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I can be private messaged for gameplay questions, and it will go to my email. I've never bothered with multilayer, but I may be able to help.

Alpha Centauri isn't all that different from the rest of the Civilization series, though the first time I played it, I did find the graphics disorienting with the pink fungus everywhere. If you're having trouble, you could have a look at this wiki or youtube video. Admittedly the manual isn't as great as some of the other Civ manuals. If you're new to the series, you might try Civilization 3. Alpha Centauri is better but it Civ3 might serve as a better introduction.
http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Sid_Meier%27s_Alpha_Centauri
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RhC0wlWsR0

Having played other Civilization games before, I simply ignored what I didn't understand until I got the hang of it. You can get a Transcendence victory on the easier difficulties without knowing what you are doing and just building things. I don't recommend a beginner play against the aliens, but I recommend the original anyway. Past simulations record the Hive as being the strongest faction (apart from the aliens, but I prefer the original), but are generally recognized as being the easiest for humans as well. My advise is to first get to get formers (ecology), but also recreation centers (biold). After formers I've typically gone planning.
Post edited December 19, 2015 by BlaneckW
Typically, my research priorities are Recycling Tanks, Formers, Recreation Centers, then run for Secrets of the Human Brain. After that, aim your research toward Supply Carriers.

If you're not sure why, Recycling Tanks gives great, cheap buff to resources.

Formers improve tiles to boost your cities. Drop a farm or two next to water, if it's available. Put mines on rocky areas. Put forest everywhere else. Forests make for a good improvement on it's own but once you get Tree Farm and then Hybrid Farm after, Forests get kind of crazy.

Rec Centers calm the drones down and can be pivotal for several of the factions. Secrets of the Human Brain instantly gives you a tech. Aim for one that would otherwise be expensive to research at that point but also provides facility to your game immediately or soon.

Supply Carriers. Slap a mine on every rocky area tile, place a supply carrier on it. Get three or four carriers feeding an extra 12-16 mineral to a city, you'll be producing units and secret projects quickly and easily.

After that, it's all nuance and strategy. Mind you, this is grand scheme. You're going to have to score some military sufficiency in there and what not.
Post edited April 12, 2016 by incendivm
Recently I've been generally building recycling tanks first but I think it generally better to research Formers (explore) first since you don't want to end up not having them available.

Only research-capable factions are likely to get Secrets of the Human Brain first. Moreover, one can extort research from the other factions. One having surrendered, the rump state, too, might be able to produce a few more techs at a reasonable pace.
Post edited December 19, 2015 by BlaneckW
In my last few playthroughs on small maps I've found that if you research mobility (Explore) and then laser first, coupled with the free minerals of a new base you can get out the door and demand technology from the other factions long before they have defensive capabilities. After that you force their surrender/annex them depending on whether they have another base, and then you can sell them technology and finish them off once they've outlived their usefulness. Ultimately you'll come out on top of technology. On smaller maps I consider secret projects largely irrelevant. You'll be too busy building other things (like supply convoys), and if you get Fusion power (not too far off, with a bit of trading) while an enemy snags command nexus, it's not going to matter. Especially if they're Deidre. And morale only goes to elite anyway, morale becoming easily available as the game progresses (Intellectual Integrity).

In the past I'd considered focusing on terraforming rather than bases as more valuable for research, but an extra base is probably more valuable militarily. The best research is what you can get from others. There is so much material development to be done, if one is at war one would just assume get that extra probe out rather than an additional tech. It is of no use to research far-off secret projects and not have an industry. If the enemy is suspectable to damage, there is no advantage like another unit.

Also, Industrial Automation requires that Plantery Networks (D2) be discovered first, in terms of priorities. I find that it's best to get it in any case, as you need the productive capacity as almost much as you need weaponry. But you can typically get it from someone else.

