Homeworld: Cataclysm

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Homeworld: Cataclysm
Homeworld - Cataclysm Coverart.png
Developer(s)Barking Dog Studios
Publisher(s)Sierra Studios
Composer(s)Paul Ruskay, Greg Sabitz
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
  • NA: June 30, 2000
  • PAL: September 12, 2000
Genre(s)Real-time strategy
Mode(s)Single-player, Multiplayer

Homeworld: Cataclysm was originally developed in 2000 as an expansion of Homeworld, but was released as a stand-alone game. It was published by Sierra Studios, as was the original, but it was developed by Barking Dog Studios. The game reappeared on the gaming website GOG.com in June 2017 as Homeworld: Emergence, as the name "Cataclysm" was trade marked by Blizzard Entertainment for its third expansion to World of Warcraft.[1]


Though it uses the same engine as its predecessor, several changes were made such as: the ability to toggle time compression between normal speed and eight times faster; ship upgrades (improving armor and adding new abilities), Command Ships and Carriers are given the ability to add external modules for ship research and fleet support; fuel was completely eliminated from the game and finally the sensor display could be used to issue attack orders to units. The player's Command Ship is now capable of attack; though slow, the Command Ship is capable of delivering a vast array of weaponry, most notably the Siege Cannon capable of crippling an enemy Command Ship with a single well aimed shot.

Notable unit changes include the Processor, Cataclysm's adaptation of the Resource Controller, which has medium-strength weapons to defend itself, automated repair beams to heal nearby ships and four pads to dock with Workers harvesting resources. The game's resource collectors perform the same functions that they did in the original Homeworld, however, when upgraded they can be used to capture enemy vessels, harvest crystals and repair friendly vessels; functions that were carried out by separate, single-function ships in the first game.

The game also introduced new 3D features such as moving parts and transforming ships.

In general, the main difference is the scale of fleets. Where Homeworld was biased towards large fleets (as the player's main ship was a full-fledged mothership and the opposition was an empire of galactic scale), Cataclysm down-scales the fleets (as the player's main ship is a simple mining vessel and the adversaries are all limited in resources)


The game takes place fifteen years after the original game. After destroying the Taiidan Emperor and reclaiming their ancient homeworld of Hiigara, the Kushan re-establish their clans, or "kiith", in a great council, though some clans have precedence over others. The Mothership, with Fleet Command and the hyperspace core removed from it, remains in orbit over Hiigara as a shipyard. Meanwhile, the Taiidan Empire has collapsed after years of civil war, and a new Taiidani Republic has arisen as an ally of the newly minted Hiigarans, while the Imperialists and their Turanic Raider allies continue to raid both Hiigaran and Republic space.

The campaign begins with the Kuun-Lan, a mining vessel belonging to Kiith Somtaaw (one of the minor clans), launching from the dry dock orbiting the Angel Moon to assist Kiith Nabaal (another clan) carrier Veer-Rak and his fleet to defend Hiigara against the Imperialists' assault. While aiding a Hiigaran destroyer attacked by Turanic Raiders, they soon find a derelict beacon pod, which the crew decides to capture and research with the aid of the research vessel Clee-San, sent by their clan leaders back on Hiigara, who order that the beacon and its technology be kept within Kiith Somtaaw in order to gain an advantage over the other clans. As they study it aboard the Kuun-Lan, a strange virus begins to take over the ship. The part of the ship containing the derelict is jettisoned; the Clee-San then scans the jettisoned part of the ship to determine what happened. As it scans, the jettisoned portion of the ship fires a beam at the Clee-San that subverts control of the ship and its escorts. Turanic Raiders arrive and are also subverted, forcing the Kuun-Lan to flee.

Further research suggests that the derelict pod carried techno-organic nanobots which they call "the Beast", that can take control of machinery and even people. The Kuun-Lan seeks a Bentusi trading ship for help, and find it being attacked by a Beast fleet. The trading ship is hit with an infection beam and self-destructs to avoid being subverted. While other ships are assimilated by the Beast, the Kuun-Lan discovers that while the true origins of the Beast are unknown, it was first discovered by an alien vessel called the Naggarok, which had come from another galaxy a million years earlier and had picked up the Beast in intergalactic hyperspace. Before the Naggarok was fully assimilated, the drives and communications of the ship were destroyed by the crew, but the ship automatically released a distress beacon - still infected by the Beast - which the Kuun-Lan discovered. As the Kuun-Lan hunts for the Naggarok, they must also contend with the Imperialist Taiidani, who are experimenting with the Beast in an attempt to weaponize it.

After several battles with infected vessels and Imperialist planetary bases, the Kuun-Lan discovers a siege cannon, which has the potential to be an effective weapon against the Beast. The cannon proves ineffective against Beast-controlled vessels as-is (it also overheats after one shot), so the Kuun-Lan begins searching for the Naggarok so they can use a "pure" sample of the Beast to upgrade the cannon. Upon encountering the Naggarok, they find that the Imperialists have allied with the Beast in return for control of half of the galaxy, and are rebuilding the ship's engines. The Beast offers the Kuun-Lan a chance to join them, an offer that is rejected. The Naggarok, fully repaired, then escapes. As the cannon also uses Bentusi technology, the Kuun-Lan searches for the mysterious traders who had supported the Kushan exiles' claim to Hiigara. However, the Bentusi are panicked by the emergence of the Beast, and attempt to flee to another galaxy. The Kuun-Lan and its fleet destroy the Bentusi's slipgate and engage their tradeships, eventually shaming the Bentusi into helping them fight the Beast.

