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'StarCraft' Study Determines Most Likely Alien Conquerers Of The Galaxy

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StarCraft might be a video game based in a fictional war-torn universe, but that doesn't stop people taking it really seriously.

Sometimes that takes the form of obsessively detailed fan-fiction. Other times its professional E-sports players who learn to carry out up to 300 game actions per minute.

And occasionally, it means a scientific study into which of the game's races would successfully take over the universe.

Wired reports that's exactly what one team based at the Edinburgh Royal Observatory have done.

Thomas Targett and Duncan Forgan's study posits that in a galaxy roughly the size of our own, and with unlimited time, the war between the three main races of the StarCraft universe, would actually have a winner.

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As you undoubtedly know, that conflict involves the insect-like Zerg Swarm, the ancient psionic Protoss or the human-like Terran battling across the Koprulu Sector of our own galaxy.

(A new expansion pack is set to be released next week with new missions and units - because if there's one thing that StarCraft needed, it's to be more complex.)

To determine a winner the researchers watched 5-- competitive matches, and then analysed the gamers' strategies, including whether they went for a quick victory or a long-term "macro" strategy.

They then worked out the probability of each race winning a match based on each strategy, and ran that data through a simulation of the Milky Way galaxy.

And the result?

"It was found that the Terran inhabitants of the fictitious Koprulu sector," read the pair's study, which you can read in full here.

"[By] pursuing a strategy of early pressure against their opponents, would eventually conquer their Zerg and Protoss adversaries."

Their slight advantage stems from an ability to use faster attacks to destroy their opponents before strong defences can be built in the game.

They explained:

"While this science outreach project certainly does not represent any development in our understanding of possible extra-terrestrial life, we hope to highlight the increasing scientific potential of the rapidly expanding video-game industry, while also increasing public understanding of the scientific method."

Unfortunately for the Terrans, another Wired post recently determined that the key to winning at StarCraft II is to be Sun Tzu, whose art of war is apparently quite well adapted to the eternal war of aliens vs humans vs other aliens.