StarCraft/Game Mechanics and Glitches

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All Races

Avoiding the Hub Placement Constraints (Ignore Mineral Proximity glitch)

If you cannot see minerals or vespene geysers, they do not constrict the location in which you can build your command centre/hatchery/nexus. Therefore, if you can manage to start construction of a hub next to minerals, before actually revealing the minerals through the fog of war, you can get the hub to be closer to the minerals than intended. This can be achieved through the use of optical flares, or the build anywhere terran and zerg glitches. Works on at least version 1.00, and possibly other versions.

For some reason, this does not occur for all mineral patches, but it does for most.

GUI/Game control split

If (on a slow game speed) you set a control group and quickly select the same control group, the game will update faster than the user interface, meaning that the game will select the control group you set it to, while the interface will select the control group that had previously been set. This allows you to appear to be controlling one unit but really be controlling another. This is a precursor to many other glitches, allowing you to issue orders to unintended receivers.

Free resources in laggy conditions (controversial)

If the game is lagging, you can cancel units or structures multiple times, which results in free resources. Deliberately using third party programs to create lag should be disallowed, but if someone were to use a computer that meets the minimum system requirements for starcraft, without using third party programs, and it is possible to make the game lag during normal gameplay, the game may be considered to be running as intended, and the use of this glitch may be acceptable. The use of this glitch is highly controversial. As it requires old hardware or third-party software, this may require a different category to ordinary speedrunning. This got fixed in version 1.01, although a version of this relating to Guardians remained until version 1.02.


CC slide

Allows you to slide a Command Center to unbuildable locations, e.g. right next to resources. You can produce SCVs while the CC is moving and also build right on top of it after performing this glitch. To perform, lift off the CC and order it to land on a valid location, then hold shift and press S followed by a right-click on the location you want it to slide to. The CC stops sliding if colliding with any solid material. Works on version 1.04 and lower.

Produce units while lifting a building

Press L then immediately the hotkey for the unit/upgrade you want to produce. The building will begin production already while lifting off. If you float or slide the building after performing this glitch, units will still spawn where the building first lifted off. Works for any unit/upgrade, but annoyingly hard to pull off. Used together with the CC slide to get the first SCV out earlier. Works on version 1.05 and lower.

Build anywhere

By trapping an SCV near a cliff, you can force it to build basically anywhere on the map. The only exceptions are unexplored areas as well as areas unreachable by land (unless you have had units in that area already). Once trapped, be sure there is a little breathing space for the SCV and then order it to move diagonally, then simply place the building on a valid location. The construction of the building will start immediately and the SCV will fly to the set location. Works on version 1.07 and lower.


Invincible Drone

Simply mutate a Drone into a building while its HP is one, then cancel the mutation. The Drone will stay invincible until mutated into another building. Does not work with Extractors. Works on version 1.03 and lower.

Teleporting Drone

Similar to the Terran build anywhere glitch, except you have to follow the standard building rules for Zerg. Unlike the SCV, the Drone can be trapped anywhere and will instantly mutate into the selected building. Works on version 1.07 and lower.

Note that the drone teleports to the destination for one frame before turning into a building. Ordinarily, when a drone is holding a quest item and turns into a building, the quest item will be teleported to it's "home". So when trying to move a quest item to it's destination with this method, we have to interrupt the process of turning into a building without stopping the order to build until after the drone has teleported. The easiest way to do this is to use up minerals between starting the teleport and the drone reaching it's destination, so that you no longer have enough minerals to build the structure.

Floating Drone #1

Order a Drone to mutate into an Extractor, then shift-right-click where you want the Drone to float. When the Drone is about to mutate, use up minerals so that you do not have the required 50 for the Extractor. The Drone will float over any obstacles until the destination is reached or it is given another order. Works on version 1.09 and lower.

This bug can also be triggered by telling a helper drone to mutate to an extractor before the flyer drone reaches the extractor. This makes it easier to execute this glitch if you already have a lot of minerals or you do not want to interrupt your economy too much. However, it does require the use of an extra drone.

Floating Drone #2

Order a Drone to mutate into an Extractor, then shift-click the geyser a few times and shift-right-click where you want the Drone to float. When the Drone is about to mutate, spam the stop command as fast as you can until you see the Drone's shadow disappear. The Drone will float over any obstacles until the destination is reached or it is given another order. Hard to perform, recommended to lower the game speed two steps when ordering the stop command. Works on any version other than 1.10.

You need to press stop exactly one frame before the drone's shadow disappears. You can buffer stop commands before this point, as they will have no effect. You cannot, however, buffer commands after or on the frame that the drone's shadow disappears, or you will cancel the move order and the drone will stop floating. So it is a one-frame trick that can be buffered in exactly one direction.

