Starcraft level design

Starcraft is a real time strategy game made by Blizzard. The game has competitive multiplayer which means that the maps have to be well design and balanced in order for it to be fair. The game has three races in which each can take advantage of the map in there own way. These races are Terran, Protoss and Zerg each with unique abilities and units, which means that the map flows differently depending on what race is against the other.



Blistering sands, a map within the multiplayer.

Here you can see two spawn points, on a map such as this you know the enemy will be on the other side, the maps are also symmetrical as you can see on this one. On bigger maps their are normally another two points the enemy could be so you have to scout in order to find them.


I annotated this image to illustrate the things you have to consider when you start building your base. Every map has a layout similar to this, they are all elevated and have a ramp, some may not have the rocks however so that adds and extra layer of depth to this map. Where I annotated in pink is where you would need to block of the ramp with your buildings in order to create a choke point, making it harder for the enemy to get up. With a race such as Zerg, They have the ability to create swarms of units very fast, so choke point are necessary when fighting them. You also have to consider the rocks which can be destroyed which allows the enemy to gain another entry for attack, you can also just see there are some trees going around it. This blocks field of view, so it would be wise to put a unit or building there to monitor it.


Due to the pace of the game, you have to expand your base which would usually be the one on the bottom of your ramp.  I highlighted with green the expansion, you can see how the design of the level has created a natural choke point just outside which allows for easy defending and blocking. The two purple circles represent the two middle towers field of view if you have a unit under them, these are essential for map control allowing you to monitor the enemy movements often allowing you to prepare for an attack when you see the enemy coming. It also creates flow towards the centre of the map, with both teams fighting over control. Another thing to consider is the gold expansion highlighted by orange. These allow you to mine minerals faster which means more resources for infrastructure and army. These are the hardest to defend on the map with them being fairly far out, plus on the lowest ground of the map. Meaning a race such as Terran with siege tanks can attack from afar on higher ground.


So you have consider whether the risk is worth the reward. Air attacks are to be consider also, which can go along the outskirts of the map relatively undetected if not carful.

The campaign has a more different approach with levels with different scenarios throughout depending on the level, for instance one level has areas of the map which gets submerged in lava every so many minutes. If you are not keeping tabs on where your units are, then you could lose them before you have realised what has happened.


Before and after

Just by adding this simple mechanic it adds another layer of depth, something more interesting then just build a base and destroy X or Y. High ground becomes priority and a struggle for control.  Another level has a star going into a supernova which is destroying a planet you are on.


A wall of destruction slowly moves across the map

Due to the wall of fire moving across the map, you have to continually move your base as the fire progresses. However, Terran bases have a mechanic in which there buildings can lift up and move, so players can use this mechanic in order to carry on moving without losing their structures and starting again. Due to the scenario it puts huge pressure on the player to advance across the map as fast as they can, whilst also trying to balance production with moving their base. They move to much and they don’t have a big enough army, to little and they run dangerously close to losing everything.

Image credit

blistering sands map –

Siege tank –

Lava level –

Supernova level –



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s