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Death Animations, StarCraft 2 Q&A 51 and Fansite Q&A 5

Karune, Blizzard’s RTS Community Manager, has posted a brand new Q&A batch on Battle.net. This one includes a special “Chat with Devs” section, dedicated solely to StarCraft 2’s new death animations.

Chat with Devs: Between adding new unit models and sliming up the zerg buildings, the StarCraft II art team has also spent some time on some little details that make the game come alive, such as new unit death animations. Featured below, we have a protoss carrier being blown out of the sky by a squad of terran marines, as well as several zerg units falling to their fates.
http://www.starcraft2.com/features/misc/deathanimations.xml

The artistic effort behind these death animations was first mentioned in June 2008, when Karune stated that

currently, we are looking to have different types of death animations available for multiplayer than will be present for the single player campaign.”

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And again in January this year, when the  Chat with Devs section included the following graphic descriptions:

The art team has been adding several new death animations for units including the Drone’s disintegration into ashes when torched by Hellions, or the explosion of the Overlord sacs by Marine Gauss Rifle fire, and even Marauders being sliced into various pieces by Dark Templars.

So be sure to check out the neat, short video that Blizzard’s Devs put up to demonstrate the art team’s recent efforts.

1. Add an option in the menu to disable the windows key, and same thing goes for ALT-TAB?
And add an EASY way to squelch your opponent. When their name “IllIIlIIlIIlIIlllI” (L & i), it’s a little difficult.


While we are not considering disabling the windows key and Alt+Tab, we are looking into the naming policy to prevent problems like the one you described.

A naming policy (except for profanity, racism, etc… ) for a futuristic RTS title would definitely be a first. Blizzard has implemented a rather strict naming policy in World of Warcraft due to its RPGish nature, but we highly doubt that it’ll find its way into the StarCraft world…. unless… use your imagination.

2. StarCraft 2’s terrain properties such as Xel’Naga towers, destroyable barriers and Brush have a significant effect on gameplay and appear to create specific points of interest/advantage on the map. Are there plans to introduce additional terrain buffs/effect to the battlefield?

The current terrain features are not finalized. We still have these three map features in the game and we plan to keep them during the beta, but it is always possible to add more features if we find something that’s balanced and encourages exciting game play.

3. Since there are/were plans to integrate voice communications into multiplayer, will StarCraft 2 replays be able to include Audio, as well as chat?

Replay files do not include audio. However you will be able to see all text chats while you are watching replay.

If Blizzard actually deploys a proprietary StarCraft 2 audio communication solution, there is no real technical reason not to allow an audio recording to be attached to the replay file that players get at the end of the match, so it’s quite a shame that it is not being presently considered. If Blizzard does not provide its own tool for recording the audio during battles, it’s likely players will keep using external tools for either recording voice or even for communicating, forgoing the use of Blizzard’s system completely.

4. You have talked a bit about replay functions lately and since patches will come up definitely former replays won’t work if the system sticks with SC1 or W3. Do you plan on making changes here so that players can view older replays ever after patches occur?

Yes, even as the game gets patched, you will be able to watch replays of matches played on older versions.

5. The interface we see in Battle Reports – is this interface available for Observers during a live game (in real time), or only while viewing replays, or both?

The interface you’ve seen in Battle Reports will be available in observer mode as well as in replays during beta.

6. StarCraft II is a package consisting of single player/campaign, multiplayer (+replay viewer), map editor and Battle.net. All four are complex and without a doubt require testing and patching. Has it been decided which of the above components are planned to be included in public beta testing?

You can have multiplayer game access through Battle.net during the beta and you can watch the replays as well. There will also be access to the Map Editor during the beta process but not necessarily from the start. Single player campaign will not be included in the beta.

Blizzard has officially confirmed that the beta will include:

  • Multiplayer via Battle.net 2.0
  • Replay viewer
  • Map Editor
  • No Campaign
  • Player versus AI

Blizzard has also released the 5th installation of the Fansite Q&A series, answering questions mailed in by the SC2Armory community.

1) Blizzard, how attached are you guys to the proton charge/mule extra macro-for-money system? I know nothing is set in stone at this point, but will these mechanics in all likelihood make it into the final game?

This is a mechanic that we would like to keep if possible. Because the game is not yet in beta phase, there may still be tweaks and changes to these mechanics, but we are looking forward to players trying it out themselves in beta. We will continue testing the macro mechanics internally and we really want to see how the players will adopt these mechanics into their gameplay.

