Starcraft (Brood War) on Android with full touch controls.

Great, now that I have your undivided attention, let me explain. So, you, like most reasonable human beings, think playing Starcraft on a tablet would be pretty awesome. It's been tried before, but usually the result is a messy, laggy ROM on an N64 emulator that requires you to control a cursor with a digital joystick. And as we all know, that's basically like poking yourself in the eye with a hot fork. It sucks.

Enter Winulator. Right now, Winulator is still a pretty young app with a lot of potential, but what it does is really quite fascinating. Winulator is not an emulator. Not really, anyways. Winulator utilizes a few select Windows APIs, but otherwise runs ARM-friendly code straight from your device's onboard storage. But how in the heck can you make Starcraft - an x86 Windows game - ARM/Android-friendly?

This is where the magic happens. The developer of Winulator has developed a tool called WCH, the Windows Converter Helper. This tool takes your Windows/x86-ready EXE and DLL files from a particular program and converts the underlying machine code into an ARM-readable format. If you're like me (eg, not a programmer), this basically sounds like witchcraft. But it's witchcraft that works. Take a look at the video below.

He is controlling the entire game by touch - running at full speed. Holy crap. As I said previously, other attempts to port Starcraft have usually relied on messy cursor implementations and other convoluted nonsense. Not this one. You can even configure on-screen widgets that map to virtual keyboard keys or mouse actions, because what's Starcraft without hotkeys?

Now, the bad news: Winulator isn't compatible with Starcraft: Brood War yet. It's a work in progress (each game requires specialized tweaking in order to work). But right now it's compatible with Caesar III, one of my personal favorites, so you can get your 90's strategy fix on that way. Winulator comes in both a free and paid version (there is no practical difference between the two, the paid is really just a donate version for now), and they're on the Play Store.

If you want to play Caesar III (available DRM-free through legitimate channels), you'll need to check out the instructions (it's not a one-click process, but it's worth the result).

Winulator Blog

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • http://twitter.com/Xeratun Xeratun

    I'm so sold on this! I hope they get original and Brood War.

  • Andy Roid

    A day into 2013 and awesome things are happening already. It's good to be an Android fanboy.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    As a huge Starcraft fan, I'm excited by this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rob.watkins.7 Rob Watkins

    Just bought this in hopes of great things to come. I'm happy to support devs that are doing great things for the Android community.

  • Adam

    "...control a cursor with a digital joystick. And as we all know, that's basically like poking yourself in the eye with a hot fork." I've never read anything more accurate in my entire life. I can feel it!

  • matb

    When it works I will buy it.

  • Vandré Brunazo

    Terrible worker split!

  • http://williamjudd.com/ William Judd

    How about just running StarCraft on Android? I'd much rather use a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

  • anonymous coward

    This would be awesome to see for the good ol' DOS games like the original Master of Orion too.

  • Keith Myers

    The only problem I see is that you need to run Windows in order to setup the game. It would be sweet if the developer had a way for other OS's to convert the product. (similar to Wine)

  • Sigma

    Well... actually it happened before:


    • arthur dent

      not on android! This is something totally different.

  • GraveUypo

    this is one of the things that are only interesting because it doesn't exist.
    as soon as a perfect adaptation comes out, it'll be forgotten again. Because if you really want to play starcraft, ANY windows computer you can find working today would do the trick.

    • http://twitter.com/misterE33 Mr E

      Actually, it sounds somewhat generic, so this could potentially be used for any PC game, which would be seriously awesome.

    • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

      He's not releasing an Android version of Starcraft, he's releasing a conversion tool to make any Windows game work on Android. Obviously it won't work with all games, but if it can convert a bunch of older games to work on Android I can see it becoming hugely popular.

  • trainyard

    like other have point out, this is more like a port.
    when it works, it works very good.
    but app will be limited, will have less compatibility compared to real emulator.

    • trainyard

      oh btw, I'm waiting Age of Empire running on my droid :)

  • ContentsMayVary

    >>This would be awesome to see for the good ol' DOS games like the original Master of Orion too.

    You can already do this, because MOO1 (and MOO2 for that matter) is a DOS game, so you can just use a DOS emulator such as DosBox Turbo to run it. I'm running MOO2 on my Nexus 7 this way, and it works perfectly1 :)

    • http://www.swehes.com/ Hans-Erik

      I loved the original Master of Orion game. Brings back good memories.

  • John

    Interesting !

    I have worked on this subject: here is another interaction proposal for tabletop display device :


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592526552 RhY Thornton

    only care about civ 2.

  • http://twitter.com/cthonctic Cthonctic

    While this sure is interesting as a proof of concept, on-screen controls for an RTS will inevitably result is abysmal APM.

  • Matthew Fry

    Holy Shit!

  • Falconator

    So far, Dos emulators on Android give me the fix I need which is great! Seeing this is even better for us RTS fans, and hopefully other great titles too. I'm waiting for Warcraft 3 and Age of Empires 2. They were/are my favorite!

  • http://twitter.com/MysteryMannnnn Mystery Man

    Warcraft 2?

  • deltatux

    Something tells me that this project relies on WINE. Second thought is, if so, the developers will be in clear violation of the GPL if they don't release the source code of their work...

  • mehim

    will it play civilizations ? preferably V ?

  • Ryan Wallace

    That would be cool to get the old Fallout 1,2, and Tactics working on Android OS

  • samp1800

    Anything for iOS?

  • http://profiles.google.com/nick.carefoot Nick Carefoot

    Here is a guide to get your HTC S One to be able to accept keyboard and mouse simultaneously. http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1629134&highlight=usb+host
    Where can I find news on the Broodwar port? I want to play Broodwar when I am away from my PC and can't stop starcrafting.

  • Katie Donovan

    Um, you DID say Broodwar, right? That was just to get my attention, eh SCAM

    • N2K12

      eh TROLL

  • gian

    you dont need to add all the bullshit to the screen only a little square to type things out i have it on my galaxy tab 3 passes time fast love it

  • sir_will

    Any update on this ????