|Release date(s)||September 28, 1999|
Homeworld is a real-time strategy computer game released on September 28, 1999, developed by Relic Entertainment and published by Sierra Entertainment. It was the first fully three-dimensional RTS. Homeworld was the beginning of a series, followed in 2000 with Homeworld: Cataclysm, in 2003 with Homeworld 2. For 2014 Homeworld HD and Homeworld 2 HD remakes were announced by the new IP holder Gearbox Software. An upcoming game, titled Homeworld: Shipbreakers, is currently being developed by Blackbird Interactive.
- 1 Development History
- 2 Plot
- 3 Gameplay
- 4 Design
- 5 Musical score
- 6 Reception
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
In September 2000, Barking Dog Studios released a stand-alone expansion, Homeworld: Cataclysm. Taking place 15 years after the events of Homeworld, the story centers on Kiith Somtaaw (a Hiigaran tribe) and its struggles to protect Hiigara from a parasitic entity known as the Beast. A full sequel, Homeworld 2, was released in late 2003. The game pits the Hiigarans against a powerful, nomadic raider race called the Vaygr.
Source code release
In 2003, Relic released the source code for Homeworld to the game community; to work with the code one must sign a license agreement and become part of the Relic Developer Network. The source code became the base of several source ports to alternative platforms, like Linux or Pandora, using the SDL cross-platform multimedia library.
Relic and Homeworld franchise went to THQ
When Relic was bought in 2004, the future of the franchises was unknown. In September 2007, THQ announced it was in talks with Sierra/Vivendi to acquire the rights of the series. These talks are reported to have finalised sometime November 2007 with the title's trademark being updated to indicate THQ's ownership. After the acquisition several Relic Entertainment founders and Homeworld developers left Relic Entertainment and founded Blackbird Interactive in 2007, to produce a space RTS without the Homeworld name and franchise license.
Homeworld franchise went to Gearbox
THQ went bankrupt 2013 and the rights to their games were auctioned on April 15, 2013. A Kickstarter campaign to acquire the Homeworld franchise by the independent development studio, Team Pixel, finished with approximately $70.000, but was not the highest bidder in the auction. On April 22, 2013 it was announced that Gearbox Software acquired the rights to the Homeworld franchise as the highest bidder in THQ's auction for $1.35 million. Gearbox announced the release of Homeworld HD and Homeworld 2 HD remakes, along with the original versions of the games, in 2014. Additionally, Gearbox has granted Blackbird Interactive, a studio employing members of the original Homeworld development team, permission to use the Homeworld IP. Blackbird will restructure their upcoming game Hardware: Shipbreakers as Homeworld: Shipbreakers.
For thousands of years, the Kushan survived on the arid planet Kharak, corralled into the temperate geographical poles by a vast hot desert. Scarcity of arable land and natural resources had colored Kushan history with near constant warfare between the many clans. One day however, everything changed: a satellite detected a huge spaceship under the sands of the Great Desert. It carried advanced spaceflight technologies. More importantly, a stone with a galactic map bearing two coordinates was found: One, located at the outer rim of the galaxy, was Kharak. The other, located near the center, bore a name so ancient it was common across all their languages and dialects: Hiigara, "Our Home".
The discovery united the clans of Kharak. They worked for nearly a century on building the "Mothership", a vast ship that would bear 600,000 of them to their destination. Technologies that never existed before were developed. Central to the Mothership was Karan S'jet, the scientist who integrated the Mothership's control system into her own nervous system. She became the core of the Mothership and was known as Fleet Command.
The maiden voyage of the Mothership turned into a tragedy: As scheduled, the Mothership performed its first hyperspace jump, disappearing from its location near planet Kharak and appearing outside the Kharak solar system where it expected an engineering crew on board a support ship, the Khar-Selim. Instead, it found a hostile alien fleet which had destroyed the Khar-Selim. The Kushan managed to defeat the raiders and return to Kharak, only to find it in flames. Those left on Kharak were all dead. The chosen 600,000, in suspended animation, were the last remnants of their people. Once the cryotrays with the sleeping people were loaded aboard, the Mothership left Kharak behind for good.
