My journey with StarCraft

I was inspired to write this blog by fact that Starcraft: Remastered will be released soon, podcast by Incontrol who talks about his life in Evil Genius as Starfact player, commentator and personality and I want to write a post for last 3 years about my  view on game industry and e-sport from viewer who watched games but does not have time to play it.  This post will be about my experience as a spectator of e-sport game which will contain an answer to the question “Why you watching other’s people playing the game” and “Why you watching e-sport”?

 

IN THE BEGINNING …

I discovered Starcraft in an internet cafe just before brood war expansion was released.

      I wasted many hours and spent a fortune to play single player campaign.  I was impressed with the storyline, one of the most amazing cut scenes I have ever seen in the game. I remember until today when I saw other guy playing a campaign where Terrans were under siege by zerg and they need to survive for some time. It was a hard mission for me as I was constantly attacked and I barely won. What stunned me and it is a reason why I still remember is when I saw the guy playing Starcraft for the first time and he maybe built 2 bunkers and he won … without hassle as zergs sent 1 hydralisk per minute. I had on of the biggest WTF face expression. I guess these days I will shout on Twitter how this game is imba! I played some multiplayer games too. I even won 2 vs 2 … even if I had 1 zealot and 1 pylon left on field :). It was a great fun.

    Anyway, this is NOT a blog entry about grandpa sharing experience when he was young, so it summary I had a great time with this game and I consider as one of my favourite game of all my life. (XCOM: Enemy Unknown is my favourite).

 STARCRAFT REBORN BY YOUTUBE

Life moved on and I forgot about Starcraft. A few years later when I was preparing to exams and I needed “5 minutes” break and I discover a YouTube channel  (Klazart, VioleTAK or Moletrap) where some guys made a commentary of Starcraft tournament in South Korea. I was shocked because :

  • An ancient game is not dead.
  • Playing Starcraft in South Korea is a big thing.
  • There are many tournaments.
  • They stream it on TV!

Here, I have an advice for people who looking for 5 minutes break in the middle night during preparation to exams on next day at 9 am. Do not use Social Media or content making website where you can discover as it will make surviving at exam … much more challenging.

Anyway, back to the topic. I started watching all matches with commentaries created by Cholera, Klazart, Moletrap, Tasteless with Little Susie and during Starcraft 2 era Husky, Incontrol and Day9 (more about Starcraft 2 later).

I still remember watching finals where Moletrap did his commentary from the car on the university campus which makes Cholera and other laughs. It shows the passion of these people to create content about things that they care about it. It was amazing. I felt really sad when each of them decided to retire.

Watching Starcraft became my hobby. Yes, it is correct. For me, watching game’s tournament was my way to relax after work and exams. It is like being a football fan. You can play for fun and still watching professional matches.  In fact, there is no difference between watching football and e-sport like Starcraft.

STARCRAFT 2 ERA

Blizzard announced that Starcraft 2 will be released in 3 parts. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and 2 expansions StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. In the beginning, it sounds like release the same things 3 times and cash-in on people but then I realized that it can be a good idea as it will help re-shape game in each major release like Brood War changed original Starcraft. As it turns out, it exceeded my expectations because each release has an epic single game campaign and good impact on multiplayer. I decided to play all 3 campaigns at once and I am planning to buy at some point in near future.

During Starcraft 2 era I enjoyed commentary by Husky, StarcraftHD, Day9 and  Incontrol.  My favourite player was White-Ra because of his good heart personality. I also support TLO, White-Ra and all polish players.

Unfortunately, at some point, I got busy in real life (got married, change job and so on) and at the same time Starcraft 2 pass his peak time, lost momentum and start dropping in terms of quantity and quality of the tournaments which makes back to watch tournaments more and more difficult over time.

LEGACY OF THE STARCRAFT

Personally, it is sad to see that popularity of Starcraft is going down so sharply but Starcraft exists for 20 years and it must happen sooner or later. I think Blizzard did a great job to keep the game for so long even if some mistakes and slow response to game’s needs may speed up this process of fading out of this game.

On a side note. One of the big advantages of being e-sport player than sport is that players can switch games if things go wrong over time. Something that is almost impossible in normal sport).

