Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Starcraft 2

As every person in the world should know by now, Blizzard recently announced Starcraft 2.

Starcraft, especially with the Brood War expansion, was an excellent game. How many computer games do you know of that are a decade old, is still being sold in stores, and still has tournaments?

I've had a wishlist for SC:2 for a long time. It looks like almost every thing on it has been delivered too!

My list of things I wanted in Starcraft 2 was always pretty short:


1) Support higher resolutions - even when SC2 came out I didn’t have any friend who only had 640x480 monitors so the ‘don’t want to give unfair advantage’ reason Blizzard gave sucked.

This is clearly provided in SC:2

2) Updated sounds - the sounds were good for the time, but limited in diversity. It was a couple years after SC released that I got a dolby digital out on my Mac, but nowadays multi-channel audio is much more common. Increase the sound resolution, increase the number of clips, and provide directional audio

New sounds are definitely in SC:2, can't tell if individual units have more variety or not

3) Updated graphics - this goes along with ‘support higher resolutions’


4) Camera control - zooming in and out would be helpful for grabbing units, and being able to tilt/pan would sometimes be helpful too. Tilt & pan would generally imply going 3D too

Well, it is a 3D game now, so the camera is definitely controllable

5) Smarter AI - being able to click out a route is great, but I shouldn’t have to route around a rock, or micromanage units within a group because 2 of them decided to take a different path

Now the AI is smarter and newer, but is it as smart as I want it? If I assign an attack group with ground troops and flying (or the new jumping/climbing units) will they take the same path or will they split in to two groups? Assuming everyone in the group is stuck on the ground, and starting from the same point, will one of them still wander off on his own?

Nice to have

6) Enhanced groupings - I found the small group size, and the limited # groups to be restrictive in my game play. I’d often not even bother making certain types of units because I wouldn’t be able to group them usefully.

The demo video showed groups larger than 8 units being controller. Not sure if you have more hotkeys to assign groups to or not though.

7) Cross-platform voice chat

There has been no mention of voice chat so far.

8) New units - Broodwars brought some cool new units, new units are fun

Yep, some new units. A couple of them are strategy breakers - ground units that can jump over cliffs dramatically changes some base building strategies.

9) New race - being able to play the hybrid race could be interesting

Nope. Can't find the quote, but somewhere they said it would just be the original three.

10) Battle formations - In Myth you could tell a group to assume a formation (straight line, staggered, etc) rather than just having your guys rush in randomly

The demo videos do not show any formations, they just show the old 'everyone run in as close as necessary to attack and surround' pattern. One can hope they'll be added though.

11) Unit loaning - If I want to loan my Protoss teammate some Mutalisks, I should be able to do so. He’d be able to put them in his group and command them.

No mention of this yet. Though apparently there is a feature in Starcraft that allows teammates to control friendly units anyway. It is an all-or-nothing and it combines your resource allotment though, so it isn't quite what I had in mind. 

12) Combined bases - Terrain and Protoss can do it, but since you can’t build on a creep foundation a teammate can not supplement your defenses easily. I’m not sure what the solution is, whether it is simply allowing a pylon to be built on creep would break certain strategies, maybe a way for a drone to eat a spot of creep?

Nothing has been mentioned or shown about this yet.

There were some other things that I’ve thought of over the years, but the point is it was already a great game that only needed some ‘minor’ tweaks to bring it modern.