The Kushan began their journey with an act of revenge on the fleet that had destroyed Kharak. Having captured an enemy frigate, they learned that the ships that had destroyed the Khar-Selim and attacked the Mothership, the Turanic Raiders, were mercenaries in the service of the Taiidan, rulers of a tyrannical interstellar empire. The Taiidan Emperor had ordered the destruction of Kharak merely because the Kushan's development of a faster-than-light drive was a violation of a treaty signed four thousand years before – a time that predated Kharak's known history.
The Kushan become aware of well-fortified Taiidan outposts along their way and set out to circumvent them. Their course took them through many hazards: A dangerous asteroid field, a turbulent nebula known as the Garden of Kadesh, in which a huge fleet of zealous adversaries lay in ambush, and a mysterious ship that took possession of whatever capital ship that approached it. Occasionally, they were visited by the Bentusi, a benevolent race of space traders who sold them advanced military technology.
Concerned that the Bentusi were giving aid to "the Exiles", the Taiidan Emperor orders their destruction; the Kushan fleet engages the Taiidan and defends the Bentusi. The Bentusi revealed that the Kushan had once ruled their own empire long ago and were defeated in a great war, exiled from their homeworld and left to settle on Kharak. In gratitude for the Kushan protecting their tradeships, the Bentusi promise to summon the Galactic Council to consider the Kushan's claim to Hiigara.
The Kushan later gave sanctuary to a defecting Taiidan rebel, Captain Elson of the destroyer Kapella, who rallied others to his cause. With the help of Captain Elson and his rebellion, they penetrated the Hiigaran system blockade and engaged the massive Taiidan fleet, commanded by the Emperor himself, in one last epic battle. The Emperor mysteriously lashed out at Karan and put her into a coma, leaving the Mothership paralyzed. But despite the loss of their Fleet Command, and the superior numbers and strategies of the Taiidan fleet, the Kushan managed to destroy the Emperor and emerge victorious. The Galactic Council arrived shortly thereafter and approved the Kushan's claim to Hiigara, which turned out to be a beautiful lush world. Karan S'jet, who awakened from her coma after the Emperor's death, survived the extraction from the Mothership, and was the last person to set foot on Hiigara.
In Homeworld's story, individual characters have very little significance; rather, it is the races or organizations around which the story takes shape, supplemented by the context-sensitive game music and the narrations given between missions. When there is a need for a race to speak, usually an unseen and usually unnamed spokesperson does so. Overall, there are only four individuals in the game that have some form of personality.
- Karan S'jet: Also referred to as Fleet Command, Karan was a neuroscientist who gave birth to the technology of integrating a person's neural system into a starship's control systems, thus enabling very close interaction with the machine and eliminating the need of a forbiddingly huge crew. Using this technology, she was integrated into the Mothership and thus became the leader of the Kushan fleet. Karan is heard frequently but is not seen except in cutscenes at the beginning and the end of the game. She is a slender middle-aged woman. During the game, she alerts the player of important events in the game. Her voice actor is Heidi Ernest.
- Fleet Intelligence: A male character in charge of analyzing sensor data and generating mission objectives in the single player campaign. Unlike Fleet Command, he is quite formal and his voice is often emotionally level. He is not heard in multiplayer games. His voice actor is Michael Sunczyk.
- Captain Elson: Commander of the Taiidani destroyer–class ship Kapella and the leader of the Taiidan revolution against the Emperor. He appears in missions 12, 13 and 16. He and the other revolutionaries believe that the Taiidan Empire has grown corrupt over the centuries, and wish to overthrow the current regime in favor of a republic.
- The Taiidan Emperor: A paranoid and ruthless dictator, he commands the Taiidan flagship in the final mission of the game, during the battle for Hiigara. Known only as "the Emperor" in Homeworld, he was identified as Riesstiu IV the Second in the manual for Homeworld: Cataclysm. The appellation "the Second" is so added because the Emperor was in fact a clone of the original Emperor Riesstiu IV, who had killed any potential heirs for fear of assassination. Cataclysm's manual further describes his reign as having lasted nearly four centuries by the time of Homeworld, and was marked by pogroms against "enemies of the state" and high taxation to maintain an overly large military. The final straw came when Kharak's destruction was broadcast as Imperial propaganda displaying the Emperor's power; rather than serve as an inspiring victory over supposed enemies of the Empire, watching three hundred million people die merely to prove a point was the catalyst for the people to rise in rebellion.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2013)|
- Kushan: The primary protagonists of the game. Four thousand years before the events of the game, they were defeated in a galactic war and were sent into exile as punishment. The convoy of prison ships traveled the void for centuries using conventional drives, though of the many vessels only five eventually made it to Kharak, some ships being destroyed by malfunctions and others breaking off from the main group. The Exiles who settled on Kharak eventually forgot their history, holding onto only a few vague myths and legends and forgetting a treaty never to redevelop hyperspace technology. The Kushan are one of the two teams available in multiplayer games.
