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Idea: Nukes and MAD

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Creation & Customization' started by abbamouse, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. abbamouse

    abbamouse Rodent

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    I've been thinking of how to implement more realistic nukes in the game. I think one big problem has been that if you make nukes as powerful as they are in real life, then the side that nukes first can win by taking out all opposing ciites and nukes. In real life, not only do states pursue a survivable second-strike force (ie subs, always having some bombers in the air, etc) but they also have the ability to adopt a launch-on-warning or even launch-under-attack strategy. If you see the enemy launching a few thousand missiles then you can launch yours before the strike hits you. Knowing this, the enemy is less likely to attack. The situation is referred to as MAD, for Mutually Assured Destruction.

    So how can we implement this in Civ IV? I have a proposal, although I'm not sure if I have the programming skills to make it work. Replace the ICBM with the Warhead (let's ignore whether to add tactical nukes for the moment, since MAD is a strategic principle). Warheads require a city imporvement called Missile Field or ICBM Silos to build. In addition to allowing you to build Warheads, the ICBM Silos allow you to airdrop them (same function as airports, but would need to be renamed). As with airdrop from airports, the drop ends the Warhead's turn. Since you probably want to drop nukes on other civ's cities, the "airdrop (launch) warhead" function would need to allow you to drop anywhere, not just your own cities.

    As for the warheads, they need only have a button to detonate them, tied to the nuke effect (which could then be modified to be more realistic). They would also need to be unkillable by anything except another nuke (otherwise when you dropped warheads onto enemy cities the opponent could attack them with Mech Inf or whatever).

    So here's how a nuclear war would work:
    America wants to nuke Russia. So America builds a few ICBM Silos and lots of Nuclear Warheads. When America is ready to strike, it "launches" (airdrops) warheads from its cities. But wait, the game won't allow you to enter opposing territory without a declaration of war. So America declares war on Russia. Russia therefore knows they are being attacked and sees the warheads appear "in" (ie heading towards) their cities. Like Spies, there is little the Russians can do to prevent America from dropping Warheads -- however, they can respond by "launching" their own warheads at American cities. On the next American turn, they detonate the nukes, obliterating half the Russian population, destroying many buildings and infrastructure, and severely damaging some units (ie tanks) while killing others outright (ie bombers trapped in airfields). Russia then responds by returning the favor, detonating all the warheads they dropped on US cities. As long as Russia isn't 100% destroyed, it will have a chance to retaliate. Knowing this, the Americans decide that maybe it would be best to refrain from nuking the Russians.

    So as I see it, the ICBM Silos building needs to
    1. Enable warhead construction
    2. Enable "launch" of warheads (ie airdrop) like an airport does for other units

    while the Warhead unit needs to
    1. Have a detonate function like the existing ICBM
    2. Have the ability to enter enemy cities like a Spy
    3. Be invulnerable to attack by most enemy units like a Spy

    These seem like things that could be implemented in Civ IV, though I don't know enough about the Python to determine if everything I mention is possible.

    Final problems:
    1. What to do about open borders? This could represent letting your guard down and thus becoming vulnerable to a first strike, or it could simply be the case that when one civ moves warheads into another's cities, the other civ will return the favor (thus re-establishing MAD). My preferred option would be to bar warheads from dropping onto anyting except your own territory or the territory of a civ with which you're at war.

    2. The AI would have no idea how to implement MAD, so until the SDK comes out this would probably be limited to a MP mod.

    Any ideas or suggestions on how to implement this crucial piece of nuclear strategy? I know it's clunky to require two turns (ie two years) to conduct a nuclear strike, but I think it's more important to have some sort of MAD than to have quicker nukes that lack realistic effects or strategies.
     
  2. wooga

    wooga Chieftain

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    I have yet to reach nukes in Civ4 (always used nukes in Civ2 but only occasionally reached them in Civ3 thanks to Cavalry)

    I think a much simpler solution (although somewhat less realistic) would be to create a "nuclear silo" city improvement which is immune to nuclear attack. A city with a nuclear silo could be devastated by a nuke strike, but all of its ICBMs would survive. This would allow a counterstrike on the next turn, simulating MAD. Add in sub-based nukes for an even better simulation.

    I agree that we need more powerful nukes in the game. Overzealous use on non-nuke opponents can still be realistically deterred by imposing heavy war-weariness on the offensive use of nukes. Firaxis' crippling of the nuke was not the best solution.
     
  3. Dom Pedro II

    Dom Pedro II Modder For Life

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    Well, CtP2 had a good system for MAD... just about the only good thing about it...

    Basically, launching one nuke at an enemy would cause every one of the enemy's nukes to launch at predetermined cities.
     
  4. panzooka

    panzooka Prince

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    how about when u click lunch nuke, it shows a warnings, says
    A has lunched nuke on B's city X
    then next turn, it will explode. so when B sees that message, B can then launches their nuke at A.
     
