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As of late I have been learning how to touch type for many reasons but the one I speak of now is to become a better player. I'm learning via typingweb and have been forcing myself to touch type.

I have always used the hunt and peck method of typing with my index fingers and applying that same skill to StarCraft of course because that's how I used a keyboard. In StarCraft I have never been very good at dealing with very large amounts of keys at a time due to the way I type. If I learn how to touch type I assume I will greatly improve all-around. Not to mention it's pretty much a mandatory skill to have if I happen to apply for a job involving typing.

Obviously this skill will allow me to control a greater number of keys at once so I will factually improve my game, right?

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It's a pretty vague question, a clear answer cannot be given, in the vein of "You will be 30% better!". Sure, you'll be better if you can "touch-type" (by which I think you mean knowing where all the keys are on the keyboard without looking), as you'll be faster, but the question of "by how much?" is difficult, bordering on the impossible, to answer. –  Ragnar Apr 7 '11 at 9:14
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I agree, I think learning to touch type is a good thing for anyone, gamer or not! ;) –  DavidYell Apr 7 '11 at 9:16
    
@Ragnar: Find the Wikipedia entry on touch typing, it's much more than what you assumed. A definitive number of how much I will improve is of course impossible to answer, that's not what I'm asking though. I'm merely asking if it will help. –  I take Drukqs Apr 7 '11 at 9:18
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Instead learning the exact keys for Starcraft can be more beneficial for the that specific task. –  Sinan Apr 7 '11 at 9:19
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Learning to touch type should be a requirement as a literate person who uses a computer on a regular basis. Never even mind about gaming. :) –  Shinrai Apr 7 '11 at 14:12
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5 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Don't use the default lay-out, it will force you to hunt and peck if you are new to touch typing.
Instead, use the grid lay-out which feels on par with touch typing.

You don't have to learn all the key locations anymore if you use this as you can simply use relative positioning to determine the key you want to press and this comes a habit over time.

So, practicing to get up to speed with touch typing helps you improve your speed. But solely that…

As it is more important to improve how you play first before improving your APM. :)

For example, there is no sense in hitting a lot of keys if you:

  1. Forgot to scout that your opponent went for two gas.

  2. Forgot to scout what your opponent planned to do with those two gas.

  3. There are suddenly Collosus / Thors at your front door or Mutalisks at your mineral lines.

  4. You didn't slow down his BO or don't have enough counter unit against it so your opponent wins.

APM doesn't necessarily make you better, if you focus too much on it you could even become worse.

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+1, and I see you're in Belgium. I'm in Brussels. Know of any sc2-related events / community in bxl? –  tenfour Apr 7 '11 at 10:00
    
@tenfour: Antwerp, I don't know of events / communities that are specifically focusing on StarCraft II, haven't checked for them yet. Currently to busy with university and other things so I haven't played much lately, the example is how I lost yesterday where I did scout double gas and Robotics but didn't expect the Colossus. Told myself to focus on that the next time I see a double gas appear, but I'm sure my 70 APM doesn't help... :) –  Tom Wijsman Apr 7 '11 at 10:12
    
I've tried to use this layout for a while. And have a real pain in my pink because most of commonly used commands located at the left side. I prefere to use "default" layout with some modifications to not move left hand out of start position (i.e. build Nexus with X instead of N) –  Meta Apr 7 '11 at 10:29
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@TomWij actually I print at about 200-250 characters per minute speed using touch type and believe that default layout is almost perfect at button-by-finger-balance point of view. –  Meta Apr 7 '11 at 16:43
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@TomWij: Oh my bad, I must have misunderstood. Good to know that I'm on the road to improvement. Thanks again and take care! –  I take Drukqs Apr 8 '11 at 7:46
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My answer, yes, but just a little.

As it was told too many times (day9 in its shows, on SE, etc): you skills are determining your APM (not your APM will determine your skills). Lets assume you are doing 4 gate push. In this case the most important thing to get you army under opponent door AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE!!! That means:

  1. constant probes production;
  2. no supply block;
  3. saving chronoboos for WarpGate technology;
  4. building proxy in time in proper location;
  5. ... know EXACT sequence of building building...
  6. (as helped in comments, but I forgot to mention) SCOUT - actually that is a MAJOR point.