- Taiidan: An interstellar empire that rules much of the galaxy in which the game's story takes place. The empire is ruled by a ruthless and mad emperor, against whom a rebellion has risen. The Taiidan is the primary antagonist of the game and one of the two playable teams in multiplayer games. Though they are designed quite differently, the vast majority of Taiidan ships are mostly functionally identical to their Kushan counterparts.
- Bentusi: A peaceful space-faring race of traders. The Bentusi are an enigmatic race, speaking in a poetic and guarded fashion, though they are friendly and only attack those who unwisely provoke them. In mission 11, a member of the Bentusi breaks their silence regarding the larger events of the galaxy and tells the Kushan the story of their ancient exile. This particular individual is voiced by Campbell Lane, who also narrates the game.
- Kadeshi: A race seen only in missions 7 and 8, they are descendants of the Exiles who never reached Kharak. Instead, they entered an electronically charged nebula that hid them from detection by any outside sensors. This nebula, christened the Gardens of Kadesh, eventually became the center of their existence and religion. Their needle-shaped motherships can prevent enemy vessels from performing a hyperspace jump, allowing them to ensnare any who wander into their home and present them with an ultimatum: join them or die. Their unforgiving approach to intruders meant that prior to the Kushan, no-one who entered the Gardens would ever leave again, making the nebula feared by the rest of the galaxy.
- Turanic Raiders: A race of marauding space pirates who were at the time of the game employed by the Taiidan Empire to help attack Kharak. They were not seen since mission 5, although two ion array frigates show up in Mission 9: Deep Space - Sea of Lost Souls and a single Turanic Raider fighter can be found in the final level.
- The Galactic Council: A deus ex machina device, no detail is given about this race or organization except that even the Taiidan must answer this council. They arrive at the end of the game to approve the Kushan's claim on Hiigara.
The game takes place in outer space where there is no gravity and ships may travel in any direction in the three dimensions. A few elements, such as asteroids, dust clouds and intense radiation may impair ship movements.
The player may choose to play as either the Kushan or Taiidan, both online and in the single-player campaign. While each unit serves a particular function and represents a tradeoff in strength, offensive power, speed, and cost, the differences between the two factions are mostly in cosmetic ship design. Parallel ships (e.g. the Kushan Assault Frigate versus the Taiidan Assault Frigate) look different but have identical vital statistics and functionality. However, each race features two unique units: The Kushan possesses Cloaking Fighter and Drone Frigate, while the Taiidan produces Defense Fighter and Defense Field Frigate.
Resources are gathered by harvesting dust clouds and mineral-rich asteroids using special resource collector ships. Resource collectors may return their harvest either to a mothership or a resource controller ship.
The user interface is minimalistic: The only toolbar appears only when the cursor is moved to the bottom of the screen. Orders such as moving or assuming certain formations are given either from a context menu (invoked by right-click) or via hotkeys.
The inclusion of unrestricted unit movement in all three dimensions adds a tactical dynamic not encountered in typical ground based real time strategy games where movement is on a two dimensional plane. Since the area of play is generally void of significant obstacles to create "terrain", there is little emphasis on the control of a certain choke point in order to establish defensive perimeters, although minelayer corvettes can be used to create them.
The single-player campaign includes 16 missions, and focuses on a persistent fleet concept: All ships that survive a mission as well as all the resources possessed are carried over to the next. The ultimate goal of the single player mode is to find Hiigara, the homeworld of the Kushan.
At the beginning of each mission, as well as the end of the last mission, a cutscene is played that helps develop the story. The cutscenes are black-and-white and hand-drawn. The game story is developed with aid of narrative voiceovers usually given by Fleet Intelligence and Fleet Command both on cutscenes and within missions.
