The New Homeworld Fixes One Of The Series’ Biggest Hurdles

The New Homeworld Fixes One Of The Series’ Biggest Hurdles
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It was always going to be interesting to see how heavily Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak borrowed from the original Homeworld games, considering the developers had chosen to isolate the game to the confines of a planet rather than the surroundings of space. Fortunately, Blackbird Interactive has fixed what might be one of the biggest hurdles for new players.

If you’re not aware, the trick with the original Homeworld games was that your fleets carried on from mission to mission. End a mission with too few ships left over and you could leave yourself with a impossible set of odds to overcome for the next task.

In the original Homeworld, that applied for the resources gathered as well. If you didn’t mine out the map before warping on your merry way, you might not have the requisite funds to fight as efficiently as you could going forward. It was tricky to manage, particularly if you came from other titles where troops where much more disposable.

Fortunately, Blackbird has offered an olive branch to newer players in Deserts of Kharak with a simple menu option. If you play through the campaign mission to mission, your LAVs, armoured vehicles, railguns and assorted armies will carry over just as in the previous missions.

If that’s not to your liking or you find yourself in too difficult of a spot, you can start with a default squad. This is a squad that has enough firepower to allow you to finish the mission, avoiding the hassle of having to retread previous missions just to ensure you can finish the campaign.

It’s a sensible inclusion that skips over a major hurdle which could be far too frustrating for players in 2016. Nobody wants to be told you have to go back and spend one or two hours retreading ground you’ve already covered. Not having this option could have been an outright deal-breaker for some people, particularly in 2016 where appetites for strategy games are more aligned to simpler mechanics, shorter experiences and fewer units to manage — design choices that run counter to the Homeworld experience.

I’ll be spending more time with Deserts of Kharak as the week unfolds. It’s nice to know that I’ll be able to progress through the campaign a little more conventionally — although, if you’re a hardcore fan of the originals, it’s also good to see that commanders will also be rewarded for their ruthless efficiency.


  • I liked that aspect of the original games. It doesn’t break the illusion that it’s just a game. It would’ve been handy if there was an experience system in place for the ships in the way that Warzone 2100 (god I love that game) had when your units carrier over from mission to mission, but nonetheless it was a good feature. No chance I’ll be starting a new mission with default units in this game when it’s out

    • Sadly, that feature bit you in the damn ass when it came to Homeworld 2, because that game had a nasty scaling feature which took your current resources and army size into account when choosing what to throw at you, effectively punishing you for trying to overpower your enemies.

      Especially painful in the handful of maps which featured infinite respawning waves of enemies. When faced with that kind of brutal abuse as a reward for mining the crap out of everything, it simply became faster, easier and simpler to just mine a minimal amount and make do with whatever you had as quickly as possible.

      Very disappointing, to me.

    • “It doesn’t break the illusion that it’s just a game”?

      So we’re really fighting aliens on another planet with remote droids? It just got very Ender’s Space in here.


        • I haven’t seen that, but it seems like the game in there is a “test” to find someone to do the real thing. The curtain gets pulled away pretty early on from what I gather.

          Ender gets duped with his “final test” simulation.

          • It’s not really that quick – Alex (the hero of The Last Starfighter) has mastered the game before he has to do it for real – but more to the point when he’s playing the game he’s using an arcade cabinet which is basically a combat sim, then gets dropped into actual combat with an actual fighter. It’s always clear when he’s playing “for real.”

            Whereas with Ender’s Game he’s being told that he’s playing a sim while actually controlling real units (at least after the Little Doctor is introduced). He doesn’t realise until the very end that he’s controlling real pilots and fighting real aliens.

            BTW if you liked the Ender’s Game movie, the book is, as is almost always the case, much better. I suppose they couldn’t treat kids on screen the way they are treated in the books without protest; the kids are treated with dreadful cruelty and there’s a strong and unhappy theme of the end justifying the means that the movie barely touches on.

          • Thanks. I’ve read the book 😉

            So Starfighter doesn’t really have any “illusion of a game” at all then. It’s always a game/sim or the real thing. Ender’s definitely uses an “illusion of a game” at the end.

    • Indeed, I really liked that aspect myself, reminded me a lot of Battlestar Galactica. Keep your fleet alive… keep them safe or else!

  • Man, I loved playing homeworld. I would capture EVERYTHING I could in every level. Right from the very first enemy carrier you come across 🙂 Made mining easier and easier

  • I’ve never played Homeworld, but land ship desert road trip does have my interest since I found out it existed 3 days ago.

    • Play this, then play the classics. Or better yet just play the classics, I got back in to them over the weekend thanks to the Remaster and they’re soooo good.

  • Alex, you seem to be talking about two games here. I know Homefront is coming out in May, but it’s a very different style of game.

  • Might want to get your editor to check the name of the game again before hitting publish: “In the original Homefront”

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