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I love mastering macro, almost as much as I love building robust defenses. But like the Maginot line they always get breached and I lose my starcraft games if the defender can fight off my early onslaughts of Marines and my late onslaughts of cruisers.

What I sincerely suck at is balancing game play between multiple units and doing multiple things at the same time. I know this is a problem generally for humans, but is there any advice out there? I found a good video which trained me to do a marine rush effectively but I need to learn how to manage multiple units at the same time in combat. (While not totally neglecting base activities).

I do hot key the groups and I hot key my production centers, but it never 'clicks' for me. I get reamed by the computer set at very hard every time.

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Hello! This topic was covered before in a previous question: What is the best method of getting better at micro in Starcraft 2? –  Shaun May 25 '11 at 3:15
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@Shaun Macro is completely different from micro, this question is not in any way a duplicate of that one. –  en1gmatic325 May 25 '11 at 4:22
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@en1gmatic if you read that question you'd realize it was about doing multiple things at once. This is true for both Macro and Micro. In fact the very links you used were in both questions. "If two questions have the same answer..." –  tzenes May 25 '11 at 5:17
    
@tzenes one of the links is the same...out of 4 in your answer and 3 in mine... That is just because one map helps you practice both micro and macro. Where is any talk of macro cycles in those answers? They are the main focus of both answers to this question so far. –  en1gmatic325 May 25 '11 at 5:24
    
@en1gmatic325: The part the OP is having issues with is (and I quote) "balancing game play between multiple units and doing multiple things at the same time". It's even in his title: multi-tasking is the core of what the asker wants to improve. The question/answer I link to very specifically addresses how to improve multi-tasking in SC2. –  Shaun May 25 '11 at 7:17

4 Answers 4

Play versus 2 or more AI and try to attack them all at the same time. Choose easy AI while improving your skills.

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I think that question is covered here in other topics. But anyway:

I've developed tool to train macro skills - check it here: sc2drill

It allows you to practice:

  • checking minimap
  • checking resources / limit count
  • checking production building
  • master build orders

Another good way to train: multitask training map from stet_tcl

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Well, besides just playing more, you can also try out some custom maps designed to increase your multitasking ability. You can generally find them by going to create a custom game and searching for 'macro' or multitask'. You can find info on two of the more popular maps for this here:

http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=216550

http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=124983

As jzn mentioned, a macro cycle is one of the keys to maintaining good macro throughout the game. A basic cycle tends to involve building workers, building units, checking your supply, checking your money (if too high expand or add production), and checking your macro mechanic (chronoboost energy, mule energy, or larva injects).

Day[9] covers this extensively in this daily and I would definitely recommend watching it.

One other thing you can do to help you improve is also to spend some games focusing on just specific portions of macro. Spend some games just making sure you never stop making SCV's, once you have that down, try always making scv's while never getting supply blocked. After a bit more, try always making scv's, not getting supply blocked, and keeping your money below some value, say 800 minerals 400 gas. Don't worry about whether you win or lose during these games, as long as you keep your macro improving you'll start winning because of it.

Beyond macro cycles and practice, one key thing that better players tend to do that many lower level players do not, is knowing when to do nothing. There are a lot of situations where it is fine to leave your army alone without watching them or microing them. If you have the APM to spare you can micro them, but keeping up with macro is often more important than small micro moves that marginally increase your units effectiveness. I'm not trying to say don't throw down EMP's, or don't stim and kite their zealots, but saving one extra unit or saving a few hp, especially in a one sided battle, is often not worth the attention required if it means you miss building a worker and a few units. Just something to keep in mind.

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Perfectly keeping up macro while simultaneously microing your troops is the holy grail of starcraft mechanical skill. Even top players can let macro slip while they micro, although at that level, the slips are in fractions of seconds. There is no secret technique that will make you perfect at this skill, but you need to get in the habit of doing 'macro cycles'.

These are pre-determined cycles of tasks that you repeat, over and over again, all game. The specifics of your cycle will depend on your race, your build, and the time passed in-game. The cycle will start simply, but become increasingly complex as you approach mid and late game.

Micromanagement of troops takes place in-between your cycles. Do your cycle, then attack-move your troops towards the point of attack, then do your cycle again, then micro the attack, then quickly go back to your cycle when you have a moment.

An example of a simple cycle for Terran early game:

1-click minimap to focus on your CC, throw down a mule, queue one SCV

2-click your production hotkeys, get one marine queued for each barracks

3- check supply. if needed, click f1 or choose an scv, build a supply depot

4- doubletap your main troops hotkey or click minimap to go back to controlling your army

You repeat that cycle every 20 seconds or so, as needed. Your cycle gains complexity when you get more production facilities or expansions. But in any case, the faster you can do a cycle, the more time you have to focus on your troops, scouting, and the dynamic aspects of each game.

When you get very practiced at it, you will be even be able to take your focus away from a battle for a few seconds, to do a quick macro cycle, thus maintaining an economic lead during heavy engagement.

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