In each mission, the player must accomplish a number of primary objectives to end the mission. Once all the objectives are completed, the player is given the option of pressing the Hyperspace Jump button, thus ending the mission by having his fleet travel to the next mission location. The player may postpone this for as long as he wishes.
Each mission pits the player against challenges including but not limited to fighting Taiidan empire. For instance in mission six, the Kushan fleet exits hyperspace to discover himself in the middle an asteroid field some of which are on the collision course with the mothership, which is unable to move during single player campaign. The player may unlock new technology or weapon in each mission, usually earning them as a part of the story.
The player may choose to play with Taiidan instead of Kushan, but the story remains unchanged.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2012)|
Homeworld can also be played in a deathmatch mode where the player can choose the number of opponents, the map, enabling or disabling researching and fuel consumption. These games can be played with up to seven computer-controlled opponents, which have an adjustable difficulty setting and a setting that allows you to determine whether they attack the human player or other computers more often.
To play online the player needed to create an account on Homeworld lobby service called WON and download the latest patch (or version). WON was closed in October 2008.
The multiplayer community for Homeworld was large from its very beginnings in 1999. At its peak in 2000 and 2001 there were more than 18,000 players registered to the Ladder. Several dozen clans were active at the peak, since its release more than one hundred individual clans have been founded. There are still hundreds of active players and a handful of large clans. Today the original community of dedicated players still survives at the community operated RelicNews forums, the publishers official forum for the game, and on IRC.
Homeworld remains fully compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP, Vista, and 7. Graphical glitches may occur when not using the software renderer. OpenGL may be enabled by running the game in compatibility mode of Windows NT 4.0 (Service Pack 5). The game is locked at a 4:3 aspect ratio. Widescreen resolutions may be applied by editing the registry.
In Homeworld there are five classes of combat ships in the following order by size, armor, speed and maneuverability: Fighter, corvette, frigate, destroyer and heavy cruiser. Fighters are the smallest, fastest, weakest and most maneuverable ships. Heavy cruisers are the largest, slowest, toughest and least maneuverable combat ships. Apart from combat ships there are several non-combat vessels, including the mothership, carriers, resource collectors, research and sensor class ships.
Fighters and corvettes are small craft. They run on conventional propulsion and have limited fuel. They must "dock with" (enter or attach to) a mothership, carrier or support frigate to refuel, receive repairs or travel long distances. Whereas fighters are equipped with fixed guns, corvettes have one or more rotating turrets. In addition not all the corvettes are armed: Salvage Corvettes (which can capture other ships) and Repair Corvettes (which can repair other ship and refuel fighters) are not armed.
Frigates, destroyers and heavy cruisers are all heavily armed. They are also equipped with their own power generators and hyperspace engines; therefore, they can enter hyperspace independently. All three can move while attacking. While frigates have only one type of weapon, destroyers and heavy cruisers are equipped with both guns and ion cannons. Each player may have no more than a handful of destroyers and two heavy cruisers.
Mothership is the largest,[A] the slowest, the toughest and the least maneuverable class of all ships. Each player has only one irreplaceable mothership. With the exception of the Bentusi's and the Kadeshi's, motherships are lightly armed. The mothership can produce all other ships. Fighters and corvettes may enter and "dock with" their mothership. Resource collectors can also drop gathered resources inside their mothership.
Carriers are smaller versions of motherships. They have fewer dock sites for ships or resource collectors and cannot produce destroyers, heavy cruisers or other carriers. They are also not as tough as a mothership but they are faster and more maneuverable.
The spaceship designs in this game bear a strong resemblance to the designs popularized by illustrators Chris Foss and Peter Elson, who are both mentioned in the special thanks section of the game's credits, and the latter being referenced in game by the leader of the Taiidan rebellion during the Homeworld War.
With the exception of a song by the rock group Yes entitled "Homeworld (The Ladder)" (from their 1999 CD The Ladder), most of the music in the game is ambient. It includes Samuel Barber's Agnus Dei, the choral version of his Adagio for Strings, performed by Santa Barbara's Quire of Voyces. A 13-track CD soundtrack was bundled with the Game of the Year Edition of Homeworld and features the original soundtrack by Paul Ruskay. The re-release of the Game of the Year Edition, marked by a "Best Seller Series" stripe, does not contain the soundtrack.
|This section requires expansion. (November 2013)|
Homeworld was given high marks by most of the gaming community, and earned numerous awards, including both PC Gamer's and IGN's game of the year award for 1999. The game was praised for its eye-catching, movie-like graphics engine, large battles, appropriate soundtrack, compelling storyline, and revolutionary 3D interface.
