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Cruise Missiles

Predator145

Prince
Joined
May 22, 2020
Messages
488
Cruise Missiles are a rarely seen late game unit and thus are poorly understood after all these years. I've done some tests with them and would like to report:

1) The Cruise Missile ability makes a unit die after bombarding/bombing. You're prolly saying "Duh!". But Precision Bombing missions do not make them die.

2) The CM ability makes a unit not provide defensive bombard. You could give a offensive/defensive unit huge bombard value, the CM ability, no Bombard/Bombing command and range and thus have an inconsequential editor perfume. However combined with the Collateral Damage flag you could generate a unit that's very good at destroying improvements if it wins a combat round (1 improvement destroyed max per attack) but does not provide defensive bombard. So you could have things like tanks cause collateral dmg but not def bombard.

3) The CM ability makes a unit ignore the charm flag.

4) The CM ability makes a unit ignore PTW targeting in Flintlock's patch. CM ability units have a much better hit rate vs units compared to non CM bombard pre C3C. That is their real niche in Vanilla and PTW.

5) The CM ability automatically gives the unit lethal land and sea bombard regardless if you've given them the abilities or not.

6) The CM ability has different bombard targeting depending on whether the unit is land, air or sea.
  • Land CM units will target Land units first and then Pop/Improvements with equal odds. Air and Sea units are not targeted at all. Unlike land artillery, they will not target walls first. They will simply bypass them.
  • Air CM units will target Air units first and then Sea units. When there are no Air and Sea units left Land units will be targeted. Only after the city has been emptied will they target Pop/Improvements will equal odds.
  • Sea CM units will target Sea units first and then Air units. When there are no Sea and Air units left Land units will be targeted. Only after the city has been emptied will they target Pop/Improvements with equal odds.
7) The CM ability makes a unit unable to use stealth bombard.

8) The CM ability makes a unit use its Run animation to approach the target similar to regular Air units. It will thus fly over other units and water. It will then use its Attack Animation on the same tile as its target. Then it will use its Death animation on that tile as well. This applies to all 3 types of Land/Air/Sea units.

9)
A land unit flagged solely with the "Cruise Missile" AI strat will target Sea units first, Air units later and then Land units. Only after the city has been emptied will it go after pop and improvements with equal odds. But if that land unit does not have the "Cruise Missile" AI strat or shares that strat with others like Offense or Defense targeting will be as described above. This is the first instance I've seen an AI strat changing a unit's bombard targeting.

Testing was done in WW2 Pacific by giving Artillery the CM ability (and the artillery AI strat flag as usual) and the Nipponese Infantry the CM ability, bombard value and range and ONLY the CM AI strat flag. The artillery units only hit land units in Rangoon while the Nipponese Infantry targeted the Flying Tigers there and the destroyer in Singapore. The submarine however escaped being targeted and the Nips went on the target the fighter in Singapore after the destroyer had been sunk.

Based on the information above the German Wiki page Civinator showed me needs to be edited.

BTW, Civil Defenses aren't the first improvements to be destroyed air bombardment. Air bombardment chooses randomly. Maybe CDs get destroyed first by land/naval artillery after all the units have been redlined?

As for PTW style targeting, they do not destroy the CD first either. PTW style targeting also doesn't target Walls or Coastal Fortresses first. So what are the Land Bombard and Sea Bombard values for in the Vanilla editor? These were around pre C3C. Does the game apply these values when these improvements get randomly chosen to be bombarded instead of the Improvement defense value set in the editor rules section?

These test results sure put a damper on some of my ideas. Guess an infrastructure bombing Shahed drone isn't in the books as CM units focus target units and can't fairly execute Precision Strikes. Air launched CMs targeting civilian infrastructure will have to be done by late game strategic bombers with missile victory graphics. The RocketLarge from that grand collection of bomb graphics is good. But if you want a bigger boom, Wyrm's MOAB looks like cruise missile enough.

I also wanted to incorporate battering rams as a type of land CM units in the hopes that they would be 1 shot weapons to take out walls. Rams are not stand off bombardment weapons. It's absurd to have them inflict dmg without any risk of retaliation. They represent up close assault parties that suffer heavy casualties. I tried having them being weak offensive units with CM ability, high base bombard value and Collateral DMG in the hopes of them fighting, dying/unlikely winning but in the process take out the Walls. But Collateral DMG chooses randomly. Again, it's absurd to have rams bypass walls to smash down a granary. I guess for now they'd just be ancient/medieval land CM units that are able to dmg enemy units through walls. They will also give the AI artillery SOD better ability to capture cities as they can finish off weakened defenders and free up defensive units to capture cities.

