Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Red Bull sponsored an event called "Training Grounds II" at Full Sail Live (3300 University Blvd
Winter Park, FL) on June 26th. The huge venue was full of an audience of several hundred people. On the large screen, the video game, StarCraft II was being projected. The two opponents were in a clear sound proof booth facing one another and furiously tapping computer buttons and scrolling with their mice. Two announcers sat behind microphones giving a blow by blow description of what was happening on the big screen. The problem was that nothing they said made any sense. I had stepped into an alien world.
At the side of the venue there was a round table station set up with six computers. This was the place where contestants who were not playing could warm up and train for their battle on the big screen. Ear pieces plugged the players into the game's audio soundtrack isolating them from the audiences shouts and clapping. As I sketched, the announcers broadcast what was happening...
"What is this going to turn into?"
"The Cyber Core is a tell for TLO."
"He's putting up a gateway."
"He has two queens now and a third on the way!"
"TLO spots the probe!"
"A lot of Circs rely on the queens."
"The Nexus are going to clean this up now."
"Succeed is going to try and drone up again."
"TLO is droning very hard!"
"Unless it is a micro hatch, it isn't needed."
"He needs to warp in some centuries."
"Nexus is going to be hyper fire! Good game!"
The audience clapped wildly. The lengthy match was over. My general impression was that some sort of outpost civilization was constructed by glowing crab like things. There was always an aerial gods eye view of the field of battle. Perhaps there were lasers? I was too far removed from the action to be able to make sense of anything. The audience however gasped and reacted to every skirmish. It was sort of like watching two armies of ants building two mounds then fighting to slow down the opponents progress. I was confused. Perhaps this is the future of entertainment, with virtual battles played out for an audience.