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Saturday, February 14, 2009

UC Berkeley Starcraft Decal Syllabus

To those curious people who want to know what the Starcraft subject in college is all about, presents the UC Berkeley Starcraft class syllabus.


Course Facilitator: Alan Feng (

Units: 2 units, Pass/No Pass, CECs by email

Time and Place:
Thursdays 7-9pm at Haas C230
Lab/Discussion (Optional): 12pm – 5pm 1st floor of Moffitt Library

Course Description:
UC Berkeley students with an interest in real-time strategy games and the competitive gaming landscape are encouraged to participate in this class.
This course will go in-depth in the theory of how war is conducted within the confines of the game Starcraft. There will be lecture on various aspects of the game, from the viewpoint of pure theory to the more computational aspects of how exactly battles are conducted. Calculus and Differential Equations are highly recommended for full understanding of the course. Furthermore, the class will take the theoretical into the practical world by analyzing games and replays to reinforce decision-making skills and advanced Starcraft theory.
Class will start with lecture and usually include a special discussion topic having to do with the day’s lecture to inspire new and original thought. At the end of lecture, there may be time to analyze student-submitted replays to illustrate a point or to improve analysis. Homework will be assigned at the end of each class and is due at the beginning of each lecture.

Course Learning Objectives and Goals:
What may look like complex topics are just ways we want you to think more deeply about the game to derive a greater satisfaction from playing. Furthermore, this understanding should have applications in real life, to further synthesize new information from limited inferences. The primary goal is for students to learn, enjoy the art of competitive StarCraft, and have fun. Overall, students will be applying critical thinking, quick decision-making, and game theory skills throughout the sessions. Students will also learn what to look for in a replay or game to learn most effectively.

Students should be familiar with all units and some basic StarCraft strategy. All students should of course enter the class with an open and analytic mind.
Starcraft: Brood War

Other Reading:
The Theory of Starcraft by Alan Feng
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Crazy as Me by Lim Yo Hwan

Attendance and Participation:
All absences must be excused (you should inform the course facilitators no later than the Friday before) and more than two absences will result in a grade of “No Pass.” Please note that you will not be able to make up any work you missed during class and that new material will build on previous weeks’ instruction. Furthermore, there will be several pop quizzes graded based on completion given in class at a random time, and these will contribute to your participation score as well. It is also expected that students participate by asking questions and voicing their analytical suggestions during the instruction, and by practicing with others.

Course Workload:
Each week, students must submit 2 replays of games they played and are willing to analyze in depth. Students are expected to explain the flow of the game, identify the time of several positive and negative moves, and show an understanding of how to overcome mistakes in these replays. Some replays will be reviewed by the class together. These replays must be emailed to with this subject title: First Name, Last Name, Week #. Submissions without that subject title will not be guaranteed to be filtered into the correct folder, and hence, we cannot guarantee that it will be graded. Grading for these replays will be on a credit/nocredit basis. In addition to submitting replays, there will periodically be homework assigned online due in class the following week.

(Tentative) Course Outline:
Week 1: Orientation / Competitive Gaming Industry Overview
Week 2: Units, Strength, Weakness, Attributes, Stats
Week 3: Fighting Micro and Unit Use
Week 4: Army Movement and Positioning
Week 5: Expo and Macro
Week 6: Building Placement and Base Layout
Week 7: Scouting and Counters
Week 8: Harass
Week 9: Overloading the Enemy, Multi-plays
Week 10: Economic Basis, Micro vs Macro
Week 11: Timing and Evaluation of Resources
Week 12: Deception
Week 13: Mindset and Series Play
Week 14: Tournament

Grading Breakdown:
Final Project: 40%
Replay submissions and other homework: 40%
Attendance, Participation, and Quizzes: 20%

Final Project:
There will be a final project where students will present and explain their contribution to the Starcraft Community. This may take the form of an essay detailing new theory or calculations, or an in-depth analysis of a significant game. Whichever final project is chosen will be displayed or published on a public forum for peer criticism.

There you have it. Hope nobody fails Starcraft class.Wanna get in?
Enroll yourself at the University of California Berkeley.

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