As for the graphics of many units not being suitable to the CM ability I've come up with an imperfect solution. The Run animation on many truck mounted missile units and rams will have to be replaced with an empty one. Leaving it empty doesn't work as the game will then use the Default graphics to replace it. So import a blank magenta sheet. Replace the usual Death animation with an explosion (the stock game CM Death will do, but there is a cool one out there on Anthony Boscia CM units ). In the case of Battering Rams, I just use the blank magenta empty graphics again. If you play with Run animations off, it won't bother you. If you do, you'd have to put up with them being invisible while running. If your CM unit doesn't even run and is rebased, that's even better. The Attack graphics in the case of truck mounted missiles can the air unit victory graphics like RocketLarge.

I've also reimagined special forces as CM ability units. They're usually used as land submarines, being able to stealth attack units. But since my artillery are not capturable and have token def values and -4 HP being able to pick them off with impunity is too overpowered. Plus these special forces can't take out air and sea units, something they were esp used for in real life with airfield raids and frogmen. So I reimagine them as Air CM ability units. That way, their targeting will hit Air and Sea units first.

I wanted land unit Stealth Bombard and Precision Bombing but that didn't work with the CM ability and as regular artillery they'd look graphically really silly with anything more than 1 range. And the AI wouldn't be using 1 range artillery well in an age of 2 range artillery, leaving them easy to pick off. Plus only with Air Bombard AI strat flag would they use Precision Bombing.

I use a transport plane/helicopter animation for the Run Animation. The Attack animation is actually an airdrop one. Usually, special forces units come with custom airdrop animation but Delta Strife's C-47 transport aircraft also comes with a generic paradrop. And the Death Animation would be the usual attack. The unit would fly to the target, airdrop right on top of it and then fight. As air units in the game and unconventional forces in real life, they can't hold ground and will "disperse and melt away" after firing a few token shots to cover their retreats. Think about the cost of building them as prepping for a mission and them "dying" as dispersing and then getting extracted. You an also limit their production to an expensive SW thanks to Flintlock's patch. I make them more powerful and longer ranged but not loadable on to ships to distinguish them from my actual Air unit cruise missiles.

So that is the current state of CM units. Who knows, maybe Flintlock could have them use stealth bombard and die after precision strike in the future.
 
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Good stuff Predator, I like reading all of your different test reports!! I didn’t know the CM would override any PTW style bombardment. That’s a shame as they should be used to destroy improvements too!

I rarely play the epic game now, but I seem to remember that the AI wouldn’t build Cruise Missiles at all, is that correct? I’ve played some scenarios where they are auto-produce but the AI won’t move them, they just sit there until an enemy unit gets within range, which is good enough I think.
 
Good stuff Predator, I like reading all of your different test reports!! I didn’t know the CM would override any PTW style bombardment. That’s a shame as they should be used to destroy improvements too!

I rarely play the epic game now, but I seem to remember that the AI wouldn’t build Cruise Missiles at all, is that correct? I’ve played some scenarios where they are auto-produce but the AI won’t move them, they just sit there until an enemy unit gets within range, which is good enough I think.
The AI will build the occasional CM and then not know what to do with it as they would never leave the city. In order to have the AI use CMs, they need to upgrade into a king unit ability version. If you want the CM unit to move around, use the artillery AI strat flag. If you want it to be used like a bomber, use the air bombard AI strat flag. In order for that upgrade to work, the build que 32 icon has to be after the stock's same Mobile Sam unit. So you need to relocate the CM icon.
 
Further testing shows even more bizarre things:

A land unit flagged solely with the "Cruise Missile" AI strat will target Sea units first, Air units later and then Land units. Only after the city has been emptied will it go after pop and improvements with equal odds. But if that land unit does not have the "Cruise Missile" AI strat or shares that strat with others like Offense or Defense targeting will be as described above. This is the first instance I've seen an AI strat changing a unit's bombard targeting.

Testing was done in WW2 Pacific by giving Artillery the CM ability (and the artillery AI strat flag as usual) and the Nipponese Infantry the CM ability, bombard value and range and ONLY the CM AI strat flag. The artillery units only hit land units in Rangoon while the Nipponese Infantry targeted the Flying Tigers there and the destroyer in Singapore. The submarine however escaped being targeted and the Nips went on the target the fighter in Singapore after the destroyer has been sunk. That means having the Invisible ability can make a unit escape being targeted by bombardment.
 
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That means having the Invisible ability can make a unit escape being targeted by bombardment.
...Unless the Attacking Unit also has Detect Invisible.
 
IMHO, I think that this is great news for Coastal Artillery Units.