These things does NOT require high APM (as a result it doesn't matter how do you touch keys). They require you to know WHAT to do and WHEN to do; and be accurate. You don't need to know a lot of keys for that:

  • b+g - build gateway;
  • 5 - ssss - build 4 stalkers;
  • 5 - zzzz - build 4 zealots;
  • 4 - e - build probe...

To execute that you don't need to know how to touch keys, you don't need to know what are ALL OF THOSE KEYS...

Though, that's true: with higher APM you will be able to handle your forces more accurate. But more important is to be on opponent base on 6 minute with 2 zealots + 4stalker (for example) while he has 1 zealot and 2 stalkers yet...

Yes, higher APM will help you your 4 stalkers to survive if your opponent has 5 own stalkers... but the main fail here not a survivability, but timing: why he got 5 stalkers but you have only 4 yet?

P.S.

I print with speed around 180-200 characters per minute, but my APM is around 50-55. Sometime it is 60.. but rarely... Yes, usually high APM is a sign of top players... I never see anybody with 100+ APM in league lower then diamond... But yes, 1st are skills... if you think quick enough your APM will grow up. But that is not required to be in diamond. I played against 1 terran (30-40 APM, diamond) that was killing me easy (I was gold newbie in that time).

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+1 While the overall post has a good point. You are describing a rush and forget about scouting your opponent, putting pressure on too early might give your opponent an advance instead of yourself because you are wasting your army and he is not. While any form of rushing can get your way up to the higher leagues, you will hit a brick wall sooner or later and then have to readjust your game-play. Let's say we PvP and we are equal players, your army is at my door but I have height advantage so I hold it and then later I do a big push with Colossi because you haven't scouted my gas/robotics... –  Tom Wijsman Apr 8 '11 at 0:04
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Contra

  • Actually not all of pro-gamers know touch-typing - they know how to use left hand to precisely click on right button but it's more like "I want to build stalker ==> pressing button under my ring-finger" other that "I want to build stalker ==> pressing S".
  • "best default hand position" for starcraft differs from one for touch typing - during game I usually rotate keyboard at some angle so my left fingers float at zser buttons instead of normal asdf (because of more frequently usage of ctrl and numbers)
  • In game you'll need to press buttons on the right side (i.e. h m y 7 8 9 0) with left hand and it's out of normal touch typing.

Pro

Touch typing can help you to make a good habits

  • press buttons correctly
  • dexterity & control of left arm (that usually not so good as with a right one)
  • stamina
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I appreciate the answer but you've misunderstood my question. I'm not asking if applying techniques similar to touch typing in StarCraft will make me a better player; I'm asking if learning how to touch type and thus being able to control more keys more efficiently and more accurately will make me a better player and improve my ability to micromanage. –  I take Drukqs Apr 8 '11 at 7:58
    
@I take Drukqs - if you asking "if I know where is every button on keyboard - will it help me?" - yes it will help. I believe that keyboard skill doesn't help in micro that is mouse intensive a lot. It's more about macro. –  Meta Apr 8 '11 at 8:30
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The number one way learning touch typing will help you become a better gamer:

You will save an hour a day typing things and can use that time to play more.

I don't mean to be condescending, and you acknowledged that you had other reasons, but I seriously think this will make the biggest difference in your game. Being able to type efficiently is an incredibly important skill to any one who uses a computer these days. So pretty much everyone.

While we're on the subject and you're trying to learn to type quicker, here's a couple of short cuts that changed my life, mostly for correcting and editing stuff:

  • Shift + arrow key(any direction)
  • Ctrl + left or right arrow
  • Ctrl + Shift + left or right arrow

Learn those and you'll spend a lot less time going to the mouse to highlight things, move cursor positions. (No, won't directly make you better at starcraft, but the time saver thing could be considered legitimate. Sorry if that was "off topic" but seriously, it will improve your quality of life if you spend much time typing.)

