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The Antrax Edge14 of August 2006 09:57 PM
Posted by:panschk[FP]
The Antrax Edge


An introduction to a StarCraft player from Peru, Cusco and his extensive and very smart analysis of Protoss mineral mining. An article with relevance and interesting applications to both map making and gaming, with particular impact to Protoss "macro".



I met a StarCraft gamer, a while back when I worked at GG.net and I had opened their Spanish forum. At that time he had read one of my medically oriented articles about the possible trauma's any keyboard warrior or pc gamers could encounter. He sent me some very sharp observations and ideas about a possible article going a little deeper into the possible impact gaming can have on the developing mind. By itself the advice and comments surprised me, but when I discovered that the man in question was an informatics engineer, a slave to the physical sciences and not a psychology major, I knew that a very highly developed thinking entity had just tried to communicate with me.



Soon there after I saw him offer GG.net a little article about mineral gathering and map making with a lot of tables and calculations. It looked interesting but I believe no one really read his article to the end, not even myself who at that time was more worried, unfortunately, about more mundane matters. So his article never got published. I did take the time to ask him to "improve it" or keep "working on it" or something in those lines more in the spirit to buy me time to read it through properly than because it needed any changing. The man did not get discouraged and shortly there after he contacted me again with a revised final version of his article. This time I skimmed through it and I quickly realized I would need to sit down, make some coffee and take some time reading the article to understand it well, beyond just the getting the gist of it.



He told me he had showed it to the legendary map maker, Bill307, and he too advised to change the style of presentation but gave him no comment on the material so he was a little disheartened at this stage that his findings and analysis probably did not amount to much. He also shared with me that he had tried to explain his findings with a few others in the community. Basically, he had approached everyone that could understand him, with what he thought was an interesting finding related to mineral gathering for Protoss with some neat applications that could be applied to more efficient map making and gaming.



Despite this nothing much happened and the information found little to no propagation. His article is a little gem for any serious StarCraft map maker, and it will even teach any StarCraft player a thing or too about efficient mineral gathering and mineral patch distribution. It is what I consider the best focused article of its kind in the last 8 years. I will also like to apologize to him for having delayed so long in actually sitting down and reading it through, which ultimately was all he wanted. He was not really interesting in fame or publication, he just thought it was something other map makers and StarCraft players would be interested.



So who is he? He goes by his teenage nickname, Antrax, and he is from Cusco, Peru. Yes that legendary old capital of the Four Kingdoms, the Tahuantisuyo, of the Incas. Talk about globalization! How StarCraft worked its way to Cusco is also a mystery in itself. His studies lead him to a degree in Informatics Engineer, and then to a University teaching position in Puerto Rico where he now resides He is 32 years old, married and recent father of a baby girl.



Well enough of introduction. What follows is his article in .pdf format that has been ignored far too long, and that carries more merit that anyone would venture to guess at first sight.



A Gathering Review by Antrax



This is the original forum post Physician made at sclegacy.net. I just copy&pasted it into the article section, the real information is in the PDF file. Antrax is the guy who made that great research.
Comments:

panschk
I did not want to post the information from the pdf file into the article because:

1) I'm lazy ;-)
2) The formatting would never look as good as it does in the pdf file
3) It may be better to just have the file on your HD
4) It is too much information to read it on a webpage like this well. A pdf file is more comfortable imo.
LGI
This guy Antrax surly did a great job, but the very big fucking problem is that some of the PRO maps are still whit gas issues problems, and nobody is forward to fix them and people live whit those gas issues, so it would be extremly hard to make people believe that the mineral setup shoud be "like this". Not only that none of the koreans care about the other part of the world map makers, and they are a lot of people from "the other part of the world" that are not helping us at all. I am talking about people who says "koreans this, koreans that, they are great, they are N1, and everyone else should get lost".