You could limit these "Anti ship missiles" to needing a harbor or another coastal improvement to be built. The CM AI strat means they're stuck in their cities and the resulting targeting makes them truly anti-ship. To make it fair, these units have to be immobile and have no operational range to rebase. Same with non CM ability coastal batteries.
 
@Predator145 I am working on working on making coastal batteries (auto-produced by the coastal fortress ala CCM). I stumbled across this thread. So, what settings would you recommend for these coastal batteries?

Land Strategy: Cruise Missile?
Class: Land
Abilities: Cruise Missile, Immobile, Ranged Attack Animation
Special Orders: Bombard
Air Missions: Precision Bombing? Did I read correctly this will prevent them from being destroyed?
 
@Predator145 I am working on working on making coastal batteries (auto-produced by the coastal fortress ala CCM). I stumbled across this thread. So, what settings would you recommend for these coastal batteries?

Land Strategy: Cruise Missile?
Class: Land
Abilities: Cruise Missile, Immobile, Ranged Attack Animation
Special Orders: Bombard
Air Missions: Precision Bombing? Did I read correctly this will prevent them from being destroyed?

1) Land Strategy: Cruise Missile. Since that flag is broken in stock game and the units are basically always immobile. But I sure hope the AI still bombards units within range. But if it's so broken that the AI doesn't bombard then artillery flag will have to be used. The drawback with the artillery flag is that the AI now thinks it has legit field artillery pieces and will cease building them. In that case use the C3X config patch to adjust the AI's appetite for artillery.

2) Class:

-Land will give them defensive bombard against attacking land units, making coastal towns harder to capture than inland ones . And if you don't give them token hit points and def value they can be captured by the enemy. Giving them the cruise missile ability takes away defensive bombard. But the graphics will look really weird. CM ability units use their run animation to run up to the enemy unit, and then use the attack animation, followed by the death animation. So if you wanna do that I recommend using a shell running and attack animation (https://forums.civfanatics.com/resources/gas-shell.2317/) and the cruise missile death animation (an explosion).

-Air will give them the ability to soak up bombing first if their defense value is higher than that of your air units. But this also means air units can destroy them more quickly. Makes sense since they're immobile priority targets. Naval bombardments can also kill them if you don't have sea units in the city to soak things up. And of course they can't be captured or provide defensive bombard. But remember that an air unit without the cruise missile ability can be shot down. Also, in order to bombard, air units need to have operational range. This means the AI will be able to rebase them away regardless of that special order being ticked in the editor or not. So Air IMO is a no-no.

-Sea will make them soak up naval bombardment first. And if their defenses are better than your ships they will do the job of protecting them. But since the enemy non sea lethal naval bombardment can't kill them you have to play around with the value so that they can be redlined and then your ships will be vulnerable. Air units with lethal sea bombard can also quickly target them.

You can give all sea and air units in your scenario the stealth attack option that target coastal defense units. This way, they can be prioritized and suppressed/silenced.

3) Abilities: Cruise Missile is good. It prevents overcrowding during war time. Think of the units as the coastal defense city improvements ammo supply.

The shell graphics solution above works well enough with late 19th century and later pieces. But for solid shot firing coastal pieces, it would still look bad. And there is no graphics for running cannon balls that I know of. Now since they would only have 1 range I assume, you could get away with just replacing the death animation with either an explosion or an empty animation. I'd recommend an empty animation for both run and death. The coastal cannon would still appear in the enemy's ship's face and blast it pointblank. But since it's only 1 range it doesn't look too bad.

Immobile: Makes sense since these are static defensive pieces. Remember to prevent them from being loaded into transport ships by giving them transport capacity of at least 1. If you don't want to accidently load any units into them give them the ability to only carry only air, foot and tactical missiles. That way only a unit with all 3 abilities can be loaded into your coastal battery. As mentioned above, they can't be air units if you want them to be truly immobile. The AI will also never airlift artillery or cruise missile strategy flag units so you don't have to worry about that.

Ranged Atk. Animation: Only works if you don't have the cruise missile ability.

Bombard: Won't work if they're air class units. Air class units need the bombing special order. But yeah, land and sea immobile units need bombard to hurt stuff.

Air Missions: In order for the AI to use air missions, the unit has to be flagged as air bombard, air defense or air transport. In the case of precision bombing, only air bombard and air defense units will do it. The AI will also not bombard if you flag a regular artillery piece as air bombard. It needs operational range to do so, even as a land class unit. And with OR comes rebase and thus mobility. But why would coastal artillery need precision bombing?

Precision bombing will prevent a cruise missile ability unit from self destruction. That's why it's not really workable at the moment with cruise missiles.
 
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