Welcome to another StarCraft II Arcade Highlight. This week, we’re taking a look at an eight mission single player campaign: Subjection. Created by ‘Gradius’, the Subjection campaign tells the story of three Protoss heroes who are sent to the frozen planet of Odin to investigate the sudden silence from a mining expedition. Since the planet contains a vast number of Khaydarin crystals, Artanis has deemed it critical to the greater war effort of the Protoss. Thus, Meliak, Lazadin, and Telios must investigate the fate of the missing miners, and in doing so, uncover a plot of that will challenge their loyalties.
The amount of work that went into these missions is impressive. Each one contains original voice talent as well as custom models. Gradius also added four different difficulty settings so that players of all skill levels can enjoy the story.
Are you ready to try it out? Jump online and give each mission a go. Like all of our featured Arcade games, Subjection is available to anyone who is using the free StarCraft II Starter Edition.
We asked Gradius about his experience making the Subjection campaign. Read below to see what he had to say.
Traysent: How did you get started in game design?
Gradius: My first foray into game design was with StarEdit, the tool that came with the original StarCraft. Compared to the Galaxy Editor it was very primitive, and yet it allowed for creation of a diverse range of games. Most of the fun came from inventing creative work-arounds and methods to accomplish what you needed with the limited capabilities at your disposal. This inspired me to take several programming classes and read books in order to improve my skills.
T: What was the inspiration for your campaign?
G: What drew me to the StarCraft universe was its dark tone and setting based on political infighting. StarCraft and Brood War were games that had true atmosphere. The worldbuilding, sounds, and style of the original StarCraft campaigns are things that I've tried to emulate in Subjection. One thing I particularly enjoyed about the plot was the feeling of danger -that nobody was safe. Even though the setting is clearly fantastical, it was so easy to get invested in the characters and background because of how brutal the universe was.
I enjoyed fan campaigns immensely in the original StarCraft, my favorite of which was The Antioch Chronicles, a series of well-made and fully voiced campaigns that spawned and inspired many more. StarCraft II felt like it needed its own version of Antioch Chronicles to kick start the campaign-making community. While I do not hold Subjection to such high standards, I hope that it has inspired other people out there to create their own campaigns and build their own worlds.
T: How long did it take to complete Subjection? How many people worked on the campaign and what roles did they have?
G: Subjection took roughly three years to complete, working on and off.
Subjection was largely a one-man operation, but the contributions of talented voice actors and artists were invaluable. The credits are available on the campaign's main page: http://www.sc2mapster.com/maps/starcraft-subjection/
T: What was the most challenging part in the development process? How did you overcome it?
G: Subjection originally started as a mere learning experience and introduction to the editor for me, but ballooned into much more than that once I fully realized how much was involved. The greatest challenge was simply the length of the entire development time. There is just so much more to it now that it can seem overwhelming at first, but the payoff can be immense if you are willing to put in the work.
There is one thing that kept me motivated and willing to persevere; I enjoyed the process of worldbuilding. In my opinion, creating entirely new worlds and characters is one of the greatest creative outlets imaginable. It's a fantastic form of stress relief, and not really that much different from creating things when I was a kid.
T: What do you feel makes your campaign compelling?
G: Subjection has believable characters and plot, and tells a realistic story within the StarCraft universe. As of yet, it is the first campaign of its kind to fully feature voice acting, something that can really bring a campaign to life. When I first heard custom voice-over impressions that sounded just like Artanis, Fenix, and the Overmind on CampaignCreations.org, I immediately saw the potential. You could potentially create something that could be considered canon.
T: 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?
G: One of the most important pieces of advice I can offer for campaigns is to start small. A "realistic" goal is much smaller than you'd originally think. I thought that eight missions for Subjection would have been a piece of cake for me to crank out. It ended up taking three years.
The best way to start the learning process is simply to dive right in there -even though it looks scary. SC2Mapster has tutorials and help available. As a map developer you will not be using every single data field and trigger action in the editor, only a certain few, so there is no need to be intimidated by everything in the editor.
T: How did you get people to notice your game once it was released?
G: I have been a staff member and co-administrator at SCLegacy.com for several years now. It is one of the oldest StarCraft fan sites currently in existence. I primarily rely on SCLegacy and the good people at SC2Mapster to help promote my maps.
The Arcade itself was a good way for people to discover my campaign. Surprisingly, there are people out there actually looking for single player maps on Battle.net. I can definitely say that fewer people overall would have discovered my campaign if not for the Arcade.
The campaign itself is also available for download on the main project page: http://www.sc2mapster.com/maps/starcraft-subjection/
T: Do you have any plans for other games or future goals as a game designer?
G: I have vague ideas for a Zerg campaign floating around in my head right now. I am also helping out with Mass Recall, a remake of the original StarCraft and Brood War campaigns. Check them out here: http://www.sc2mapster.com/maps/sc1-episode-1-rebel-yell/
T: What’s the best way people can follow you and your work (Twitter, Facebook, Website, etc.)?
G: My work will usually be published on SCLegacy.com, a great source of StarCraft news and discussion.