Poll: How to implement MBS?
(Vote): Hotkey,unit: to mass-build unit.
(Vote): Hotkey,unit1,tab,unit2,tab,unit3... Hotkeyx3,unit: to mass-build unit.
(Vote): Hotkey,unit1,unit2,unit3... Hotkeyx3,unit: to mass-build unit w/ delay.
(Vote): Hotkey,unit1,unit2,unit3... Hotkeyx3,unit: to mass-build unit w/o delay.
(Vote): Toggle options: e.g., MBS off for ladder.
(Vote): No MBS.
(Vote): MBS only possible with mouse selection; no hotkey binding.
(Vote): MBS w/ arbitrary low limit: e.g. buildings powered by shared pylon, barracks lined up.
Multiple Building Selection (MBS)
The following are options for MBS, as poll-arized above. Note that in all options, the scenario is six barracks bound to hotkey 8:
1. Can bind multiple buildings into one hotkey: one press of button will make all buildings make that unit. ie.
8,m. to make 6 marines.
This blanket 8,m mass-build won't allow you to diversify your unit production, which is bad.
2. Can bind multiple buildings into one hotkey: one press to select one unit. Press tab (or some other arbitrary button) to cycle to next building. Make unit. Press tab to cycle to next building, and so on. Not pressing tab will queue up one building, which is undesirable.
8,m,tab,m,tab,m,tab,m,tab,c,tab,c. to make 4 marines, 2 medics (c).
8,8,8,m. to center on barracks and mass-build 6 marines.
This is close to Brood War, with the same number of button presses. Only now, players will be able to bind more buildings to hotkeys, instead of one per hotkey. For mass-build, press hotkey three times (See explanation below).
3 and 4. Can bind multiple buildings into one hotkey: press to make a unit. Selection automatically cycles to next building that is idle or has the least queue.
8,m,m,m,m,c,c. to make 4 marines, 2 medics.
8,8,m,m,m,m,c,c. to center on 6 barracks, making 4 marines and 2 medics.
8,8,8,m. to center on 6 barracks, activating mass build, to make 6 marines.
Pressing 8 twice switches your view to centre of buildings; you can bind buildings from all over the map; pressing 8 twice may thus center your view to middle of nowhere. A good idea, then, to bind buildings in one base.
Pressing 8 thrice, centres view, and allows you to command all buildings to make units with one press. ie. This option has a logical delay: each building is selected (highlighted) for .10 seconds. Therefore, for ten buildings, the selection highlight cycle will amount a full second, which is not critical for casual games, but crucial for professional games. Note: .10 seconds is very generous. I don't think even Nada can order to make 10 marines from 10 barracks in one second?
With Terran, you can still bind buildings regardless of whether there's an add-on; however, the option to mass build add-on units like medics, tanks, and battlecruisers is only possible if all buildings have add-ons. (If you can mass-produce these special units, then they wouldn't be that special now, would they? If you wish to mass-produce them, bind only buildings with add-ons, then.)
For Zerg, this .10 second delay should be non-existent because Zerg is the prolific, mass unit race. Besides, in SC, you can mass-produce anyways by shift-clicking on larvae to produce 12 units at a time.
So don't use this hotkeyx3 (mass build) option when in middle of micro battle or if you don’t want a one-unit army or if you don't want the screen to move or if you just don't want to feel noobish. Side note: I've thought of other buttons to activate this mass-build option such Tab, but for now, pressing the hotkey once more (for a total of three times) seems the most convenient. I've also thought of activating this mass-build after only two presses of hotkey, but players might want to use only the centering function and not the mass-build.
5. Toggle options. MBS turned off for ladder games, for example.
6. No MBS.
7. MBS only possible with mouse selection; no hotkey binding.
8. Allow MBS but with an arbitrary low number of buildings (except for Zerg) that can be bound to a hotkey: for example, only buildings powered by same pylon or only barracks that are lined up together or only hatcheries visible on screen can be bound.
The pro-MBS camp has a point with modernizing User Interface (UI) to incorporate MBS. For example, in RPG, I love the first Final Fantasy but I cannot tolerate its now archaic interface. It is annoying that I need 300 button presses (buy, select item, confirm) just to max out on 100 potions.
When playing SC2 one-player, MBS would be fine.
But it's not so simple when it comes to competitive SC. The game is fun because of the delicate balance between macro and micro. How important is macro? If you can gain an economic advantage, get better unit production, while denying the opponent both, then you will most likely win. (But if your micro is inferior, you might still lose).
SC has these elements:
Macromanagement - economy, rate of unit production, upgrades, supply, tech
Micromanagement - unit control, focus-fire, flanking, aiming spells
Strategy - scouting, counters, timing, when and where to hit, retreat, build orders, feint
MBS affects rate of unit production, while auto-mining, the economy. But rate of unit production is a huge chunk of macro, and if MBS is to be implemented, what element of macro should replace it? This is the big conundrum.
Which RPG game is more diverse? Obviously B.
A. strength, intelligence
B. strength, intelligence, speed, stamina
I've read a lot of people's comments on MBS, and I've tried to include all the suggestions in this poll. I'm leaning towards Choice 3, of course, which a lot of people have suggested, but it also includes the option of mass-building. For the pro-MBS out there, mass-build pressing 8,8,8,m, is only two more button presses than 8,m. So it's not too much of a hardship. As for the buildings cycling every .10 seconds, can you do better than building ten marines in one second from ten barracks?
