In this article we will propose various ideas to incorporate the Artificial Intelligence AlphaStar in Starcraft II. The developed applications are meant to be gamer-friendly, challenging, originals, and pose the basis of a profitable use of AlphaStar for its creators.
Starcraft II : StarCraft is a real-time strategy video game created by Blizzard Entertainment. The story takes place in the distant future, where three races fight endlessly: the Terrans, an alliance of human wandering through solar systems, the Zerg, an aggressive race of insects with a collective consciousness, and the Protoss, humanoid warriors with psychic powers, fighting for the safeguard of their home planet.
AlphaStar: AlphaStar is an Artificial Intelligence developed by Deepmind (Google). It was successfully trained to play Starcraft II and beat one of the strongest professional Starcraft players in December 2018 (see more here). It then played against other player in game and climbed the ladder to being now capable of besting 99.8 % of all human players in competition (October 2019).
God game: A god game is an artificial life game that casts the player in the position of controlling the game on a large scale, as an entity with divine and supernatural powers, containing autonomous characters to guard and influence. This approach will inspire us, although the final idea will not look like it.
The main idea is to incorporate AlphaStar in Starcraft to create a whole new game genre and improve its dynamics for the benefit of players. We will expose a possible mix between god game and real-time strategy game genres.
For that, we could integrate AlphaStar in game through its dedicated interface where the player could test and create his customizable automations builds. These automations builds could be selected before game, and predefined on several axis such as:
The available automations could be optimized and explored through a built-in competence tree thanks to a level or experience system, allowing the player to unlock new possible automations in game. The number of in game available automated tasks could be limited or increased with the level or experience system. Automation could be:
For attack: automatic air, drop, or ground attacks.
For defense: intelligently holding a position, or brain the opponent (trick the enemy).
Economy: autonomous ressource gestion (create recolting units), or automatic expansion.
For technology: automatically launching research.
The player could play the game with his AlphaStar customized build against another player, also using its personal AlphaStar build. They could both use it to trigger automated task (such as autonomous attack, defense or economic actions). Indeed, players could still take back control of automated units at any time.
To keep the complexity of Starcraft we could even imagine that unlocking the AI automations in game would require constructing a particular building (introduced specifically for that). For example, a Terran data center, a Protoss matrix-core, or a Zerg organic brain.
Theses buildings would be critical structures in game as we could imagine that destroying them would shut down the possibility for the player to make automations.
Furthermore, they could have their own research tree. Acknowledging the vast variety of possibles strategies and moves in Starcraft (also depending on races), only the automations affiliated to the pregame chosen AlphaStar build could be present in these buildings research tree — making it personal to each player.
From a monetary point of view, for Deepmind and Blizzard, this innovation could be introduced via a new extension or released with a new game.
Automating an air drop in the ressources lines of the enemy's main base with the AI while working on a B2 expansion.
Automating a sentry forcefield wall on a ramp with the AI while retreating units.
Automating the research to unlock hydralisk with the AI.
Open to thoughts:
This could bring a whole new level of game experience for occasional players and bring — certainly — really really crazy game dynamics for high level players.
More generally, allowing the user to control, work, and play with AI could participate to soften the paradigm switch brought by this powerful technology. Directly inviting the user to parameterize this tool could help rework the public approach of Artificial Intelligence.
This idea was inspired from a Reddit comment about using AI to create new generation god games, unfortunately, the post seems to have been removed. However, if you recognize yourself, thanks a lot!