The Starcraft Conundrum

Starcraft is by far the Best RTS game of all time – with over 9 millions copies sold worldwide, since 1998.  A Real-time-strategy game that has lived on for eight years straight without any sign of weakening.  The game still devotes many worldwide Starcraft tournaments year-round with prizes ranging $25,000-$100,000.  Almost a national sport in Korea, and a most played game in many nations around the world.

The Starcraft franchise was expanded when Blizzard Entertainment announced with a lot of hype the console game Starcraft: Ghost, on September 22, 2002.  For four long years, every Starcraft fan has awaited this game with anticipation.  The game originally was developed by Nihilistic Software and Blizzard Entertainment.  The development cycle was extended when the expected Summer 2004 game release date was delayed. On 2004, Nihilistic departed the project due to a contractual commitment to develop Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects.

Shortly after, Swingin’Ape Studios was welcomed aboard to resume development of Starcraft:Ghost [July 8, 2004], however, the development of the Gamecube version of Starcraft: Ghost was dropped.  A year later, Blizzard Entertainment surprised us with the acquisition of Swingin’ Ape Studios to become Blizzard Consoles Department [May 16, 2005].  When everyone thought Starcraft: Ghost was about to be released, the worst nightmare of any fan happened after Microsoft released the first Community Technology preview version of XNA [March 14, 2006]; and announced XNA officially at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, California [on March 24].  That very same day, Blizzard Entertainment issued a Press Release … Starcraft: Ghost was postponed indefinitely.  This immediately rose up the idea that the XNA announcement and the postponement of Starcraft: Ghost were related.  That, and some rumors around the net that Blizzard had acquired 1,000 optetron servers.  Here you may read what XNA Technology does, to make sense out of this.

Many fans refuse to accept the game is dead, like known-vaporware Warcraft Adventures.  Blizzard has announced plans to develop games for Xbox 360 and PS3, and a recent job opening requested knowledge of Wii a plus.  Whether Starcraft: Ghost will be ported to the next generation consoles is yet to be seen as there is no official announcement. We will just have to sit and await its outcome.

After a four-year wait on a hyped-game that didn’t come out,  fans are bummed out for the long wait, and others – like me – for spending some money in advance [/Hijacks thread: Yea, I am still pissed over spending $99.99 on a GameCube and $299 on a huge TV exclusively to play Starcraft: Ghost, to have it cancelled two weeks before its announced Spring 2004 release date!].  Returning to sanity … minus some $400 bucks in my pocket … and after a couple of yoga-meditation humming, we may still look forward to see the game return from its hiatus.  In the meantime,  old-school Starcraft fans still have a couple of interesting and significant pocketbooks to take a look at for its lore and emotional value: Starcraft: Queen of Blades by Aaron Rosenberg – based during the time Sarah Kerrigan is captured by the Zerg, and emerges from a chrysallis as the Queen of Blades.  The book released on May 2006 immerse us into the culture of the Dark Templar when Tassadar undergoes training with Zeratul. Other cameo appearances in the book are Jim Raynor, General Duke, Daggoth, Zazz and the Overmind among others.  Another pocketbook to be released at an undermined date is the prequel to the console game, titled Starcraft Ghost: Nova by Keith R.A. DeCandido.  Personally, my hope in the Starcraft franchise is not dead yet. Yea, call me a masochist … but the dream still lives on.

This might be still unknown to the majority of the fans, but Christie Golden – writer of Warcraft: Lord of the Clans, and author of many Star Trek novels—specially the Voyager series—will write a Starcraft Trilogy.  With both books mentioned above and a trilogy coming out, this gotta mean something is planned down the pipe by Blizzard Entertainment in the near future.  The title and plot of the Starcraft trilogy pocketbook is still unknown. However, Christie Golden promised an interview with us around November, when she will be able to talk more openly about the trilogy.

Beyond the books, a starcraft lore boost thriller and a hope that Starcraft: Ghost makes a return on Next Generation consoles – though uncertain, all we have are fan-made projects to satiate our crave for more Starcraft groove.  First, we have the Project Revolution – a Total Conversion that will allow fans to play Starcraft in 3D using the Warcraft 3 Engine.  It will be featured on PCGamer Magazine on September 2006 issue.  A total conversion made by fans for fans, worth to get our paws onto.  I was shown a short gameplay video a couple months ago.  Trust me … it looks gorgeous in 3D.  The date release of the total conversion Project Revolution is not too far away, according to one of its developers.  Wait and see!

