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The Evolution of StarCraft

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the power-overwhelming dept.

Real Time Strategy (Games) 89

Ars Technica's Opposable Thumbs blog links to a piece chock full of gaming history. The StarCraft Legacy site offers up a historical record of the evolution of StarCraft . Written back in 2004, it is still relevant today. A game title that, lo these many years later, not only has an avid cult following but may be the most popular sport in South Korea is something you want to keep in mind. We may even hear word of a sequel this year. The piece runs down the numerous changes the game underwent, from the ugly alpha days through to the upheaval of Brood War (damned Lurkers). Tidbits like this make the article well worth checking out: "The game made a weak first impression at [E3], and it received much criticism. There were many remarks that the game looked too much like 'Orcs in space.' When Blizzard came back from E3 that year, they decided to scrap the idea. Their decision? 'Let's step it up a little more, let's revamp the engine, let's do more than what we're showing. We can't do Orcs in space.' Thus, StarCraft was reborn. The basics of the Warcraft II engine were still used, but more work was being put into the design and programming."

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Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (0, Offtopic)

theStorminMormon (883615) | more than 6 years ago | (#17830590)

Written back in 2004, it is still relevant today.

Seriously, a 3 year old history of Starcraft? Is news? You've got to be kidding me.

-stormin

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (1)

blackicye (760472) | more than 6 years ago | (#17830728)

lol I pondered your comment, made a wild guess as to who would've
posted this bit of "news"

I guessed right..Zonk, I guess better late than never no?

That said though, I did spend a fair portion of my life playing
Starcraft when it was first released, I had for some reason never
really found Warcraft (the RTS) all that appealing, in any of its
3 incarnations.

Starcraft I feel was possibly the most interesting RTS that had been
released during its time, 3 races which played very differently,
fairly good balance for the races, fairly low system requirements,
and more importantly, multi-player was fun!

I wonder if Starcraft 2 will be announced this year..

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17831610)

Why is your
post in the
form of a
poem?

Honestly,
you don't have
to hit 'return'
after every
line.

All that does
is screw up the
formatting for
normal people
when they try
to read your
post.

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (4, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831724)

Starcraft I feel was possibly the most interesting RTS that had been
released during its time


Ever play Total Annihilation?

StarCraft: high terrain serves only to create choke points and barriers to units. It is completely ignored for anything but restricting movement.

TA: Terrain is modelled as truly 3D, and has great effect on combat. High gound matters; a unit firing off a ridge can be protected by the ridge while pummelling its targets below.

StarCraft: Every shot fired hits its target, even when a moving target changes direction as a slow-moving projectile approaches.

TA: Weapons are semi-realistic; they can miss a fast-moving target or be stopped by terrain.

StarCraft: Air units move just like ground units (with the exception of the Carrier's drones), only ignoring terrain.

TA: Air units move realistically, with planes banking and gunships swerving to avoid enemy fire.

StarCraft: Units either move or they fight. Not both.

TA: Most units are capable of firing while on the move, and frequently do so on their own.

Don't get me wrong; StarCraft was a fun game and brought some great things to the RTS genre. Its three balanced factions brought a new element to strategy gaming that is used heavily today. But that was the only real innovation in SC; the only great step it took from WC2 was that the factions forced players to learn a variety of tactics to be competitive.

Total Annihilation was years ahead of its time with gameplay elements that weren't seen in other games until just recently. It's probably the most underrated RTS out there.

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (2, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#17832050)

Total Annihilation was a great game too, though I did tend to prefer StarCraft, probably out of familiarity.

StarCraft: high terrain serves only to create choke points and barriers to units. It is completely ignored for anything but restricting movement.

This isn't true. Units on low terrain next to high terrain had (I know) restricted sightlines and units on high terrain next to low terrain (I think) had extended sightlines as compared to the unit on flat terrain. I think it also affected the probability of hitting another unit when firing too (or maybe did less damage), but I'm less sure on that.

StarCraft: Units either move or they fight. Not both.

The Terran Siege Tank can fire while in motion.

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#17832744)

Yeah, when a unit on low terrain fired on an elevated unit, sometimes you'll see the bullets "splash" off of the terrain in front of them. I forget if it's a total miss or if it just reduces the damage taken however.

I tried TA for awhile, but from what I remember the AI was dumber than a sack of rocks and there were a ton of units that did almost the same job. It also ran rather slow on my machine (A P100 at the time), so my perceptions might be skewed.

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (2)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 6 years ago | (#17832840)

StarCraft: high terrain serves only to create choke points and barriers to units. It is completely ignored for anything but restricting movement.
You're misinformed.

In the abstract sense, terrain also provided barriers to vision. A group of marines running by some cliffs might be pummeled by a photon cannon. Barring an airborne unit scouting the cliff for them, they would only be able to see the photon cannon as it fired, reducing the amount of time they could fight back. This had practical implications for siege tanks, whose slow rate of fire took great advantage of this.

However, the more direct counter to your assertion that in Starcraft terrain was little more than pathing relates to height. Units atop said cliff had an innate advantage over below them in that they could completely avoid the damage. Units attack from below a cliff at units atop one only have 70% accuracy.

This miss chance also applies to units hiding behind trees, and was part of the basis for the famous Snipers custom map.

StarCraft: Every shot fired hits its target, even when a moving target changes direction as a slow-moving projectile approaches.
Aside from the accuracy example listed above, the exception to this rule comes in the form of siege tanks, reavers, and lurkers. It is possible, though not frequent, for a unit to move out of the range of the attack before the damage occurs.

