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Homeworld, the old school space RTS

Homeworld is one of the old school RTS (Real-Time Strategy) games, praised by many players. It was released all the way back in 1999, published by Sierra Entertainment. It’s a science fiction game that follows the Kushan exiles of the planet Kharak after their planet was destroyed by the Taiidan Empire.

Plot of Homeworld

A hundred years prior to the game’s events, the Kushan, inhabitants of the desert planet Kharak, discovered a spaceship which holds a stone marking Kharak and another planet in the galaxy named “Hiigara, meaning “home”. This discovery effectively united the clans of Kharak, who wanted to discover their origin and how they came to this hostile planet. Over the next century, they developed their technology and built a giant mothership that can carry 600,000 people to Hiigara.

The game starts with a maiden voyage of the mothership, testing the hyperspace drive which teleports it to a new destination. Instead of arriving at their destination, they find a hostile alien fleet. After defeating them, the mothership returns to Kharak only to discovered that the planet has been obliterated by another alien fleet, and the 600,000 in it were the only survivors.

After destroying the remainder of the alien fleet, the Kushan fleet sets out for Hiigara, intent on reclaiming their homeworld. Along the way, they fight other descendants of their Hiigaran ancestors. They also meet the Bentusi, a race of traders, who sell advanced tech. After finding out that the Bentusi have given aid to the exiles, the Taiidan try to destroy them, but are stopped by the Kushan fleet.

As the journey continues, the Kushan fleet gives sanctuary to the Taiidan rebel Captain Elson. He aids them in penetrating the Hiigaran blockade and engage the Taiidan fleet led by the emperor.

Gameplay

The gameplay in Homeworld, like many other RTS games, focuses on gathering resources, building structures and training units. The game includes both single-player and multiplayer modes.

Homeworld Gameplay
Homeworld Gameplay

The single-player mode is a story-driven campaign. There are total of 16 levels in the first game, with black-and-white cutscenes and voice-acting.

The central ship of your fleet is the mothership, a base which can construct other ships. In addition, in each level there are stationary rocks or dust clouds, which can be mined. However, you can only mine them with specialized harvesting ships, who in turn empty the loads into the mothership in form of resources.

In some levels, you can unlock new types of ships by capturing an enemy ship of that type. At the beginning of the campaign, you can select between two fleets:

  • Kushan
  • Taiidan

This affects the design of the ships and changes some ship options, but has no effect on gameplay or story. Each level’s playable area is a sphere, bisected by a circular plane. In addition, the camera can be set to follow any ship and view from any angle.

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