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Blizzard open up Heart of the Swarm art tools in beta; “The full capability of the StarCraft II engine is at your disposal”


You might remember StarCraft Universe – the aspiring MMO built entirely in the SCII engine, now eight days away from its Kickstarter deadline. Arriving a little too late to be of use to its team but just in time to enable a new wave of Battle.net modders are StarCraft 2’s art tools – now released in open beta, “to do with as you see fit”.

“We wanted to give you the same power wielded by our own team,” write Blizzard, pure creative energy dripping stickily onto its keyboard. “So that there’s no limit to your creations.”

Power, in this very specific definition of the word, means the tools to create new models, textures, particle effects and animations or, as you can see above, the beginnings of a proper WWII reskin.

You can download the tools immediately by following the installation instructions here – though they might not be quite so accessible as advertised. Beyond StarCraft 2, you’ll also need a copy of professional modelling and rendering software 3DS Max – an investment of more than £3k unless you think you can polish off your mod during the 30-day free trial.

The closed beta has already yielded fruit, though, so with any luck others with the means and drive will have the engine painted from top to bottom in unrecognisable colours by Christmas. What would you like to see done with the tools?