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Dec 30, 2020

If you’re even passingly familiar with the RTS genre, this is a game that needs no introduction. Released by Blizzard in 1998, Starcraft is a sci-fi real time strategy game by Blizzard Entertainment chronicling three species - Terran, Protoss, and Zerg - as they fight for control of the Koprulu Sector. More than anything else, the game is known for its thriving multiplayer and dedicated competitive scene: it was arguably the single biggest player in establishing the modern concept of esports and even to this day you can make hella dough if you’re good enough (spoiler: you aren’t).

Of course, that’s not what this will be about. Instead we’ll be covering the game’s campaigns. On top of its multiplayer, Starcraft had a singleplayer campaign that was revolutionary for its time, with far more elaborate writing and mission design than most strategy games could even dream of at the time revolving around a delightfully shlocky story. But playing through the campaign will also give plenty of opportunities to take a look at what makes this game tick and why it's managed to have such an enduring multiplayer scene.

Hey you made a typo, your title says “SSLP.” Nope, sorry, not a typo. As insane as it sounds, I opted for an SSLP of this game. Unlike the frenetic multiplayer the game is known for, the campaign is a fair bit slower paced. It has more of a focus on building up a single base while beating off small waves of attackers, and that tends to be a lot more fun to play than it is to watch.

More than that, though, I also want to have space to talk about the gameplay itself. I think that gameplay-wise Starcraft 1 is one of the most interesting games ever released because it’s completely batshit insane. It has a reputation for being the most well-balanced strategy game out there and deservedly so, but what people might not know is that this balance is an art, not a science. It didn’t come from hours of painstaking, meticulous playtesting and patching. It came from the devs filling the game to the brim with ridiculous, brokenly overpowered bullshit, and the stars (as well as the mapmakers) aligning to have all that bullshit be distributed almost perfectly between three radically different factions. There’s a lot in here to unpack that is interesting even just from a game design/theory standpoint.

Similarly, I want space to talk about the lore. This is less groundbreaking and interesting but I like talking about it anyway because I’m a huge dork.

Finally I just think SSLPs are more fun than video LPs. So there.

So how will this LP look? The plan is to go through each of the game’s campaigns, mission by mission, interspersed with loreposts and mechanicposts. I also want to make use of some voting. The campaign doesn’t exactly have a lot of formal decision-making so I’ll find other things we can vote on instead. I’m also going to be adding in a little bit of dialogue - nothing much, the game already has a decent amount of it, just a few snippets on behalf of our character so that we’re more than passive bystanders to what’s going on.

Do I need to know a lot about Starcraft to contribute? Sure don’t! Starcraft is a big game played by lots of people for a lot of different reasons. If I get a unit and say “Here’s a unit, in the campaign we’ll be using it for x but in multiplayer it mostly gets used for y,” and you say “When my buddies and I played this game together twenty years ago we never used it for y” that’s a valid and valuable contribution. Casual LAN parties and single-player compstomps are as much a part of this game as pro-level competitive play.

One final note about loreposts: As one might expect for a Blizzard game, the lore is constantly changing and being retconned. Loreposts, then, are mostly going to revolve around what the lore was at the time. If there’s a particularly significant retcon I’ll probably mention it, but for the most part the lore I’ll be presenting will be the lore as it was in 98, rather than the lore as it is today.

Comments discussing how future books, games, and other materials change the lore seen in loreposts are 100% welcome.

Spoiler policy: Please use the spoiler tag for any plot details that haven’t happened in game yet. Assume that no one in this thread has played this game before (even though probably all of them have).

Now, on to our first order of business. As I hinted at above, Starcraft, like many strategy games of its time, operates under the conceit that we the player are an actual character in the story. For Episode One, the Terran campaign, we’ll be taking on the role of a colonial magistrate. This colonial magistrate needs a name. Which means you need to suggest one.

I’ll pick a name by the next update. If you see a suggestion you like, make sure you say so to sway my decision through the mystical power of peer pressure.

And now, without further ado, let's start this LP off the right way: With the opening cinematic.


Dec 30, 2020


Episode One (Terran Campaign)

Mission One
Mission Two
Mission Three

Loreposts and Mechanicposts
Terran Backstory
Unit Spotlight: Marine
Unit Spotlight: Vulture

Terran Buildings 101
Building Spotlight: Supply Depot

Glossary of Starcraft Terms

I'll be updating this list as we go along, adding terms as we come across them

A-move Attack move, or a command that instructs units to move to a location while shooting anything on the way. Generally an inefficient way to command your forces and is often used perjoratively - although not always (e.g. "Their macro is strong enough that they could just A-move into the enemy"). Also sometimes referred to as 1A, 1a2a3a, etc.

Control group A selection of units, often twelve, bound to a hotkey. See also: Stack

DPS Damage Per Second. I use this a lot because it combines a unit's damage and attack speed, giving a more accurate picture than just listing the damage.

