Civilization Games and Nuke-Caused Global Warming

All the Civ games I’ve played where I eventually get frustrated and whip out the nukes (it’s really pretty in Civ IV by the way) models the effects of a large amount of nuclear warfare as causing global warming. (Note: I think this is the only way for global warming to occur in Civ IV, compared to the earlier games.) Anyway, it’s always struck me as somewhat odd. I thought the idea was that the large amount of particulate matter thrown into the atmosphere as a result would cause global cooling, similar to a dinosaur-killer size asteroid strike. Has there been a change of thought about the possible effects or are the makers of the Civ games doing this because it was easier to work into the existing pollution/global warming system?

That is kinda weird. The phrase you usually hear thrown around for climate change caused by nuclear warfare is “nuclear winter” which for obvious reasons I always assumed meant it would be colder.

I think that’s just due to laziness on the parts of the programmer. In Civilization, using nuclear weapons causes pollution to appear on the map, and pollution causes global warming. If they had “pollution” and “nuclear waste” as seperate concepts, they wouldn’t have the problem.

It could also be for game balance – to discourage people from the profligate use of nuclear weapons.

Never stopped me before.

Grumble. Damn Aztecs. How dare they declare war on me? It’s been four hundred years since I razed five of their cities. You’d think they’d be over it by now. Oh well, time to use my thirty ICBMs.

As a keen Civ player, I think this is exactly right. :slight_smile:

Obviously there are many styles of play in Civ (one of the reasons it’s a great game!). I usually find that either I defeat hostile Civs with conventional weapons or gain a cultural victory if the game goes on long enough.

Sounds a bit of an old fashioned game to me

  • virological warfare is cheap, easy to deliver - and above all covert

Get subtle and you can be the first victim and indulge in finger pointing

So much more flexible than ‘conventional’ warfare.

It’s kinda dumb and annoying. The best way to get around this (in Civ III at least) was have a few transports loaded with engineers and clean it all up before the turn is over. I never liked nukes anyway, and would only use them when someone pissed me off in particular. I always like to play with a heavy focus on technology right up to the modern age where I can simply conquer with modern armor and such.

I remember one game I had about 5 transports loaded to the brim with these and had them parked outside the border just waiting to attack England which was on a continent the size of Russia! I took them out in about 5 turns. Nukes kind of suck because they don’t really do much. They decrease the city size and destroy all units (I think) but then again, they are more expensive than they need to be.

I remember the old Civ II though. Remember the stealth fighters? They could attack over and over again. All you had to do was send in one, and capture with paratroopers.

Yeah, there needs to be a different deterrent to nukes. An environmental one at least. Nuclear winter sounds fine. It could adversely affect the productivity of cities just the same. But pollution causing global warming? It’s kind of dumb, because you can clean it up. Pollution is a byproduct of a process that also causes global warming. I am saying here that pollution on the ground as a separate thing from greenhouse gas emissions. There should have been a better implementation for Civ 4 IMO

Hey, I’m on my way to Alpha Centauri, why should I care if the world freezes, or melts?


I think you’re getting confused with what he’s saying. In CIV (and III I believe). At first there would be just pollutions, especially around the city after you nuked them. But if you use enough of them, random tiles will start devolving, I guess is the best word. Grasslands will turn into plains, and then plains will turn into desert. I’ve had it so bad before to where most of my grassland were deserts.

It effects the whole planet about equally.

A common misconception. Pollution and global warming are two separate, though closely related, concepts in Civ III. Each city has some number of pollution icons (possibly zero), depending on factories and similiar buildings, and population (if above 12). A city with N pollution icons has an N% chance of getting pollution on one square in any given turn, and a nuclear explosion or power plant malfunction will put pollution on all the squares in its area. In addition to this, there’s a global warming counter, which is equal to the total number of pollution icons (not polluted squares) in all cities, plus some number times the number of nuclear explosions there have been in all of history (I’m not sure if nuke plant malfunctions are counted here). The chance for global warming is based on this counter, not on the number of squares which happen to be polluted at that moment. If you got a hundred squares polluted, but then shrunk all of your cities and sold all of your polluting buildings, then global warming would cease, even without cleaning up the pollution, and if you set off a hundred nukes, and cleaned up all of the pollution right away, global warming would still be rampant.

Of course, this is still the game where global warming can cause forests to turn into tundra, and eventually causes water squares to become land, rather than vice-versa, so I don’t think we should expect too much realism.

Just think of it as Moctezuma’s Revenge! :smiley: