Monday, March 24, 2008

StarCraft 2 Developer Interviews!

In the wake of the Zerg announcement this past Monday, the press has been hard at work tracking down anyone they can to ask them about how StarCraft 2’s development is progressing. The result has been a whole host of new interviews provided by a multitude of different sources. We here at have taken the liberty of compiling them for your viewing pleasure.

The first of these was released by, who interviewed Lead Designer Dustin Browder about his work on the StarCraft 2 project. Topics of interest include the Queen’s role in the Zerg army, destructible terrain, and the inclusion of Xel’Naga Observation Posts in multiplayer action. These Observation Posts will be capturable structures that function as a scouting structure, each revealing a large portion of the map. also scored an interview with Browder. While the Queen does make it into discussion here, GameTap decides to spend most of their time talking with Browder about how the development team decides what units from the original ultimately make it into the sequel, and about the process by which new units are added. interviewed Lead Producer Chris Sigaty about the progression of StarCraft 2. Topic of discussion included the Zerg Queen and the game's progress towards Beta.

GosuGamers compiled a brief Q&A session with StarCraft 2 Art Director Sam “Samwise” Didier, asking him questions both about his own artistic style, and how art direction for StarCraft 2is moving along. This interview also brings word that winged Zerglings have officially been removed.

And finally, while not actually a developer’s interview, I think that it is important to include a collection of quotes from professional gamers compiled by StarCraft: Legacy following their hands on with the Zerg.

Read full article: StarCraft 2 Developer Interviews!

Terran Unit and Building List


Below you'll find all the units and structures currently available to the Terran faction, StarCraft's human race. A few of their traditional characteristics include the ability for several base structures to lift off the ground and fly through the air on rockets to safer locations, nuclear strikes, and defensive Barracks garrisoned by Marines. Though you'll see familiar units like the Siege Tank and Battlecruiser, a few additions like the Thor walking tank and transforming Viking make things feel new. On a few structures you'll be able to build add-ons that open up different research or unit production options.Brood War fans will notice an absence of Medics, something Blizzard is still considering. As it stands, the Medivac Dropship is the only unit capable of healing infantry. Like in StarCraft, mechanical units can be repaired by SCVs, the Terran build unit and resource collector.

Basic StructuresCommand Center – Primary base where SCVs return minerals and vespene gas. Can store up to five SCVs in case of attack. Can be upgraded to a Planetary Fortress (requires Engineering Bay) or Surveillance Station (requires Shadow Ops). Produces SCVs. Can lift off the ground.Planetary Fortress – Upgraded version of the Command Center with more armor and a large turret on the structure's top. Can lift off the ground.Surveillance Station – Upgraded version of the Command Center with increased range of sight and Scanner Sweep ability (reveals area of the map / hidden units). Can lift off the ground.