Hydra Short for Hydralisk, a Zerg unit

Ling Short for Zergling, a Zerg unit

Macro "Big picture" gameplay: Harvesting resources, building your structures, taking expansions, training your army, etc.

Micro Micromanaging units (and sometimes buildings). Activating abilities, focus firing, arranging formations, pulling back damaged units, etc.

Muta Short for Mutalisk, a Zerg unit

Stack Okay, this one's not actually a Starcraft term, but as a huge 4X nerd it's what I habitually use to refer to control groups.

Cast of Characters

I'll be adding new characters as we meet them, but I won't be updating characters once they're added. This list is more so people can say "Wait, who's that portrait again? Oh right, it's Steve." If you want to find out why in the latest update Steve is missing his left eye and only speaks in chess terms, you'll have to read the LP.

Matt Horner: Our (pseudo-canonical) player character for Episode One, sent by the Confederacy to serve as Colonial Magistrate on Mar Sara.

Adjutant: Our robot advisor. Like Siri, or Alexa. Or Clippy. She's also the announcer for the Terrans - she's the one that tells us when additional supply depots are required and that sort of thing.

Edmund Duke: A decorated Confederate general, head of the renowned Alpha Squadron and Matt's CO.

Jim Raynor: A Marshall serving on Mar Sara.

Arcturus Mengsk: Founder and leader of The Sons of Korhal, an anti-Confederate paramilitary organization.

JohnKilltrane fucked around with this message at 18:40 on May 12, 2021

Viola the Mad
Feb 13, 2010

Clint Strongman McLanternjaw.

Nov 8, 2009

I think Starcraft 1 has probably aged the best of Blizzard's classic properties, and the remaster didn't gently caress things up like the Warcraft 3 remaster did.

I say name the magistrate Matthew Horner. Continuity so obvious that only Blizzard would say no that's actually not it.

Sinner Sandwich
Oct 13, 2012

Man, I loved this game so much, even though as a five year old, I was so absurdly bad at it. Now, I watch online tournaments even if I haven't touched an RTS since WC3 released, but sometimes those old muscle memories of StarCraft kick in and I feel the janky pathfinding or remember exact unit statistics, or things like that.

Loving this idea and hope for the best for the LP. Since we're talking about bad lore that was concurrent with the game, I'm going to recommend our character be named Michael Liberty .

Ghost Stromboli
Mar 31, 2011

Kid Tibbley or Quince Gelatin.

Jan 27, 2010

The most virtuous child in the entire world.

Cythereal posted:

I think Starcraft 1 has probably aged the best of Blizzard's classic properties, and the remaster didn't gently caress things up like the Warcraft 3 remaster did.

I say name the magistrate Matthew Horner. Continuity so obvious that only Blizzard would say no that's actually not it.

This, 100%. Matthew Horner

Dec 30, 2020

You know what? I'd been hoping for a silly name like Tits McGee or Brapp Zannigan or, yes, Clint Strongman McLanternjaw ("I'm Clint Strongman McLanternjaw, but my friends call me Strongman McLanternjaw") but let's go with Matt Horner. It really is the obvious choice and looking at the work I did on updates before I even posted this thread I was already subconsciously writing the Magistrate in Matt's voice. So you know what, screw your canon, Blizzard. We're making Matt Horner the Magistrate and there's nothing you can do about it.

(For anyone out of the loop, Matt Horner is a prominent Terran character in Starcraft 2 and seemed a natural fit for the canonical version of the Magistrate from this campaign we're playing. For reasons clear to nobody but them, Blizzard decided to official shut this down and instead make Matt a character very similar to the Magistrate who meets Raynor during the events of this campaign).

First update will be coming soon. Future votes will last longer (it's barely been 12 hours lol) but I'm just chomping at the bit to get started.

Dec 30, 2020

Update 1: Wasteland

So, the first mission. There's actually one before this, a tutorial, but it's nothing. It's literally nothing. The game even gives you a Skip Tutorial button. If you really want to see it I can do an update for it, but I don't anticipate a lot of pushback on this one.

For the most part, Starcraft Remastered is just the original with updated visuals and a few modern conveniences like remapping hotkeys. Here we see one of the few additions. The original game occasionally had text blurbs before or after certain missions, but now we have illustrated text blurbs! Here they're setting the stage for the first mission.

Terrans, as the name implies, are humans. We are Matthew Horner, a young officer in the Terran Confederacy. A couple weeks ago we saw mankind's first contact with any sort of alien species when mysterious creatures that we've come to call the Zerg appeared on the planet of Chau Sara. A few days ago, we had another first encounter - a second alien species came out of nowhere with a massive fleet and eliminated all life on Chau Sara. People on the nearby planet of Mar Sara are a little shook up by this so we've been sent to help supervise the lockdown and maintain order.

Each mission begins with one of these splash screens, showing us where we are and giving a bit of contextual info. It's a nice touch.

I'll be transcribing the mission briefings.

