Is there anyone over here, who has insight into modding StarCraft 2 or even better some experience with it? Someone who knows, how to do certain things, what is possible and what is not, what exactly is needed, if one wants to give it a try, given the fact StarCraft 2 was actually released in 3 parts, etc...
I have personal ambition/dream to build "simple" RTS game set in Star Trek universe in my free time. Since i cant code, i can at best only hope to mod something. Not to mention, even if i could code, its not exactly endeavour for a single person - developing strategy game on your own. Not every coder is as gifted as say Frogboy, or the guy who supposedly created StarDrive game mostly on his own.
Anyway, i was looking for various possibilities, looking at certain app called RTS Creator, which promised to deliver something i could use to my purpose, but never materialized, read quite extensively about Spring engine.... it is actually difficult to find something to fit my needs and what i imagine.
Only recently by random chance i saw on utube a video of some space based mod of StarCraft 2 and then i realized it could actually be best fit. Not only it seems to have quite a strong editor, making modding bit more accessible to people like me with no experience in coding, but the game (i think) has things like shields, cloaking, lasers, some kind of teleportation, infestation, etc... which could actually be quite useful for a Trek based mod and obvious stuff like Klingon/Romulan cloaking, Borg transwarp and assimilation and so on.
Funnily, i was never really a fan of SC2, i own the first of the games and barely played it - i consider Sins:Rebellion zillion times superior game to StarCraft. But in a way, because of the stuff i mentioned, SC2 could be more apt choice, since for example you cant even done cloaking properly in Sins (AFAIK). Anyway, even if you could, there is already awesome Armada III mod for Sins, which would be hard to top, and it would be pointless and redundant.
I still have many questions, though, which i would need to get answered, before i decide it is the best choice. Perhaps it will turn out Ashes of Singularity might be even better, once its modding tools get released.
Thanks for your time reading this.
Since you asked about limtations: SC2 is by now a 7 year old engine. This implies some limitations which no amount of modern hardware can solve. The most prominent among these, is that the engine breaks down when you have about 1000 units on the map. You can have more, but it will just lagg for people playing it, no matter how good their hardware. The SC2 engine can not make use of 8 cores or multiple graphics cards or 16 GB ram. Keep in mind, that units are not just starships for example, but also say a photon torpedo or a plasma bolt will be a unit. In a combat situation your big ass mothership can easily count for 10 units.
On the other hand, you get access to a huge amount of art assets right away. All the normal starcraft units can be opened with the editor, so you can look up how to - for example - make a void-ray beam. Expect to be doing this a lot. So for this it will actually be useful if you play some skirmishes, so you see what is there and what unit you can look up if you want to have a guided missile for example.
The galaxy editor is a GUI for .xml modding (and scripting. You will need to get to know the trigger editor at least a tiny bit), but that does still not make it simple and sometimes not intuitive either.
For getting started you can go through blizzards tutorials:
Another great ressource is this forum:
It's basicly exclusively sc2 modders. It is still somewhat active, so you can expect to get an answer on questions you ask there. The also have Team Recruitemnt section for example, where you could ask if people are interested in helping on your project.
Thanks your your response. ZuPloed.
I checked those sites you provided and some others and i am starting to get more complete picture. OFC i wont know many things for sure, until i try them on my own, but i am starting to be fairly sure of one thing - as you suggested, i am gonna need help, cause doing it all myself would be way too much, even if i was capable doing it all (which i doubt - if there is any scripting needed, i am toast). Ideally, i would need to find someone, who could pretty much deal with the editor, while i would produce art assets
Anyway, you did not really make my happy with that unit limit - low unit count is one of the key things i despise about StarCraft. Now i dont need armies of thousands like in Ashes to be happy, but 1000 overall is fairly low, especially if you gotta count into that number weapon effects and such... so maybe after all, i should rather wait for Ashes modding tools.
Finally, one specific thing, i want to ask, would it be possible to construct structures in space? I assume if you gotta turn SC2 into space game, all your units/starships are gotta be based of regular starcraft air units. What about buildings though? If i want to have a starbase, would it be possible to build it literally in the air, in other words does the building grid exist even without terrain? Additionally, if yes, is there a way to limit where you can build and where not, even without terrain/terrain obstacles?
Obviously i would want the map to be pure space without any of those "platforms". I would want to have planets in the background (alternatively in the plane of the gameplay grid) and be able to be build structures (shipyards, starbases) only on top of them/around them. Similarly to Sins/Conquest Frontier Wars. Would that be doable? If not, then i even need to continue to think about it, since its one of the key things.