The second fan-made Starcraft project to keep an eye on is Starcraft? Chronicles – a high-quality CGI Film.  The news of a unofficial fan-made CGI Animation Film surely hyped up many fans when Joystiq and Kotaku featured it on the news.  Immediately the leader of the project was swamped with 160 emails of 3D modellers, animators, voice actors, Sound/Music Composers volunteering themselves for the CGI Film.  Even Hollywood film/CGI professionals became interested, and excited in volunteering to make their dream of a fan-made CGI Animation film a reality.  From day one, the Starcraft Chronicles leader- Croatian Kristijan Stuhli – said the film will be non-profit and none of the volunteers will be paid – to not violate the EULA or infringe international copyrights and trademark of Starcraft?.

That really didn’t mattered to some experienced and professionals that have been fans of Starcraft since 1998.  The possibility of creating something like this as a fan-made project, is exciting to them.  With the boom of World of Warcraft machinima movie contests; and the rise of fan-made World of Warcraft drama movies flooding YouTube, and Video Google; the development of a fan-made Starcraft CGI Animation film simply rocks.  Recruitment of 3D modellers, animators and voice actors is still open until August 14.  The number and limit of volunteer fans Kristijan Stuhli (known as Critical.Mechanism) expects is still undisclosed.  Suffice to say, it will be an enormous fan team.  The Starcraft Chronicles team is currently getting acquainted with each other, sharing samples of their work, doing some Starcraft models for testing purposes to see what everyone’s style and quality is before organizing into sub-groups and assigning supervisors and a project manager.  This will be resolved in two weeks when development of the CGI film will officially begin full thrust. Currently there are 32 modellers, and around 12 animators, not counting many Concept artists, sound/music composers, voice actors, web developers, and localization volunteers. If you got the skills, talent, and experience as 3D modeller join up the team.—Stay tuned for more updates in the upcoming days. Beneath you may take a sneak peek to the samples of the talented Starcraft Chronicles team to have a slight idea of the CGI film potential. For more images—[Full Gallery]

Interviews

? Starcraft: Queen of Blades
? Starcraft Ghost: Nova

Fan-Made Projects

? Project Revolution
? Starcraft Chronicles


Tank wireframe by cold wolf*


Tank clay by cold wolf*

*Concept Art is copyright ?2002 Blizzard Entertainment

 

Aeres is a 3D Modeler and Animator from Malaysa

Naughtyboy – Experienced concept artist of characters and creatures with awesome realism and focus to details.

Mkapelac – 3D Modeler

Mitch – proficient in 3DSMAX, Maya, AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, and Modo

bodhisattva – proficient in 3DSMAX, speciallizing in Animation, character building process including skeleton binding and keyframe animation.

 

Starcraft – I

In celebration of StarCraft’s 10-year anniversary, we’d like to invite every one of you to participate in our “I <3 SC" photo mosaic project, which will be a compilation of photos featuring StarCraft enthusiasts from all around the world. This is your chance to be a part of StarCraft history, as we bring together 10 years worth of StarCraft players from all age groups and nationalities into one massive wall of StarCraft. Image Submission Parameters:

Please take a picture of yourself or your friends including our StarCraft “I <3 SC" image in creative and unique ways. This picture must be in jpeg format, have a resolution of at least 1024 x 768, and be no greater than 2 MB in size. As long as the “I <3 SC" logo is clearly visible, images can be digital photos or third-party generated content. These picture submissions will be used to form a mosaic that will be featured on the official Blizzard website. Read the full contest rules and submission link.

Additionally, submit your entry to Blizzplanet here.

Your submission will be shown to visitors of Blizzplanet at the front page.

Prize: Three lucky participants will receive a Starcraft 2 T-Shirt.

