Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's not just a spaceship, it's a transformer!

Versatile Viking
Predator and bird of prey
Transform and roll out

The Terran race in Starcraft seems to have a theme of versatility, and of being able to specialize things in multiple ways. The siege tank is the epitome of this mentality, being able to take the form of a standard tank, a static defensive turret, and a offensive siege weapon. But the theme is present in many ways: command centers can become orbital commands or planetary fortresses, orbital commands can call in either extra supplies or reconnaissance or minerals or repairing, and all production buildings can specialize in making lots of basic units, or the more advanced units.

And of course this theme shows up in the Viking. In the air, a potent air superiority fighter, with huge range and good speed. On the ground, a... ground unit, that can... walk around, shoot things occasionally, and blow up spectacularly. Okay, so the theme is not shown very well here. I understand that Blizzard wanted to give Terrans some much-needed anti-air, but make it not too good against ground (a role the Banshee fills very well). I just think they made it a little TOO not-good on the ground. As cool as a transforming mecha spaceship robot is, the motto of any Viking pilot should be, "If you need to land this bird, you've already lost." Sad, but true!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bring down the hammer

Great Thor, siege-walker
Bringer of thunder and storm
Who can oppose it?

Okay, I may or may not have just been steamrolled by a player that turtled up and made a ton of Thors. I may or may not have been half asleep at the time. That's not the point.

The point is, Thors are stinking huge! They have about a million hit points, and they do some pretty decent damage! True, I should have seen them coming, I mean they are as big as a command center, you can hear their footsteps from another planet, but that's besides the point. They're huge, is what I'm saying!

I suppose this is appropriate given their namesake. But still. Huge.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The little Blink-Stalker that couldn't

A Blink-Stalker can't be beat, so you'd think
But when this one heard the call "Zerglings inc!"
It was his nerves I suppose,
When he saw them he froze:
He went blank when he should have went blink

Did you ever think about the Blink ability? Sure, it would be awesome to be able to blink from place to place. Blink across the street, blink upstairs to avoid the elevator, blink through walls for all sorts of interesting reasons...

But what happens if you get confused, or disoriented, or panicked? It's easy enough to get turned around in everyday life, let alone when you are zapping through the ether! And now imagine doing that in a combat situation!

So I figure there must be an extensive Blink Training Program in Protoss boot camp. And it must be pretty funny to watch!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

There's no eye to this storm

Astride vortices
Invisible Banshees strike
Like a thunderstorm

The banshee is a powerful unit, well suited to its primary task: covert strikes. It rises on twin twisters, driven by dual turbines. It cloaks itself, becoming as incorporeal as the wind itself. It approaches the enemy silently, unseen. And then it blows the snot out of that mineral line!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Impregnable tower

Oh Missile Turret
With upgraded range, armor
Why can't you aim down?

I know, I know, missile turrets are meant to be static anti-air defenses. But they are really really good in Starcraft 2!

They start out pretty decent, giving good AA coverage and detection for just 100 minerals. But then you upgrade them at the Engineering Bay, giving them more range and +2 armor, and they are awesome!

Alas, if only there was an upgrade that would let them aim down and shoot ground units. Perhaps Neosteel Actuation Servos? Hi-res Infrared Tracking? Oh well, we'll have to rely on Planetary Fortresses I guess.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Does the flapping help?

Pack of Mutalisks
Flying swiftly on bat-wings
How's that work in space?

Starcraft, being science fiction, and a video game, has to take a few liberties with technical details. For example all the flying units kind of just float there by default, and move across the map at maybe 2x or 3x walking speed when you order them around. This is because the game would be less fun and balanced if your marines and tanks could be suddenly obliterated by enemy Banshees screaming by at Mach 6.

In game, we can try to explain it with some technobabble. Perhaps anti-gravity devices exist, but only work at slow speeds? Of course, this doesn't work for Mutalisks. They actually flap their wings to stay airborne and move around. The great blog Science of Starcraft tries to explain the wings as solar sails, but in the end the math doesn't work out. They conclude that the explanation for flying Mutalisks is: magic. I don't know about that... surely there must be a way they can fly, maybe it has to do with neutrinos?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Time is relative. Relatively speaking...

When boosting your chrono timeline,
Make sure it's not set to 'Rewind':
You'll go backwards in time,
Past the start of this rhyme,
And you'll mix up your ahead and behind!

A tribute to the Chronoboost, and to the good old Arbiter of SC1. "Do you seek knowledge of time travel?"

Of course, one wonders why, if the Protoss have such incredible technology that they can bend spacetime to warp in units and accelerate the flow of time, why they don't just freeze time for the enemy while they warp in their whole fleet. I guess the smarter you are, the more you miss the obvious things!