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I'm currently playing Alpha Centauri 1. I understand that you can link an alien artifact to a city that has a network node in it. I've got an alien artifact on a city. I can't find out how to link it to the network node. Right clicking and selecting action doesn't seem to come up with any likely looking options.

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There are two options:

  1. Upon completion building the Network Node, activate the Alien Artifact and press Ctrl+H (Set Home City). The game will suggest using the Artifact. Note: this works even if the unit has no moves remaining (e.g., it was Held in a city and passed its move).
  2. When the Alien Artifact activated, just step away from the city and step back into the city. Since usually, each city has at least one road around, the move will take only 2 * 1/3 of Artifact's moving capacity.

Also, SMAX (Alpha Centauri Alien Crossfire) automatically unholds Alien Artifacts in the city upon building the Network Node or starting building a special project. I'm not sure if the older SMAC works the same way.
Note: if unheld, the unit may have already skipped its move, but it still can do Ctrl+H; see above.

  • One trick I recently discovered is that it is actually possible to learn more than one tech using alien artifacts in a city (The "universal translator" secret project also allows this). Of course this does require recycling and rebuilding your network node each time you do it, but it's a quick way of getting lots of research techs early on. – Mark Ripley Oct 27 '16 at 8:20
  • @MarkRipley, yes you can, but to me, it seems to be too wasteful: you lose half the Shields cost of Network Node (NN) production. Plus you lose lots of extra Research points the NN could produce if it were not recycled. Plus you lose Population Boom — as I wrote in another answer, the instant pop booming is the ultimate goal to win in SMAC/SMAX. Summarizing all above, plan your Artifacts ahead; move them in advance to the cities where you're going to utilize it (either for a Tech advance or to build a Special Project). – bytebuster Oct 27 '16 at 8:44
  • I wasn't addressing whether this was a great strategy, just that I was surprised that it was possible. Prior to this I assumed that even though the alien artifact required a network node that the tech advance was somehow linked to the city and not the node itself. As far as strategy goes, once you have enough money in the early game to buy one-project-a-turn completion of projects, rebuilding network nodes is no longer a major issue. Enough money in the early game tends to be after SE 'Green', then capture native life units, then have them wander in fungus killing other natives. – Mark Ripley Oct 27 '16 at 8:56
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I've just found out how to do it. I had the alien artifact on hold on the city in preparation for the completion of the network node. If you activate the unit, the next turn the game will act as if you've moved the alien artifact onto the city. Then the game will ask you if you want to link the alien artifact to the network node.

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