Supply Depot – Increases the number of units you can have out on the field. Can be raised or lowered to let units pass.Refinery – Built on vespene gas deposits to allow for harvesting.Barracks – Produces Marines, Marauders, Ghosts, and Reapers. Can be upgraded with Reactor add-on (allows for an additional build queue) or Tech Lab. In the lab add-on you can research Stim Pack (causes damage to unit but temporarily speeds movement and attack) and Combat Shield (blocks an initial attack made against Marines). Can lift off the ground.Engineering Bay – Offers upgrades for infantry armor and weapons.Missile Turret – Air defense structure. Also works to detect hidden units.Bunker – Defensive structure that can be garrisoned by four infantry units, giving them a slight range bonus.Sensor Tower – Expands your range of view on the map. Detects hidden units.
Advanced StructuresShadow Ops – Unlocks Ghosts at the Barracks. Contains research options for Ghost such as EMP (lets Ghost damage shields and energy reserves of enemies) and Personal Cloaking (requires a Starport, lets Ghosts turn invisible to units without detection while energy lasts). Can also be armed with a Nuke (requires Starport), which does 400 damage to enemies and 1000 damage to structures in a large radius.Factory – Builds Jackals, Siege Tanks, and Thors. Can be upgraded with Reactor (adds a build queue) or Tech Lab. In the lab you can research the Siege Tanks' Siege Mode ability. Can lift off the ground.Merc Haven – Lets you train Reapers at Barracks.Armory – Contains upgrades for vehicles (vehicle plating, vehicle weapons) and ships (ship weapons, ship plating).Starport – Air unit production structure. Builds Vikings, Medivac Dropships, Banshees, Nomads, Battlecruisers. Can add-on Reactor (one additional production queue) or Tech Lab. At the lab can research Cloaking Field (lets Banshees cloak) or Mine Drone (lets Nomads build cloaked spider mine defenses). Can lift off the ground.Deep Space Relay – Lets you build Battlecruisers at the Starport.
UnitsSCV – Terran build unit. Harvests resources and can repair mechanical units. Has a weak attack. Light armor.Marine – Basic infantry unit, attacks air and ground targets. Can use Stim Pack and Combat Shield abilities once researched at an add-on Tech Lab. The shield actually becomes visible on the unit – it's not a toggle ability. Light armor.Marauder – Attacks ground targets. Large infantry unit that blasts out concussion grenades, slowing enemies. Can use Stim Pack. Light armor.Ghost – Infantry unit capable of attacking ground and air units. Can Snipe, activate a personal cloaking field, trigger EMP blasts, and call down Nuclear Strikes. Light armor.

Reaper – Infantry unit that attacks with guns and throws timed mines. Can attack ground units. These guys can also hop between different tiers of land, meaning they don't have to look for ramps. Light armor.Jackal – Vehicle capable of attacking ground units. Resembles a futuristic bike. Moves fast, and has a flame attack that damages all units within its cone of fire. Armored unit.Siege Tank – Vehicle capable of hitting ground targets. Has a fast-firing main cannon. Once upgrade to siege mode, range of fire increases and it does area of effect damage, but unit must remain immobile. Armored unit.Thor – Massive walking tank capable of hitting air and ground targets. When near death will immobilize, but can be built back to full functionality with repairs. Armored unit.Viking – Strong air-to-air attack flying unit. Can be put into assault mode, which drops it to the ground, turning it into a bipedal mech. It can then only attack ground units. It can be switched between modes rapidly, and can go back and forth as many times as you please. Armored unit.Medivac Dropship – An air transport unit that can heal non-mechanical units. This heal can be set to auto-cast. Armored unit.Nomad – Flying detector unit capable of creating auto-turrets and spider mine drones (with Tech Lab upgrade). Both these structures build rapidly on the battlefield. Armored unit.Banshee – Flying unit capable of attacking ground targets. Can cloak. Armored unit.Battlecruiser – Massive flying assault craft capable of striking air and ground targets. Once constructed, the unit can be specialized for either the Yamato Gun (single blast for 260 damage) or Plasma Turrets (does area of effect damage to targets on the ground over a period of time). Specialization is permanent per unit. Armored unit.

Read full article: Terran Unit and Building List

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Star Craft II Zerk - Mutalisk

Type: Medium Attack Flyer
Core Genus: Mantis Screamer
Primary Attack: Glave Wurm

[ ]

The mutalisk has been little changed from its original form, the roving mantis screamer of the desolate Dinares sector. In their original forms these creatures were capable of atmospheric and deep-space flight, although how they accomplished such a feat is poorly understood. Apparently they were even capable of migrating between stars, presumably while in some kind of larval form.

Proof of this amazing interstellar capability can be observed from the towering aeries of the mantis screamers that are a common sight on lifeless worlds across several star systems. Most such nests are empty and abandoned now that this highly successful and adaptable species has been infested by the zerg and evolved into mutalisks.

Conversely powerful air defenses have succeeded in keeping mutalisks at a distance, for the creatures are limited in vitality. However, they remain agile and dangerous opponents. A mutalisk can attack foes both in the air and on the ground by expelling a glave wurm: a voracious symbiote that can rapidly strike at several opponents as it explosively disintegrates. In large numbers or against weak defenses, mutalisks will always be a deadly threat.

