Makin’ Star Movies: Star Dreams

Reader and filmmaker Luke Pierson has made a short documentary feature about competitive Starcraft 2, and I’ve posted it below for you to take a look at. The film is a freshman year documentary project for the film school at Columbia College Chicago, and was shot at (presumably the Starcraft 2 club of) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Pierson explains: “I really wanted to create something that would make it easier for competitive starcraft players to explain to their friends and family (gaming and otherwise) what it’s all about.” And he’s not done a bad job.

Any other gamer-filmmakers out there?

Star Dreams from Luke Pierson on Vimeo.


  1. Atic Atac says:

    “I don’t have a big goal…I just wanna be the best”

    • BathroomCitizen says:

      Yeah, I had a chuckle too :)

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Am I the only one who noticed, that not a single one of them looked happy?
      I mean it’s weird. They are doing something they really love.
      Yet they look destroyed and tired.

      I think good games should not do that. :-/
      They should make you happy and inspired and most of all help you improve yourself.

      Then again, there is a serious lack of not-hurting-anyone epic real-life battles out there. I really mean that.

      P.S.: I was a semi-pro e-sports player, and think games are the mother of all education, art and entertainment, so keep any prejudice about me in your pants. :)

    • BunnyPuncher says:

      I have alot of prejudice down there. Oh yeah :)

    • Starky says:

      Not everyone expresses happiness in the same way, and not everyone – especially competitive people are happy while playing. I’m not huge into SC2, I was briefly in diamond then dropped back down to platinum in season 2 (mainly due to uni and lack of time, and practice).

      Focused, intense, on edge, excited, scared, worried, panicky, stressed and even depressed.
      Are emotions I would link with SC2 while in a game playing it, happiness, fun, and entertainment are not.

      Sometimes playing SC2 can feel awful, your hands don’t do what you want, you can’t seem to make any good decisions, you keep making stupid mistakes and all in all it is pretty fucking miserable, I’ve even had physical reactions to this, feeling shacky, and slightly sick due to the amount of adrenaline it can produce and how upsetting it can be.

      But when things go right, when you play well, when you win – that is possibly the greatest feeling one can get playing video games, or any kind of competitive activity.

      I once won a platinum/low diamond level open SC2 tournament, over 5 games best of 3 – and it was one of the most intensely stressful things I’ve ever done – exams, first dates, job interviews – none of them come close.

      It was also the most intense joy, satisfaction and amazement every time I won a game – and when I won that final game to win the whole thing… oh boy.

      The only thing in my life that beats it was when I played bass in a rock band when I was younger, and performing at a small music festival in front of 5000 people, both for the terror beforehand and the exultation afterwards.
      SC2 got pretty damned close though.

      SC2 players do play for fun too, silly games, custom maps, 4v4’s and other great stuff – there are crap done of really fun minigame/minimods on battlenet and they are a joy to play, having a laugh and a chat with friends over skype.

      Playing competitively is not “fun”… it’s so much more than that.

  2. Hexanol says:

    Ah, Tasteless and Artosis… the two sickest nerd ballers in existence.

  3. seattlepete says:

    Interesting. Not as bitter-sweet as say Hoop Dreams was, where you know that all these kids want is to play in the NBA and there’s no other focus. At least these guys are dreaming about going pro while getting a degree…

    Also – not a lot of chicks in that club.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      There’s a couple at 5:18

    • Carra says:

      In Hoop Dreams playing professional basketball was their only way to get out of the slums.

      Here’s it’s more a luxury dream.

  4. nutterguy says:

    Uwe Boll anyone? Anyone?

  5. QuantaCat says:

    I am. But so far, the two worlds havent met for me.

    EDIT: though I am about to start my own game. As soon as I meet up with that veteran game developer..

  6. karthink says:

    I missed the part about it being filmed at UIUC, and jumped when I recognized half these kids from a class I was a TA for. Didn’t even know there was a Starcraft club here.

    Pretty sure they’d all beat me at Starcraft blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their back though. :(

  7. Chris D says:

    I think it’s appropriate to link to one of the classics of the gamer-film genre for the benefit of those who missed it first time round.

    I am, of course, referring to the seminal John Walker: Pro Adventure Gamer

  8. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Charming little documentary. Did enjoy seeing it. Placing faces and physical expressions where often only weird names exist, also always helps tone down a bit a certain distrust for online play and its crowd of bad losers and even worse winners.

    I don’t follow at all online competitive play (heck I barely follow online play at all for the vast majority of games I got involved with), but was pleasantely surprised to learn that the South Korean pro fever did finally got recognized on other markets. Lets hope Europe soon sees the same explosion. Always found that Professional gaming is a rather interesting prospective with a certain appeal and with both economic and social advantages. Certainly better than raising a generation of Wrestling viewers. But I digress…

  9. butimawizard says:

    My friend Ben Gonyo made a documentary called Gamers:

    link to

    I think it’s available to watch on Hulu. I did the cover art for the dvd packaging too :D

  10. butimawizard says:

    I accidentally posted that twice. My bad, admin.

  11. jimjames says:

    This makes Starcraft 2 sexier than ever, now my girlfriend will finally understand. Hooray!

    • Sacretis says:

      Yay! That’s the hope at least. Tell us how it goes.

    • jimjames says:

      She dumped me.

    • Starky says:

      Haha, epic…

      “Honey this is what it means to me”.
      “My god you are really a massive fucking nerd, it’s over.”
      “Oh well, more time to ladder and practice.”

  12. thatman says:

    Incidentally, yesterday I came across this autobiographic video (link to of a famous Starcraft player and commentator known as Day9 in which he talks about some of his experiences as a professional gamer. Needless to say, I found it very interesting.

    • Sacretis says:

      Here’s another pretty interesting one:
      link to

      It’s footage of Artosis (the commentator above), Tasteless (his co-commentator) and Day9 from the World Cyber Games 2005, back before they were titans of the starcraft community.

    • Namos says:

      Pretty sure the Day9 autobiography was already mentioned on a Sunday Papers, but it’s always worth another one. It’s a good watch.

    • Carra says:

      I was gonna link to it but I’ve been beaten.

      Day9’s cast is a must watch. It succeeds in trying to explain the enthusiasm to Starcraft in a much better way than this clip.

  13. Jon says:

    Good video, I enjoyed watching but I’m pretty sure that footage at the start of the GSL is copyrighted.

    • Sacretis says:

      Used with permssion… and before you ask, the music is licensed as well. We may be student filmmakers, but we still take these things seriously.

  14. Ziv says:

    Great film, well made and professional looking. Although at some point I kinda got tired of looking at blurry pictures.
    But overall a great film that looks amazing for first year.

  15. TooNu says:

    Wow, that was slightly fun to watch but also a bit sad as they look a bit greasy. Don’t play so much you forget to wash eh?

  16. Squire says:

    I’m a camera-pointing joystick-man, started a course in September at SAE Glasgow. Here’s my first project, try to guess the theme/influence ha. Let me know what you think here and youtube.

    link to

  17. Sacretis says:

    What does RPS think of the length? Reddit Starcraft is clamoring for a longer, more extensive version. Would it remain interesting to the less devoted starcrafters here?

  18. danimalkingdom says:

    13 years on and starcraft players still look like dweebs

    • smokingkipper says:

      oh, to be a dweeb again. Real life does indeed catch up, eventually.

  19. BeamSplashX says:

    Gaming filmmaker here (and yes, filmmaker and filmmaking are both one word and not two after four years of film studies courses). As for the two intersecting, I’ll be finishing up my senior seminar animation by Friday, meaning it should be up shortly-ish-esque, and it’s relevant to games in a parodic sense.

  20. Vandell says:


    What keyboard is that in the photo? Anyone know?

    I’ve been looking for a good chiclet style keyboard..

  21. Pinky G says:

    I have said before that I have a background in Broodwar and as such feel a need to post. Broodwar is a really good game. Dont be fooled into thinking it is completely unfriendly to newbies because it really isnt. For instance there is a small tournament coming up which is 3v3, and this means it is completely for fun only and very much just a laugh. It will be casted with english commentary at the weekend aswell by a guy known as Sayle who I can recommend wholeheartedly.
    Link to the tournament thread on teamliquid.
    link to