StarCraft Class Opens at UC Berkeley

By Nick Breckon, Jan 28, 2009 11:38am PST A college class based entirely around Blizzard's real-time strategy game StarCraft has opened at UC Berkeley, according to a course listing found by StarCraft Wire.

The class will begin with a lecture on topics "from the viewpoint of pure theory to the more computational aspects of how exactly battles are conducted." Following the lecture, replays of students' battles will be "analyzed," and "homework" will be assigned. Required materials include a copy of StarCraft: Brood War and an "open mind."

"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," reads the course description that will make pure academics tear out their hair, and any gaming fan not attending Berkeley intensely jealous.

Unfortunately for those looking to pull up their GPAs with a few Zerg rushes, the student-taught class is only offered for two pass/fail credits that do not contribute to general education requirements.

The full course description follows:

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�¢ï¿½ï¿½s 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.

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.

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