New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Andrea Rosa » Tue Dec 08, 2020 1:48 pm

Eredalis wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:46 am
Though I am totally okay with in terms of difficulty level, I have to say I expected the mission to be more difficult.

I deliberately made it easier to let the player recover from the previous mission, and enjoy some more relaxed gameplay in preparation for the last two murderously hard scenarios. I adopted a similar approach for the installation mission in VotS, which is interposed between two very difficult B&D maps.

Eredalis wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:46 am
I guess the hero unit Kerrigan doesn't use Lockdown, so how about some randomly appearing Ghost units? They will shoot Lockdown to your Protoss units, which can be very annoying in some situations. Also some use of Spider Mines could be taking into consideration. For example, a vulture can be spotted at laying down a Spider Mine. After 1 or 2 secondes the mine will instantly burrowing, so it is enough time to mark the position. The challenge could be now the elimination of that mine. Just some random ideas to refine the excellent map... :)

The Ghost thing can't be done, since I've already used the Ghost unit for Marcus Jenkins, and I like the idea of Garibaldi's assassins being girls. Moreover, lockdown would be extremely annoying, as it would add further delay to an already slow-paced mission (and let's not forget that Lockdown doesn't work unless a proper AI script is running, while for most of the time in this scenario the units are required to be static). On the other hand, the Spider Mines idea is intriguing, I will likely consider it for my future maps.

Eredalis wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:46 am

I think I've found the next easter-egg. ^^
Garibaldi... :happy:
I absolutely LOVE Babylon 5 and for my taste Jim Raynor was designed
after Michael Garibaldi, not only in respect of appearance. :plz:

Well, no, that's a coincidence. I've never watched Babylon 5. I named him Garibaldi simply because I like how it sounds, and because it's the name of the street where I live (and also to bring a bit of Italian heritage into the StarCraft universe).

Eredalis wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:46 am

I was waiting for the moment the storyline of CoK hits the bridge to the Alan Schezar plot, I had a big grin in my face as I finally could read about the connection to that angle. <3

The primary connection is with Tales of Halcyon, and then with Enslavers as a consequence. I know that at no point during the epilogue of ToH it's hinted that Armiras and Jenkins are going to form a partnership (Commodore Cavendish simply farewells the Protoss and prepares to bring Delta Squadron to Tarsonis to fight against the Sons of Korhal), but that may have happened behind the scenes. Let's say it's a form of retconning.

Can I infer that this map is ok as far as visual anomalies are concerned?

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Eredalis » Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:35 am

Can I infer that this map is ok as far as visual anomalies are concerned?
As far as I'm concerned, the map is absolutely ok. But I'm just a single person and hopefully some other players can give a different view on that specific topic called gameplay. Besides, I understand now your intentions and I think it's the right way.
Well, no, that's a coincidence. I've never watched Babylon 5.
Pity! I'm surprised. Because this series is OUR generation, Andrea. Babylon 5 was popular when both of us were young... (1993-1998)
The Ghost thing can't be done.
True that! I forgot that Jenkins is a standard unit...
...and let's not forget that Lockdown doesn't work unless a proper AI script is running...
Not exactly, if a Ghost gets attacked and he has enough energy and Lockdown is available, the Ghost will use this ability instantly at a mechanical unit in range. My idea yesterday was to unhide the ghost behind the dragoons, everytime the dragoons enters a specific region. The dragoons will surely kill the Ghost, but before he dies he'll shoot Lockdown to a Dragoon. The trick is to persuade the Ghost to use his ability, some sort of under provocation, so to speak... ;)
...in preparation for the last two murderously hard scenarios.
NOW I'm fucking scared as (the burning pits of the deepest) hell!!! :fear:

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Andrea Rosa » Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:15 am

Eredalis wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:35 am
As far as I'm concerned, the map is absolutely ok. But I'm just a single person and hopefully some other players can give a different view on that specific topic called gameplay. Besides, I understand now your intentions and I think it's the right way.

I think you misunderstood me, I was asking if you found any bad-looking tiles.

Eredalis wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:35 am
Pity! I'm surprised. Because this series is OUR generation, Andrea. Babylon 5 was popular when both of us were young... (1993-1998)

Indeed. I would have likely watched it, if I was given the opportunity. Babylon 5 did not arrive here till the early 2000s, it aired on a minor network, and it wasn't even aired in its entirety (apparently due to poor viewing figures). Later on it was re-aired multiple times, but always very late in the night (or, to better say it, very early in the morning).

Eredalis wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:35 am

Not exactly, if a Ghost gets attacked and he has enough energy and Lockdown is available, the Ghost will use this ability instantly at a mechanical unit in range.