P.S. I hope you get the point... Like always i wasn't able to find the right words in english the explain everything that i want to say.
panschk
I don't agree here. Imo it would be great if this time it would be us to start a new trend and include new knowledge into the mapmaking process. They started wider bridges, neutral buildings, mineral blocks on islands...Maybe we get the chance to change the mapmaking here AND in korea by using such information.
LGI
Yes, i agree! I know exatcly what you mean, BUT THE PROBLEM IS THAT KOREANS DON'T CARE! THEY DON'T GIVE A FUCK FOR THE OTHER PART OF THE WORLD! They got EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING! The sponsors are giving the players EVERYTHING!
spinesheath
Well, it still is not said that you _should_ arrange your minerals like "this" or "that". What we mapmakers can do is use these effects to balance maps, but the traditional mineral setup is just as good and can be balanced enough. You'll have to test though.
And since a map is not automatically balanced when the minerals are "balanced", it may be ok to have little differences in harvesting speed.
Your Name
In the future he will post in html not pdf ~ but he promises more.
Physician
In the future he will post in html not pdf ~ but he promises more.
Antares
LGI is right, people will always follow korea, they wont get adopted to our maps, they wont acknowledge our issues or our mineral placement or anything that is not korean
spinesheath
Well, once BWCL 4x is strong enough to beat Koreans, they will follow those. Quite unlikely though ;)
Antrax
Nice to see interest of you guys, but be more confident.
Consider this as a new technic to master in the mapmaking world, I guarantee that you will see different games (intense and well planed) because of this factor and since it can be tuned adjusting distributions many experiments has to be done.

Here I give you some ideas over a new/modified map, maybe a 4 player Luna style map (or any other if you like):

- Starting positions 8 patches (6-2 distribution)
- Naturals 8 patches (ideal 4-4 distribution)
- Min only expos 6 patches (5-1 or 4-2 distribution)

- Naturals not so easy to secure especially for terran
- If it is possible favor harass at naturals and min only expos
- A good center of map for big battles

This is a first experiment, that sure will need later tuning.
I'm not suggesting ideal distributions for starting positions because openings would change too much. The beginning income will be boosted a little because of the distribution but the real tresuare is taking naturals, in general the mineral gathering rate is faster than in any map with normal distributions. Also is important good planing for probe numbers, you can play the old way non-stop probes production or choose optimal numbers and gain superior army; you will use less population in workers or you will take more expos and press the enemy to the death. If players mantain good positions and expos you will see real intense middle/late games


Finally, about the Korean scene, they have to entertain the crowd so if this technic make the difference they will have to turn in this direction looking for new elements and who will have the experience?
LGI
Do you have ICQ? Pls say "yes" and give it :)
Antrax
Don't have ICQ but MSN ollantaymh@hotmail.com
spinesheath
The only problem is that you won't get anyone to play such a map. It would also disturb the style of most maps. On Forte, the minerals look good the way they are, but a 6-2 distribution on a Gaia-like map will just look horrible. And the looks is one thing to take care of.
So I certainly wouldn't change the Main minerals. naturals and stuff is possible, people will accept this easier. But you have to tell them that they should use XX peons there, or they will just take it as an obstacle.
Another thing is that such distribution is favoring zerg, definately. Zerg can set up expansions easier, and has less workers anyways. On Forte this is balanced out by the 3-hatch expansion (well, it probably is not that simple, but pvz seems quite balanced on forte), but on other maps this will boost zerg more than other races.
NastyMarine
Great article, i look foward to seeing more!
Nightmarjoo
I can't view the article, it crashes the program. I hope someone puts it into html soon ^_^
Your Name
nvm, I updated my adobe, apparently mine was 2.6 versions old. Great article indeed. So what if koreans won't change their maps. Then the maps of bwm will clearly be better. And if korean gamers don't pay attention to this then non-koreans will play better by exploiting this knowledge.

