Drone is the name given to disgruntled citizens in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. They are shown in red in the base menu. If drones outnumber Talents in a given base when the next turn starts, the base will suffer Drone Riots, shutting down production. If the problem is not solved after one turn, the riots will intensify and the drones will smash a base facility. If after yet another turn the problem is not solved, the base will revolt and join another faction. In such a situation, if the Free Drones are in the game, a base in such rebellion has a higher chance of joining that faction over the others.

One can deploy draconian methods such as nerve stapling to halt a drone riot; such measures constitute a lesser Atrocity, and thus if the UN Charter is active, other factions will impose economic sanctions against you. It also leaves the base more vulnerable to mind control by attacking probe teams, and in time they can become resistant to nerve stapling if it used too often.

Causes[edit | edit source]

  • Population pressure. Depending on difficulty level, every citizen in a base after a certain number is automatically a drone. In addition, as one's empire grows, more workers become drones depending on one's empire's EFFIC rating and the difficulty level.
  • If one's faction's POLICE rating is very low, military units away from their home base cause citizens of said base to become drones.
  • Enemy probe teams can hit a base and increase drone activity; this can result in a drone riot.
  • Bases which are conquered will have additional drones for a certain number of turns. Then the artwork for that captured base, is changed to the artwork for your faction's bases, and they are no longer disgruntled conquered subjects but instead normal citizens.
  • The Genejack Factory (SMAC) increases the number of drones at the base in which it is built.
  • The University has an extra drone for every four citizens; this is ascribed to "lack of ethics".

Preventions[edit | edit source]

There are various things you can do in order to prevent hard working citizens from becoming unruly drones.

  • Build base facilities to prevent the problem.
    • Recreational facilities such as Recreation Commons and Hologram Theaters each cool off two drones.
    • Medical facilities such as a Research Hospital and Nanohospital each cool off one Drone, and also increase Psych output that is generated at the base.
    • A Paradise Garden takes the opposite approach to drone-riot prevention, by increasing the number of talents rather than reducing the number of drones.
    • A Punishment Sphere (presumably forcibly) cools off all drones, at the cost of 50% of research output, increased vulnerability to probe teams, and all talents in the base reduced to normal workers.
  • Switch some citizen from workers to specialists that generate Psych. Doctors, Empaths, or Transcends all provided extra Psych. Thinkers also generate Psych, but at a lesser quantity.
  • Have military units in base to act as police units. The number of units you can use for police force per base is determined by your Social Engineering choices, as well as certain Secret Projects. For most factions, conventional units will serve this purpose but native life will not. The Gaians and Cult of Planet are the exceptions, having especial reverence for the planet's native life, with the Cult taking it so far that mind worms used as police have double the normal effect. If one has discovered Intellectual Integrity, one can build conventional units with the Non-Lethal Methods special ability, doubling their ability for use as police.
  • Certain Secret Projects lower the number of drones per base, or prevent anyone from turning into a drone all together.
  • In your social engineering menu you can direct more of the base's energy production to Psych.

To determine if you are going to have a drone riot, you can cycle through all of your bases to check the status of the citizens, and/or if population growth is imminent. If this is the case then you can check to see if you have enough facilities and police units on hand to prevent a drone riot. The messages listing what bases have had riots, will continue to be in your message box even when you reload to the previous turn before that happened. This allows you to easily tell which bases are going to be a problem, and with a click on the message, you can go to that base to make changes.

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