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[[quoteright:316:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/1_8092.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:316:Say goodbye to your free time for the next six months.]]

->''"Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden. He drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."''
-->-- [[Literature/TheBible The Conclave Bible]], [[EncyclopediaExposita Datalinks]] (paraphrase of Gen. 3:23-24)

In 2060 A.D., [[CrapsackWorld the Earth was one hell of an awful place to live, torn apart by war and sunken into disgrace by poverty]] and [[GaiasLament ecological damage.]] [[EarthThatWas In a last attempt to save Humanity from extinction]], the United Nations ordered the construction of a massive spaceship, the ''[=UNS=] Unity''. The mission: stash as many people as possible within the spaceship, [[HumanPopsicle deep freeze them to sleep]], get the hell off of the Earth towards Alpha Centauri, the closest star from the Sun, [[SettlingTheFrontier form a settlement]] on Chiron, a planet orbiting the star that seems to have most of the necessary conditions to sustain sentient life, and leave the planet of their birth to fester and decay like a parasite fleeing a corpse.

But FinaglesLaw says everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and this mission was not the exception. The deep freeze system malfunctioned and the colonists found themselves living on rations meant for colonization in spaces around the ship not meant for living quarters. An explosion on board causes massive damage to the ship's thrusters, creating an escalating crisis among the ship's leaders. As a result, the ''Unity'''s captain is murdered, and the crew is now split into 7 different factions, each one commandeering a colony pod and launching for the surface of Chiron (known in the game as "Planet", and yes, ''that's a proper noun''). Each faction has a different ideology and their own plans to achieve prosperity in the new world. These factions include:
* the militaristic [[TheSpartanWay Spartan Federation]],
* the theocratic [[ChurchMilitant Lord's Believers]],
* the technocratic [[MadScientist University of Planet]],
* the capitalistic [[OneNationUnderCopyright Morgan Industries]],
* the environmentalist [[GreenThumb Gaia's Stepdaughters]],
* the fascist/communist [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill Human Hive]],
* and the humanitarian remnants of the UN, the [[TheFederation Peacekeepers]].
The expansion pack added:
* the rationalistic [[{{Cyborg}} Cybernetic Consciousness]],
* the socialistic [[CommieLand Free Drones]],
* the anarchist [[PlayfulHacker Data Angels]],
* the religiously-enviromentalist [[GaiasVengeance Cult of Planet]],
* the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin self-explanatory]] [[RecycledInSPACE Nautilus]] [[SpacePirates Pirates]],
* two alien factions, the [[PlanetLooters Manifold Usurpers]] and the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Manifold Caretakers]],
A little tweaking would also reveal a secret faction:
* the self-inserted [[LethalJokeCharacter Firaxians]], which may or may not be two factions since either Sid Meier or Brian Reynolds can lead.

Upon their arrival, however, everybody finds, to their horror, that Planet is not nearly the safe haven they had hoped for. The atmosphere is far too light on oxygen and heavy on nitrogen, forcing anybody exiting sealed colonies to wear oxygen masks, and that's the least of their concerns. The local "flora", known as Xenofungus, covers much of the surface and prevents settlement or even easy transport where it occurs. Worse yet, the Xenofungus acts as a home to "Mind Worms", which randomly boil out of the fungus and attack human settlements by [[MindRape psychically stunning their victims with fear]], burrowing inside their brains, and [[FaceFullOfAlienWingWong placing their ravenous larvae inside]], causing the hapless victims to die a Horrible death, with a capital H. And there is no terrain safe from them since they also come in aquatic and flying variations. Trying to hide far away won't save you either, as the Xenofungus can vomit out spore towers, essentialy biological artillery that can attack even submerged colonies. If they try to remove the Xenofungus for any reason, they face massive fungal towers [[CombatTentacles with giant tendrils that can tear apart tanks.]] And even the rest of Planet's biosphere is dangerous to humanity; where it doesn't immediately attack humans on sight, the differences in biology are enough that they act as poisons if ingested by humans and vice versa.

But the real twist begins when Deirdre Skye discovers that Planet's native life might be friendlier if treated nicely, and starts considering the idea that the entire Xenofungal network might well be a ''gigantic'' brain. And it seems like every 100 million years or so, Planet's native life achieves a state of growth large enough to turn the entire Planet into a gigantic sentient being, with a consciousness and a mind of its own; but this causes an explosive outgrowth that ends up killing most of Planet's life, just before Planet's "mind" reaches a "development threshold" that allows for survival, thus having to repeat the same cycle from scratch. And it seems like Humanity's arrival is accelerating the cycle. Will Humanity face final extinction? Can the cycle be broken? What will happen if the cycle ''is'' broken?

Created by the masterminds Brian Reynolds and SidMeier under the auspices of Firaxis, and released in 1999, ''Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri'' (abbreviated as ''SMAC'', the expansion is ''SMAX'') is a turn-based strategy game that, while rather popular, didn't managed to reach the soaring popularity of the ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' series. However, that doesn't mean the game is worse. Far from that. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sid_Meier%27s_Alpha_Centauri According to the Wikipedia entry about the game]], even though development was rather hindered by Reynolds and Meier's departure from Microprose to found Firaxis, ''Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri'' was awarded by the US edition of PC Gamer a score of 98% (the first and one of only three games to have ever done so), and was also granted a long list of Game of the Year prizes. A trilogy of novels based on the game was even written! Admittedly, this doesn't sound too impressive by modern standards, but in 1998 it was basically unheard of.

As the SpiritualSuccessor of the ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' series, ''Alpha Centauri'' features incredibly complex and profound gameplay, with a myriad of options and variables that can leave an unskilled player dazed with too much information, although a Civilization player can pick up the game and get started right away. Like the ''Civilization'' games, in ''Alpha Centauri'' you start with a single city, and your job is to create more Colony Pods to expand your colony with new cities, carefully nurture the ones you already have so they can reach a high population and become productive and profitable, research new technologies to unlock new units and options, and if you want to (though it's not necessary), wage war on everyone else. As is common in the series, there are [[FourX four ways to win the game]]: Conquest (just KillEmAll), Economic (gather enough [[EnergyEconomy Energy]] -- the game's GlobalCurrency -- to buy everyone else's bases), Political (get elected as Supreme Leader by the Planetary Council), and Technological (clear the entire TechTree and AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence, or, if you're an alien, summon your ultra-advanced fleet to blow the rest of Planet away). Also familiar: your civilization is pestered by Planet's native life, similar to the barbarian tribes in the ''Civilization'' games. About the only real flaw in the game, if flaw it could be called, was that the expansion kept the seven-faction limit (players could either choose their opponents or randomize them), as opposed to expanding it to cover all fourteen.

However, the biggest merit of the game to many came from the way it portrays TheFuture. The vast majority of it (basically, everything that doesn't involve mental powers, and [[AllThereInTheManual sometimes even those]]) is justified by [[MohsScaleOfSciFiHardness Hard Science]], most of the scientific concepts are linked to our nowadays science from [[strike:2009]] friggin' 1998, and the few ones that aren't have already been explored and predicted by theoretical scientists and writers. Combined with the near total absence of nonsensical {{Technobabble}} and the clever use of quotes from game characters and real literary works, this setting actually manages to suck you inside and take seriously the struggle for Humanity's own future, [[JustOneMoreLevel only to let you go once you look outside your window and see the first gleam of the morning sun shining through.]]

