Blizzard Making Their Own Starcraft 2 Mods

By Jim Rossignol on September 21st, 2010 at 3:43 pm.


Game Informer have been chatting to Dustin Browder, lead bossman on StarCraft 2, and at the end of the interview, when asked about the other installments of the game, he said this: “We’ve got some mods we’ve developed internally that we’re going to put out to get some more art into the hands of the mod makers but also provide what we hope are some polished gameplay experiences for our fans to get more value out of Battle.net.”

A developer releasing its own mods? I’m not even sure what you call that. Creator generated content? Anyway, they had talked up how powerful and flexible the engine is before release, so I guess we will be able to see Blizzard put some of their own muscle behind that notion. Interesting.

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50 Comments »

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  1. Zyrxil says:

    Valve hires people to make mods for Source, does that count?

    • CMaster says:

      Do they? Who? What are their products?

    • Brumisator says:

      I think Zyrxil said that wrong.
      He probably meant Valve hires mod makers.

      Then, they get to work on games and thier free updates… FreeLC as the cool kids call it nowadays…

    • subedii says:

      Well it’s more the case that if they see a mod they like and feel that the devs behind it would make a valuable addition to the team, they tend to get hired to work on that project in an official capacity whilst doing other work at Valve.

      Portal Team? Digipen students

      Team Fortress Classic? Hired on core modders. Same with Counter-Strike. And Day of Defeat.

      Turtle Rock used to be an independent studio, they became a part of Valve for Left 4 Dead.

      IceFrog, AKA one of those DoTA guys, got hired by Valve and is now working on a DoTA game for them.

      Alien Swarm modders? Hired by Valve, continued working on AS Source and released it for free.

      Valve has a ginormous history of taking on community modders to work on projects. I think Gabe Newell once said a few years back that something like 50% of Valve comes from that modding background.

      Forgot one: The guy who did Minerva: Metastasis (aweseome Half-Life 2 singleplayer mod) got hired on and IIRC is working on Ep3.

    • Leelad says:

      @CMaster

      Garry, Garrys mod.

      OK so he made it and they said “wanna sell it” and he was like “YA!”

      Like CS and DoD but yeah I think that’s what he was getting at.

    • markcocjin says:

      Epic pays winners of Make Something Unreal so they can make a better looking mod. Does that count?

      Epic again makes Unreal Tournament on their Unreal Engine and later makes mods for it like Gears of
      War. Does that count?

      Media Molecule makes a game with zero games inside hoping that customers can make their own game to play. Does that count?

      A security guard has a clicker tracking the number of people entering the building. Does that count?

    • Anonymousity says:

      Blizzard did this for wc3 too the maps weren’t that good but they were okay.

  2. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    It will likely be labelled FreeLC.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Freeloadable content? Hmm.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      It rhymes and emphasises that its’ DLC that is free, what more could you want from a PR word?

    • Unaco says:

      IF they are released for free… I don’t think there was any mention of pricing in the interview/article.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      I think it will be free because the aim of Battlenet 2.0 is to monetise user generated content so having it released free gives modders more assets to work with and is a good advert for mods in general in SC2 (especially for people who only bought SC2 because they like WoW etc). Then of course the best mods get popular enough to charge for their work on Bnet and Blizzard takes a cut.

    • JKjoker says:

      Free ? when did he say they would release them for free ? i did a word search for “free” in the article and nothing, you are talking about an Activision infested company here and BNet2 was designed to be an electronic shop

    • Premium User Badge

      Shakermaker says:

      A word is born.

  3. Bindibadgi says:

    Dev made mods? DLC? Bobby Cocktic and Acitivision will probably decide to charge $15 for each one then.

  4. rocketman71 says:

    Is there an offline LAN mod?. I might even buy the game then.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Just wait for the inevitable crack, Blizzard aren’t too likely to legalize copyright infringement themselves.

    • Thants says:

      I’m not sure copyright infringement means what you think it means.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      I wasn’t talking about playing offline on a LAN, but its implications. But if I’m missing something here, feel free to explain.

  5. Unaco says:

    Bethesda did it with Morrowind (Firemoth Siege, Lefemm Armour, Master Index, etc) years ago. All released for free. I don’t see it as being a big thing… it’s the sort of thing a developer SHOULD do.

    Gah! Why did I think about Morrowind! Now I want to reinstall and start a new game.

