Opensmac… after the break…


I have always regarded “Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri” as the vastly underrated entry in the “Civilization” line of turn-based strategy titles. Perhaps the most endearing charm of Alpha Centauri is that it was never burdened by reality; It never had to figure out how World War II bombers would deal with spear-throwing militias or how one technology must be discovered before others. As a result of being unchained to reality, Alpha Centauri was able to be a full-throated game of possibilities. Admittedly, some of the modern-day charm of Alpha Centauri is how poorly the late-1990’s cyberpunk look has aged.

“Pandora: First Contact,” is without a doubt, a virtual love song to Alpha Centauri without using the intellectual property. Unfortunately, that game, although since released, is still being tinkered with by the developer in order to get the gameplay mechanics right. A proper game manual has yet to emerge from the developer as a result of the ongoing tinkering of the game.

A second option, though, may be emerging: A person calling themselves “Domin” is creating what is being called “Opensmac,” for “Open Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri” – An open-source version of the Alpha Centauri game. While still in the early stages and, at this time, an one-person effort, such a project could be of great benefit to those playing an aging original game and those still waiting for it’s spiritual successor to emerge from a “gone gold in name only but really a paid beta” status.

Ambitious projects fall by the wayside all of the time: Real-Life events interfere, technical limitations are reached and can’t be overcome, cease and desist orders are always a threat and, sometimes… People just get bored and lose interest. To paraphrase a quote, the sheer number of failures in life give value to the few successes that we enjoy. There is no guarantee that anyone will be playing “Opensmac” any time soon… But if it were to be developed to completion, what a nice treat it would be to play Alpha Centauri without needing unofficial patches or unwieldy workarounds in order to fully mod the game.

Here’s hoping for it’s success.


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