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Q&A22: Map Maker; The Story So Far; Factory Firebats

There’s been a steady torrent of StarCraft 2 news in the last couple of days. Without further ado:

Q&A 22: The Map Maker Part 2.

This Q&A has been posted by Xordiah, Blizzard RTS Community Representative in Europe. It begins with a lengthy chat with the devs, which should interest the large crowd of WarCraft III DotA players:

Chat with Devs: One of the most popular questions we get when it comes to creating UMS (User Map Settings) games or mods is: Will there be a DotA for StarCraft II? For those who are not familiar, DotA (Defense of the Ancients), is a popular UMS game created for Warcraft III. StarCraft compared to Warcraft III, does not focus on heroes as much, and heroes or units do not have the same experience gaining mechanic as Warcraft III, making it difficult to imagine how a game like DotA could be reproduced for StarCraft. Nonetheless, after chatting it up with our devs, we found out the ability to allow heroes and units to gain experience is built into the Map Editor, though it will not likely be in single player or standard multiplayer. In addition, those units can also be toggled to have the ability to carry an inventory, which is also a characteristic needed in UMS maps such as DotA. With those two additions, we can rest assured that our clever community modders can handle the rest in creating some awesome custom games.

The developers had mods in mind when they implemented this feature, which will not be present in the standard game in any way. Blizzard knows StarCraft and WarCraft’s popularity benefits greatly from user made maps, and have taken the necessary steps to make sure players can customize their games more than ever. Good job, Blizzard!

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Next in the Q&A, more good news for UMS fans. Straight from the mouths of Dustin Browder, lead game designer, and Brett Wood, senior software engineer:

1) Will you finally be able to mix and match terrain types instead of being stuck on jungle, twilight, etc?

 

[Dustin Browder] Yes terrain texture is mixable now. Also tilesets are also mixable.
[Brett Wood] Essentially, you can define your own tileset in the editor, something that wasnt really supported even in Warcraft III.

 

2) Will the new StarCraft II Map Editor support text coloring, unit coloring, player “12” (i.e. neutral player) units?

 

[Dustin Browder] Yes, all of these features will be supported.

 

3) Will maps be larger than 256×256?

 

[Brett Wood] The maximum map size will still be 256×256, and we have no plans to increase that.

 

4) Will the new map editor support locking maps? People hate losing credit for a map.

 

[Dustin Browder] Yes, we are planning to support this feature. We hope that this feature will give the modding community more incentive to create their own original maps.

 

5) Will the new map editor support “square” terrain building as well?

 

[Dustin Browder] Yes. In the editor, users can adjust the footprint of buildings to whatever shape and size they like.

Is any feature in StarCraft not customizable? Well, maybe.

Especially interesting is the support for locking maps. Previously, a modder could spend months working on a UMS scenario, only to have it abused by anyone who downloaded the map to play. Locking maps would allow a modder to keep the credit for his creation and also make sure he’s the only one who can make changes to it.

The Story So Far

A new feature has popped up on StarCraft2.com: The Story So Far, a recap of the events of StarCraft 1. The summary contains a wealth of knowledge about the history and events of the game, starting from the first contact of the Terrans with the Protoss, to Kerrigan’s transformation to the Queen of Blades, and up to the ending event of StarCraft 1 – Tassadar’s suicide mission and the death of the Overmind.

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The text is accompanied by many of StarCraft’s most famous illustrations and also features a few of the movies which originally appeared during the campaign.

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This is a great way for newcomers to become acquainted with StarCraft’s history. Since the game has been released almost 10 years ago, it will probably also be appreciated by those who haven’t been religiously following the game, like some of us have, since its debut. Part 2, dealing with the events of Brood War, is “coming soon”. In the meantime, check out our more detailed recap of Kerrigan’s history.

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Factory Firebats

Karune has posted an answer to a question about the new Firebats, which are now manufactured in the Factory.

Q: I was just wondering why the Firebat(if it stays in the game…)has to be built in the Factory. Can’t the Factory(or maybe Merc Haven) just be used as a prerequisite for FB’s to be built in Barracks.

 

I mean whats the difference between having it built in the the Factory rather than the Barracks with some prerequisites?


Karune: In terms of ‘realism,’ the Firebat has a much larger mechanical frame (with increased hit points), thus would need a larger facility to deploy these units. Additionally, the Barracks currently already has several units available to it, including the Marine, Medic, Reaper, and Ghost. Having the Firebat at the Factory also helps to make sure it is a Tier 2 unit, since its added hit points makes it quite the adversary on the battlefield.

We’re glad to see the Firebat getting a proper overhaul instead of returning unchanged from StarCraft 1. The old Firebat had a very limited role, but the new tier 2, armored menace sounds much more promising.

The StarCraft 1 Goliath, also a tier 2 factory unit, was originally designed with both a heavy machine gun and a close range flame thrower. Eventually, the flamer was removed from the Goliath before the game’s release, which limited the Mecha to its (somewhat unsatisfactory) machine gun in ground battles. It seems like Blizzard has decided to experiment with a flame throwing heavy-armor soldier this time around. Hopefully, it will find a better niche than the old Goliath did.

 

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Karune also mentions that the Reaper is now available at the Barracks. It appears that Blizzard has dropped the idea of assigning them to a separate building, where they could be recruited in a unique way.

. . . Zerg?

Lastly, we bring you word from “Cavez”, better known as Dustin Brodwer, regarding the complete lack of information about the Zerg:

We will give you Zerg stuff just as soon as we can. We aren’t holding it on purpose, it’s just not ready yet. We had a lot more time to work on the Protoss and the Terrans before the announcement that you guys didn’t see (because the game wasn’t announced yet).

 

I don’t have an ETA but we won’t be waiting for the next Blizzcon. We are quite happy to put stuff out on the web for you guys to check out. It doesn’t HAVE to be a giant event to show a race, though when an event happens to match up with a race announcement that is a lot of fun.=)

A Blizzard deadline? Who’d have thought. Cavez claims the Zerg are not ready to be revealed, but we’re still hoping they’re close to completion, with Blizzard aiming to showcase them and generate hype just before the release of StarCraft 2.

That’s all for today’s mega-update.

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