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Air unit (and ranged) pillaging

Discussion in 'Community Patch Project' started by Tonas1997, Jan 11, 2019.

?

Yeah or Nay?

  1. Yeah

    84.6%
  2. Nay

    15.4%
  1. Tonas1997

    Tonas1997 Chieftain

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    To continue my series of wildly naïve, misinformed or noobish requests and discussions, here comes a feature which, at this point, has been beaten to death on a couple of Civ V forums - and, remarkably, made an appearence on Civ VI: allowing air units, and other late-game ranged attackers like battleships and cruise missiles, to pillage ("bomb") tile improvements.

    Most discussions I've seen around the subject ended up with the idea being shot down, or ignored, due to one of two reasons - sometimes both:
    1. Lack of community interest.
    2. Balancing issues with the AI.
    In the context of Vox Populi, the second point draws more interest. Having the AI decide which tile improvements are worthy of being bombed (by implementing a balanced decision-making algorithm) could be as hard as interesting. Uranium mines would be extremely valuable, as would oil refineries... up until the point air units start to use up alluminium.

    While allowing for behind-the-enemy-lines pillaging sounds overpowered as hell, it would also give a bigger emphasis to air defense. Not all tiles would be "bombable", though. Fishing nets are the archetypical example, but some other improvements like farms could be spared as well.

    I didn't include "too hard to implement" because a quick look around the source code is enough to identify which methods should be altered. I did find those methods a few months ago, meaning I forgot most of it, but IIRC it boils down to
    • Marking enemy tile improvements as selectable attack targets
    • If there's a unit on said improvements, they are to absorb the damage.
    • Toggling the "pillaged" flag on the bombed improvement after the bombing run or artillery barrage (which can be done without giving the attacker gold)
    Obviously, this system could be further developed to, say, replace the suggested 100% chance of pillaging - barring interception - by a probabilistic base value that can be increased through promotions (napalm for forest improvements, bunker busters for forts/citadels, thermobaric bombs for mines, etc).

    In my innocent opinion, this feature would open up a whole new level of complexity in warfare by allowing players (and ideally the AI) to wager strategic attacks on specific resources and improvements. Depriving the enemy of precious alluminium, uranium or oil, attacking mines to lower the war production of its cities, forts and citadels to facilitate friendly infantry advances, railways to hinder enemy movement and allow for more effective interdiction missions, or - in contrary to what was mentioned above - farms to starve its citizens... sounds cool as hell to me.

    Never mind my delusions of grandeur and warmongering fever-dreams; what's your opinion?
     
  2. Moi Magnus

    Moi Magnus Warlord

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    My opinion: I usually don't get to that point of the game. And when I do, I'm more interested in lightning wars, pillaging only when I need healing. So I don't really care (so clearly I'm part of the "Lack of community interest.")
     
    Tonas1997 likes this.
  3. civplayer33

    civplayer33 Chieftain

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    I like it, though I doubt it will be implemented. This seems like something the human will probably be a lot better at than the AI since it involves a lot of nuanced prediction. Furthermore, making this available in early or midgame (for siege units) would be pretty weird and mostly unnecessary anyway, so it'd primarily be a late game feature and a lot of games wouldn't see much use out of it, which begs the question of whether it's worth it investing the time to code this, especially since Gazebo wants to get to his finalized version sooner rather than later.

    I'm pretty sure that this is already possible, btw; don't tiles get pillaged when you use the Atomic Bomb or Nuclear Missile? Though those two add their own "improvement" to the affected tiles, as well, and are far too brute force and expensive to use them primarily for this purpose.

    Technically speaking (linguistically) It wouldn't really be pillaging, though, since pillaging means that you ransack an area, but more "disabling". Of course the game doesn't care and the tiles would still be marked as pillaged but there should be a separate mechanism implemented, as you suggested, which prevents the attacker from getting any yields when "ranged pillaging" and it would also be nice to implement a chance that this bombing can fail.

    A really interesting discussion would be what units would be allowed to destroy what improvements. Bombers should probably get to destroy everything, though maybe only starting from the Heavy Bomber unit onward; Triplanes should probably not be able to do this but I guess Jet Fighters could gain the ability to destroy certain things like Roads and Railroads. Land units should probably not get this ability with the exception of siege units, maybe starting with the Artillery unit, and Naval should probably only have the Battleship be capable of this.

    Another interesting idea, IMO, is to only let Stealth Bombers do this, or differentiate them in some other manner (like giving the other units I mentioned the ability to only destroy Roads and Railroads, but Stealth Bombers can destroy all improvements). I always feel like Stealth Bombers are kind wanting as a late game unit, since they can't be stationed on Carriers and, unlike Vanilla, they don't have that crazy range. So if this kind of feature would be added I would welcome Stealth Bombers receiving special treatment.
     