StarCraft: Units either move or they fight. Not both.
There is also an exception to this. The Protoss' carrier was capable of moving and fighting. It only needed to remain still to deploy its drones.

I'm not attempting to refute your argument that StarCraft, while being the most well-known, popular, and balanced RTS of its era, was not as innovative as TA. I just felt compelled to correct your facts before some religious follower of the Cult of Craft came along and reamed you for it.

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (2, Interesting)

Mortimer82 (746766) | more than 6 years ago | (#17832982)

StarCraft: high terrain serves only to create choke points and barriers to units. It is completely ignored for anything but restricting movement.

Wrong, high terrain and units on it cannot be seen by units on lower terrain, so you could get ambushed walking through a pass or valley. Furthermore, if your marines are on lower terrain and shooting at units on higher terrain, they often miss. Higher terrain is most definitely a tactical advantage and must be taken into consideration.

TA: Air units move realistically, with planes banking and gunships swerving to avoid enemy fire.

TA: Weapons are semi-realistic; they can miss a fast-moving target or be stopped by terrain

If you had read the article, you would know that originally Starcraft ships also used to bank and swerve, although I don't know if they ever "dodged" attacks, this is something they evidently decided to remove, along with many other "cool" things like burnable trees. This I believe is just one of the things which made Starcraft 'The' real time strategy tournament game, while games with better graphics missed the boat. As a small example, in Warcraft II, damage is random within a range, so a unit may do 61-75 damage, in Starcraft though, damage is set and there is no random, depending on armor and weapon upgrades, you will always do the same amount of damage. Look at chess, arguably the best strategy game of all time, and yet probably one of the easiest strategy games to learn while also being one of the most difficult games to master. Simple rules means it all comes down to strategy and being able to outwit your opponent, no luck involved so it is all pure skill.

Certainly, from a graphical perspective, there were plenty "better" games than Starcraft at the time, but I suspect that Blizzard purposefully chose not to add certain features to keep the system requirements down, something Blizzard has done with all their games.

Starcraft is still my favorite game and hopefully we will see a new Starcraft strategy game within the next 18 months, we know Blizzard has at least one unannounced project they have been working on for a while now.

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 6 years ago | (#17833050)

I agree with most of the comments of the parent. I also agree with another poster's comment that the AI in TA is "dumber than a sack of rocks." Unfortunately, so is the AI in SC. Having played both, I found I had a preference for TA. One other thing that added to the game, but ultimately caused its first downfall was the ability to add units. When Cavedog was releasing its unit of the month, it was cool. Unfortunately, third-party add-ins resulted in destroying the balance of the game. It seemed to turn into an arms race to see who could create the nastiest Death-Star-On-Treads. Strategy took a back seat to nuking the site from orbit. You could and still can find matches that allowed only the original set or some closed variant, but the damage was done.

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 6 years ago | (#17833646)

The TAUIP and TAUCP unit packs are great compliations of balanced 3rd party units. On the rare occasion that we play TA at my LAN parties, TAUIP is the pack of choice.

I do recall back in 2000 there being a stupid amount of overpowered units...I especially remember one that had an insane ground speed that could be used to simply bypass base defenses and go straight for a commander. You had to literally wall in your main base to defend against them.

Of course, no game that can be modded is immune to such things. Two examples:

The grappling hook on Quake. If you didn't know how to use it and no one would tell you, you were at a distinct disdvantage.

The various Counter-Strike mods that give permanent abilities for kills. Take the WarCraft 3 mod, for example...specifically when experience is retained. Players who dominate a server and play regularly have abilities that can't be matched by new joins, completely unbalancing play.

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#17834008)

TA was a niche geek game. It wasn't that great gameplay wise, it was ahead of it's time graphics wise. The strategies degenerated into swarming which mad it predictable and boring. No mater who you swarmed with it's the same strategy. Select all - attack. Little nauance, balanced only because the majority of the early and mid games units are the same. Also games lasted 1+ hours and defence was king encouraging all of the tactics RTS noobs like.

Like C&C you tended to optimize by swarming with mid level units (med tanks for C&C, for TA lotsa mid level bots, at least in all the games I ever witnessed.) You really couldn't attack early due to the comander. By the time you can take the cammander out boths sides have sizable defences. It was fun for a bit but eventually we got bored.

Likely the lack of publishers push was more responsible for it's lower sales though. Since C&C was broing int he exact same ways and sold well.

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (1)

Nanpa (971527) | more than 7 years ago | (#17836170)

TA - Two sides, Core and Arm. A slightly different bunch of robots with some different strength/armor/etc differences Starcraft- Three sides, each very different. TA - A bunch of text between each mission Starcraft - Interesting (At least) story. Mid-mission objectives changes, a few interesting scenarios

TA was alright, yes. It had a few interesting concepts, but Starcraft had its own and pulled the whole thing off much better.

Sides must have no similarities. (4, Funny)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 7 years ago | (#17838486)

That's why WWII was so interesting, Axis was armed with tanks and planes, the Western Allies made use of its army of Mech Warriors and the Soviet army was built on a strong front line of Bionic Brain Slime.

I remember that in the second battle of el-Alamein, Irwin Rommel researched "Purity of the Aryans" in his Totenkopf tower, giving all his infantry units an extra point of amour and was keeping the Allies busy with constant strikes with his three wheeled motor bikes (called "Bavarian Thigh Slappers") and of course with Charlimagne (complete with rocket launchers) who Rommel summoned at the Ahnenerbe Alter.

