Q&A Batch 30, the third installment of the Map Maker series of Q&As, has been posted. Spanning eight questions and covering key issues like gameplay-affecting weather and multiplayer campaigns, this batch is as relevant to future StarCraft 2 players as it is to map makers.
1) Will it be possible to code the game so map makers can make maps where people can stop incoming spell/missile?
This should be possible through customized ability data and/or triggers.
2) Will we have selectable male/female of every unit?
No, we don’t have plans to include male and female versions of each unit.
3) Will we have the option to give players the option to change weapons in-game?
While we don’t have any plans for a specialized interface for this, it would be possible using the highly flexible ability system.
The first three questions address the customization of units and unit abilities. Customizing unit appearances, switching weapons and spell manipulation are aspects of great importance for the creators of highly customized units, like the ones present in the super-popular WarCraft 3 DoTA series.
4) Will you guys link multiplayer maps, so mapmakers can make multiplayer campaigns?
Yes, we do plan to support multiplayer campaigns and linked maps.
5) Will all buildings stand alone and also can we have the ability to disable tech trees?
The tech tree will be fully configurable through customized data and/or triggers.
6) Will research or firing a skill in a certain location be part of the tech tree enabling, for example Stim Packs could be researched to enable a Factory?
Yes, the tech tree and upgrade system will be fully configurable from the editor.
Both the ability to manipulate tech trees and the ability to link multiplayer maps are important for campaign creators. The mentioned features provide the necessary means to convert StarCraft 2′s single player campaign into a great multiplayer adventure. *hint hint*
7) Will it be possible for AI to be commanded to research a skill, perform an upgrade, build a building at a location, build a unit at a location, retreat from a location?
Yes, there will be extensive AI scripting support.
8 ) Will mapmakers have the ability to set weather that can change the terrain and interrupt gameplay for players? Is this for anywhere or in a specific location?
Weather effect technology has not yet been finalized. However, even if weather effects do not affect gameplay normally, it would be possible to drive both the desired weather effects and associated gameplay effects through triggers.
Complex scripting and preprogrammed courses of action are not out of the ordinary in any modern editor or modding tool. Considering the repeated statements made about the powerful C-type scripting language, players can expect super-intelligent and human-like AIs being part of both campaigns and custom multiplayer maps.Google+
This month’s discussion topic will span the next month and a half. The topic: Map making. After giving us a taste of the capabilities of the new ScumEdit map editor in two “Map Maker” Q&A batches (18 and 22), Blizzard now requires your input so it can perfect yet another aspect of StarCraft 2.
Over the years we have enjoyed watching our community show their creativity and create amazing maps and mods to our games. With StarCraft II we would like to encourage you to keep up the awesome work, so wed like to give you a tool, you will enjoy working with. We have already answered questions in our Q&A but now it is your turn to tell us what your ideal StarCraft II Editor would look like!
The new “ScumEdit” map editor will be much more functional and free of artificial limitations. As well, it will be more user friendly for low level users who do not need access to the more complex features. StarCraft 2’s editor features a powerful proprietary C-type scripting language, along with a simplified editing mode which features a more intuitive graphic interface.
Here are Karune’s questions for this discussion topic:
- What features would you like to see in the StarCraft II Editor?
- How can we support the map making community more?
- How would you like to see the custom maps and mods handled in the future?
- Additional feedback you might have
Additionally, the SC2 Blog’s questions are:
1) How should map-locking be handled?
2) Should more players be allowed in custom games?
3) How unrestricted should the editor be? Should players be able to change the core concepts of the game? (basic gameplay mechanics, resources, etc)
Karune asks that you structure your answers in the following manner:
<question you’d like to answer>
<question you’d like to answer>
Even though most gamers do not bother with editors at all, all players eventually enjoy the fruits of the modding and map creating communities. The feedback provided now will end up shaping not only the available tools, but the battlefields created with them.Google+
Blizzard has announced the details of the 2008 Worldwide Invitational event. This year, it will take place at the Porte de Versailles Exposition Center, Paris, France, over the 28th and 29th of June.
What is the 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational?
The 2008 Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational is a two-day event bringing together the company and gamers in a convention atmosphere, featuring Q&A panels with Blizzard Entertainment developers and hands-on opportunities with the company’s latest games. The Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational also showcases the skills of top eSports gamers from around the world as they compete in invitational StarCraft, Warcraft III and World of Warcraft Arena tournaments.
StarCraft 2 was announced in last year’s Worldwide Invitational in S. Korea – where the Protoss race was introduced. A few months later, during BlizzCon, Blizzard introduced the Terran race. Blizzard obviously likes using these mega-events to make big announcements and to exhibit their games, so we can definitely expect either a showcasing of the Zerg or the announcement of a beta.
Now that we know what we’re really looking forward to, lets see what else Blizzard has to offer:
- Discussion panels with Blizzard Entertainment developers
- Artist and developer signings
- Professional eSport tournaments and casual tournaments for attendees
- Hands-on play with World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King and StarCraft II
- Merchandise and other products based on the Blizzard Entertainment game universes
- Silent auction
- Musical performances
- And more…
Tickets to the event will be sold on the official event website starting a few weeks from now.Google+
Q&A 29 is here. Continuing the recent trend of answering gameplay related questions, this batch, coupled with Karune’s gameplay blog, brings us up to date on a few interesting issues.