The current 'pro maps' won't last forever. Eventually they will be replaced by new maps. And there will be a new era of gaming, where maps have no gas imbalance, or even mineral imbalances, and players won't be able to blame their losses on the map.
Nightmarjoo
agh the above was me, I didn't realize my name wasn't in the box as it normall is in by default, there really should be editing comments in the forums and whatnot ^_^
flothefreak
actually, here may be the solution of a non-natural map that works in TvZ as well. if you make like, 4-4, terran cant take advantage of pumping SCVs as hell. on the other hand, zerg can stop drone production completely in a very early state of the game. so even if terran will get more units than usual (less SCVs built), the overall pump will be weaker, which definetly helps Z... and each of the few drones ">8" is worth every mineral.
Sp
interseting.. should be similar comparisons on Z and T too before trying to implement it seriously into maps though..

you say that 4-4 is optimal.. what about 2-2-2-2 or 3-2-3? That must render wandering almost totally obsolete?
Sp
interesting*
Your Name
"interseting.. should be similar comparisons on Z and T too before trying to implement it seriously into maps though..

you say that 4-4 is optimal.. what about 2-2-2-2 or 3-2-3? That must render wandering almost totally obsolete?"

2-2-2-2 or 3-2-3

OH NOES! Those kind of mineral formations would certainly hurt splits unless you are korean.
Your name
Your comment

OH NOES indeed; maybe practicing on harder splits would help our splits, like practicing in weights to be better w/o them ^_^
NastyMarine
anything less than 4 would be bad in TvZ or any m/u cause then it mite be problematic to see what the other opponent is doing (for those who dont know why: its b.c thats how u tell what opponents are trying to do sometimes (FE or fast tech etc)

4 - 4 sounds pretty unique and cool.. it could possibly change gameplay alot and balance stuff a bit (maybe)
SpoR
I've noticed that mineral formations really effect a map also. Its the main reason why I've made so many version of bloodbath. After thousands of games on bloodbath (literally) I've liked the formation on New Bloodbath Advance 1.3 the best.
It seems most optimal in terms of probes needed, wandering, harassment, gathering time, harassment time, etc.

The formation used is not just on 1 side of the main it takes an arc around 2 sides. The minerals are not all huddled together they are spread out in groups of 2 totalling 8.

This has been the best formation I've grown to like in any map. Some of the major reasons why I didn't like some maps more than others is because how the minerals are setup.

Maps with very straight bunched minerals are more prone to splash damage and the workers wander a lot more.

Nice work Antrax, even though I didn't take the time to analyze most of the charts and numbers I understand your point.
SpoR
If you think about the maps that the general populace plays the most (besides money maps) they have more spread longer formations that are not bunched up. LT, Luna, and Hunters use the same kind of mineral setups. A more spaced out minerals that are on 1 side closest to the edge of the map.
LarJarsE
A very valuable read. It is obvious that different mineral spreads will vary offensive and defensive strategies. An 8 group main and a 2-2-2-2 expansion, or other non traditional mineral grouping, will make for different ways a player will respond. I'll definitely put this in mind for future maps. After all, you can't underthink any single aspect of Starcraft. No player is or will be 100% effecient, so improving knowledge at every aspect of the game will improve gameplay.

With that being said, collective alternative and in depth thinking will ultimately lead to new breakthroughs and advancements in the art of map architecture and gameplay.. I've been playing Starcraft since 98' and I still have much to learn.

It may be the season of Starcraft 2, but the same should be done with that game too!

As for the idea of this Korean Superiority: throw it out the window. Indeed there are koreans with great in depth knowledge about the game, but that should be learned from and not deemed untouchable. Learn from everyone and everything. An open-minded society with strength in differentiality will overcome.

JL
LarJarsE
A very valuable read. It is obvious that different mineral spreads will vary offensive and defensive strategies. An 8 group main and a 2-2-2-2 expansion, or other non traditional mineral grouping, will make for different ways a player will respond. I'll definitely put this in mind for future maps. After all, you can't underthink any single aspect of Starcraft. No player is or will be 100% effecient, so improving knowledge at every aspect of the game will improve gameplay.

With that being said, collective alternative and in depth thinking will ultimately lead to new breakthroughs and advancements in the art of map architecture and gameplay.. I've been playing Starcraft since 98' and I still have much to learn.

It may be the season of Starcraft 2, but the same should be done with that game too!

As for the idea of this Korean Superiority: throw it out the window. Indeed there are koreans with great in depth knowledge about the game, but that should be learned from and not deemed untouchable. Learn from everyone and everything. An open-minded society with strength in differentiality will overcome.

JL
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