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Real Time Strategy (Games)

StarCraft, Nothing But StarCraft 303

Posted by Zonk
from the power-overwhelming dept.
Now that the news has been out for a few days and game journalists have had a chance to chat with the folks at Blizzard, there are a number of new stories detailing parts of the StarCraft II world. A massive press briefing about the game fills in a few more details on the game; only three factions, no new races, the game is built with competitive play in mind, and will run on both XP and Vista. For more nitty-gritty elements, the company held panel discussions on the art design and gameplay elements of the upcoming game. Video from the event is now widely available as well; check out the official trailer, some example gameplay, or the epic 22-minute long developer walkthrough.
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StarCraft, Nothing But StarCraft

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  • Game resolution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by danbert8 (1024253) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @01:42PM (#19224225)
    From all the screenshots and demos it looks like very little of the battlefield is visible at a time. This is one thing I didn't like about Starcraft, but I understood because it ran at such a low resolution. I hope Starcraft II supports higher resolution or different battlefield zoom levels. Scrolling around all the time can be a pain in the ass.
  • by neoform (551705) <> on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @01:44PM (#19224247) Homepage
    I have to wonder why Blizzard consistently releases their titles for Mac.. I buy all their games as a result, but what's their motivation? (surely the sales are far far lower)..
  • by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @01:58PM (#19224465)
    The Protoss Mothership will have not 'equivalent' in that the Terran and Zerg have no super unit that they can only have one of, but they will have counters. This is the kind of difference in races I want to see. A real difference in the build structure, the buildings, and the units means more variety of tactics and more fun. I can forgive the lack of a new race if they really do a good job differening the three normal races. Rather than having similar tech trees, I hope to see a complete dichotomy between the three. The recent Rise of Legends is a pretty good example of this, although there could still be more difference. In RoL, switching between races for the first time usually leaves you completly lost and confused, but once you get past the names and images, they still maintain a similar tech tree between the races, with only a handful of major differences in the building (granted those differences are deep rooted in the different stragies of each race, but there could have been more.)

    Starcraft already has a good bit of differentiation between the races, but there could be so much more. I could see each of the three races' buildings and tech trees taking on more characteristics of the races' themselves. Protoss should still be a strong, yet immoble build race, though the flexable teleportation and mobile pylons do serve to balance overall immobility. Terrans could be mobile, but more modular than before, with more CC addon slots and types and perhaps more addons for other buildings. Let the terrans be flexable with enough mobility as before but at the cost of the flexability the abandoned addons would provide. For instance the terrans could have access to different unit types and enhance units in different ways depending on what addons are activated. Perhaps the Reaper would be active with one addon to the barracks, but a different addon allows for medics. The Zerg have some awesome building tricks as it is; I don't know of anyother game (except WCIII) which you lose a harvester to build their buildings. But the Zerg could do more; perhaps encourage the player to expand the creep far and wide by giving an extra larva spawn at each creep colony to enhance the overwhelming force and plague-like gameplay nature of the zerg. The Zerg should be all about expanding, flexability and mobility; overwhelming forces and expanding across the whole of the map in infestation as they go.
  • Re:Game resolution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Puff of Logic (895805) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @01:58PM (#19224485)

    From all the screenshots and demos it looks like very little of the battlefield is visible at a time. This is one thing I didn't like about Starcraft, but I understood because it ran at such a low resolution.
    Heh, I still habitually flick the scroll-wheel on my mouse whenever I boot up a game of Starcraft because I feel as though I'm zoomed in much too closely! I hope that SC2 will have a much greater (i.e. actually has one) zoom function, but that the demos are so closely zoomed in order to show unit details.