  5. kallussed

    kallussed Chieftain

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    Future tech
    (and possibly others) upgrades nuke damage 10% maybe? The first nukes weren't anywhere near as powertfull as the ones we have now.
     
  6. Mountain-God

    Mountain-God Prince

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    Some cool ideas.

    How about representing differing detection models.

    To be able to retaliate we need to know who fired at us as well.

    To be able to retaliate in time we need not only to be able to tell who fired, but within minutes of them firing.

    MAD is detection, and retaliation.

    Also, with enough time, nuclear launch facilities can be destroyed.
     
  7. Dom Pedro II

    Dom Pedro II Modder For Life

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    I think a lot of these ideas are a little over the top.

    I'm tellin' ya... simplest way is that if you launch a nuke, the enemy simultaneously launches all of its nukes at you... unless they don't have any nukes pointed at you. In which case, whatever they have left can be fired the next turn.

    It was a sound idea in CtP2... it failed because they forgot to program the AI to take the threat of retaliation and global mass murder into account... :eek: MAD is supposed to be a deterrent... it's not ever supposed to actually happen :lol:
     
  8. MSTK

    MSTK Deity

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    How about this: when you create your first nuke, you have the ability to set a "target". Each nuke would have its own target tile/city.

    Once you build/discover something appropriate, you will have the "MAD" option in your Military Advisor screen. if you turn it on, the MAD will be active.

    Then, whenever another country launches a nuke at you, if MAD is turned on then ALL of the Nukes go to their pre-determined targets, automatically, on the same turn?
     
  9. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller Warlord

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    I don't know anything about programming. But it seems to me that a simpler solution would be to make it so that nukes that are "killed" by a nuclear attack are not actually be removed from play immediately. They would remain active for use on the defending player's next turn; any not used would be lost.

    So to return to your example, America declares war and hits 20 Russian cities, "killing" 10 Russian nuclear weapons. But these killed nukes remain available to the Russian player for 1 more turn, and the Russian player uses them to strike 10 American cities. Any nukes not used are then considered killed and removed at the beginning of America's next turn.

    Note that this could create a cascade of nuclear launches and counter-launches. The Russian counter-attack could "kill " 5 American nukes, which would then be available for one turn on the American player's next turn. And so on.
     
  10. Dom Pedro II

    Dom Pedro II Modder For Life

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    This was kind of what CtP2 did. Basically, every time you constructed a nuke, you were given a prompt to select a target city. So it would be a de facto MAD because any time a nuke hits you, your nuke will fire back at them. I think that this is a reasonable way of doing MAD. And really, this makes sense... I mean, MAD is not something you turn on or off... it's something that becomes ever increasingly possible with every new nuke that rolls off the assembly line.

    I definitely think that you should be prompted every time one of your cities is targetted by a nuke although you shouldn't be told where the targetting nuke is.. merely that X city has been targeted by X civilization. This way the player knows that the manuevering room on the nuclear question is tightening... So they don't inadvertantly bite off more than they chew. There's more than enough intelligence running through the pipeline to let a leader know that there's an arsenal of WMD ready to annihilate every city in his country... especially since the nukes with the most powerful yield are the ones that are well-known and never used.

    There would also be some kind of a counter for the AI... and the higher the counter gets, the less likely the AI will be to start a nuclear war.

    I mean, when there's only the prospect of losing one city, it's a bit of a different situation from... ohh.. the end of the world.
     
  11. LittleRedPoint

    LittleRedPoint Slaver

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    About Nukes, the idea of first strike is to destroy enemys nuklear cappability. So if you nuke certain place then everithing in ground zero should be destryed (city razed, units killed, etc). In my opinion you should have possibility to create nuclerar silos to countriside similar to airports in civ III but the terrain improvement chould stay as they are because US placed their silos in country side where farmers did their everiday job. Better idea is to create new tactical nuke into the game. Make some new units like rocket tranzporter which can carry and launch them. Then you have mobile units.

    About the MAD, it is going to "mad" :crazyeye: if enemy still have nukes in next turn :D Then thare is a tactical dimension in game not just suicide. Then you have to thinks how i or enemy retaliate when my or his cities are lost...

    panzooka wrote:
    how about when u click lunch nuke, it shows a warnings, says
    A has lunched nuke on B's city X
    then next turn, it will explode. so when B sees that message, B can then launches their nuke at A.


    I like the idea because then you have time retaliate or move your units away of course you should not know where the hit will come :D
     
  12. LittleRedPoint

    LittleRedPoint Slaver

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    I like the idea of nucklear war. Everithing is destroyed but you have to overcome it and if you have survivals start building new empire :D
    Something like Fallout mod in civ III of course the tech tree should be more advanced. New tech's like GECK (Garden of Eden Creation Kit) are needed. Then you can terraform desert tiles to planis nad plains to grassland or even plant forest and jungles.

