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Blizzard Releases In-House Design Tools To Starcraft Modders 96

Posted by timothy
from the opening-the-toolshed dept.
MojoKid writes "Blizzard has released a powerful new suite of tools for Starcraft 2 modders and developers that fundamentally change the nature of what's possible in the popular RTS game. Now, players can use the same architectural and graphics design toolsets that Blizzard has used internally to build new units, tilesets, and models. Furthermore, these tools are now available even with the Starcraft 2: Starter Edition kit. Critically, artists will now be able to incorporate images and effects designed in programs like 3ds Max, Photoshop, or other high-end particle systems. The exciting thing about these releases is that Starcraft 2's modding list is as interesting as the primary game, if not moreso. Fans have faithfully created adaptations of famous Starcraft maps, implemented entirely new rulesets that blend the old, micro-friendly playstyle of Starcraft with the modern engine, and even gone total conversion with Warcraft ported over into the SC2 game."
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Blizzard Releases In-House Design Tools To Starcraft Modders

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  • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @01:14PM (#46091825) Homepage Journal

    Except the one thing keeping me from buying your product. Cut the stupid DRM, idiots.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Bb-b-but I want control!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      SC2 has an offline mode. You only have to login once to "activate" it after installing.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The 'DRM' is actually something a lot of people like about Starcraft 2, even if they don't know it.. Everyone having a single account allows Blizzard to easily maintain the ladder, which is arguably one of Starcraft 2's main selling points.

      Why not tie this to account ownership in an attempt to deter piracy and trolls?

      • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @01:29PM (#46091953) Homepage Journal

        What does that have to do with playing a single player game?

        • I dunno, in this case it just doesn't seem like that big of deal. Single player requires a single, one time activation, after that you're good to go. The only caveat to that is that you can't play your online account's single player campaign on the offline account, which is a bit annoying (and probably even bypassable by copying over some files to the guest account folder structure) but if you know you're going to play offline just start the campaign that way from the beginning.

          More importantly, SC2 is pr

          • It matters to me. I have an opinion. I understand and don't hold hostility to those who didn't have the same opinion.

            As to being "predominantly a multiplayer game" that still doesn't necessity online activity(and in terms of game performance, it's a liability when you just want a LAN game). It's still a completely unnecessary restriction I'm not going to support.

            • by niado (1650369)
              It's predominantly an online multiplayer game. LAN gaming is a very small segment of the SC2 player base. The dramatically vast majority of playtime on SC2 is in online multiplayer.

              You can play single-player offline, as others have mentioned, but it's still DRM'd and you have to either crack it or activate it.

              There are certainly gamers, such as yourself, that would like a completely non-DRM'd version, but the demand is very low.
              • by Anonymous Coward

                LAN gaming is a small segment of the player base solely because Blizzard hobbled and chained the fuck out of LAN mode. Technically, it doesn't even have one.

                • by segin (883667)
                  Also because I don't know anyone else who also owns a copy of the game, a car, is willing to pack up their PC, and come over to my home to play against (or with) me.
                  • LAN parties are still alive and well. Yeah, in the era of broadband it's a lot harder to justify the old two-man LAN when Hamachi and the like make VPNs accessible to the masses and most games support easy connection to your friends online, but the experience of getting together with a bunch of friends and competing or cooperating in the same room is hard to beat.

                    Just last weekend I hosted a small LAN. Just six people showed up due to the weather, but we still had a great time. Cooperative titles like Pa

    • by Kookus (653170)

      I hate the always online mode of WoW. I want an offline version!

      • Yes, because a single-player campaign, for example, is totally identical to an MMO(that I also don't play).

      • I hate the always online mode of WoW. I want an offline version!

        Yeah, because equating a game that is, by definition, massively multiplayer to one from a genre with a long history of single-player content, LAN party support, and not needing an Internet connection makes a load of sense. I can't understand why people are complaining at all.

        • by Kookus (653170)

          *Whooooooosh*

          • I'm open to being corrected when I get something wrong (and whooshed when I missed the obvious), but I'm just not seeing it here after having re-read your comment quite a few times. Might I honestly suggest that you re-read it as well and try to view it from someone else's perspective? Because it looks like most of us responding to you caught the sarcasm just fine, but nonetheless misunderstood what you were apparently going for, which suggests to me that you didn't do a good job of conveying it.