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I don't exactly have any major problems with my game to begin with. I simply want to learn a skill that I and many others believe to be mandatory; I'm long overdue. I merely wanted to know if it helps with StarCraft/gaming and after some research I now see that it does. I even noticed an increase in my ability after playing last night and it wasn't a placebo. If you truly believe it doesn't help, I suggest you Google "muscle memory". –  I take Drukqs Apr 8 '11 at 8:10
    
Or watch: youtube.com/watch?v=YbpCLqryN-Q –  Tom Wijsman Apr 8 '11 at 9:30
    
I'm not saying it won't help. I understand what muscle memory is. But if you want to be better at Starcraft, you need Starcraft muscle memory more than typing muscle memory. While they are similar, they aren't identical. As you learn touch typing, you'll notice you be fastest at specific words or key combinations that you type most often, for example, your name. So if you want to be fast at Starcraft keyboard commands, practice Starcraft keyboard commands. I didn't mean to be insult, and it will help, but compared to hunt and peck, I really think more Starcraft time is the biggest benefit. –  E-Rock Apr 8 '11 at 20:38
    
I completely understand that time spent playing StarCraft is far more important than time spent typing. I merely wanted to know if the typing aspect helped at all. –  I take Drukqs Apr 10 '11 at 12:10
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No, it will not. Take the fastest typist in the world Sean Wrona, he is not a good Starcraft 2 player. I least I do not know him as such, and he types with 237 WPM on average, that is over 1185 APM.

But you need to have high APM to become one of the best Starcraft 2 players, most of them have more than 200 APM. But having high APM is not enough. I agree that it requires some finger training to be able to type very fast and to get high APM in Starcraft, but that is about it. You can get that kind of exercise in less than 1 month of regular touch typing training, because 200 APM == 40 WPM.

Having said that, touch typing is a good skill to have and you can probably translate some of it into Starcraft 2, but do not expect that if you train 20 minutes a day on a site like typingweb or typeracer you will automatically get into Masters league.

Here are the main differences between touch typing and Starcraft 2:

In touch typing you know what you have to write and you read N (e.g. 2) words ahead. You just need to correct yourself if you make a mistake. The faster you are the better you get.

In Starcraft you have a build order and a strategy, both require you to press certain key combinations at specific times. Pressing them too early or too late makes your build less optimal, you either end up queuing or not spending your resources fast enough. There is no highlighted text that shows you your next action. You have to memorize the build and check manually what the next important step is (eg. Build Barracks with next 150 minerals then another SCV, just before the current is finished...) This kind of checking or controlling what to do is the greatest part of APM in Macro.

Pushing buttons faster in Starcraft does not make you better, pressing them at the perfect timing does. At least that is true for Macro. Micro is a different problem.

In my opinion the next best thing to "touch typing" in Starcraft is the concept of the mental checklist: Look at these videos from Day9: #132 and #360. Both tell you how to invest your APM properly instead of punching random buttons on your keyboard.

Here is a short summary:

  • Hotkey your Command Center to command group #1, Barracks to #5, Factories to #6.
  • Cycle all the time through all of them and queue the next SCV, Marine, etc. just before the current one finishes
  • Look regularly at your supply count
  • Look regularly at the mini map
  • Issue Micro commands in between
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Needing to have high APM to become one of the best StarCraft 2 players is the farthest possible thing from the truth. Spamming your hotkeys and whatnot after your split technically raises your APM. Filter out the needless keys and clicks and most players' APM will be most likely less than half of what it appears to be, because a lot of the actions are useless or are intended to keep the player on top of his/her game. APM is not an accurate representation of efficient actions, it's an accurate representation of quick actions. –  I take Drukqs Oct 19 '12 at 22:45
    
I disagree. Do you actually know how much APM you need for the perfect stutter step with Marines? Its 240-360 and I will argue that you are more effective with a perfect stutter step compared to A-moving your Marines into Zerglings. Empiric evidence suggest that you need high APM to be a pro gamer (Read: You need more than 40 APM to be able to win MLG or other tournaments). –  ayckoster Oct 20 '12 at 20:51
    
There are two classifications for APM: Your APM that consists of needless actions, and your APM that consists of genuine actions. If you're talking about the latter then yes that is correct and I have always agreed with that sentiment. The former on the other hand is entirely false. Spamming your control groups and build unit hotkeys beyond useful practicality raises your calculated APM, but not your true APM. We're on two different wavelengths. –  I take Drukqs Jan 20 '13 at 2:24
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