The game is relatively old, and hard to find in most retail stores nowadays, although British re-packaging firm [[http://www.sold-out.co.uk Mastertronic]] ([[TheTropeFormerlyKnownAsX Formerly known as "Sold-out software"]]) is selling new copies of the original game with expansion pack for some $11/4.88, likely in honour of the game's 10th anniversary), but it's worth searching out for any fan of hard, complex strategy and simulation games. It is now available on [[http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/sid_meiers_alpha_centauri GOG.com]] for $5.99 (now, ''finally,'' including the expansion for free). Alternatively, you can buy VideoGame/{{Civilization}} IV and download [[http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=252829 Planetfall]], a fan-made Civilization IV mod which takes Alpha Centauri's setting (leaders, quotes, and technologies included, with entirely reworked graphics) and mixes it with Civ IV's gameplay improvements.

A SpiritualSuccessor, ''VideoGame/CivilizationBeyondEarth'' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtYWqE55s24&feature=share&list=UUWj7XnnfbKHGVnZ8iSoETSQ has been announced.]]

[[WikiRule Naturally]] has a [[http://alphacentauri2.info/wiki/Main_Page wiki]].

''If you came here looking for the actual star Alpha Centauri, and not the Sid Meier video game, [[UsefulNotes/LocalStars look here]].''

----
!!This game provides examples of:

* AerialCanyonChase: In the cinematic for The Cloudbase Academy Secret Project.
* AerithAndBob: Some of the later quotes come from people whose names come across as bizarre. Possibly justified due to changes in culture and the fading away of Earth's ethnicities.
* AffablyEvil[=/=]FauxAffablyEvil: Faction leaders can vary between the two but usually lean to the former, sometimes making war declarations to the effect of "nothing personal my dear , but Planet simply isn't big enough for the both of us". If they declare war on you due to your social engineering running contrary to their beliefs, they will say so and make it sound like for them it's a case of IDidWhatIHadToDo, wiping you out to prevent what they see as detrimental societal values from spreading beyond your faction.
* AfterTheEnd: Sometime between the ''Unity's'' departure and the start of the game, Earth is devastated. [[spoiler: It is recolonized at the end though.]]
* AlienSky: Alpha Centauri is a trinary system, with two large suns and a third smaller and more distant one. Planet's atmosphere is a bright yellow, claimed to offset life-threatening greenhouse gases generated by being too close to Alpha Centauri A.
* AliensSpeakingEnglish: All the Progenitor quotes in the game have [[DoubleEntendre a weird vibrato]] effect, which is [[EnemyChatter their language]]. Where's a {{Universal Translator}} when you need one?[[note]]In the Secret Projects list, since you asked.[[/note]]
* AllThereInTheManual: The on-disc manual has an appendix that goes into quite a bit of detail about the nature of Planet and its denizens. Also, there are three novels set in the universe, and one short story "prequel" that is available online. The ''{{GURPS}}'' tabletop roleplaying game setting book has tons and tons of story information and details that they left out of the main on-disc manual and novels and short stories.
* AlternateCalendar: Played with. The colonist factions use the "Mission Year" calendar, which is presumably synchronized with Planet. On the other hand, it carries over the year count from the AD/CE system instead of dating from the ''Unity'''s arrival, possibly as a reminder of their origins on Earth.
* ArchaeologicalArmsRace: Mysterious monoliths, artifacts and other leftovers from the [[{{Precursors}} creators of Planet]] are scattered around the terrain and can boost scientific research of the colonist group who finds them first. Meanwhile, the alien factions have to slowly rediscover [[LostTechnology technology lost]] when their ships crashed on the surface.
* ArmorIsUseless: Psychic combat completely ignores conventional attack and defense ratings and is based on morale and specialized equipment. It's how Planet's native life remains a threat even into the late game (unlike ''[[VideoGame/{{Civilization}} Civilization's]]'' barbarians), because often your high-tech elite units are just as vulnerable to psychic attack as the ones you started with.
* ArtificialGravity: The implication of Graviton Theory and Applied Gravitonics. Graviton Theory allows Graviton Struts--which evidently make your units faster--and Gravships, which based on appearance and description seem to be like [[ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld airships]], except that anti-gravity is used instead of lifting gas (ducted fans--those circular protrusions on either side--being used for the actual propulsion).
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: The aptly titled Ascent to Transcendence victory sees humanity merging with technology and Planet, becoming more than they were before.
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: Averted. The accents of the voice actors in the original game are completely genuine, and names of characters were changed after feedback from native speakers.
* AsTheGoodBookSays: Several tech, facility, and Secret Project quotes are from the Bible. Also, the quote in the opening video.
* AssimilationPlot: The Ascent to Transcendence, which involves one faction uplifting the Planetmind to a higher level of sapience and assimilating their minds into it to ascend to something beyond a mere human existence.
* AwesomeButImpractical:
** You can make a submarine that functions as an aircraft carrier. If you load it with Nuclear Missiles then it becomes a ballistic missile sub, although it's still useless.
** The Planet Busters (nuclear missiles) completely destroy everything within an area about 4x4 squares with an awesome graphic: not just units but cities as well, even leaving a crater which may fill with ocean if the explosion takes place at low enough altitude. This means that if you use them on your opponents there'll be nothing left to actually conquer, meaning that there's no profit to be made from such a war. They also make all the other factions declare war on you, meaning that you can only use them safely if you're already a significant global power, in which case any edge they might have given you in combat is probably unnecessary as your conventional forces will likely be strong enough to capture anything you want. This was probably intentional. Along with that, even if you are a superpower, the other factions aren't the only problems you'll have to deal with -- Planet itself will get royally pissed and swamp the instigator with indigenous life forms.
* {{Badass}}: The Spartan Federation is an entire faction based around the idea that only the most badass deserve to thrive in the new world.
* BadMoonRising:
** Every time Hercules/Alpha Centauri B reaches perihelion, that means 20 years (turns) of increased wildlife attacks.
** Solar flares mean communications are disrupted so diplomacy is disabled. [[WhatYouAreInTheDark But atrocities are kept secret.]]
* BaseOnWheels: Colony Pods are big rolling life support systems for a thousand workers that unfold into colony cities when they get to their destination.
* BeliefMakesYouStupid: The fundie tendencies of The Lord's Believers prevent them from accumulating research points during the first ten turn-years. Compound that with their natural 20% penalty to research speed, and you get a faction that ''needs'' to run Fundamentalist social engineering to catch up using slightly cheaper Probe Teams -- and woe betide the Believing player in a game where the most advanced faction has the Hunter-Seeker Algorithm!
* BerserkButton: All of the factions have a Berserk Button which increases their hostility and can provoke them to declaring Vendetta - namely, picking a government, economic model, value or future society that isn't their own agenda (or the no-modifiers starting model):
** The Peacekeepers and the Data Angels: Using any government except Democracy. Justifications: "You're violating human rights"/"It's an insult to freedom!"
** The Gaians and the Planet Cult: Using any economic system except Green. Justifications: "Your insensitivity to the environment is troubling."/"Your insensitivity to the environment is sacrilege!" (the Cult gets more irritated/militant about it than the Gaians, who are less bloody-minded).
** The Spartans and the Pirates: Using any value except Power. Justification: "You're secretly researching something really nasty, aren't you?" (''contra'' Knowledge) and "Your pursuit of Wealth is fat and weak!" (''contra'' Wealth).
** The Believers: Using any government except Fundamentalist. Justifications: "You're disobeying the will of God!"
** The University: Using any value except Knowledge. Justifications: "I find your pursuit of wealth/power irrational and stifling to science."
** The Hive: Using any government except Police State. Justifications: "Running a state according to religious principles is stupid." (''contra'' Fundamentalist) and "You really expect ''[[ViewersAreMorons the people]]'' to maintain an ordered society?" (''contra'' Democracy)
** Morgan Industries: Using any economic system except Free Market. Justification: "You are stifling the market with your socialist policies!"