Bernard Montgommary was going the the "Three Pub" build strategy and had an initial weakness in his defense, but was able to recover using his "Big Ben" laser towers for base defense, summoned the Black Cyborg Prince with his Alter of Albion and focused on building his Australian mole mechs in his Woolloomoloo University. After he researched "Wombat's Burrow" his mole mechs were able to dig under Rommel's Swastikas and destroy his Concentration camp, forcing Rommel to retreat to Tunisia.

The Great NPC Winston Churchill was known to have said of the victory: "This is not the beginning of the end, but TOTAL PWNAGE ke ke ke ke ke!!!!!!!!!!!111111oneone".

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 7 years ago | (#17837420)

StarCraft: high terrain serves only to create choke points and barriers to units. It is completely ignored for anything but restricting movement.
FYI, this statement (among a few others) is usually present on certain "lists" indicating why TA is better than Starcraft. It is also coupled with other known mistakes - and usually indicates that the person making the list hasn't played Starcraft.

In Starcraft, terrain gives a defensive bonus to units on high ground compared to those on low ground - in general, units get a 30% defence against attacks. Likewise, units in "cover" get the same defensive bonus.

While the TA system is better in this regard, it's almost moot since LOS is generally required to attack targets anyway.

StarCraft: Every shot fired hits its target, even when a moving target changes direction as a slow-moving projectile approaches.
See above - terrain will cause attacks to miss. In all other cases, attacks are considered to hit because they are bound to do so (e.g. volley, instant-hit, etc.) or are seekers (e.g. missles.)

TA: Weapons are semi-realistic; they can miss a fast-moving target or be stopped by terrain.
I have a small correction to your statement: for TA, most weapons *WILL NOT* hit a fast moving target. As you know, TA was written in a time where developers haven't yet implemented a concept known as leading a target for Real-Time Strategy games (a.k.a. C&C syndrome.)

Fixing this would probably change the gameplay of TA significantly. It would make the Zippers and air units much weaker as they would be shot down much more quickly.

Whichever method is better is a matter of personal taste, as long as any associated implementation quirks get ironed out.

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 7 years ago | (#17856064)

Leading a target happens in TA only after a unit has 5 or more kills. It's one of the effects that distinguish a veteran from a regular unit. Experience in TA is implemented in an increase of ability rather than health, armour or damage, just one of many reasons I love it so much.

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (1)

johnnyk427 (940438) | more than 7 years ago | (#17840202)

I've played a lot of RTS's before and after Starcraft, but I keep coming back to it for some reason. It's the logical nature of it, the balancing, the rock-paper-scissors (but about 15 layers deep) aspect of it. It seems to capture the logic of an orderly game like chess (while certainly less realistic than a game like COH)

Re:Slowest. Newsday. Ever. (1)

PuercoPop (1007467) | more than 7 years ago | (#17841430)

All of your points are good if you are trying to argue which game is more realistic. But games are games and they are important as long as they are FUN not as long as they are REALISTIC. You should be arguing how all this features and their units are balanced, probably with a rock,paper,scissors which is the most common way to balance and give depth to games. I'm surprised you aren't modded -1 non sequitur. .... check www.sirlin.net for info in game design if: http://www.sirlin.net/archive/rock-paper-scissors/ [sirlin.net]

Insightful? (4, Funny)

popo (107611) | more than 6 years ago | (#17830620)

Ah. Interesting ... so the finished product was an improvement over the beta?

Re:Insightful? (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831420)

Actually, what I find funny is how the beta versions had so many more powers for each unit. More armed spellcasters, more spells on normal units, etc. Given how much of a headache the micromanagement is in StarCraft, I can see why they took so much out. Too bad the landing-dropships didn't make the cut - that sounded cool.

Also funny that their throw-away alpha art is better than most FOSS games art.

Re:Insightful? (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831520)

Its to bad the terran are still horribly micromanagement intensive compared to the other races.

I thought the landing dropships sounded cool too, but given how poorly armored they are that would make quick drops of units while under fire nearly impossible. You also might get into situations where there wasn't an good spot of land to do a mass dropship landing. As it stands, I still feel like dropships are a pain in the ass to use effectively. Landing looks cool, but probably would have further reduced their usefulness.

The zerg have the best dropships btw...since the double as farms and detectors.

Re:Insightful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17834312)

"Also funny that their throw-away alpha art is better than most FOSS games art."

I couldn't agree more! The Goliaths looked amazing in the alpha, and certainly a hell of a lot better than they did in the finished product. I understand their reasons for the change, as the alpha versions were all silver and there had to be a clear way to identify which team they belonged to, but still... they were orders of magnitude cooler.

Re:Insightful? (1, Insightful)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 6 years ago | (#17834328)

Well, it's not that intuitive if you're a Microsoft customer.

Re:Insightful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17835114)

Wow, now THAT'S an unprovoked and inaccurate jab at Microsoft. MS releases their betas as final products, but that doesn't mean that they were better before.

Interesting (2, Insightful)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 6 years ago | (#17830702)

It's an interesting article, but I have to question why this wasn't brought up in 2004 when it was written.

Re:Interesting (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17831006)

It's an interesting article, but I have to question why this wasn't brought up in 2004 when it was written.

The editors have been busy posting articles on:

SCO/IBM

Wii

WEB 2.0

Everything that comes out of Steve Jobs' mouth

Vista

Every litele Windows bug that comes out.

