A Love Song for Alpha Centauri

I spent several hours hammering out a design analysis of Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri versus Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth. Then Porpentine announced Twiny Jam, and I threw the article out and made this instead.

My first draft included nods to the Alien Crossfire expansion, but I cut them out to stay within word count (as Twiny Jam caps games at 300 words). I’ve included the source code below so that you can admire my success at doing so (or, y’know, just peek at how it was made.)

I remember Academician Zakharov, okay?A Love Song for Alpha Centauri
an interactive complaint
Release date: March 26, 2015
Format: Twine
Play in browser (itch.io)
Alternate play link (philome.la)
Download the source code

No offline play available due to the nature of the piece.

Special thanks to Leon Arnett for the combined <<replace>> macro set, which is spectacularly useful and made this piece possible.

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  1. “Civilization, before Beyond Earth, was always grounded in our planet and its history. That’s why the series’ diplomacy and leader systems, which cover relationships between civilizations and place well-known historical figures as their spokespeople, work so well. When Gandhi shows up and threatens to nuke someone, that has meaning beyond pure hilarity. It grounds the player in history, in the real world. But by moving off world, Beyond Earth couldn’t cash in on that familiarity. It had to create its own characters that, the developers hoped, would serve the same purpose as Gandhi and Napoleon and Genghis Khan.

    “They didn’t. Players just don’t form the same type of attachment to fictional, futuristic humans from an alien planet as they did with Catherine the Great, who hailed from Russia. The “psychology of it” was different, McDonough said. And they didn’t learn that until after release. If they’d understood this earlier, they might’ve have released the reams of fiction that they wrote and kept to themselves. Instead, they decided to leave it to players’ imaginations, hoping they’d fill in the gaps. “

  2. alpha centauri is in my opinion the best turn-based strategy of all time. you have to do a lot of microing in late game and if I remember correctly rockets are waaaaay too overpowered, but that’s really it. a genius masterpiece. that new civ spinoff can’t hold a candle to it and I don’t even need to have played that one to be able to say so

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