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Real Time Strategy (Games)

The Evolution of StarCraft 89

Posted by Zonk
from the power-overwhelming dept.
Ars Technica's Opposable Thumbs blog links to a piece chock full of gaming history. The StarCraft Legacy site offers up a historical record of the evolution of StarCraft . Written back in 2004, it is still relevant today. A game title that, lo these many years later, not only has an avid cult following but may be the most popular sport in South Korea is something you want to keep in mind. We may even hear word of a sequel this year. The piece runs down the numerous changes the game underwent, from the ugly alpha days through to the upheaval of Brood War (damned Lurkers). Tidbits like this make the article well worth checking out: "The game made a weak first impression at [E3], and it received much criticism. There were many remarks that the game looked too much like 'Orcs in space.' When Blizzard came back from E3 that year, they decided to scrap the idea. Their decision? 'Let's step it up a little more, let's revamp the engine, let's do more than what we're showing. We can't do Orcs in space.' Thus, StarCraft was reborn. The basics of the Warcraft II engine were still used, but more work was being put into the design and programming."
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The Evolution of StarCraft

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  • Insightful? (Score:5, Funny)

    by popo (107611) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @02:47PM (#17830620) Homepage
    Ah. Interesting ... so the finished product was an improvement over the beta?

    • by Pxtl (151020)
      Actually, what I find funny is how the beta versions had so many more powers for each unit. More armed spellcasters, more spells on normal units, etc. Given how much of a headache the micromanagement is in StarCraft, I can see why they took so much out. Too bad the landing-dropships didn't make the cut - that sounded cool.

      Also funny that their throw-away alpha art is better than most FOSS games art.
      • by PingSpike (947548)
        Its to bad the terran are still horribly micromanagement intensive compared to the other races.

        I thought the landing dropships sounded cool too, but given how poorly armored they are that would make quick drops of units while under fire nearly impossible. You also might get into situations where there wasn't an good spot of land to do a mass dropship landing. As it stands, I still feel like dropships are a pain in the ass to use effectively. Landing looks cool, but probably would have further reduced their
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Well, it's not that intuitive if you're a Microsoft customer.
  • Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MeanderingMind (884641) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @02:54PM (#17830702) Homepage Journal
    It's an interesting article, but I have to question why this wasn't brought up in 2004 when it was written.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's an interesting article, but I have to question why this wasn't brought up in 2004 when it was written.

      The editors have been busy posting articles on:

      SCO/IBM

      Wii

      WEB 2.0

      Everything that comes out of Steve Jobs' mouth

      Vista

      Every litele Windows bug that comes out.

      Xbox

      Anything that has to do with Video games

      Very little, if anything, on *BSD

      Cowboy Neal's bowel movements

      Google's brush with Evil(TM) an back to being Good(TM) then Evil again, then Good, then ????

      Apple's release of some consumer product. Which w

  • by Anonymous Coward
    why is it that evolutionists jump on the opportunity to use the word 'evolution' any chance they have, regardless of if it is the best suited word for the sentence in question? is it the way they were intelligently designed? (see, if we started doing it, it would be really really annoying.. for you, at least)

    but seriously... it really makes me laugh sometimes watching history/discovery. 'the evolution of handtools' oh, so now handtools traits and genes are transferred through reproduction? did the torx come
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Virak (897071)
      evolution [reference.com]
      -noun
      1. any process of formation or growth; development: the evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.

      Welcome to the English language. You must be new here.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by PingSpike (947548)
        1. any process of formation or growth; development: the evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.

        Duh. The English language has evolved into a sentient being which is trying to push its pro-evolution believes on us. Damned liberal languages, screwing with our heads.
    • by blackicye (760472) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:10PM (#17830922)
      "why is it that evolutionists jump on the opportunity to use the word 'evolution' any chance they have, regardless of if it is the best suited word for the sentence in question? is it the way they were intelligently designed? (see, if we started doing it, it would be really really annoying.. for you, at least)

      but seriously... it really makes me laugh sometimes watching history/discovery. 'the evolution of handtools' oh, so now handtools traits and genes are transferred through reproduction? did the torx come by means of mutation?"


      This is the story of the torx screwdriver, as I've been told.
      its eons old, and I feel no need to question it, it just makes sense.

      In the beginning there was nothing, Great Inventor Dude (GID)
      decided, well this kinda sucks..

      GID declared that there be stuff, the first day he
      created bits and pieces.

      GID then decided that bits and pieces still weren't really
      that cool and created phillips and flathead, that they may
      rule over all bits and pieces, and should they will it turn,
      into stuff.

      Well to make a long story short, phillips and flathead multiplied
      and were many, till either or both, populated the earth.

      Then phillips and flathead rebelled, and instead of making stuff
      and honoring GID they started questioning and taking stuff apart.

      So in a huge deluge lasting 90 days and 90 nights GID submerged
      the earth a pool of molten steel.

      no phillips or flathead was spared, they were all consumed by the
      fire and brimstone and high carbon molten steel.