Xbox

Anything that has to do with Video games

Very little, if anything, on *BSD

Cowboy Neal's bowel movements

Google's brush with Evil(TM) an back to being Good(TM) then Evil again, then Good, then ????

Apple's release of some consumer product. Which will happen more as Apple continues its morph into a consumer appliance company.

F/OSS aritcles.

Crazy shit that Richard Stallman does.

All the Evil the Microsoft does in the World.

The number of chairs that Steve Ballmer has thrown.

Ask Slashdot questions that really should be put to a lawyer in one's state; not here on Slashdot

Ask Slashdot questions that DO belong here on Slashdot.

Cowboy Neil's varied sexual conquests

I think that about covers it.

Re:Interesting (1)

legallyillegal (889865) | more than 6 years ago | (#17832566)

Poland?

just wondering. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17830706)

why is it that evolutionists jump on the opportunity to use the word 'evolution' any chance they have, regardless of if it is the best suited word for the sentence in question? is it the way they were intelligently designed? (see, if we started doing it, it would be really really annoying.. for you, at least)

but seriously... it really makes me laugh sometimes watching history/discovery. 'the evolution of handtools' oh, so now handtools traits and genes are transferred through reproduction? did the torx come by means of mutation? /rant

Re:just wondering. (2, Informative)

Virak (897071) | more than 6 years ago | (#17830882)

evolution [reference.com]
-noun
1. any process of formation or growth; development: the evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.

Welcome to the English language. You must be new here.

Re:just wondering. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17831058)

evolution
-noun
1. any process of formation or growth; development: the evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.
if you'd notice my posting, i didn't say the word was used improperly. i said that regardless if it is the best choice of word for the sentence, it is still chosen by evolutionists far more often than not.

its rare to see an evolutionist use the words progress, progression, advancement, furtherance, development, succession, expansion, improvement and so forth. what's not rare to see, is a sentence built around the word evolution to make it fit correctly.

Welcome to the English language. You must be new here.

welcome to slashdot. you obviously arent new here, because you chose to overlook the plain observation from my post and decided to ridicule me instead.

Re:just wondering. (1)

HazMathew (207212) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831198)

Welcome to Slashdot, Land of the Opinionated Anonymous Cowards.

Re:just wondering. (1)

Virak (897071) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831292)

i said that regardless if it is the best choice of word for the sentence, it is still chosen by evolutionists far more often than not.
There is no best choice. Any of the synonyms of evolution could be dropped in without a difference.

its rare to see an evolutionist use the words progress, progression, advancement, furtherance, development, succession, expansion, improvement and so forth. what's not rare to see, is a sentence built around the word evolution to make it fit correctly.
Again, you could drop in any of its synonyms without changing the rest of the sentence, or its meaning as a whole. It's not like using 'evolution' requires some strange and awkward rearrangement of the sentence that the others don't. And yes, I'm sure that 'evolution' is only ever used to irk you creationists. The whole world is conspiring to carefully word their sentences to cause the most possible annoyance for you. Have you taken your pills yet today?

Or, more succinctly:

LEARN ENGLISH, DAMMIT.

Re:just wondering. (2, Funny)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831762)

1. any process of formation or growth; development: the evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.

Duh. The English language has evolved into a sentient being which is trying to push its pro-evolution believes on us. Damned liberal languages, screwing with our heads.

Re:just wondering. (4, Funny)

blackicye (760472) | more than 6 years ago | (#17830922)

"why is it that evolutionists jump on the opportunity to use the word 'evolution' any chance they have, regardless of if it is the best suited word for the sentence in question? is it the way they were intelligently designed? (see, if we started doing it, it would be really really annoying.. for you, at least)

but seriously... it really makes me laugh sometimes watching history/discovery. 'the evolution of handtools' oh, so now handtools traits and genes are transferred through reproduction? did the torx come by means of mutation?"


This is the story of the torx screwdriver, as I've been told.
its eons old, and I feel no need to question it, it just makes sense.

In the beginning there was nothing, Great Inventor Dude (GID)
decided, well this kinda sucks..

GID declared that there be stuff, the first day he
created bits and pieces.

GID then decided that bits and pieces still weren't really
that cool and created phillips and flathead, that they may
rule over all bits and pieces, and should they will it turn,
into stuff.

Well to make a long story short, phillips and flathead multiplied
and were many, till either or both, populated the earth.

Then phillips and flathead rebelled, and instead of making stuff
and honoring GID they started questioning and taking stuff apart.

So in a huge deluge lasting 90 days and 90 nights GID submerged
the earth a pool of molten steel.

no phillips or flathead was spared, they were all consumed by the
fire and brimstone and high carbon molten steel.

Only one place on earth was safe, atop a mountain, not the highest
mountain on earth mind you, but it was that mountain, there lay a
forge, and torx was its name.

Henceforth only the righteous torx would remain, to assemble and
build stuff as GID willed, never to be taken apart by phillips and flathead..ever again.

This is my story and I'm sticking to it.

^_~

Check the dictionary (1)

Mark Gordon (14545) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831072)

1. The act of unfolding or unrolling; hence, any process of growth or development; as, the evolution of a flower from a bud, or an animal from the egg.
- 1913 Webster

The alternative to "evolution" is "the first draft == the final draft". That may be OK for a divinity who is by definition perfect and omnipotent, creating all biota in their current respective forms within the span of a week, but the rest of us typically have to take a more gradual approach towards getting what we want. Evolution in this context is hardly incompatible with design, which certainly takes place as well, and the term is especially valid in cases where the design is modified (i.e. the design evolves) between its original version and its final version. In broader usage, "[P]rocess of ... development" certainly applies to software. Software evolves, and the word "evolution" was used long before Darwin. Get over it.