Read full article: Star Craft II Zerk - Mutalisk

Star Craft II Zerk second look


"It’s official, and the zerglings are out of the bag. Following closely on the heals of yesterday’s zerg announcement, we’ve got more juicy details on the third faction in Starcraft 2. Like the Protoss and Terrans, the Zerg are a mix of familiarity and significant differences. While virtually all of the staple units remain intact, there are some new additions and changes to the tech tree which fundamentally alters the way the Zerg are played."

Units & Tech tree (values follow this format: minerals-gas-food-build time):

Drone 50-x-1-16

Overlord 100-x-x-25

Zergling 50-x-1-23 (comes in pairs) - Requires Spawing Pool

Roach 75-25-1-23 - Requires Roach Den

Hydralisk 100-50-2-23 - Hydralisk Den

Morph to Lurker 25-75-33 - Deep Warren (upgrade from Nydus Warren)

Nydus Worm 100-100-2-33 - Nydus Warren

Infestor 100-100-2-33 - Nydus Warren

Mutalisk 100-100-2-33 - Spire

Morph to Swarm Guadian - unknown

Corruptor 150-100-2-40 - Spire

Ultralisk 300-200-4-70 - Ultralisk Cavern

Queen Limit 1 - 150-x-x-25 - Spawning Pool.

The QueenThe most notable difference to the Zerg of Starcraft 2 when compared to the original Starcraft, is how creep, defenses, and the Queen work. To start with, the Queen is completely and radically different. She has a build limit of one, is available very early on in the tech tree, and is the primary means by which creep and defenses are built. She builds defenses and creep by laying eggs, much in the same way a Protoss drone initiates the warp in sequence of a building it wants to construct. First is the Creep Tumor, which is more like a Creep(y) Eyeball that is embedded in the ground and looks around frantically (possibly because that‘s what strange eyeballs do, but probably because it acts as a stealth detector (unfortunately we didn‘t have a chance to test this theory). The Creep Tumor has one function: extend the creep. It’s also stealth, which helps it survive since it’s so fragile and totally defenseless. The next thing the Zerg Queen can do is lay Zerg’s primary defense: the Swarm Cluster. This is basically a battery of tubes that launch suicidal bug-like things at approaching enemies. They are high DPS, but have very low health and a relatively limited range. The limited range, however, is by design. The Queen can also lay a Shrieker, which is a small tower that does what its name implies: goes mental and starts shrieking when there are nearby enemy units. What this is does is effectively extends the range of a Swarm Cluster to anywhere inside of that Shrieker’s radius. So by positioning the Shrieker carefully, a player can basically double the range of the Swarm Cluster (as it will attack as far as the opposite side of the Shrieker’s radius). This effectively means Zerg’s defenses have directional range, depending on the layout of the Shriekers. But wait, there’s more. The queen has features and abilities that makes it the closest thing to a hero unit that Starcraft has ever had. She’s also capable of “teleporting” around the creep to any building placed on it. So if she’s by your hatchery, and one of your expansions is under attack, you can instantly “warp” her near a building at that location. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to test whether the creep needs to be connected in order for it to work. The Queen can also give Zerg buildings defensive weapons in the form of four small bugs that fly around the top it, allowing it to attack nearby enemy units. She can also cast poison creep in a small area, and she can be evolved into larger and scarier versions as you climb the tech tree. While the Queen sounds like a Warcraft 3 hero, she’s not. She’s incredibly weak, and can’t level up through experience. Her role is mainly defensive, though we can expect to see her used in some creative cheese, Starcraft 2 style.

