BlizzCon: Starcraft II – Heart of the Swarm
Over a year after the release of Starcraft II its fan base has been continually playing the highly acclaimed game but with the yearning of new content. Now this has changed. At BlizzCon 2011 it was announced that the official expansion named ‘Heart of the Swarm’ would be released next year. During the hour long panel on ‘Heart of the Swarm’, info about the development, concepts, art and technology were discussed as well as info on the upcoming DOTA.
Development of Starcraft II
The panel discussed development on Startcraft II as a whole as well as giving a look into early builds of the game. They gave information that in the beginning of development, simple mechanics and previous unit models were used to outline the new engine and from there, over the years, it progressed and developed into what can be played today.
Heart of the Swarm Expansion Info
The expansion is still a work in progress with new concepts and designs being thought up and tested continuously. This is however a free-flowing process where new ideas are thought up which then goes straight into the hands of the art team to create its concept art and then 3D models are made and tested in the game engine. New unit examples include those of Terran and Zerg which both followed this fluid process.
The environment has also been vamped up with the introduction of more technological landscapes such as metallic metal and reflective snowy surfaces with a much more attractive colour scheme. Because of this, work has been put in to make these surfaces look as polished as they can be, adding in detailed reflections and metallic shine to spruce up the viewing experience.
The gameplay features have been expanded with the introduction of the new content too. As seen in the two playable missions at BlizzCon, you are able to not only upgrade your units but upgrade your ‘heroes’ also. The environment also unleashes its own form of attack in the new content. In the snow mission your units are frozen in place temporarily when ice storms occur. This could give the impression that there are more environments that cause different effects maybe to your advantage and disadvantage. This can add a much higher level of excitement to the gameplay as you are not only battling your enemy but the environment also.
The engine has been tweaked also to provide a much better playing experience. Firstly, a new physics system has been introduced which increases the realism and dynamic feel of the overall game. Units follow this advance and create a much better experience from the improved system. Secondly, an improved rendering system allows the details to become much more polished and create a slightly better in-game atmosphere in terms of looks.
The panel explained that the idea of DOTA is that they wanted to split from the army based gameplay and focus on individual units or ‘heroes’. For this they have gone back and taken ideas and features from its previous games and built upon them.