This contest is open only to residents of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States—who do not live in Arizona, Conneticut, North Dakota, Maryland or Vermont; or the Province of Quebec, or residents of the Australian states of victoria, Queensland or the Australian Capital Territory (“Entrants”).  IF YOU ARE NOT A RESIDENT OF THESE AREAS YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO WIN A PRIZE. (Read the full contest rules)

Download “I <3 SC" images:

SAMPLES OF “I <3 SC" MOSSAIC

Glynnis Returns as Sarah Kerrigan

I have been in contact with Glynnis in the past months, and as reported recently, she went to the San Diego Comic Con to meet the Blizzard folks there.  She had been spearheading her way to get back her role in the past months.  Glynnis barely commented on the subject, but finally confirmed her participation in Starcraft II in her August newsletter released today.  I do not know how this affect our upcoming interview, or if she will be able to discuss certain details.

Starcraft Chronicles CGI: Tank Rigging Video

A rounds up on the awaited unofficial Starcraft Chronicles CGI Film. J.J. Franzen (Lightning/Rendering Supervisor), known for his credits at South Park and Team America,  has nominated Modeling/Animation Supervisors and Project Managers to organize the CGI team . The new Project Manager Fdario will be instructing the modelers and animators with further plans of action, to synch efforts. The storyline of the teaser will be submitted by Critical.Mechanism to the team before the weekend. New Matte Painters have joined the Starcraft CGI film, but more are needed for the next part of the project after the 2 minutes teaser. If you know matte painters, tell them to join up here; or help by posting at your favorite forum, please do so.

Who are the new Matte Painters? Check out their breath-taking samples or galleries submitted at the time of recruitment:
coitbub2006
Plaf
Makyysch

Now if those Matte Painters just astonished you, take a look at this video.  One of the modelers, bodhisattva, decided to rig the tank model he practiced with on his own, and took video.  It is not determined if the model will be the one to be used on the CGI, however this looks like good material to show the fans.

Blizzard announces new Unannounced Games

Blizzard Vice-President of Business Operations – Paul Sams – told Gamespot that Blizzard is currently working on various unannounced games hinting that Diablo and Starcraft franchises are among them, and a possible new franchise as well.  Read More

Gamespot: ” When asked by GameSpot if the Warcraft universe was all that’s left for the company to mine, chief operating officer Paul Sams said, “No. Absolutely not. We have multiple games in development, currently, they are just not announced? To the outside world—and the reality of it is—we are laser focused on what is the thing right then, but there’s a ton of additional focus being put toward these other [games] that are in development.”

Reflecting on the existing franchises, Sams emphasized, “World of Warcraft and the Warcraft franchise is not the last and the only franchise we are going to operate within. We have two other very, very key franchises to our company’s history and to our company’s future success. The Diablo and Starcraft franchises are of the utmost importance to us as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new franchise from us at some time in the future; there’s certainly a desire to do so.”

Starcraft 2 on the Horizon?

Dustin Browder, game design director for EA’s Battle for Middle-earth announced his leave in a few days from EA, and his new position as a Blizzard Employee to be effective on March 14th.  Browder will be under the direct work with Rob Pardo on an unveiled game.  Browder doesn’t know at this point what game he will be working on, but his great expertise in RTS games, rises few eyebrows in the community.  Speculations are starting to arise since the only RTS people can think of is Starcraft 2 or Warcraft IV—which is unlikely.  Another speculation heard from fans in many forums is that Blizzard could get Diablo series into an RTS.  Browder will be a Senior Designer in Irvine, not in San Francisco.

Blizzard North was known to be working on 2 games until the executives resigned back in June 31, 2003 and later the new vice-president announced that one of the games were shelved after 30 employees resigned a month later.  Most of the remaining team was merged with the second game project which is kept in secrecy.  Although seeing a Diablo RTS is improbable, we have also to consider that Starcraft—a traditional RTS is now being developed as a Console Shooter gamer and Warcraft RTS game is now a MMORPG—terrain that Blizzard is stepping into for first time.  Therefore, with Blizzard you can never know.  They are innovative and have no fear to explore new grounds.  We will find out soon enough.  Dustin Browder was credited for:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle For Middle-Earth (2004)
  • Command & Conquer: Generals (2003)
  • Command & Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour (2003)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Dominion Wars (2001)
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 (2000)
  • Battlezone (1998)
  • Vigilante 8 (1998)
  • Heavy Gear (1997)
  • MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries (1996)
  • MechWarrior 2: Ghost Bear’s Legacy (1995)

Read the full article at Gamespy.  We submitted this news to SCLegacy as we consider this is a big news of interest to the Starcraft fans.  We will try to dig more details after Browder starts his duties at Blizzard.  Stay tuned!