Other Gameplay NotesThere are some minor tweaks to the gameplay, not just for zerg, but also for all the factions. Unlike in Starcraft 1, where money wasn’t spent until the drone started morphing into the structure it was instructed to, the cost of a structure is now deducted immediately after the location of the structure is chosen. While minor, it’s one of many small changes made to make the gameplay a bit more accessible to casual players. The Zerg Tech tree has also undergone some changes. The Hydralisk den now requires a Lair in order to be built. To compensate, Roaches have effectively replaced the Hydralisk as the more advanced tier-1 (T1) unit. However, Roaches are not anti-air, which leaves Zerg without a mobile T1 anti-air unit. The tech tree, units, and their corresponding upgrades overall makes it a bit harder for Zerg to adapt on the fly as easily as it could in Starcraft 1. The lack of of a T1 anti-air unit means the only way to respond to air units is quick tech to Lair and then either Spire for Mutalisks, or Hydralisk Den for Hydralisks. Because of this, the tech tree has not been locked down yet. Dustin Browder still wants to play around with moving Banelings to T2, and Hydralisks back down to T1. This is of course all part of Blizzard’s obsessive compulsive desire to test, re-test, and test again to get a proper feel about which option is the best to go with.

Read full article: Star Craft II Zerk second look

Star Craft II Zerk first look


Dustin Browder, lead designer on Star Craf II, took the stage at Blizzard's studio in Irvine, California to present the Zerg race to North American and European game media, giving us a brief overview of what's new and what's changed. While no storyline details were really revealed, the start of the trailer we were shown featured a voice over by Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades, exclaiming, "We are the swarm" and "We are becoming much, much more." We'll have to wait to find out exactly what that means in terms of narrative.

So far, the following units are confirmed for StarCraft II's Zerg race. Blizzard pointed out that since StarCraft II is still pre-alpha, most things are subject to change.

Nydus Worm

If that list means nothing to you, we'll try and fill you in. One of the more notable changes about the Zerg is the elimination of their traditional base defenses. No longer will drones construct air and ground type defense structures. Instead, the whole system will be overseen by the retooled Queen unit.
A single Queen can be built from your hatchery as soon as a drone sets up a spawning pool, a tier one structure that allows for Zerglings to spawn. The Queen is a menacing unit to begin with, but will become more so when you increase her physical size by upgrading your hatchery to tiers two and three. Along with the imposing physical growth, the Queen gains new skills with each tier upgrade. Initially she functions as a basic base defense unit, able to attack air and ground units. She can drop creep tumors into the ground to extend the Zerg's filthy ground slime, lay clutches of eggs in creep that hatch and attack when the base is in danger, and drop down structures called Shriekers that work to detect enemy units and extend the range of the defenders that spawn from the eggs.After upgrading your base she gets even more powerful, gaining the ability to create toxic creep, which does damage over time to defenders, and she can instantly heal structures for several hundred hit points and spawn base-defense insects. She'll also get an instant-travel ability that allows her to burrow instantly to any part of the map covered in creep, letting her quickly travel to the aid of any base expansion. There is about a 15 second cooldown on this ability, however, so it can't be spammed.Overlords, a floating Zerg unit that determines unit cap, no longer have transport or detection abilities. Transport is now given the responsibility of Nydus Worms, and Overlords need to be upgraded to Overseers to detect. After the upgrade, Overseers gain an increased detection range the longer they remain still. As for Overlord abilities, they can generate creep as well as slime and thereby disable a resource node or observation tower.As far as new units go, we've so far got some hands-on time with the Roaches, which are ground units with a remarkably quick regeneration rate and are capable of attacking land and air. With a group of only six we were able to take down several Terran Thors (massive walking tanks) without a single unit loss. It seems Roaches can be defeated only through concentrated fire, and even then attackers still have to contend with their burrowing ability.Then there's the Corruptor, an air-to-air unit that can turn any unit it attacks into a friendly. With a group of these together it's possible to quickly corrupt units like Terran Battlecruisers and Protoss Motherships. On the ground, units called Infestors can move while burrowed, allowing them to sneak into enemy bases, pop up, and blast corrupting bile at enemy structures. Once a structure such as a Terran barracks is corrupted, it'll start churning out infested Marines until the ability times out.As seen before, players can also mutate Zerglings into Banelings, which are basically suicide units that perform kamikaze runs into opposing bases or burrow, essentially functioning as land mines. The Ultralisk, a massive Zerg melee unit, has been tweaked in the sequel, now possessing the ability to burrow. Its monstrous mandible blade attacks now do area damage as well, making it even more deadly. And that's it for now. We'll have more on how the Zerg, Protoss, and Terran factions have changed in this latest StarCraft II build as we continue to play at Blizzard's studio.

