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Author Topic: Starcraft II  (Read 18538 times)

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Makaris

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #60 on: May 24, 2010, 02:37:04 PM »

What movie is that?

Anyway, I know what micro is. I'm going to make an example of how I think things should be handled from, ahem, DoTA. Yeeeeaaaah.

So in DoTA, every Hero has four abilities and some heroes all four of them are active. Then you've got King Leoric, who has three passives and one active. Even his Ultimate is passive. He would be the guy you give to new people, except he's fucking boring and they wouldn't want to play if they just saw him. So lazy people end up playing him, instead. One of my friends swears by him. He's sort of like the Guile of DoTA.

Is he less twitchy? Sure! Is he bland? No! He is a fucking crazy skeleton king with a huge-ass sword who meatgrinds people. A smart player can still win just fine with him while making less clicks per second than his opponent who is playing some fire witch or whatever.

An ideal RTS will give you the option to play with as much micro as you want and not penalize you for doing so. I liked Zerg in Starcraft 1 so much because they had vastly less micro than the other races, which freed me up to do more interesting things than click on my fucking science vessel.

How would Psionic Storm work automatically?



How would you recommend allowing for 'as much micro as you want' but have it not actually help the player doing it?  That'd be like having two characters in a fighting game where one has to land a jab and then go into a 10 hit combo for the same damage as another character that just has to hit with the jab?  Or just having it so that only the first hit does damage, but then you have the option to do a combo that does no damage?

Micro is one of the best, and certainly most proven, way to add REAL depth to an RTS.  The alternative is slamming two armies together and whoever had the better build wins.  Alternatively, you can play turn based strategy games.

And are we seriously comparing how interesting it is to use a Bile Demon to a High Templar?

Also, as far as Zerg micro is concerned, I think the Mutalisk would like to have a word with you.
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Frocto

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #61 on: May 24, 2010, 07:39:42 PM »

somehow I have turned Kayin and Makaris into retards

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Kayin

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #62 on: May 24, 2010, 08:50:03 PM »

I love you frocto. You are manly and I'm sorry you just want to rub units against other units. May I instead recommend tower defense games? :(

Folks have some mysterious opinions about RTSs, so I can't be too bothered by this... but really, micro is the interesting bit. Thats the tactics. Removing ways for players to compare skill makes things boring. Making something like Psionic Storm auto-cast just makes it another damn unit with nothing interesting going on. Managing spell casters and properly placing spells is a way in which two players clash tactics. The more you take that away, the more determinalistic each encounter gets. Makaris is right -- it just becomes more about build orders. After that theres just not a lot of game left.

Strategy alone doesn't make for very interesting gameplay. Tactics do. I'm not saying Starcraft is optimal AT ALL with accessibility and unnecessary BS, but you just cannot do away with Micro and expect there to be much of a game left -- history has already shown this. Anything you'd come up with would have to be something that barely resembles the actual RTS genre (which is fine, but then we're not longer talking about the same thing).
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Shinra

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #63 on: May 24, 2010, 08:57:42 PM »

The issue with Micro, is that when it gets excessive play becomes tedious. In starcraft 1, micro was excessive and tedious.

You can't tell me professional starcraft players are having fun up there.

I know you're a competitive guy, Kayin, but I buy games to enjoy them. In fact, most people do. If the gameplay is tedious because it needs to appeal to the minority that is ultra-competitive players, the game has failed somewhere in development. Blizzard had the excuse of being genre pioneers when Starcraft I came out, but Starcraft II is not exactly an innovator. There is no excuse for the level of tedium in play that we saw with the previous installment.

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Kayin

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #64 on: May 24, 2010, 09:07:12 PM »

The issue with Micro, is that when it gets excessive play becomes tedious. In starcraft 1, micro was excessive and tedious.

You can't tell me professional starcraft players are having fun up there.

I know you're a competitive guy, Kayin, but I buy games to enjoy them. In fact, most people do. If the gameplay is tedious because it needs to appeal to the minority that is ultra-competitive players, the game has failed somewhere in development. Blizzard had the excuse of being genre pioneers when Starcraft I came out, but Starcraft II is not exactly an innovator. There is no excuse for the level of tedium in play that we saw with the previous installment.



Playing competitively is always going to seem tedious. Theres no reason you have to gosu-micro while playing SC or SC2 -- but if you're playing against people who do, you're going to lose. People are better at games then you (meaning everyone) are. Fact of life. You can play someone in checkers, which has no execution and walk away all like "THAT WAS BULLSHIT! THAT MO-FO WAS SOOOO FUCKING CHEAP!"

