Larva Usage Factor, or Why You Might Be Macroing Wrong

Introduction In the 101 post on Larva Economy  we looked at larva production and spending larva with some round numbers. In this post we will take a harder look and use more exact numbers.  I started writing this as part of the 101 series on production-income matching, and then I fell down a Nydus Wurm and when I came back up it was clearly not 101 material anymore.  I also want to note for anyone who doesn't know that Ctrl-Mousescroll or Ctrl +/- will change the zoom level on most browsers so you can see the graphs better. The big punchlines if you don't want to read all of this are: Stacking injects is really important if your queen is building up energy. It is better to spend your larva separately from your inject cycle but it is okay to do it all in one shot while you are learning. If both are available to be done, it is better to spend larva first and then inject. The zerg macro cycle is really more complicated than 30 second cycles.  It takes pretty close

Adrenal for your keyrate

Someone posted that they'd found a way to dramatically increase their keyrate in Linux, and that brought me to wonder if it can be done in Windows.  Turns out it can. I found this discussion on Stack Overflow , which provided sourcecode and also linked to the executable on GitHub. The program is called keyrate, and you just open up a command prompt and type keyrate followed by 2 numbers, like this: keyrate 150 20 This sets a delay of 150ms before beginning to repeat, and a delay of 20ms between repeats. I set mine to 150 and 10 and I rather like it. You can see the result below: Holding down 'D' is also valid. It appears that setting a repeat delay shorter than 10 has no effect.  1 or 2 or 5 are not noticeably faster than 10 even though they should be very obviously faster, so there is perhaps a floor on what Windows will allow.  Your directory in the command prompt needs to have access to the file location, either by path or by changing the current direct

Zerg 101: Production-Income Matching, Part 1 - Larva production

This post will detail how larva production works, what role it serves in the Zerg economy, and why managing larva is a fundamental skill when playing Zerg. One of the beating hearts of Starcraft and of RTS generally is production efficiency.  If it were just about the big picture decisions and then army control then there would be more tools to do things automatically.  Needing to manually control your production is an important part of the game. The first part of this is setting an income level.  A mineral patch can be mined optimally by 2 workers, and a standard base therefore needs 16 workers to mine optimally. This generates about 900 minerals per minute.  Terran can get more with mules but we're not Terran. This income is then spent on production, tech and upgrades, and/or economy.  Unspent money goes into the bank, and the bank can be used to spend from in the future. This post will focus on production because Zerg production is different in interesting and import

Reflections on reaching Diamond

I made Diamond 3!  There are a lot of reasons in my head why I should maybe not be overly proud of that, but the truth is when that promotion came up I just grinned at the screen for a while; it felt great, and still does. I'm so shiny. What changed in my play?  I spent some weeks off-racing, and noticing the difference in stress level when not "playing for keeps" on my main race helped me realize that I need to be a little more Zen about it. That time off-racing improved my familiarity with Terran and Protoss.  I'm instinctively focusing medivacs against Terran now, for example, and that is coming from having been on the other side. The marines are like Pringles: crunch all you want, we'll make more.  Losing medivacs  sucks  in so many ways.  It's not like I'd never been told to focus medivacs, but now I don't need to be told. A clan-mate suggested I try playing ladder with the sound off as a training exercise.  I was afraid to do it but th

Starcraft, the next AI frontier. An introduction for non-players.

Starcraft II is a strategy game that is currently getting attention from AI developers as the next toy challenge to solve after having beaten the best humans at both Chess and Go.  The purpose of this post is to serve as an introduction to Starcraft II for people who do not play but who may be interested in finding out why AI developers have set their sights on it.  A secondary goal is to communicate some of my love for the game. Starcraft II is hard.   It has even been called the hardest game.  I don't know if this is true, but it is at least plausible.  It is perhaps like playing 2 games of speed chess simultaneously while juggling balls and not being able to see most of your opponent's pieces.  That's a poor analogy, but Starcraft is both mentally and physically demanding beyond what even the best players can offer. For the rest of the post I will just refer to the game as Starcraft, though I am always referring to Starcraft II.  Much of what is said here is also app

Inject Methods

"Injects" refers to using a queen's Spawn Larva spells on hatcheries to increase larva production.  This is a fundamental Zerg mechanic and it forms the foundation of the macro cycle for a Zerg player.  It is normal to be injecting 3-5 hatcheries and during the early and mid-game it is important to perform this task every 30 seconds without much delay.  A number of different methods have been developed by players to streamline this task and those methods will be the main focus of this post. The question of how to perform an inject sequence is really the sum of 3 different questions: How do I select my queens to inject? How do I issue the Spawn Larva command? How do I manage my camera location during this process to facilitate selecting the hatcheries? Each inject method must answer these 3 questions, and for the most part the answers to each part can be mixed and matched among methods.  This guide will be broken into 3 sections: The three questions and t

Platinum Skills Report Card

I've been thinking about the various skills that go into Starcraft, and this is my attempt at generating a report card for myself.  Some of this is to document my own progress, and some of it is so that other players who wonder what it takes to be at League X can see what worked for me at this level. The Grading System S- Superior.  This aspect of play is highly polished, consistent and comprehensive. A- Excellent. B- Good.  Significant effort invested into this area has produced significant strength.  May not be strong in all aspects or consistent. C-Fair D-Poor.  Minimal effort in this area has yielded only the lowest hanging fruit. F-None or Negligible My Report Card eAPM  100 Mechanics  C overall Mouse D Keyboard B Macro C overall Spending C Economy B Injects C Creep C The Mental Game D Task-switching D Attention space C Focus under pressure D Applying pressure F Tactics D overall Positioning/Terrain D Composition D Spellcaster use C Mi