Read full article: Star Craft II Zerk first look

Thursday, May 31, 2007

StarCraft 2's Art Design

How units and environments are being created in the sequel.


The second day of Blizzard's Worldwide Invitational 2007 in Seoul, South Korea shed light on some of the artistic efforts that went into creating StarCraft 2's units and environments. On hand during a panel discussion were Sam Didier, Senior Art Director for the game, Rob McNaughton, Lead Technical Artist, Trevor Jacobs, Senior 3D Artist, Allen Dilling, Senior 3D Artist, and Dave Berggren, another Senior 3D Artist. Didier started off the discussion, which was first a powerpoint-style demonstration from all five panel members followed by a question and answer session from fans in attendance. All these guys with the exception of Allen Dilling (considered a "youngster" at Blizzard, having only worked there for eight years) contributed to the art design for the original StarCraft. Dilling contributed to the visuals for WarCraft 3 and its expansion, The Frozen Throne.

Emphasized was Blizzard's commitment to creating exaggerated, stylistic characters, something indicative of the company's visual form. When characters are so small onscreen, they need "bold and saturated colors," along with "strong silhouettes" according to Didier.

Rob McNaughton then took the stage to speak briefly about creating units. Blizzard is using Photoshop for texturing, 3D Studio Max, and StarTools to integrate custom art into the game. StarTools is planned to be made available to the public along with ScummEdit for map creation. McNaughton went on to say the map editor will feature new scripting and trigger mechanics, and be a more powerful version than that found in WarCraft 3. In terms of fancy technical effects, StarCraft 2 is built on a DX9 engine and uses per pixel lighting, normal mapping, high dynamic range bloom, rendering and tone mapping, as well as integrated havoc physics. Using their engine, Blizzard is hoping to have up to 300 units on screen at once.

Also detailed was the process of creating the actual models in the game. McNaughton showed a Protoss Zealot as an example. The base wireframe model was comprised of 1500 polygons, given the normal mapping treatment, textured through Photoshop, and through the process emerged as a pleasantly detailed, furious Zealot face with moving eyebrows, glowing blue eyes, and a metal goatee. Trevor Jacobs spoke next to briefly relay how models had to be adjusted from the concept art phase to final. He singled out the Protoss Immortal as an example, describing how the shoulder pads had to be enlarged and facial angle tilted to adjust for StarCraft 2's top-down view.

With so many Zerglings, Marines, or Zealots crowding the battlefield, Blizzard is focusing on "personality, life, and emotion with animation," says Allen Dilling, "we're not really worried about being realistic." Each unit will have three variations of animation to make the screen more interesting when multiple units of the same type occupy the screen. Protoss Phase Prisms, for instance, have differentiated effects for transformation between mobile mode and phase field mode. Dilling also described how the Protoss Mothership's Planet Cracker attack, which drills three rings of rotating concentric lasers into the ground, was originally designed as a large single laser blast. It was changed to the present state because the single beam obscured too much of the action behind it. "[We] try to be fast and quick with effects and make sure they don't interfere with gameplay," says Dilling. He repeated the phrase "tight and concise" when referring to animations, and said the art team was focusing on eliminating clipping between units. Exceptions are made for special cinematic effects, such as the elaborate warp-in animation for the Mothership.

Next Dave Berggren took the stage to comment on StarCraft 2's environmental design. Three environments were shown, including a Protoss forested temple world called Bel'Shir, the Terran space platform shown in the demo videos, and the fierce Zerg world of Char. Demonstrated were a number of "doodads," apparently Blizzard's term for environmental objects. For Belshir this includes stone arches and rocky structures. Heavy industrial structures, energy pipes, generators and exhaust vents were used for the space platform, and bone finger structures extending from the earth, fleshy fins, and lava canyons on Char. Berggren continued with his process of creating ground tiles, focusing on the brick floor featured on Bel'Shir. He starts out with a line drawing of brick tiles, adds light and dark areas for texture, overlays an actual picture of dirt, adjusts a few details by hand, the drops in a normal map and imports it into the game. The result, for better or worse, looked like a dirty stone floor.