    • Andy says:

      And since then became basically the first studio to release paid for content with their Horse Armour for Oblivion.
      I can’t see many studios following blizzard’s principle while paid-for DLC is riding so high at the moment.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Dungeon Siege had a mod made by the GPG but it was only playable on Windows XP, it was a marketing gimmick.

      Valve released Ricochet and Deathmatch Classic as mods for HL 1.

      So yeah, this thing isn’t unheard of.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      This is the same company that sold a million or so star horses for their MMO.

      It won’t be free.

    • DrGonzo says:

      It’s also a company who sold a bajillion copies of Warcraft 3 because of Dota, I wouldn’t be suprised if lots of it was free. A mixture of free content given away and some paid for content would make sense. But if it is paid for content, wouldn’t it simply be DLC rather than a mod?

    • Byth says:

      As long as the quality is good, I think that it’ll be a success either way. I mean, after they make it it has to go through to their mod-approval department. I’m sure we’ll see some devblogs on their rejected mods.

  6. Billy says:

    Obligatory “WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS WHEN THE CUSTOM MAP AND MOD SYSTEM IS SO INCREDIBLY BROKEN THAT EVEN IF THEY DID RELEASE THEM IT WOULD BE UNLIKELY ANYONE WOULD BE ABLE TO FIND THEM DUE TO THE SHEER IDIOCY OF THE CURRENT SYSTEM” post.

    • jsdn says:

      Also, WHY ARE THE WORKING ON THESE PROJECTS WHEN THE GAME IS STILL CLEARLY IMBALANCED? FIX WHAT YOU HAVE.

    • bleeters says:

      Yes, it’s a tremendous shame Blizzard is such a small company, incapable of multi-tasking.

      (I was under the impression they were already working on a balance patch?)

  7. Premium User Badge

    Schaulustiger says:

    Are there any really outstanding user-created maps already? I have seen some great prototypes on sc2mapster.com, but the stuff that is released all looked like the typical tower-defense/hero stuff that we already know from Warcraft 3. Well, the custom map system is pretty borked anyway, another reason why I haven’t touched Starcraft 2 for quite some time.

    • JKjoker says:

      as far as im aware the restrictions and dependency on bnet turned most mapmakers off plus SC2 is quickly losing players (they played this game for years since it was released 12 years ago, they are bound to get bored faster than with SC1 and the content is not being generated fast enough to keep them interested) which means they are losing the raw manpower that was supposed to make the maps for free while Blizzard racked the dough

      Blizzard is probably hoping to spark a map making boom with this, without serious changes to the map making restrictions im very doubtful and even if the were to totally remove them grabbing the lost interest on the game with anything less than releasing heart of the swarm seems like a hopeless idea and even then i wouldnt be surprised if SC2’s second slice does not sell as well as the first one now

  8. Tei says:

    *read older comments*

    Why is the map system borked?

    Can the SC2 players explain these things to us, no-sc2 players? We don’t know, but sounds like something is not working how is supposed to be (or is working how is supposed to be against the will of gamers )

  9. ChampionHyena says:

    Back in the OLD AND ANCIENT PRE-DLC AGE of 1999 and 2000, folks like Epic would release bonus packs full of dev-made maps, characters, and mutators for free. This doesn’t seem that different. Unless they start charging, I approve! More content is more content.

    • Unaco says:

      I just remembered Total Annihilation! A new free unit released every week by the Devs! I don’t think it ever became the 1 unit a week for 2 years that I seem to remember them talking about, but still.

      Like I say above… that’s how a Dev should work imo. Shame I don’t run a major development house.

  10. CogDissident says:

    You can only select maps sorted by “most popular”. Thus the only maps that show up are the maps that are played most common. That means most of the “top” maps are there because a group of people/accounts sit there and start and quit the game many many times to bump it to the top of the list, where current users keep it going.

    Also, you can’t see if anyone is actually waiting to “play” the game right now, only how popular it is, so if you join you can be waiting up to an hour for a game if it is even in the #20 spot on the list out of ALL mods that exist.

  11. teo says:

    Maybe they shouldn’t have made their fucking BNET 2.0 worse than the original BNET so making mods would actually be worthwhile. The guy who did BNET 2.0 also did XBL, figures

  12. arioch says:

    I love the way that any post related to a blizzard game brings such a wide range of hate towards their contribution to pc gaming.. From how they are desperate to steal money in the name of activision, to how they have ruined everyones favourite game by releasing a sequel… I guess they are just easy targets as they are at the top of the pile. I can see how they could look like this from the outside looking in.

