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Towards a philosophically-updated SMAC

Discussion in 'Alpha Centauri' started by joseph34, Sep 5, 2020.

  1. joseph34

    joseph34 Chieftain

    Sep 5, 2020
    I recently saw a video by Yaz Minsky about the politics and philosophy behind SMAC; full disclosure, I largely agree with his points and consider SMAC one of the defining fictional works of the post-Cold War era. For most Americans the 90s felt something like the Victory screen at the end of the game of history, with no bad guys left to take down. This attitude stood tall for as long as the Twin Towers.

    SMAC does a lot to question the Whig history assumptions of its predecessors, one of the strongest qualities of its writing. IMO, some of the factions have aged better than others. The fact that the UN is depicted as the leading force in the Unity mission sounds quaint now. If Meier's and his team wrote this game circa the mid-2000s, the colonization mission would be an explicitly corporate venture run by an eccentric multi-billionaire, with the UN official serving as his corrupt bean-counter.

    I would alter the survivalist faction to focus more on counter-terrorism and possibly with a slightly higher focus on technology (for police state enforcement purposes). Like they could get some kind of research bonus for CONQUEST-labeled techs.

    I would expect also that discreet commodities would have played some role in the economy of "SMAC 2005". The game mentions several substances ("planetpearls" being one) and I could envision this reboot having some sort of trading market similar to the commodities system in Galactic Civilizations 3. This could include manmade products as well, such as "Silksteel". Maybe the green faction's Planet bonus affects her buying and selling prices for Planet-sourced goods.

    It would have been cool if the player's title as leader of the Council differed depending on their faction. If you win the governorship as the UN faction, you get the boring title of "Planetary Council Governor". As the armed and mean faction, you become the "Planetary Supreme Commander". As the scientific faction, you become "Planetary Doctoral Administrator".

    Any other ideas for an updated SMAC?
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2020
    Protok St likes this.
  2. md4

    md4 Warlord

    May 2, 2020
    I wanted a lot more out of the planetary council. Probably the most disappointing aspect of SMAC is that every ideological conflict is expressed in combat, usually without warning. A faction leader wakes up and decides that, if I'm playing as Lal for instance, they cannot tolerate my humanitarian meddling any more, only I haven't done anything aside from benignly trade technology and offer them loans.

    Now, what if I could meddle in their affairs through the council? What if we could pass votes on scientific ethics that, if passed, impact every faction's scientific output, and Zakarov's most of all? Then he'd have reason to be irritated, and also form common alliances against me with likeminded individuals, like the Spartans or the Morganites, the latter of which especially don't like regulation and red tape getting in the way of business. But as Lal I might find support for this measure from Miriam (who distrusts science playing god).

    The issue determines the alliances, because each faction is going to agree and disagree on a range of issues. On another topic, Zakarov and Morgan might be completely at odds, where the former wants to pursue knowledge for knowledge's sake, while the latter is only interested if he can turn a profit from it. If there were to be a sequel, this is where I would want the majority of the effort to be focused. War is then the last resort of a faction when they are getting outvoted on too many issues.
  3. GenyaArikado

    GenyaArikado Judge of Love

    Oct 12, 2011
    I feel like Deirdre Skye woule be a far more aggresive character rather than the shy celt druidess with a dark side. She'd be closer to Lena Ebner from CivBE

    While Yang is still a super vigent character, he would be portrayed in a better light probably given how China kinda forces game developers to portray them as good.

    I feel like someone would flex social media power. Either a more influencer-inspired Morgan or "JK Rowling on twitter" inspired Miriam...

    Talking about Miriam... Well i won't get in detail but I feel like Trump and she cater to the same crowd... If anything she's more likeable/reasonable than him, so i guess she's still valid.

    I also agree that the UN Lal might get dropped or... Changed. The UN feels kinda like a joke at this point. I also don't feel so strongly about Russian scientists. I'd rather switch Yang and Zakharov nationalities in fact
  4. MysticWind

    MysticWind Chieftain

    Dec 25, 2008
    SMAC really works well as a turn-of-the-century retro-futuristic work. Sort of feels like modern day politics and popular philosophy (the sort of stuff that gets posted to YouTube or discussed on Reddit) are either depressing or really tawdry and embarrassing. The late '90s were idealistic and there was still earnestness to be had.
  5. Buster's Uncle

    Buster's Uncle AC2 Co-Owner

    Apr 13, 2009

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