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Seite 2: Starcraft 2 - Exclusive interview with lead designer Dustin Browder

So what are you doing about that?

Dustin Browder:
We are identifying the rushes that we are not happy with and we are slowly stamping them out. And we will keep looking at the rushes. But we DO want some rushes, they are an important part of the game. We allow them and we encourage them. But a rush should be as easy to block as it is to do. So we are trying to get rid of the rushes that are super easy to do and very difficult to block.

Terrans, Protoss and Zerg clash for the final battle. As you can see, the camera does not zoom out very far. Terrans, Protoss and Zerg clash for the final battle. As you can see, the camera does not zoom out very far.

The camera does not zoom out very far. Are you considering to change the zoom level?

Dustin Browder:
We are not going to change the zoom level. This is a complex problem, it's not just about seeing more. If we zoom out too far, the game gets too difficult to micro. If we zoom out too far, our units lose a lot of personality. If we zoom out too far, the performance will suffer and the game's frame rate will drop substantially on lower-end systems. And if we zoom in too close, you won't see enough of the game. So we took a very careful balancing act where we considered all these factors. Can I see the art? Can I micro? Can I successfully see enough of the screen? What's the performance of the game like? Then we made a decision about what's the zoom level going to be. We worked for years on the zoom level, so this is what we are going to go with.

Units like Warp Rays do a lot of damage. Units like Warp Rays do a lot of damage.

Starcraft 2 feels a bit faster than the original Starcraft.

Dustin Browder:
I don't know if we sped it up that much. It's definitely a fast-paced game and we have some units that do a lot of damage. So the game may feel a little faster than the initial Starcraft in that respect. But that's just one side of it, sometimes it feels faster, sometimes it feels slower. For example, fighting Roach versus Roach feels really slow. But when you are fighting Colossus versus Marines, that feels really fast. So I think it's a perception issue. It was never our intention to make Starcraft 2 play faster. It was our intention to make it play very quickly though.

The game feeling also feels faster because of the new transport mechanics: the pylon teleport of the Protoss and the Zerg Nydus Network. So both factions can move troops very quickly. What is the intention behind that?

Dustin Browder:
The transport mechanics in the original Starcraft felt too similar to one another. Only the Zerg were a little bit different with their overlords being also their farms. But the shuttle was the same as the dropship in many ways. So we saw this as an option to create more distinction between the races.

Reapers jumping a cliff. Reapers jumping a cliff.

The Reaper, the Colossus and the Stalker are able to traverse cliffs. Why did you implement that mechanic?

Dustin Browder:
We were looking for options to use terrain and cliffs in different ways. The Stalkers' »Blink« ability was never designed to be used for cliff walking. It was designed to improve ground mobility. But obviously with an Observer or a Phoenix the Stalkers can be used as cliff walkers. The general idea was to create more use out of terrain and to get more gameplay out of it. It is the same thing as with the line of sight blockers, the destructible rocks and the watchtowers.

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