Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

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Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri cover
Firaxis Games
Mac OS (Classic) Aspyr Media
Linux Loki Software
Electronic Arts
Mac OS Aspyr Media
Linux Loki Software
Release dates
Windows February 9, 1999
Mac OS (Classic) February 2000
Linux August 2000
macOS (OS X) September 25, 2003[Note 1]
macOS (OS X) January 24, 2013[Note 2]
Metacritic 92
Monetization Expansion pack
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Turn-based
Perspectives Bird's-eye view, Isometric
Controls Point and select
Genres 4X, TBS
Themes Sci-fi
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri on HowLongToBeat
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri on IGDB
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri guide on StrategyWiki
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri on MobyGames
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri on Wikipedia

General information - Active Alpha Centauri modding, patching and multiplayer community.
Civilization Wiki - A detailed wiki for all Civilization games and their spin offs
Apolyton Civilization Site's Alpha Centauri section - A huge forum dedicated to all Civilization games and their spin offs. Community Discussions Support Page


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
The game will run without the CD if you have performed a full install. SecuROM DRM otherwise.
Mac OS
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Planetary Pack.
macOS (OS X)
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Planetary Pack includes the base game and the Alien Crossfire expansion.

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire Included with Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Planetary Pack.
Mac OS

Essential improvements[edit]

In-game general settings.
In-game general settings.
In-game advanced settings.
In-game advanced settings.


The version already has the official patches, but you should strongly consider installing an unofficial patch.

Unofficial Patches[edit]

The original .exe is filled with exploits and prone to crashing. The patches below will fix the vast majority of crashes and bugs.
  • Yitzi's patch (SMAX only) - Built on kyrub's SMAX patch and scient's patch, and contains even more fixes. v3.4 includes PlotinusRedux's PRACX graphical patch, but you need to install PRACX separately as it wasn't packaged properly.
  • kyrub's patch (SMAC, SMAX version not recommended) - Aimed primarily at improving AI performance but also fixing some bugs. SMAX version has only minor AI improvements and is superseded by Yitzi's patch.
  • scient's patch (SMAC and SMAX) - Fixes bugs, crashes and exploits and includes text file improvements.

Recommendation: You should install Yitzi's patch if you're using SMAX and either kyrub's or scient's if you're using SMAC.

Yitzi's patch breaks backwards compatibility for alphax.txt. If you use old scenarios that require a custom alphax.txt this means that you may need to manually move the changes over. This will not be a concern for most users. Not using Yitzi's patch means that some newer scenarios and custom alphax.txt will not work for you.

To use any patch, extract the zip file into the installation folder and overwrite the existing files.

The patches' AI improvements won't make the AI too hard for new players, and instead aim for a reasonable level of challenge at "Librarian" difficulty. Tweaks mostly involve teaching the AI how to do not-terribly without cheating.

Patches are primarily developed on the Alpha Centauri 2 forum.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>/Alpha Centauri.ini[Note 3]
macOS (OS X)
Mac OS (Classic)
It's unknown whether this game follows the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux. Please fill in this information.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\saves[Note 3]
macOS (OS X) ~/Library/Application Support/ Meier's Alpha Centauri/saves
Mac OS (Classic)

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy


In-game audio/video settings.
In-game audio/video settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
See Widescreen resolution.
See Widescreen resolution.
4K Ultra HD
See Widescreen resolution.
Field of view (FOV)
See PRACX graphical patch.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Color blind mode
An official separate color palette adapted for color-blind players was released. Mirror available here. Included in the release.

Widescreen resolution[edit]

Try PRACX, a modified renderer for Alpha Centauri with a number of other improvements. v1.06 is included in version 3.4 of Yitzi's Unofficial Patch, but lacks an essential file and won't work properly unless you've already installed PRACX. You should probably install PRACX separately from its release thread. PRACX Release Thread. PRACX Source Code

PRACX + Official Alien Crossfire doesn't work, you need to install an unofficial patch first. Yitzi's 3.3 patch has been tested to work.