            To explain

            • by Kookus (653170)

              It was just a play on the Sim City fiasco with their online only mode debate. It was sarcasm as you noted in that WoW is an MMORPG in which it's required to be online, as that's what the O is for. It actually had nothing to do with me disliking or liking DRM, only that we're making demands for changes to their ecosystem and we might as well get all crazy on them.

              • Gotcha. Thanks for clarifying, and sorry for being "that guy" who needed to have the joke explained.

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      They feel that for the six people on Slashdot that they dissuade from buying their product BECAUSE DRM!, that they'll actually get seven more paying customers by at least preventing the sort of piracy that makes you go to TPB.

      Plenty of people have been burned by virus/malware from visiting TPB (more often in the spam and ads than the torrents), and they're one of the good sites.

      It's not like the bean counters there are just willfully ignoring DRM. They weigh their options and make a choice.

      You're free to c

      • And I think they deserve every single possible PR burn for it. It doesn't need to be insightful. It just needs to not reward them for being douches.

        • by mythosaz (572040)

          Yeah, one time activation for single-player seems real douchey.

          • by Dasher42 (514179)

            Actually, have you played it? The UI is highly unintuitive for single player. Even if you think you're creating a single player game, it will still set you up with a game that will quit out if the internet connection fails. You have to get right-clicky and dig around for "play offline" options on the map listing.

            So, they're ramming their options down player's throats: playing with the net-speaking kiddies over the internet for goofy achievement badges, or play a linear railroaded single-player campaign

      • they'll actually get seven more paying customers by at least preventing the sort of piracy that makes you go to TPB.

        But every single piece of software there is, DRM or not, is on the piratebay already unless it's bellow a certain level of obscurity.

        Plenty of people have been burned by virus/malware from visiting TPB

        They have? There's some pretty simple rules you can follow to be sure you rarely if ever get a virus. The easiest is: If a torrent has 2000 leaches and you don't see people bitching about a virus in the comments you're probably ok. If you're really paranoid install it on a VM first. DRM doesn't do anything but annoy paying customers.

    • by gr4nf (1348501)

      I'd be right there with you, except that you're not just fighting a losing battle... it's been over for almost a decade.

      Games are like really complicated web apps now. When you buy a game, it is not distributed to you; you are distributed to it. DRM-free media is great because it lasts beyond the rise and fall of the corporations who provide it... but nowadays, the product is an account on company servers. It lasts as long as the company says it'll last.

      And yeah, there are teams still making stand-alone pro

      • by causality (777677)

        Just know what you're purchasing and it's easier to swallow. Don't tell yourself you're buying Starcraft 2, cos you're not. You're buying a passport into Blizzard's exclusive competitive gaming and modding club, and you can't expect the pass to outlive the club itself.

        In that case, I believe it would be misleading and unethical not to make this clear to the potential customers prior to purchase.

        That's not some mere difference of ideology; that's an expectation of doing business in good faith.

  • by beefoot (2250164)
    Can it be modded to be played on LAN only? Think not.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Time to make Strategic Tactical Advanced Recon Defense Of The Armory,

    Or STARDOTA.

  • I remember watching Tower Defense be born as Photon Defense in the original Starcraft, and then DotA being born in WC3 some years later... Both of those concepts have given birth to million player markets today. I wonder if this is the direction game development is headed? I mean, we're seeing the same 3 or 4 engines running under at least 60% of big releases. The only differences are map and model design, storytelling, and some simple game logic. If I was a big game corp, I'd outsource all that work to the
    • by mythosaz (572040)

      I can't imagine building a game today without licensing Unreal or Havoc for physics or Eclipse/Lycium for your RPG, or even Bigworld (or whatever) for your new MMO.

      You'd have to be an industry juggernaut to sink the costs into reinventing that wheel.

    • It's not the future.

      I know because I actively participated in Starcraft mod/map making for over a decade.

      Blizzard is hoping to pull another DotA on the custom designers. That is, steal our work and try to monetize it if the opportunity arises. They wanted to generate a lot of fun custom map stuff for SC2, but with a map distribution system that's bordering on complete useless, an editor that varies from feeling like programming with a fisherprice keyboard to feeling like using a keyboard to play on a fish

      • I'm afraid I disagree here.

