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Day[9] joins HTML5 real-time strategy developer as design lead

StarCraft II: a game where the pros are (mostly) polite.

Sean ‘Day[9]’ Plott has been StarCraft II commentator, cultural pillar and font of positivity. But from now on, without “any interruption” to his usual output, he’ll also be game designer.

Browser game startup Artillery have persuaded him into a new role as lead designer of an HTML5-based RTS due for release next year.

Artillery is made up of a small team of mostly Google and Facebook alumni, who together have mustered $2.5 million in venture capital to support their 10-year plan: “core games” at the click of a link, without recourse to cloud streaming a la OnLive or Gaikai. Their Day[9]-led RTS will be the flagship game for their magi-technology.

“We were using our technology to build a real-time strategy game and knew that Sean, one of the world’s authorities on competitive, multiplayer gaming, would ensure that that we were tuned in to the needs of our players,” said CEO Ankur Pansari. “After we worked with Sean for a few weeks, it became obvious that he was the right person to drive game design.”

Plott first came into contact with future Artillery staff – “hardcore StarCraft players” – in 2011 via the After Hours Gaming League. He was finally poached by Pansari for the job earlier this year.

“He was telling me about this great idea,” said Plott, “about bringing console-quality experiences to the browser – and I explained to him that it probably wouldn’t work because of issues with latency and other things. But he actually pulled out a working demo and I was like holy shit. So from there, I was excited.”

In a new post on his blog, Plott explained that his initial career plans lay in development, not commentary. As an Interactive Media student at USC, he got a “taste of the enormous fun” of creating games from scratch.

“It’s an indescribably satisfying experience to create a set of rules and see someone have real fun within them,” he said. “My first two years consisted of countless hours working on platformers, interactive art pieces, board game prototypes, and random gameplay experiments. I was certain I’d be starting an independent studio after I graduated.”

With Artillery, he’ll finally be able to “put those years of RTS design ideas into a real, tangible game” – all without “any interruption” to his current Day[9]TV schedule.

Artillery had initially planned to license out their technology to other developers, but eventually plumped to do the work themselves because of their admiration for Valve and Riot.

“These companies, which created billions of dollars in value, all bootstrapped their platforms with really great first-party titles that are centered around communities,” said Pansari.

Gosh. I guess if there’s anybody who knows the principles of RTS design backwards, eyes closed and with their eyelids inside out, it’s Day[9]. What do you make of this?

Thanks, Techcrunch.