Semi-automated Starcraft
Posted by Troll Racials are Overpowered [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 March 2013, 7:00 am
Let's all recognize this as a safe space where we can all say that we're bad at Starcraft without fear of shame.  What's a noob to do?

In general, there are three aspects: economics, tactics, and strategy.  Economics involves securing bases, bringing in resources, and spending those resources in a timely manner for new units and upgrades.  Logistics wins wars.  On the tactical level, you want to manage the precise positioning of units, unit-specific abilities, movement, and precise timing.  And last, but should have probably been first, there is the strategy: when you're going to attack, what units you plan to use, where you're going to attack and where you're going to expand.

At the very least, you need strategy and economics or you're going to have no army and no ability to use it.  Tactics cannot fix a bad strategy or economy, though bad enough tactics can ruin even an otherwise good game.  Some people can manage all three.  Some people can barely manage one.  I can do two at a time, but at almost any time, one of them is being neglected.  The result is that players like me tend to lose a lot.  It's not much fun.

Of course practice would help.  I could play a few games focusing only on one aspect, get that embedded, and move on to the next.  If I had all the time in the world then that might be just fine, but without it, those "training games" are really just me getting my ass kicked.  The frustration and time wasted outweighs the learning.

Automation could help with this.  Allow the player to hand off to the AI a particular aspect of the game.  Such games would be considered distinct game modes, so that all players in a match are using the AI for the same aspect.  For example, in a game where the AI is set to manage the economics, you could tell the AI to keep a certain number of units built at all times and learn upgrades in a certain order as resources are available, allowing you as the player to focus on expanding and tactics.

This would allow players to focus on either their strengths, offloading their weakest skill to the AI, or their weaknesses, giving them the mental space to focus and learn.

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