Adjutant Online. Good evening Magistrate. I'll fill you in on what's been happening: Confederate traffic has increased substantially within the system due to the recent Protoss destruction of the Chau Sara Colony. The Confederates have tightened security on all outlying systems, and it's likely that this colony will be locked-down as well. An encrypted Confederate transmission came for you while you were at dinner. Replaying transmission:

Greetings, Magistrate. I'm General Edmund Duke of the Confederate Security Forces, Alpha Squadron. The Confederacy has quarantined this entire planet, and we'll proceed with the lock-down within 48 hours.You're to relocate your core colonists to the outlying wastelands. Now I know there won't be any problems with these new arrangements.

Transmission ended. I have contacted the local Marshal, James Raynor. Raynor has agreed to meet your personnel en route and escort them to the new wasteland site.

Mission Objectives:
  • Find Raynor
  • Build a Barracks
  • Train 10 Marines

Well, here we are. You can see our starting units here. On the left, we’ve got five SCVs. These are our worker units - they harvest resources and construct buildings. On the right, we’ve got five Marines. They’re our basic combat unit, and man do they kick rear end. In the top right is our current resource situation: We’ve got 40 of a Mysterious Blue Material, 0 of a Mysterious Green Substance, and a total of 10 units out of the 18 we can support. In the bottom left is the mini-map - in the bottom of it you can see two green squares. That’s our destination.

I can’t believe we’re being sent to the Wastelands. These Confederates think they can push anybody around.

Easy. I know it’s not ideal, but it’s for your own protection. The Confederacy knows what it’s doing.

Sure. They’re booting us out to the middle of nowhere out of the kindness of their hearts.

Look, let’s just get moving.

The guy mining for booger nuggets is an SCV. The other one is us. We're maybe a little naive at this point, but don't tell us that. Also note that any dialogue in italics means that it was added by me for this glorified fanfic Let's Play.

After an incident-free journey across the bridge and down the road, we encounter -

Howdy boys, I’m Jim Raynor, the Marshal of these parts.

Colonial Magistrate Matthew Horner. Glad for the escort.

Meeting Raynor accomplishes our first objective, however we have a new one added to take its place.

Raynor is a hero unit, something we’ll be seeing a lot of in the campaign. The good news is that heroes are incredibly powerful - Raynor deals 30 damage and has a whopping 300 HP (by comparison, our Marines deal 6 damage and have 40 HP). The bad news is that, as you can see by the new objective, if they die, we lose (in most cases). Nearly every hero is a stronger version of a normal unit, but in most cases I’m going to wait until we have that normal unit before I talk about how they work. For now all you need to know about Raynor is that he hits hard and goes fast (faster than anything else in the game, in fact).

Oh, he also doesn’t do as much damage as you might expect, for reasons that I’ll get into in the next update.

Just south of where Raynor joins us we see our very first aliens.

These are Zerglings, the basic unit for the Zerg - but aside from their spot on the tech tree, they could not be more different from Marines.

They charge in, but our boys wax them quickly and efficiently.

Are those Zerg? I didn’t realize they’d made their way here.

Yep. drat critters have been popping up all over the place lately. What, they didn’t they brief you on that?

Must have slipped their minds.

So, let’s have a quick chat about Marines (I'll be dedicating a mechanics/lore post to Marines later on where we'll take a more in-depth look at them). Compared to the basic units for the other two races, Marines don’t seem like anything special on paper. They’re incredibly squishy and while their damage output is good, it pales in comparison to the Zergling. But the big thing they have going for them is range. This means that a) They can attack any unit in the game, b) They can kill enemy close combat units before those units get a chance to do any damage, and c) More of them can attack at the same time, since you don’t have to worry about things like not being able to reach or fit around the target.

In other words, Marines are versatile, powerful units that prod serious buttock - and that’s before we see some of their upgrades. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that with a few stacks of Marines you could handily dispatch any force we’ll come across in this campaign. Of course, I won’t do that, because I want to show off the different units we’ll be unlocking. But I could.

Oh, and they don't even reach their full potential in this game. It won't be until we hit the expansion that we can see what they can really do. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Well, here we are, boys. Home sweet home.

So this is our base. The big, round building is the Command Center. Here we can train new SCVs, existing SCVs drop off resources they’ve gathered, and it’s necessary for most of our other buildings. The smaller, square one is a Supply Depot. It provides our soldiers with the things they need to keep going - ammo, fuel, cold ones, that sort of thing. Each Depot provides us with eight supply. Command Centers also provide supply - ten each, in fact - which is why we’ve got 18 supply right now. The crystal things in the bottom right are minerals - the Mysterious Blue Material. Minerals, mined by our SCVs, are the basic resource of Starcraft. We need them for just about everything, and lots of them.

Thanks for the help.

No problem. Hey, you don’t mind if I take the troops out on patrol?

By all means.

While our five SCVs get to work gathering minerals, Raynor and the Marines go out to look for trouble.

There’s only a few scattered Zerglings hanging out, and they’re no match for our troops. If we left them alone, they’d just sit there without attacking - they mostly exist as a way to keep yourself entertained while the SCVs do their thing.

