CEO Morgan doesn't have this problem. He can afford the Longevity Vaccine. I don't mean afford it just in terms of building the secret project, but afford it in terms of addressing the consequences. If you do things right, you can grow your bases to great sizes while also keeping them in perpetual Golden Ages, and this can be done by diverting a mere 10% of your incoming energy to psych! 10%, that's all you need. And I promise you: you will not get there unless you research lots of Build techs.
I don't have planet busters until my scientists invent Orbital Spaceflight, and then that gets me these wonderful weapons deliverable only by rockets, never by needlejet or any other technology. And likewise, I don't have any other space tech until I have these rockets. Rockets are the key. You can't have planet busters or spaceflight without them.
And trust me, no matter how hard you try to get along, there's always some pro-war nutcase who wants a vendetta. You must arm. That doesn't mean you have to nuke anyone, but you damn well better at least be trying to get the technology. He is so right about the evil genocidal leaders. Stuff just doesn't ever get done without these kind of people.
One thing I was shocked to see Stephenson miss, though, is that you also need Pre-Sentient Algorithms. Orbital Spaceflight can't exist without it; it's a path dependency. (This is why, in the pseudo-reality (Earth simulations often played on the computers at the University) outside the true reality of SMACX, computer Science basically starts in the 1940s after you build something called Bletchley Park.) I cannot imagine how the author of Cryptonomicon, of all people, missed this.
You and me both, dude.
And FWIW, we can solve all the global warming problems merely by launching a solar shade. The hardest part is ramming it through the council (fucking Santiago is a total denier!). Once you have the votes, implementation is trivial.
a lot of AC was so campy it was a bit disturbing - i.e. religious people in the far flung future, seriously?
Oh no! There's something disturbing in the dystopian future!
SMAC is a game. Sometimes you want to grab your opponents by the lapel and shout in their face, "You idiot, quit being difficult and let's just cooperate," but if they actually did that, it would be a boring game. Fortunately, people don't all get along. They're divided by economic ideals, ecological ideals, civic ideals, etc. Why not religion? Religion is a great divider. I don't want to know what kind of people Miriam or Dierdre would be like if they weren't bat-shit insane; I like them how they are.
For my money, I personally think that the best "Civ" game ever made was, by leaps and bounds, Alpha Centauri.
Who ever played civilization craving more tactical combat?
I think there's another way to look at it. Some people like tactical games too; not an either-or kind of thing. But when you play a tactical game (my favored example is Kohan, simply because I'm mainly only familiar with games that have been ported to Linux), you often sort of want a strategic/empire_building element added to that. Maybe Civ5 could be in both markets.
Try SMAC/SMACX, which have been ported to Linux. You can play in a super-simple mode, with terraformers fully automated and "governors" deciding what your bases build. The AI makes poor decisions in this regard, but no stupider than your opponents' AIs. I keep meaning to try out a game where I play this way as a handicap, but micromanagement is irresistible.
If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley