Posts Tagged ‘StarCraft II: Heart Of The Swarm’

Blizzard and Google betray humanity with StarCraft 2 tools to train artificial intelligences

When the robots come for us, bad sci-fi has taught me, it’ll be teenage whizzes who save the world. In light of that, I believe that Blizzard and Google’s DeepMind Lab are taking the audacious and treasonous step of pre-emptively toadying to our future robot overlords. They’ve teamed up to release a machine learning API and toolkit to use StarCraft II [official site] as a testbed for artificial intelligences. In short, they’re trying to teach robots how to outthink and outmaneuver twitchy teenagers in war.

Congratulations, you’ve sold the human race out for… what? Smarter surveillance tools? Better self-driving cars? When those spy drones hunt us and your car transforms into a bipedal robot with you still inside, you won’t find it so exciting. Read the rest of this entry »

StarCraft II Co-op Mutators Shaking Up Missions

Blizzard are jazzing up co-op missions in StarCraft II [official site], adding optional ‘mutators’ to change missions in strange and difficult ways along with a rotating lineup of ‘weekly mutations’. Each week, expect new preset challenges on a certain missions, such as the combination of infested hordes spawning in waves, infested monsters bursting out of corpses, and a deep dark fog of war for the Oblivion Express co-op mission. Blizzard are also boshing in a ‘mastery’ system for co-op, which will let max-level commanders earn more boosts to their commander’s powers.

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Nihilistically-Named ‘Free’ Starcraft LOTV Prologue Is Out

‘Legacy Of the Void’, ‘Whispers Of Oblivion’. Man, whoever’s in charge of names at Blizzard needs to go and lie on the grass in the sunshine for a while, otherwise we’re going to end up with ‘Warcraft IV: I Just Feel So… Empty, Y’know?’ The aforementioned Mutterings Of Unconsciousness is the name given to a ‘prologue’ for upcoming Starcraft II [official site] expansion Inheritance Of Nothingness, which is now available for ‘free’ to anyone who pre-orders the add-on.

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Protoss The Button: Starcraft II Legacy Of The Void Beta

The poor old Adept will have to retire his name if I ever control him

Good news if you’ve been waiting to see how Big Stubbly Man and Chitin Stilettos Woman managed to defeat timeless evil once and for all until the next sequel: the third and final chunk of StarCraft II is very much on its way. In fact, beta invites for the Protoss-focused Legacy of the Void are due to go out before the end of the month. “Much has changed” since the last time Blizzard let us have a peek at their void.
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Warcraft III In Starcraft II Because Why Not?

Still no news on an official new Warcraft game – and I’d be fairly surprised if that changed before the end of this decade, to be honest – but news of Warcraft III remade in Starcraft II feels like a long time coming. It’s partly down to Blizzard’s recent release of the Warcraft III assets to the community, but mostly down to pure gumption on the mod team’s part.
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Craftwar: StarCraft 2 Editor Adding Warcraft III Assets

The remade Sentinel lineup.

Warcraft III‘s mod scene is grossly underrated, I’ve muttered into many a pint glass. Yes, yes, we know it was where MOBAs and tower defense games really took off, but so many more inventive and interesting and weird games bounced around, types of game I haven’t seen since. I always thought this was helped a lot by WC3 having a huge range of units and wildlife and odd art assets folks could repurpose, making mods about more than soldiers. Delightfully, loads of those WC3 bits are now coming to StarCraft II‘s editor, Blizzard have announced. The main Hero units are getting modern makeovers too.

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StarCraft 2 Custom Maps Now Free For Anyone To Play

The mutalisks represent mods.

This is bold. The part I already knew: you can now play any of StarCraft 2‘s three races in multiplayer for free. The part I didn’t expect: you can also play any of the user-created custom maps and modes available in StarCraft Arcade for free, too. That’s a huge amount of free game, and a huge boon for the mod community.
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RE: That Heroes Of The Storm Interview

Well, my Heroes of the Storm interview ended on a strange note, didn’t it? You don’t know the half of it, either. You weren’t actually there. As I attempted to explain why designing female characters that look as empowered as their male counterparts is absolutely not about political correctness for political correctness’ sake, the room’s atmosphere seemed to me to become extremely curt. Browder seemed highly resistant to engaging on the topic, and sounded particularly severe when saying “We’re not running for President.” Because clearly, that’s the only scenario in which this sort of thing really matters. When you’re trying to make kissy faces at the camera and win hearts by pretending to care about The Real Issues.