In my personal opinion, Starcraft and Korean scene were one of the main factors to popularize e-sport and create professional e-sport in the world. Thanks to other games I think e-sport will grow rapidly and one of the games will match the level of popularity as football. Speaking of football.  Unfortunately, mistakes like corruption, match fixing and drugs appear in Starcraft too. However, I will discuss this subject in the future blog entry.

Thanks to the internet we as a society is under revolution from the industrial age into the digital age where information and content is a value, not goods. It allows e-sport and games like Starcraft to create digital content by people can share their passion with others from all over the world. They didn’t need big media but they need the digital platform like YouTube and Twitch (known as Justin.tv). It creates internet based shows like “State Of The Game” by JP and channels like Day9Tv and much more.

From my point of view, everything during a time of early days of Starcraft and e-sport was amazing and I have hoped that e-sport learnt from mistakes made by sports organisations. Unfortunately, real life was a bit different.  I didn’ know about dirty politics between Kaspa, Blizzard and so on. As mentioned before there were incidents with match fixing. Sadly innocent time is over. In my opinion, it will go in the same as football where the game industry will control everything. Again a subject that is worth its own blog entry.

If you are interested in the history of Starcraft’s e-sport history from various perspectives then I suggest you watch:

WHY I WATCH OTHER PEOPLE PLAY GAMES?

WHY I WATCH E-SPORT TOURNAMENT?

Many people didn’t understand why I watch other people playing games or watch e-sport. How I explain them this? Other people enjoy to watch sport, tv series or play the radio in the background while they are doing something else. I am doing the same but I watch e-sport tournament or watch somebody play game in the background while I am doing my things. Simple. As time goes more and more people will do the same.

SUMMARY

As you can see,  Starcraft contribution to the game industry and e-sport is massive. I just briefly mention a few of them.

Big money brings great shows but it kills the spirit. Is it bad? No. It is great an e-sport is a booming industry now and who knows maybe my son will be part of this some day. These days e-sport is growing rapidly and a digital-sport becoming as popular as the physical sport with all good and very bad things.

I think I was lucky as I enjoy the best part of e-sport when it was in incubation. When ordinary people did commentary full of passion and players plays for being the best player. It creates many spectacular moments which I am grateful for.

I was an anonymous viewer who enjoys watching all these shows, thanks to commentators like:

  • Cholera
  • Klazart
  • Moletrap
  • Tasteless
  • Little Susie
  • Husky
  •  and a few more who I should mention but I forgot.

and players like:

  • Boxer
  • Flash
  • Bisu
  • Stork
  • Day9
  • White-Ra
  • Firebat
  •  and a few more who I should mention but I forgot.

It will be great to meet these commentators and players someday and say in person…

THANK YOU

I hope all of you who I mentioned (or should mention but I don’t remember) somehow find this page, read and know somebody in this world appreciates what you did.

Anyway, I am looking forward to playing a Starcraft: Remastered to enjoy a campaign for fun.

Image source: http://www.blizzard.com (Official press resouces)

Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L White LED review.

This review can be useful for people who are interesting in daily experience with Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L White LED and people who are developers who are looking for a great keyboard.

If you do not bother to read the whole article, then this is main take away points:

GOOD

  1. Typing.
  2. Keys.
  3. Backlight.
  4. No drivers required to setup keyboard.
  5. Excellent Quality for money.
BAD

  1. Lack of wrist support.
  2. Short cable.

 

 

Summary:
It is a great keyboard for a software developer at work. It offers excellent quality and exceptional value for money.

STORY

My keyboard at work is … how to describe this in politically correct way … unpleasant to use. There are two models of the keyboard in the office. One I am using which has a classic key layout but it is uncomfortable and dull to use. Another one has better clicking experience but it annoying to use due to key placement. It is problematic when you are using many shortcuts during development and suddenly it is hard to use them efficiently as keys are in wrong place.

Last year I was thinking about to use my spare wireless keyboard that I have at home. At similar time I have noticed that some of my colleagues are using a mechanical keyboard. I decided to try it and I enjoyed a lot. My main problem with the mechanical keyboard was:

  • They are very loudly.
  • They have plenty features that are gamers friendly but it can be distracting for development typing.
  • The backlight is great for light show but less comfortable as a daily backlight.

