Competitive StarCraft Gets UC Berkeley Class

Illustration for article titled Competitive StarCraft Gets UC Berkeley Class

A new course being offered at UC Berkeley aims to teach students how to enjoy the "art of competitive StarCraft".


Suggested prerequisites includes a working knowledge of StarCraft strategy and suggested reading includes The Art of War by Sun Tzu and Crazy as Me by Lim Yo Hwan.

While the course isn't listed on the UC Berkeley website, I was able to get the university's Haas School of Business to verify that the course is real. The course is being taught by a student at the school as part of the Democratic Education in Cal initiative and students can receive college credit for taking it. Other DeCal classes include There Be Dragons, The Ethics of Star Trek and Beginner's Scrabble: Strategy, Knowledge, and Fun.

Game Theory in StarCraft, will meet once a week for two hours with probably the second best Lab meeting once a week from noon to five.

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.

(Tentative) Course Outline:
Week 1: Orientation / Competitive Gaming Industry Overview / StarCraft Boom in Korea
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


My favorite is the 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.

Unfortunately there are only 60 seats available for the course and Berkeley students get preference.


Welcome to Starcraft Decal '09



I wonder if they're going to outlaw mind control in the tournament. Everyone knows thats a bullshit Protoss advantage. I would probably fail that class because I'm terrible at micro management.