** The Cybernetic Consciousness: Using any future society except Cybernetic (duh). Justification: "Anything else would be irrational."
** The Free Drones: Using any future society except Eudaimonic. Justification: "Your Blue Sky Solutions will not improve living conditions!" (this works against everyone, especially Green economics--with which the Drones have a problem--and Cybernetic and Thought Control Future Societies--which are respectively research-oriented and...well...shall we say too perfect, for certain values of "perfect").
** Both Progenitor factions: Using any economic system except Planned. Justification: "You should follow our economic model."
*** In addition, Progenitor factions hate each other very much, so a peace treaty with one will be a BerserkButton for the other.
*** Even then, leaders might overlook any of these for pragmatic reasons like global politics, [[EnemyMine a faction you both hate more than you hate each other]], good trade relations, one faction's insignificance to the other (either by being far away or by being very small and weak), technology-sharing, and so on. Thus you can have a game where, for instance, the Peacekeepers and the Hive have a long-lasting Treaty of Friendship and never fight even though they share a border, or where the Morganites and Gaians have a Pact. The only real exception is the hard-coded fight between the two Progenitor factions: They will never let it up.
** Firing a Planet Buster will cause every faction to declare Vendetta on you, regardless of your relationships between them. Plus, you will be expelled from the Planetary Council, and there is no way to negotiate peace once the other factions declare war.
* BigBrotherIsWatching: The Self-Aware Colony's cinematic depicts a city that is capable of punishing criminals by restructuring itself at a detail level. Also, anytime you or the computer run an oppressive faction. The Encyclopedia Entry for "Mind Control" Future Soceity directly mentions Big Brother.
* BizarreAlienSenses: The Progenitors can sense and manipulate a variety of fields, including electromagnetism. They communicate through "altering," too. While humans generate patterns of sounds, progenitors alter existing background noise and it's how they alter those sounds that determines meaning.
* BookEnds: The game's very first shot, in the intro, and very last shot, at the end of the Ascent to Transcendence, are of the same nebula.
%%* BrainInAJar:
%%** One of the results of the Clinical Immortality project.
%%** The Bioenhancement Center facility implies the use of these in the quote heard upon building one.
* BrainUploading: Uploading minds to a new host body is implied to be the result of the Clinical Immortality project; definitely also part of the Ascent to Transcendence.
* BugWar: Mindworms, Xenofungus Towers, and Spore launchers are hostile and incredibly dangerous, requiring military action against them whenever they appear in your faction's territory, though the second are immobile.
* TheCaptain: The never-seen Captain Garland, who, true to the trope, was the only man who could have held his highly diverse crew together. He was mysteriously assassinated shortly before Planetfall, resulting in his subordinates splitting the crew into the seven factions.
** There's also the leader of the Spartan Federation, Colonel Corazon Santiago.
* ChristianityIsCatholic: Averted. The Lord's Believers are for the most part derived from Protestants, though their colonies bear aesthetics reminiscent of Roman Catholicism.
* ChurchMilitant: The Lord's Believers, The Cult of Planet.
* CityOnTheWater: Aquatic bases. The Nautilus Pirates start with one instead of a land base.
* CommieLand: While the Hive borrows and incorporates quite a bit of Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist-Maoist principles, the Free Drones try to take the Communist ideal of a classless society to its logical conclusion.
* CommieNazis: The Hive meanwhile is essentially an unholy blend of Western authoritarianism, Eastern philosophy, and Communism at its more brutal.
* CorporateWarfare: Aside from his actions on Planet, Nwabudike Morgan got his start by hiring mercenaries to take over diamond mines back in Namibia. His other earthly ventures included "funding mercenary forces, U.N. escorts... and creating Morgan [=SafeHaven=] Hotel Fortress chain 'for the discriminating executive'."
* CrapsackWorld: Earth had turned into this in the backstory and no matter how well you do, Planet will go this way as well [[spoiler: as she starts to ramp up the mind worm population to deal with the human infestation]]. Also, most of the factions can be pretty shitty places to live in depending on your social position.
* CreepyMonotone: [[EmotionlessGirl Aki Zeta-5]]. [[DissonantSerenity Yang]] to a lesser extent.
* CrutchCharacter: Not a character, but in gameplay, monoliths as resource spaces fit the description. They give 2 of each resource without any terraforming, which is spectacular in the early game, but later on, when hybrid forests and thermal boreholes become widely used, you'll really wish you could remove them.
** Their other purpose is to give an instant promotion for any military unit that visits it and can be used to isntantly heal units as well. In early wars this can make a world of difference.
** In ''Alien Crossfire'' there is a Secret Project [[CoolButInefficient boosting yelds from monoliths based on Planet rating]].
* CrystalSpiresAndTogas: Some environmental projects, such as The Telepathic Matrix, are run by what looks like mages in shiny, luminous temples.
** UsedFuture: Other structures, however, look dirty, dilapidated, and run by thousands of underpaid workers. The movie for The Self-Aware Colony comes to mind.
** It also depends on the faction in question. Gaians in particular gravitate towards said Crystal Spires while the others cover various other sci-fi tropes.
* {{Cutscene}}: After finishing Secret Project, cutscene is played. Some of them are barely animated, some are CGI and others [[RuleOfThree are edited from]] Film/{{Baraka}}. It gives really eerie feeling how unrelated film fits into themes of the game and those cutscenes can easily count as NightmareFuel.
* DeadpanSnarker: Zakharov ''is'' the planet's most brilliant geek, so it makes sense that he'll occasionally make an offhand snarky comment.
* DeadlyEuphemism: War has become something of a taboo among the ''Unity'' factions. So how do they get past the "never again" clause? [[{{Hypocrite}} By declaring]] [[NoExceptYes "vendettas."]]
* DeathWorld: Deirdre makes it very clear that "juicy ripe grenade fruits may look appealing, but a mouthful of highly toxic organonitrates will certainly change your mind in a hurry".
** Organonitrates also tend to be ''[[MadeOfExplodium explosive]]'', so the "grenade fruit" might well be aptly named.
** The Xenofungus and Mind Worms cross this with EverythingIsTryingToKillYou, since the planetary HiveMind recognizes any sort of independant thought as a threat (I.E. the human colonies), and it's up to the Mind Worms to kill the source of any such anomaly.
* DefiantToTheEnd: Subverted and then played straight. As you begin to crush a rival beneath your feet, they will ask for a truce. Continue and they'll ask for a truce and try to bribe you with credits or research. Finally, when it's certain they'll lose, they say that they confess their defeat is inevitable and throw themselves at your mercy, offering an alliance and all remaining energy credits and tech if you spare them. Refusal at this point means it's to the death, they will not negotiate with you further and will refuse contact from you, calling "very well, we shall fight to the last man!"
* DiskOneNuke: "The Weather Paradigm" secret project is most notable, though many of the early secret projects qualify.
** For Zakharov, "The Virtual World". The Virtual World makes every Network Node in the player's faction double as a Hologram Theater, quelling drones and providing Psyche -- it so happens that one of the perks of the University is that every base gets a free Network Node upon construction. Zakharov's problems with extra drones just got solved for the next century or so.
* DistantFinale
* DoorClosesEnding: Defeat another faction by force, and you get to see the defeated faction leader levitating in a sphere of Electric Torture. Bloodcurdling scream. Blast door with the defeated faction's logo slamming shut, closing off the victim from view mid-scream.
* DownerBeginning: The intro shows the ''UNS Unity'' launching amidst mounting global chaos. And it's all but stated [[spoiler:that civilization blew up back on Earth]] by the time the colonists made Planetfall.