Re:just wondering. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17831194)

Because we're evil.

Didn't you guys learn that in Bible class?

Seriously, I was watching Dr. Kennedy on TV the other day, and he pointed out that the only reason we invented evolution was so we could have consequence free sex with lots of women.

I have to say 'mea culpa.' Darwin was a playa...

Re:just wondering. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17831306)

Whatever the reason, it's certainly not to please creationist persecution-fetishists.

Re:just wondering. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17831656)

The idea of evolution and the word evolution predate the Darwinian concept of evolution. Prior to Darwin, evolution solely referred to the development of something over a period of time.

Re:just wondering. (1)

TempeTerra (83076) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831922)

As a bunch of people have already pointed out, 'evolution' is an entirely valid word on its own even though it's also commonly used as a shorthand for 'Charles Darwin's theory of the evolution of species by means of natural selection operating on individuals with inheritable characteristics'. Evolution in general is just an iterative refinement.

My favourite 'other' (non-Darwinian) evolution is Lamarckian evolution - children inherit the characteristics of their parents based on phenotype (what their bodies are like) rather than genotype (what their genes say they should be like). The children of a blacksmith will inherit his well developed muscles. If you cut the tails off mice they will bear tail-less offspring. Terry Pratchett made fun of it at some point. The most interesting thing about Lamarckian evolution is that although it doesn't seem to actually happen in nature, if it _did_ happen it should work out all right. The technical problem seems to be that there's no way to transcribe the current form (phenotype) of an individual back into the reproductive cells so the information can be passed on to offspring.

Of course, it would be no more palatable to creationists since it doesn't require a designer any more than Darwinian evolution does.

Sorry about that, I can't pass up an opportunity to rant about Lamarckian evolution ;)

Re:just wondering. (1)

Mark Gordon (14545) | more than 6 years ago | (#17832888)

Lamarck obviously never attended a bris.

Re:just wondering. (2, Funny)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 6 years ago | (#17833384)

I know! Everything is "this was an evolutionary process," or "it just sort of evolved that way." It's just about at the point where it's impossible to find any stories on Slashdot containing the word "design," [slashdot.org] , fer Designer's sake.

Re:just wondering. (1)

bonoboboy (1033874) | more than 6 years ago | (#17833528)

I find it funny how the word 'evolutionist' has entered into so many people's vocabulary. I think it comes around from all those religious folks who have been so anti-evolution in America. ("Those evolutionists are out to destroy our morals!") I think most people who study evolution usually call themselves something more along the lines of 'evolutionary biologist'. :-D

Re:just wondering. (1)

pissedoffamerican (1002647) | more than 6 years ago | (#17834592)

We crazy evolutionists' morals wouldn't be so bad if those creationists would stop driving us mad by constantly questioning them!

Re:just wondering. (1)

shawnap (959909) | more than 6 years ago | (#17834962)

What is an "evolutionist"?
I know arithmetic, but I am not a mathematician.
I understand classical dynamics, but I am not a physicist.
I am aware that the human heart has four chambers, but I am not a biologist.

I would suggest that you substitute the accepted term "they" in place of "evolutionist".

Feel free to use any of the following common constructions:
"They are all against me."
"They are all blind to the truth."
"They are all out to get me."
"They are always watching me."
"They have implanted a radio transmitter in my genitals."

Re:just wondering. (1)

OptimusPaul (940627) | more than 6 years ago | (#17835432)

Is this for real? are they trying to be funny, because I don't get it.

Re:just wondering. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17843116)

From WordNet:


evolution
              n 1: a process in which something passes by degrees to a
                        different stage (especially a more advanced or mature
                        stage); "the development of his ideas took many years";
                        "the evolution of Greek civilization"; "the slow
                        development of her skill as a writer" [syn: {development}]
                        [ant: {degeneration}]


Personally, I'm tired of the term "intelligent design" being used in relation to stories of origin. My toaster was intelligently designed. I can design a UI intelligently.

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17830754)

Welcome our overlord... overlords?

Re:I for one... (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831370)

Welcome our overlord... overlords?

We require more overlords.

Re:I for one... (1)

mmalove (919245) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831566)

In Soviet Brood, the Overlords welcome YOU!

Re:I for one... (2, Funny)

databoing (259158) | more than 6 years ago | (#17833720)

>We require more overlords.

No, no, no...

It's "SPAWN MORE OVERLORDS".

Maybe you're confusing it with "WE REQUIRE MORE VESPENE GAS" or "WE REQUIRE MORE MINERALS" ?

Re:I for one... (1)

koh (124962) | more than 7 years ago | (#17841102)

Maybe you're confusing it with "WE REQUIRE MORE VESPENE GAS" or "WE REQUIRE MORE MINERALS"
IIRC it was "mine more minerals" and "harvest more vespene gas".

Re:I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17850208)

It depended on the race, grandparent was correct for the zerg

zerg:
spawn more overlords
we require more minerals
we require more vespene gas

protoss:
you must construct additional pylons
you've not enough minerals
you require more vespene gas

terran:
additional supply depots required
not enough minerals
insufficient vespene gas

Interesting I havent played this game in 6 years or so yet I can still reply those phrases in my head. Yeah, I played that game alot.

Re:I for one... (1)

biovoid (785377) | more than 7 years ago | (#17839960)

Welcome our overlord... overlords?

