Blog 393: Starcraft II

I don’t care about Starcraft. After getting all up in Warcraft III‘s junk I thought it prudent to explore the game that came up so often in Warcraft literature. It was distinctly average to my eyes, certainly no Age of Empires II.

Considering the leap that Warcraft III made from Starcraft, though, the announcement of SC2 did pique my interest. Granted, they answered a lot of useless questions about the editor (“will there be more than 256 units?”) as if WC3 had just never existed (though I suppose to the Korean pro-gamer audience that Blizz are so obviously courting (at the expense of everyone else), it probably didn’t).

So I’ve been following SC2 with bated breathe. I fully expect it to be impossible to model/texture for (even the possibility of dodgy re-colours seems in doubt, but there are teams of reverse engineers hard at work already), but some of the general map-making possibilities look quite bitchin’.

Why am I talking about this? The delightful CHUNK and Leord at StarCraftWire conspired to give me, little old me, a beta key. Hell, it was about time.

The Protoss

I always loved the protoss. They’re like bad-ass space elves, except more bad-ass and less elf, with their liberal helpings of magic and frail bodies.

There are lots of nice little artistic touches. The Immortal, the stubby four-legged Dragoon-replacement, always faces the direction it’s going, but its legs move independantly of the turret — so when it changes direction, its head swings round but its legs just keep going. I know, I’ve always been easily pleased.

The Collossus’ (War of the Worlds rip-off) cliff-walking is a serious let-down. From the videos, they managed to hide the fact that cliffs are just invisible slopes to it; from in-game and with a zoomed-in camera, sorry guys. Yes, the legs go up and down to match the invisible slope, but it’s still an invisible slope and your front leg’s shin still went inside the cliff instead of up and over it.

I have some concerns about the Stalker, the funny-looking thing that can teleport. Now, I never realised this from any screenshots, but the pilot’s face sticks out the front of it. Like, big robotic exoskeleton, fine, but dumpy little head bobbling about on its chest? Come on guys. I don’t care about realism (the rule of bad-ass outweighs it), but it just looks daft. He reminds me a lot of the Warcraft III Crypt Lord, actually.

I played my very first game against very easy AI (the only kind of AI) on a sublime-looking space station with a very Unreal Tournament-esque keybox (asteroid field and planet). Settings are on max but there were fights only with two marines before I had to go for dinner, so no stress-testing (just me massing units). I didn’t get the chance to Mothership (Independence Day… or did they nerf out the big beam again?).

The Terrans

I’m a human in real life, so I never cared much about the terrans. Luckily, the promise of Nova’s buttox make me a little bit more interested in playing the Terran singleplayer campaign.

Getting the shield upgrade for Marines actually makes a shield appear on the model. Hopefully an attachment model and not a duplicate and Chaos-style swap… Blizz wouldn’t be that stupid, would they?

The Thor. Fuck me. Almost as big as the building that produces it, it’s a giant robot. Smaller robot the transforming Viking is cute, and the grenade-throwing heavy infantry man could probably count as a robot too on a good day.

The Hellion seems like a strange little addition next to all these glorious robots, to be honest. Would have been better to have the classic Firebat, I suspect, if you’re not going to go all out-there and produce something wonderful and new.

I played terran on a cityscape with fuck-off massive cliffs… But they were only at map edges, leading down to unwalkable pits wherein stood skyscrapers (and hovered a Blade Runner-esque advertising blimp… Wait, why do I keep mentioning esque stuff? We all know Blizz are the sum total of everything they ever ripped off). My fear is that massive cliffs such as these will only be usable for unwalkable decoration areas in the editor; but then again, if some of the repeating segments speak true, hopefully any cliff shall be stackable to such obscene extents. We shall see.

The level of detail in maps doesn’t actually seem to be much higher than WC3, excepting the addition of normal and specular maps to make things look bumpy and shiny respectively. Doodad density didn’t seem particularly high, though there was a lot of detail along cliff edges versus empty car parks in this map (shop signs/etc as in the original Starcraft).

The Zerg

I’m pretty squeamish, so the zerg somewhat make me sick. I don’t like them! But in the interests of fairness, I’ll play them… Once.

They are absolutely foul. Buildings begin as a pulsating mass of flesh and end up… Well, pulsating masses of flesh. Even the zerg interface pulsates, and the not-the-red-weed has nasty ripples all over it. Congratulations, Blizz; the zerg are properly vomit-inducing. I don’t think I’ll sleep tonight.

I don’t want to talk about the Zerg. The ruined-temple map I played them on, however, was very nice. Lots of green grass and yellowy stone, reflective watery surfaces (well, reflective of terrain; not my Overlords); basically Sunken Ruins all over again without the sunken. I felt terrible covering that luscious grass in filthy not-blight.

Overall

Melee is still shit. Roll on the map editor!

Er… Does anybody really bad and European want to play “against” me? The beta is region-locked or I’d have whupped all of the WC3C IRC contingent into submission hours ago. At least to pass the time until the editor comes out?

Any comments that sound like you’re a Korean pro-gamer hating on me will not be published.

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4 thoughts on “Blog 393: Starcraft II

  1. ‘Luckily, the promise of Nova’s buttox make me a little bit more interested in playing the Terran singleplayer campaign.’

    😆 SO VERY TRUE

    …yes, I read these things.

    Like

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