What I was looking for is:

  • Full sized mechanical keyboard
  • A mono-coloured backlight as I don’t need to perform a light show at work.
  • Reasonable priced.

I am not playing games* so I wasn’t interested in any features related to gaming like resist to damage during ‘rage quit’ and so on.

*) That’s a lie actually.

    I did research on the internet about mechanical keyboards and I quickly released that for good keyboard you need to spend around 150 pounds. I just couldn’t justify why I should spend that much money. I decided to abandon the idea of having a mechanical keyboard and I was too lazy to bring my own wireless keyboard to work. As result, I stuck to my office keyboard.

This year I did another research and I found something that meets my criteria. I decided to buy Cooler Master MasterKeys Pro L White LED. This is an official specification found on Coolermaster’s website. http://www.coolermaster.com/peripheral/keyboards/masterkeys-pro-l/

I was a bit surprised that Cooler Master make keyboards. I knew this company for decent cooling systems for CPU  but I didn’t know, they are doing gaming stuff. Actually, after the short time, I realized that it looks like the natural evolution for this company to make a gaming toys.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I ordered it. When I received a package, my first impression was disturbing. Amazon delivered my package into recycle bin. I was a wonder if Amazon knew that I bought rubbish and it is worth recycling only.

You can find many unboxing videos, so I will skip that. It seems an ascetic and simplicity were the main theme for this keyboard. The box is as small as possible and contains essentials only. Keyboard is  simple and without fancy or quirky ‘features’.

After I plugged-in keyboard to my laptop, I was amazed. Writing experience was very smooth. I feel, I typed everything faster than on my laptop’s keyboard (Asus ROG-G771JW) and Logitech illuminated keyboard. The backlight is awesome. Overall, I was very happy. I had only one concern. My wrist feels painful after 30 minutes of using the keyboard. I bought wrist support and it solves the problem.

MY DAILY EXPERIENCE WITH KEYBOARD:

  • As I mentioned but I think is worth to repeat. Typing on the keyboard is an amazing experience. However, let’s face it. You can live with a typical office keyboard. The main difference is that on you developing with pleasure and experience on typing is quicker and smoother. I guess it is just my imagination. That’s all.
  • It has a classic layout without any quirky key design mutations and I like that because it helps me to use ‘normal’ keyboards without hassle. Truth is you can get used to it to any keyboard but it slows you down when you switch between different layouts/
  • Another amazing thing that you can setup keyboard using … keyboard. You don’t need drivers. It can come handy when you are doing pair programming with different PC and use your keyboard.
  • They provide a tool, so you can develop your own stuff on the keyboard which sounds awesome but I haven’t use it .. yet.
  • My main problem is the lack of wrist support. I used the keyboard for 30 minutes and my whites start to hurt. I needed to buy wrist support and it solves a problem. It is the second time in my life when I  have this kind of problem.
  • This keyboard has mode when you can play … Snake game. On keyboard! It comes handy when you need to wait for your tests to finish.
  • Cable is quite short. It is OK if you keep your PC on a desk, but if is under your desk, then you will have a problem. Cable quality is one of the best as I used.
  • The keyboard is not too noisy. Good enough for office use and you should not pissed off colleagues, but it is too loud to use at night at home.
  • In first few days, I had a few occasions where Windows stop recognize keyboard and it stops work. It stops happening after I restart Windows.

SUMMARY

It is an awesome keyboard so far. Typing is awesome. I think it is a great keyboard in terms of quality for money and value for money. You may need to buy wrist support or your wrist will kill you.

In fact, I am really surprised how much difference make to use a mechanical keyboard instead of the normal keyboard.

If you are a software developer who needs a great mechanical keyboard with monochrome backlight and spends reasonable money then this keyboard is the best choice.

I chose this keyboard as my first mechanical keyboard as I didn’t want invest fortune, but there are cheaper alternatives (for around £55 if you want to try a mechanical keyboard.

Second part will be after 3 months and third part will be after 1 year of usage

 

 

Picture source: http://www.coolermaster.com/peripheral/keyboards/masterkeys-pro-l-white/