After the prepared comments, the floor was opened to fans. The art panel had to field some rather strange questions, including one asking whether there'll be a StarCraft-based movie. Of course there's been no announcement yet, but Didier enthusiastically responded, "we never put anything off the table." Another crowd member asked if we'd ever see a StarCraft-based RPG or MMO, to which Didier said, "that sounds awesome, I would love to play it, but at the moment we have nothing announced."

Read full article: StarCraft 2's Art Design

Dear Blizzard/Vendini, we want some ******* Linux ports.

give us the ports!
Stop WINEing and actually tell them we want ports.

... Another call for signing the petition and proving Bizzard that the Linux installers ARE needed!

[source: Ubuntu Gamers Arena]

We all know the old story: Blizzard releases game, game runs on ***dows (and mac), Linux gamer complains. Nothing happens, Linux gamer uses WINE to run game in OpenGL mode, Blizzard wins either way. Well speaking from personal experience, it's getting a bit tiring. The Linux community is tired of being largely ignored by the gaming industry taking a big old crap on us, and with the upcoming release of Starcraft 2 some of us are attempting to do something about it. *INCOMING JOKE* Kidnapping CEOs, burning their dogs, and selling their houses on Ebay. *END JOKE* But seriously a petition has been started, and at the moment of writing this it's up to 3741 signatures. It may not help, or it may tip the scales, who the hell knows. But trying to do something is a whole lot better than just complaining.
Truth be told an online petition does not amount to alot anymore, but it's a start. Just seeing over 3000 signatures might just be the confidence boost some of you out there need to do something more. The best idea is to send a physical letter to Vendini or Blizzard on this subject (addresses for both here) being polite and to the point, listing the games you've purchased from them in the past and letting them know you are tired of having to dual boot or use API emulation to play the games you love. Like has been said on the Ubuntu forums, real letters get real responses, and I'd imagine getting several thousand actual letters from their customers could possibly make an impact. Think it over, sign the petition, and if you're up to it buy a stamp and pour your heart out.

Read full article: Dear Blizzard/Vendini, we want some ******* Linux ports.

No to a DotA-like mod/map for StarCraft II

Here's another petition... This time not for Linux installers, but for banning DotA in SC2 =)

I can't see why would someone mind StarCraft 2 DotA, but here's the quote anyway:



Mods/maps are good, they help introduce more new blood to the gamer gene pool. There is Counter-Strike a mod for Half-Life; Counter-Strike: Source a mod for Half-Life 2; there is Defense of the Ancients or DotA as commonly known, a mod-map for WarCraft III RoC/TFT.

These mods served its purpose, there are countless new gamers today, and still even added everyday. But it has reached the point where it must sleep for now. As too much of it only kills a game it was based on, and the genre it belongs to.

Look at how Counter-Strike killed "real" FPS and the game Half-Life. The same thing was repeated again with DotA, killing WarCraft III and the "real" RTS world.

These mods are good, yes, no question about that, but these "type" of mods have a purpose and they did their job well. Let us put it to sleep until we need it again when the time comes.

We, the undersigned, call on Blizzard, Inc. and the mod/map makers to not provide tools and/or maps that will enable the creation of another CS/DotA-type modification and/or maps.

We are not against any of those type of modifications/maps but rather, we all want to keep the spirit, the essence, and the very aspect that makes StarCraft "the god of the RTS" genre intact.

We ask that we keep StarCraft II a true RTS game where RTS and non-RTS players can learn to be a better "real" RTS gamer, and have fun together, using our brains and creating "Real-Time Strategies".

We believe that an RTS should be fun, educational, and healthy. Giving the gamers a chance to develop new skills and to enhance their existing skills. Which a "Real-Time Strategy" game like StarCraft II can provide, and a CS/DotA-type mod lessens.

