Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Now it's time to GET SERIOUS

Wow, I haven't been here in a while, but now it's time to get serious in play. I have many family members that are available to play, and (almost) enough time to play regularly. My status is fairly simple, so let's get into some updates. I have finished the StarCraft original campaign, and I am slowly going through the Brood War compaign. I have won against the computer one vs. one on the following modes:
  • Terran vs. (Terran, Zerg, Protoss)
  • Protoss vs. (Terran, Zerg, Protoss)
  • Zerg vs. Zerg

Zerg appear to be my major weakness in this game. That's fine, I'll work on them later, when I have the chance, but for now, I've decided to go Terran although I am currently decidedly better with the Protoss.

Now, I have defeated two computers top vs. bottom at the same time in only the following configuration:

  • Protoss vs Terran + Zerg (they are allied) on map Blood Bath

This was almost a HOT DAMN moment. The Protoss Zealot is just so much more powerful, but they cost a good deal to build and take up 2 psi points.

Well, now you know my status and I am back! Not that anyone reads this crap.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Too Much Chess Study

I am planning to get back to this as soon as my chess study, detailed at ChessNonsense is complete. My wife will enjoy getting back to her world of warcraft as well. I will also enjoy working out again, from which I have gone on hiatus due to the fact that I have many many problems to complete. After that, Starcraft is back in action!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Completed my new Level Five Goals

After taking the main base.
After taking the main base
the beginning was rather simple. I simply selected all of my guys and made a run for the primary base, not even taking a moment. I knew that resistance wasn't fierce. I destroyed the first bunker approaching the city, then the only missile turret. Afterwards, I cloaked Kerrigan and took over the base. The first shot is me doing what is most important - building tons of SCV's right away. I spent all available money on SCV's, and placed the original fighting force in the upper left hand corner to prevent enemy forces from entering. Finally, I built a bunker in that corner as well.

After throwing together a few new buildings (a new barracks, for three total) and a new starport (for a total of two), I tried to build a missile turret, but I had no Engineering center!!! This is a major oversight for future reference that I must remember.

After upgrading my second starport with a control tower, I spent many of my resources building some wraiths for the primary assault on the lower right of the screen. I used attack move to get down there and begin the attack. Unfortunately, me being so beginnerish, I forgot to cloak when I got in. It would have helped me a lot. Next, I brought in a large number of soldiers, but lost a good number of them after destroying the Command Center in the bottom center of the map, to a spider mine that deployed in the dead center of my guys.

After destroying the opponent command center.
Defeating my opponent.
I spent all of my time building marines, which is faulty. I need to remember to build a good range of units. This is my final assault, consisting completely of Marines, Vultures (with upgraded ION drives) and Wraiths. I won it easily, starting from my primary launch point (where the first Command Center was) and using attack-move to the lower left hand side of the map, where the main opponent base was.

Overview.
Level Completion Overview
This is the overview screen. The other screens that were there were much of the same, except for my saddest screen, I lost 40 units. That is something that I will have to work on in the future. It was a series of several problems.

Errors.
Lazy Units! Back to work!!
My first problem was a lack of upgrade management. I had tons of extra resources, and I should have used them to upgrade my units. Next, I had a lack of unit diversity. This caused me to lose a number of units late in the game. It made me feel aweful foolish. Finally, lack of troop medium level micromanagement left me with units doing nothing, while I was simply watching my guys destroy the enemy.

These are all things that I will have to work on in the future. I have the commands for Wraith improvements and starports down. I used only keyboard build commands, and I feel good with moving forward. Until next time!!!

Terran SCV Strategy and Tactics

The Terran SCV Unit is the base economic unit for the Terrans. The SCV is the only terran unit that has the capability to mine crystals and vespene gas, and build structures. The basic information of the SCV is as follows:

Basic Statistics
  • Supply Use: 1
  • Size: Small
  • Cost: 50
  • Vespene: 0
  • Armor: 0
  • Hit Points: 60
  • Sight: 7

Attack Statistics
  • Ground: 5
  • Air: N/A
  • Cooling: 15
  • Range: 1
  • Modifier: N/A

Additional Information
  • Biological Unit
  • Worker Unit

Strategy
  1. As a worker, the SCV is the base of your economy. It cannot fight very well, but you will need to build many of them in order to win most battles.
  2. Because the SCV needs to stay with a structure while building it, it is absolutely essential that you use the shift-click on a resource to make sure that after it is completed with the building, it gets right back to work.
  3. It is necessary that you use your SCV's to repair buildings, because unlike the Protoss and Zerg, there is no building regeneration. The give-and-take here is that terran buildings can move, to make things equal again.
  4. SCV's need to be protected, so make sure that you use them to build some bunkers near the resource points.
  5. The ability of an SCV to repair units is key to success. It is important, and almost imperative, that after every attack that occurs, the SCV is used to heal any units that need to be healed. Multiple heals can easily be queued (although, as I said before, no queue ever appears)

Complete Unit Strategies

As I continue, I will be writing up unit and race strategies for starcraft, and including their permalinks in my left-side navigation. This will allow for me to go back and modify them as time permits. I will start with Terran infantry units, and as I move forward through the campaign mode, I will include the pertinent units for those campaigns.