Floating Drone #2 allows you to command the drone after it has started floating, although doing so will cause it to cease to float. It also avoids the landing procedure that happens if you use the other version of the floating drone trick. This means that Floating Drone #2 is generally better than Floating Drone #1, but it is much harder to execute.

Stacking units

Burrow any unit and assign it to a control group (ctrl-1). Select the units you want stacked, then quickly press U, ctrl-1, 1, U. Order the units around, and if the glitch was successful, the units should now be able to stack with each other. Burrowing turns them normal again. Also, lowering the game speed helps out a lot, since the key combination needs to be done before they have finished burrowing. Works on version 1.14 and lower.

Mobile Nydus Canal exit

When the exit of a Nydus Canal is mutating, morph an Overlord and assign it to a control group (ctr-1). Select the exit then quickly press ctrl-1, 1 and esc. Lowering the game speed helps. If done correctly, a Drone will pop out of the canceled exit which now acts as a mobile exit, even while burrowed or when inside an Overlord. Works on version 1.14 and lower.

Drone Heal

Mutating a drone into a building will ordinarily mean that the drone turns into a building, using the drone's ID. However, turning a drone into an extractor will cause the geyser to turn into the extractor, and the drone to be deleted. When cancelling the extractor, it does not know what hp the drone that built it was at, and so it creates a completely new drone with full health. This is really only useful in RTA runs or marathon-safe strategies, so that if you fail the Invincible Drone glitch you can try again.

Extractor Trick

This is a very well known trick, which relies on the fact that a drone is consumed when making a building, and refunded when it is cancelled. By mutating a drone into a cheap building (such as an extractor or creep colony), you will lose supply. You may then build units even if you were previously supply capped, and then cancel the building to get the drone back. This allows you to go over your supply cap at the cost of a small amount of minerals (as cancelling a building does not give a full refund). This is particularly useful in accelerating your economy during the earlygame.


Flying Templar

If you give two high templar or dark templar the order to merge, shift-click some location and give them the stop command as they are about to merge, they will float over any terrain to travel to the location that was shift-clicked. Works on version 1.10 and lower.

Near-Useless but Interesting Glitches (in the interest of completeness)

Mine from anywhere (at the cost of 150 energy)

Order a probe to mine from a patch of minerals. Place an arbiter on top of somewhere unwalkable, such as ocean or a cliff. Tell the arbiter to recall the probe, making sure to lead the shot so that the probe does not move out of the way. The probe will stop and begin mining minerals, even if it is nowhere near the mineral patch. This also works with probes returning minerals.

This actually leads to a few more similar glitches, but not every ability can be used at long range in this way. Most disappointingly, long-range nuclear strikes cannot be initiated at long range (at least without additional, unknown steps)

For example, building structures with SCVs at a long range will work (but building structures with probes at long range will not). This can be done normally with the SCV float glitch, however, so this is useless. If used on probes gathering gas, the probes will teleport to be inside the refinary. This is still practically useless, however.

Permanently Invisible Zerg Units and Buildings (requiring the use of the Protoss Arbiter )

If a zerg drone or other burrowing unit (obtainable via mind-control) is burrowed at the same time as it enters the cloaking field of an arbiter, then it will become permanently invisible. Buildings (other than extractors) created from this drone will also be permanently invisible.

Fully Refund Mutalisks (excluding larva cost)

Tell a mutalisk to morph to a guardian. Tell the mutalisk to stop morphing to a guardian twice in rapid succession on a slow gamespeed. The mutalisk will first revert to the morphing state, used for morphing larvae to mutalisks. The mutalisk would then revert to its normal state, but it is instead given a cancel order. Because it is in a state used for morphing larvae to mutalisks, it knows what to do and refunds it's full cost. Unfortunately, a similar glitch does not work on sunken colonies (this would be more useful), because they do not come out of larva. In laggy situations, according to the starcraft patch notes, this can give multiple refunds. Fixed in version 1.02.

Unlimited Range Glitch

If a unit is in it's pre-attack animation, attacking a non-combat unit through automatic target acquisition, then if an enemy unit attacks your unit or a unit nearby to your unit, your unit will acquire it as a target from an unlimited range. This is discussed here in Team Liquid

Untested Crazy Drone Bug from some Random You-Tube video (lol)

If you tell a (presumably mind-controlled) drone to become an extractor, use maelstrom on it, and get another drone to become an extractor on the same geyser, the drone will continuously attempt to build an extractor on the geyser, resulting in a lot of error messages. Recalling the drone after it has reached the geyser will cause the drone to fly back to the geyser and continue to attempt to become an extractor. May also work if minerals become insufficient to build the geyser (similarly to the floating drone trick).

