I think what was amazing about the original Starcraft is how the three races were really unique. Even the Warcraft III races is an amalgam of Starcraft, and the best example of that are the Undead which behave like a Protoss and Zerg hybrid.
Speaking of Protoss and Zerg hybrids, here's my concepts for the fourth Starcraft race. Yes, taking from the flavor of the game, we might as well make the fourth race Protoss-Zerg, instead of an entirely new race. Here's the elements I want to inject into them however rather than merely taking the best of both worlds.
One concept that I think wasn't fully explored for the Protoss was the Templar's ability to combine with each other to form the all-powerful Archon (and Dark Archon). Sounds like something similar to the Zerg's "Evolve" ability so it meshes well with the hybrid flavor. This will be the building blocks of our unit creation.
As for the design and look of the units and buildings, I'd go with a more organic look. The Protoss used robots to augment their thin forces but for the new Hybrid race, where will they be getting this technology? It seems to fit more that they'll evolve more like the Zerg and then later on possess Protoss-like powers.
Here's my basic concept for the units:
- Unit A can be produced at our main structure (Structure A). It's our basic "peasant" unit. Nothing special here. Our main structure can produce two Unit A's at any one time (much like the Zerg, but two instead of three).
- Two Unit A's can merge to form the basic infantry unit (Unit B). I want it to be like a "super zergling" in the sense that it's a quick and mobile melee unit, tougher than a zergling but not stronger than a zealot.
- Unit B can mutate into a ranged ground unit (Unit C) for a mutating cost. This is the equivalent of a Dragoon or Hydralisk.
- After researching from Structure A, you can finally create a flying scout unit--no attacks but quick and has a respectable sight (Unit D).
- Combining two Unit D's will form a melee air superiority unit (think Warcraft 3's Gargoyles).
- Combining Unit D with Unit C will give you a flying unit with a ranged attack (Unit E).
- Combining Unit D with Unit A will give you a flying transport unit with good sight and more hit points (Unit F).
Of course an even more difficult question aside from the units is probably the structure. What would structures be like? Well, I imagine them to be more Zerg-like too. Peasant units (Unit A) "sacrifice" themselves to form structures and there will still be a creep. However, the structures and creeps behave slightly different. Buildings have no shields whatsoever (but see below).
- Structure A is the main headquarters. It does the usual, providing food and this is where you generate your most basic of units. Structure A similarly generates a creep.
- Unit A can transform into Structure B. Structure B can be built anywhere. However, this building is not an end to itself. Rather, Structure B in the beginning extends the creep and allows you to build buildings on the creep it generates. When I mean build, it's Structure B itself that does the building. You click on Structure B and you have a menu of structures to choose from, as long as they land on the creep of Structure B's vicinity. You can think of it as Command and Conquer's Crane unit (it's a building that builds other buildings). However, unlike Command and Conquer, Structure B can build many buildings simultaneously. Destroying Structure B makes the nearby creep disappear but all built structures remain functional.
- All the other structures are built from Structure B. The other structures don't extend the creep. Only Structure A and Structure B increases creep territory.
- The hybrid's tower unit can be built from Structure B. It attacks both land and air, but its attacks are limited to the creep. So destroying the nearby Structure B gives the tower unit an attack range of 0. It is not a detector.
- Structure B-1 is your basic farm building. Provides food so that you can increase your unit capacity.
- Structure B-2 taps into the psionic powers of the race and gives your nearby buildings a temporary shield (as Protoss shields although a lower value compared to the building's hit points) as well as detection abilities.
- Structure B-3 manipulates modifies the creep and opposing units find it more difficult to move in the creep under B-3's territory. Also, your units gain the burrow ability as long as they are in that particular creep.
- Structure B-4 enhances both Zerg and Protoss heritage as it increases the hp and energy (and shield) regeneration of units standing on its creep territory.