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Arcade Highlight: Blasterbots

Arcade Highlight: Blasterbots

Our latest StarCraft II feature Blasterbots takes one of our mantras to heart: “Easy to learn; difficult to master.” When the StarCraft Community Team got together to play this one, we had a blast trying to blow each other up and laughing every time a player became their own worst enemy. While there is often a sizeable learning curve in Arcade games, after a few quick rounds, we had heated rivalry going.

Blasterbots puts you in control of a small robot that can initially drop a single bomb. Pitted against up to 12 players, your goal is to blow up the other bots and be the last machine standing. Your bombs primarily destroy debris, revealing power-ups that can dramatically increase the power of your bombs, speed up your bot, or even allow you to walk through walls.

The game can become very tense very quickly. Getting the powerup lead is crucial, but my favorite strategy is to play slowly and carefully, and wait for my opponents to kill themselves.

Blasterbots offers several different maps that can be randomized between rounds as well as modes such Free-for-all or Team mode. Map creator DuckytheDuck gave the host of the game the ability to customize almost everything, including the size and complexity of the playfield. You can also tweak round timings and even customize which powers ups appear and how often, allowing for new and different mayhem.

Our thanks to DuckytheDuck for answering our questions about his explosive Arcade game.

Question: How did you get started in game design?

Answer: You know, you play something cool, you get excited, you want more. Next thing I knew I was playing with map editors. It’s like playing with building blocks -- at first you follow instructions, then you use the given pieces to create your own story, and after a while you’re so immersed that you’ve rearranged initial pieces into something that you couldn’t even begin to imagine when you first began.

Question: What made you want to make games with the StarCraft II editor?

Answer: I have fondest memories of the first iteration of and all the great and creative games I’ve played there. If the new was anything close to its predecessor it was sure to be a great fun playing and making custom games, and besides, the editor itself looked like a great tool (which it is). I’ve been enjoying myself since the StarCraft II Wings of Liberty beta.

Question: What was the inspiration for Blasterbots?

Answer: The inspiration was my selfish desire to play an online, multiplayer version of a console classic. I needed that experience. And hey, I like spending time in the StarCraft II editor. I thought to myself, “I wonder how I could combine the need for mapping and the desire for the chaotic experience of walls coming down and explosions sweeping away everything.” I’m glad it turned out well.

Question: How many people worked on this game and what roles did they have?

Answer: Just me, but I cannot overstate the role that the Map Night played in keeping the project alive during development. It is what it is right now thanks to everyone there who showed their support and interest, especially ZombieZasz for his awesome robot worker model and Kuvasz, who pointed me towards randomized hard blocks (which really added a new layer of excitement to the game).

Question: Do you have any funny stories about the design process for your game?

Answer: Besides the amusing moments during early tests where the game just fell apart, blended stages together, made you invulnerable, spawned extra bombers, and trapped you inside of unbreachable cages, no.

Question: How does the game work? What’s in store for a first time player?

Answer: You plant a bomb, and a few seconds later it explodes destroying everything around it that can be destroyed, hopefully debris and other players. Blow up debris to find powerups, and be the last bot standing. There is also a team mode to check out.

But nothing explains things better than a video, and thankfully Husky played this map during the Arcade beta, so have a look: Thanks Husky!

Question: What do players who want to conquer the game and be great do to reach that goal?

Answer: Having a good sense of timing and quick thinking are key to improving your performance. I’ve seen players who were sloppy at first, kept on dying and blowing themselves up, yet stayed positive, observed the tactics and timings of others and got better. After a while they became an exciting opponent to play against. But remember to have fun!

Question: What do you feel makes your game compelling?

Answer: Many things: the accessibility of the game, the randomness, the satisfaction in outsmarting your opponent, the joy of surviving against superior odds. There is something incredibly compelling about fighting a battle where a single misstep can mean defeat, and despite that, amidst all the chaos, you and your opponent keep on struggling, applying pressure, scheming and refusing to go down.

Question: Are there any tweaks coming to Blasterbots that the community can look forward to?

Answer: I’ve got some cool ideas, but right now I’m working on another map. I foresee that with the release of Heart of the Swarm I’ll come back to add more stages using new assets. Once I begin to work on it again, wonderful things may happen.

Question: What advice would you give to someone who was interested in using the StarCraft II editor to make their own game? Where is a good place for them to start the learning process?

Answer: The StarCraft II editor is fun, but like all things, mod-making requires lots of time and effort. Things can get very overwhelming and discouraging very fast, but no one starts with complete knowledge of how the editor works. is a good place to search for answers.

Question: Do you have any plans for other games or future goals as a game designer?

Answer: I’m currently working on a “hack and slash” map. After that, we’ll see what the future brings.

"Is there an award for the person who kills themself the most?" Cloaken

"Now that I have all these power-ups, I’m going to be unstoppa—" Aldrexus

"It’s fascinating how much fun this game is, even though I have more than 15 years of experience in being terrible at the genre."Kapeselus

"I’ve never played a game in which I’m so amused to eliminate myself in the first five seconds." Kaivax

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