Frankly I think Blizzard made the right decision. Random casuals are just going to play to play single player and UMS maps anyways, while the core game is designed to be solid. The whole league structure is set up so you probably won't have to fight someone a million times better than you are (which would happen all the damn time on the SC1 ladder).

Blizzard wants to make another game that will last, not another goofy ass RTS that everyone will forget in a month or so.

Also screw you for implying I don't buy games to enjoy them. I just don't want my enjoyment to come from some sort of farce of an experience.
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Makaris

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #65 on: May 24, 2010, 10:11:15 PM »

You can't tell me professional starcraft players are having fun up there.

http://blip.tv/file/3486428

Honestly I hate to say it but I want to just scream "YOUR ARGUMENTS ARE INVALID".  I think people are trying to debate something they know nothing about.  

In the end the fact is that every game has barriers of entry.  It is because if they didn't... then what skills are we testing?  It would be a flat and pointless experience.  You're free to not care about this, your choice.  But there is a reason some games disappear after a month and others are apparently timeless.

I'd recommend Day[9] to ANYONE with ANY interest in competitive gaming; though interest in StarCraft helps! 
http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=104154
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Frocto

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #66 on: May 25, 2010, 01:48:58 AM »

Let me see if I can follow this discussion to its natural conclusion:

Frocto: So King Leoric in DoTA is much easier to play than other Heroes. Should he be weaker?

Dudes: YESSSSSSSSSS

Frocto: Zerg require less micro to play than Terrans. Should they be weaker? Or how about Engineers in TF2? They take less skill to play than other classes, should they be weaker?

Dudes: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Frocto: So why can't I have a guy that requires less skill TWITCH to play, but is still just as good?

Dudes: Because twitch is skill.

Frocto: :bam:

I guess I need to reiterate that I said LESS micro, not REMOVE MICRO ENTIRELY, but I figured I was being credit for having some intelligence here. Anyway, here's an idea. If people don't like micro but still want to play, introduce a race that requires strictly less micro to be good and maybe even has some strategies based around build order!

You could call them, I dunno, Zerg or something.
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Bal

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #67 on: May 25, 2010, 02:25:43 AM »

Game changing abilities on certain units is part of StarCraft. No one is forcing you to play. Me? I like micro just fine, but hate macro, so I play Relic RTS games and get a more tactical, micro intensive experience with very minimal macro. If you like macro, and hate micro, might I suggest Supreme Commander.
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Frocto

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #68 on: May 25, 2010, 03:03:36 AM »

I never actually said I hate micro, I just said that it's nice when the developers include an option that lets you use it in a reduced capacity. So far this is a terrible argument since I posted saying I liked Zerg because they had less micro and then people went off on some insane tangent.

Kayin is the one making the all or nothing statement, actually!

Strategy alone doesn't make for very interesting gameplay.

So how is Supreme Commander
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Bal

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #69 on: May 25, 2010, 03:31:20 AM »

Well, some people love it, but I hate macro, so I pretty much hate it. It's kind of like Total Anihilation, because it is almost exactly like that, just at three times the scale.
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Mongrel

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #70 on: May 25, 2010, 03:41:32 AM »

So in all this talk about automating (some) micro, nobody's brought up the alternate spectre of automating (some) macro?

So the strategic and interesting part is *only* in the micro, eh? What about look at reducing the attention required for the other half of the game, freeing you up to do more micro?  

Eh, anyway...

This whole argument is silly. We're so trapped in the existing framework of base-building RTS games that was laid down by Warcraft I Dune II, that all we can think of is the same old modifications. Like Buge's joke about the dude with the slider knobs, only applied to a game genre as a whole.  

To me, the worst failure in modern RTS is the lack of significant advancement in AI. Why are macro and micro as we know it both so important? Because you, as a commander have no subordinates you can trust at all. You must issue all commands from a platoon level on up to the highest levels. If you let the computer make any decisions on your behalf, it's going to make decisions so retarded that you might as well sit and just punch yourself in the head instead of actually playing. When you guys talk about automating this or that, you're basically talking about removing some decisions to make the remaining dull decisions easier. But with better AI, you could increase the quality of decisions a person might have to make (and hopefully the fun and challenge of the game).

Think about the way real combat works from the perspective of a commander. Information is hard to come by - harder than it is in most RTSes. People (individuals or groups) report back to you giving you status reports (unless they don't report back, due to enemy action) and you must rely on this information, even though it may not always be correct. Based on this often-fragmented or incomplete information, you must make educated guesses as to the best possible disposition of your forces (at lower levels of command this includes individual orders, at higher levels of command, individual orders to subcommanders is important, but distribution of materiel and manpower also comes into play).