        The example you give regarding DotA (game mod from WC3) implies that Steve Feak (aka IceFrog), the original creator of the DotA got nothing for his creation. That's just untrue. Unless Feak was an idiot (which, I suppose he might be - I've never met him), he knew he wouldn't receive compensation from Blizzard for spending hours creating DotA for WC3. What he did receive was a name for himself in creating one of the most best damn game mods ever. That name allowed him to go on to c

      • by artor3 (1344997)

        I don't Blizzard is trying to steal the designers work, so much as hoping for a runaway success that they can then hire to their team. I'm sure they're kicking themselves every single day for letting Guinsoo and IceFrog go to Riot and Valve. They had caught lightning in a bottle and let it go, and now they're praying for a second chance.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @01:44PM (#46092111)
    I see the future of gaming is this:
    a: Company releases an okay game in a genre, RTS/PLATFORMER/RACING/WOW style RPG/ETC
    b: Company makes their development tools polished and user friendly, and releases them.
    c: Players can make levels or entire games with tools(Thus you don't need to be a programmer to make a video game)
    d: Players publish their games on the company's website.
    e: Company takes 50% cut for all games the players sell. Players themselves make 50% of the cut.
    f: Rating system on various factors in the game so people can try the best levels first.
    g: Game lives on because of so much content.
    h: Congratulations, genre cornered, make a new game in a new genre and repeat
    • This is pretty much how it used to be in the late 90s and early 00s, except for the online publishing part.

      But then game companies realized that gamers wouldn't buy a new game if they could still play new free mods in the old one.
    • by netsavior (627338) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @02:15PM (#46092427)
      Ask Millionaires Gooseman (creator of the original Counterstrike mod)
      or Garry Newman (Garry's Mod)
      or the 2.5 billion dollar corporation: Valve if this is a viable way to do business...

      Don't call it a come back, Valve/Steam has been doing it for years.
      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        > Don't call it a come back, Valve/Steam has been doing it for years.

        And ID before that. They made a lot of their money by releasing highly modifiable games. Team Fortress was originally a Quake 1 mod, which became a Quakeworld mod, which became a Half-Life Mod, which became a standalone product in the Orange Box.

        Valve reaps the rewards of the mod teams they buy, but ID profited by having everyone and their mother buy the game so they could play TF.

    • That's what Valve and Steam have done 10-15 years ago. Or Google, Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo. That's the present.
    • This is pretty much how DayZ sprang to life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • The news you're posting is just an update. http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/bl... [battle.net]
  • Does anyone remember the old D-n-D-based MUDs that, once you had maxed your level, gave you the option to begin an apprenticeship to learn to program and extend the game? I have wished many times that Blizzard would adopt that model everywhere, to allow players to generate new content. It would be a great learning tool and introduction to game design, character modeling, etc.
  • ok drm may suck, online activation might suck, but what doesn't suck is a one place authentication for all blizzard games and the ability to add a security device:

    http://www.wowwiki.com/Battle.... [wowwiki.com]

    that makes it impossible for your account to be stolen or abused, and at the same time allows for unlimited installs (like the steam platform) over the life of the product no matter how many hard drives or mainboards you run through.

    i don't like the prices for games, i feel a lot of them are way overpriced, but for

  • Sigh. I just learned how to play DOTA2...

  • As someone who really wants Starbow(the popular sc1bw/sc2 hybrid) to succeed, there were certain limitations preventing the developers from taking this MOD past beta. Now that they have the tools this could become a real challenger for HoTs(and LotV) when the final chapter is released. Competition for the best modern RTS to play may really force blizzards core design team to step up and make SC2 source the top competitive game. (/wishes)
  • Blizzard has released a powerful new suite of tools for Starcraft 2 modders and developers that fundamentally change the nature of what's possible in the popular RTS game.

    A powerful new suite of tools -- which were developed years ago and withheld for no apparent reason -- that fundamentally change... nothing.
    What's possible with art assets is probably improved over the art tools the community has already developed for itself, if you have 3ds Max 2011, which is no longer for sale.

    It's hard to imagine how this could have even the barest hint of an effect on the custom maps scene.

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