* DysfunctionJunction: The expanded universe prologue suggest that the ''Unity'' planners took no account of the personalities of the ship's leaders before launching.
* EarthThatWas: "You are the children of a dead planet, earthdeidre and this death we do not comprehend. We shall take you in, but may we ask this question--will we too catch the planetdeath disease?" -Voice of the Planet
* {{Egopolis}}: A lot of the leaders will name at least one of their settlements after themselves if enough are constructed, Yang and Morgan more so than most.
* EmotionlessGirl: Aki Zeta-5 of the Consciousness.
* EmperorScientist: Zakharov may be a researcher, but ''all'' of the original seven faction leaders are scientists in their own way. Deidre and Lal are more humanistic but also heavily into the science, Yang's a brilliant social engineer, Morgan's a visionary financial genius, Santiago has a keen insight into military science, and Miriam is a social psychologist who does know a thing or two about the hard sciences, as her quote on plasma steel armor indicates. The seven faction leaders in the expansion also have shades of it. But since they are added in the expansion, you can only assume it based on the 3-4 [[Quotes/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri quotes]] each of them received.
* EncyclopediaExposita: The Datalinks entries for every tech advance, base facility, unit ability, and Secret Project in the game. These, of course, run parallel to later ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' games' Civilopedias. [[ShownTheirWork It's thorough]].
* EnergyEconomy: The GlobalCurrency is energy credits, with energy gathered from solar collectors, tidal generators, and thermal boreholes. Nwabudike said it best when he said:
-->"In former times the energy monopoly was called 'The Power Company'; we intend to give this name an entirely new meaning."
* EverythingIsTryingToKillYou: The Mind Worms are Planet's natural defenses against alien threats, and they specifically target sources of independant thought that is not linked to the planetary HiveMind. If you start mucking up the environment very badly, Planet will let loose bigger hordes of Mind Worms and, in extreme cases, their flying counterparts, the Locusts of Chiron.
* ExpandedUniverse: Not a very large one, consisting of three novels (''Centauri Dawn'', ''Dragon Sun'' and ''Twilight of the Mind''), a graphic novel (''Power of the Mindworms'') and [[https://web.archive.org/web/20111010205008/http://www.firaxis.com/smac/story.cfm two free short stories]] (''Journey to Centauri'' chronicling the story of the U.N.S. Unity in the Alpha Centauri system, and ''Centauri: Arrival'' introducing the new faction in Alien Crossfire).
** It is worth noting that the novelizations are loosely based on the three scenarios included with the game. Then again, it is not that difficult to imagine that factions with opposing ideologies are going to have problems getting together (e.g. hippies and warmongers, tree-huggers and ultra-capitalists, religious fanatics and crazy scientists).
** In addition, GURPS released a sourcebook for Alpha Centauri. In addition to stats, it provides alot of background detail on the factions that isn't in the game.
* ExpositionOfImmortality: One of the text interludes that crop up during gameplay at various intervals mentions you and your Planetfall colleagues still being alive after several centuries. It makes mention of you spending time in a rejuvenation tank in order to maintain your longevity and that at least one of your staff still looks to be in the prime of her youth, even after two hundred years.
* FaceFullOfAlienWingWong: And in the worst way imaginable.
* FascistButInefficient: The police state government reduces the "efficiency" stat by quite a bit, increasing energy losses due to number of cities by a lot. Combined with planned for the full totalitarian experience, and the resulting inefficiency will reduce energy income to almost nothing. (The Hive is an exception to this, probably due to both this combination fitting their theme well, and not having a lot of other good social policy combinations.) Thought Control also has reduced support, mainly said to be due to resources needed to control the population.
** Averted with the [[WeHaveReserves Cloning Vats]] Secret Project, which eliminates the support penalty for Thought Control.
* FantasticCasteSystem: Alpha Centauri has access to advanced psychological science and genetic engineering, but the availability of these benefits is uneven, resulting in a three-tiered system based on intelligence: the tiers are Talents (elite, highly-educated transhumans with full access to the benefits of their faction's technology), Citizens ([[CaptainObvious average joes]] with limited access to psychiatric education) and Drones (inferior humans, treated as slaves and kept under control by BreadAndCircuses, armed police or [[PunishmentBox nerve stapling]]). The Free Drones attempt to avoid this form of social stratification, but it's still in effect nonetheless.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: Despite being based around ideologies (at least initially), the human factions still retain elements of their nations of inspiration and are reminiscent of certain societies back on Earth.
* TheFederation: What the ''Unity'' colonists were originally meant to establish. Pravin Lal's Peacekeepers meanwhile are the only ones still following the old UN mandate.
* {{Feelies}}: The Virtual World Secret Project.
* {{Fiction 500}}: Morgan Industries, sponsor of the ''entire'' ''UNS Unity'' project and owner of a whole faction!
* FictionalGenevaConventions: The U.N. Charter prohibits extermination of human populations, the use of nerve gas, nerve stapling people (in a non-systematic way; it's perfectly okay to run a [[PunishmentBox Punishment Sphere]], though), and the use of planetbusters. However, you ''can'' repeal the Charter, which strips out all of these regulations except the law against planetbusting.
* FlavorText: for each technology
* FlingALightIntoTheFuture[=/=]HopeSpot: The ''UNS Unity'' was one for humanity, a last ditch effort by the United Nations to save some semblance of civilization somewhere in the stars while Earth slowly slid into self-inflicted oblivion. The game itself has you determine whether that hope was well-placed or not.
* FourX: The game was ''marketed'' with the tagline "Explore. Discover. Build. Conquer." Additionally, the TechTree has identifiable (if intertwined) tracks (Explore=environmental/expansion/scout techs, Discover=pure science, Build=base-building and industrial/development-type techs, Conquer=military techs), and you can set the AI "Governor" at your bases to focus on a single track, or a combination of them, if you don't care to micromanage.
* FungusHumongous: The Xenofungus.
* GaiasLament: Earth in the [[AllThereInTheManual backstory]].
* GaiasVengeance: Start polluting the planet, and you'll have to fight wave after wave of Mindworms while keeping them clear from your bases. The Cult of Planet attempts to give this a more organized form.
* GeniusLoci: What you--and all of humanity--become after reaching the Transcendence victory.
** The Self-Aware Colony secret project turns your cities into these.
* GeoEffects: High ground means better output from solar collectors, rocky terrain increases mine output, fungus is a general-purpose pain in the ass unless you're Gaians/Planet Cult or have a ton of Explore technologies/secret projects, and so on.
** Since the {{terraform}}er units in the game can change the elevation of a map tile, a viable (If ridiculous) strategy in the game is to create a mountain chain between yourself and an enemy to the east. Mountains actually trap moisture, like they do in real life; since for purposes of that the game assumes that the wind blows ever eastwards, it's possible to use the "raise terrain" command as a way of giving yourself better farmland while making deserts out of a rival's farms.
** A faster way, albeit a more expensive one, would be to launch a missile with a seismic warhead and detonate it over the needed terrain. This will create an instant mountain. Since this warhead does not wipe out cities, it is not considered an atrocity by the other factions. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Plowshare Edward Teller would be proud]].
** Another [[AwesomeButImpractical silly terraformer trick]] involves lowering the terrain between you and another faction to cut them off on an island away from you, or doing so within their territory to drown any colonies that don't have Pressure Domes. This is because all terrain below sea level is assumed to be a lake or ocean basin.
