Might be old news for the SC2 core, but darn impressive none the less. A programmer named Lomilar on the TeamLiquid site has used a highly intelligent and adaptive program dubbed Evolution Chamber to find the optimal build orders for StarCraft 2.
This program has devised a method of building units which was otherwise unknown, and leads to a very high probability of victory; particularly for those players who excel at speed builds (from what I understand). Players who use this are the guys who seek optimal performance, and its hardly surprising that somebody built an app to do it.
This is very interesting for gamers in general, not because it’s possible or just a freakishy cool and strange thing to do (well to me anyway), but because it raised a hell of a lot of dire ranting from members of all sorts of communities, for all sorts of odd reasons.
Q. Why is it possible? A storm in a teacup?
A. It always was. Because this is nothing new, and the computer program just makes doing the math so much faster that it is now tactically viable in terms of game affect. You could brute force open a safe, or the correct build order for units in Civ 1 as well, it takes time and programming savvy.
And yes, this will be added to the communities of interest for such things, absorbed, and developed into a finer mechanical bases for strategies.
Q. Is the game broken now?
A. No more than before. A RTS is about strategy, speed, and knowledge. You need a strategy to guide your thinking, speed to build and control units in optimal ways, and knowledge to understand the changes in a game and how to react. This app gives some of the puzzle a fixed path.
Q. Is it perfect?
A. Honestly I doubt it. I’ll bet that somebody already has a working counter-strat or at least a way to mitigate the overall affect. And that means that those games will come down to other factors to determine who wins.
Q. Who will use this?
A. Everyone will eventually benefit from this, although the affect on my RTS skills will be zero, as I suck badly enough that even with a strategy like this in my head I’d not be able to execute. The good players will get better, and the great ones will continue to be great. The advantage of this strategy will also fade over time amongst the community of solid serious players.
Q. Were the mega-skill-rts players going to win anyway?
A. Yes, but they beat you faster now. Get over it, or practice more. And they’ll beat each other in far more clever ways with this too.
Q. What next then?
A. Using the app mid-battle to alter the strategic recommendations is next. This will basically be a trainer app, which helps rote learn good responses to classic strats. I think it is not significantly different from a chess uber program being used as a training tool for high end chess players. Chess being turn based is a point of difference, but as a trainer – this app does the same thing.
Q. Does this destroy the enjoyment?
A. For some it increases it; for others it makes the game pointless for multiplayer. Each person probably already knows which they are, and this app does not change the battleground by much for those folks.