Soon I’ve got enough minerals (150) for a Barracks.

As you might expect, this is our basic unit production building. Once we’ve got it up, we can have it produce Marines for 50 minerals and 1 supply each - the same as an SCV.

Once it's finished, the game helpfully supplies a counter to keep track of how many Marines we have. Since we still have the 5 we started with, we only need to train 5 more to hit our goal.

5 Marines and a few uneventful Zergling squashings later…

There. That should be enough troops to keep the colonists safe out here.

What, you’re leaving?

Mmm. I need to get back to the office, HQ will want a full report. Bureaucrats love their drat paperwork.

Riiight. Tell you what, I’ll keep an eye on things here for you.

And that's mission one. Short, simple, and... okay, pretty boring. Like just about any strategy game ever, Starcraft really softballs the early missions. We'll be seeing more action soon, don't worry.

Since I'm new to this sort of thing, I'm also looking for feedback on the images in particular. Are the screenshots too large? The character heads too small? Did I skimp too much on pictures of murdering hapless Zerglings?

Nov 8, 2009

Mostly looks fine to me, only thing I'd suggest would be making all the portraits the same size - Horner's is smaller than everyone else's.

Alien Arcana
Feb 14, 2012

You're related to soup, Admiral.

Oh man, this hits all the nostalgia buttons. All of them. Starcraft was basically the only decent game we owned back in the day.

Mar 28, 2016

Oh man, this game was my childhood.

I see the remastered edition changed the SCVs to not be the only black guys in the Terran forces (aside from the Firebat). Probably for the better.

10 year old me took a bit to understand that "training" the marines did not mean taking the five guys you have and enrolling them in continuing education classes while going "where are the other five?"

Mar 10, 2013

Only nitpick I have is: weren't the zerg still a complete unknown to everyone at this point in time? Or was that retconned?

Edit: Or rather, the zerg on Chau Sara were a complete secret because the confederacy ruthlessly supressed all knowledge of it, there even being a campaign about it for SC that I'm not sure has been ported yet.

Jun 20, 2008

I could be misremembering, but I thought the idea was that the zerg were fairly well-known, but only as weird alien animals - dangerous in the way a tiger is dangerous, but not a large-scale threat. So seeing some zerglings wandering around isn't surprising beyond that they haven't been sighted on this particular planet before.

Feb 21, 2007

Screenshots seem to be a good size on my screen, portraits could be bigger.

It's funny to me how the remastered game it looks just like the memory I have of the original, then I go back and look at shots of the original and wonder how I ever saw anything in that blurry mess of pixels.

Nissin Cup Nudist
Sep 3, 2011

Sleep with one eye open

We're off to Gritty Gritty land

Is it true Starcraft was originally gonna be a Warhams 40K game before GW pulled the license for some reason?

Dec 30, 2020

Cythereal posted:

Mostly looks fine to me, only thing I'd suggest would be making all the portraits the same size - Horner's is smaller than everyone else's.

Yeah, Matty's giving me a bit of trouble because SC2's talking heads are rectangular as opposed to SC1's square portraits. He seems to end up being either too big or too small. I'll probably just crop him to make him square.

NewMars posted:

Only nitpick I have is: weren't the zerg still a complete unknown to everyone at this point in time? Or was that retconned?

Edit: Or rather, the zerg on Chau Sara were a complete secret because the confederacy ruthlessly supressed all knowledge of it, there even being a campaign about it for SC that I'm not sure has been ported yet.

You know, that's a great question. In theory the Zerg were still mostly an unknown, but in practice dialogue in the first few missions seems to indicate that people were at least vaguely familiar with them ("It's a Zergling, Lester. Smaller type of Zerg," etc). I think the idea is that they haven't been around Mar Sara for long, but it's been long enough for people to have at least some experience with them. I'd assumed that as a Confederate officer Matt would have at least heard the word "Zerg" before but you're right, that assumption might not make total sense.

Funnily enough I had actually intended to start this LP with that campaign you mentioned. Unfortunately I ended up scrapping that idea because it throws most of the Terran units and buildings at you within the span of 4 or so missions, so I couldn't find a way to introduce everything that was helpful but also flowed well and didn't steal the main campaign's thunder. I think once we wrap up the main campaign I'll see if people would be interested in going back and finding out what happened on Chau Sara.

Nissin Cup Nudist posted:

Is it true Starcraft was originally gonna be a Warhams 40K game before GW pulled the license for some reason?

Not that I know of. AFAIK Warcraft 1 was originally made with Warhammer Fantasy in mind but when Blizzard approached GW with the product, the latter passed. I mean, it's undeniable that Starcraft borrows liberally and constantly from 40K (as well as Alien and Starship Troopers), but I don't think there was ever anything in the works about it being an official 40K game.

Jun 13, 2013

Mad and loving it.

Well it’s great to be on the ground floor of this. Ah, so many pleasant hours spent starting a mission with inputting the 10,000 of each resource, infinite supply, fast build speed, and invincibility cheats, then building 12 of the most relevant unit/whatever I had on hand and attack-moving across the map.

