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Reliable AC Players | Alpha HQ | Official MP Forum | Kali | ICQ | MailList | TheGamers.Net | PBEM | SidLeague | SMACLeague | Wargamer Registry

The How To Do It Page

Note: If I am missing anything, please EMail CaptComal@hotmail.com so I can update this page!
(this is only about HALF DONE ... but I'm getting there)

Playing Multiplayer games of SMAC has its own special requirements.   How do I find opponents? How do we get the game started? How can we continue a game at a later date? How do I chat during the game?  How do the negotiations work? What special resources are available to me to assist in any of this? This page will answer some of these questions and point you to other sources as well.

Most Frequently Asked Question: How Do I Continue a game later (using a SAVE GAME file)? Jump to the answer.

Reliable Alpha Centauri Players - This site is set of Forums to help you find opponents to play and establish a small community of SMAC players.  To join you must register and abide by three rules - but there is no financial cost! Page with more info on this. Jump there now.

Alpha HQ - This is a site that has a chat area plus "rooms" where you can go to join games. Since it is the official game site for SMAC you might stop by to see if anyone there is interested in a game ... but rumor has it that it is very unreliable as far as actually running the game from that site.  It might be wiser to find people there, then use EMail, ICQ or some other means to actually start and run the game. You must register (free) before you can use this site. Jump there now.

Official Firaxis Alpha Centauri Multiplayer Forum - This is the place to post your questions about the game. There is a TROUBLE SHOOTING forum to assist those with problems. There is a MULTIPLAYER forum to discuss and arrange games. Arranging games here is more open to the entire SMAC Universe (this is different than doing the same thing in the Reliable Alpha Centauri Players site which is a smaller group of dedicated SMAC players). Jump there now.

Kali - This is a service that tricks your computer into thinking that the Internet is really just your own personal LAN. You can play almost any multiplayer game with a LAN option via Kali, including SMAC. Kali has been around for YEARS and has thousands of devoted fans. There are literally HUNDREDS of Kali servers around the world. It provides an EXCELLENT chat facility and lets you track down a buddy quite easily (find out what server he is now on or was last seen on). There is a one time cost of $20 with free usage and free updates. Page with more info on this. Jump to Kali Home Site.

ICQ - (pronounced like "I seek you") - Like Kali, ICQ has been around for years. There are literally millions of people using ICQ now.  Think of the IC in ICQ as Instant Communications!  ICQ can tell you when people are online ... then just click on their name and send them an instant message (no need for EMail). Or click on their name to join them in an instant On-Line Chat (no need to go to a "room" ... it just pops up on your screen). There is a section in the Reliable Alpha Centarui Players site to share ICQ numbers so you can form your own "list" of people that might be available to play a game of SMAC. ICQ requires softare on your computer, but it is free. Jump to ICQ Home Site.

Mail List - There is a SMAC Multiplayer mailing list you can join. Anything sent to this list is forwarded to everyone on the list. There is no cost to join this list. At the present time it has been emphasizing Play By EMail games. Join the List.

TheGamers.Net - There is a "registry" of sorts for SMAC players at this site.  There is no cost to register or use the site to find an opponent. Jump to TheGamers.Net Registry.

PBEM (Play By EMail) - All you need is an EMail account to be able to play multiplayer games of SMAC using Play By EMail (well, you also need a good memory and some patience). There is a form you can fill out to help people get together for these games being circulated in various places such as via the Mail List noted above. Remember, if you only play one or two turns a day, and the game lasts 300 turns, the game will take nearly half a year to finish!

SidLeague - Similar to TheGamers.Net, but alot nicer I think. It is part of the SidGames / Alpha Centauri Nexus site. When you register, you can specify your EMail address and ICQ number and set the timezone you live in.  Then when it lists players, it gives the timezone for everyone in the list. Jump to SidLeague.

SMACLeague - Another registry for players - this one is in the Alpha Centauri Zone. Jump to SMACLeague.

Wargamer Registry - The oldest PBEM Registry around has added SMAC now. You can track opponents by EMail address, game or see if they are online by ICQ link. Jump to Wargamer Registry.

aangelr.gif (2897 bytes)How to CONTINUE a Multiplayer Game at a later date (not PBEM):

While playing a Multiplayer game, if it is decided to quit and continue on another day, the host should save the game before anyone quits (acutally anyone can save the game, but usually the host is the one who will be restarting it later). In order to remember which game is which, I recommend the following (all optional of course):

  1. At a later date, to continue a previously saved game, the Host runs SMAC and clicks on MULTIPLAYER (do NOT click on LOAD).
  2. Click on IPX for a LAN game or Internet TCP/IP for an Internet game.
  3. Click on HOST since the host is the one that must reload the game.
  4. Enter your name and the name for the game as requested.
  5. In the panel at the left, click on Type of Game (the fourth item in the list)
  6. Choose LOAD GAME from the pop up list
  7. Choose the correct save game file (you may need to navigate the file list into the correct folder - such as MP as suggested previously).
  8. In the top right panel (Players list), now click on the displayed faction name (Gaians by default) and change it to the faction that you wish to play (it does not remember who you were last time). Also set the difficulty level (Talent by default).
  9. NOW - others may join your game (rumor has it that there is a bug that causes problems if the other players join the game before the host gets this far).
  10. Each player must set the faction they wish to play as well as difficulty level.
  11. As each player is ready to begin, they click the MAKE READY button (which lights up the box next at the beginning of their line in the players list.
  12. Once everyone is ready, the host clicks the LAUNCH GAME button and the game begins.

