A Starcraft 2 Gym: Snute’s Click Game

By Adam Smith on December 19th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

It's basically this but dots

Once upon a Thursday dreary, I was browsing weak and weary,
Searching many a long and angry reddit rant or forum boast,
While I shuddered, nearly weeping, suddenly there came a tweeting,
As of some one gently linking, linking to Team Liquid’s post.

I am posting Snute’s Click Game not because I expect everyone who reads this to play it but because I was startled to discover it earlier today. It’s a training tool, for Starcraft 2 players, and it involves clicking on tiny little dots as quickly as possible. I’ve since learned that it’s not the only trainer of its type, which makes sense. This is one of the tools for a complete Starcraft gym and trying it has helped my old man’s brain better understand how e-sports folk break a game down into discrete skills and tasks. You will find my score below.

In my day, a trainer was something that gave you access to millions of cheat codes, or a shoe. Do any of our readers use this kind of thing to improve their skills? I could probably do with a good session on it.

I clicked 46 times right out of 49!

I think that’s quite good, considering the state of my crusty old mouse and generally decrepit state. In the replies over at Team Liquid, people are posting scores in the sixties and seventies. That’s not for me. I’ll maybe progress to the fifties but that’ll do me. Instead of improving myself in any way, I’ve started to think of other parts of play that could be improved through repetitive tasks like this. Hours and hours spent circle-strafing perhaps, and the knowledge of timing gained through repeated application of the same routine.

I’m reminded of learning Quake and Unreal Tournament maps, knowing precisely when weapons would respawn after a pickup and hearing the click as I passed by without even pausing to check that anything was there. And firing into the same corners when entering certain rooms every single time. If the odds were good that somebody might be there, it was worth the expenditure of ammo. The maps eventually became abstractions – I didn’t see them anymore, I simply knew when and where things were likely to happen.

Over the last ten years, I’ve moved away from that kind of gaming altogether but some of those same impulses and rote techniques seem to be alive in Snute’s Click Game. And, by extension, in Starcraft 2. It’s oddly compelling.

I clicked 48 times right out of 60!

I’m getting worse. Unless accuracy is much more valuable than speed, in which case I’ve improved very slightly.

I’m going to do a test.

This is how well I do when listening to Daft Punk.

I clicked 47 times right out of 53!

I think I slowed down to click to the beat a little bit. That’s not harder, better or faster.

Let’s try…Milestones! Jazz hands at the ready.

I clicked 42 times right out of 71!

I got a bit too excited there.

Various other experiments saw me coming out in the mid-high forties and the only time I broke the fifty mark with a good degree of accuracy was here.

I clicked 54 times right out of 57!

I was listening to this.

Perhaps all pro players listen to Bach. It’s certainly the music I will blast from the mighty speakers of the starship Notorious Drunkard when I finally wage my interstellar war.

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17 Comments »

  1. lowprices says:

    Did… did you just paraphrase The Raven in a Starcraft 2 post? That’s beautiful.

  2. Reapy says:

    Very cool, I have rarly stumbled on these kinds of programs, but they are few and far between. I recall finding a counterstrike post about a training map, it was interesting, they had a + target, and would put the mouse in the center, then flick to the edges of the plus and try to hit dead on, this was a practice of ‘snap shots’.

    I tried to do this when I was into payday 2 for a weekend or so, I hadn’t played a regular FPS in years, so shooting something in the head was really awkward for me having gone through several new mice and monitors, but I just used some textures on the wall to snap shot practice for a bit and saw a nice improvement reasonably quickly.

    It seems you really only need to be able to get precision accuracy in a small box. Everyone can get their mouse in the vicinity of a target really quickly, it is tweaking it 2 millimeters to the left and not going too far or too short that makes the difference.

    It is interesting to consider how normal it is for people to run drills for traditional sports, but gets into the thought of ‘this is weird’ for doing the same for a game. I got much better at warband when I finally decided to stop playing the game normally from time to time and focus in on one particular trouble area I wanted to improve upon, then folding that new information back into my regular play style.

    Usually figuring out something helpful like this is breaking new ground, which makes it somewhat rewarding and fun to figure out an effective training technique for whatever game you want. I’ve always wanted to be tweak AI to create a training bot for some online games, as you start to observer common patterns, it would be nice to have the bot behave similarly such that you can get focused practice on common situations.

  3. Darth Gangrel says:

    “Perhaps all pro players listen to Bach” Without further research, it’s hard to Bach that statement up.

  4. Rockman says:

    Am I the only one who wants to see the rest of The Raven 2.0? And then at some point have it read by James Earl Jones of course.

  5. Lusketrollet says:

    I’m reminded of learning Quake and Unreal Tournament maps, knowing precisely when weapons would respawn after a pickup and hearing the click as I passed by without even pausing to check that anything was there. And firing into the same corners when entering certain rooms every single time. If the odds were good that somebody might be there, it was worth the expenditure of ammo. The maps eventually became abstractions – I didn’t see them anymore, I simply knew when and where things were likely to happen.

    Sounds like an absolutely horrible, wretched way to play games.

    • Nevard says:

      You never get so much into the groove of a game that you can play it without consciously registering some of the more repetitive actions? It’s not awful at all, it just feels very… right.
      In WoW I know my DPS character’s skillset so deeply that it seems to kind of do itself while I am navigating around whatever boss room we happen to be in.

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  7. Niko says:

    Isn’t the best way to train Starcraft playing skills to, erm, play Starcraft?

    • Roswulf says:

      No, at least not exclusively.

      Think of basketball players. Yes, professional caliber players play a great deal of basketball. But they also run sprints, and do weight training, and spend hours running shooting drills and performing innumerable other kinds of activities that isolate and hone specific skills of relevance to the game. That’s the root of the article’s “Starcraft gym” metaphor.

  8. PoLLeNSKi says:

    Similarly in Quake there’s a multitude of exercises and practices players use to improve certain aspects of the game. From a whole mod dedicated to movement skill (Defrag), players concentrating and isolating the different aspects of aiming like in this youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIc3L6x9Z-A or also doing the texture snap shots as suggested by Reapy.

    I’ve also seen dedicated applications for people to hone their timing skills (basically learning to add 25/35 seconds onto a clock and remember multiples whilst otherwise multitasking).

  9. Noise says:

    This is just one aspect of many that are important for being a good SC2 player. Unit positioning, timings, army compositions, economy management, decision making, and at higher levels – deception and mind games, are all about as important as being able to micro and click fast.