      Only one place on earth was safe, atop a mountain, not the highest
      mountain on earth mind you, but it was that mountain, there lay a
      forge, and torx was its name.

      Henceforth only the righteous torx would remain, to assemble and
      build stuff as GID willed, never to be taken apart by phillips and flathead..ever again.

      This is my story and I'm sticking to it.

      ^_~
    • 1. The act of unfolding or unrolling; hence, any process of growth or development; as, the evolution of a flower from a bud, or an animal from the egg.
      - 1913 Webster

      The alternative to "evolution" is "the first draft == the final draft". That may be OK for a divinity who is by definition perfect and omnipotent, creating all biota in their current respective forms within the span of a week, but the rest of us typically have to take a more gradual approach towards getting what we want. Evolution in this cont
    • by TempeTerra (83076)
      As a bunch of people have already pointed out, 'evolution' is an entirely valid word on its own even though it's also commonly used as a shorthand for 'Charles Darwin's theory of the evolution of species by means of natural selection operating on individuals with inheritable characteristics'. Evolution in general is just an iterative refinement.

      My favourite 'other' (non-Darwinian) evolution is Lamarckian evolution - children inherit the characteristics of their parents based on phenotype (what their bodies
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sammy baby (14909)
      I know! Everything is "this was an evolutionary process," or "it just sort of evolved that way." It's just about at the point where it's impossible to find any stories on Slashdot containing the word "design," [slashdot.org], fer Designer's sake.
    • I find it funny how the word 'evolutionist' has entered into so many people's vocabulary. I think it comes around from all those religious folks who have been so anti-evolution in America. ("Those evolutionists are out to destroy our morals!") I think most people who study evolution usually call themselves something more along the lines of 'evolutionary biologist'. :-D
      • We crazy evolutionists' morals wouldn't be so bad if those creationists would stop driving us mad by constantly questioning them!
    • by shawnap (959909)
      What is an "evolutionist"?
      I know arithmetic, but I am not a mathematician.
      I understand classical dynamics, but I am not a physicist.
      I am aware that the human heart has four chambers, but I am not a biologist.

      I would suggest that you substitute the accepted term "they" in place of "evolutionist".

      Feel free to use any of the following common constructions:
      "They are all against me."
      "They are all blind to the truth."
      "They are all out to get me."
      "They are always watching me."
      "They have implanted a radio transmit
    • Is this for real? are they trying to be funny, because I don't get it.
  • Fun stuff (Score:2, Informative)

    by ShadowsHawk (916454)
    Starcraft was a blast and continues to be at LAN parties, but I'm looking forward to Supreme Commander. As balanced as Starcraft was, I found Total Annihilation to be a far better game.
    • by Firefly1 (251590)
      I have a question for those of us who have been fortunate enough to play TA online: having gotten from my single-player experience that the command system is at once simple and tremendously empowering, why did it not catch on elsewhere in the genre?
      Because so much of resource gathering and unit production can be semi-automated... what habits, if any, would RTS players have to break in Supreme Commander?
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Most RTSs involve buying and selling in fixed chunks of money, while TA involves a flowing economy that continuously pushes and pulls small amounts of resources. As such, players will have to learn to not build too many things at the same time, while conversely trying to keep their factories from going idle as only a certain amount of surplus can be stored. That was the main problem I had playing TA; I would leave factories idle despite being filled up on metal and energy.
      • Simple. The market was already flooded by the time TA came around. It never had a shot with the hotly anticipated Starcraft hot on its heels. I've listed some of the major releases, but you'll notice the timing for TA couldn't have been worse.

        Command & Conquer August 31 1995
        Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness December 9, 1995
        Civilization II February 29, 1996
        Command & Conquer: Red Alert October 31, 1996
        Dark Reign August 31, 1997
        Total Annihilation September 30, 1997
        Age of Empires October 26, 1997
        StarCraft
        • by Firefly1 (251590)

          Simple. The market was already flooded by the time TA came around...

          True, but it seems you misunderstood my initial question; perhaps I was not perfectly clear: it was not 'why didn't TA catch on among gamers?' but rather 'why didn't TA's gameplay mechanics catch on within the genre?'
          And as long as we're here, I fully second orkysoft's comments on DoW; it's great fun to play (I suspect the Assassination condition one can set for skirmish/MP matches - wherein each player has a free hero unit from the word

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by orkysoft (93727)
        I haven't played Total Annihilation, though I've seen it mentioned on Slashdot before. I have something to pitch in here too, though, about another not-that-well-known RTS game, which I think is cool.

        Dawn of War has no resource collection like you usually see in RTS games, instead, there are Strategic Points (plus some other similar things) on the map, and if your troops occupy them, you get more of the Requisition resource which you use to get more troops and buildings.

        The Power resource is generated by po
        • I haven't played Total Annihilation, though I've seen it mentioned on Slashdot before. I have something to pitch in here too, though, about another not-that-well-known RTS game, which I think is cool.