Maybe to get a better picture, you want to take a look of some examples of what has already been done.
- On US there is a map called "Battle in space with cruisers and ships", which has planets, starbases and cutom models (works as single player vs. AI) - "Warships" is an example which operates slightly beyond the 1000 unit boundary in the late game (multiplayer, there is a single player, but it does not illustrate to unit limit stuff too well I think) - "Factory Ships" is an interesting display of what can be done (can be done single player vs. AI) - "Gatecraft Galaxy" is a stargate themed map which seems to be somewhat similar to what you have in mind (never tested it) - "Star Battle" is another classic
Buildings: what are buildings - other than units which can't move about?
I know you can target the build grid in space, I think it should be possible to use it to build stuff. There are a few less rigid ways to go about this though, if you can descibe it, the answer to whether it is doable is probably yes. Here's another limitation: map size. The largest size you can use is about 200 x 200 in sc2-units. You can virtually increase this by using smaller and slower units, but you can't rescale the build grid.
On the topic of unit limits:Well what would be a realistic calculation... Lets say your Enterprise or whatever can fire four photon torpedoes per salvo and can fire one phasor beam. If all of this fires at the same time it has to be counted as 6 units while the beam and the torpedoes are active. During the weapon cooldown it would be 1 unit. But one can get crafty here. If all torpedoes have to hit the same target, you can make them one unit, which only has the visualization of 4 units. In addition you can make it so, that it can't shoot phasors or torpedoes at the same time. Now it is 2 units only. Suppose you make an 8 player map, where each player has 30 units worth of planets, starbases, space docks and defensive installments, that leaves 760. So, having a fleet of 30 ships per player should be realistic on an 8 player map. You will more likely run into problem due to graphics, than problems due to unit count.
Thank you again!
I checked those vids before, pretty much all the relevant ones, so i had already a certain picture in my head.
Regarding the space, air units and Z-axis, i did not really had that in mind (z-axis), although it would be nice if my units/starships could move not on the exactly same plane - just for aesthetical reasons.
Since i saw StarBattle, i assumed if i wanted space based game (without any terrain), i would need to base my mod on air units, as these dont need terrain for them to move or to be placed on the map. I guess the game is moddable enough that you can probably make even ground units move without any terrain underneath, but that could be perhaps more complicated thing, requiring even scripting? I would not know. With air units though, it would be pretty straightforward i guess.
On topic of what i meant with the building grid - i assume to build any structure ingame you got to have some kind of terrain, on which you can/have to build. Like on maps set in space, with those planet backgrounds and whatnot, you still have those orbital platforms, on which you construct your buildings. I need to know, whether you can get away with those platforms, to have basically no terrain at all, just that space background, and still build structures. From the vids i watched this is not quite obvious - i dont think you construct any buildings/structures in starbattle, the game looks kinda MOBAish to me, with units being spawned automatically (maybe i am wrong), Warships you seem to be building guns on those flying platforms, the others i dont know...
BTW, yesterday i was looking more closely on Spring and MegaGlest too, both seem to have their merits but none is perfect. Surprisingly, neither seems to be ready made for space based games, nor was i able to find any fan/indie project set in space, which i could learn something from...it is actually interesting, one would assume all those amateur game creators trying to build their games on these engines would consider to develop space based game first, since not having to deal with terrain or things like walking animations should surely be advantageous and easier to someone, who is not a pro at game development.
In principle, you can even build buildings not using the grid, but using vespene geysirs. You can take that concept further and only use the vespene geysir mechanic and put it on a unit, e.g. build a bunker on a ultralisk. You could have a map which has only suns, and the buildable slots revolve around them like planets and the planets are the buildable objects! I think all these things even still possible without scripting. With scripting I am sure they are possible.
The bottomline to me is, that you can do a lot of things with the editor and with some craftiness you can do even more things (misappropriating blizzards mechanics for an unintended use). The limitations will more likely come in terms of performance than what is doable mechanicly.
Not at all. You only need the terrain editor. I know of two ways you can make it work. A third way would be using a little scripting, which is still pretty simple, but not the preferred way for another reason.
Nope. I tried it. The build grid is even there, when you have no terrain. It is not a property of the terrain, but a property of the map - in a manner of speaking.In principle, you can even build buildings not using the grid, but using vespene geysirs. You can take that concept further and only use the vespene geysir mechanic and put it on a unit, e.g. build a bunker on a ultralisk. You could have a map which has only suns, and the buildable slots revolve around them like planets and the planets are the buildable objects! I think all these things even still possible without scripting. With scripting I am sure they are possible.The bottomline to me is, that you can do a lot of things with the editor and with some craftiness you can do even more things (misappropriating blizzards mechanics for an unintended use). The limitations will more likely come in terms of performance than what is doable mechanicly.