...I never actually played the game in any real legitimate way aside from a few missions from each of the first three campaigns on the N64. I do play StarCraft II legitimately though, abet only the campaigns and usually just normal/hard mode. Select missions get the Brutal level.

Dec 30, 2020

Lorepost 01: Terran Backstory: Why are there Terrans here anyway?

I'll be starting each of these campaigns off with a background lorepost, which will be a fair bit longer than your average lorepost. Starcraft, being a 90s game, put most of its backstory in the manual, and while you can follow the game's story without it, the game does assume you're familiar with it. I've summarized it here. The Terran backstory is unique in that very little - if any - of it has been retconned to my knowledge.

Two hundred years from now, Earth has gotten into some crazy things - genetic manipulation, cybernetics, and unlocking humanity’s psionic potential. This unsurprisingly resulted in a lot of pushback, with the dissenters turning to unrest and terrorism, precipitating a global crisis. In response, the United Powers League was founded to unify humanity. The UPL soon comprised most of Earth and true to sci-fi stereotype immediately began a brutal, totalitarian reign of terror over much of the planet. Fascist police state, outlawing religion, free thought, and languages that aren’t English, rounding up and executing anyone considered a “degenerate,” you know the drill.

Anyway, the UPL decided that rather than traditional execution, humanity would be better served by having some of these “degenerates” be used as lab rats for new, experimental deep space travel technology. Four automated super-carriers were loaded up with ten thousand prisoners each and fired off into the void. Predictably, their navigation systems almost immediately failed resulting into the ships hurtling off to a distant part of space known as the Koprulu sector.

There's no art depicting this event but fortunately technology has progressed a lot since 1998 and as a result we're able to fully simulate what this launch would have actually looked like:

One ship landed on a planet called Umoja. A second ship also landed on Umoja but poorly and everyone died in the crash. A third ship landed on a planet called Moria. The fourth ship landed on the planet Tarsonis. These colonies each were the seeds that would grow into the three Terran powers in the sector: The Umojan Protectorate, the Kel-Morian Combine, and the Terran Confederacy, respectively.

Tarsonis was the most temperate of the worlds and the ship that landed there was the only one to have its supercomputer survive, and if Sid Meier has taught us anything it’s that it’s all about rolling a good start. As time went on, the Confederacy became the dominant power in the system, rapidly expanding to dozens of worlds. The Kel-Morian Combine worked to sabotage and undermine the Confederacy’s reckless expansionism, resulting in the brutal, bloody Guild Wars.

A Confederate victory at the end of the Guild Wars left them the uncontested power in the sector, but many planets chafed under their yoke. Among these was Korhal, one of the Confederacy’s most populous and prosperous core worlds, where a man named Angus Mengsk became the spokesman for anti-Confederate sentiment. The Confederacy was not amused and had Mengsk assassinated, along with his wife and daughter, putting their heads on pikes for all to see. Mengsk’s son, Arcturus, did not take this news well, and began launching violent attacks against the Confederacy. In retaliation, the Confederacy used massive amounts of nuclear weapons to glass the entire planet of Korhal. The rebellion was over, but Arcturus himself survived and formed a terrorist group, the Sons of Korhal, to continue on the fight.

We broke into Chris Metzen's house and in his safe (inside the fireplace, combo is 12345) found this exclusive, never-before-seen concept art of Korhal before and after the nuking:

Despite the occasional spat with its worlds, an uneasy peace finally began to reign in the Koprulu Sector. Then the Chau Sara incident hit.

So, just to clarify, the Terrans in the Koprulu sector are indeed from Earth, but they have no contact with it and it's little more than a distant memory.

Radio Free Kobold
Aug 11, 2012

"Federal regulations mandate that at least 30% of our content must promote Reptilian or Draconic culture. This is DJ Scratch N' Sniff with the latest mermaid screeching on KBLD..."

that arcturus mengsk fellow sounds like an alright guy. i mean, rebelling against a tyrannical and genocidal confederacy? yeah i think we can work with him. he's probably got some great ideas about a better future for mankind. at the very least we know that, since he's felt the pain of his homeworld being glassed, he won't be in any hurry to inflict planetary apocalypses on anyone else.

Nov 8, 2009

One part of this game that I think didn't age well is the Confederacy. Humans as space rednecks and hillbillies with machine guns sounds funny, but these days my eye starts reflexively twitching every time I see the Confederate flag - yeah, for those who haven't picked up on it, the Terran Confederacy in this game is themed after that Confederacy.

Smiling Knight
May 31, 2011

Cythereal posted:

One part of this game that I think didn't age well is the Confederacy. Humans as space rednecks and hillbillies with machine guns sounds funny, but these days my eye starts reflexively twitching every time I see the Confederate flag - yeah, for those who haven't picked up on it, the Terran Confederacy in this game is themed after that Confederacy.