* GlassCannon: Any unit with a high attack rating and a low defense rating becomes this (and the Unit cost system makes those units a lot cheaper to build), but there's also an in-universe version of it with the Mind Worms. They can chew through armor like paper, yet their squishy bodies die easily to conventional weapons. The real threat is the terror they instill in their victims. Battles with them thus revolve around morale and mental combat. If your guys are more experienced and mentally tougher, they can keep it together long enough to blow away the worms, but if they're green cadets, they'll panic and die quickly even if they're in a diamond-hard hovertank.
* GlobalCurrency: See energy credits.
* GlobalWarming: Building on high land and trying to drown your rivals by inducing global warming is a viable strategy, so long as they haven't built Pressure Domes yet. On the flip side, you can choose to induce global cooling, lower the sea levels and get more land.
** Once a Faction has researched the proper technology, the Council can even go and intentionally raise the see levels using artificial global warming via giant space mirrors.
* GloriousMotherRussia: Zakharov's University is not very overt about it, but there's a clear Russian overtone present, albeit with a strong emphasis on the technocratic aspects of the Soviet Union and Russia's scientific tradition.
* AGodAmI: In the epilogue after you complete your Ascent to Transcendence, the pronouns referring to You are capitalized, just as they usually are in reference to [[{{God}} the Christian God]] in religious literature.
* GoneHorriblyRight: If any human faction other then the Peacekeepers managed to take control of Planet, you would have achieved exactly what the Unity project was intended to do in the beginning: To create a new home for humanity on Alpha Centauri, unified under a single government that will be able to face the dangers of the universe. Too bad that said government have an ideology that is vastly different from the one that the original UN council had in mind.
* GoodIsNotSoft: Domai started his revolt for the benefit of the downtrodden drones, and his end goal is a free peaceful society focused on maximizing the happiness of the people in it. He's also the only explicitly physically violent leader and is quite aggressive politically.
** Also, even the [[ALighterShadeOfGray less-aggressive and more humanitarian-minded factions]] such as the Peacekeepers and the Gaians are perfectly willing and able to defend themselves militarily, and they can and will declare war if they feel their enemies have engaged in one atrocity too many and/or need to be taught a GreenAesop.
* GrayAndGreyMorality: About the only ones officially called out as evil are the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Usurpers]]; the others are shown to have their good points and their bad. Even the Hive, Believers, Cult of Planet and Caretakers are [[WellIntentionedExtremist Well Intentioned Extremists]] with some valid points.
* GreatOffscreenWar: "Tau Ceti Flowering," in the past. The Progenitors created another planet similar to Chiron, only when it attained sentience, it went insane and destroyed itself and most of the Progenitor civilization. This caused the survivors to split into two factions divided by their preferred response to the Flowering.
** [[spoiler:It's also implied that civilization back on Earth eventually went down in flames not long after ''Unity'' left. By the time Planet's descendants return, only a handful of eroded craters remain of that carnage.]]
* GuiltBasedGaming: If you go to quit the game, it tells you, "Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you."
* HannibalLecture: When a computer leader thinks it has you on the ropes, or hilariously when you refuse their surrender and steamroll them.
* HardCodedHostility: Mindworms. You can train your own or capture individual units, but wild Mindworms will always spawn as hostile to absolutely everyone.
* HeartIsAnAwesomePower: The Peacekeepers get extra happy people, extra space for people and doubled council votes. Minor bonuses until one realizes that happy people lead to golden ages and population booms. Coupled with doubled votes, this is instant diplomatic victory.
* HeroicWillpower: If you don't have empathic powers or special hypnotic training of your own, your only defense against mindworms is to simply brave their MindRape for long enough to [[KillItWithFire turn flamethrowers on them]].
* HumanPopsicle: How colonists are stored in Colony Pods (read: new cities in the making).
* HumanResources: Implied in the quote for Recycling Tanks. Might overlap right into SoylentGreen.
* HumanSubspecies: With the right technology, two human variants are possible:
** Homo Superior: A being equal parts organic and computer, using the best of both worlds.
** Genejacks: Genetically modified for labor, with strong body and little brain. It's probably no surprise that Chairman Yang was behind this.
* HumansKillWantonly: Long before realising nature of the Planet and mind-worms, humans (with exeption of pro-green factions) treat the Planet more or less as their promised land full of opportunities to profit in many different ways. [[UpToEleven And wage wars based on tiny ideological differences]]
--> '''Lal''': In the years since our arrival, we have foolishly disrupted so many of Planet's ecosystems that entire species may vanish without our ever having understood, or even known them. We must halt this plunder, and halt it immediately, for our own survival as a species depends on our ability to strike a balance on this world.
* {{Hypocrite}}: The factions and their leaders tend to be this in varying degrees.
* IdiosyncraticDifficultyLevels: Ranked from "Citizen" to "Transcend," named after the non-field jobs your bases' workers can take.
* IllGirl: Aki Zeta-5 in the {{backstory}} suffered from rheumatic fever three weeks before planetfall.
* ImmortalitySeeker: Though all the faction leaders and Talents have greatly extended lifespans due to advanced medical techniques, the Secret Project titled "Clinical Immortality" shows its rather... unsettling [[BrainInAJar long-term consequences]].
** [[ObviousBeta That's what you get when you're an early adopter.]]
-->"I plan to live forever, of course, but barring that I'd settle for a couple thousand years. Even five hundred would be pretty nice."
--->-- '''CEO Nwabudike Morgan'''
* InstantAIJustAddWater: Subverted. There is the "Pre-Sentient Algorithms" technology and its descendants, not to mention Aki Zeta-5 and pals, but the trope is somewhat subverted in that true [=AIs=] are hardly ''instant''.
* {{Irony}}:
** Further down the tech tree, Sister Miriam Godwinson sounds increasingly rational and cautious regarding some of the more questionable tech advances; one couldn't help but find her "We Must Dissent" quotes sensible compared to the Self-Aware Colony. That her faction, the Lord's Believers takes up at least some Catholic pretensions in its overall aesthetic despite being comprised largely of Protestants just adds to it.
** In contrast, Zakharov, a man obsessed with scientific endeavor starts referring to discoveries and revelations in a more religious overtone. [[spoiler:Towards the end, he even explicitly calls the burgeoning Planet-mind an "awakening alien god" in the Voice of Planet project.]]
** It's stated that the ''UNS Unity'' colonists were no longer divided by ethnicity or nationality but by ideology. But while the ideological factions initially follow that line, over time they tend to mirror (and function like) the very nation-states they've supposedly abandoned.
* JackOfAllStats: The Peacekeepers. Their advantages and disadvantages are all relatively slight, so they're a good all-'round introductory faction (although the Gaians can also serve this role).
* TheJoyOfX: The title of your memoirs after you retire (used as a ranking of how well you did) is based off of an existing work.
* JustInTime: You will always be just in time with [[spoiler: Voice of Planet. Whenever you complete the project, it'll be just in time to abort the Flowering and set off the race for Transcendence.]]
* JustOneMoreLevel: Lampshades this, and even encourages it at one point.
* KillItWithFire: The standard approach to mind worms is to loose flamethrowers on them. If they can manage to overcome the overwhelming psychic terror, that is.
* LaResistance: the Free Drones from ''Alien Crossfire''.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: Flavor text for the secret project "Longevity Vaccine" has Morgan saying: "I plan to live forever, of course, but barring that I'd settle for a couple thousand years. Even five hundred would be pretty nice." Funny how five hundred years is also the allotted length for a normal game.
* LegoGenetics: Averted; one of Zakharov's quotes insists "genes are ''not'' blueprints."
* {{Leitmotif}}: Every faction has theme music and cues that play as you control them, which are usually sensitive to your actions and change accordingly. The original game has five themes shared amongst the seven factions: the University, the Spartans, and the Believers each have their own music, while the Peacekeepers and the Gaians share one, as do the Hive and the Morganites.