Now, I don’t know if Browder meant for it to come across that way, and he could well have misinterpreted the bottom line of my questioning. If so, that’s fair and understandable, and I apologize for using him as an example. Also, I very much appreciate that he said he’d at least take the feedback to mind. But the attitude he seemed to express is an incredibly prevalent one both within the industry and among its closest followers, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss it in detail.
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Hot For HOTS: Blizzard’s MOBA Now Heroes Of The Storm

Blizzard might want to consider firing its acronym-wrangling-keeping-washing-and-redeploying department (or AWKWARD, for short), because it seems to have run out of ideas. Once upon a time, there was this little expansion pack called StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, but its friends just called it HOTS. And now Blizzard’s MOBA, once known as Blizzard All-Stars, has been rechristened Heroes of the Storm – aka, er, HOTS. Gee, this sure is awkwar– wait, I get it now! Oh AWKWARD, you clever scoundrels, you. But yes, Blizzard’s officially chasing dreams of MOBA glory again, and a big re-reveal is set for BlizzCon next month.

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Wot I Think – StarCraft II: Heart Of The Swarm Singleplayer

It probably won’t come as any shock to learn that none of the current RPS team have gone the distance in StarCraft II’s incomparable multiplayer, but I can at least tell you what I made of the expansive singleplayer campaign in its first expansion, Heart of the Swarm. No throwaway side-dish, this is a vast, bubbling, consciously epic, setpiece-filled cauldron of scifi RTS-RPG. This time around, the stars are hiveminded alien nasties the Zerg and their sometime ruler Sarah Kerrigan, seeking a comeback and revenge after the events of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Scuttle this way and I’ll tell you more.
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The Buttocks Of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Zagara visits the gym regularly, clearly

Playing through the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm campaign this weekend, I couldn’t help but be struck by Blizzard’s equality-minded approach to how it depicts its characters’ hindquarters. I’ve just been through every cutscene again, and screengrabbed every bottom I could spot (barring repeat shots and most of the slow zooms).
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StarCraft II: Heart Of The Swarm Starts Beating

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

“… and over to Craig, who you might say is at the ‘heart of the launch’. Ahahah! Craig?”

“Thanks, Cara. I’m reporting live from the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm launch. You might say I’m at the ‘heart of the launch’.”

“I just said that, Craig.”

“I know you did. I was just, er, vamping. You know? Okay. Look, I’ll admit. I wasn’t paying attention. Someone just told me Heart of the Swarm had been released. I was asleep 10 minutes ago, dreaming about helping Vince McMahon’s daughter choose survival clothes. It wasn’t even Stephanie. So, yes: Heart of the Swarm, the second game of the second StarCraft, went live just over eleven hours ago, and the always-on-the-ball RPS have a barely awake Scotsman telling you all about it.”

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Power Overwhelming – StarCraft II: HoTS’ CG Opening

Here's the one frame in the opening that's not 90 percent or more gray.

Yes, I’m aware that “power overwhelming” is a Protoss line – not Zerg. But that’s really the only way to adequately describe what’s being depicted in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm‘s ultra-lavish CG opening. Well, that or “ooky, pukey Overlord Leviathan insides,” but a) those don’t show up for too terribly long and b) I wanted to forget that they showed up at all. So mainly, Blizzard continues in its rich – if all-too-predictable – tradition of titanic armies clashing and beating each other over the head with kitchen sinks the size of Death Stars. Oh, but this time, there’s also A Twist. I wish I could tell you that I mean The Twist – implying that everyone sets aside their differences for a scintillatingly choreographed dance number – but sadly, you’ll just have to settle for a surprise reveal at the end.

