The personal website of Chris Coyier

Voice User Interface for StarCraft II

I still watch a decent bit of other people playing StarCraft II for my own enjoyment. It’s incredible to see the players do their thing at a professional level. There is a measurement called APM (“Actions Per Minute”) that is important in StarCraft:

Professional e-athletes in South Korea usually have average APM scores around 300, but often exceed the 400 mark during intense battle sequences. Notable gamers with over 400 average APM include Lee Jae-Dong. Park Sung-Joon is noted for the record APM of 818.

Basically, pro gamer hands are flying on their mouse and keyboards.

That’s one reason I found this prototype idea (by Rafal Cymerys and fellow hackathoners who seemed un-named) for voice commands in StarCraft II fascinating. It’s like Alexa for a video game.

The multi-tasking stuff is the hardest part about getting good at StarCraft (to me):

When fighting with the enemy, the player needs to focus on the combat.
At the same time they need to be actively involved in things that are happening at their base. They need to keep training new soldiers, constructing new buildings and checking if workers are collecting the right resources.

Even though such multitasking is the domain of professional StarCraft players, VUIs bring a huge opportunity to let the casual players focus on what’s important.

I love the idea on focusing my limited skill on things like combat, while shouting out commands to do other tasks…

Training more troops and sending them to the battlefield once ready. That’s especially helpful when you realize that you realize that the army you sent to the battle is too small. You can focus on the fight, knowing that more of your soldiers will show up soon.

Evacuating workers to the base. When you see the enemy marching towards you, you can quickly order the most vulnerable units to back off to the safety. This can also extend to moving marines into bunkers, to give them advantage over enemy’s units.

The other thing that’s appealing about VUI’s is that it could bring a level of accessibility to gaming that I imagine it could use.