- E3 1999 - Game Critics Awards: Best Strategy Games
- IGN 1999 - Game of the Year
- PC Gamer 1999 - Game of the Year
- Well-Rounded Entertainment 1999 - Game of the Year
- Gaming Globes 1999 - Best Original Score: Paul Ruskay and for Homeworld
- Metacritic - Best and Worst Computer Strategy Games, Top 10: Position 3 (2010)
- A. ^ The size of the Kushan mother ship is not given; however, page 6 of Historical and Tactical Briefing (one of the Homeworld manuals) places the mothership's scaffold's length at 25.6 kilometers. Kushan mothership is slightly shorter.
- TDA (2008-06-06). "The History of Real Time Strategy, Part 3.2: Polygons and Pixels, continued". gamereplays.org. Retrieved 2011-03-23. "Homeworld was the first fully three-dimensional RTS game to be released."
- Gearbox Announces Homeworld, Homeworld 2 HD Remakes on IGN.com
- Goldfarb, Andrew (2013-09-02). "PAX: Homeworld: Shipbreakers Announced - Blackbird Interactive's spiritual successor will become part of the franchise instead.". ign.com. Retrieved 2013-09-07. "Blackbird was previously developing the game as a spiritual successor to Homeworld with the title Hardware: Shipbreakers, but Gearbox confirmed today that it will now be released as part of the franchise instead, and Gearbox will provide financial support to make sure the game can be completed and achieve Blackbird's vision."
- Largent, Andy (2003-10-08). "Homeworld Source Code Released". www.insidemacgames.com. Retrieved 2011-01-10.
- pandorapress staff (2011-06-23). "Game of the Week #3 – Homeworld SDL". pandorapress.net. Retrieved 2013-04-24. "[...] released port of HomeworldSDL. [...]enables your Pandora to experience the excellent work done by the guys at HomeworldSDL."
- Feldman, Curt (2004-08-11). "THQ discloses Relic purchase price". GameSpot. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- Valjalo, David (2013-01-17). "Interview: Homeworld Dev Tells About New RTS, Hardware". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2013-04-27. " But when he says that Blackbird Interactive’s bold step into the genre is being worked on not only by him, but a couple of other fellow ex-Relic folk and Homeworld composer Paul Ruskay, you can’t help the feeling that an old, faithful dream team is reassembling to boldly go once again and reinvigorate, maybe even reinvent, real-time strategy in the stars…"
- Pitcher, Jenna (2013-04-19). "teamPixel outbid on Homeworld IP by mysterious buyer, refunding Kickstarter donations". polygon.com. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
- Sliwinski, Alexander (2013-04-22). "THQ auction results: Nordic Games takes Darksiders, Red Faction; 505 Games is Drawn to Life". Joystiq. AOL. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
- Williams, Mike (2013-09-02). "Gearbox had "no clear path" for Homeworld IP". www.gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved 2013-09-07.
- Homeworld: Cataclysm game manual, page 14-15
- "Gaming Globes 2000 results". eurogamer.net. 2000-04-05. Retrieved 2011-01-11. "Best Original Score: Paul Ruskay and Roger Savoie for Homeworld"
- Melville, Bryan. "Homeworld - Review". Allgame. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
- Ryan, Michael E. "Homeworld Review". Gamespot. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- Bedford, John (2010-09-12). "Retrospective: Homeworld". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
- Dietz, Jason (2010-07-26). "Ranked: Best and Worst Computer Strategy Games". metacritics.com. Archived from the original on 2010-07-28. Retrieved 2011-01-21. "Top 10, Position 3: Homeworld (1999)"
- Vincent Lopez (1999-10-01). "Homeworld - Welcome to the best game of the year.". ign.com. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
- Official website
- Homeworld at MobyGames
- Homeworld Source code - mirror on filefront.com
- HomeSource - The Homeworld SDL Project (a project attempting to re-create the game from the source code released)