The StarCraft 2 team spent most of Blizzcon talking about the map editor and custom games. We spoke with Alan Dabiri, a Lead Software Engineer for Wings of Liberty who worked on the user interface and helped out on the game's integration with Battle.net. He provided some more details about plans for making the map editor more approachable, the coming updates for Battle.net (including chat channels), and a bit about the development of Heart of the Swarm, the Zerg-themed expansion being worked on now. Read on for our conversation about StarCraft 2.
At BlizzCon 2010, Blizzard announced that at least part of the player-versus-player experience in Diablo III will take place in a team arena. I got a chance to play a three versus three match for about forty-five minutes.Only three of the five classes were playable in PvP, but they were sufficiently powered-up with numerous skills. I tried all three and while I think I had the most success with the Wizard, the Barbarian and Witch Doctor both had effective abilities and combat roles.If Blizzard can balance this PvP, I could see it easily becoming an eSport. The matches are extremely intense and require intense coordination to succeed. It quickly led to taunting and cheering as we all figured out the game. The arena was square-shaped and full of pillars and barriers for cover. In the middle of the round, four health orbs will spawn in the center providing the only healing available to players.
Five Steam community members participated in the initial round of content creation. Rob Laro, Shawn Spetch, Steven Skidmore, Spencer Kern, and Shaylyn Hamm created items for Team Fortress 2 which were then made available to other community members for purchase from the in-game Mann Co. Store. Today they received checks for the first two weeks of sales, with royalties ranging from $39,000 to $47,000 per person. Funds from sales of community members' items were to be deposited directly into their PayPal accounts. However, within days, the revenue that their items generated exceeded PayPal's cap on the maximum deposit size. While Valve made alternate payment arrangements for the others, two of the community members flew to Seattle to receive their first checks directly.
The investment was made by Google itself, not Google Ventures, say our sources, and it's a highly strategic deal. Zynga will be the cornerstone of a new Google Games to launch later this year, say multiple sources. Not only will Zynga's games give Google Games a solid base of social games to build on, but it will also give Google the beginning of a true social graph as users log into Google to play the games. And I wouldn't be surprised to see PayPal being replaced with Google Checkout as the primary payment option. Zynga is supposedly PayPal's biggest single customer, and Google is always looking for ways to make Google Checkout relevant.
This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities, a new book released this week, is writer Jim Rossignol's contribution to the timeless debate about the role videogames play in society at large.Equal parts primer for the uninitiated and call to arms for fans of our beleaguered hobby, the book moves beyond the well-worn tropes of corrupted youth and escapism to tackle larger issues concerning the form and function of videogames.
Jumping into the game, movement immediately feels - for lack of a better expression - very solid. Much more grounded like Modern Warfare 2, as opposed to say Halo. The SMART movement system is well-executed and surprisingly intuitive. If you want to vault up onto higher terrain parkour style, you just hold the SMART button and look up as you approach the obstacle - the same goes for sliding under things. I'd even go so far to say that there's little doubt that we'll see this mechanic adopted by many other fast-paced shooters in the future.It's a bit of a diversion from the skill and practice required to perform some of the old Quake engine trick jumps, but it brings that same kind of map navigation down to the level of the average player in such a way that feels as natural as any other method of movement in a first-person shooter. Depending on level design, and of course the agility of your chosen character class, it seems like there're still going to be a few tricky leaps that will be tough to master.
The new E3 trailer starts off with the character customisation, then some weapon customisation before launching into gameplay proper. There's some example footage of interacting with various parts of the environment in addition to the actual running around and shooting. The trailer gives you a feel for Splash Damage's typical objective-based approach to multiplayer game design as well, showing team members performing certain tasks and the audio cues you get when control points change hands.
If Mario was first designed in 2010, he'd probably have to adopt some of our modern trends
Almost everyone who has taken an introductory psychology course in high school or college has heard of B.F. Skinner. Skinner is an important figure in Behaviorism, and developed a learning theory known as Operant Conditioning. Skinner claimed that the frequency of a given behavior is directly linked to whether it is rewarded or punished. If a behavior is rewarded, it is more likely to be repeated. If it is punished, it becomes suppressed. This deceptively simple and straight-forward theory may explain why EverQuest is so addictive.
Finally, after a month of work, no less than three BL orders as well as many little transactions with other AFOLs, the Terran Battlecruiser is done. Biggest and most massive MOC I've ever built, this sub-SHIP is almost 80stud long and more than 60 stud wide. Based on in-game model, not the one seen in movies. Be sure to check WIP set to see how was it built!