Improving AI airpower and border protection

Predator145

Prince
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May 22, 2020
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Stockgame airpower is overpowered in human hands. But it's still meh in the hands of the AI despite being one of the better aspects it can execute. The biggest problem is that the AI doesn't proportionally guard its bomber and fighter stack properly. The border city they're stationed in would still have the same usual number of defenders (2-3). Once you've taken that city the air threat pretty much ceases. The human player can just like that destroy like 1000 shields or more worth of air units.

The addition of perfumed fixed fortification city improvements helps bolster the low number of defensive garrison. But is there a way to make the AI move additional units from the interior to their border cities to guard their air assets? Unfortunately, until Flintlock can do some more magic, Defensive and Offensive AI strat units will not simply move to border cities and stay there. They will not use the rebase function either.

But the AI will rebase air units to their border cities along with the rest of their air unit stack. In order to defend the border cities, a unit will simply have to sit there. It's even better if they fortify for that 25% def bonus. So how do you get the AI to rebase a defensive unit into a border city and just sit there fortified?

Air power flagged units will always attempt to bombard as long as they have operational range. So they won't behave as wanted. Air defense flagged units will always attempt to intercept so that won't work either. That leaves us with the Air transport AI strat flag. The AI will rebase its Air transport flagged units to border cities to airdrop units into your territory. If they don't have enough units to drop the air transport will fortify and wait there. If that unit has the transport capacity of 0, it will fortify and wait at the border city and rebase once the front has shifted. If it has defensive value, it would protect the city and the air unit stack by just sitting there.

Screenshot (976).png


This is a an immobile SAM unit. It has the transport capacity of 1 but can only load air, tact missile and foot units, making it unable to actually load anything. You can set the transport capacity to 0 if you don't need the AI to actually make this unit over helicopters, just relying on autoproduction. Or you can play around with C3X perfume values.

It's an air unit with high def and AA value. So just by sitting there with the rest of the bomber and fighter stack, it provides protection from bombing and will shoot down enemy air units. Due to its high def value it will get targeted and destroyed first by enemy bombing. The enemy will have to destroy fixed SAM units before being able to proceed to bombing air assets. SEAD mission is thus mandatory. For the ground unit flag AA assets, only stealth bombard will be able to target them first, still giving air units with that flag their niche.

It being airlifted into position isn't thematically bad either. Systems like the british Bloodhound were lifted by helicopter.

Unfortunately, the AI won't keep these in their interior for protection against deep strategic bombing. That requires an identical but flagged as Exploration/Flag unit/Leader AI strat. Being immobile, this unit is stuck in the city its built. Thus perfume is thus mandatory. The AI's core cities must be producting a few of these. But perfume value is tricky to determine. You don't want the AI to make too many of these either.

And of course, the air unit stack will also need to be protected from ground attacks.

Screenshot (977).png


Paratroopers are the most thematically fit units to be rebased into position as they could have their own organic air transport. Here the partrooper has 2 AI strat flags: the usual Offense flag which makes them airdrop into your territory and either attack/capture soft/undefended targets or pillage if the odds of winning are too low. The second Air transport flag makes the AI rebase them into their front line cities and fortify there since they can't transport anything. This is also thematically good since modern paratroopers very rarely drop behind enemy lines. Instead, they use their air transportation to quickly arrive at hotspots that need reenforcing. This plus the instant movement after dropping gives them a real niche.

The intended result is that AI's air unit stack will have a couple paratroopers and immobile SAMs protecting them on top of the usual 2-3 unit garrison.
 
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Interesting approach! The tweak to paratroopers seems like a good strategy on its own. I'm not sure I follow the Strat SAM's interaction with bombing though. Have you tested how this plays out? I don't know the details of how bombing targets are determined, but I didn't think an air unit would be above land units regardless of stats. And then if it is targeted, doesn't 60 defense make it practically invulnerable to bombers?

See also: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/drawing-board-bombers-and-air-power.683134/
 
Interesting approach! The tweak to paratroopers seems like a good strategy on its own. I'm not sure I follow the Strat SAM's interaction with bombing though. Have you tested how this plays out? I don't know the details of how bombing targets are determined, but I didn't think an air unit would be above land units regardless of stats. And then if it is targeted, doesn't 60 defense make it practically invulnerable to bombers?

See also: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/drawing-board-bombers-and-air-power.683134/
When an air unit bombards a city tile in C3C, there is a 1/3 chance units will get hit. Air units will get hit first, then sea and then land.

In my mod every value is x2. Also, the SAM has -5hp. One hit and it goes down. But feel free to tweak values to your taste. I'm in the process of doing so myself.

Paratroopers are really cool with rails being limited to something like 16 tiles. They will be the first troops to show up overseas or reenforce outpost that are badly connected like they do in real life, arriving long before mechanized troops.
 
Sounds like you've got alot of thinking going into this. Do you have a public modpack?
Mine was meant for personal consumption. Many of the solutions are not very elegant (but they work for me). It's still work in progress. I may make it public once its done. It's basically just the epic game but with balance done to my taste and me trying to cram in as many toys without upsetting that balance.
 
Mine was meant for personal consumption. Many of the solutions are not very elegant (but they work for me). It's still work in progress. I may make it public once its done. It's basically just the epic game but with balance done to my taste and me trying to cram in as many toys without upsetting that balance.
Epic game... CCM? Anyway, I can feel that sentiment, I am doing something similar although we probably have different interpretations of what that is. I was perusing your other posts and I appreciate the amount of thought you are putting into this stuff.
 
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