I don't know about you guys, but while a modern RTS does include a fair number of opportunities to do the above, at their heart, they are still about how many computations you can do per second, whether it's about perfecting a build order or memorizing a neat micro maneuver. AI rarely comes into it because individual units (theirs OR yours) never adapt to your strategy, so endless practice at being quick on the draw takes the place of real adpative thinking. Or rather, RTSes still play more like video games than simulations.

Maps are important too. The lack of advancement in dynamic map generation means a player only has to deal with a narrow set of slight variations on a fairly consistent theme, rather than being forced to adapt to a very wide variety of situations and terrain (would be a great way to disrupt "perfect" build orders). In fact most maps don't even offer environmental differences or things as simple as weather. They're just cute re-skins of the same utterly vanilla sandbox.

Anyway, as I said earlier, I don't really have a beef with Starcraft. Blizzard has decided their innovating days are over and that's fine - sometimes the smartest realization you can make is to understand that you're Motorhead or whoever and just play Ace of Spades every concert without trying to get fancy or complain that you don't want to play the fans' favourite song. Starcraft has decided to be a re-run of a game made fifteen years ago, but if that's all people want and that's what'll sell best, that's a decision that makes sense from Blizzards point of view. Blizzard is good at what they do, so maybe I'll play it and have some fun. But I'll still dream of a truly progressive RTS.

 :tldr: Sour grapes.
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Bal

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #71 on: May 25, 2010, 03:45:38 AM »

They leave advanced AI out on purpose because at competitive levels it just gets in the way. Take Dawn of War II for example. One of the major complaints amongst top level players is that your units will automatically seek cover, even if your placement is tactically better. To the multiplayer RTS player, anything that get between him and direct control of his troops is a bad thing, regardless of how micro heavy the game might be.
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Mongrel

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #72 on: May 25, 2010, 03:47:47 AM »

If your units do things directly counter to your orders, but the game has no morale stat to justify rogue behaviour, then that's poorly designed AI. Which is kinda what I'm talking about.

Considering that my point was that bad AI gets in the way of good games, I... ?
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jsnlxndrlv

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #73 on: May 25, 2010, 03:54:19 AM »

So how is Supreme Commander

I don't know if you were ever active in #finalfight at the same time that Lock wasóhe was one of the people in the Roll Call that Arc posted back on Pyoko before the big splitóbut that guy posted a review on Action Button claiming it's basically the best RTS ever.
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Bal

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #74 on: May 25, 2010, 03:57:46 AM »

It's not really bad AI though. Nine times out of ten you SHOULD be in that nearby piece of cover, probably more often than that even, but on some occasions it is not the optimal thing to do.

My point wasn't about good or bad AI, it was about the fact that RTS players, the core fanbase that gives these games long tails, don't want it.
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patito

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #75 on: May 25, 2010, 04:06:08 AM »

Mongrel, the problem is that you think RTSs are akin to actual warfare, and they are not that at all. A lot of the actual game changing decisions are related to how well you can manage the abilities of certain units, or whether you're able to move the units out into certain positions yourself. Micro is pretty much what the RTS genre is about, if you make a concerted effort to dilute those decisions into an AI then you're pretty much not playing anymore.

I mean, I had a lot of fun playing age of empires at one point, but it's not an enduring game for a reason.
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Mongrel

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #76 on: May 25, 2010, 05:20:00 AM »

Mongrel, the problem is that you think RTSs are akin to actual warfare, and they are not that at all. A lot of the actual game changing decisions are related to how well you can manage the abilities of certain units, or whether you're able to move the units out into certain positions yourself. Micro is pretty much what the RTS genre is about, if you make a concerted effort to dilute those decisions into an AI then you're pretty much not playing anymore.

I mean, I had a lot of fun playing age of empires at one point, but it's not an enduring game for a reason.

Well, I do understand that Starcraft and the conventional RTS is "not real" in the same sense that fighting games are not like an actual fight or that racing games are not like racing real cars.

What I'm getting at is that you can take elements of real-world combat to inspire new game mechanics. In the same way that "control a conquering army" was used to inspire the original RTS genre as a whole.

My complaint is that as a genre, RTSs are kind of stunted in their growth. They haven't really evolved to be much different since their inception 15 years ago. While there's always a place for the Starcraft/Warcraft type classic RTS, 'gaming' is a rather big tent and there's room for more innovative ideas and new games.

Saying "RTS games aren't supposed to be realistic" is kind of like saying "War movies aren't supposed to be realistic".
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Mongrel

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #77 on: May 25, 2010, 05:39:37 AM »

It's not really bad AI though. Nine times out of ten you SHOULD be in that nearby piece of cover, probably more often than that even, but on some occasions it is not the optimal thing to do.

My point wasn't about good or bad AI, it was about the fact that RTS players, the core fanbase that gives these games long tails, don't want it.

