Budding artists can now tool around in StarCraft 2

Is crafting silly hats for Team Fortress 2 just not artistically challenging enough? It's time to move on, my friend, and reach for the stars—of StarCraft 2 , that is, thanks to Blizzard's newly released Art Tools.

The release of the toolset was first promised two years ago , months before expansion Heart of the Swarm 's release. According to the StarCraft 2 blog , this isn't a simplified interface or anything. This is reportedly the real deal: 3ds Max plugins and source art files used by Blizzard's own designers, repackaged with some extra tutorials and ready for your magic artist's touch. If only this had been around before those guys started on their StarCraft MMO project, huh?

The Art Tools have been in a closed beta stage for awhile now—the images you see here were produced by fans, and that's some Blizzard-quality stuff right there. If you want to jump in and get creative too, you'll be able to download 32- and 64-bit versions of the tools via Battle.net , though be sure to check the installation instructions for some possible fiddly requirements.