Update: Oct 9, 2007 Added to first choice: "This blanket 8,m mass-build won't allow you to diversify your unit production, which is bad."
Update: October 10, 2007
Thanks for all your input.
Conclusions from this poll about MBS implementation:
- Hotkeyx3 is disliked.
- Tab preferred in cycling through hotkeyed buildings.
- Mass producing preferred with no delay.
- Two camps are divided.
If a clearcut side, simplest solution is take majority. Case in point: Soul Hunter got surf.. serf.. um, served.
It's not worth repeating the pros and cons to MBS. You can read them in MBS threads by orangedude and artosis3.
orangedude: "We should be instead focusing on ways to make up for the addition of MBS/automining with additional macro ideas rather than opposing its inclusion into SC2, because we might actually profoundly improve the game as a result of our ideas."
However, what other macrotasks (not microtasks) are offered to counterbalance automation of unit production? 1. Warpgates. 2. Upkeep?? 3. ?? It's hard to think up ideas...
The solution I propose to appease both camps is not in coming up with other macrotasks, but pertains to the MBS sytem itself: how it should be implemented.
Proposed MBS solution:
* Hotkey,unit1,tab,unit2,tab,unit3... to build unit one at a time, cycling through hotkeyed buildings with tab.
* Hotkey2x,hold,unit to mass-produce unit at a rate of 4 per second with bonus special effects.
* If mouse only, cntrl+click on building to select all similar buildings onscreen, click "mass-build", a new option in command window (bottom right corner of screen), click unit.
Note: Currently in BW, Tab toggles mini-map colours. This function can be switched, let's say, to F5.
Note: I think hotkey2x,hold,unit (hotkey,hotkey+unit or hotkey,holdhotkey,unit) is better than the unpopular hotkey3x,unit. So please substitute this notation to my original post above.
* Brood War macro is preserved; number of button presses stays the same.
* Can now bind more buildings to hotkeys, freeing up other hotkeys for units.
* Slight improvement to queueing: the first building highlighted is idle or has the least queue.
* With two buttons, you can mass-produce one unit at an expert rate: four per second. In other words, the task of clicking on your buildings, one by one, to produce one unit, has been automated. Does this require you to leave your units, your attention turned elsewhere? Yes. Does this take time? Yes.
* Hotkey2x forces centering on hotkeyed buildings, away from the battlefield.
* Hotkey2x,hold,unit allows mass-building of unit.
* Cursor/selection/highlight cycles (the screen transitions smoothly, not abruptly) from building to building with subtle special effects (maybe a grotesque root-like adrenaline vein that branches from one hatchery to the next... or a phasing out/cloaking effect of one gateway to the next... or a Terran battle cry that varies according to the number of buildings bound to a hotkey: "Move it out, move it out, move it out! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven! Aaarrrrr, absolutely badassess! Let's pack 'em in! Get in there!" Apone, Aliens.)
* Naturally, the more buildings bound, the longer the cycle.
* You can queue in other commands while this cycle is happening, including pressing another hotkey to mass-build another unit from a different set of buildings.
** Why the special effects? To appease the fashionable? Maybe. But also to let opponent know (who has vision, of course) that your attention is away from your units for a second or two--a perfect time for them to unleash hold lurkers on your army, for example.
** Why not just hotkey,hold,unit? To prevent a player from accidentally mass-building (pressing hotkey and unit so fast, virtually at the same time).
* This is better than pure MBS (blanket hotkey,unit) as it allows unit diversity, by tabbing or clicking at each building in selection window.
* This is better than pure no MBS.
* This is better than toggle, which may segregate communities further. As it is, we have differing tastes: progaming scene, UMS Bound UMS RPG, UMS micro, BGH, Fastest, NoRush, compstomp, novice, experts. Not necessarily a bad thing, but now novice players may feel more confident playing against experts knowing they can keep up with this aspect of unit production. However, they should realize that maintaining supply, expanding, timing expansion, making workers, transferring workers, ensuring economy to support mass production, and keeping minerals low instead of waiting for 1000 minerals to build ten zealots, are not automated for them by MBS. In fact, if their skills are poor in these areas, against an expert, they will likely not even live long enough to build ten gateways...
* A pro-gamer will likely not use the MBS feature because it'll take attention away from the battlefield and limit diversity in unit mix. The special effects may also reveal to a scouting opponent a momentary nonattention to the battlefield--a bad thing. But only on high levels of gaming can this be exploited.
* Pro-gramers will not use the MBS feature because they can produce faster than 4 units per second.
* In professional gaming, even one second away from battlefield is an eternity. In novice play, a second is not as crucial.
* Pro-gamers may even avoid using the MBS feature for psychological reasons--it may make them lazy or less alert. Hence, that's why they 'spam' at beginning of a game.
* There are times experts may want to use MBS, such as to check which buildings are bound to a hotkey, or if they want to see the special effects.
** The rate of production can be beta-tested. It can even be tweaked to favour Zerg (faster rate) if Blizzard is really differentiating the races, with Zerg being the "swarming", en-masse species, and the Protoss now seeming to be even more the every-single-unit-counts race.
** MBS should apply to unit-producing buildings only, and not to static defense structures like cannons and sunkens to encourage aggression and thwart turtling. Who loves turtlers? Do we need a poll for that...
Please, my brethrens. Whether for or against MBS, we share a common interest: this awesome game. Let us find a way to unite and keep the StarCraft franchise the best ever. Shoot. I sound like an arbiter. For Aiu... StarCraft! ;P