Again, why do top players want total and perfect control? Because that gives them maximum tactical advantage. Control = Victory. What I'm looking for is an RTS where micromanagement to an advanced degree (whether macro or micro) is NOT the surest path to victory.

I think it might help to explain that When I talk about AI, I'm talking about more than just unit behaviour in stock situations that can be summed up in a just a couple of variables. I'm talking about really pushing for units that can respond in different ways, possibly even for units that can grow and learn. Perhaps they would have primitive "personalities". Your job as a commander would be to command these units in ways that makes best use of them. Such a game could be very functionally different from what we think of as a conventional RTS.

I'm trying to say that we should be look outside the box, and you're going on about how none of the pro players wants to change the texture of the cardboard. Anyway, I'm not trying to be a dick about this and push people outside their comfort zone who don't want to be (see my previous post). There's a place for the Starcrafts of the world, in the same way that 8-bit platformers still have a place in the world. If it's fun for some people, it's fun - no need to justify that.

I'm just saying that some people would like to try other things and wouldn't it be nice if a developer at least tried to fill that hole. Certainly I think even conventional RTSes could only stand to benefit from better unit AI and more interactive and variable environments.
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Bal

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #78 on: May 25, 2010, 05:47:28 AM »

So Gratuitous Space Battles with more direct control? You're talking about a game that is on a meta level beyond the current idea of an RTS, where there is a sort of chain of command. It also sounds incredibly dull, and most probably frustrating. Even the best AI won't do what I want 100% of the time, and being robbed of victory in that manner is the kind of thing that breaks keyboards.
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Mongrel

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Re: Starcraft II
« Reply #79 on: May 25, 2010, 06:19:34 AM »

Yeah, if it was poorly implemented, anything that requires you to cede some control could be very frustrating.

But some people find that "I'm smarter than my opponent, but I'm just not fast enough" to also be keyboard-breakingly frustrating.

I think the safest path is to see what kind of improvements you could get out of an AI and then see what you can do to implement that. There's loads and loads of things that could be done beyond some pie-in-the-sky RTS of the future.

- You could have a more conventional RTS where your base is managed for you, only you make requests for particular units or issue certain overall goals. This might seem bad at first, but if every player is subject to the same rules, then it actually comes out fair.
- As a variation on the above, you could have an RTS where there are two forcibly 'defined' roles. There's a field command (micro) and a supply command (macro). In single player matches, a player must choose one or the other, with the AI commanding the unchosen option. You could even expand the choices to include a third, fourth, or fifth slot (relief/recovery, split field commands, etc). In such a game you could have 1 on 1 as one league and an alternate league with multi-man teams where humans fill each slot. The key here is that the 1v1 is not viable without AI that's at least a little better than we have now.
- Remove bases entirely and have reinforcements dependent on an AI that evaluates your actions according to some criteria or other (i.e. you are not the "god-commander" of your forces and instead have a boss you must report to). Maybe you can even have different boss-types.
- Straight-up improved AI that better gauges situations like the one you described above in DoW II. This would result in less frustration at how unbelievably stupid your units are. Maybe even units that show intelligent initiative in favourable situations, rather than "I SEE GUY, FOLLOW AND ATTACK! DERP DERP DERP!".
- Yes, a game where you control groups rather than individuals, and each group has a personality (and strengths and weaknesses) that change over time, perhaps based on a unit commander, or perhaps just affecting the unit overall. I think this is worth trying.
- A game where information is much harder to come by and the fog of war is much more brutal and complicated than just a grayed-out area of screen, but in which your units feed you information from their point of view (possibly as text reports, audio, icons, or little images/videos), which you can use to build a complete picture of what's going on. This requires better AI to 'imagine' what the units are seeing/reporting.
- An X-Com like game where you make the macro decisions outside of actual battle and focus on micro within battle. Imagine an RTS where you and your opponent had a rough idea of the battlefield before going in (you're presented with a summary screen or video perhaps, and then have a set amount of time to build an army) and are forced to decide what kind of forces to bring in (like a tabletop wargame, each player has a 'budget' to spend on units). You can choose what to deploy initially and when and where reserves will arrive (maybe you can even call for reserves). The key is to try and build a balanced army and anticipate what an opponent might deploy.
- As I said above, more interactive terrain and maps. There's simple things like semi-randomized weather that affects your units or making terrain type more important, and there's more complex things, like having local allies or enemies with conditions for activation that are a good deal more complex than "beat mob, get treasure".

All these ideas have their flaws I'm sure, but none of them are unsolveable. I'm just throwing out a few random things to say, "here are some ideas right off the top of my head - maybe we could try something new?". In fact a good number of the ideas I suggested don't even need much improvement in AI. They just require designers to be willing to try new things.
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