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Arcade Highlight: Hive Keeper

Welcome to another StarCraft II Arcade Highlight. Today we’re taking a look at Hive Keeper.

In Hive Keeper, you defend your hive from invading forces by raising an army of minions. The controls of the game may take some getting used to, as you do not directly control every action of your creature, and many of their behaviors will happen automatically. Your creatures will create a nest, feed themselves, sleep when they are exhausted, and perform other similar functions. Your role is to provide the resources they need to thrive. This is done primarily by constructing the different types of rooms for your minions.

There are various types of units you’ll raise, and each has their own function. Drones are your main tool -- you’ll command them to dig out rooms, harvest minerals, spread creep, and rescue your warriors when they fall in battle – while Queens spend their time in the Psionic Nest researching new spells for your use. Aberrations toil in the Furnace and construct deadly traps to use in your hive’s defense.

Hive Keeper boasts a well-rounded tutorial as well as several modes, all of which you should try out. The tutorial is a good place to start before moving into single player. Once you’ve mastered the basics, grab a friend and try out co-op mode, and if you’re feeling confident, you can give two versus two a shot and try your skills against other hive masters.

When you’re ready to create your army, dive into the depths of Hive Keeper. As with all of our featured games in the StarCraft II Arcade, Hive Keeper is free to play to anyone using the StarCraft II Starter Edition.

We sat down with creator Andrea ‘Bibendus’ Mauro to hear about the creation of Hive Keeper.

Traysent: Please introduce yourself!

Andrea: Hello everyone! My name's Andrea and I'm a StarCraft II modder from Italy.

T: How did you get started in game design?

A: Since I was a little kid, I dreamed of creating new games. When the original StarCraft editor came out, I was finally able to begin my work on game design. I primarily worked on level design initially, not quite yet ready to make custom games.  At the same time, I worked a lot with the Duke Nukem 3D level editor. I think I made about a dozen really complex levels -- it was really fun!

However I finally switched from level design to game design with the Warcraft III editor. I was amazed by its simplicity and power at the same time!

I think my first project was a MOBA inspired by“3 Corridors” but it didn't have a lot of success. Then I started a big project called “D&D Calim River”, a RPG that emulated the rules of Dungeons and Dragons to almost perfection (yes I'm a huge D&D nerd). In 2006 I won the Blizzard Sport Map contest with Golfcraft, a minigolf map with full working physics and some fun game mechanics

After a while I took a break from game development until the release of Starcraft II. With the new editor I worked on Crush Company, then Corpses and finally Hive Keeper.

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

A: My vast knowledge of the Warcraft III editor gave me an obvious push toward the new one. I was intrigued by the direct input event features that were missing previously. In fact, my first project was a brawler.

T: What was the inspiration for Hive Keeper?

A: This map is inspired by Dungeon Keeper 2 which is, in my opinion, the best ‘god game’ ever made. Unfortunately DK2 is pretty old and I was missing an amazing game like that. I decided to remake it, adapting the aesthetics to the StarCraft II world and improving some obsolete gameplay mechanics.

T: How long did it take to complete Hive Keeper? How many people worked on it and what roles did they have?

A: Except for the loading screen image, the soundtrack, and some icons, it has mostly been a solo project since Autumn of 2010. I had a lot of help from the community though, especially when trying to learn unexplored features of the StarCraft II editor.

T: Do you have any interesting stories about the design process?

A: Before starting a Dungeon Keeper remake I was trying to figure out how to implement diggable terrain and I wasn’t finding the solution I wanted. However, one day a fellow mapper called ‘Redmarine’ prepared a map showcase on how it was possible to use actors to do what I needed. Once I saw that, I was properly motivated to start the project. Without him, Hive Keeper probably wouldn’t exist.

T: Besides keeping things small and simple, what advice would you give to someone who is interested in using the StarCraft II editor to make their own game?

A: First find your area of interest. There are different avenues to express your creative energies in the editor but you don't necessarily need to master all of them. If you are a programmer like me, you'll find the trigger editor really easy and fun to use. If that’s the case, then I would suggest you to start with a small mini-game. If you are an artist or level designer, I suggest you to work on melee maps or campaigns. If you are a 3d artist you may enjoy making movies in the cinematic editor.

T: How did you get people to notice your game once it was released?

A: I posted on many different StarCraft II community forums and opened a project page on Recently I created a Facebook page too.

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

A: With a big evolving project like this, I have no plans of working on another project, especially if I'm doing it in my spare time. We’ll see what the future brings though.

T: What’s the best way people can follow you and your work (Twitter, Facebook, Website, etc.)?

A: I keep my project page constantly updated with news, videos and screenshots If you have any feedback, bug reports or you just want to say ‘hi’ you can visit the forums at Lastly, you can like the Hive Keeper Facebook page at or follow me on Twitter @Bibendus83.

T: Do you have any favorite games on the StarCraft II Arcade?

A: Unfortunately I don't have a lot of spare time to play arcade games, however I appreciate innovative and unique ideas like Jetcraft, Warships, or Castle Ulrezaj.

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