Patrick Wyatt, co-founder of ArenaNet, COO of the company developing TERA, and one of the early programmers at Blizzard wrote a great post (first of a series) on the early days of Blizzard and the development of Warcraft I. There's a lot of cool tidbits on the inspiration and design of Warcraft I, the origin of the name "Blizzard", and the old guard at Blizzard (he worked on WCI, WCII, and Diablo I). He also discusses why pre-SC2 Blizzard RTS games had limited unit selection, including this key quote about Warcraft I:
"we decided to allow players to select only four units at a time based on the idea that users would be required to pay attention to their tactical deployments rather than simply gathering a mob and sending them into the fray all at once."
One could argue that he and the early team at Blizzard are the origin of the debate on this now controversial topic. While the consensus was that single unit selection a la Dune was too limited, the team settled on limited selection even though Patrick had coded for unlimited selection at first. It's interesting to note that the first game to have unlimited selection was the original Command and Conquer (he notes that he may write a post on the consequences of this decision).
Finally, there are some details on the key people at early Blizzard, including current CEO Mike Morhaime, who wrote the original modem code for multiplayer in WCI.
On July 26 2012 13:26 trifecta wrote: "we decided to allow players to select only four units at a time based on the idea that users would be required to pay attention to their tactical deployments rather than simply gathering a mob and sending them into the fray all at once."
Hah! see I told you guys [edit: that it was a design decision not a limitation] but you wouldn't listen! now I have proof!
Last edit: 2012-07-26 14:09:44
Imbajoe United States. July 26 2012 14:08. Posts 482
On July 26 2012 13:38 endy wrote: Super interesting post.
People saying that unit selection in BW was capped to 12 only for technical reasons and not by design can shut their mouth now.
Thanks a lot for sharing.
Of course it was a decision on the design team. Aoe 2 had a huge unit selection range and was in the same era. Very interesting read though.
Actually, AOE 1 was released closer to SC1 and it had a 24 or 25 unit selection cap (depending on how you select the units). Numerous other rts games I've played have had caps as well such as Empire Earth and Rise of Nations. Newer games always had larger selection limits.
Watching Jaedong play purifies my eyes. -Coach Ju Hoon
sluggaslamoo Australia. July 27 2012 16:51. Posts 3603
On July 27 2012 16:51 sluggaslamoo wrote: I guess this article also proves that we may as well treat Blizzard as a completely different company to Blizzard of 10 years ago.
This couldn't be any more accurate. Blizzard have undoubtedly gone backwards in terms of quality/innovation as the years have gone by. I could give many examples but the two that stick out the most (which were executed far better in the past) are the absolute attrocity that was D3 and how BNet 2.0 was allowed to exist in comparison to what was offered in WC3/SC:BW.