We require more overlords.

ERROR: OVERLORD OVERLOAD

Fun stuff (1, Informative)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 6 years ago | (#17830760)

Starcraft was a blast and continues to be at LAN parties, but I'm looking forward to Supreme Commander. As balanced as Starcraft was, I found Total Annihilation to be a far better game.

Re:Fun stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17830906)

The other nice thing about TA was you could actually select more than 12 units at a time.

Re:Fun stuff (1)

Firefly1 (251590) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831140)

I have a question for those of us who have been fortunate enough to play TA online: having gotten from my single-player experience that the command system is at once simple and tremendously empowering, why did it not catch on elsewhere in the genre?
Because so much of resource gathering and unit production can be semi-automated... what habits, if any, would RTS players have to break in Supreme Commander?

Re:Fun stuff (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17831410)

Most RTSs involve buying and selling in fixed chunks of money, while TA involves a flowing economy that continuously pushes and pulls small amounts of resources. As such, players will have to learn to not build too many things at the same time, while conversely trying to keep their factories from going idle as only a certain amount of surplus can be stored. That was the main problem I had playing TA; I would leave factories idle despite being filled up on metal and energy.

Re:Fun stuff (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 6 years ago | (#17833266)

Simple. The market was already flooded by the time TA came around. It never had a shot with the hotly anticipated Starcraft hot on its heels. I've listed some of the major releases, but you'll notice the timing for TA couldn't have been worse.

Command & Conquer August 31 1995
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness December 9, 1995
Civilization II February 29, 1996
Command & Conquer: Red Alert October 31, 1996
Dark Reign August 31, 1997
Total Annihilation September 30, 1997
Age of Empires October 26, 1997
StarCraft April 1, 1998

Re:Fun stuff (1)

Firefly1 (251590) | more than 7 years ago | (#17859168)

Simple. The market was already flooded by the time TA came around...
True, but it seems you misunderstood my initial question; perhaps I was not perfectly clear: it was not 'why didn't TA catch on among gamers?' but rather 'why didn't TA's gameplay mechanics catch on within the genre?'
And as long as we're here, I fully second orkysoft's comments on DoW; it's great fun to play (I suspect the Assassination condition one can set for skirmish/MP matches - wherein each player has a free hero unit from the word 'go', but loses instantly if that unit dies - is a partial nod to TA)... I really should dig it back out and add the expansions; it'd be interesting to see how my Cobra schemes would look on the Tau or IG.

Re:Fun stuff (3, Interesting)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 6 years ago | (#17833480)

I haven't played Total Annihilation, though I've seen it mentioned on Slashdot before. I have something to pitch in here too, though, about another not-that-well-known RTS game, which I think is cool.

Dawn of War has no resource collection like you usually see in RTS games, instead, there are Strategic Points (plus some other similar things) on the map, and if your troops occupy them, you get more of the Requisition resource which you use to get more troops and buildings.

The Power resource is generated by power generators, which are buildings that you can build in your base (or on special places on the map).

Buildings are built by builder units, which build buildings and sometimes repair buildings and vehicles, but they don't gather any resources, so you usually only need a couple of them.

Also, instead of controlling individual units, most units are part of a squad, and you control the entire squad as if it is one unit. Characters (which don't level up like in Warcraft III, but can usually be upgraded) and vehicles are an exception, you control them individually, although most characters can be attached to a squad.

Squads can be individually upgraded, i.e. you can equip some of the members with special weapons, and you can even increase the number of squad members, so you don't need to produce individual units in your barracks and them move them to the front line, you can "build" the reinforcements right inside the combat.

All in all this makes the game much more action-oriented, with much less time wasted on resource collection and base building.

There's a demo, be sure to watch the intro movie, it's amazing. If you want to buy it, I recommend getting the Dawn of War Anthology set, which includes the two expansions. The second expansion is almost as expensive as the Anthology set, and includes a cool campaign, in which you can conquer the planet, and you decide which territories to conquer. The campaigns in the standard game and the first expansion aren't that cool.

I can't say much about the multiplayer quality, but there is at least one "cheese" map available, I'm sure you'll know it when you see it.

Re:Fun stuff (1)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17838756)

I haven't played Total Annihilation, though I've seen it mentioned on Slashdot before. I have something to pitch in here too, though, about another not-that-well-known RTS game, which I think is cool.
I rather suspect that the Dawn of War series is not quite as obscure as you think. Indeed, both the original game and the subsequent expansions were well-received by both the game media and by the community as a whole. Games Workshop has sufficiently large number of people who are either playing their products or at least have fond memories of doing so to virtually guarantee exposure for any software tied to their intellectual property. Thus, DoW, being a WH40K game, was quite well-covered in terms of both previews, reviews, and word-of-mouth. The same phenomenon will doubtless occur for their incipient MMORPG, despite the direct competition from WoW.

That said, I heartily concur with your assessment of the DoW style of play. It's refreshing, fast-paced, and makes the defensive-turtling stalemate much less likely. On the other hand, it is an intimidating experience for players who are used to the rather more sedate opening build-up of an RTS.

Since you enjoyed DoW so much, allow me to recommend Company of Heroes (by the same folks) if you haven't played it. CoH employs a virtually identical dynamic for resource gathering but in a more refined version. In my mind, CoH stands at the pinnacle of RTS game quality right now. I would dearly love to see Relic bring that level of detail to the WH40K universe. Hope springs eternal.

