In Starcraft does the Custom Game AI "Cheat"? What I mean is, is the AI limited to the same resources as I am, vision, buildings, etc.

I ask because it always seems to know where all my bases are without scouting. Also it seems to have an exceptionally large force for how many bases it has.

Note: This is referring to the 1998 game, not the current one.

  • 4
    The Computer has a lot of advantages, i.e. perfect drone/probe/scv usage in the beginning, no delay between getting resources and using them, never gets supply blocked because it never forgets to build supply units, etc. This makes the AI exceptionally strong in the early game. However, the AI has several disadvantages, i.e. it never uses focus fire, it has horrible micro (close to none, mostly just like "attack-move" and put tanks in and out of siege mode) and it cannot adapt very good to your long term strategy.
    – user1978
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 14:59
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    I would actually disagree with the micro part. I've seen it do insane micro with ghosts by locking down entire air fleets in a split second.
    – The Jug
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 15:19
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    True, it has awesome micro for special abilities (eventhough it tends to waste several psi storms on a single zergling, which can be abused), but it won't retreat damaged units or do anything else non-special-ability-related than attack-move to the target.
    – user1978
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 15:32
  • My friends and I joked that each unit is given it's own AI when it comes to using special abilities.
    – MrPants888
    Commented Aug 17, 2010 at 16:28
  • Huh the tvtropes page for TheComputerIsACheatingBastard only has Starcraft 2 not 1
    – IG_42
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 23:00

5 Answers 5


The SC1 AI knows where everything is. It will still need line of sight for things like siege tanks to fire, but it knows what's there. If you'd like to confirm this yourself, play a 1v1 on an 8 player map and watch the replay after. The AI beelines all attacks for you without ever having scouted the other spawn points.

  • I did what was suggested, and it definitely heads straight for my base on an 8v8.
    – C. Ross
    Commented Aug 21, 2010 at 1:22
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    Enabling vision in a replay does not give any of the players vision. It's purely a UI setting for the replay viewer. Everything else would desync and thus corrupt the replay. Single player cheats on the other hand are recorded as actions in a replay and thus do not desync the replay. Commented Sep 10, 2011 at 23:00

It cheats in a way that it doesn't have fog of war, there is also an insane AI level which keeps on giving itself minerals when it runs out.

So the AI will know where you are without scouting.

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    The insane AI in both starcraft 1 and starcraft 2 will give itself resources when it runs out. Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 21:14
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    @Jack I don't see an AI difficulty level in Starcraft 1, where can I change this?
    – C. Ross
    Commented Aug 17, 2010 at 13:05
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    You have to manually specify it in the world editor for starcraft 1. Commented Aug 18, 2010 at 16:41

Yes. Starcraft 1 AI starts with the map explored and knowledge your location. They did this to ease the difficulty of programming the AI with what to do when it does not know where the enemy is. Now if only I could find a reference to support my statement...

I'm willing to bet that the same is true in SC2, but the playing field is more even since you also start with the map explored, and have the human ability to guess the likely location of the AI, especially on symmetrical team V team maps.

  • The sc2 AI knows all the starting positions (just as you do) but it does have to explore them. You can often see the AI sending scouts to check all start locations, and as the game progresses they scout all possible base locations repeatedly. Commented Aug 18, 2010 at 16:44
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    @JackBNimble unless it's Brutal AI. IIRC that level of AI does have the all-seeing-eye, among other benefits Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 19:55

What is more important is that they get more minerals. The data from what I just searched for:

5 > 7 minerals a trip 4 > 6 gas per trip

If you ever play with an AI ally, you'll find that it's absolutely impossible to replicate their opening builds.

  • Hi @Kiwi, welcome to the site! Can you link to the source of that?
    – C. Ross
    Commented Aug 17, 2010 at 12:29
  • This may appear to be the case but I'm willing to bet that this is a bad conclusion from observing the computer get more Minerals/SCV/time. I'd bet the real effect occurring is the AI carefully sending each SCV to a different available Mineral patch, which human players don't have the time to micro. But if this is observable on Gas, then my theory is wrong and maybe this is true. Commented Aug 18, 2010 at 18:39
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    Isn't it always 8 minerals or gas a trip as long as the mineral block or gas mine is not used up??? Commented Feb 16, 2011 at 15:41
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    This answer seems to be meaning Starcraft 2. There the AI does cheat with his workers bringing 7 minerals per trip instead of 5. Don't know where the numbers 4 and 6 came from though.
    – Rotsor
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 8:03
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    Wrong for SC1. Workers always carry 8 mins/gas per trip. And it's the same for the AI. Commented Sep 10, 2011 at 23:01

As far as I know the AI never "cheats" in the sense of it knows more then you or has more resources. It can however pull off some inhuman stunts, for instance if you assult a location on the map with cloaked forces it tends to comsat that location instantly about 3-4 times (however many comsats it has) even if it was in the middle of defending a base, building, and attacking some other place already. Course maybe some Korean pros can do it... seems inhuman to me.

As for knowing where your bases are, most SC maps are pretty traditionally mirrored and for the most part you can take a pretty logical guess as to where your opponents has started and their first 2 or 3 expansions without even scouting. There's really only a handful of non-traditional maps that are rather wacky (I think Newgettysberg is kinda weird if I remember correctly) that would throw some people for a loop. However even a human player has usually played those few ones enough to know where to look, so it's not inconceivable (to me at least) that the computer would logically know where you are.

But to answer the original question, no, the computer does not cheat.

  • This answer makes me sad.
    – C. Ross
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 14:48
  • I probably shouldn't say 2 or 3 expansions. More like 1 or 2. After that you're usually fighting for expansions so you know where they are just from conflict.
    – The Jug
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 14:52
  • If the computer seems rather harsh don't worry it takes time to get used to it. SC1 AI has no difficulty setting so it always seems set to brutal (especially terran). It really is just trial by fire. It can however be defeated once you get more into the game you'll not have as much difficulty taking it down. I recommend playing with some friends, much easier to beat the AI then. It takes time but you'll eventually master ways to take them down =)
    – The Jug
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 15:00
  • As far as I know Mischa is correct about the fog of war, although not the minerals. The AI is built on the same engine as the game, and automatically knows where everything is. Try doing 1v1's on 8 player maps and see if the AI ever scouts or attacks the wrong spawn location - it won't. Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 16:52

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