    Now what I'd really like to see is multi-monitor support that would give me a 2D map on my second monitor instead of the little minimap in the corner. SupCom kinda fired my imagination as to how useful that can be in an RTS. I rather suspect, however, that such a feature won't be seen because of the focus of competitive play and the lack of a second screen for many players.
  • by MeanderingMind (884641) * on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @02:03PM (#19224569) Homepage Journal
    Firstly, Blizzard has a long history of supporting Macs. From the very first WarCraft to WoW, they've always released Mac versions. Given the small number of Mac developers in the old days, that earned Blizzard a place in the home of every Mac gamer.

    Secondly, there simply wasn't competition. Blizzard didn't need to work hard on advertising because there was nothing else for people to buy. If you wanted an RTS on the Mac, you bought WarCraft or StarCraft. The other options were buggy, poorly ported, or otherwise incompatible with their PC brethren.

    Lastly, they are very good at game design. It's easy for them to program in such a way that a Mac version is barely an effort, as most of the data and code is stored and written in such a way as to be platform inspecific. It's good practice to begin with, and Blizzard does a good job of it.
  • Re:internet play (Score:5, Interesting)

    by king-manic (409855) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @02:48PM (#19225265)
    So it's going to be crap online then? People don't like getting beaten. They partcicularly don't like getting beaten outright by players who, in the grand scheme of things, are only slightly better than themselves. Trying to make that happen more will just make multiplayer starcraft rubbish. Here's hoping they do a map editor to rival War3's, we can then have enjoyable custom maps at least.

    Are you new to online play in general? If your significantly behind in the skill curve then you can either play similiarly skilled friends or play and lose a lot to gain more skill. It's true of all games. Blizzard RTS's tend to focus on "skill" over "strategy" but I think the gridation of skill is a lot smoother then you think.

    It's apparent you want skill to matter less. A person who masters a few keys skills will win over those without them. Preserving units with low health, the ability to focus fire and good special ability targetting are skills that you need. If your missing this control you will lose to someone with that control 100% of the time. Once you master those skills you would then move from Noob to Newb. A noob is one is is persistantly bad who does not improve with practice because they beligerantly cling to the way they think it should be player. A newb is simply someone who need practice. If you think the system is insurmountable then you are a noob.

    The amount of skill needed is fairly low but if you can't grasp the basics nothing can help you. Now once you grasp these basics then it's all strategy. For instance I have a perfect record against my cousin. I'm 73 : 0 against him in war 3. The difference isn't micro. I have decent micro skills but nothing special. He has awe inspiring micro. He clicks and manage so many groups at a time that I cannot win battle with even numbers of troops. If we are even I would lose and frequently lose skrimishes during a game. However I have much better big picture strategey and despite losing a few battle I win the war through better resource management, expansion/expansion denial, ability mix, and recon.
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @03:14PM (#19225695) Homepage Journal
    I am glad that the developers have mentioned that they wanted to get away from the click-fest model of gameplay and move more towards commanding groups. I love starcraft, but the micromanaging of individual units is the part that I hate the most. I would rather just have some kind of 'build order' that functions like a script. My units get busy creating the town, and then I create groups and assign missions. When things get hairy, I step in and micromanage. Meanwhile other objectives and missions take place on their own.

    I always thought that the races should be more differentiated by their building and scout types. As it stands in SC, Terrans and Protoss are basically cloned in terms of their buildings and workers. You have a base, and you have workers. You build another building for different types of warriors. Zerg are a little different as far as workers becoming buildings and larvae becoming warriors, but the building tech tree is basically the same.

    Zerg should be more swarming, with less individual AI and abilities. Just mass numbers. Protoss should be slow and powerful, with a few large, lumbering ships. The humans should be a patchwork of different unit types working together in mixed groups.

    I always looked at it like this. What would each race want to do, and how would it help their perceptions?

    What would Protoss want to do? Fill the screen with Pylons. It would be cool if Pylons had a synergistic effect, where two or more pylons covered a greater range than an individual pylon. The Protoss objective, then, would be to arrange pylons so that they would provide cross-coverage with all of your buildings. Protoss could see inside the energy field of any pylon on the screen. The greater the synergistic energy field, the greater the sight range.