Re:Fun stuff (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17881746)

Well, until recently, I never saw DoW in a store. Only since a few months do I see Dark Crusade for sale. Also, almost nobody I tell about it in real life has heard about it (and those are people who play way more games than I do). That's why I think it's kind of obscure, at least in my area.

I'll have to check the CoH demo some time. I wonder if my computer will run it...

Re:Fun stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17839656)

but I'm looking forward to Supreme Commander. As balanced as Starcraft was, I found Total Annihilation to be a far better game.
Have you tried Spring? It is an open source RTS that has mods that are derived from TA (like Balanced Annihilation and XTA) as well as mods of a completely different nature (the weird nanoblobs or the Gundam mod). What's more, it runs on Windows *and* Linux RIGHT NOW, and Windows users can play against Linux users in online play. There is also a Mac port in progress. Many who play Spring have tried the SupCom beta (including myself) and have decided that Spring is simply more fun to play. It captures the spirit of old TA and takes it to a whole new level.

Download it here: http://spring.clan-sy.com/ [clan-sy.com]

as an experienced Starcraft expert.... (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#17830908)

as an experienced Starcraft expert who played over 1000 games with a record on my best account of 650-50-30ish, I can tell you that over 75% of the players used Map Hack and if they didn't, they didn't win. Of course, nobody could use the hacks for about a week after every patch because it would take only that long for people to remake the hacks to work with the new version. As a programmer I can say that's utterly sad because it's not hard at all to keep people from using DLLs that you wrote! Anyway, it's amazing how a completely hacked up game got so popular and stayed that way. I guess when everyone cheats, everyone's back on the same level though. They should have just gotten rid of map fog completely lol. It also helps that it's a RTS game cuz C&C Renegade has aim hacks and stuff and there's like 4 servers open with 30 players total at any given time cuz they have anti-hacks installed with auto banning code. FPS games are just dumb when people cheat....well then wtf is up with Halo 2 online? Ugh, I'm so confused! No wonder more good super-hit games don't come out. Nobody can figure out what makes them good.

Re:as an experienced Starcraft expert.... (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831044)

Wait.. you only have to break 1000 games to be considered an expert in Starcraft now? Man.. Battle.net has really gone downhill.

Re:as an experienced Starcraft expert.... (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 6 years ago | (#17832446)

if the 1000 games lasted 10 minutes average, that's a full month at a normal job. If one *only* played 2 hours a night, every night, 7 days a week, it would still take them almost 3 months.

After analysis, I have this to say to you: go outside. Read a book, go jogging, do something.

I found this interesting, thanks (1)

QX-Mat (460729) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831012)

As someone who thought they'd not find a good game after C&C or RA2, Starcraft and the expansion pack, Broodwar, was amazing. I finally got around to playing them 2+ years after everyone else but still really enjoyed the content and playability.

SC reminds me of the Dig - the cut scenes were just as epic, and voice acting superb... and the story-line: wow.

I miss you Tassadar!

Matt

Evolution of StarCraft - The Abridged Version (4, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831088)

1. Open "Warcraft II" Project
2. Replace "Dragon" with "BattleCruiser", etc.
3. Fix the "runs as a DOS program" business
4. Save as "Starcraft" Project
5. Many years later, release IP-friendly patch

Re:Evolution of StarCraft - The Abridged Version (1)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 6 years ago | (#17832176)

Huh? No "Profit!" step!?

It will be interesting to see how the sequel evolves from the original StarCraft, though

Re:Evolution of StarCraft - The Abridged Version (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 6 years ago | (#17832624)

3. Fix the "runs as a DOS program" business
Not necessary, already done! [wikipedia.org]

The StarCraft Brand and SC2 (4, Insightful)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 6 years ago | (#17831110)

The StarCraft brand is among the strongest game brands in the world in terms of a PC game and certainly for RTS games. That recognition was forged with a great game, great support (BNET, patches) and most importantly, adaptation as one of, if not the first game to be played on a wide-spread competitive level. StarCraft has enjoyed a vast amount of press based on these accomplishments and almost all have been positive over the years.

That being said, Blizzards time to cash in on the StarCraft name has got to be running out. Clamoring about the release of a second installment has been already been plentiful online for years. Blizzard has yet to say anything except that they hope to revisit the StarCraft world in the future. With the announcement, hype, and eventual termination of StarCraft: Ghost, Blizzard has yet to realize that in the way of a official release.

Time could now against Blizzard to cash in on the StarCraft brand. For many of us who played the game, we are fans forever, but for groves of people that know what a zerg rush is, but have never played, these peoples memory of the brand has got to be nearing its end. The StarCraft name means less and less everyday that goes on and new gamers are being introduced to the market who know nothing of its legacy.

Now on the other hand, Blizzard carries a brand as a publisher that is second to none in the PC World so it may not matter at all. They seem to break there own sales records with each game they release, so who knows :) - I am certainly routing for them.

Re:The StarCraft Brand and SC2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17833990)

You talk about starcraft as if it was the first game you played? how old are you?

Re:The StarCraft Brand and SC2 (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 6 years ago | (#17834320)

It wasn't. It was not even the first game I played online with others (War2 on kali). StarCraft, for me, never caught hold till the expansion when the game was much more complete from an online/competitive point.

Re:The StarCraft Brand and SC2 (3, Insightful)

bckrispi (725257) | more than 6 years ago | (#17834746)

That being said, Blizzards time to cash in on the StarCraft name has got to be running out.
Starcraft was released nine years ago. To this day, you can still find copies of it on major retailer's shelves - not as part of a 'best of' collection, but as a standalone box. Name one other game in the history of PC gaming that can make that claim.