In my imagination, the only entertainment on the supercarriers was reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard, and the Confederacy is cargo-culted off of those darn Duke boys' battles with Boss Hogg, and not the other Confederacy.

Aces High
Mar 26, 2010

Nah! A little chocolate will do

I like to think that the love for the Confederates is what we see because we are mostly seeing the military point of view, not what the average citizen feels. That and how the people sent to the Koprulu Sector are the intergalactic versions of penal ships going to Australia so on average not shining beacons of morality

Dec 30, 2020

Yeah even playing this as a kid in 98 the Confederate flags were kinda offputting. Fortunately they're sparse, but... they're there.

Also the whole "Koprulu Sector is Earth's Space Australia" is kinda funny to me, especially with the UPL's incredibly broad definition of "criminal." Your neighbour could be there with you because they're Buddhist or got caught humming a few bars of La Marseillaise in public - or they could be there because they're a serial killer. It's like Russian Roulette but in space.

Also update coming later today.

Aces High
Mar 26, 2010

Nah! A little chocolate will do

that's not too far off of reality

An easy way to solve problems of people that you find troublesome is to come up with trumped up charges to have them transported to the other side of the world/galaxy

Aug 9, 2017

It's very much like penal colonies in real life. The lore specifically mentions that many of the colonists were political prisoners.

Nov 8, 2009

If Blizzard's leadership wasn't a bunch of right-wing hacks, you could have some fun with the idea that a society of political prisoners would create a new Confederacy, saying implicitly some very interesting things about why they were political prisoners and what the government that imprisoned them must be like.

But this is Blizzard so the only thought that went into it was "This sounds cool to us!"

Dec 30, 2020

Update 2: Backwater Station

Receiving incoming transmission. Com-link established.

Heeyy, what’s up, man? Got yer refugees tucked in nice and tight. Provided you can sidestep any more surprises from our Confederate friends, and we can keep them away from those critters, they should have an easy time.

Priority alert! Backwater Station under attack by unknown alien organisms. Distress beacon activated at 0658. Alerting Confederate headquarters on Tarsonis… Stand by for incoming transmission.

We've already received the distress beacon from Backwater, and we'll take care of it. You just sit tight. You'll be notified if there's anything we think you need to know.

drat! Listen, if we wait for Confederate reinforcements, that station’s dust. I’ll head out there now, do what I can. You send in some militia, and we’ll save those folks. Trust me.

Note that based on this briefing, NewMars was 100% right and I shouldn't have had Matt and Jim refer to the aliens as "Zerg" in the last update. They're still unidentified critters, for now.

This is our starting position. Four marines, two SCVs, a Barracks, a Command Center, two Supply Depots and one Jimmy Raynor.

Glad to see you, boys. Time to kick some serious butt.

Are you sure about this? This is my first posting, I don’t want to screw it up. I’m sure the Confederate reinforcements will be here soon -

Not soon enough. Besides, what’s more important? Your career, or those folks’ lives?

Well, when you put it like that…

North of our base we’ve got something new. That’s a Vespene Geyser and it gives us access to our second resource, Vespene Gas - aka the Mysterious Green Substance. Vespene is the game’s “tech resource” - we need little to none of it for low tier units and buildings, but the further you get up a race’s tech tree, the more of it you need. Generally base sites will have 0-1 geysers, and only one worker can be in the geyser at a time, so while you need less vespene than you do minerals, you also have less vespene and gather it more slowly, so it can often end up being more precious.

Alright Magistrate, here’s the plan. I’ll head out and look for survivors, you stay here and keep me reinforced.

Raynor and the Marines head out, and just outside the base…

What the hell is that? Looks like the ground there is alive.

“That” is creep. Zerg need it to put their buildings on, and other races can’t build on it at all. The strange pulsating thing beside the Zerglings is what’s generating it, called a Creep Colony.

The Zerglings go down quickly, and the Colony soon after. With the Colony dead, the creep begins to recede. Note that at the bottom center of the screen, where it shows the selected units, their wireframe outline reflects their current health.

This is a Bunker (which I’ll introduce properly in the next update). When we approach it, it comes under our control and two SCVs emerge.

Thanks for the rescue! We’ve been holed up in these bunkers for days hiding from the Zerg!

Hey man, it's what we d - oh hell.

Marshall, report. Is something wrong?

They weren't kiddin' about being in here for days. Phew!

Heading on north, we find several more buildings - including one we haven’t seen before.

These things have been out here awhile. But they could be pretty useful.

Touching the Command Center brings all the purple buildings under our control, including two bunkers to the right, which immediately pop out a bunch of Firebats, our new unit for the mission.

Need a light?

Firebats are the closest the Terran army gets to a melee unit. They’re a bit more durable than Marines and do a hell of a lot more damage. Their damage output, in fact, is insane - among the highest in the game. And on top of that, they do splash damage, roasting not just what’s in front of them, but anything that’s behind it as well.

But there’s a catch. A big, stinking, huge catch.