Thank you very much and we want to reiterate that we are not against the creators of CS and DotA, or even to the mods itself. Let's just put some limits to these type of mods, and choose which games to implement it.

Definitely it is not StarCraft II.

Read full article: No to a DotA-like mod/map for StarCraft II

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Can Blizzard top itself with 'StarCraft 2?'

Rob Pardo talks about long development cycles — and keeping secrets

[source: MSNBC]

By Kristin Kalning
Games editor

Blizzard Entertainment is one of the most successful game developers in the world, with an unbroken string of hit games including “World of Warcraft,” the “Diablo” franchise, the “Warcraft” series and “StarCraft.”

The only hitch? The company famously will ship no game before its time, which means fans often have a long wait between new releases.

Ask any game fan which Blizzard sequel they’d most like to see and the answer will inevitably be “StarCraft 2,” even from the most hardcore “World of Warcraft” addict. Released in 1998, the real-time strategy game about a war between three galactic species is considered one of the greatest games of all time. "StarCraft," and the expansion “Brood Wars,” have sold nearly 10 million units.


What took so long? The first “StarCraft” shipped nine years ago. Why has it taken so long to circle back to this franchise?

Mainly because we make our decisions on what game we’re going to work on from a creative standpoint. The team that worked on the original “StarCraft” wanted to revisit the “Warcraft” universe, and they went on to work on “Warcraft 3.” When that game finished up [in 2002,] they were excited to go back and work on the “StarCraft” universe.

We did break ground on “StarCraft 2” in 2003, but wasn’t in full production for another year or so.

How’d you manage to keep it secret for so long?

Well, Penny Arcade figured it out!

We keep games under code names and we teach developers to refer to games by their code name. And we’re just really careful about talking about the game internally. We don’t bring external folks through unannounced product areas. But I think even I’m surprised that we were able to keep it under wraps all the way to the end.

Speaking of secrets, what is your timeline for release for “StarCraft 2?”

It’s a secret! I can give you the old Blizzard mantra of: “It’ll ship when it’s ready,” but it’s something that historically, we’ve learned to keep release dates really close to the vest. I think all game developers are extremely optimistic, and we used to give optimistic dates and we’d disappoint our fans when we didn’t hit them. So now, I think we’ve just gotten more gun shy. The only thing I can give you [that’s] concrete is it’s not going to be this year. Some people were hoping, because of how advanced the game looks, that we’d have it out by Christmas, but that’s definitely not happening.


Are all of the key roles filled on the “StarCraft 2” team? And what’s the size of the team now that it’s in full production?

All the key roles are filled, and we’re running approximately 40 people.


“StarCraft 2”s biggest competitor probably is “StarCraft.” How will you top that game and convince players that this isn’t just “StarCraft” in 3-D?

That’s a really good question. It’s not so much beating “StarCraft” that’s the problem, it’s beating people’s perception and nostalgia of “StarCraft.” “StarCraft” was and is a great game, but it’s certainly an older game. Across the board, “StarCraft 2” is a better game in a lot of ways.

Will it live up to that nostalgia? Time will tell.

What new technologies can players expect to see in “StarCraft 2?”

The first one is an enormous graphical improvement by going to 3-D.

We’ve also added things like a physics system in the game…we’re not really utilizing it for gameplay as much as for graphical improvement. Like, you’ll see things like debris that will actually fall apart, which adds more immersion and a lot more realism.

Online, we’ve learned a lot. In the original “StarCraft,” there was no online matchmaking system. That’s going to be huge…for “StarCraft 2.” In “Warcraft 3,” you had to press the “play game” button and it’d put you in a game with similarly skilled people. We’re going to do yet another improvement on that system for “StarCraft 2,” which is going to be huge for the online market — especially broad market users.


Given the popularity of “WoW,” do you have any plans to go to subscription model with “StarCraft 2” or any subsequent releases?