Re:The StarCraft Brand and SC2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17839658)

I bought Starcraft years ago (6 or 7) as part of a three-pack, with Warcraft 2 (which I to this day haven't played, although I recently found the CDs again and intend to), and something else, for $50.

Re:The StarCraft Brand and SC2 (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 6 years ago | (#17835194)

That being said, Blizzards time to cash in on the StarCraft name has got to be running out.
I think they've been too busy counting all that cash from WoW to work on any new games for a while.

Seriously though, with the subscription model being so profitable, it's hard to imagine Blizzard taking their focus off of WoW for a while yet. Although, once they're done milking WoW, I think the logical next step is with Diablo rather than StarCraft. Diablo could be adapted fairly easily to an MMO format as WoW's successor, though Blizzard would surely put their typical genre-defying twist on it. That way they can migrate all of their current WoW addicts and keep charging for subscriptions. StarCraft on the other hand doesn't seem to lend itself to a format that would require a subscription.

Re:The StarCraft Brand and SC2 (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17836484)

Yes, because we all know how much the time delay between Warcraft II and World of Warcraft hurt Blizzard :P

Re:The StarCraft Brand and SC2 (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17836622)

And let us not forget about that whole WarCraft 3 thing either...

Re:The StarCraft Brand and SC2 (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17878852)

great support (BNET, patches)

Well.. except for those few YEARS that blizzard didn't do jack shit to fix the flaw with windows 2000 networking, causing people to drop all the fucking time.

Total Annihilation... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17831282)

Since this isn't news anyway, everyone should check out TA Spring, Total Annihilition > StarCraft/C&C/etc.

Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17831596)

I thought we had agreed that Blizzard is evil. They shutdown the open source battle.net clone and force people to use their proprietary piece of shit servers. And they didn't bother to make a Linux/BSD version of their game.

Fuck'em.

Glass

Re:Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17832170)

And isn't there a rootkit in WoW to make sure you don't cheat?

Yes, but will there be a Wii version of StarCraft? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#17832672)

Now that you can play WoW on the Mac and soon on the Wii, PS3, and 360 - will they have StarCraft's successor on the same platforms?

I've given up on WinVista and am only staying with WinXP, so it's a serious question - if it won't run on the MacOS, Linux, BSD, or one of the new game consoles, I won't be buying it.

Re:Yes, but will there be a Wii version of StarCra (2, Informative)

maxmo55 (633342) | more than 6 years ago | (#17833326)

Just to clarify, there was a version of StarCraft for the Mac. It came out a little later, but I definitely spent a good deal of time my freshman year of college playing SC versus my PC using buddies.

It will be interesting to see if they end up releasing any new SC game for the consoles eventually (though I suppose them releasing it at all would be a good start), but I personally don't have much interest in playing an RTS without a keyboard.

Re:Yes, but will there be a Wii version of StarCra (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#17835178)

yes, I know, my son used to play StarCraft on his old iMac, but I was wondering about the new StarCraft successor on the Intel Mac Mini for example.

Re:Yes, but will there be a Wii version of StarCra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17836678)

yes, I know, my son used to play StarCraft on his old iMac, but I was wondering about the new StarCraft successor on the Intel Mac Mini for example.
Seeing as every game they've every made has a Mac version, I'm going to say yes.

To bad it's made by Blizzard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17833184)

After their bnet.d lawsuit and their WoW customer support, I'm done giving Blizzard any of my money.

SC2, Revolutions, etc (1)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17838044)

Slow newsday maybe, but this is still relevant. StarCraft is alive and kicking, and is still one of the best games ever made. The least Blizzard could do if it really doesn't want to make StarCraft II is to make a 3D update, or at least give its blessings to StarCraft Revolutions. [wc3campaigns.net] Its a win-win situation for everyone.

Starcraft is overrated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17839560)

Technologically it was an incremental improvement over Warcraft 2, and while the game design started out fresh, it quickly degenerated into rock-paper-scissors, especially at the competitive level of play. Anybody who's actually watched those South Korean matches knows that games between even the toughest competitors last only 20-30 minutes, and most of that time is spent on rote infrastructure building (peons, structures). The reason is that there are only 2-3 strategies worth pursuing in any given matchup, and it's more or less random how each player is going to move, and while it takes skill to perfect the execution, the game still boils down to making a choice at the beginning and hoping it is the foil to what your opponent is doing. There is little or no room for dynamic strategizing after the first encounter -- the game effectively puts a 10-minute armageddon timer from that point where the loser can either give up or drag it out to an eventual defeat. This is in contrast to other, mildly popular, strategy games like Age of Kings, where competitive matches frequently last over 60 minutes with the advantage going back-and-forth.

Starcraft is a mass-market product with mass-market appeal, the gameplay is shallow and each successive balance patch made it even shallower (by bringing racial traits closer together in function). It has no historical qualities other than making Blizzard a lot of money. This is not to say that it wasn't a good game -- I had fun playing it and clearly so do millions of others. But that alone does not make it a milestone in the history of gaming the way that people make it out to be. It was a good game to play in 1998, and the people who still play it day after day in 2007 are simply in need of more exposure to other PC games.

Artanis' quotes (1)

Meneth (872868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17841360)

"What do I look like, an orc?" "This is not Warcraft in Space!" "It's much more... sophisticated!" "I know it's not 3-D!"
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