So, remember how last update I said Raynor doesn’t actually do as much damage as it looks like he does? See, Starcraft has different types of damage. There’s Normal damage, which is what Marines do. It always does full damage. But then there’s Concussive damage, which is what both Raynor and Firebats do. Concussive damage does full damage against small units, 50% damage against medium units, and 25% damage against large units and buildings. So far, of the units we’ve seen, Marines, SCVs, and Zerglings are all Small units, so Firebats roast them in seconds. Jimmy, on the other hand, is a Medium unit, so Firebats are pretty pitiful against him. And they’re almost worthless against buildings.

Oh, and by the way, that above information? None of it is in the game, and none of it is in the manual. Damage types, unit sizes - none of it. Before it became common knowledge (which, to be fair, was super early in the game’s lifecycle), you’d just have to sit there and try and imagine why on earth it took Firebats forever to burn down buildings.

There's other damage types, too, but we'll get to them as we see them.

Now let’s take a look at the new building, the Academy.

It’s a tech building, and putting it up allows us to train Firebats at the Barracks. It also allows us to research two upgrades, seen in the bottom right of the screen. The leftmost upgrade, U-238 Shells, gives our Marines +1 range. The other upgrade, Stimpack, is an activated ability for both Marines and Firebats that, when used, dramatically increases both their movement speed and their attack speed at the cost of 10 HP. Both of these abilities are absurdly powerful and researching them is a top priority if you plan on using these units.

Here I completed construction of a Refinery. Workers can’t handle raw vespene - in order to harvest it, you need to build the appropriate structure on top of the geyser. For Terrans, it’s the Refinery. This allows us to start harvesting vespene, which I need for those juicy, juicy Academy upgrades.

And finally, here you see a Comsat Station. It’s an add-on for the Command Center - a little mini building that can only be built by another building. When it’s finished, it’ll automatically build up energy (aka space mana). For a cost of 50 energy, we can use it to temporarily reveal part of the map, like so:


Alright Matt, we’re going in. Don’t wait up for me.

Uh, it's Magistrate Horner. And be careful.

I'm always careful, Matt

If you couldn't tell, this is the area we scanned above. Firebats are niche units, but man is it satisfying to watch them roast Zerglings. You'll see that the Marines are all damaged - this is because they all used Stimpack. Was it necessary? No. But it's fun. Also check it out, Zerg buildings bleed when they take damage:

Here we see a Zerg new unit, the Hydralisk, a fast ranged attacker that’s deadly in large numbers. It’s also a Medium unit, so Firebats and Jimmy aren’t a whole lot of help against them.

Fortunately, we’ve got stimpacked Marines.

Pushing onward. Pushing onto high ground like this is normally tricky for reasons we'll look at later, but fortunately this is the second mission. Note that the one Firebat got trapped on the ramp behind the Marines so he's standing there uselessly. I know what you're thinking: "With micro skills like that, why hasn't this guy gone pro?" and the answer is that I'm worried I'll just be too good and will hurt all the other players' feelings.

This area has a few Hydras and around a dozen Lings but that’s nothing against a few hillbillies with assault rifles jacked up on drugs.

Heading north, we find Backwater Station… sort of.

What the hell did they do to that Command Center?

Whatever it is, it ain’t natural. Burn it, boys.

(Fun fact: That first line will be said by either a Marine or a Firebat, depending on who’s closer).

The CC doesn’t last long…

Receiving incoming transmission

Marshal Raynor, by destroying a vital Confederate installation, you and your men have violated standing colonial law. As of right now, you’re all under arrest. I suggest you throw down your weapons and come peaceably.

Are you outta your mind?! If we hadn’t burned that drat factory, this entire colony could have been overrun! Maybe if you hadn’t taken your sweet time in getting here…

Now I asked you nice the first time, boy. I didn’t come here to talk with you. Now throw down them weapons!

Guess you wouldn’t be a Confederate if you weren’t a complete pain in the rear end.

General, if I may, we were just -

No, Magistrate, you may not. Don’t think your involvement here has gone unnoticed. You’re lucky you weren’t out in the field or I’d be taking you in as well. You’re on mighty thin ice, Horner.

And this concludes mission two. Don’t worry, now that we’ve seen most of the basic concepts and are getting past the “tutorial” missions, the updates should get less word-y and more action-packed.

For now, kick back and enjoy the first of Starcraft’s many fine cinematics:

Similar to Warcraft 2, these are interspersed throughout the campaign every few missions and many of them relate only tangentially to what's actually going on, but they're a lot of fun.

Dec 30, 2020

As before, any and all feedback is appreciated. I just noticed that there are not one, not two, but three instances of the screenshot capturing the dialogue I transcribed. I'll need to remember to play with subtitles off in the future.

Nov 8, 2009

In theory, Firebats are meant to be a front line for Terran infantry blobs. They're tougher than Marines, shorter-ranged, and are very effective against most of the game's melee units - like zerglings. In practice, they're more expensive than Marines, IIRC they require more tech to build, and are simply not as useful.

Starcraft doesn't have many stinkers in the lineup, but imo firebats are one of them.