* LongevityTreatment: Several forms:
** There is a secret project called 'The Longevity Vaccine' and another called 'Clinical Immortality'.
** The faction leaders are mentioned to undergo harsh gene therapies and other treatments so that they can remain active throughout the whole 500 years of the game.
* MadScientist: The University is implied to be what happens when a large number of MadScientist types hang out together. The Academician seems like an AffablyEvil version from some of his quotes. The Gaians are similar but the madness is because of being best friends with mindworms. The Morganites also have a Lex Luthor tendency to hire these types. Note however that the science involved is still very hard, its more a case that the scientific advances come easier to a science/corporate based society with an ethics board that is either a cost/benefit analysis or a question about [[ForScience how scientific the research is.]]
* MeaningfulName:
** Prokhor Zakharov. His first name is so close to 'Proctor' that the two will become inevitably mixed up. A proctor watches over students taking a test, much like Zakharov watches over his people as they take the test of Planet.
** Alpha Centauri B is named "Hercules," after the Greek Demigod, because he was often an enemy to centaurs. When Hercules reaches perihelion, bad things happen to Chiron, usually in the form of extra swarms of mind worms and fungal blooms.
** Nwabudike Morgan. His surname recalls that of J. P. Morgan, the renowned American financier and philanthropist who helped change America (the powerful banking institution he founded still bears his name today). J. P. also invested in electricity and co-founded General Electric.[[note]]Morgan and his partner Anthony Drexel provided the financing for GE, but the firm was founded to consolidate ThomasEdison's electrical-products empire.[[/note]] In the game, one of Nwabudike's quotes is "Energy is the currency of the future".
** Miriam '''God'''winson and Chairman [[UsefulNotes/{{Taoism}} Yang]] are rather blatant.
** The Nautilus Pirates almost certainly get their faction name's inspiration from the submarine in ''Literature/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea''.
* MegaCorp: Morgan Industries, a corporation the size ''of an entire faction''. (For comparison, imagine if the world had become twelve enormous countries. Now imagine that one of those countries was entirely owned and operated by a single corporation--which also did work outside its own borders.)
** Also see the example of ShoutOut.
* MindRape: The way Mind Worms paralyze their victims.
* MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness: Very hard. How hard? We've already created several of the technologies and secret projects that are in the game. The Human Genome Project was completed several years after the game came out and we just recently made monopole magnets, although on a very small scale. The hardness obviously decreases as you move up the technology tree toward anti-gravity, singularity reactors and teleportation, but even many of those things haven't been conclusively shown to be impossible yet.
* MoralEventHorizon: {{In-Universe}} example when using a Planetbuster, which completely annihilates the target but causes ''everyone'' to turn against you, even if you repealed the U.N. Charter against atrocities (it only covers minor atrocities, such as using chemical weapons and nerve stapling) or use them against aliens. Including Planet. People will get nervous if you so much as ''build'' one, and when another faction lets you know they have, you know they're about to try to extort you for something. Nerve Stapling will result in a ''very'' negative reaction as well.
* NamedAfterSomebodyFamous: Zakharov may be named after Andrei Sakharov, a Russian nuclear scientist, who ArthurCClarke fictively attributed the ''Leonov'''s reaction drive to in ''2061: Odyssey Three''. (Similar to the reaction drive used in the ''UN Unity'', developed by Zakharov.) In the Real World, Sakharov is known for having won the Nobel Peace Prize for his activism against nuclear proliferation and the ArmsRace...and the development of the 50MT "[[FromRussiaWithNukes Tsar Bomba]]," aka the biggest bomb ever set off. ([[MyGodWhatHaveIDone The latter led to]] [[TheAtoner the former]].) It is worth noting that [[ShownTheirWork Zakharov is also a real Russian surname, unrelated to Sakharov, stressed on the second syllable (zaKHArov) unlike the original (SAkharov)]].
** Zakharov was originally named "Saratov". The dev team changed his name before the game's release when it was pointed out that it was an improbable Russian surname (there is a city and administrative region called Saratov though). See AsLongAsItSoundsForeign above.
** CEO Nwabudike Morgan and his faction are likely a reference to the 20th century financier J.P. Morgan.
*** And looks just like MorganFreeman.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Custom units have preset names, including one name each for high-powered offense and defense. For example, a gravship outfitted with a singularity laser (weapon power = 24, the highest number in vanilla SMAC) will be called a ''Singularity Deathsphere''. Ooh yeah.
** On the other hand, this can lead to cases of DeathbringerTheAdorable: Put Silksteel Armor on an Impact Rover, and you get an Impact Dragon. This might be scary in the early game, but would quickly get dated.
* NamingYourColonyWorld: An example under virtually every category.
* NewTechIsNotCheap: This has prototyping, where the first unit of a new design has an added initial cost before you can even produce any. This cost is ignored by the Spartans and at bases with a Skunkworks.
* NoBiochemicalBarriers: Averted: whenever a human faction seizes a Progenitor colony (or vice versa), the incompatibilities between the species result in the colony being downsized to 1 population and a number of colony pods for the losing faction being created.
** Even before the expansion pack added the Progenitors, it takes getting through a good part of the tech tree and thorough analysis of the native life to get useful amounts of resources out of Planet's native xenofungus. One of Lady Deirdre's [[EncyclopediaExposita in-game quotes]] (also given above) contrasts the appetizing look and decidedly unappetizing nature of a particular native fruit.
* NoDelaysForTheWicked: Yangs special ability is immunity to inefficiency, meaning he can run a planned economy and a police state without any penalty.
* NoExceptYes: the factions don't wage war, as that was what led to the doom of [[EarthThatWas old Earth]]. They will, however, pursue ''vendettas'' with each other.
* NoNameGiven: While it does have a proper name, Chiron is usually referred to as simply "Planet".
* NoNewFashionsInTheFuture: Averted. The various factions and their leaders have very different ideas for what constitutes fashion, all of which would be considered otherworldly by our standards. That said however, there are some exceptions: Corazon Santiago and her Spartans have a recognizably militarist aesthetic, the Morganites come across as having more futuristic versions of present-day corporate attire and Pravin Lal still seems to prefer more traditional Indian garb.
* NonindicativeName: When a Secret Project is started, nearly finished or completely finished, the fact is broadcast to the entire world.
* NoPlaceForMeThere / NecessaryEvil: The Cult of Planet will build industrial capacity in their attempt to purge Planet of the pollution of humanity; they acknowledge this and will destroy them last once everything else is cleansed.
* NoSell: The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm project renders all of your cities and units immune to any sort of probe team sabotage and kills the team that attempts it. This makes it a must-have for the University and anybody else with a low Probe stat (i.e. anyone running Knowledge--indeed, Hunter-Seeker is pretty much a license to run Knowledge, especially if for whatever reason fighting the Spartans is not an issue).
** Although it doesn't stop other factions from framing you for probing the rest who didn't get it.
* NotSoStoic: Most of Zakharov's quotes have him speaking very calmly, an academic giving a lecture. However, in the quote for the Temple of Planet, he's absolutely furious:
-->"Let the Gaians preach their silly religion, but one way or the other I shall see this compound burned, seared, and sterilized until every hiding place is found and until every last Mind Worm egg, every last slimy one, has been cooked to a smoking husk. That species shall be exterminated, I tell you! Exterminated!"
--->-- '''Academician Prokhor Zakharov''', ''Lab Three Aftermath''
* NotTheIntendedUse: A more in-universe example than one in gameplay. Exploration/Discovery research sometimes provides you with devastating weapon upgrades (for example, learning how to synthesize fossil fuels grants you the ability to build combustion-based ''rocket launchers'').