Feature Number 1: Yes, this is a feature. By not setting each player to the faction they played when the game was saved, it allows each player to play any of the factions in the save game. So you could switch to another faction (even one that was previously controlled by the computer AI).

Feature Number 2: Each player can set their own difficulty level. Thus a more experienced player could set their level to THINKER while others in the game who are not that good yet can set their levels to SPECIALIST. In addition, the computer AI can be given yet another difficulty level (second line in the list on the left).  Thus, SMAC has a built in handicap system. Bravo to Firaxis!

aangelr.gif (2897 bytes)Things You Need for Multiplayer SMACing:

1) You need access to other players- after all, multiplayer implies more than one player.  You can accomplish this in several ways:

Note: for Internet games, hopefully your access speed is at least 28.8K, preferably closer to 56K... the slowest player slows all other players down to their slow speed.

2) You need SMAC - with the latest patch (everyone playing the game must be running the same version of SMAC). Hopefully your PC runs the game smoothly.

Note: The slowest player slows all other players down to their slow speed. This is a feature so that one player does not get to make their moves faster than others just because they have a faster computer.

3) You need TIME - games are not usually short. In a game with some chatting going on along with some negotiations, a nice conservative estimate would be about 20 turns per hour (usually games will last at least 100 turns and possibly 200, 300 or more turns).

4) Playing a Internet Multiplayer game is pretty simple ... one person is the HOST ... that person tells the others what their IP Address is (get it from WinIPCfg)

5) The HOST starts up SMAC and starts a Multiplayer game.

6) The others JOIN that game (using the IP Address for Internet games)

7) Agree on the game settings ... then all click the MAKE READY button

8) When all are ready, the HOST clicks the LAUNCH button and the games begins.

aangelr.gif (2897 bytes)Tips for smoother Multiplayer games:

Don't Look Beyond This Point
(it's not ready yet)

PBEM (may be an old version of these notes - this will be changed and adapted, but it is presented here so you have something while we work on it):

original by:

First of all this "guide" is based on my experiences with PBEM. It is not
written in stone but may be of some use to those of you that want to PBEM.
Sure it is slower than against the PC and against a netgame but there are a lot
of us that do not have the time to sit down for a few hours a night to play
"live". PBEM gives you the opportunity to play against others at the pace you
want to. There is also the ability to Roleplay your faction. In the game we
started yesterday there are already communiques and stories of PlanetFall sent
out to the players.

You also have the ability to email your potential ally or enemy to set up plans
of attack, trade, etc. PBEM is Fun!!!

Starting a Game
1) Host should advertise the type of game and rules he wants to use. This way
you will only get players that want to play that style of game and if you do
that there is a less of a chance that someone will drop out.

2) After you have gotten all the players and assigned them their faction send an
Email to them all showing who all is playing, their faction, and Email address.
Put the list of players in order because that will be the mailing order of the

3) The host starts the game and sets up all the players with their faction. If
the host is not Gaian then he just saves and exits the game and sends it to the
Gaians who will always be the first player.

4)Save the game with a name and make sure that everyone in the game saves it
that way also. Reason for this is many of us will be in more than one game and
you can always tell what turn for what game is coming in.

5)The host should collect everyones password in case someone drops out. This
gives him the chance to find a replacement player.

The First Turn

1) Host mails the turn to the first player. After he mails the turn he then
sends a message to everyone else (can just be a subject line type message)
saying something like this (name of game) sent to Hive. This way everyone will
know who is supposed to have the turn in case it gets lost in cyberspace or
there is a long delay. This continues everytime someone finishes their turn and
passes it on.

2)When player 2 gets the turn, unzip it (always good to zip the file) into the
Save game directory of where you installed SMAC. Load it up and it will ask you
for a password, type one in, verify it, and hit OK. Play the turn and make sure
you "END" your turn.
After you end your turn it will take you back to the password screen. VERY
IMPORTANT FOR TURN ONE ONLY -- just hit save and exit!!!

3) Zip up the turn and send it to the next player and send the message that the
turn has been sent to everyone playing.

I hope this little guide answers some people's questions. If not, post here and
I will try to answer the questions.


Visitors since March 2, 1999:

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Yes, now you can challenge CaptComal to a multiplayer game ... just keep the map tiny or small and settings at NO CLOCK. Contact by ICQ using the number published in the Reliable Alpha Centauri Players site or EMail to CaptComal@hotmail.com

If you find any errors please report them to CaptComal@hotmail.com so they can be corrected. Thanks.
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