We’re going to do what’s right for the game. We made “WoW” to be a subscription game from the very beginning. With “StarCraft 2” it’s probably going to follow more of a box model. But we’ll decide more of that stuff down the line. is pretty expensive to maintain, isn’t it?

It’s not as expensive as “WoW” to maintain! (Laughs)


But no fourth race?

No fourth race. We talked a lot about it. We ultimately decided we wanted to focus on the three races we had.

Will Blizzard remain a PC developer?

I don’t know. If you talk to our biz guys, they like the PC for a lot of reasons, but we don’t make our decisions based entirely on business or even primarily on business. We make our decisions based on the games we want to make. After that point, we make the decision on [what system] that game is going to live. And up to this point, the games we wanted to make worked best on the PC.

Read full article: Can Blizzard top itself with 'StarCraft 2?'

The ultimate Blizzard sequel: Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3?

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Ever since Starcraft was released, it has been an extremely popular game all around the world and even played professionally for money in several countries. Many gamers had been waiting for years with no visible hope for a continuance of one of the best RTS games that was ever created. Then Blizzard decided to drop the ball on everyone and give the good news to the millions that Starcraft was having a sequel and was going to be released in 2008. The whole gaming community went into frenzy and everything that had anything to do about Starcraft 2 exploded on websites and appeared everywhere. Hell, there was even a story on Yahoo’s homepage about SC – that’s how big it was. I was filled with joy yet at the same time torn apart because the news of Starcraft 2 meant fewer chances for the creation of Diablo 3.

The Diablo franchise is Blizzard’s best selling (counting WoW and Warcraft RTS as two different franchsies) with a total of number of around 17 million sold, crushing Starcraft’s 9.5 million. Diablo and its sequel can be qualified as an action RPG that is set in a dark fantasy world around medieval times. You can play many different classes which you gain experience, level up, buy/find items, and much more. The sheer depth of the game is breathtaking and a gamer can easily play the game for years on end while having unique experiences each and every time. This is because most of the levels and items are randomly generated which give tons of possibilities, as well as having an engrossing storyline, and amazing multiplayer. Both games are definitely some of the best ever produced and in my opinion are almost flawless in every single way.

Now I love Starcraft just as much as the next person but ever since Diablo 2 was released back in 2000, I have been hooked. I took a little break for a while but since the announcement of Starcraft 2, I decided to fire it back up and have been playing it for the last week or so. I can’t stop playing again and I am coming to realize why it is my favorite Blizzard game and probably a top 5 favorite game of all time. Yesterday, I sat home and thought about how the release of Starcraft 2 means that Diablo 3 will most likely be put off for at least a few more years if it even becomes a reality. Then I thought to myself, “What happened if Blizzard said they would only release either or game and that’s all they would be creating?” I sat long and hard and came to the realization that I would rather see Diablo 3 be produced because I believe it would set a precedent in the gaming world once again.

Diablo 3 would be groundbreaking in my opinion, and have more affect on the gaming industry then the release of Starcraft 2 will. SC 2 is going to have all the new graphics, new units, maps, and more but in turn will be another RTS which we have seen for the last 10+ years. I think SC 2 will be absolutely perfect but in the same time I believe that it will inspire new ideas like the release of Diablo 3 would. With each of the Diablo games released, they really pushed the limits of gaming at their relative time and took leaps that not many other games have. They encouraged so many other companies to create new and unique games, as well as striving for quality with their releases. Some of the best games ever created were spawned because of Diablo, such as the Baldur’s Gate franchise, Dungeon Siege, Ragnarok Online, and the upcoming release that looks stunning, Hellgate: London. Without Diablo, we wouldn’t have some of the greatest games ever published.

So with all this in mind, I ask you this one simple question: If Blizzard was going to create only one, which would you have, Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3? Think long and hard about this and reply back in the comments for me. I want to see everyone’s’ take on this subject and see who agrees with my choice, Diablo 3. Also, has anyone found themselves playing Diablo 2 again, especially since the news of Starcraft 2 or am I the only one?

Read full article: The ultimate Blizzard sequel: Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3?