    The Zerg would want to fill the screen with creep. Connected creep would provide map sight throughout the connection.

    Humans would be the most micromanaged, but the most flexible. They can build anywhere, they don't need pylons or creep. However, they would also have the most limited sight.
  • Get in line. We've been clamoring for this on the SC longer than you have! You'd think with the massive popularity of the game that either some hacker would have figured out how to mod it, or Blizzard would have tweaked it to support higher resolutions by now.
  • Re:Terrain (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brkello (642429) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @04:25PM (#19226837)
    The narrator did not hint that it would impede movement. He just talked about how it was one of the new elements that was added. After the debris slid down the ramp it doesn't look like the debris is persistent.

    After the nuclear strike, there are indeed craters. But just like the debris they disappear after a few seconds and did not appear to effect where the units were able to walk. Indeed, it would be stupid if it had that functionality because people could nuke chokepoints. Unlike nuking a base where you scrambled to try to find out where the nuke was going to launch and either kill the ghost or counter the nuke, you would have little chance to counter a nuke focused at a choke point. In other words, it gives the terrans too much of an advantage and I would be shocked if it was anything more than a temporary cosmetic effect.
  • Not to complain... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fallen1 (230220) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @04:33PM (#19227007) Homepage
    but I am. Sort of. If the game can work on Windows XP then I see no technical reasons why it cannot run on Windows 2000 Pro. There are MANY people still using that system since it is stable, does everything we need it to do, and we don't have to un-prettify it to get basic functionality and ease of control back. Admittedly, all it takes to get most of the basics back on XP is a few clicks of the mouse but why should I have to?

    I know the trend is toward dumbing down technology so it isn't as "scary" to the average user but how about everyone trend upward instead? How about we INCREASE the intelligence of the average user by giving him/her a good system and encouraging them to LEARN? Wow, what a concept? A highly educated populace that isn't afraid of technology! Everybody gets smarter!!

    Guess that would mean the techno-elite like Bill would lose their place in the world and innovation might have to happen... hmmmm, guess that highly educated populace might not come to fruition after all. Bah, it feels like Monday all over again and I needed a rant :-p
  • by brkello (642429) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @04:55PM (#19227471)
    I don't really understand this argument. Starcraft, the things you like and the ones you dislike, is the actual portion of the game. Whether the limit was artificial, technical, or a strategic decision is irrelevant. You may not like may blame it for why you suck...but it is and always has been part of the game. It is like complaining that Castling in Chess gives another player an advantage and since you don't understand it very well or can't use if effectively it should be removed from the game.

    I get it, you don't like the clickiness. You want it to be more about strategy than skill in using the interface. It seems like a lot of that will be are complaining about a very old game. Blizzard has got a lot more experience in UIs now. But Starcraft is still a very enjoyable game. Just because you are afraid of carpal tunnel doesn't meant they should change it for you. This is the main problem with people today. Instead of actually trying to improve at something they complain that it should be changed to suit them better. Well, guess what? Any game played at a high competitive level becomes more work than fun. You enjoy your victories, but you have to work hard to get to that point. I just think you are the type who rather complain than work.
  • Re:Smoking in Space (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kronos83 (1105753) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @05:31PM (#19228081)
    from the look of it (with the his hands and feet being chained ) he just got out of prision back to his old marine job from ten years ago. 10 years no smoking hes gotta smoke when hes killing zerglings
  • by KrazeeEyezKilla (955150) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @06:05PM (#19228769)
    Linux is definitely the most hassle free operating system out there...
  • by NightLamp (556303) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:34PM (#19229885) Journal
    Whatever Blizzards' motivation it likely adds a lot to developer/artist collaboration and morale as the art dept, or some of it at least, is probably Mac oriented.

    Could help them get and keep a lot of talented people.
  • by osu-neko (2604) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @08:28PM (#19230403)

    I can't think of any reason why they wouldn't just deny it if the option weren't at least on the table.

