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Another Q&A in the map maker series has been posted by Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager. This one explores the map making capabilities of ScumEdit even further by answering eight fan-submitted questions.

First, Karune gives us an update about an issue that we learned about in the last Q&A, regarding the mobile Zerg defenses:

Q. Are the Zerg Sunken and Spore Colonies capable of moving out of the bounds of creep?

Yes, they are able to move and plant themselves outside of the creeps boundary. Keep in mind that all Zerg buildings not in the boundaries of creep will slowly degenerate and eventually die.

Karune informs us that this does not apply anymore:

In Batch 38, it was mentioned that Sunken and Spore colonies could move and plant off of Creep while also taking damage when not on Creep. To update, Zerg defenses will not be able to plant off of Creep.

Even though off-creep Colonies would lose health constantly, Blizzard has likely determined that this new ability is just too powerful. The purpose of a static defense building is to be cost effective in battle, but only in its limited sphere of influence. By allowing the Colonies to both become mobile and to be planted anywhere, the disadvantage that keeps them balanced is removed.

Commander Queen

Next, a Chat with the Devs, featuring Brett Wood, Blizzard’s Map Editor designer:

Chat with Devs: Batch 39 focuses on the development of StarCraft IIs Map Editor and I got a chance to chat with our Map Editor Designer, Brett Wood. Brett was able to answer quite a few of our community map editors below. Furthermore, he wanted to also add that the StarCraft II Map Editor will improve upon the World Editor from Warcraft III in every way, with several new features such as having all abilities in the game being data driven. Brett Wood elaborates here on what it means for all data in the game to be data driven:

[Brett Wood] Lets say you have a cool idea for an implosion type of ability that will rapidly shrink down a targeting unit, then cause an energy shockwave that damages all nearby units within a certain area. Since there is no standard ability with a shrink-down effect, in Warcraft III youd have to resort to some fancy trigger work to achieve this effect. In StarCraft II, this kind of effect can be set up completely in the data files, and you could make the entire ability without having to use any triggers or scripting at all. Generally speaking, setting up abilities and effects will be easier through data customization than using triggers, although there will definitely be a learning curve there as well.

On to the Q&A:

1) Will the new map editor support placing of traps, doors, and other things commonly referred to as doodads in unorthodox situations? (ie doors, auto guns, wall traps in a jungle map)

Yes, any object defined in the data files can be placed on the map, regardless of which tileset it is normally associated with.

2) Will the new map editor support extended upgrade values? (ie, 30 upgrades)

Yes, upgrades are arbitrarily extendable, as they were in Warcraft III. In addition, upgrades will now be downgradeable via triggers as well (by using a negative value), which was a very common request in Warcraft III.

3) Will the new editor still support all the other ideas currently implemented in StarEdit?

This question is a bit vague. As far as I know, everything the original StarCraft could do, StarCraft II can do.

4) What additional features will the new editor have?

How much time have you got? Very broadly speaking, the biggest improvements over Warcraft III will be found in the data editor, where literally every game database file is exposed for modification, and in the trigger dditor, which now features the ability to define custom functions and libraries. That said, virtually every aspect of the editor has at least some improvements over Warcraft III/StarCraft.

5) Do you plan to take ideas from third party programs and update the editor frequently to meet the demands of the map making community?

Absolutely. We are very much committed to supporting the map/mod community as much as possible, and well be keeping an eye on the forums and updating the editor as often as we can to incorporate new suggestions.

The C syntax style scripting language, while already providing much added functionality, will, as with any innovative Blizzard product, greatly rely on feedback from the modding community for further evolution.

6) Will be a tool to transfer WC3 models to SC2?

No, there will not be, as StarCraft II is built with a totally new engine.

7) Given that we know the Roach regenerates faster than normal, will players be able to change the regeneration rates for Zerg units?


Yes, all regeneration rates can be easily changed.

8 ) Will players be able to give units Protoss shields or Zerg regeneration that don’t normally have them? ie, a regenerating Zealot, a Ghost with shields, etc.

Yes, you could create a Roach-Zealot hybrid if you would like. Many passive abilities can be interchanged similarly.

As has been the trend in Q&As of the Map Maker series, we now know even more about how powerful the new StarCraft 2 map making tool is going to be.

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A new StarCraft 2 gameplay video has surfaced on YouTube, featuring a late game battle between two opposing Terran armies. The forces mainly consist of Thors, Siege Tanks, Battlecrusiers, and a single Banshee. The video exposes new facets of the StarCraft 2 Terran race, which we will explore here.

Thors are used as all-rounded units and are produced in relatively large numbers. Although they were recently relegated to an anti-air role, they are clearly capable in most battlefield situations. The Thors have massive amounts of hitpoints and long range attacks for both ground and air targets, making them valuable for just about any situation. In the video, they can even be seen functioning as damage tanks – even for Siege Tanks themselves!