          I rather suspect that the Dawn of War series is not quite as obscure as you think. Indeed, both the original game and the subsequent expansions were well-received by both the game media and by the community as a whole. Games Workshop has sufficiently large number of people who are either playing their products or at least have fond memories of doing so to virtually guarantee exposure for any software tied to their intellectual property. Thus, DoW, being a WH40K game, was quite well-covered in terms of b

          • by orkysoft (93727)
            Well, until recently, I never saw DoW in a store. Only since a few months do I see Dark Crusade for sale. Also, almost nobody I tell about it in real life has heard about it (and those are people who play way more games than I do). That's why I think it's kind of obscure, at least in my area.

            I'll have to check the CoH demo some time. I wonder if my computer will run it...
  • As someone who thought they'd not find a good game after C&C or RA2, Starcraft and the expansion pack, Broodwar, was amazing. I finally got around to playing them 2+ years after everyone else but still really enjoyed the content and playability.

    SC reminds me of the Dig - the cut scenes were just as epic, and voice acting superb... and the story-line: wow.

    I miss you Tassadar!

    Matt
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:22PM (#17831088)
    1. Open "Warcraft II" Project
    2. Replace "Dragon" with "BattleCruiser", etc.
    3. Fix the "runs as a DOS program" business
    4. Save as "Starcraft" Project
    5. Many years later, release IP-friendly patch
  • by moore.dustin (942289) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @03:24PM (#17831110) Homepage
    The StarCraft brand is among the strongest game brands in the world in terms of a PC game and certainly for RTS games. That recognition was forged with a great game, great support (BNET, patches) and most importantly, adaptation as one of, if not the first game to be played on a wide-spread competitive level. StarCraft has enjoyed a vast amount of press based on these accomplishments and almost all have been positive over the years.

    That being said, Blizzards time to cash in on the StarCraft name has got to be running out. Clamoring about the release of a second installment has been already been plentiful online for years. Blizzard has yet to say anything except that they hope to revisit the StarCraft world in the future. With the announcement, hype, and eventual termination of StarCraft: Ghost, Blizzard has yet to realize that in the way of a official release.

    Time could now against Blizzard to cash in on the StarCraft brand. For many of us who played the game, we are fans forever, but for groves of people that know what a zerg rush is, but have never played, these peoples memory of the brand has got to be nearing its end. The StarCraft name means less and less everyday that goes on and new gamers are being introduced to the market who know nothing of its legacy.

    Now on the other hand, Blizzard carries a brand as a publisher that is second to none in the PC World so it may not matter at all. They seem to break there own sales records with each game they release, so who knows :) - I am certainly routing for them.
    • by bckrispi (725257) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @06:56PM (#17834746)

      That being said, Blizzards time to cash in on the StarCraft name has got to be running out.
      Starcraft was released nine years ago. To this day, you can still find copies of it on major retailer's shelves - not as part of a 'best of' collection, but as a standalone box. Name one other game in the history of PC gaming that can make that claim.
    • That being said, Blizzards time to cash in on the StarCraft name has got to be running out.

      I think they've been too busy counting all that cash from WoW to work on any new games for a while.

      Seriously though, with the subscription model being so profitable, it's hard to imagine Blizzard taking their focus off of WoW for a while yet. Although, once they're done milking WoW, I think the logical next step is with Diablo rather than StarCraft. Diablo could be adapted fairly easily to an MMO format as WoW's successor, though Blizzard would surely put their typical genre-defying twist on it. That way t

    • by kmac06 (608921)
      Yes, because we all know how much the time delay between Warcraft II and World of Warcraft hurt Blizzard :P
    • by loraksus (171574)
      great support (BNET, patches)

      Well.. except for those few YEARS that blizzard didn't do jack shit to fix the flaw with windows 2000 networking, causing people to drop all the fucking time.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Since this isn't news anyway, everyone should check out TA Spring, Total Annihilition > StarCraft/C&C/etc.
  • Now that you can play WoW on the Mac and soon on the Wii, PS3, and 360 - will they have StarCraft's successor on the same platforms?

    I've given up on WinVista and am only staying with WinXP, so it's a serious question - if it won't run on the MacOS, Linux, BSD, or one of the new game consoles, I won't be buying it.
    • Just to clarify, there was a version of StarCraft for the Mac. It came out a little later, but I definitely spent a good deal of time my freshman year of college playing SC versus my PC using buddies.

      It will be interesting to see if they end up releasing any new SC game for the consoles eventually (though I suppose them releasing it at all would be a good start), but I personally don't have much interest in playing an RTS without a keyboard.

      • yes, I know, my son used to play StarCraft on his old iMac, but I was wondering about the new StarCraft successor on the Intel Mac Mini for example.
  • Slow newsday maybe, but this is still relevant. StarCraft is alive and kicking, and is still one of the best games ever made. The least Blizzard could do if it really doesn't want to make StarCraft II is to make a 3D update, or at least give its blessings to StarCraft Revolutions. [wc3campaigns.net] Its a win-win situation for everyone.
  • "What do I look like, an orc?" "This is not Warcraft in Space!" "It's much more... sophisticated!" "I know it's not 3-D!"

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

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