Really? I will have to verify this, because I remember I had a similar problem while working on Enslavers SE: in the second map, the purple Ghosts guarding the prison with the Protoss did not use Lockdown (even if it was enabled) unless an AI script was executed. I'll check this.

Eredalis wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:35 am

NOW I'm fucking scared as (the burning pits of the deepest) hell!!! :fear:

Ahahah don't worry, that was just a bit of psychological warfare on my part. Probably you will have to restart them a couple of times, but they aren't impossible. Moreover, as you have probably noticed, I've been more generous in terms of resources (compared to my previous campaigns), and your feedback for VotS played an important role as far as resources abundance is concerned.

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Eredalis » Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:46 am

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:15 am
I think you misunderstood me, I was asking if you found any bad-looking tiles.
Although there are not that much like in the entire badland/jungle tileset, there still some conspicuous tiles.
► Show Spoiler

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Andrea Rosa » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:09 pm

Thanks. The tiles in pictures 1 and 2 will be removed (they don't look that great even in 1.16, to be honest). The custom buildings in picture 3 look nice despite some minor imperfections, thus I'll keep them.

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Andrea Rosa » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:21 pm

I've also noticed that Remastered doesn't properly handle overlapped doodads, while they look flawless in 1.16:

Image

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Eredalis » Thu Dec 10, 2020 11:17 am

Oh no, look closely:

Image

Hold Ctrl and scroll down to the picture until 500 px in your webbrowser.
As I said before, even in original mode you can see these butchered tiles. It is the same problem like these so called custom models in WarCraft III. Butchered models overlapping themselves and it looks like true abominations...

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Andrea Rosa » Thu Dec 10, 2020 11:48 am

No, when I talked about overlapped doodads I meant the pillars/towers, not the tiles. As I said, the tiles in pictures 1 and 2 will be removed.

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Eredalis » Fri Dec 11, 2020 5:01 am

Hm, I can't see a thing regarding the towers. All doodads you've used are originally ones, therefore they look right in Remastered and Original.

These so called custom doodads on the other hand are tiles at the end of the day. Individually customised tiles from the original doodad. They look so bad for my taste, just like in WarCraft III and it looks even uglier there...

My first attempt in mission 5 ended in utterly disaster. A big Protoss fleet slaps the religion out of my face like there is no tomorrow, I think I have to change my strategy.

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Andrea Rosa » Fri Dec 11, 2020 4:51 pm

From one of your previous posts:
Eredalis wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:46 am
At first I expected a build and destroy mission, but suddenly I felt like a little bit at the mission "Planetfall" of The Antioch Chronicles 2. Which I like alot!

I must assume that you were misled by the map preview in the mission selection screen... That's one of the things I don't like in SC:R. I mean, this feature is perfectly ok for Melee, but it becomes a double-edged sword in a campaign environment, since the player is not supposed to gain knowledge of the map before playing it. Just saying.

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Eredalis » Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:01 am

Though you're absolutely right about this unfortunate feature, I wasn't looking at the preview screen. I got this impressions when I was playing the map. Just saying.

Will try today mission 5 again. After my face is detumesced again, I am ready for the next hammer punches from this mad Judicator and his cowardly fighting forces.

/edit

MISSION 5
Pheeew!!! If I should describe mission 5 in one word: BALANCED! No, wait, the complete description is indeed VERY BALANCED. Cool mission!
Unless if you haven't a clue what mission 5 have in store for you. As I said the first attempt ended in defeat, but the trick is to play the rules the AI is bringing to the table.

I didn't make the same mistake again by using Zealots and Dragoons. Both of these unit types are de facto useless on this map.
After landing in the escape zone, I start to build a fine fleet of Scouts, surrounded by enough Photon Cannons on the entire island to prevent the Zerg and Protoss from dropping units in my base.

This is indeed the key factor: just build Scouts, Scouts and Scouts. After the arrival of the Auriga fleet, things are getting much more easier. Upgrade all technology for the Scouts and Carriers and just observe all enemies closely. It is pretty cool how they fight and exhaust each other... Here and there it is possible to do some surgical strikes, but you have to be careful: DON'T attract too much attention! After having a big fleet of 12 Carriers, I also build enough Archons to deal with the brown Zerg and to protect my base. The fleet destroys everything, especially in the path to the Arbiter Tribunal of Mandelius.

What I couldn't believe is the fact that the yellow Protoss is expanding, even for expansions on other islands. FUG, I have never expected such a behaviour, therefore you have to cut off these efforts or the yellow submarine takes everything they can get.

