Showing posts from November, 2017

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