StarCraft 2’s new macro mechanics are expected to be tweaked and balanced heavily during the beta, but are very unlikely to be removed. Blizzard has every reason to get “attached” to these tools, since they provide an elegant solution to the over-automation that many gamers have complained about prior to the mechanics’ introduction in February this year.

2) With missile barrage and Yamato cannon, Battlecruisers’ can deal with most threats. My question is, how effectively can a Battlecruiser be countered? How well do Hydralisks, Void Rays, and Vikings work vs Missile barrage?

Hydralisks are easily the Zerg’s most important ground unit against air, including Battlecruisers. Void rays can be a good Protoss counter for battlecruiser, with focused fire and increasing damage over time on its attack. In fighter mode, the Terran viking does +10 damage against massive units like the battlecruiser.

3) Brood War Mutalisk micromanagement is an important aspect of the Terran vs. Zerg match up. Blizzard has been reported to be trying to implement some form of the Mutalisk stacking bug. My question is, how well do Terrans deal with stacked Mutalisks now that Irradiate is no longer in the game, Medics are higher tier, and a single control group can consist of much more then the eleven Mutalisks currently in StarCraft: Brood War?

The ghost’s snipe shot, which deals 60 damage (and ignores armor) to biological units like the mutalisk, can be a good defensive ability. The Thor’s anti-air attack also has +2 damage against Mutalisk’s Light armor. Additionally, the nighthawk’s hunter seeker missile gives splash damage, making it a great counter against mutalisk stacking, considering it does 150 damage. One missile can effectively 1-shot a whole stack of mutalisks if the zerg player does not try to dodge the missile. Even though players can group up many more than 12 mutalisks in a stack now, with abilities like the Hunter Seeker missile on the field, they may still want to think twice about it.

Well, that’s straightforward. Yes, we will allow Zerg players to stack a LOT of Mutalisks and use that to their advantage, just like in SC: BW. Yes, the Terrans get an instakill AoE banhammer to deal with the aforementioned menace.

4) When the Corrupters attack turns enemy flyers into “turrets” does the unit turned effect damage? In other words would a corrupted mutalisk do any less damage than a corrupted Battlecruiser or Mothership?

Once they are corrupted, all corrupted units will do the same damage.

5) If the Zerg Infestor uses neural parasite on a unit, will that unit still have all upgrades / abilities if the player researched them?

Yes, the parasited unit will have all upgrades / abilities.

Neural Parasite, the Zerg’s short-term late-game mind control ability, is not likely to see much play in intense 1v1 skirmish games, and there’s little, if any, reason to present limitations or nerfs on the controlled units. Prime targets would undoubtedly be casters; wasting the enemy unit’s energy and getting it killed in the process could become a viable late-game strategy for dealing with Protoss Templars and Terran Ravens.

6) Goliath could benefit from the Charon Boosters in SC:BW, However the Goliath is now replaced by the Viking (air mode) as AtA unit. Is there still any range increase going to happen for the Viking, to extend it’s missile range like the Goliath, or is it presumed unnecessary because Vikings can truly fly (and thus not limited in mobility)?

There is currently no range upgrade for the viking. However, vikings can still move in and out combat by shifting modes. In regards to the unit’s mobility, vikings will be much better than the original StarCraft’s goliath due to its new transformation abilities.

7) When we were told EMP was removed from the Ghost, it wasn’t mentioned what, if any, spell/ability would replace it. Can you comment on the current spells and abilities of the Ghost? And is EMP still a possibility for the game, whether on the Ghost or any other unit?

The ghost has regained the EMP ability again and EMP now does 100 damage to shields and drains all energy from player’s own and enemy units in the targeted area.

8 ) Can Blizzard give a well detailed explanation on how the new mechanic of the ability hallucination work. It was said that it can spawn 8 fake probes, how many then to other units? Zealots, stalkers, immortals, air units? Can it be used on allies (Zerg and Terrans)?

By using 100 energy, you can spawn one of these sets: 2 zealots, 2 stalkers, 1 immortal, 2 high templars, 1 archon, 1 void ray, 1 phoenix, 1 warp prism, or 1 colossus. You can only spawn Protoss units

It’s not entirely clear why this semi-nerfed version was put in place of the more powerful version originally suggested for StarCraft 2. Hallucination was a rarely used spell due to its direct competition with the dreaded Psi Storm and it’s highly unlikely to see anyone using it to create a single paper Immortal.

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