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Broodwar and Starcraft 2 - Pathing


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Ever since Day9 talked about Frisbees and Baseballs, people have been humming and hollering about Broodwar’s superiority to SC2’s pathing system: mostly talking about how spread out the armies were and how each unit have this “micro potential” inherent within it.I would like to break that illusion with this blog post. Specifically, I would like to clarify *what* exactly Day9 was talking about, in order for people who have never played Broodwar to understand what we miss about the game.Day9 brought up the idea of baseballs and Frisbees.The metaphor, to an extent, makes sense. Baseballs, for the most part, fly straight (they don’t really, but that’s nitpicking) while Frisbees fly in curves (sort of, but close enough). Since baseballs fly straight, being good with a baseball is about speed and power; which is why baseball players wow each other with how fast they can throw a ball and how well they can slow it down, speed it up, as well as creating illusions of how far it can go and causing it to create slight curves in its trajectory. Because Frisbees fly in curves, being good with a Frisbee requires finesse and accuracy; which is why you see Frisbee players being able to toss a Frisbee across a field with just a flick of the wrist, or be able to get a Frisbee to curve from the perimeter of a park back to your intended target.By and large, it is harder to hit targets with a Frisbee than with a baseball because Frisbees are delicate and glitch out with the slightest gust of wind. Baseballs, on the other hand, requires near perfect precision and strength—because unless you throw a baseball hard enough, it won’t gain enough momentum to go any distance worth-while.In short, Day9 attempts to reveal the dynamic nature of Broodwar’s units by likening them to a Frisbee while also showing the difficulty and yet all-innish nature of Starcraft 2’s units by likening them to a baseball.However, the metaphor doesn’t actually reveal *what* it is about Broodwar units that feel like a Frisbee and *what* it is about SC2 unit’s that feel like a baseball. Overall, it simply paints a picture that Broodwar is obviously more dynamic and that SC2 is obviously more rigid. This might have been the intent—I don’t believe it is, but I’m willing to accept the possibility that Day9 is more biased towards Broodwar. + Show Spoiler +First, I will talk about the dynamic nature of Broodwar unit control. I will then talk about the precision based nature of Starcraft 2 unit control. I will not have a conclusive summary at the end, because I do not believe this is the kind of topic to have a conclusion.Broodwar is Speed-Chess, on Crack, with Aliens, at the same time.By and large, the Broodwar pathing could be oversimplified into that very simple description. More specifically, Broodwar pathing is a grid based system of open squares and closed squares. Open squares allow units to move through them while closed squares do not. Sound’s simple right? Except it isn’t.

Broodwar seems simple but it really isn't. I don't want to get sucked in...