The brown Zerg uses "Plague", so you have to be careful with these Zerg, too. "Plague" on your fleet will give you the creep...
The white Zerg shouldn't wiped too early, because they protect some extra resources. I noticed that the white Zerg stopped gathering resources, though I didn't know at which point this happened.

Then I observed some kind of truce between player 6 and player 8. They didn't fight each other, they just run around from left to right and back...
► Show Spoiler
I also found a strange thing long after the destruction of this Zerg colony in my neighborhood. The creep still exists there. I've never seen anything like that before.
► Show Spoiler
And a REALLY ugly.... whatever it is...
► Show Spoiler
However, this custom doodad looks pretty nice, although the cutting edges left and right kills it a little bit.
► Show Spoiler
Regarding the story I was supposing that Mandelius is fleeing after his defeat. It is a cool twist that he was acting for own account. What a dick! He didn't expect that our Protoss heroes would doing a cellphone call at Aldaris... *powned*

But the mission is absolute awesome: You have created a masterpiece of mechanics from several campaign AI scripts. In combination they work so wonderful on this map, it is a pleasure to play...
Last edited by Eredalis on Mon Dec 14, 2020 7:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Andrea Rosa » Sun Dec 13, 2020 1:33 pm

Perfect strategy, Eredalis, and congratulations for winning at the second attempt. Even after you realize that air superiority is the key, this map is still pretty hard if you don't manage your economy efficently and build quickly.

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:01 am
What I couldn't believe is the fact that the yellow Protoss is expanding, even for expansions on other islands. FUG, I have never expected such a behaviour, therefore you have to cut off these efforts or the yellow submarine takes everything they can get.

Indeed, if given enough time, the Yellow Protoss will eventually destroy all Zerg bases and fill the map. I wanted to experiment a Melee-like behavior in a campaign context, and I'm quite satisfied of how it turned out. Moreover, an expanding AI was necessary in order to make this scenario as I envisioned it, luckily Blizzard gave us the Insane scripts.

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:01 am
Then I observed some kind of truce between player 6 and player 8. They didn't fight each other, they just run around from left to right and back...

Very strange, never seen that before. The Zerg and Protoss will ignore each other during the first 30 minutes, then their alliance status switches to enemy as soon as the Auriga Fleet arrives. I don't know why the AI got confused in this particular case.

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:01 am
I also found a strange thing long after the destruction of this Zerg colony in my neighborhood. The creep still exists there. I've never seen anything like that before.

I had never seen it either, but I've seen it in some playthroughs of other relatively recent campaigns. I think it's a quirk of maps made with SCMDraft2, and I find it quite annoying to be honest. The creep stays there even after the minerals have been completely depleted.

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:01 am
And a REALLY ugly.... whatever it is...

It's supposed to be a flooded cave, with the bridge tile giving the illusion of depths and perspective. I took it from the famous "Crescent Dyne" terrain. Even in this case, it looks much better with the original graphics.

Image




EDIT:

About the truce between player 6 and player 8, I didn't notice that the countdown timer was still running. Therefore, it's normal that they were not fighting, because their diplomatic stance changes at 0:00 (this was done to prevent the Zerg from undermining the growth of the Yellow Protoss, who start with only a Nexus). The strange thing is that the Brown Zerg felt the need to go there for no apparent reason. By the way, in case you were thinking about eliminating the Yellow Protoss with a preemptive strike in the early stages of the game, be aware that the Red Protoss will react as soon as you approach the Yellow Nexus.

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Eredalis » Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:07 pm

Even in this case, it looks much better with the original graphics.
Even if I press F5 to change in Original mode, it looks like shit snipped. I wonder how the graphic in Starcraft: Remastered is working. It's obvious that they didn't used the original graphic system, it seems to be some kind of new filter system which contains the old palette of 256 colours in some way. I don't know, man. I am no expert in this field, that's for sure. :joy:
...luckily Blizzard gave us the Insane scripts.
I... I... I played... against INSANE AI???? :o
And I was successful....? :huwhaa:
I think it's a quirk of maps made with SCMDraft2...
That is one of the reasons why I always refused to use SCM Draft.
By the way, in case you were thinking about eliminating the Yellow Protoss with a preemptive strike in the early stages of the game...
Nah, I was only lurking to see what the AI is doing at my starting base. o_o
But the Red Herrings farted me out of this place, so I went to my island and start dreaming of endless resources...

I've finished the last mission today.

MISSION 6
As usually, I've successfully managed the first attempt resulting in a complete and awesome fail.

