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StarCraft 2 Q&A 12 : Colors, Unit Roles and Firebat Testing

Karune, Blizzard’s RTS community manager, has posted the weekly batch of answers, this time answering questions submitted by different StarCraft 2 Communities, and includes a “Chat with the Devs” section.

Opening with “Chat with the Devs”, Karune tells of the challenges in correctly automating the Medic’s Attack-move command, that will allow the Medic to heal injured infantry on its path.

Chat with the Devs: The StarCraft II Team is working hard on making Terran Medics ‘smarter’ so they do not run up to the enemy when you give a move order to a group of Marines and Medics. Medics, if given an attack move order, will scan the area on its path for injured infantry, then break off its limited path to heal those soldiers.

Medic !!!!

The Medic is somewhat unique in that aspect, being a support spellcaster with almost permanent auto-cast and the need to be grouped with other units, its AI could differ drastically from other spellcasters and Terran infantry.

1. How useful will tier 1 units be in the late game?

As a staple of the original StarCraft, which we intend to carry over to StarCraft II, is that every unit has a specific role in that factions army. Every unit will fulfill a unique role, which complements the other units, some better than others of course. In subscribing to that idea, tier 1 units will be quite useful in late game as well as early. Many of the tier 1 units will be able to be upgraded to keep up with the later game units as well.

For example, the Terran Marine currently has 3 upgrades available to it, as well as its standard attack and armor upgrades. New upgrades such as the combat shields, increasing the Marines health will be important in having the Marine deal with later game units.

ZealotZerglingmarine

None of StarCraft’s so called “tier 1” units became obsolete as the game progressed, and Zerglings, Marines and Zealots often found themselves battling alongside Carriers and Battle Cruisers. This obviously isn’t going to change in StarCraft 2.

2. Can we expect units to replace the Reaver and the Soul Hunter?

Yes, we are always testing the addition of new units as well as the removal of older units. For instance, in our current build, the Terran Firebat is back in the game, as we test how he interacts with the new additions into StarCraft II. Of course, nothing is final though

This is the most interesting answer in today’s batch. The Firebat, while being a somewhat neglected unit in the original StarCraft due to its narrow tactical role, is still loved by many and could greatly benefit from StarCraft 2’s beautiful graphics engine.

3. What was the reasoning behind axing spell X (lockdown, mind control etc)?

As mentioned above in question 2, much like with units, we are also testing several new abilities for StarCraft II. If these abilities do not work as we would intend, it is always possible for a reintroduction of original abilities from the original StarCraft. We are constantly striving to improve and complement what has already been very successful with StarCraft for StarCraft II.

4. Will there be a black player color?

We have tried using black, but it was too difficult to differentiate units on the mini-map from the fog of war.

Two very unexciting answers – no specific information about any spells or abilities or even balance considerations, and Black is obviously an impossible color with Blizzard’s current implementation of fog of war.

5. Will you be able to use custom army colors in the game?

In custom maps created through the Map Editor, players will be able to select any color for their factions. In multiplayer games, players will be able to choose between approximately 12-18 colors.

The fifth answer actually means more than immediately meets the eye – the amount of official multiplayer colors has to be equal to or greater than the amount of players in the game. Taking StarCraft 2’s graphics and the high maximum unit count into consideration, an eighteen player multiplayer game will bring any PC to a crawl.

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