24 July 2010

My StarCraft II Collector's Edition just arrived!

I had only ordered it like 36 hours ago, from Amazon.de and the courier just arrived. Now waiting for Monday night :-)

17 July 2010

New Screens and Discussion on SC2 Map

I've creatd a thread on the forums of the german website instarcraft.de.

- http://starcraft2.ingame.de/forum/showthread.php?t=190765

You can also find fresh screenshots there and, of course, participate in the discussion if you can speak german.

09 July 2010

Annos sold!

The Anno 1404 and Anno 1404 Venedig I put out on eBay a while ago have been sold. Thanks to everybody who tried, especially the winners :P



Blizzard impresses (again)

Hello everyone,

I'd like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

 It's important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as conversation threading, the ability to rate posts up or down, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/mission.html ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard's success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment


Thank you, Blizz. Now add LAN and chat rooms and fix custom game list and we're best buddies again ;-)

Thanks to my friend Lightspeed for the heads up.

07 July 2010

Hitler and Husky



Oh, and the Beta seems to be up again...

06 July 2010

Blizzard dissapoints again


Battle.net Update: Upcoming Changes to the Forums

Recently, we introduced our new Real ID feature - http://www.battle.net/realid/ , a new way to stay connected with your friends on the new Battle.net. Today, we wanted to give you a heads up about our plans for Real ID on our official forums, discuss the design philosophy behind the changes we’re making, and give you a first look at some of the new features we’re adding to the forums to help improve the quality of conversations and make the forums an even more enjoyable place for players to visit.
 The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID -- that is, their real-life first and last name -- with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. Certain classic forums, including the classic Battle.net forums, will remain unchanged.

The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players -- however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild. Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before. With this change, you’ll see blue posters (i.e. Blizzard employees) posting by their real first and last names on our forums as well.

We also plan to add a number of other features designed to make reading the forums more enjoyable and to empower players with tools to improve the quality of forum discussions. Players will have the ability to rate up or rate down posts so that great topics and replies stand out from the not-so-great; low-rated posts will appear dimmer to show that the community feels that they don’t contribute effectively to the conversation, and Blizzard’s community team will be able to quickly and easily locate highly rated posts to participate in or to highlight discussions that players find worthwhile.

In addition, individual topics will be threaded by context, meaning replies to specific posts will be grouped together, making it easier for players to keep track of multiple conversations within a thread. We’re also adding a way for Blizzard posters to “broadcast” important messages forums-wide , to help communicate breaking news to the community in a clear and timely fashion. Beyond that, we’re improving our forum search function to make locating interesting topics easier and help lower the number of redundant threads, and we have more planned as well.

With the launch of the new Battle.net, it’s important to us to create a new and different kind of online gaming environment -- one that’s highly social, and which provides an ideal place for gamers to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships. All of our design decisions surrounding Real ID -- including these forum changes -- have been made with this goal in mind.

We’ve given a great deal of consideration to the design of Real ID as a company, as gamers, and as enthusiastic users of the various online-gaming, communication, and social-networking services that have become available in recent years. As these services have become more and more popular, gamers have become part of an increasingly connected and intimate global community – friendships are much more easily forged across long distances, and at conventions like PAX or our own BlizzCon, we’ve seen first-hand how gamers who may have never actually met in person have formed meaningful real-life relationships across borders and oceans. As the way gamers interact with one another continues to evolve, our goal is to ensure Battle.net is equipped to handle the ever-changing social-gaming experience for years to come.

For more info on Real ID, check out our Real ID page and FAQ located at http://www.battle.net/realid/ . We look forward to answering your questions about these upcoming forum changes in the thread below.

If there's one thing I've always tried to avoid it is to connect my real life with any internet activities. Nobody of you, noone who doesn't already know me in person shall ever know my name in real life, thus connecting me to anything to what I do online and offline. There's probably nothing I value more than privacy and online-anonimity. I will never ever post again on the Battle.net forums. Thank you Blizzard for saving me time!

Working on my first StarCraft 2 Map

More out of boredom than anything else I started designing a 1on1 melee map for StarCraft II. Normally I delete my first few attempts but this one turned out so well that I gave it some more gameplay tweaks and a beauty parse which is currently in its mid-stage.

(Click on the picture to enlarge it.)

I tried to make this map as "normal" as possible, meaning, nothing fancy, nothing out of the ordinary. Which means that I had a thorough look at the features of a classic StarCraft II Beta map.

Some of the gameplay features I noticed were:
- Fairly secured main base with a small ramp that leads to its natural expansion and a bigger side entrance which is blocked by destroyable rocks and field-of-view-blockers, and a small line of cliffs where Reapers, Stalkers or Collosi could ambush. (There are no watch towers in your main base in the current version of the map).
- Main bases have enough space for fully functional 200/200 supply bases.
- Expansions are way smaller but big enough for supporting defense and some buildings.
- Natural expansion that leads to the central fight area.
- Central fight area with multiple ways and Xel'Naga Watch Towers to overview the battlefield.
- Second expansions points which are equally away to both players (might add destructible rocks in the future).
- Islands that are difficult to reach but yield High Yield Mineral Fields (may push them further away from the main land to secure them against Siege Tanks).

Some of the visual features I noticed were:

- No overuse of doodads or terrain painting in the bases or along the main roads.
- Connections are clearly recognizeable by road-like textures.
- Bases are clearly recognizeable by more solid textures.
- Plants, rocks and other doodads are mostly on side roads.
- Some fancier doodad-contstruction are distinguishable as eye-catchers along the road or whenever it can be assured that they wont hinder a unit's path.

I try to think of more as I go but as you probably understand is hte more you work on a map the less you can change its foundations and continue working on it with a flow. The current work-in-progress name is "(2)Glen of Oblivion". What I am currently realy unhappy with is the look and feel of the islands. I seem to have a problem with the sudden change of cliff textures and the islands' shape. I will probably play around with some more doodads to see what can be done. Also the non-playable fields (e.g. water and lowest ground levels) seem uninspired.
Hell, at the moment I think the whole map could need a new doodad-parse, but I also believe that I cannot in good conscience force the map to look good. Some things just come with experience and to get this experience I will need to work on other maps. I'll probably give this map another week before I release it.