The mighty Thor

As has previously been mentioned, the Thors aren’t destroyed immediately when taking enough damage, but instead become wreckages – which stay immobilized on the battlefield, stuck until the player repairs them. It’s not clear whether the repairs are undertaken by SCVs or if the Thor can be “revived” by a click of a button (and some resources). At the 3:57 time point, A Thor wreckage can clearly be seen coming back to life without an SCV working on it.

Siege Tanks, on the other hand, seem somewhat inadequate when facing Thors. The relatively large amount of artillery damage, which usually stops most attackers in their tracks, isn’t enough to deter even a small force of Thors. Do the Terran possess any other means of stopping Thors, aside from even more Thors?

Siege Tanks blasting away

The answer is yes. Like the Thor, the Battlecruiser is an all-rounded unit – possessing the same qualities of the Thor, but in flying form, and with additional powerful offensive abilities. The videoed game seems to revolve around just these two units – a bit disappointing for a game of StarCraft. Hopefully, this battle doesn’t represent the typical Terran versus Terran endgame in StarCraft 2.

Other notable things in the video are the harassing Banshee, which tries to hunt down enemy SCVs, new voices for it and a few other units, and a couple of Medivac Dropships that are aimlessly flying around, as no infantry units are present. The Banshee is seen firing its new focused, non-AoE attack for the first time. At the moment, it seems a bit feeble.

Banshee

This game likely doesn’t represent the full gamut of effective play styles for the Terran race, focusing solely on the two heavy hitters. Hopefully, even though the Battlecruiser and Thor appear to be extremely well-rounded and powerful, they are not the only late game options available for Terran players.

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An official denial from Blizzard has put an end to the recent rumors surrounding the supposed system requirements for StarCraft 2. Despite the fact the requirements were published in a respectable, well circulated Spanish magazine, they were nothing but fictional.

So the following:

 

Is nothing but a guess, probably based on the the configuration of the PCs that were used to run StarCraft 2 for the magazine’s reporters.

Healthy logic and some of our readers have suggested that the requirements simply can not be real. While the engine is ready, unit and multiplayer feature configurations can swing the requirements in both directions, and Blizzard has absolutely no reason to commit to any setup at this point.
 

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The Zerg’s unit database has been increased by 50% today, with the official introduction of the Baneling. The Baneling has received a lot of scrutiny lately, coupled with many changes to its look and attributes, and has now matured enough to warrant a page on StarCraft2.com.

BANELING

Type: Sapper
Core Genus: Zergling
Primary Attack: Volatile Burst
n

The Baneling is a newly introduced unit in StarCraft 2. Like the previous two officially revealed units, the Baneling has also made an appearance very early on in StarCraft 2’s development – way back in the original announcement video.

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The baneling is a creature so bloated with fluid-filled sacs that it can barely walk; instead, it moves itself by tucking into a tight ball and rolling. However, this ungainly appearance belies the fact that the baneling is an extremely dangerous organism, one of several new zerg specialists recently seen on the battlefield. When a baneling gets close enough to an enemy, the creature triggers a reaction within its volatile chemical payload that causes it to explode with devastating force and shower the immediate surroundings with searing acid. The baneling is destroyed in the explosion, which is very likely to inflict a huge amount of damage.
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The Baneling is devastating against infantry, vehicles, and even buildings – making it possible to destroy entire outposts with a large enough group of them. With its 40 points of damage, inflicted over a relatively large splash radius, the Baneling is especially potent against small melee attackers such as the Zealot and Zergling. However, since it also receives a bonus of 150 damage against buildings, a small group will also easily destroy key defenses and even major strategic structures.

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At first the baneling was identified as an unstable zerg mutation of an unspecified genus. Subsequent observations have revealed it to be a morph of the zergling, the most numerous zerg subtype. Zerglings have been seen entering a brief chrysalis phase before emerging in their new form. This alarming development has demonstrated the advanced ability of the zerg queens to manipulate their offspring. Although the baneling is chemically volatile and unstable enough to explode at any time, the queens have engineered a morph that can contain its energies until just the right moment. By creating the baneling out of the most basic of zerg fighters, the queens have also ensured that an inexhaustible supply of raw materials is available for the task.

The Banelings, a relatively low tier unit that evolves from the Zergling, will not be hard to produce early in the game – and in massive amounts, depending on its final cost. However, since the Baneling is a one-time-use kamikaze unit, there’s no doubt that effective use of them will require some thinking. Choosing targets unwisely will quickly drain resources and leave the Zerg player at a greatly disadvantaged position
Proper use will require measuring the potential damage to an enemy directly against the initial investment – and deciding whether it’s worth sacrificing Banelings for.

Baneling concept art
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