Starcraft II Brood War mod has been 2½ years in the making. It was announced a mere three weeks after the release of Wings of Liberty. At the heart of the project we find Australian modder MavercK. Most -- if not almost all -- of the work (save for a few models and textures) has originated out of this tireless one man modder machine.
The mod enjoyed some hype throughout its first year and a half. But most of that enthusiasm unfortunately slowly died off during the long development process. As the mod now nears completion, it needs and deserves to be playtested.
SC2BW allows for air units to be stacked as long as they’re hotkeyed together with a building or unit far away. If, however, your control group should exceed 12 units/objects the air units will automatically disperse.
In my days of posting comments and threads on TL, I may have made one or a couple (too) assertive statements about the nature of moving shot and the SC2 engine. The only real difference between SC2 and Brood War can pretty much be summed up in the picture below:
In Brood War air units have to both face and travel towards their target, whereas in SC2 air units will rotate around their axis -- changing orientation -- in order to “lock on to the target” while continuing to glide in their previous direction.
This difference makes it hard to replicate moving shot exactly the way it functioned in Brood War. But rather than assume the difference would make for a poorer implementation, MavercK battled with the WoL editor until a solution was found. And if I’m to be completely honest: the SC2 engine moving shot provides more potential for awesome micro than Brood War did. With skill and experience, you can easily alternate between a BW style moving shot and an SC2 style moving shot – depending on what the situation requires.
I admit moving shot may not be the most important or influential factor in actual gameplay. A great RTS game should however allow room for prodigiously dexterous players to distinguish themselves. If a specific feature has the potential to leave esport crowds in awe, it should be included in the game. End of discussion.
Protip: The vulture patrol is a special case. The easiest way to achieve a fluid moving shot is to “double patrol click” towards your enemy, followed by a move in your previous direction. We wanted to implement something similar in difficulty level to Brood War patrol-micro.
One of the great accidental “features” of Brood War was that the game design actively rewarded and promoted players into continually expanding. Even being a mere one base ahead of your opponent in the early game with the same worker count would make you net approximately 200-300 minerals/min more than that opponent. As the game progressed, the player with more bases would build up a “mineral buffer” of sorts, allowing that player to continually trade armies wastefully. Over the course of a 20-25 minute game, it was not wholly unusual for the aggressively expanding player in the matchup to have lost closer to 10000 worth of minerals more in the form of units (without the game having been non-standard or uneven).
I’ve myself previously written a thread on the issue, and so have others (Barrin’s Breadth of Gameplay especially comes to mind). Barrin’s Fewer Resource Bases movement sought to slow down the sped up nature of economic growth in SC2 and promote players to expand earlier and more through moving from 8 mineral nodes per base to 6. In Brood War, however, a standard main base contained 9 mineral nodes (with the natural having 7). What compensated for the extra node and made Brood War income levels scale differently, was the phenomenon of “wandering workers”. A worker would not line up perfectly to start mining just as another finished (as they do in SC2). The primitive AI would also cause them to consistently wander whenever a node was occupied (as opposed to standing in line), resulting in a smoother income curve.
So what does this have to do with anything, you may have come to ask yourselves? Well, I would argue that a large and very misunderstood part of what made many Brood War matchups attractive to watch laid in the game’s economical asymmetry. I.e. one player throwing multiple cost inefficient armies at a seemingly overpowered composition – and the game allowing said player to do so without running out of fuel (minerals). In SC2, the expression of someone "being on 6 bases" is something of a misnomer. It's exceedingly rare for someone to actually be on more than three mining bases – however many expansions they may have.
In SC2BW mod, MavercK has successfully managed to recreate the wandering worker behaviour from Brood War, resulting in an income progression that rewards expanding and rewards spreading out on the map as opposed to staying in one’s own little three base corner of the map.
In Brood War, every matchup would slightly favor the race considered to be the “wasteful” one. The slight edge always went to the race that forced an attractive style of gameplay to be played. Had it been the other way around, I’m sure there would have been more community backlash. In contrast, most SC2 gameplay past 10 minutes will center around lots of posturing; with a slight edge being given to whoever happens to have the most cost efficient end game composition in the current state of balance.
Imbalances safely contained in the game design were part of what made BW fun to watch. Defilers would have been completely broken in ZvT had the Zerg only had enough breathing room to actually have drones mining minerals at expansions. TvP would have been broken in favor of 3-3 mech compositions had not expanding past three bases provided Protoss with a mineral buffer large enough for one or two extra remaxes. 112 damage storms, in conjunction with archons and reavers would have broken PvZ had the Zerg onslaught been restricted by an artificial cap of three mining bases.
Icons, bonjwas and revolutionaries were all defined by their ability to defy the statistics in these lopsided matchups and in effect rise above the “imbalances”.
SC2BW mod didn’t do anything revolutionary here. It conformed all production mechanics to be more alike each other – just like in BW. One major confounding factor in SC2’s balance work is likely to be the large difference in how races reinforce their armies. Terran is the only race who is stuck with an archaic production mechanic from Brood War. In lategame situations they often have to go through five production cycles, with the corresponding build time and travel time for each, before being able to launch another attempt at an attack.
The extreme production mechanics of SC2 also serve to restrict mapmakers from creating maps that are too large for the race that reinforces the slowest: Terran. For this reason you will never see maps with long and windy attack paths – as the added travel time will affect one race much harder than the other two.
Without the added factor of warp-in allowing for instant on-site reinforcements, there in my mind would have been a good chance of forcefield actually being a loved and respected SC2 ability.
+ Show Spoiler +
Maverck's own videos of implementing the new pathing algorithm
One problem that SC2BW faced – in trying to recreate Brood War-like gameplay – was the effect that SC2 pathfinding would have on balance. So, amazingly enough, MavercK created his own BW-like pathfinding for the mod. Do not fret though, dragoons will find their way up a ramp in less than a half an hour.
This feature along with wandering workers – which promotes spreading out and continually expanding all over the place – will hopefully help in breaking up the deathball.
SC2BW mod has a built in iCCup style ranking system. As of right now, the stats are only stored locally on your computer. If the mod were to take off and become popular, a website could be created to track rankings with the help of a 3rd party program (to scan your ranking file).
The ranks are race specific, if you should like to dabble in off racing.
SC2BW might be nearing its completion. But there are still a lot of things that need to be polished. If you happen to be a talented modeler who is planning on working in startools – the SC2BW mod is in need of good custom models and animations.
The game will undoubtedly still contain bugs that have yet to be discovered (that won’t be discovered through other means than playtesting). If you find one, report it in the SC2BW thread.
Furthermore, there are a few persistent graphics bugs that only occur for certain players (devourer model not displaying, corsair not turning around to fire) which are hard for MavercK to figure out on his own without data and guidance from users.
If you think you can help with improving the ranking system and/or making a website, make yourself known in the SC2BW thread and offer your help. SC2BW mod is also in need of people who can regularly publish updated versions of the mod on EU and Korean servers until such time all servers are merged. Someone making the mod’s existence known to Koreans would not hurt either.
I personally think this sort of initiative, hard work and dedication from a modder is worthy of being featured on b.net. Putting 2½ years of hard work into a quality mod and not having anyone play it is a shame. So do lobby on behalf of it becoming a featured map!
How do I play?
Join channel #SC2BW on b.net in order to find opponents.
To find the maps: Search for SC2BW in Custom Games.
To find the maps: Search for SC2BW in Custom Games.