I am very late game on a huge map. Some time back, I experienced a lot of pollution, many mind worm attacks and sea levels rising.

I chose green politics and started building lots of tree farms, temple of planet, etc, but I gave that up and decided to go full out on nuclear attack, since I haven't done that in a decade or so. I figured that I would soon be having mega pollution, with all the nuking that I would be doing.

Because of the rise in sea levels, there are lots of ocean bases, plus of course, the Pirates, and prophet Chi Dawn is also totally aquatic, for some reason.

Now, on a huge map, I have already used over 20 nukes, mainly on ocean bases, with no apparent side effects.

Does nuking ocean bases have no polluting effects, or is there something else going on?

  • 1
    Pollution isn't a tile effect like in other Civs, that I'm aware (I tend to play Gaians, so I may well not know anything here), so ocean shouldn't matter. Maybe you've already done so much damage the game just doesn't know what the hell to do with you (200 nukes? srsly?)
    – Radhil
    Jul 1, 2018 at 14:32
  • Oops! Typo! Make that "over 20 nukes" :-)
    – Mawg
    Jul 2, 2018 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


Contrary to SMAC's historical counterpart (Civilization III), nuking an ocean city does not cause pollution in the form of nuclear fallout (pollution is only referenced once in the manual [pg. 139], more as a descriptor than a mechanism). However, nuking an ocean city can cause eco-damage, which is effectively pollution for this use-case.

Determining whether eco-damage is caused by a nuke depends on the type of missile payload (conventional, fungal, tectonic, or planet buster). From what I've found, it appears that conventional and fungal missiles do not cause eco-damage, but tectonic missiles and planet busters do cause eco-damage, as they are considered atrocities in the game's mechanics equations. A forum discussion on Planet's views on atrocities and their influence on eco-damage can be found in this thread.

In terms of how tectonic missiles and planet busters (atrocities) relate to eco-damage, I pulled the following from this forum post (emphasis added):

Eco-Damage = (DamageFactor * Perihelion * Techs * Life * Difficulty * Planet) / 300

DamageFactor = Int{ [Terraforming - Cleanmins1] + [(Minerals - Cleanmins2 + 5 * Atrocities) / (1+Goodfacs)] }

Atrocities = Number of Major Atrocities committed by your faction. These include the use of planetbusters or techtonic missiles, but do not include the use of fungal missiles.

Note: It's been years since I've played SMAC/SMAX, so I double checked here and here to see if I remembered correctly all of the payload options and make sure I didn't overlook anything that would constitute a "nuke".


Nuking ocean cities does cause pollution (eco-damage).

  • 1
    Thanks for a good answer, with references to back it up
    – Mawg
    Sep 30, 2020 at 7:00

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