If you stack two rovers on the same tile, they can't be mind controlled.
Post edited December 19, 2015 by BlaneckW
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BlaneckW: In my last few playthroughs on small maps I've found that if you research mobility (Explore) and then laser first, coupled with the free minerals of a new base you can get out the door and demand technology from the other factions long before they have defensive capabilities. After that you force their surrender/annex them depending on whether they have another base, and then you can sell them technology and finish them off once they've outlived their usefulness. Ultimately you'll come out on top of technology. On smaller maps I consider secret projects largely irrelevant. You'll be too busy building other things (like supply convoys), and if you get Fusion power (not too far off, with a bit of trading) while an enemy snags command nexus, it's not going to matter. Especially if they're Deidre. And morale only goes to elite anyway, morale becoming easily available as the game progresses (Intellectual Integrity).

In the past I'd considered focusing on terraforming rather than bases as more valuable for research, but an extra base is probably more valuable militarily. The best research is what you can get from others. There is so much material development to be done, if one is at war one would just assume get that extra probe out rather than an additional tech. It is of no use to research far-off secret projects and not have an industry. If the enemy is suspectable to damage, there is no advantage like another unit.

Also, Industrial Automation requires that Plantery Networks (D2) be discovered first, in terms of priorities. I find that it's best to get it in any case, as you need the productive capacity as almost much as you need weaponry. But you can typically get it from someone else.

If you stack two rovers on the same tile, they can't be mind controlled.
Hmpf but that only works with research friendly factions either? The believers always tend to have a hard time here :/
What I go for is: build bases, bases, bases. Even if the place is not the best, after a bit of terraforming it'll do and worst that happens is the enemy has one more base to worry about that you do not even care about losing :D
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BlaneckW: In my last few playthroughs on small maps I've found that if you research mobility (Explore) and then laser first, coupled with the free minerals of a new base you can get out the door and demand technology from the other factions long before they have defensive capabilities. After that you force their surrender/annex them depending on whether they have another base, and then you can sell them technology and finish them off once they've outlived their usefulness. Ultimately you'll come out on top of technology. On smaller maps I consider secret projects largely irrelevant. You'll be too busy building other things (like supply convoys), and if you get Fusion power (not too far off, with a bit of trading) while an enemy snags command nexus, it's not going to matter. Especially if they're Deidre. And morale only goes to elite anyway, morale becoming easily available as the game progresses (Intellectual Integrity).

In the past I'd considered focusing on terraforming rather than bases as more valuable for research, but an extra base is probably more valuable militarily. The best research is what you can get from others. There is so much material development to be done, if one is at war one would just assume get that extra probe out rather than an additional tech. It is of no use to research far-off secret projects and not have an industry. If the enemy is suspectable to damage, there is no advantage like another unit.

Also, Industrial Automation requires that Plantery Networks (D2) be discovered first, in terms of priorities. I find that it's best to get it in any case, as you need the productive capacity as almost much as you need weaponry. But you can typically get it from someone else.

If you stack two rovers on the same tile, they can't be mind controlled.
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Roin: Hmpf but that only works with research friendly factions either? The believers always tend to have a hard time here :/
What I go for is: build bases, bases, bases. Even if the place is not the best, after a bit of terraforming it'll do and worst that happens is the enemy has one more base to worry about that you do not even care about losing :D
You have the right idea which is to open the game with a well-placed base sprawl, however, a competent player should plan to create a Pact with the first contact instead of trading research data.

:)
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Roin: Hmpf but that only works with research friendly factions either? The believers always tend to have a hard time here :/
What I go for is: build bases, bases, bases. Even if the place is not the best, after a bit of terraforming it'll do and worst that happens is the enemy has one more base to worry about that you do not even care about losing :D
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HEF2011: You have the right idea which is to open the game with a well-placed base sprawl, however, a competent player should plan to create a Pact with the first contact instead of trading research data.

:)
You do have a point there but when playing the believers I figured the AI will just laugh about you all the time *sniff*.
(god watches them!) :P
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HEF2011: You have the right idea which is to open the game with a well-placed base sprawl, however, a competent player should plan to create a Pact with the first contact instead of trading research data.