    I don't know if it is possible to create nuclear winter into the game. Whole planet will freese all grassland, plains, forst and jungles tiles become snow for several turns and then became deserts. All cities will starve if you can over come it then it would be new start and you can continiue the game :D

    Human race is not so weak we are very flexible...
     
  13. Surtur

    Surtur Warlord

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    One easy solution could be making nukes nukeimmune. So they can't be destroyed by other nukes. This can be easily changed in CIV4UnitInfos.xml <bNukeImmune>0</bNukeImmune> to <bNukeImmune>1</bNukeImmune>. But I also like the idea of the nuke counter attack. When you nuke a nation than all his nukes will be fired on you. I think this could be done with python.

    -edit-

    ah I just had a look in the CIV4UnitInfos.xml file. ICMBs are already nuke immune. No need to change that.
     
  14. abbamouse

    abbamouse Rodent

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    Dom Pedro II -- I would prefer the system that you describe but I'm just not sure that it can be implemented in Civ IV. All the good nuclear war games relied on simultaneous turns / simultaneous reveal, and I don't see how to accomplish that in Civ IV. I agree that if it can be done, auto-retaliate would be best (although each civ would need to have a SIOP detailing the targets in every other civ should one of those civs lauch a first strike).
     
  15. Control Group

    Control Group Chieftain

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    Auto-retaliate is close to being the best answer, IMHO, but the player needs to have the option to not launch a retaliatory strike after being hit, because there might be more than two civs in the game.

    Say you've got two civs well ahead of the pack. They've each got significant nuclear arsenals, and they each know that the other does. They don't know, necessarily, exactly how big an arsenal, or where they're all aiming. Obviously, each of the civs will have the majority of its weapons (in an auto-retaliate system) aimed at the other.

    However, if a third civ manages to build just one ICBM and hits one of the two leading civs, that would trigger an all-out nuclear exchange between those two civs. There's a risk to the smaller civ, of course, that some of those weapons are aimed at him, but since it's the end game, it's probably worth it.

    If you allow the attacked civ to elect to not retaliate, though, you solve this problem.

    Now, I haven't tried my hand at modding (yet), so I don't actually know how difficult this would be to implement, but conceptually, I think it would be close to ideal (given that you can't actually have a simultaneous reveal).
     
  16. Control Group

    Control Group Chieftain

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    Dupe deleted

    (sorry for the dupe, the site told me I was posting to an invalid thread, so I tried again)
     
  17. Dom Pedro II

    Dom Pedro II Modder For Life

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    Well, it was done in another turn-based game. I don't deny that it'll require quite a bit of coding, but it can be done... even if it just removes the opponent's nukes from the game and then destroys your cities to just simulate them having been fired in the same turn would be good I think.



    There is a reason why nuclear war never happened... cutting off the head of the snake (i.e. destroying their nuclear capabilities and eliminating people in the chain of command who order retaliatory action) doesn't work... because by the time your birds are in the air, they already know and are firing back... essentially your missiles and their missiles will pass each other over the ocean. Most of the time, they spent time trying to make sure that they wouldn't be caught with their pants down rather than catching the other guy with their pants down.... and when they did try to find a way to prevent retaliation, it was via spy missions... suitcase nukes, sabotage, etc. not tactical nukes because they have the same shortcoming as ICBMs... you know very quickly when they're in the air and can respond accordingly.

    Case in point, in the early 1990s, all of creation was nearly destroyed even after the Cold War was ended when a US tactical nuke was fired at the Russian Federation from Norway... the Russian high command went into a panic and Boris Yeltsin literally had his hand on the button to retaliate before he stopped and decided to wait and see what happened. The "nuke" gradually began to move away from Russia and it became apparent what it really was: a space rocket... to put a satellite in orbit as part of a joint US-Norwegian project... and somebody obviously forgot to give the Russians the heads up. So even from that close distance as Norway and Russia (as opposed to USA and Russia) there was already sufficient notice to retaliate.

    The whole point of MAD is to prevent a war... it provides for zero survivability... and in CivIV, as in real life, it's not circumvented with a first strike nuclear attack. First strike merely ensures MAD will occur... it doesn't prevent it from occurring. The only way to cut off the enemy's nuclear capabilities should not be to destroy their missiles before they get off the ground, but by using SDI to destroy the nukes before they get to your cities.. which is already in the game.
     
  18. LittleRedPoint

    LittleRedPoint Slaver

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    You're right Dom Pedro II the NORAD was for that detection. USSR had "dead man's hand system"MAD installed in siberia. That worked somehow like that - all installations had automatic command to shoot but it was postponed manually by rocket officers. When thare is no connection then it seems that all are dead and it will shoot automatically.
     
  19. killbot

    killbot Chieftain

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    If you look at the XML, ICBMs are nuke immune to begin with. As long as your civ stands, it can retaliate.
     
  20. Dairuka

    Dairuka Prince

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    Auto-retaliation sounds like a great idea.

    If you nuke a city and that city has nuclear weapons in it - then that city will send a nuke to the largest city in the civilization that nuked it.
     

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