Patrik on Tech

My thoughts about software development

StarCraft Applied to Software Development

Mar 8, 2020

StarCraft 2 is one of the most difficult one versus one games. What can you learn from Starcraft and how does that help you become a better software developer?

Three Pillars of the Craft

To be great at the game, one needs to master three areas:

  1. Game knowledge - Learn about SOLID principles and clean code. Know what you are doing.
  2. Execution of the strategy - There is no use of theory if you can not apply it. Every time you learn something, have a practice project and play around with the code.
  3. Real-time information - Failing to get feedback means you are probably building something different than the client/users need.

It is better to balance these because completely missing one of them will result in a catastrophe.

The Deadly Default Mouse Setting

There is a default mouse setting on each OS that has been preventing you to use your mouse properly. I learnt about this one from other players.

On Windows it is called Enhance pointer position. It makes the mouse pointer move faster if your hand is moving faster. Without this setting your cursor always moves the same amount of pixels for the same distance of mouse movement, making it predictable.

This feature makes you slow down when the cursor is approaching its target to be able to click on it precisely. Turn it off and you will blindly know where the cursor ends up.

Uncheck "Enhance pointer position"

To disable it:

Mouse Sensitivity

Most people think a really sensitive mouse means getting things done quickly. In fact it is the opposite, you will do a lot of misclicks and you have to slow down to click accurately.

Moving the cursor from the left edge to the right edge of the screen should be around 5 centimeters distance your mouse is actually moving on the desk. Actually I think it should be the slowest mouse speed you are still comfortable with.

Optimized Input

Needless to say, learning and using many hotkeys is recommended both in games and in programming. However, instead of reaching for a two-hand key combination, sometimes it is better to keep your left hand on the keyboard and right hand on the mouse.

For example, in Chrome, the hotkey for “navigate to previous page in history” is Alt + Left, which requires both hands to press it. It is quicker to use a mouse gesture for this, as your right hand is already on the mouse when browsing the internet.

Wrapping Up

These are just a few areas I wanted to share. There are definitely more and I will consider writing a second article. Let me know if I should!

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