Dec 30, 2020

Cythereal posted:

In theory, Firebats are meant to be a front line for Terran infantry blobs. They're tougher than Marines, shorter-ranged, and are very effective against most of the game's melee units - like zerglings. In practice, they're more expensive than Marines, IIRC they require more tech to build, and are simply not as useful.

Starcraft doesn't have many stinkers in the lineup, but imo firebats are one of them.

Pretty much, yeah. In practice, Firebats exist for one purpose and one purpose only: slaughtering Zerglings. This is actually key - early game, Zerglings are terrifying creatures of mass destruction. Late game, Zerglings are also terrifying creatures of mass destruction (Mid game, they're only mildly scary). But no matter what, Terran needs something in their arsenal to roast them good, and pro Terran players will usually mix in a handful of Firebats when playing against Zerg.

But in the campaign, where the AI barely even scratches the surface of what Zerglings are capable of? Yeah. It's very likely that you won't ever see me build one after this mission.

Aug 1, 2005

Do you think this is funny?

There is a mission where I remember them being kinda useful to have a few in bunkers.

Mar 18, 2018

Starcraft SSLP is honestly a great idea and I am absolutely on board for this. I was never much good at it (I don't think I ever finished the campaign without using the cheats, and multiplayer just wasn't my thing) but I loved this game back in the day.

I'm curious to see how well this game (and its writing) holds up, I remember enjoying the lore/story etc in the first game a lot, but less so Brood War and I didn't keep up with the series after that. (I certainly don't remember the Confederacy stuff being nearly so off-putting, but I was what, 10-12 when I played this? Sigh. Fully expecting this to be eye-opening in the worst way, that's usually how it goes.)

Jan 27, 2010

The most virtuous child in the entire world.

I swear I can hear every single line of dialogue as I'm reading it. I've played this game way too much I think.

Also if anyone wants to play along with the LP, there's a way to do it entirely for free! Well, besides the piece of your soul that it costs to have a account. All you need to do is install any version of Staracraft 2, including the free trial version, and then download and install the mod Mass Recall. It's a complete fan port of the first game into the Starcraft 2 engine, complete with all the advances that come with playing in the modern engine.

EDIT: Should probably add that the Mass Recall mod page will assume you've played the game before and has open and unmarked spoilers.

DoubleNegative fucked around with this message at 02:24 on Apr 27, 2021

Feb 15, 2014

Making the impossible possumable

Would it be alright to post some of the unit and building fluff in the manual? There's quite a bit of worldbuilding that goes on in there in the way they explain the unit or building's purpose in the game. There are also simple 3D illustrations too, but I only have a physical copy and I'm not sure if you want to see lovely scans/phone pictures.

Jan 23, 2011

Violence has its own economy, therefore be thoughtful and precise in your investment

If nothing else, the Terrans in starcraft feels a lore more lived in then a lot of science fiction, if that makes any sense.

Apr 17, 2018

Really great LP so far, I'm loving it.

I always wanted to do a hybrid LP of StarCraft 2 (gameplay video, all the menuing and dialogue in screenshots) but it didn't make much sense to do so when there wasn't a SC1 LP. I had been thinking about doing one lately but I'm glad I held off because this is a whooooole lot better than what I was planning.

Feb 28, 2021

As a child, the Wilhem Scream that plays whenever you select the Academy made me hate playing as Terran. It was weirdly uncomfortable and scared me (I was 6 at the time I played it). It is strange that such a specific interaction helped to make me like playing as Protoss over Terrans, even now.

As a newer player, almost no-one used Stimpaks because Marines and Firebats had no way to restore HP. Once you learn the benefit far outweighs the cost of 10 hp, it's an amazing feeling to see 40 Marines chew through any unit with their rifles. It is amazing how tech researches are so important in SC, even in 2 where armor upgrades mean surviving an extra attack from key enemy units. It is remarkable how this game ended up being balanced so well despite the moving parts everywhere.

Apr 6, 2021

This, Diablo 2, and Civ 2 were my PC childhood. Very excited for this. Never used Stimpaks myself, due to the HP cost. I do have trouble with the last missions of the Terran campaign, namely you get swarmed way too fast to get proper defenses, but then I prefer to turtle up in SC and Civ. Which is weird cause in other games, like Hades, I'm fairly aggressive.

Edit: Also I would of voted Big McLargeHuge for the Terran Magistrate's name if I had gotten here on time.


Aces High
Mar 26, 2010

Nah! A little chocolate will do

braybray posted:

As a child, the Wilhem Scream that plays whenever you select the Academy made me hate playing as Terran.

It's the Howie Scream actually, which is the video game equivalent of the Wilhelm (it turns up in video games as frequently as the Wilhelm does in films, I mean)

I have to say it is hard to wrap my head around vanilla StarCraft after playing (and watching tournaments) Brood War for so long. As pointed out before the Firebat is kind of a stinker when compared to mass Marine since with the range upgrade the Marine is quite capable of dealing with mass Zerglings

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