    If they deny false rumors, then refusal to deny anything else becomes instant confirmation. So, unless it's your intention to broadcast all your plans to everyone ahead of time, you most both refuse to confirm true rumors and refuse to deny false ones. You must do both, you can't just do one or the other, or else there's no point in doing either.

  • Re:internet play (Score:3, Interesting)

    by king-manic (409855) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @08:40PM (#19230503)
    You might be better off with private games with friends until you can get basic skills down. Then play public games to improve your timing and intuition. I started off really bad and over time (2 games a day, 6 on weekends) I got better. I peaked at 17th US west for 2v2 in warcraft 3. I've gone down hill since but it doesn't take a lot of games. The normal course of mild video game addiction will get you prepped for online play. You just have to want to get better and have someone help you. I got tutored by a friend who was #3 for 2v2 at the end of a certain season. He's the guy you refer to, 20 hours a day type. Incidentally he lives in his mums basement too. He's actually the complete opposite of what you would think such a person would be. He owns that house, a NSX, is 6'1 built, a label whore, and so metro you'd think he was gay. He's just highly competitive. Everything he does is to win. From his paint ball hobby to his hockey nights to bidding for job contracts.
  • Re:internet play (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jarik_Tentsu (1065748) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @11:43PM (#19231853)
    I used to really be into Starcraft for a time, and I think the main reason I enjoyed it so much was because it was so intense - everything you did mattered. It was easily the best RTS I had every played.

    As I'm sure you already know, Koreans are huge on Starcraft - and I have watched replays, VODs ,FP-VODs and live streams from MBCGame. For those of you who watched the final between Iloveoov and JulyZerg (I think it was either the OSL 2006 final? Or it could've been SkyLeague? Might be wrong *Shrugs*), the game was won by JZ due to ONE MEDIC which was surrounded and killed my JulyZerg's zerglings before the medic could get behind the marine line. The marines were subsequently raped and the game was decided.

    Now most of you who haven't played SC:BW probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but what I'm trying to say is Starcraft is a game more focused on your control of each single unit.

    It is far from realistic, which is why I'm hoping the new engine for Starcraft II doesn't add physics to the game. Half the reason it is so good is it is very fast. This fast once again, means that your micro can really be used to huge levels. I find in slower games, micro is a lot more worthless to utilize, since it doesn't do much.

    I guess it all is up to what audience Starcraft II is aimed at. If they want to aim at the people who play the latest RTS for a couple of months and give up, they need to make it a game where the aim is to mass units and send them into the base. This is what most gamers I've encountered do. They don't care about build orders, about micro or macro, etc. It's all about graphics and super weapons. People mass units for 30 minutes then both attack each other till one person wins.

    If they want to aim it at the current Starcraft audience - a multi-million dollar industry in Korea that is still at its peak after 10 years - then it needs to be the kinda game the former gamers would find boring or really hard.

    For instance, for a player who has an Actions Per Minute of 30, who just builds units, sends them into the enemies' base and twiddles their thumbs, Starcraft is NOT a balanced game. Lurkers for instance, are units that burrow under ground and attack - able to hit many units at once. Say the said player masses hundreds of marines, sends them in - he goes 'oh no' when three lurkers wipe them out. But this *is* balanced for a player who knows what he's doing - that is, he stops his marines movement using his macro (and hotkeys!), scanner sweeps the area (revealing hidden units) and takes them out with his Siege Tanks.

    Many players who are into RTS's like Generals, Red Alert, Act of War etc seem to dislike Starcraft. So it really depends how they make it - I doubt they can satisfy everyone.

  • Re:Advantage (Score:3, Interesting)

    by delt0r (999393) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @05:14AM (#19233505)
    I never liked this argument. Its true that in most FPS network connection and hardware give you and avantage. Its also true that if you can affored a lighter bike for the triatholon you have and advantage. Why should someone who just spent a lot of money on a good machine and connection be "held" back because someoneelse didn't?

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.