PCGamer - Civilization: From Alpha Centauri To Beyond Earth

The_J

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PCGamer has published a new article, called "Civilization: From Alpha Centauri To Beyond Earth".
In this article the author talks about how the story made Alpha Centauri memorable, and how the extensive lore behind Beyond Earth does not give you the same feeling of story in the game.

An excerpt:
"Story is a core part of the experience, and in Alpha Centauri more than any other 4X game ever made. There's the obvious stuff with the faction leaders and big text infodumps at regular intervals, but there's also a lot of other important stuff going on that's less front-of-house - not least the constant reinforcement of just how awful everything on the planet actually is. What starts as a mission of hope breaks up before it's even really begun, and it's not long after that that you're nerve-stapling citizens and fighting wars where the losing immortal is thrown screaming into a pain booth. Alpha Centauri's Planet is a terrible, terrible place where the best of intentions go to die."

You can read the whole article here: https://www.pcgamer.com/civilization-from-alpha-centauri-to-beyond-earth/
 

Darsnan

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Thanx for bringing up this article The_J - I don't think I ever saw this when it originally came out.

To add on to what the author presented, I don't think BE captured that "One More Turn" feeling for a lot of people: from bland leaders that players couldn't identify with (or against, such as Sister Miriam), to tech quotes that didn't engage, to poor rewards for accomplishments such as conquering rival Factions (and the conquered leaders then just sort of mope around the screen), none of these aspects engaged players and made them want to play that one more turn, or come back for more.

What I believe BERT did do better than Alpha Centauri (and make very enjoyable for players) is capture that sense of awe of exploring a new alien world, and the dev's provided a multitude of visually engaging environments to do it in. Perhaps if the dev's had gotten a second expansion they could've really polished the game and pulled in that critical fanbase that then allows a game to thrive, and build its legacy.

D
 

vorlon_mi

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The 2014 article raised some good points. One that particularly resonated with me is "Civ in space." Yes, that's exactly what I want. [Disclaimer: I don't own, and have never played, Alpha Centauri.]

Beyond Earth -- especially with the Rising Tide expansion -- included some very innovative thinking that I like better than Civ5, which it was based on.
1. A player can indeed build an empire that is bigger than 3 or 4 cities. By completing some buildings and achieving affinity levels, I can *grow* my way out of negative health much easier than combatting negative happiness in Civ5.
2. Soren famously wrote an article where he lamented creating the "bargaining table" in Civ3. BERT re-imagines the diplomacy screen, so that many of the items on the traditional Civ3/Civ4/Civ5 bargaining table are gone.
3. Outposts take some turns to turn into baby cities, unlike the cities in Civ3/4/5. They are more of an investment than a military forward operating base.
4. Aquatic cities are fascinating to work with. Interesting tradeoffs, able to move, and vulnerable to attack from the AI. The oceans are easier for pathfinding algorithms (they're flat! :goodjob:), so the AI are better able to attack one another and the human.
5. New victory conditions are actively pursued, often by more than one AI.

Yes, I'm a fan. No, it's not perfect. I have quite a few complaints about BERT gameplay that I don't like.
But I was never comparing BERT to SMAC, which seems to be -- based on the article and many people here -- a case of catching lightning in a bottle.
 

The_J

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Thank you for linking. The article was published in November 2014, so it's "new" only as compared to 4000 BC. It is well worth a read and it makes me want to play Alpha Centauri right now.
😑 it popped by in the CFC Twitter feed, so I assumed it was new. I guess I need to check better.
 

ShadowWarrior

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I totally agree with this article. I gave up on Beyond Earth after about five hours. My Steam account literally shows that I played Beyond Earth for about only five hours. That's how turned off I was by the game. Someone need to remake Alpha Centauri.
 
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