The Somtaaw fleet soon finds the Clee-San and captures it, using it to lure the infected portion of the Kuun-Lan (used by the Beast as a mothership) before the ship's reactor overloads; the Kuun-Lan then destroys the Beast mothership using the newly enhanced siege cannon. They then seek out the Nomad Moon, a Taiidani Republic battle station incorporating a powerful repulsor field; upon their arrival, they find that the station has already been infected by the Beast. The Naggarok, protected by the station's repulsor field, again offers the Kuun-Lan an alliance, an offer that is again refused. Acting on information from the Republic, the Kuun-Lan is able to destroy the Nomad Moon's repulsor field generators using vessels small enough to avoid its sensors, allowing the main fleet to the destroy the station itself. The Imperialist Taiidani, seeing that the Beast did not intend to honor its bargain after witnessing the Bentusi appear, abandon the battle, leaving the Naggarok to be destroyed by the Somtaaw fleet.

After the destruction of the Naggarok, the remainder of the Beast-infected ships are destroyed and a vaccine to the infection is discovered, ensuring that the Beast would never return again. Kiith Somtaaw gains great prestige in Hiigaran society, and are honored with the title of "Beastslayers" for their prominent role in the destruction of the Beast.


Since "Homeworld: Cataclysm" takes place only 15 years after, and uses essentially the same game engine as "Homeworld", several ships make a return, notably in the 'new' Hiigarans/Kushan, and the Taiidan forces (both Imperialist and Republic). Some new features in this game not previously seen are ship upgrades and Support Units- the latter of which put a lower cap on the player's fleet size as opposed to the maximum fleet size of 300 in "Homeworld".

While the Kushan and Taiidan fleets remain almost identical to their Homeworld counterparts, the player's clan, Kiith Somtaaw, is forced to scratch its own fleet specs based on salvaged technologies. The player's own ships are all new and basically vastly superior to both Taiidan and Kushan counterparts and are only matched by the main adversary, the Beast and its own fleet (which is composed of assimilated Taiidan, Kushan, Somtaaw and Turanic Raider ships).


The editors of Computer Gaming World nominated Cataclysm as the best strategy game of 2000, although it lost to Sacrifice.[2]


Homeworld: Cataclysm works on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP, Vista, and 7 after being patched to version 1.01. However, as with its predecessor, graphical glitches frequently 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, however, Widescreen resolutions may be applied by editing the registry.[3]

The Remastered Edition (formerly Homeworld HD) from Gearbox Software, the new owners of the Homeworld IP, has been updated to be fully compatible with all versions of Windows and includes both updated and original copies of both games. This collection does not include Homeworld: Cataclysm as it has been reported that the source code for this game has been lost,[4] while others report that potentially former developers have a backup[5] and that the audio assets are available.[6] In February 2015, Gearbox announced that they are still interested in remaking Cataclysm, if the source code would be found.[7] In an 18 February 2015 Twitch interview, former Cataclysm developers stated that a remake should be possible even without the Cataclysm source code but with the "Homeworld Remastered" engine.[8]


  1. ^ "Homeworld: Emergence". GOG.com. Retrieved 2017-06-22.
  2. ^ Staff (April 2001). "The 2001 Premier Awards; Games of the Year". Computer Gaming World (201): 72–80, 82, 83.
  3. ^ http://widescreengamingforum.com/dr/homeworld
  4. ^ Gearbox acquires Homeworld IP Archived 2014-05-28 at the Wayback Machine ÜberJumper:Cataclysm's gone. No backups exist of its sourcecode afaik. Relic didn't consider it canon anyway (so neither should we!).
  5. ^ Save the Homeworld IP (DD releases) Archived 2015-02-17 at the Wayback Machine RadiantMonolith:Regarding the Cataclysm code, I know a guy from the Cataclysm team that might help retrieving the game. on 23rd January 13, 7:24 PM
  6. ^ Rubin, Brian (2013-07-26). "What Happened to Homeworld: Cataclysm? (Part One Maybe?)". spacegamejunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-06-03. It’s possible that stuff still exists on back-ups that went to another Rockstar office, but honestly I doubt it. All music and sound assets (VO, dialogue, etc.) are still archived at Studio X Labs, last I checked, at best quality – theoretically the base Cataclysm, using just a retail copy, could have its sound up-scaled, since it’s no longer constrained to a CD.
  7. ^ Shearer, Stew (2015-02-03). "Gearbox Would "Love" to Re-Release Homeworld: Cataclysm". Escapist. Retrieved 2015-02-04. Gearbox COO Brian Martel says that a re-release of Homeworld: Cataclysm depends on "finding the original source code."
  8. ^ SJG Podcast #95 - A Cataclysmic Home(world) Coming on February 18, 2015

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