StarCraft II may have slipped to 2010, but that hasn't dampened the fans' enthusiasm, with millions of gamers waiting to play the new RTS. This final panel at BlizzCon provided a few details about how the game will play, talked about a couple of the missions in the game and showed how powerful the map/mod making tools will be.
[11:01] Dustin Browder has taken the stage.
[11:03] He's introducing two Blizz staff: Michael and Matt. Both worked on StarCraft, WarCraft, and WoW - 12 year veterans.
[11:04] Here's Mike Heiberg, senior game designer. He's talking about StarCraft. The first game, that is. They introduced a briefing room, and breathed life into the story scenes. They wanted to tie the story to the action.
[11:05] An example from the Terran campaign is "Desperate Alliance". The gameplay of the mission is not about building up a force, it's about building base defences and troop positioning, very different stye of game. Also added small things like timers to show how long the mission had left. All seems small compared to stuff today, but it was significant at the time, he says.
[11:06] Now talking about WarCraft III. It had an intgrated story, playing out the story on the same battlefield. Each battle was a mini-game.
[11:07] They're discussing tower defence titles now. The whole gameplay is centred around base defence. It's a different style that you don't expect from an RTS.
[11:08] In StarCraft II they're trying to build on all these concepts, so they have the same style of play they always had, but include much more of a story. SC2 has much more story than they've ever had in any other game.
[11:09] With the updated cinematics they can incorporate more emotion into the characters. Characters will have much more depth.
[11:10] SC2 has more choices, more ways to beat the missions. You can chose which subplots, what research you want to do. They're trying to ensure each mission is unique, with unique challenges.
[11:12] Now they are talking about a new mission called "Mine Your Own Business". It's a hostile environment with lava. There's a new way to win: greed. You have to collect 5000 minerals. The lava comes up on to low ground - it rises up, so you have to move your base to high ground. You're playing chicken with the environment.
[11:13] You can make your own environments in the editor and play them on Battle.net. On the screen they are showing two different cliff types in the editor. There's new water tools - water is no longer locked to the cliff level.
[11:14] Matt Morris says he thinks it's great for the mod community and he wants to see what people can do with it. Also, new lighting tools have been created, you can create custom lights.
[11:15] An SC2 trailer is playing on the screen.
[11:16] Now talking about another new mission, "Evacuation of Agria". Zerg are invading. You choose how to win, by evacuating troops or by repelling Zerg invaders - up to you.
[11:18] Agria in the editor has alpha texture blending, lots of green and brown because it's agrarian in nature. No two parts of the texture look the same, they're all blended. Also, hard tiles (roads) are new. You can point, click and build a road, go crazy with it.
[11:19] New also is terrain foliage. Based on the textures, you can generate automatic foliage, grass, trees etc. It helps give a 3D look to the map.
[11:20] They're now playing a video of a Zerg invasion.
[11:20] Dustin says "let's talk mods". SC2 has the most powerful editor yet.
[11:21] Says the DotA (Defence of the Ancients) mod is a fan-made game that major studios are trying to copy. And the tower defense original game type exploded onto the scene with WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne. Games like Plants vs. Zombies owe their design to WarCraft III.
[11:22] As announced yesterday, SC2 Marketplace will allow map makers to get money from players. He says the new tool is so much better than the old editor, it's hard to imagine what people will make with it. (Audience claps.)
[11:23] One third of the StarCraft II design team at Blizzard come from the mod community. On the screen they're showing some games made using the SC2 engine by modders on Blizz staff.
[11:24] A custom creature made with spines on its back takes out hundreds of Zergs. Brutal. He sends out a sonic blast and blows up hundreds of Zergs (everyone cheers). Apparently it took only 1.5 days to make.
[11:25] Here's another one - they've made a third-person shooter game with the SC2 engine! Incredible. You can go inside buildings too, and talk to people... It looks kinda like Fallout 3, but not as good graphically. Looks like a shooter from about 2000, but still - this is an RTS engine.
[11:29] Now showing some kind of Lost Vikings remake as a SC2 mod. (Gasps and applause from the audience.) Looks a bit like Space Invaders, arcade-type game.
[11:30] That's it - on to Q&A now. (Continued on next page.)