Gameplay Blog: This week I had to learn the hard way a change in our latest build of StarCraft II, which the Devs conveniently forgot to tell me about. As Protoss, I did my standard dual Gateway build, scouting to find that a lone SCV building a bunker outside of my base. In my mind, I thought, OK- a standard bunker rush, no problem! Build 2 Zealots and then hit the Bunker.
As it was a small 2 player map, my opponent was able to bring in a single Marine and Medic very soon, especially with the SCV repairing the Bunker at a very fast rate. As he repaired, I chased the SCV around the Bunker and attacked the Bunker with my other Zealots. To my disbelief, the Medic inside the Bunker was healing the SCV outside of the Bunker. Soon enough, another SCV showed up to repair the Bunker, as well as a Marauder, slowing my Zealots before they could reach the Bunker. At this point I had lost my initial two Zealots, but I had built four more. At the same time, my opponent now had a Marauder, Medic, and Marine, with 2 SCVs guarding the Bunker. These SCVs were impossible to kill since they were both running around the Bunker, being healed at the same time, while my Zealots were slowed and shot at by the Bunker. When my Zealots attacked the Bunker, the SCVs repaired the Bunker. Needless to say, the standard Bunker rush is not so standard anymore. With Terrans Salvage ability, being able to deconstruct Terran buildings for 100% of the cost back, adds to the devastating effect of a StarCraft II Bunker push. On top of that, adding a Ghost in the Bunker, allows for Sniping within the Bunker, as well as huge range, making it an effect pushing structure before you tech to Siege Tanks. Thanks for letting me know guys GG.
The StarCraft 2 Bunker is more versatile and effective than its previous incarnation. Here’s what we know about it so far:
- Holds and protects 4 infantry units
- Units inside can use special abilities
- Can be salvaged like other Terran buildings, enabling an inexpensive “Bunker-Push” strategy
The last two mark the difference between the new and old Bunker. The StarCraft 2 version appears to be extremely powerful, especially if all unit abilities can indeed be used from within it. While a protected Medic healing outside troops is a huge advantage, more dangerous abilities, such as the Ghost‘s Nuclear Launch, might be completely overpowered when launched from inside a Bunker.
Karune later explained how this new, dangerous strategy can be effectively stopped:
The Bunker rush can be stopped by going dual Gateways, Zealot spamming, and effective scouting. It was the fact that I didn’t expect the Medic to heal out, that ended up in my loss. Always kill the SCV first! I was thinking…why would he put his Medic in the Bunker?
On to the Q&A:
1. Do the Terrans currently have a purely dedicated anti-air unit filling the role of the Wraith and Goliath?
No, the Terran Viking is currently their primary anti-air unit, which is built from the Factory. The Viking can currently shoot both ground and air when in ground mode, and is able to transform into an air to air fighter, for better mobility and economy raids.
The Viking, which could previously only engage ground units in its mech form, can now attack both ground and air units from the ground.
2. Do the Auto Turrets built by the Nomad attack randomly like the bunkers in the original StarCraft or will the player be able to choose the target similar to the Missile Tower?
Auto Turrets can be controlled by the player as if it were a stationary unit. You can both group them and focus fire with them. When they are not given an order, they will fire at the nearest enemy within range. The Nomads second construction option, which is the Mine Drone, will not be able to be controlled by the player as easily. The Mine Drone is a stationary defense structure, which places four mines around it, and then immediately cloaks both the mines and the structure. Similar to the Spider Mines from the original StarCraft, these mines will wreck havoc on an incoming army without the ability to see cloaked units. The mines does a base damage of 50 plus an additional 50 damage to armored units. On top of that, the Mine Drone replaces the mines after they detonate, temporarily revealing the Mine Drone structure. Similar to the Auto Turret, both of these structures will cost energy to build from the Nomad, and will have a very minimum setup time.
The Nomad just became even more of an interesting replacement to the Science Vessel. The new Mine Drone ability is incredibly powerful – it is both free, costing only 50 energy, and autonomously replenishing, meaning it can supply an endless amount of cloaked mines. With each mine doing 50 points of splash damage + 50 to armored units, this ability sounds almost too powerful on paper. Compared to the StarCraft 1 exchange rate of 75 minerals to 3 Spider-Mines (and a bonus Vulture), this is a steal.
3. With the Reaver removed, and his siege role moved to the Warp Ray, what will take his splash role?
The Protoss Colossus now has a linear splash damage beam attack, which blazes enemies in a horizontal area of effect, from where the Colossus is facing. Like all area of effect attacks, the Colossuss beam is excellent at annihilating close groups of M&Ms (Marines and Medics) and mass Zealots.
The Colossus will now act more like the unit it’s been brought in to replace. Its beam attack will probably originate at a lower point on the Colossus’ structure, annihilating everything in its path.
4. With water featured on some of your maps, will this allow modders to try new game ideas that may make use of water?
This should be possible, though much of this experimentation will have to be left up to the modders. I am sure there will be amazing mod creations the community will come up with.
5.What is the status of StarCraft IIs AI?
StarCraft IIs AI (artificial intelligence) is definitely superior to Brood War in many ways, though most notably, the AI does a great deal more of scouting, and makes decisions according to what it has found during those scouting missions. Unsuccessful scouting missions, similar to what a player might experience would tend to lead towards a more standard type of army build or continued scouting.
Usually, AI opponent in RTS games “cheat” – they don’t actually have to scout out their enemy, and always know exactly what he’s doing. Will the StarCraft 2 AI break the mold and supply a challenge without resorting to unfair advantages? This is something that RTS players have been hoping for for a long time.Google+
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