Plague Recall

Untested, but according to multiple sources:

"Plague can be "recalled" by enemy's Arbiter. This Plague + Recall replay is an example of Plague + Recall effect that was caused at about 39:10 when Recall from center to 3 o'clock natural was done and Plague was casted to center. The animation of Plague was shown at center but effect (units and building affected) was applied at 3 o'clock natural. (recalling Arbiter was affected too)." - Liquipedia

Replay link was broken.


Balance changes

Balance changes were made in patch 1.02, 1.04, 1.05 and 1.08. Thus the game version makes a huge difference when attempting to speedrun a mission, especially for the Protoss campaign since it is not relying on any glitches.

Visible in-game timer

Chaoslauncher is a third-party program that comes with a plugin called APMAlert, which features a visible in-game timer. Unfortunately it is only compatible with version 1.16.1.

Unit orientations

Units will take up to one second to respond to a movement order when idle depending on their orientation relative to the movement position. If facing the movement position, units will respond immediately. This is important in the beginning of some missions as the orientations of units are randomly chosen.

Manipulating spawns

For Terran and Protoss, you can manipulate units to spawn at a location different to the default one. Simply block the spawn location with a unit or building and the produced units will spawn at the next free location counterclockwise to the spawn location.

Incorrect elapsed time

Pre-1.03, a bug exists that incorrectly displays the elapsed time after finishing a mission. The time will be about two seconds slower on short missions (< 2 minutes), although the effect for longer missions is currently unknown.

AI behavior

The AI behavior was improved in patch 1.04. The changes are not completely known, although it has been noted that the enemy units have a larger awareness radius post-1.03 and will chase down attacking units from a greater distance.

Brood War

The minimum version Brood War runs on is 1.04, thus many of the glitches in the base game are not available.

Pause glitch

The in-game timer is paused while the game is in the menu. This can be abused during transmissions, which usually need to finish before the game can continue. There are three types of transmissions which require different pausing techniques:

Game goes on like normal
Just bring up the menu during the transmission. Go back to the game when the transmission is over.
Game pauses
Click the menu button and keep holding left-click until the transmission starts. Go back to the game before the transmission is over, or the in-game timer will have proceeded like normal.
Screen centers on a position followed by a pause
Press F10 right before the transmission starts. This is tricky as the timing window is just a few frames. Go back to the game before the transmission is over.

Note: Pausing the game does actually increase the in-game time by a certain amount each time (amount varies, but at least half a second). This can easily be seen when running the visible in-game timer and comparing it to the actual completion time. This means that, while it does make hitting the timing window of the third transmission type easier, excessive pausing should be avoided.

Super mutas

Be sure to have Lurker Aspect researched and at least 50/100 minerals/gas. Assign a Hydralisk to a control group (ctrl-1). Select any unit or building except another Hydralisk, then quickly press ctrl-1, 1, L. Lowering the game speed helps. The unit will turn into a cocoon which will hatch a Lurker. However, if you cancel the morphing of the cocoon, the unit will instead turn into a Mutalisk. The resources spent are returned, and the supply count will increase by 1. The Mutalisk will also gain certain upgrades that the unit had before being transformed. Thus this glitch is best performed on Zerglings; the Mutalisk will receive both the speed and attack rate upgrade once researched, at a cost of only 50 minerals and 3 supply for two Mutalisks. Works on version 1.04.

Notes on Types of Glitches (To keep in mind while glitch-hunting)

Starcraft has had a lot of hackers and similar in it's history, as well as a lot of players, so it is likely to be very barren. However, there is always the possibility of new glitches, and they will probably fit into one of these categories.

Order queue glitches

Order queue glitches are caused when adding a command to the order queue, causing the command to be carried out at an unintended time, as the previous order has finished but the full consequences of that order have not yet been carried out. Order queue glitches include the CC slide glitch, the floating drone glitch and the floating templar glitch.

Order to Unintended Receiver Glitches

These are caused when an order is given to an unintended receiver, through the GUI changing too slowly as the unit's state changes (as in the glitch that allows you to produce units in a floating building), or through the GUI/Game control split technique, which also relies on the GUI changing too slowly. The Stacking units glitch, mobile nydus exit glitch, super mutas glitch, and unit production in floating building glitch rely on this.

Screwed-up Proximity Check Glitches

These are caused when, for whatever reason, starcraft's proximity algorithm screws up and it thinks that a unit is in the position that it is attempting to path to and so that it can begin whatever action it was going to do when it got there. This can occur when a unit is trapped and at the end of it's pathfinding, or when a arbiter attempts to recall a unit while hovering over unwalkable terrain. The teleporting drone glitch and floating scv glitch rely on this.

Other glitches

Other glitches include the Ignore Mineral Proximity glitch and the invincible drone glitch. These do not belong to any large family of glitches.

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