* NudeNatureDance: Enemies of the Gaian faction might accuse Lady Deirdre of dancing naked in the trees.
* OneNationUnderCopyright: Morgan Industries is structured like a corporation and run on the basic principle that "greed is good." Since corporate rule is not itself a choice in the Social Engineering options, the exact ''flavour'' of corporate rule can vary widely from one game to another -- a power-focused police state ('Politburo of Directors') is just as possible as a knowledge-focused democracy ('One man, one voting share'), give or take hidden AI preferences.
* OneWorldOrder: The original ''UNS Unity'' mandate was intended to be this. The various factions meanwhile try aiming at fulfilling that, albeit under ''their'' respective ideologies.
* OpeningNarration: There's a little blurb at the start explaining the situation.
* OppressiveStatesOfAmerica: One of Pravin Lal's quotes references a painful lesson about the importance of free flow of information learned by Americans in Earth's final century.
* OracularUrchin: Cha Dawn from ''Alien Crossfire''.
* OrionDrive: the sleeper ship is propelled by an Orion-type drive, the shield of which fails (almost certainly due to sabotage) when the ship is almost at its destination, causing the passengers on the colony ship to splinter into factions.
* OurGraphicsWillSuckInTheFuture: Scanlines everywhere!
* ProHumanTranshuman: Transcendi.
* ThePromisedLand: The people of Earth and Unity considered Planet to be this, due to Earth's massive CrapsackWorld status. The Believers consider Planet to be their Promised Land in a more Biblical sense as well.
* PsychicPowers: Mindworms rely on telepathic fear to paralyze their victims. Humans can develop psi abilities too, from the telepathic empathi and mindworm handlers to units of psychic warriors who are as deadly as mindworms.
* PunishmentBox: the "punishment sphere," which make the oppressed masses too frightened to ever riot no matter what. For some reason, constructing this city improvement is not on the list of atrocities that will turn the other civilizations against you.
** This is because secretly, ''every'' faction has one stored away for the day they capture a defeated faction leader.
* PuppetState: Completely trouncing a rival faction may leave them begging to be your puppet state instead of being annihilated. If you let them, they count as "conquered" for the purpose of a military victory.
* RobotRepublic: Or rather, Cyborg Republic, in the form of the Cybernetic Consciousness.
* RecursiveAmmo: Most weapons are a laser of some kind, and any weapon can be made into artillery.
* RecycledINSPACE! ''[[VideoGame/{{Civilization}} Civilization II]]'' [[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: IN SPACE! ]]
. Most of the game mechanics are either exactly the same or very similar.
** Later, a mod for ''Civilization IV'' (Final Frontier), included with "Beyond the Sword" contains many homages to it.
** Of course, some of the ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' games have a victory condition where you launch a colony ship to Alpha Centauri, so it could also be considered a sequel, especially since the game begins 10 years after the latest date Civ can end.
* TheRemnant: Pravin Lal's Peacekeepers are all that remains of the United Nations as well as the original Unity initiative.
* SanitySlippage: If you decide not to show mercy to an enemy who offers total surrender, it can be quite fun to watch their rantings get more and more insane as they continue contacting you while you slowly exterminate their faction.
* ScavengerWorld: The humans of Planet are able to build their infrastructure on Planet in part by acquiring scattered pods from the ''Unity'', which provide valuable raw materials and data on LostTechnology.
* ScienceMarchesOn: In the game, there are no planets orbiting Alpha Centauri B. In RealLife, a planet was discovered in a (very) close orbit around Alpha Centauri B in late 2012.
** Furthermore, the Human Genome Project has long since been completed. And it was hardly 'secret.'
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney Nwabudike Morgan.
* SettlingTheFrontier: As with most FourX games, you generally want to create new settlements early and often.
* ShoutOut: Microsoft (in the late '90s) and Morgan Industries. Just compare Microsoft's slogan "''Where do you want'' to go ''today?''" with Morgan's slogan "''Where do you want'' your node ''today?''". Similarly, the "Network Backbone" Secret Project (think "Wonders" from ''Civilization'') includes a quote from Morgan where he insists he doesn't want a monopoly, despite bundling his company's software with every Network Node--their products are "just so good" that no one feels a need to compete.
** For reasons that are never fully explained, the Secret Project "The Longevity Vaccine" produces a recording of someone on Planet watching TV, but apparently watching a cross between SMAC itself and WesternAnimation/SouthPark.
--->'''"Morgan"''': [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Hey! Get off my land, you peacekeeping sonofa--]][[CurseCutShort (channel change)]]
** Also, the video opens with what sounds like the Creator/{{NBC}} chimes played on an electric guitar.
** Also, many, many literary references to actual works, each of which may also count as a ShoutOut in its own right.
*** The tech name "The Will to Power" is directly derived from the works of Creator/FriedrichNietzsche, and while "Homo Superior" might seem to be a simple reference to Linnean taxonomy, you realize that it's also a good way to express the term ''{{Ubermensch}}'', which comes from...Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche quotes appear for both technologies (all from the Prologue to ''Thus Spoke Zarathustra'').
*** The Nautilus Pirates take their name and some of their themes from ''Literature/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea''.
** Also, the names of some bases (like ''Literature/FarnhamsFreehold'' or ''Googleplex'') may ring some bells.
** In the game's files, technologies use seven-letter abbreviations. SMAC shortens the Digital Sentience technology to [[TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey HAL9000]]. SMACX has String Resonance, which enables the best weapon in the game, shortened to [[VideoGame/{{Doom}} BFG9000]].
** The portrait of the Peacekeepers' leader, Pravin Lal, might ring a bell too - he's basically the Indian (that is, Southern Asian) version of real-life UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
* ShownTheirWork: And how! According to TheOtherWiki, ''lots'' of science fiction books were consulted during the making of this game.
** The manual has an entire appendix solely dedicated to the tehnical details of the Alpha Centauri system as assumed in the game. Technical stats on orbital data (for Chiron, its moons, and its suns), atmospheric composition, meteorology and climatology, oceanography, soil composition etc., together with analyses on what exactly they would mean for human colonists. It even has a "Suggested Reading" list.
** The level of immersion in each faction, the futuristic plausibility and thoroughness presented in detail... quite a lot.
* SlaveRace: Genejacks are an ArtificialHuman race that are physically and mentally redesigned to be factory slaves. A Genejack Factory increases mineral output at the small cost of increasing the drone population; genejacks are actually lower than drones, but still need to be controlled properly (despite Yang's statement on the matter, when he says that they're perfectly content and impossible to treat poorly).
* SleeperStarship: The ''Unity''
* SlapOnTheWristNuke: ''Reversed''. Using a (quasi-nuclear) Planet Buster will leave a huge crater where the enemy city or twelve ''used'' to be. And every other faction will declare Vendetta on the culprit. ''And'' the Planet itself will launch a full-out assault on you.
* SlidingScaleOfTurnRealism: Round by Round.
* SoundOff:
-->"I don't know but I've been told\\
Deirdre's got a Network Node\\
Likes to press the [=on/off=] switch\\
Dig that crazy Gaian witch"\\
-- ''Spartan barracks march, "Yes sir!"''
* SpiritualSuccessor to ''Civilization II''. Virtually all of the basic gameplay is identical, just with different terms for all of the gaming concepts. This was due to Firaxis not owning the Civilization rights at that time.
** In some ways, this reaches SerialNumbersFiledOff territory. While the gameplay is identical, the terminology is changed; people pursue "Vendetta" instead of "War," Wonders are "Secret Projects," Food is "Nutrients" and so on.
