Alpha Centauri Wiki
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The size of the map can be customized while starting the game. The game comes with two hand-made maps of the Planet, but can generate new ones on the fly, depending on the built-in Planet generator.

When you elect to play on a random or customized random map game, you’re given a series of choices that allow you to shape the environment of your new world. A fully customized planet allows you to control exactly what kind of game experience you want. If your primary interest is combat and tactics, choose a small planet with plentiful native life, giving you lots of opportunity to fight off native threats and other factions. If you’re more interested in peaceful, long-term development, choose a huge planet and rare native life. If you want a difficult terraforming challenge, choose a mountainous, dry world, but if you want a more inviting environment for your people, choose rolling terrain and lots of rainfall. If you like building and managing a navy, go for extensive ocean coverage, or if you prefer to work on land, choose smaller oceans.

Map size[ | ]

Map area increases geometrically as horizontal and vertical sizes increase. The bigger the world, the longer you’ll likely play before encountering any of the other factions.

Maps smaller than 64x128 are not really recommended; maps larger than 256x256 may cause the game to "hang" indefinitely. Enormous maps which also contain huge world spanning continents are particularly problematic for performance, because of the variations created for the pathfinding code.

This is, of course, highly dependent on the power of your machine.The game is now more than twenty years old, and modern machines will typically cope with much larger maps.

Ocean Coverage[ | ]

You may select how much of the world is under water. The three options are 30-50%, 50-70%, and 70-90%. The more ocean, the greater the necessity for a navy and the fewer opportunities to expand your faction on land. Greater ocean coverage benefits the Nautilus Pirates faction.

Erosive Forces[ | ]

You can choose between Strong (rolling and flat terrain), Average (hilly terrain), and Weak (rough, mountainous terrain). In general, flat terrain is easier to settle and terraform. Rougher surfaces are harder to terraform, but offer an abundance of mineral resources. Stronger erosive forces also lead to more irregular coastlines, with more islands and peninsulas.

Native Life Forms[ | ]

You can select the frequency of Planet’s native life-forms, notably mindworms and xenofungus. Choose from Rare, Average or Abundant. More abundant life-forms benefit the Gaia's Stepdaughters and Planet Cult factions. For all other factions, the fewer native life forms, the easier the game (particularly early on), but fewer chances to retrieve energy credits from planetpearls.

Cloud Cover[ | ]

The choices for cloud cover are: Sparse (light rainfall), Average, and Dense (heavy rainfall). The more rainfall, the more nutrients available to feed and expand your bases, but the less energy generated by Solar collectors.

Tactical Considerations[ | ]

The map you choose influences the type of game you will get.

If you prefer a long, development focused game[ | ]

Generally, the smaller the world, the more likely you are to encounter hostile factions early in the game before you've had time to develop defenses, so larger worlds allow more opportunity for development before competition for resources makes combat hard to avoid. A world with greater percentage ocean coverage mitigates this by breaking the territory into many islands, especially if you also choose strong erosive forces. Of course, this places a high value on Doctrine: Flexibility. You should develop this quickly, and should be wary of trading it with other factions. A water-dominated world also benefits the Nautilus Pirates faction. Larger maps aid in achieving 'Highest Tech Level', 'Highest Population' and 'Fastest Transcendence Victory' scores.

If you prefer a short, combat focused game[ | ]

A smaller world with less ocean coverage will lead to earlier encounters with other factions; this is highly likely to lead to unavoidable conflict, and, if you're actively seeking conflict, will suit your game. This map choice will help achieve 'Fastest Conquest Victory' but also 'Fastest Diplomatic Victory' scores.

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