But just like mission 5 the next try was glorious in all aspects. The pretty heavy artillery haunted me like nightmares from elmstreet, those Reavers crawling with such a speed to my base, until I was ready to defend the scarabs already explodes between my buildings. I also like the increasing amount of the Reavers. Cool idea, man. Clever implemented.

Also, the Nydus Worm is an absolute funny idea. Luckily these worms are spitting only Broodlings out of their throats, I wonder while I was playing if some other units would have come out of this hole... :fear:
Still, the Broodlings causes a lot of damage, if they not got imediately stopped. So it's a strong factor of harassment, which fits pretty well...

The meeting with the Archon U.T. (I call him that way, just like E.T., because the entire name was too long to remember for me^^) has far from gone to plan. As soon as U.T. emerged in his base (in some other life he was obviously a priest in AoE), things are getting real ugly. I didn't know that he was doing a trip straight to my base. He was trampling down half of all my buildings, acting like a maniac there. One of my Arbiter surrounded him in Stasis and let him dream for a short time of his days as priest in Age of Empires. ^^
After end of dreaming, the cops has surrounded that poor Archon. The cops were in superior numbers, 21 to 1. Only Archons are cops in my world, so poor U.T. got back some of his own medicine: Not 21 Jump Street, but 21 Psi Shockwaves burns the living penetration into his twisted demented ass.

(Afterwards, I really wonder where U.T. was hiding all the time, since he appeared from a Zerg building?! I haven't seen it properly.)

The overall balance is just like all previous missions excellent. In terms of resources you even could slightly reduce both types on the entire map. After the complete destruction of the purple and brown Zerg, I had still more than enough unused expansion points in the middle of the map. It's totally okay to have these resources, but it could be a good idea to reduce the overall amount of these expansions a little bit.

Which purpose has the yellow beacon in the lower right corner of the map?

It is intended that the terran weapon and armor upgrades have more than 3 levels? I guess they should have only 3 levels like all Protoss forge upgrades.
/edit:
Since they have just a fraction of the terran tech tree, how about to restrict the terran armor and weapon upgrades only to Level 1? That would increase the difficulty just a little bit more...

FINAL THOUGHTS
Just one word, Andrea: AWESOME!
Like Tales of Halcyon and Voices of the Swarm, Champions of Khandia is pure gold in nearly every aspect. The great storyline is familiar, because through the accordances of the original Protoss campaign from Starcraft, but definitively reasoned and gripping. I like the grasp to the previous campaigns, so you can feel as player the connections to Tales and Voices. (Jenkins, Armiras, Gorn, etc.)

The gameplay is superb. Every mission is challenging, but doable once you have figured out the right strategy. All these cool ideas to improve the gameplay and stir up the missions is interspersed with so much creativity, it's a absolute pleasure to play.

I said it before and I say it again: your mapping skills are Grand Master PLUS. Terrain and doodad placement is authentic and nice-looking, it generates pleasure for exploring the maps. For my taste it's needless that you have decided to bring in some terrain/doodad/tiles/sprites/WTF abominations through SCM Draft, since your mapping skills didn't need some ugly shenanigans at all. But as long as you are satisfied with the final result, everything is ok.

I couldn't find a contradiction to the overall story of Starcraft, with one exception: The Nydus Worm.
These beasts were originally Sand Worms and got assimilated to the swarm upon some world between Brood War and StarCraft II. I think it was in some of the comics or mangas, I have to check this out.

But otherwise one of the best campaigns I have ever played.
I feel honored to got my hands on your campaign trilogy. I can only most warmly recommend it to everyone.

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Andrea Rosa » Tue Dec 22, 2020 9:01 am

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:07 pm
Even if I press F5 to change in Original mode, it looks like shit snipped. I wonder how the graphic in Starcraft: Remastered is working. It's obvious that they didn't used the original graphic system, it seems to be some kind of new filter system which contains the old palette of 256 colours in some way. I don't know, man. I am no expert in this field, that's for sure. :joy:

I've come to a compromise about that. In a few days I'll post an update that should be more Remastered-friendly. Many bad looking tiles will be removed, especially from bridges and high dirt, but I will keep the ramps as they are, because I like them too much.

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:07 pm
I... I... I played... against INSANE AI???? :o And I was successful....? :huwhaa:

I think that island maps are always easier than continental ones. Even an insane AI can't express its full potential on an island map, hence it's more manageable. There are also some checks that prevent the Yellow Protoss from amassing too many Carriers and Arbiters.

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:07 pm
The pretty heavy artillery haunted me like nightmares from elmstreet, those Reavers crawling with such a speed to my base, until I was ready to defend the scarabs already explodes between my buildings. I also like the increasing amount of the Reavers. Cool idea, man. Clever implemented.

