Thoughts and Questions About the SpineCrawler

Posts: 12,759
Just looked it up on map editor:

The Spine Crawler works by firing an invisible missile (which the tentacle follows).
The "launch missile" effect of the weapon chooses between two movers. One for short range, the other for long range.

I don't think this can be dodged because the Launch Missile ability is "target unit", not "target unit/point". Its guidance is "throw" with no parabola or hook, and it has a timeout of 30 seconds, so I could be wrong.

The short range version has 10 acceleration, 20 max speed, and a rotation speed of 1 (not sure what that is).

The long range version has 140 acceleration and 200 speed, and a rotation speed of 12 (not sure what that is).

I believe that if it is possible to dodge a spine crawler, then you need something roughly 5 times as fast as a Phoenix that can accelerate to maximum velocity almost instantaneously, and you need to start within 3 range of the crawler.
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Posts: 2,334
Just looked it up on map editor:

The Spine Crawler works by firing an invisible missile (which the tentacle follows).
The "launch missile" effect of the weapon chooses between two movers. One for short range, the other for long range.

I don't think this can be dodged because the Launch Missile ability is "target unit", not "target unit/point". Its guidance is "throw" with no parabola or hook, and it has a timeout of 30 seconds, so I could be wrong.

The short range version has 10 acceleration, 20 max speed, and a rotation speed of 1 (not sure what that is).

The long range version has 140 acceleration and 200 speed, and a rotation speed of 12 (not sure what that is).

I believe that if it is possible to dodge a spine crawler, then you need something roughly 5 times as fast as a Phoenix that can accelerate to maximum velocity almost instantaneously, and you need to start within 3 range of the crawler.


Makes me think of Hellion.
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Posts: 12,759
02/10/2013 02:17 PMPosted by Myke
Makes me think of Hellion.

How?
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Posts: 300
Open up the map editor and look at the Spine Crawler's weapon data. It is pretty well organized.
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Posts: 2,334
02/10/2013 02:19 PMPosted by TerranicII
Makes me think of Hellion.

How?


I meant as an escaping unit being fast enough.
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Posts: 3,307
02/10/2013 02:00 PMPosted by TerranicII
a rotation speed of 12 (not sure what that is)

I believe that is how fast it takes for it to turn its attack in radials. So if a unit is moving side to side rather than just away, how quickly the attack will reposition itself.
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Posts: 954
02/09/2013 06:52 PMPosted by SanitysBrink
Would the spine crawler scout the map as it attacks a unit infinitely evading it?


I think it loses vision of the unit but still hits if it its already attacking.
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Posts: 12,759
02/10/2013 03:47 PMPosted by AMadWalrus
Would the spine crawler scout the map as it attacks a unit infinitely evading it?


I think it loses vision of the unit but still hits if it its already attacking.


20*30=600.

Even if you could "outrun" it, you could never escape because the map is not big enough.
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Posts: 252
The Spine Crawler works by firing an invisible missile (which the tentacle follows).
The "launch missile" effect of the weapon chooses between two movers. One for short range, the other for long range.

I don't think this can be dodged because the Launch Missile ability is "target unit", not "target unit/point". Its guidance is "throw" with no parabola or hook, and it has a timeout of 30 seconds, so I could be wrong.


Hmm interesting. That implies that you could completely evade a spine attack if you could evade it for 30 seconds?

02/10/2013 03:53 PMPosted by TerranicII
Even if you could "outrun" it, you could never escape because the map is not big enough.


Think in terms of theoreticals - we know you won't outrun it for real in-game. Well, we don't know, but you can be pretty sure about it =P
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Posts: 252
02/10/2013 01:42 PMPosted by Myke
3: I'm pretty sure. I play Zerg a lot(when I do play) and I tend to use Spine Crawler's a fair bit. Damage isn't dealt until the spike hit's the unit. What I meant by "guaranteed hit" is once the Crawler has it's target, it will launch the tenticle until target is reached, then the damage part of the attack takes place.


But my point is, what if the spine is killed mid-hit. The tentacle will be dead before reaching the target. Will the target still take a hit?