Edit Alpha Centauri.ini[citation needed]
  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Open Alpha Centauri.ini.
  3. Add DirectDraw=0 under [Alpha Centauri]
  4. The game will now run at your desktop-resolution


Keyboard and mouse State Notes
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support


Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
EAX support was added with 2.0 update[2]


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Retail only.
Retail only. German text/audio/video files have to be copied over from the retail version. Due to game values and display texts being in the same file, many unofficial patches will overwrite German retail files.
Retail only.
Retail only.
Retail only, download


Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
Hot seat
Requires the v2.0 Update or later.[3]
LAN play
Online play

Connection types

Issues fixed[edit]

The game hangs[edit]

Try the latest copies of Yitzi or kyrub's patches.

Otherwise, might be related to a bug with automated artillery units (though I think Yitzi might have fixed this one sometime). Try turning off automation and see if it helps. More info here.

AMD/ATI compatibility[edit] recommends using Catalyst 13.4 or earlier but the game also works with 14.x or earlier.

Alt-Tab not functioning[edit]

Applies to distribution only
Disable compatibility shim[4]
  1. Open a command prompt as administrator.
  2. cd <path-to-game>
  3. sdbinst -u goggame.sdb


  • The filename has changed since the fix was discovered.
  • If problems occur by removing the shim, it can be restored with sdbinst goggame.sdb using the similar process.

Other information[edit]


ExecutablePPC 32-bit 64-bit Notes
macOS (OS X)
Intel support only available in the 2013 GOG release.
Alpha workstation support is also included.


Using SMAC/X Mod Manager[citation needed]

Allows the installations of mods for the game.

Source code of the mod manager can be found here
  1. Download the latest non-python version of the program here.
  2. Extract the content of the archive to another folder (not to the SMAC/X folder)
  3. Run SMACXLauncher.exe.
  4. Go to options tab and select location of SMAC/X folder. Allow mod manager to make a backup
  5. Put mods into mods directory. Make sure to follow the instructions located in the text file in the mods directory
  6. Enable them with the launcher by moving them to the right and clicking apply.
  7. If multiple mods are enabled, mods further down the list override any files that are also shared by mods earlier in the list

To remove mods:

  1. Launch SMACXLauncher.exe
  2. Move unwanted mods to the left.
  3. Click apply, then force.


Allows the content of the original game to be played in the SMAX engine.
Source code for the latest version can be found here
Allows SMAC to take advantage of the bugfixes and unofficial patches for the SMAX engines
Allows the use of mods that are designed for the SMAX engine.

SMACX Thinker Mod[edit]

An AI improvement mod for Alpha Centauri: Alien Crossfire.
This mod has been tested to work with the GOG version of Alpha Centauri.
The developer of the mod recommends the use of PRACX and smac-in-smax with this mod.
Increase Challenges in the Single-Player due to AI improvements
Provides many gameplay enhancements.
Includes the Scient patch v2.0.
May not be suitable for New Players due to increase difficulty
Network multiplayer is not supported[5]
Some custom scenario rules in "Edit Scenario Rules" menus are not fully supported.

SMACX AI Growth mod[edit]

Overhauls many game mechanics.
AI improvements that allow it to play better
Rebalance the various factions to make them work better with the improved AI.
Includes additional map sizes (80x160 and 128x256)
Other tweaks to gameplay are listed in the mods homepage.
Compatible with the Scient unofficial binary patch v2.0 and higher.
Expected to work with the PRACX unofficial binary patch.
Yitzi unofficial binary patch changes how alphax.txt is read and is incompatible.
Author uses official game binary and provides bugfix support for it.
Author does not provide bugfix support for unofficial binary patches.


Open Source engine recreation for Alpha Centauri/Alien Crossfire.
Source code can be found here
Project still in alpha.

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95, 98
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 133 MHz
System memory (RAM) 16 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 60 MB
Video card (GPU) 2 MB of VRAM
Mac OS
Operating system (OS) 7.6
Processor (CPU) PowerPC 603 180MHz
System memory (RAM) 32 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD)
macOS (OS X)
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 10.6.8
Processor (CPU) 1.8 GHz
System memory (RAM) 512 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 2 GB


  1. Original Carbonized release.
  2. Second digital release for Intel processors.[1]
  3. 3.0 3.1 When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).