    I look at it from a different angle:

    Blizzard have repeatedly given me some of the best games I have ever played… From someone who has loved everything they have made from Rock and Roll Racing all the way to Starcraft 2, the fact of the matter is they simply have never made a bad game. And I trust they will continue to do so… If they say they are releasing some inhouse mods for starcraft 2, I say: hey that sounds great.

  13. bagga says:

    In the leading photo, is Raynor smoking a cigar *through his visor*? That’s pretty bad arse.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      That’s not Raynor. It’s just some Marine.

    • LintMan says:

      @bagga: I think that’s Tychus – and the visor is actually open – you can sorta tell if you look closely.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      It closes at the end of the cinematic. It’s usually explained away by saying the suit has airco or something.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    It should be remembered that they did the same thing for Warcraft 3. There was a map where you were racing cars, and there was a co-op RPG map, there was a DotA-like map and they also made a Tower Defense map. And I’m sure I have forgotten something.

    Except for some reason the Blizzard maps never became all that popular on Battle.net.

  15. Torqual says:

    Hi, you have no search function you must browse through every map available on the bnet. You can only filter by 5 generell categories. Its not very comfortable to search for a special map. And you can only upload maps smaller than 20 mb i think. Thats a hard restriction for really ambitious mod projects. I hope hits helped a bit to describe the situation to nonsc2owners.

    Have a nice day.

    • JKjoker says:

      and, my personal favorite, since the map HAS TO get posted in bnet making Blizzard responsible on the content, it has to go though the “corporate processor” (you know, those things that turn anything, no matter how good it is into a little turd ?) to get posted and remain posted (these rules are ever changing and expanded), this is a VERY BIG DEAL, that means :

      no words that could be in any way taken as an insult, not even in the script where nobody is going to see them, words like God, Zeus, African, etc are outright refused by the map program, other words might go though only for later to find bnet deleted your map and they are now treating you with a temp/perm ban (im surprised they are allowing the use of color names, you know, Blue might offend some Avatar furries), ive heard of maps being taken down because the units in the minimap sort of looked like a dick

      no trademark infringement, this is very vague, remaking other games in sc2 engine ? dangerous and any claim would mean instant map delete with a ban as bonus, using trademarked characters ? straight no (not even using Blizzard characters is safe), even cloning other maps might end into trouble, i dare you to find a warcraft 3 map that is 100% original, they all steal a little from other games or maps, taking old things and trying a new spin on it or improving it is how these things progress, tower defense maps were pretty crappy at first you know, well, that could be grounds to ban the map now, good luck when the map you spent 200 hours on gets taken down because the Edge guy claims you used a trademarked word or something, all youll get in return is a nice little email from Blizzard in a treating tone

      now tell me how anything worth a damn can go though those two filters without turning into yet another tower defense clone

    • Tei says:

      clbuttic

  16. MadTinkerer says:

    Not to mention, y’know Counter-Strike, which was the most popular shooter on the web for years and continues to be very popular today. Of course, the original CS team have been with Valve so long now, it’s easy to forget they were once completely independent.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      That was meant to be in reply to the first post.

      But yeah, other than Valve, not a lot of other developers are known for being so close to their mod communities.

  17. Baka says:

    This isn’t new, is it?
    They did the same thing with Warcraft III.
    Easterbunny maps, official Tower Defenses, the whole Rexxar-Campagin…
    afair all that stuff lead to new usable models, also.

  18. Lill says:

    @JKjoker

    Yeah, it’s both funny and sad how Blizzard kind of blew it with SC2.

    I don’t regret my purchase – I very much feel I got my money’s worth out of it – but it certainly could have been much more. In fact, I probably spent more time with custom games on Warcraft 3 than I’ve done all together on SC2 – and I hardly even played DotA and Tower Defense.

    Of course Warcraft 3 has been out for a good while now, but unless they fix all that they broke with SC2, I probably won’t spend more time with it either. I wouldn’t have guessed that a year ago!

  19. malkav11 says:

    They already demonstrated how flexible the mapmaking tools are. The arcade shooter in the singleplayer cantina, for example. (And of course nearly every mission in the campaign could be its own game type.)

  20. luckystriker says:

    nice one, ReV_VAdAUL.