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Heart Of The Swarm Beta Opens To Order Of Pre-Orderers


The Big Lizard send word that they’ve opened Heart Of The Swarm’s beta to people who pre-ordered before December 18th. People who pre-order from now on will be placed in a kind of vat and liquidised. No wait, I read that wrong, they will be added to the beta in subsequent waves. That’s right. There’s a download link for the client through the link, but unless you’ve got beta access it won’t work, no way, no how. Unless you’re a magician. Or a magic hacker. Or a time-traveller. Any of those is fine.

The game itself is all set for a March 2013 launch. I’ve posted a trailer below, in case you’ve forgotten what a Starcraft 2 is, for some reason.
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StarCraft II: Heart Of The Swarm Swarms Into Sight On…

look at them all, swarming away there

Oh, that was such a dick move of me, wasn’t it? To do a … and everything to make you read the story? It’s not even because I’m chasing hits. Hits, shmits – it’s just that I’ve got a tiresome headcold and am feeling highly belligerent as a result.

I’ll make up for this awful wasting of your time by definitely not posting the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm release date underneath the ‘Read the rest of this entry’ jump.
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Blizzard Pegs SC II: HOTS For 2013, Outs Diablo Expansion

Today, Blizzard got on a phone and opened its collective mouth, and as so often tends to happen when these factors combine, words came out. Instead of glorious operatic ovations or beat poetry, however, the words somewhat surprisingly took the form of videogame announcements. And the games in question? Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. Madness, right? What a world we live in! What a world. Ride the break down into the frightful depths of uncertainty for the full blow-by-blow.

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Huh: StarCraft II’s Getting A Leveling System

If you're Zerg, 'XP' actually stands for Xarblac points.

Sometimes, I view my mundane day-to-day tasks as a series of experience-endowing quests. Go the grocery store. 300 XP! Obtain vegetables (x10). 400 XP! Defeat the checkout line – which is, in fact, a hideously undulating centipede monster – and escape the store as it collapses into an all-consuming void of infinite nothingness. 7 XP! Is it any wonder that I see things that way, though? I mean, everything has a leveling system these days. Even when they don’t really make a whole lot of sense. Case in point: StarCraft II.

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Starcraft II: Where’s Me Warhound?


RPS chum Rich Stanton has been contemplating the loss of a classic Terran unit over in the Heart Of The Swarm beta. Here are his thoughts on the matter.

Let’s not beat around the bush: I love building Marines. Starcraft II may as well be called ‘Marines’ for me, because making lots of these little guys and then sending them off to destroy alien forces is pretty much all I’ve done for the past two years. Terran scrubs represent! Starcraft II rather encourages this, I think, because there isn’t really a better option for the Terran army than Marines. Sure, the odd fancy-pants will try Hellion openings, and gods among men like Thorzain can dominate with all-mech strategies – but for a bog standard Terran like me? Marines mate. A few Marauders, couple of Medivacs, if it’s Zerg or Terran then add a few Siege Tanks. It is often said that the Terran army in Wings of Liberty has more options than any other, which may be true, but things begin and end with the Marine.
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Hell, It’s About Time: Heart Of The Swarm Beta Goes Live

I can only assume this screenshot was taken when Kerrigan's pathfinding went wonky and she walked right into lava.

It’s been quite the day for long-awaited project launches. First Natural Selection 2 got a release month, and now StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm‘s beta has all its Overlords in a nice, neatly organized row. Also, I guess Farmville 2’s taken to Facebook’s oh-so-fertile pastures. So that’s… yep. Anyway, StarCraft! The beta’s officially up and running, and you could very well be in it. But probably not – because the initial round of invites went out to “a select group of pro-gamers, members of the press, Arcade contest winners, and shoutcasters.” Soon, though. Sooooooooon.

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Care Again: Heart Of The Swarm Beta Coming ‘Very Soon’

I'm pretty sure her hair is some new breed of zerg.

I like to imagine that creating an expansion for StarCraft is like disarming a multi-megaton bomb using live lobsters instead of wirecutters. One wrong move, and the whole thing will go sky-high. Also, you are constantly being attacked. By lobsters. Who, I guess, are the fans in this metaphor. I’m not really sure anymore. At any rate, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is just about to start making its final zerg rush toward the finish line, and it needs your help.

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