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Front Page » February 21, 2013 » Opinion » This is your brain on games
Published 674 days ago

This is your brain on games


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By JORDON BIGELOW
Sun Advocate Games Reviewer

What exactly is rushing through a gamer's mind when he is playing StarCraft II? Well a ton of things to be honest! Today we're going to talk a little bit about why StarCraft II is such a difficult game, again. We've already talked about what APM (actions per minute) is and how fast it should be to be a professional, and now we're going to talk about very crucial things that go on inside of the gamer's brain.

As soon as the game starts you immediately have to think about what type of strategy you want to do against your opponent. You're strategy is going to vary quite a bit depending on whether he is playing Terran, Protoss, or Zerg. The reason being the different races have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, Protoss can not defend against early 'cheese', or pressure.

When I say the word 'cheese' I'm talking about a strategy that involves you or the other opponent basically trying a 'cheesy' strategy that will outright kill, or wound their economy severely, basically winning the game right then and there. The reason Protoss can't defend well against this type of strategy is because their units are very costly but strong. So they won't have a big army until they are at least on two bases. They can be overrun by greater numbers with good micro, or micro-management of your units.

Now let's talk about what we actually think about now that we know a little bit about strategy in accordance with race. Let's say I'm up against a Zerg, I immediately know that this player loves to expand really fast. Expanding is simple building another base near minerals for more income. Taking that into consideration, I can assume that if I plan a 'timing' attack I can possibly due huge amounts of damage to his economy, and even flat out kill him if he doesn't have the units to counter my attack. This is just the start of the thinking that goes on during the first minutes of the game.

Now that I know what I want to do, I now have to think of what I have to do in order to execute my strategy. So I will obviously want to get up an early couple of barracks. Barracks produce my most basic infantry units. Why would I want early barracks? Obviously so I can get some early pressure going. Now by doing this, I am immediately know that I am taking a risk because if my attack doesn't work, or gets scouted early, then I am going to be behind in terms of economy which is a bad place to be. Or he may even send a counter attack around the same time to stop me.

So now that we have the first part down, let's think about a possible follow up so that we don't lose if the attack fails. I'm a risk taker so often when I follow up with something, it is going to either kill me or him. So what I would like to do is expand, right after the attack because I know he is going to be rebuilding his economy, and with Zerg they have to choose between making drones or army units. A drone is the harvester/worker for the Zerg race, and the other units make up their army. So now that I know that, after I expand I'm going to go for some infantry attack/defensive upgrades. So if I am able to defend any attack that is thrown at me I will be in the lead because my units will be more deadly and cost effective when my next 'timing' attack occurs.

The last thing we'll talk about is making the right counter to what your opponent is doing. In order for you to know how to counter your opponent, you have to have experience in knowing what unit composition is best for the particular engagement. A huge factor comes into play when you are doing this! Obviously you need to scout him for information so you know what he is trying to go for! So early on you send a scout to see what type of buildings he is making, so you can try and guess what type of units he is going to be building.

Such as Dark Templar, or early High Templar (Protoss). So this comes into play throughout the entire game. You constantly have to have a bead on your opponent and know what he is doing so he just doesn't steam roll your entire army. And along with all of the thinking you still have to keep your mechanics going. By mechanics I mean making all of your units and workers so you don't fall behind. Not just make them, but make sure you can constantly make them. So these are only a few of the minute things that go on in a gamer's head while they are playing StarCraft II.

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February 21, 2013
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