My favorite strategy is to use Jenkins to protect the entrance in the middle (he always has enough energy to cloak and lockdown up to 3 Reavers) and two small groups of Scouts to intercept the Reavers that come through the upper and lower entrances.

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:07 pm
The meeting with the Archon U.T. (I call him that way, just like E.T., because the entire name was too long to remember for me^^) has far from gone to plan. As soon as U.T. emerged in his base (in some other life he was obviously a priest in AoE), things are getting real ugly. I didn't know that he was doing a trip straight to my base.
Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:07 pm
I really wonder where U.T. was hiding all the time, since he appeared from a Zerg building?! I haven't seen it properly.


The Hermit Archon's starting location is random: most of times you will find him in the central White Zerg base, but he can also appear in the upper or lower bases (the probabilities are 50%, 25%, 25% respectively). His behavior is also peculiar: at first he will come toward your units, but if you retreat or if you don't keep him busy with your attacks, he will go straight to your base.

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:07 pm
his twisted demented ass.

LOL I don't know if you said it as a joke, however you summed up his personality quite well. Utnabanezar (whose name was inspired by Utnapishtim, a semi-immortal character in the Epic of Gilgamesh who is also the Sumerian equivalent of Noah) is indeed beyond insanity. It is plausible that centuries of self-imposed isolation took a heavy toll on his mind, and Gorn did the rest of the damage. By the end of the campaign he doesn't even fight for a purpose, he's just bent on total annihilation and, probably, suicide (this can be deduced by his twisted transmissions every time a Robotics Facility is destroyed -- "we don't wish for a future, we wish for nothing").

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:07 pm
The overall balance is just like all previous missions excellent. In terms of resources you even could slightly reduce both types on the entire map. After the complete destruction of the purple and brown Zerg, I had still more than enough unused expansion points in the middle of the map. It's totally okay to have these resources, but it could be a good idea to reduce the overall amount of these expansions a little bit.

I agree, I'll take action over it.

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:07 pm
Which purpose has the yellow beacon in the lower right corner of the map?

It's an easter egg that becomes available only after completing both optional objectives. Transporting a ground unit to the beacon will display a secret message (it will probably baffle most millennials, but people our age will surely get the reference).

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:07 pm

It is intended that the terran weapon and armor upgrades have more than 3 levels? I guess they should have only 3 levels like all Protoss forge upgrades.
/edit:
Since they have just a fraction of the terran tech tree, how about to restrict the terran armor and weapon upgrades only to Level 1? That would increase the difficulty just a little bit more...

Of course it is intended. Plot-wise, it's consistent with Mission 4, in which you can upgrade infantry weapons and armor up to level 5, and Jenkins clearly states that all the technology acquired on Artesia Prime is available to the player during the final mission. Restricting the upgrades to level 1 would not only be a continuity error, but it would also make this scenario excessively frustrating in my opinion, since the Terran defenses are a pivotal asset during the early stages of the game. By the way, have you tried fully upgraded, stimpacked Elite Firebats in combination with Zealots?

Eredalis wrote:
Sat Dec 19, 2020 12:07 pm

I couldn't find a contradiction to the overall story of Starcraft, with one exception: The Nydus Worm.
These beasts were originally Sand Worms and got assimilated to the swarm upon some world between Brood War and StarCraft II. I think it was in some of the comics or mangas, I have to check this out.

There's no need to check it out, you're absolutely right. I took a little liberty with the lore because I became almost obsessed with this idea of Nydus Worms and I was determined to see if I could implement it in a passable way. Nothing can stop me when an idea grabs hold of me, this has always been both my strength and weakness, depending on how well that idea is translated into actual gameplay.


I warmly thank you for your support so well expressed in your detailed analysis, your suggestions, not to mention your knowledge of the StarCraft universe that makes you a very competent interlocutor with whom it's a pleasure to discuss these things. I take the opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a "decent" New Year (I don't dare to say "happy": given the circumstances, a decent 2021 would be more than we could wish for).
Last edited by Andrea Rosa on Wed Dec 30, 2020 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Champions of Khandia

Post by Andrea Rosa » Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:56 pm

UPDATE - 29 Dec 2020

All Missions:
- Some terrain blends that looked excessively blocky in SC:R have been removed.

Mission 3:
- Fixed a bug that could clear the screen during a transmission.

Mission 5:
- The White Zerg are slightly more aggressive.

Mission 6:
- The available resources have been reduced.
- The easter egg has been removed because it was poorly conceived.

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