* SpitefulAI: The enemy loves to attack you no reason (even if it means they're going to get stomped), just to make sure you aren't allowed to play a relaxing "building" game.
* StarfishAliens: Progenitors: in depth, their wacky sentence structure. The sentence structure is shown to be just how humans interpret or translate their speech, or maybe their attempts at communicating with humans. The "interludes" shown to a Progenitor player don't contain any of the weird sentence structure.
** One of the weirdest things about them is how they communicate. Generating patterns of sounds is how humans talk; progenitors "alter" existing sounds with their resonance. In written form, their alphabet might look like instructions for "*existing sound* Pitch Up, Pitch Down, Pitch Way Up, Elongate," etc.
* [[StrawCharacter Strawman Political]]: Wonderfully averted. Even [[ChurchMilitant Miriam Godwinson]] and [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill Sheng-ji Yang]] make legitimate points; the former's [[ScienceIsBad fear of technology]] is [[CyberneticsEatYourSoul quite]] [[SinisterSurveillance frequently]] [[PoweredByAForsakenChild justified]], while the latter's goals bear an uncanny resemblance to the process of [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence transcendence]] and many of his quotes are rooted in Eastern mysticism and suggest he genuinely believes UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans.
** In another sense, the game also deconstructs the trope. Every faction's basic ideology is deliberately taken to its "utopian" extreme. The game then shows what it would realistically take to make such societies ''work''. Hint: If you want anything even remotely resembling the life you have now, avoid everyone who isn't the Peacekeepers or the Gaians. Maybe the Free Drones or the Morgan Industries depending on your ideology's position on economics.
* SuperweaponSurprise: Gaians. Living in peace and harmony and environmental balance is great, especially when your ecological prowess helps make friends with, and power up, indigenous creatures that [[PsychicPowers psychically paralyze enemies]] and proceed to core out their skull like an apple. While they're still alive. Which no amount of advanced armor or high-tech weaponry can defend against. Good times. One of Deirdre's books (Our Secret War) talks about how they would attack and obliterate their Spartan opponents with mindworms, ''with nobody realizing the Gaians were controlling the mindworm boils''.
** The 'Planet Cult', a faction introduced in the Alien Crossfire expansion, are even more naturally aligned to Planet than the Gaians, but they already had rather a fanatical bent.
* TelepathicSpacemen: Mindworms
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: NotPlayingFairWithResources: On transcend difficulty, the AI can mind control your units and bases or hurry production for less than a quarter of what the same would cost you, and several difficulty-related penalties do not affect the AI, such as eco-damage and base number-caused inefficiency. In every difficulty setting, it's a case of TheAllSeeingAI: even your submarine tech probe cruisers can get blown up, out of nowehere, in the middle of the ocean, by a missile.
* StandardSciFiArmy: The basic units already cover the main areas of the trope (Infantry, Oceanic Navies, Aircraft, Armored Combat Vehicles, Support). The Mindworms and the Isle of the Deep could be consider examples of Exotic and (to a certain extent)Indigs.
* TooAwesomeToUse: While Battle Ogres in ''Alien Crossfire'' have impeccable stats early-game (especially the [=Mark IIs=] and [=IIIs=]), they can't be built or repaired (even by Progenitors or monoliths) and their encounter rate among scattered Unity Pods is too low to scavenge a decent force. They do, however, come with "Non-Lethal Methods" (double Police duty all the time) and have resonance defenses (to better defend against psionic--i.e. mindworm--attacks), and thus are better garrisoned at a base rather than dismantled outright.
** Planet Busters also have elements of this, thanks to the fact that everyone will immediately and irrevocably declare war on you if you use one. Alternatively, if you ''can'' stockpile enough Planet Busters, you could declare war on everyone and win, although you'll run out of continents pretty quickly; initially because you've blown great big holes in all the other continents, this is quickly followed by sea level rise caused by your enormous levels of eco-damage.
* TooDumbToLive: Similar to the VideoGame/{{Civilization}} series: "Our engineers have invented [laughably weak unit], rendering our forces invincible."
** Also any AI dumb enough to use Planet Busters.
* ToServeMan: When the aliens take a human base, they're quite happy to recycle the inhabitants for nourishment.
* TubeTravel: The technological advance of Monopole Magnets grants this to your faction.
* UnitedNationsIsASuperPower: The remnants of the UN form the UN Peacekeepers faction, which can become a powerful (or weak) faction depending on how the game turns out.
* UniversalTranslator: One of the secret project's it's possible to build during the game. It gives you two free techs AND lets you cash any number of alien artifacts at that base.
* UpgradeArtifact: Both the Monoliths and the actual Artifacts
* TheUsualAdversaries: Miriam fills this role to most other factions, due to her belligerent and [[TheFundamentalist fundamentalist]] agenda.
* VideoGameCaringPotential: Build an enlightened democracy. Adopt a Eudaimonic society with peace and justice for all. Take good care of your citizens, and cultivate your Talent pool. Be good to Planet, with Centauri Preserves and all the environmentalist Secret Projects. The people will reward you with Golden Ages and the increased cash flow and productivity that comes with it; Planet will reward you with an army of mind worms.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Construct an oppressive PoliceState! Use Planet Busters on your enemies! Use Thought Control! Rip apart Planet and despoil her for all she's got! Sure, you might get drone riots, but you can just nerve-staple them into submission! Who cares about the sanctions; everyone hates you anyway! Besides, biological and chemical warfare are just so much ''fun!''
* VirtualGhost: Transcendi.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman Humans blasting on aliens with nerve gas is just fine, but ''God forbid'' if you use it against other humans! But then, the aliens make no bones about the fact that they consider humans little more than undesirable pests and there's a [[KillEmAll reason]] that human bases that they take over drop down to population 1.
** FridgeLogic applies in that if you capture a sea colony of another species, not only does the population drop, but colony pods flee, which can be captured by your ships with marine detachments. Yes, you can found colonies not only with another faction's citizens, but with another species.
* WindsOfDestinyChange: The Probability Mechanics discovery. Not only does God play dice, the dice are loaded. In addition, it's hinted that Chaos Cannons and Probability Infantry manipulate probability in their odds. In the GURPs supplement, the Monoliths are said to do this, changing probability so things are better.
* WorldOfBadass: Every crew member on the Unity was chosen from the best and brightest that humanity had to offer. Everyone on the ship, from the XO (Yang) to a lowly mining specialist (Domai) had some exceptional attributes, from genius level intellect, to incredible personal charisma, to neigh-superhuman willpower. Makes the very ''existance'' of the Drone underclass kinda sad, doesn't it?
* YouShallNotPass: [[BlackComedy Somewhat parodied]] by Richard "Recon Rover Rick" Baxton, who is lauded as a hero for holding off four waves of mindworms. At the same time, his [[FamilyUnfriendlyDeath death]] is glossed over to be able to sell his story.
-->"Richard Baxton piloted his Recon Rover into a fungal vortex and held off four waves of mind worms, saving an entire colony. We immediately purchased his identity manifests and repackaged him into the Recon Rover Rick character with a multi-tiered media campaign: televids, touchbooks, holos, psi-tours-- the works. People need heroes. They don't need to know how he died clawing his eyes out, screaming for mercy. The real story would just hurt sales, and dampen the spirits of our customers."
--->-- '''CEO Nwabudike Morgan'''
* ZergRush: Mindworms attack in massive waves, unconcerned about the defenses they face. [[WeHaveReserves Planet has reserves.]] Certain factions also play this way with regular units (The Drones, Hive, and Believers are the strongest examples.)
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-->''Please don't go. The drones need you. They look up to you.''
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