:)
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Roin: You do have a point there but when playing the believers I figured the AI will just laugh about you all the time *sniff*.
(god watches them!) :P
:)

Y'know...

I've been playing Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri for over 14 years but I have never played The Believers. Ever. That's the only faction I absolutely refuse to get involved with.
I've played The Hive for the 1st time just last year but have not the stomach to select Sister Miriam.
:)
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Roin: You do have a point there but when playing the believers I figured the AI will just laugh about you all the time *sniff*.
(god watches them!) :P
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HEF2011: :)

Y'know...

I've been playing Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri for over 14 years but I have never played The Believers. Ever. That's the only faction I absolutely refuse to get involved with.
I've played The Hive for the 1st time just last year but have not the stomach to select Sister Miriam.
:)
Well they do have a -2 on research but I figured on a big Planet they work really well, you can exist for quite long on low energy levels and you have +2 support so that's cool :)
Otherwise you always lack behind except if you expand early on extremely quickly and the other factions are willing to trade their high level military tech for your low level tech.
avatar
HEF2011: :)

Y'know...

I've been playing Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri for over 14 years but I have never played The Believers. Ever. That's the only faction I absolutely refuse to get involved with.
I've played The Hive for the 1st time just last year but have not the stomach to select Sister Miriam.
:)
avatar
Roin: Well they do have a -2 on research but I figured on a big Planet they work really well, you can exist for quite long on low energy levels and you have +2 support so that's cool :)
Otherwise you always lack behind except if you expand early on extremely quickly and the other factions are willing to trade their high level military tech for your low level tech.
Exactly what are your game settings in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri?
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HEF2011: :)

Y'know...

I've been playing Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri for over 14 years but I have never played The Believers. Ever. That's the only faction I absolutely refuse to get involved with.
I've played The Hive for the 1st time just last year but have not the stomach to select Sister Miriam.
:)
The Believers is a great faction if you want to role-play an aggresive militant terrorist group or a rebel faction that relies heavily on sabotage, terrorism, guerilla warfare, and ambush/rush.

Its actually pretty challenging if you end up on a disadvantage (e.g. late contact with other faction) and the games usually end up fighting for survival.

Use the fungus to hide your cheap disposable free army (+2 support) and launch a surprise human wave attack on your enemies early on.

Use probes (+1 to probe and fundamentalism) aggressively to steal tech and bases while you plant evidence and frame the other groups and have your enemies fight each other.

Use probes to steal terraformers, crawlers, and advance military unit and then you either use it against your enemies or disband it to fund your secret projects.

Its actually a really cool faction if you like heavy unit micromanagement, probes, and clandestine strategy and tactics.
avatar
HEF2011: :)

Y'know...

I've been playing Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri for over 14 years but I have never played The Believers. Ever. That's the only faction I absolutely refuse to get involved with.
I've played The Hive for the 1st time just last year but have not the stomach to select Sister Miriam.
:)
avatar
BuckFarack: The Believers is a great faction if you want to role-play an aggresive militant terrorist group or a rebel faction that relies heavily on sabotage, terrorism, guerilla warfare, and ambush/rush.

Its actually pretty challenging if you end up on a disadvantage (e.g. late contact with other faction) and the games usually end up fighting for survival.

Use the fungus to hide your cheap disposable free army (+2 support) and launch a surprise human wave attack on your enemies early on.

Use probes (+1 to probe and fundamentalism) aggressively to steal tech and bases while you plant evidence and frame the other groups and have your enemies fight each other.

Use probes to steal terraformers, crawlers, and advance military unit and then you either use it against your enemies or disband it to fund your secret projects.

Its actually a really cool faction if you like heavy unit micromanagement, probes, and clandestine strategy and tactics.
Alright...

:)

I'll give The Believers a try next time I launch Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri!