TLDR: Get over it and read it. I've broken it up into sections so read a single section if you want. This is not a balance thread or anything of the sort, but rather something to think about.
How the Spine Crawler Attacks
The pokes! How I love them pokes! If an enemy unit gets a little too close to the spine crawler, they shall feel its wrath...via a really hard knock on the head. The hit appears to be guaranteed, meaning the spine crawler will continue to stretch quickly to the enemy's location until it hits it. You'll notice that fast units, such as speedlings will cause the spine to stretch pretty far sometimes to hit its target. This brings me to the first of a series of questions:
Does the Spine Crawler Have a Constant Attack Speed?
What I mean by this is, does the spine crawler have a set attack speed for its attack animation (i.e it'll stretch 5 feet/sec)? Or is it the case that it bases it's speed on the enemy it's attack (it'll stretch faster in order to catch a zergling rather than a drone)?
It appears to me that the spine crawler has a constant attack speed. It never seems to go particularly faster when attack some units rather than others. I think it was simply programmed with an attack speed that they'd know outrun any unit in the game. This is similar to the following question:
Does the Spine Crawler Have a Maximum Length?
As the spine crawler attacks, it stretches. Some units running away from the spine crawler causes the spine to stretch over a longer distance. Is there a maximum to this stretch distance, or is it programmed in such a way to allow as much stretch as needed?
It wouldn't surprise me if it's able to stretch as far as needed. With these two factors considered, I move on to my third question:
Does the Spine Crawler Actually Have a Guaranteed Hit?
There's actually a few questions hidden in this one. I'll start with the most practical one, and save the other for the next section, as it's my favorite consideration. Consider the case of a spine crawler starting to hit a marine. If it's shot to zero life during the attack, is the attack canceled, or will it still register a hit?
Honestly, I'm not sure. It happens so quickly, I doubt if anyone has ever noticed. I'd think that the attack would be canceled. But let's move on to my favorite question:
Is It Possible to Outrun a Spine Crawler Forever?
Consider if some of the answers to the questions above were as follows:
I find this conclusion hilarious - imagine a spine crawler stretching across an entire map to hit a unit =P
This actually raises a bunch of other questions I won't cover such as:
Well, those were some of my thoughts and questions on the spine crawler. I hoped you enjoyed it and I hope it spawned some interesting thoughts. Good day fellow gamers.
Thank you Locke for examining this!!!
This is indeed interesting, and I hadn't thought about it before, thanks for this topic.
I put some insanely fast zerglings into the map editor and tried it out. First at around 30 speed, then around 60. Got into range, and then moved far away from it halfway through the attack animation.
It does let the spine crawler stretch extremely far, but you can only see it stretch while it is still on your screen. Once you move the screen so that the original location of the spine crawler is no longer visible, the entire spine is removed from your view. With the spine crawler in view, it does seem to continue to stretch and contract at the same speed as normal, only for a much longer duration.
More interestingly, if there is another target for the spine crawler while it is still extended, it will not begin the animation for attack on time. Despite that, at around the time that it should have struck the target given its attack speed, it does so. At that moment, the animation is taken over by the animation of the spine crawler striking its next target. That is to say, it appears like the spine crawler head teleports to the next target at the moment of impact. The sound for the starting animation is likewise missing, although the satisfying thud of impact remains. Thus the attack speed of the crawler remains constant.
At 60 speed, blood spatter where the zergling is hit is significantly further out than at 30 speed. This is expected given the invisible projectile nature of the attack.
Here's some additional answers from our lovely testers!
02/11/2013 04:18 AMPosted by TornadoXIIIBlink will dodge a spine crawler hit, as well as cloaking.
02/11/2013 08:41 AMPosted by LockeThe extension animation still occurs if cloaked while running away from the spine crawler, but no hit is registered.
The extended spine does not grant any additional vision, but the animation extends through the fog of war. If I don't give vision of the spine crawler to myself (I'm controlling the zerglings), I can see the full length of the animation even through the fog of war. I believe that's standard when being attacked by units outside of your vision.