For instance, as I redo mission five, Flight to Antiga Prime, it will be essential for me to write up information for the Wraith, Dropship and otherwise, simply to get them into words.

SCV Strategy and Tank AI Problem

SCV's, the basic unit of the Terran Economy, has some special tactical notes because of one special tendency: It must stay with a new building while it is being built, but at the same time, it is available afterwards. This creates issues that do not occur with the other species.

For instance, it seems to me that because of the Hatcheries (Zerg) ability to create multiple units quickly, the loss of a drone in order to create a new building is not so harmful. In addition, I imagine that there is a slight reduction in building cost, if you look at the building costs, but I don't have the reference here, so I'm not completely certain of that.

On the other hand, when dealing with the Protoss, all the probe needs to do is to open a rift, and walk away. Therefore, less micromanagement is needed, and only one probe can build a rather substantial base in a very limited amount of time, if the resources are available to build that base.

However, when dealing with the Terrans, the unit is not lost nor is the unit completely available while building the building. Therefore, it takes multiple SCV's to build multiple building at the same time, but the unit is not lost. Because this advantage is given to the Terran (especially when considered against the Zerg, who lose the unit), it is essential to get this SCV working again right away. For a quick and easy way to do this:
  1. Select the Terran that you want to build a new building.
  2. While pressing the SHIFT key, type in the building that you want to build (for instance, for barracks type b,b), and select its location.
  3. While still pressing SHIFT, right click on any minerals that you want the SCV to begin working on immediately afterwards.

By following these steps, an SCV will immediately get back to work after finishing the building, so you won't have SCV's sitting around all over the place. While it is not possible for you to build a work queue for an SCV (that I have found), this is as close as you can get.

There is one problem with this, and that is the fact that once an SCV starts a building, or you have released the shift key, it is not possible to convince that SCV that he needs to start mining afterwards. After he finishes his building, you will need to press the space bar right away (to go back to his location), select him and get him working. As opposed to later games that I played to a very limited extent (like Age of Empires II), there is no possibility of pressing the '.' key and getting to unused SCV's, so this management is key.

Possible Tank AI Problem (Version 1.05)

I played a one-on-one against the computer the other day, and had a won position, but quit when my wife needed me. There was one interesting thing that I noticed, however. Early on, I was behind in development, and I noticed that my opponent was bringing up a load of Tanks, Marines and Wraiths to attack me. Fortunately, I defeated the marines and wraithgs, but the Tanks proved to be too much for my troop deployment of primarily marines and firebats. They appeared posed to defeat one entire outlying base.

The tanks, still in siege mode, began to lay waste to my final blockade at this base, two missile turrets, so I sent out the seven or so SCV's that were there to face them. One was destroyed on the way there, but six made it, and they laid waste to the tanks that simply sat there in siege mode waiting for something to come into range. It was a sorry state of affairs for my computer opponent. This would probably also work with firebats, but it makes the battle against siege moded tanks a little uninteresting if you can get right up next to them.

That being said, I have a fully upgraded version now, and I have not retested this. I will update you if it happens (or does not happen) again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Level Five New Sub-Goals

While I have completed Terran campaign levels four and five (four being pretty uninteresting), I have some new goals for myself for Terran campaign level 5, The Flight to Antiga Prime. Because I am not satisfied with my results on this level, with it taking my 40 elapsed minutes to complete, my new goals are as follows:

  • Complete the entire scenario in less than 30 elapsed minutes (any speed).
  • (Less definitive, but good nonetheless) Get more comfortable with the abilities of the ghost (Kerrigan being available), and memorize all of their commands. Utilize Cloak more effectively (I left it on for too long last time).
  • Memorize all commands associated with armor and weapon improvements for infantry units (that are available)(from the top of my head):
    • 'a' - Armor Improvements - Engineering Bay
    • 'w' - Weapon Improvements - Engineering Bay
    • 'u' - U-238 Shells - Academy
    • 't' - Stim Pack Improvement - Academy
  • Memorize the build order for drop ships, wraith improvements.
    • ?? - Control Tower
    • 'c' - Develop Cloaks - Control Towere
    • 'w' - Build Wraith - StarPort
    • 'd'? - Build Drop Ship - StarPort

I do this so that in the future I will be sufficiently versed in these commands, and so that I can use them effectively in battle. I also need to learn all of the commands for the Vultures and their advancements, but I'll hold off on that until I have mastered the above.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Level Three Sub-Goal Completed

Desparate Alliance Completed Image
Goal Completed!
For those interested, here is the image from the end of the level when I completed my goal of wiping the map clean before time ran out. I have a couple of lessons learned after the completion of this goal.

  1. First, and most important, when moving a group of your guys, press 'a' and use left click, instead of right click. When using right click, your guys will move to that location before doing anything else, even when under attack. You learn this in the tutorial, but I didn't have the sound on for that.
  2. Build plenty of SCV's, so that when you lose an entire group of fighters in one round, you can back up your attack quickly with a new set of marines (or whatever else).