  4. Tonas1997

    Tonas1997 Chieftain

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    It would mostly be limited to late-game units. Artillery/Rocket Artillery, ranged naval units from the Ironclad onwards, Fighters, Jet Fighters, Heavy Bombers and the Stealth Bomber.

    When I looked into the source code, "pillaging a tile" and "giving yields/health to the attacking player" were two distinct events/methods; atomic bombs and nuclear missiles prove it is possible to disable a tile without gaining gold yields or healing units.

    Seconded.
     
  5. Leondegrance

    Leondegrance Chieftain

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    Just to mention that currently in Civ 5 there is a very nasty tactics to render key enemy terrain assets useless.

    The paratroopers. The AI likes to do it. I have seen in a single turn the AI drop about 10 paratroopers who immediately upon landing

    1. Pillaged my great person improvements
    2. Pillaged resources (oil, uranium)
    3. Even pillaged road to disconnect the city connection from the capital.

    It is very nasty tactics. Because

    1. Is fast and surprise attack deep in your territory
    2. You have to defeat the paratroopers before sending workers to repair
    3. On the next turn usually more paratroopers come to continue their dirty sabotage
    4. Takes an army of workers to fix everything
    5. Can severily damage economy for long time until all is fixed

    You can't imagine the amount of damage these guys can do. The only thing worse than this is a nuclear bomb.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
    merill likes this.
  6. Enginseer

    Enginseer Salientia of the Community Patch Supporter

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    I rather prefer if there was a promotion that granted Bombers a chance to pillage a defender's tile.
     
  7. vyyt

    vyyt Chieftain

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    I'd absolutely love this (maybe for air units only, not for land/naval ranged units?). But there should be a % chance of failing/succeeding. Also, the destroyed tiles should not give any yields to the "pillager". Brings back the good memories of Civ3 :)

    But I have 2 concerns:
    - would AI be able to use it as efficiently as humans?
    - wouldn't it be too difficult to defend against planes if you have none? I mean even less advanced units deal some small damage to attacking planes so you have a chance in the actual fight (you can at least slow the air raids down a bit), but here, the only way to defend would be rotating units on strategic points and sacrifying the rest of the tiles. But maybe this is exactly the way it should be.
     
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  8. Padre19

    Padre19 Chieftain

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    I'm curious what Gazebo will say....
     
  9. CppMaster

    CppMaster Chieftain

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    Then you have to summon him with a monkey: @Gazebo
     
  10. Tarzan737

    Tarzan737 Chieftain

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    I like the idea and have been waiting for this
     
  11. Leondegrance

    Leondegrance Chieftain

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    I shouldn't talk for him but I already know the answer

    "No. This would require tremendous amount of programming the dll." G

    And for one time I can completely agree with him. You know that we already have mechanics like this in the game.
     
  12. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    I can speak for myself, thanks.

    The only way in which this would work would be for pillaging to automatically happen after you attacked a unit on the tile. The UI targeter for ranged attacks wouldn't know what to do with a tile without a unit on it.

    G
     
  13. civplayer33

    civplayer33 Chieftain

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    Doesn't this work already with Atomic Bombs and Nuclear Missiles, though?
     
  14. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch

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    Different targeter and mechanic altogether. Air units are technically (from a DLL standpoint) making 'melee' attacks! o_0

    G
     
  15. civplayer33

    civplayer33 Chieftain

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    Ah, that's weird; and I assume it can't be adapted or at least not without major new code...bummer.

    Well I suppose some additional promotion for the Bomber line that introduces a chance to pillage on attack might be fun, though I was mostly excited about the ability to shoot at / bomb Railroads and Strategic Resources at will, to be honest, so I'm fairly indifferent about this now.
     
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  16. Tonas1997

    Tonas1997 Chieftain

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    I seem to remember there was some point in the source code that decided what tiles could be attacked via air strike - it checked for both cities and units inside each of the in-range tiles, IIRC. Couldn't that be expanded to allow for enemy improvements to be targeted?

    I'm checking for any calls for the GenerateAirCombatInfo() method - found on CvUnitCombat.cpp - inside the source .cpp files, but can't seem to find any. I assume that target "filtering" would be handled immediately prior to this.

    As it stands, it also lacks something like a plot.hasImprovement() guard. It is interesting, however, to note that if no city is detected on the targeted plot, it defaults to assume there MUST be a unit on it - which is passed as an argument. Which means there's some sort of target pre-selection, probably when the faux "ranged attack" red circle thingies are drawn on the UI.

    I reckon this feature would be more similar to an atomic strike in terms of UI feedback (e.g. bypassing the standard GenerateAirCombatInfo() method call), only merged with the normal air strike event. Basically, a normal air strike, with selectable enemy tile improvements as targets, without the bottom-left combat info popup, then the regular interception/shotdown events (if applicable) and the rest of the logic: decide if the attack was successful (in case probabilistic success rates are used), mark tile as pillaged, apply interception damage, etc etc).
     
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