Good thing about the terrain. However, if i wanted to be only parts of the terrain to be available for building construction, how do you set the limitations without the terrain? I mean, with regular terrain, you put there some obstacle, like a tree or stone or whatever - not quite possible here. Is it even possible? I imagine it as marking some grid inaccesible (for building construction), then putting those backgroung planets in that particular space underneath to create the "illusion" you can build only in orbit /above the planet.
Another question - regarding units. How do weapon and damage types work? Can i have say small ships like Defiant/Klingon Bird of Prey hard-counter big starships like Enterprise, despite being armed with the same weapon types (phasers, torpedoes, disruptors)? Or, in such case, those weapons would be only visually the same, but have different properties?
Finally, is there some kind of figher unit movement? I guess protoss carrier fighters do have something like that? I would like the small ships (Defiant, etc.. again) move around/dogfight, when attacking. Is that possible?
I wanted to do something like this in the past, but never got around to do it. From the top of my head I am not sure, if you can make units move like interceptors (toss carrier) on their own when attacking. But you can allways copy the carrier behavior to make ships launch fighters.
I think you should go through this tutorial and play around a bit. I'm not sure whether you meant you own sc1 or sc2 wings of liberty, but I think you can access the editor even on a free account.
Regardless of how much you will do yourself in the editor, I would suggest going through the tutorials, to get a feeling for what it might be able to do in order to streamline communitcation with a potential partner/team.
You are imagining things wrongly. You can have other objects block buildings. But there are other ways. You can directly class terrain as impassable or unbuildable, without even adding objects to it.
Interesting... now that I think of it, there are really few units that have bonus damage, which is not against their own type... It is possible though. You can make the enterprise be a "massive" unit and photon torpedoes deal bonus damage to "massive" units for example, while birds of prey are not "massive" units. It is also possible for birds of prey to have their own kind of photon torpedoes. Or deal bonus damage when they are attacking while decloaking.
I wanted to do something like this in the past, but never got around to do it. From the top of my head I am not sure, if you can make units move like interceptors (toss carrier) on their own when attacking. But you can allways copy the carrier behavior to make ships launch fighters.I think you should go through this tutorial and play around a bit. I'm not sure whether you meant you own sc1 or sc2 wings of liberty, but I think you can access the editor even on a free account.Regardless of how much you will do yourself in the editor, I would suggest going through the tutorials, to get a feeling for what it might be able to do in order to streamline communitcation with a potential partner/team.
In regard to classing terrain as impassable without any direct obstacle objects, thats pretty much what i wanted to know.
Regarding weapon types and ship roles, i meant it more in a way, that Enterprise cant target Defiant with its torpedoes or phasers, while Defiant can target Enterprise with the very same weapon types.
I own Wings of Liberty. Did not have it installed in ages Not exactly sure about the nuances, what even is that Arcade, but as you said, i think i should have access to the editor either way.
I watched some utube videos where a guy created new unit based on Marauder template. Looked rather straightforward and perhaps i should be able to easily replicate it - pretty much leaving me only with replacing the pre-made unit of choice with my own 3D model and then meddle with the abilities....
I still sort of consider trying to go with Spring engine instead of StarCraft, as it seems in certain ways to fit more with my vision. Modding that one would probably be somewhat harder. I plan on post on both message boards (SC2 modding boards like mapster and Spring modding boards) looking for people willing to help and then i shall see. However i want to finish bunch of 3D models first, i created models for what i envision to be full Federation unit/structure roster:
have bunch of Klingon ships as well, but i want to complete Klingons in similar manner first, so i have assets for at least 2 factions before actually trying to go on with any modding stuff. Sadly the free time is rather scarce commodity lately for me.
Let me put it like this, the versatility-level of it is: LEGO
When learning the editor, draw up a plan with a couple of very general and easy goals. If you put in two hours or so in an evening, you should be able to go away and be able to "tick another one off". It feels good and if you manage not to make too large goals, you will also get a good pace of learning the editor I think. To start it could look like this:
1) Go through blizzards tutorials. (at least terrain and data for starters. don't just read them, try everything out they are describing)1a) do data page 11b) do data page 21c) ...2) Make a map consisting of space only.3) modify a unit to be able to fly in space4) make a building in space4a) make a building (existing, e.g. terran supply depot) placeable in space via the editor4b) make you space flaying unit able to place the building4c) change the building model4d) make the building able to build your space flying unit
and so on.
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