In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
), the Weather Paradigm is a Secret Project
. It may be built at a cost of 180 minerals, on discovery of Centauri Ecology
(E1). The Weather Paradigm doubles the speed of terraforming operations (except the Remove Fungus command). If this isn't a sufficiently dramatic benefit, it also allows your Former
units to construct the advanced Thermal Borehole
terrain improvements, and raise or lower terrain, even if you haven't discovered the prerequisite technology (Ecological Engineering
How useful is this? Terrain improvements increase the resources produced in a base's production radius, facilitate unit movement, and/or provide combat bonuses to units in an improved square. Changing conditions, enemy action, and random events may make it desirable to terraform any given square several times over in the course of a complete game. It's tricky to assess the value of the Weather Paradigm; at the very least, it doubles the value of your faction's Former units.
Obviously, filling in or blasting terrain to "raise" or "lower" it isn't exactly science fiction; changing ground level by 1000 feet in a square area of the size that a SMAC map square represents, within five years and without significantly changing local agricultural production... now, THAT's science fiction.
Secret Project animation narrative:
"I shall not confront Planet as an enemy, but shall accept its mysteries as gifts to be cherished. Nor shall I crudely seek to peel the layers away like the skin from an onion. Instead I shall gather them together as the tree gathers the breeze. The wind shall blow and I shall bend. The sky shall open and I shall drink my fill."
-- Gaian Acolyte's Prayer