starcraft posts

Blizzard releases 20 year retrospective video

blizzard entertaiment
Blizzard Entertainment has already launched a web site that aims to celebrate the developer's 20th anniversary. Today that site posted up a nearly 50 minute video that looks back at the origins of the company all the way to the present via chats with many Blizzard executives and team members

The video goes over how the founders of Blizzard got together in 1991, how one of them got $15,000 from his grandmother to help fund the company and why the founders picked the company's original name Silicon and Synapse. It goes over the early games made by Blizzard (Rock N' Roll Racing, anyone?) and how times were pretty lean in terms of money for the first few years. It also discusses the company's various other names before finally settling on Blizzard.

The video goes over the many games that Blizzard made, from the Warcraft series to StarCraft, the Diablo series and of course World of Warcraft. Blizzard team members also look ahead and make some pretty general statements about the future of the company.

GDC 2011: StarCraft II's design influenced by e-sports

starcraft ii
As most of you may know, the original StarCraft became a massive hit with pro gamers worldwide, especially in South Korea. However the sci-fi RTS game from Blizzard wasn't designed with e-sports in mind. That wasn't the case for the sequel StarCraft II, according to what Blizzard's Dustin Browder told a panel at GDC 2011 today.

According to Gamasutra's coverage of the panel, Browder said that the team looked at other RTS games such as Supreme Commander and Dawn of War. They discovered that for StarCraft II, less could in fact be more. The team wanted multiplayer matches to be fun to watch and as a result they kept the number of units down to just 45 rather than flood the game with different units.

The e-sport mandate also appled to the game's rules (keep it simple but make it hard to master) and even in the art where they strived to make each unit look different from each other. While the e-sports theme was hard to put into StarCraft II Browder states, "This is a way for players to experience the game in ways we've never had before."

Blizzard to celebrate 20th anniversary throughout 2011

Blizzard Entertainment celebrates its 20th anniverary this week and for fans of PC exclusive game titles there are few developers who have had as much influence over the industry as the team in Irvine, California. Blizzard have had. This week Blizzard launched a special web site to celebrate its 20th birthday.

At the moment the only thing on the site is a special video message from Blizzard co-founders Mike Morhaime and Frank Pearce thanking Blizzard fans for their support over the past two decades. It looks like the 20th anniversary site will have more content in the future, including interviews, a Blizzard timeline, a look at the developer's fan community and more.

Rumor: Blizzard theme park coming to China?

We know that Blizzard's games are huge in Asia but a newly discovered web site seems to show plans for a amusement pack that will have sections devoted to two of Blizzard's game franchises. The World Joyland web site has an elaborate design that seems to show concepts for Warcraft and Starcraft sections.

A French web site called Gameblog claims that this amusement park will launch in March in the Wujin district of China. Quite frankly we are not sure if that's true or not as there are no actual pictures of this park on the site. Big Download contacted Blizzard to see if any of this is more than a pipe dream but its PR rep would not comment yet on this development.

Big Download's News Bits & Bytes - January 31

Good bye January. You are cold, you don't leave us with very much light during the day and you give us lots more snow that we know what to do with. Don't let February hit you on the way out.

StarCraft AI player from Berkeley now beating skilled humans

Forget about that IBM computer that is beating the champions in Jeopardy. The real test to see if a CPU can defeat a human is if an AI program can beat a human player in StarCraft. That's the opinion of a group of programmers at the University of California at Berkeley. As reported in a new Ars Technica story, the group have created the Berkeley Overmind which, after lots of matches, defeated a skilled pro StarCraft player in the fall of 2010. The program later won a StarCraft AI tournament held as part of the 2010 Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment conference.

The article, written by one of the team members behind the Berkeley Overmind project, goes over in great detail on how the team developed the AI program. As you can guess some of it is on the technically side but it's some fasinating reading. Yes, an AI program can be faster than a human when it comes to building units but as the team discovered it';s harder to get the AI program to actually decide the best way to defeat a StarCraft human foe. There are also videos showing the Berkeley Overmind program in action and you can follow the team's future progress at its web site.

Gamer Food launches with StarCraft and World of Warcraft inspired products

We have seen gamer-themed food products before (Gamer Grub, for just one example). Now a new company called Gamer Food has announced its presence and is selling health bars with names that are inspired by StarCraft (Protoss Delight) and World of Warcraft (Mana Bar).

The makers of these new products claim these health bars are all natural, organic and hand made to give gamers a quick pick-me-up in between online matches. The Mana Bar, for example, has ingrediants such as organic clover honey, rice cereal and more. Each bar costs $9.99 each for a three bar pack or you can get all six bars shown above in a 12 bar bundle for $32.99.

Warsoup announced

While it's not the first game that merges the first person shooter and the real time strategy genre, the newly announced game Warsoup is certainly the first that has the word "soup" in the title. The game, from an unnamed developer, was first announced via a YouTube video posted today. The game's official web site has also launched but at the moment it's pretty much a place holder site.

The video, which can be seen after the jump, goes over the basics for the sci-fi themed game which it says aims to combine the best of StarCraft with Halo. The video shows off the game's deliberate minimalist art style and its face-based gameplay where players have to build structures and use a mini-map while at the same time engage in first person shooter combat. The game video also boasts that it will have a solid matchmaking and online stats service. Warsoup is slated for release for the PC and Mac but no release date was announced.

[Via Kotaku]

StarCraft II sales in South Korea slower than expected, says report

StarCraft II may have sold three million copies in the first month of its release earlier this year but in the country of South Korea, where the original StarCraft is a massive e-sports phenomenon, sales of the sci-fi RTS sequel have been slower than expected. According to an Edge magazine article reprinted on the Next-Gen.biz web site, "only two to three per cent of Korean gamers" have purchased StarCraft II a month since the game officially launched in that country, despite a $30 million promotional campaign.

What happened? The article speculates that developer Blizzard has tried to exercise more control over how StarCraft II is used in pro gaming tournaments and in the broadcast of those tournaments in South Korea compared to the original game. That control, plus the 12 year gap in between the two games, may have kept some original StarCraft players from switching to StarCraft II. However the article adds that a number of Korean pro-players have now begun to switch from StarCraft to StarCraft II in tournaments so perhaps the transition will simply take longer than first expected.

StarCraft II alternate pricing deals for Asian countries revealed

While players in the US can purchase Blizzard's sci-fi RTS game StarCraft II and play online via Battle.net for no additional fees, that business model is getting some alternate pricing deals in several Asian countries. Starting on November 18, people in Hong Kong/Macau, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand will have the option of a number of ways to purchase and play the game.

While gamers in all those countries can still purchase the full game and play online, they will also be able to buy game cards that will give them online access to play StarCraft II over several different time periods on the cheap. There will be three, seven and 30 day game cards sold in those territories. Players can also purchase a physical DVD to install the game client that also comes with access to play online for seven days. Blizzard has not announced plans to bring this kind of business model to the US.

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