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New Blizzard retrospective details the making of StarCraft

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The original StarCraft and its expansion, Brood War, were recently given a price-tag-ectomy, and if you've not downloaded both yet, you can do so, for nowt, over here (for PC), or over here (for Mac). Blizzard is understandably feeling a bit nostalgic right now, so if you're interested in reading a big, detailed retrospective on the making of its classic RTS, then boy are you in luck.

Blizzard has put such a thing into a StarCraft blog post, and it's full of interesting titbits and quotable quotes. For instance, in regards to the design of the game's three factions:

"When we made these races, we just threw a bunch of crap at the wall and saw what stuck," Blizzard art director Samwise Didier recalls. "We knew that our Terrans were going to be rough and dirty. We knew we wanted the Protoss to be—not savage, exactly, but primal, and powerful. And we knew we wanted the Zerg to swarm."

When it came to the Terrans, "we used a low-down, dirty vibe—a little bit of a mafia vibe, a redneck vibe, a mad scientist vibe—and that was our version of the space marine. Where you’re used to seeing all these polished Galactic Federations, we did the opposite: the street gangs, the prisoners".

We're used to a specific 'Blizzard style' from the company's games, and Didier explains how that came to be. Early, unpromising experiments with 3D modelling, and a limit of 15 colours per model, resulted in those models being made wider, thicker, and more over-the-top.

"Everything on PC at that time was photorealistic, or trying to be, with realistic proportions, and we just said, It doesn’t look cool. What we started trying to do with Warcraft was max things out. And then in StarCraft, instead of having one gun, it was three guns, and they were all chunky. The ‘Blizzard Style’ was inspired by a technical necessity—from trying to make things translate."

There's more—much more—over on the StarCraft site, including an entertaining prank story involving a bunch of Pepsi cans. (Thanks, Gamasutra.)

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.