hovertanks become available more quickly.

- Needlejets and copter chassis disabled. Rationale: the thin atmosphere of a moon or small planetoid is not dense enough to support roto nor winged aircraft.

- Missile chassis movement decreased to 8. Rationale: similar to drop pods, missiles face a greater visibility and threat matrix while flying through the air, especially with continually being confronted with the dangers that lie just over the near-horizon as the missiles transit towards their targets. Thus the decision has been made to decrease their distance, effectively telling commanders "use missiles wisely".
- Missile chassis is now available at Doctrine: Air Power. Rationale: with the decreased gravity rockets become available more quickly.

- Conventional Payload available at DocAir. Rationale: with the decreased gravity rockets become available more quickly.

- Planet Buster has been disabled. Rationale: on smaller moons or planetoids the detonation(s) of planet busters are actually significant enough to change the trajectory/ orbits of these bodies, and so are strictly prohibited from use.

- Air Superiority disabled. Rationale: not needed since there are no aircraft in this game.

- AAA Tracking: moved to DocAir. Rationale: need to start building units ASAP that can defend against missiles!

- Crawler has been removed from this section – you will have to prototype your first crawler yourself. Rationale: crawlers are overpowered human exploits, so this is in a small way benefiting the AIs.

- There are 13 new units available to build. I’d suggest reviewing them to get a feel for what you will be facing in this game. Of note are the following:

A) Missile Frigate available at DocAir

B) Drop Trooper Mk1 available at DocAir

C) Chaos Battletank available at Fusion

D) The Battle Ogre Mk3 has been replaced by a "Drop Re-entry Assault Carrier - armored" (or "DRACa Mk3"), which is a missile troop transport. Still haven't figured out where to place this, but right now I'm thinking it is going to replace the Planet Buster.

E) Seawolf Attack Submarine available at Superconductor

F) Missile Mk1 available at DocAir

G) Resonance Probe available at Field Modulation


- Nessus Mining Station available at DocAir. Rationale: lower gravity allows for orbital launches much sooner.

- Virtual World moved to Social Psycholoy. Rationale: watering down the beeline to Industrial Autmation.

- Cloudbase Academy: moved to Monopole Magnets. Rationale: watering down the beeline to MMI.

Next steps:
- slotting the remaining orbital facilities (Geosynchronous Survey Pods, Flechette Defense, Sky Hydroponics, Orbital Power Transmitters, etc.).
- getting all the AIs to play better in this environment: currently aggressive AIs are eating the less aggressive ones alive!
- play around with the DRACa and see how well the AIs use this concept.




  • alpha.txt
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Sep 12, 2007
- Infantry units don't get their attack bonus against cities. I'm assuming the code was set up to look for one movement point instead of looking at the unit chassis.
- Infantry units get the "Mobile Unit in Open" attack bonus. Again, I'm assuming the code was set up to look at movement points instead of chassis.

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