The Spine Crawler works by firing an invisible missile (which the tentacle follows).
The "launch missile" effect of the weapon chooses between two movers. One for short range, the other for long range.


This implies to me the unit would still take a hit.
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Posts: 252
Glad to see people pull up some interesting data!

Special thanks to TerranicII.
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Posts: 252
The short range version has 10 acceleration, 20 max speed, and a rotation speed of 1 (not sure what that is).

The long range version has 140 acceleration and 200 speed, and a rotation speed of 12 (not sure what that is).


This suggests to me they programmed it in such a way they'd know it'd always finishing attacking before its cooldown was finished. However, it'd still be interesting to see if you could break the cooldown - make the attack last longer than it.

1b: If the cooldown is reached & the Spine Crawler is still "reaching" another attack will not be initiated until the target has been hit.


Are you entirely sure? That seems the most likely answer, and I don't really doubt it. But it'd be interesting to see how it was really programmed.
Edited by SanitysBrink on 2/10/2013 5:47 PM PST
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Posts: 736
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.
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Posts: 252
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.


That's really interesting. Thank you for checking it out! Teleporting head butt for the win.
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Posts: 252
When the spine is removed from your vision and becomes invisible, does it still land its attack, or does it just cancel it? If it doesn't cancel the attack, does the extended spine grant scouting?
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Posts: 252
Sorry to load you with questions, but were you able to test these?

02/09/2013 06:52 PMPosted by SanitysBrink
If it's shot to zero life during the attack, is the attack canceled, or will it still register a hit?


02/09/2013 06:52 PMPosted by SanitysBrink
What happens if a unit cloaks mid attack animation of the spine crawler, is the attack canceled?
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Posts: 4,343
Consider if some of the answers to the questions above were as follows:
The spine crawler can stretch as far as it needs to in order to hit its target
The spine crawler has an independent attack speed, regardless of its target
The spine crawler is guaranteed to hit once the attack animation has started
If all of the above are true, consider an enemy unit that can outrun the attack speed of the spine crawler. It is then possible that the unit can permanently evade the spine crawler!

My Thoughts:

I find this conclusion hilarious - imagine a spine crawler stretching across an entire map to hit a unit =P


Blink will dodge a spine crawler hit, as well as cloaking. However, you Its very hard to simply dodge the attack due to its additional leash range. When the attack initiates, the target can move X distance away. If the target leaves attack range, it will still be hit if it has not yet ran out of the leash range.
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Posts: 736
02/10/2013 08:17 PMPosted by SanitysBrink
When the spine is removed from your vision and becomes invisible, does it still land its attack, or does it just cancel it? If it doesn't cancel the attack, does the extended spine grant scouting?


You can get the spine to rotate and start attacking, and then stop in a normal game, before a certain point in the animation. As far as I could tell, I couldn't get the attack to cancel once the spine was outstretched no matter how far I ran. This was with the default size map, though, and from only the center to a corner. Maybe with a larger map it would be possible to cancel the attack just be running?

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.

As TornadoXIII said, cloaking during the attack before getting hit will dodge the hit. The extension animation still occurs if cloaked while running away from the spine crawler, but no hit is registered.

Not sure how to set up the test of destroying the spine crawler during the animation, but I might try some more later tonight.
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Posts: 736
Oh, I need to amend the 'teleporting' part, I tried it moving in a different direction to the rest of my zerglings, so that the spine would have a longer rotation to get to its next target. There are actually definitely some frames during which the spine is very quickly moving from its outstretched position to the next ling, including rotation. So it's quite fast, but not quite a 'teleport' as I thought last time.

I imagine that the animation begins when the invisible projectile is fired, and the speed at which the animation moves takes into account the distance between the current location of the spine's head to the target. That way, the animation lands on time. But if the target moves, the final length of the animation changes, but not the speed.
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Posts: 736
One more thing. I tried extending the range of the spine crawler and its behavior is slightly different. It does have a very fast reaching animation, most likely in order to reach the target on time. It retracts at what I think is normal speed, but instead of moving from the extended position like it does if you run away from the animation, it briefly returns to a normal position (head above crawler) before extending again. Not sure why.
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