Update: 2/22/2006

It does not seem to be possible to save replays of the campaign levels like you can with the multiplayer maps. For some reason, the option is greyed out. Therefore, I will get into the act of taking screenshots during the game (print screen stores them in the home directory, and I can export them using Gimp software).

First Sub-Goal: Terran Mission 'Desperate Alliance'

The Terran mission, Desperate Alliance (mission three), will be one of my first sub-goals. More specifically, I have the goal of destroying the Zerg threat (all enemies and buildings) before the original 30 minute time allowance has completed. Last night I tried the mission for the first time in about 8 years. The result was most satisfactory, with me destroying all of my opponents buildings except for two, but not within the original 30 minute time limit. As I also noted, there were also two buildings left.

When I complete this goal, I will save my replay and post my strategy here, so that others can pick apart my strategy and build order.

New Beginnings in StarCraft

The other day, I splurged and bought a copy of StarCraft Battle Chest at the local Best Buy. After several days of play (time being limited), I have completed the first three Terran missions. Because of my time also spent playing chess (see ChessNonsense for more information about that), I have decided to write up a new blog, on my journey to improved play on StarCraft, hoping to match or exceed my previous talents.

That will not be the simplest task, but I was not previously (around the age of 18, now 26) the greatest player (I could defeat 2 computer opponents at the same time, regularly, with them both unified against me). My goal, today, is to beat that. I would like to be able to defeat three computer opponents at the same time, unified, on a melee map. This will be my area where I discuss my journey from relative noob status to StarCraft expert.

Because I have never had the Brood Wars expansion pack, my goals will be the following, with many sub-goals, based on the missions, where I may try to challenge myself before moving forward:

  1. Complete Original StarCraft
    1. Complete All Terran Missions
    2. Complete All Zerg Missions
    3. Complete All Protoss Missions
  2. Complete Brood Wars
    1. Complete All Terran Missions
    2. Complete All Protoss Missions
    3. Complete All Zerg Missions
  3. Single Player vs. Computer Modes
    1. Defeat one opponent
      1. Terran
        1. vs. Terran
        2. vs. Zerg
        3. vs. Protoss
      2. Protoss
        1. vs. Terran
        2. vs. Zerg
        3. vs. Protoss
      3. Zerg
        1. vs. Terran
        2. vs. Zerg
        3. vs. Protoss
    2. Defeat two opponents
      1. Terran
        1. vs. Terran, Terran
        2. vs. Zerg, Zerg
        3. vs. Protoss, Protoss
        4. vs. Terran, Zerg
        5. vs. Terran, Protoss
        6. vs. Zerg, Protoss
      2. Protoss
        1. vs. Terran, Terran
        2. vs. Zerg, Zerg
        3. vs. Protoss, Protoss
        4. vs. Terran, Zerg
        5. vs. Terran, Protoss
        6. vs. Zerg, Protoss
      3. Zerg
        1. vs. Terran, Terran
        2. vs. Zerg, Zerg
        3. vs. Protoss, Protoss
        4. vs. Terran, Zerg
        5. vs. Terran, Protoss
        6. vs. Zerg, Protoss
    3. Defeat three opponents
      1. Terran
        1. vs. Terran, Terran, Terran
        2. vs. Zerg, Zerg, Zerg
        3. vs. Protoss, Protoss, Protoss
        4. vs. Terran, Terran, Zerg
        5. vs. Terran, Terran, Protoss
        6. vs. Terran, Zerg, Protoss
        7. vs. Terran, Zerg, Zerg
        8. vs. Terran, Protoss, Protoss
        9. vs. Zerg, Zerg, Protoss
        10. vs. Zerg, Protoss, Protoss
      2. Protoss
        1. vs. Terran, Terran, Terran
        2. vs. Zerg, Zerg, Zerg
        3. vs. Protoss, Protoss, Protoss
        4. vs. Terran, Terran, Zerg
        5. vs. Terran, Terran, Protoss
        6. vs. Terran, Zerg, Protoss
        7. vs. Terran, Zerg, Zerg
        8. vs. Terran, Protoss, Protoss
        9. vs. Zerg, Zerg, Protoss
        10. vs. Zerg, Protoss, Protoss
      3. Zerg
        1. vs. Terran, Terran, Terran
        2. vs. Zerg, Zerg, Zerg
        3. vs. Protoss, Protoss, Protoss
        4. vs. Terran, Terran, Zerg
        5. vs. Terran, Terran, Protoss
        6. vs. Terran, Zerg, Protoss
        7. vs. Terran, Zerg, Zerg
        8. vs. Terran, Protoss, Protoss
        9. vs. Zerg, Zerg, Protoss
        10. vs. Zerg, Protoss, Protoss

While completing the above quest, I might also be playing against my high-school age brother in law, who is sadly currently grounded from playing video games. I will publish here my various extraneous sub-goals and how I completed them.

Thanks for taking a look here after only my first post!!!