When Homeworld Remastered was released back in 2015 we created a simple ModDB page to serve as the basis for the continued development of our HW2Classic version of the FXmod (FX:Commander) in the remaster. Under a new name (FX:Galaxy) the project also took on several new goals, varied in nature but united in the idea that we wanted to tap into the new modding possibilities that came with the remaster and do many new, exciting things.
Today, on the day of Homeworld’s 20th Anniversary, we want to give you an insight into what has secretly been in the works ever since the day we brought the FXmod to the remaster. Homeworld3 is coming, but before we travel to the future we’d like to invite you to a journey of our own – a journey across a living, dynamic Homeworld galaxy, where your choices will define and shape your own adventure. Welcome to FX:Galaxy’s RPG Mode. Welcome to Homeworld: The RPG.
About RPG Mode
RPG Mode is, as listed on the main page, a unique spin on Homeworld’s traditional Single-Player mode. We are keeping the RTS and Homeworld elements everyone knows and loves, but are expanding on it by adding an RPG-themed sandbox aspect to it. You will be able to freely travel to and between maps, complete map-specific quests, and build up your fleet in different ways. At the same time RPG Mode overhauls and adds more depth to several existing systems; the default RU system, for instance, has been replaced by an elaborate trading system in which will you gather the raw materials yourself. These materials can then be sold for money or processed into higher tier items, which in turn can be used to craft your own supplies or, ultimately, even assemble your own ships.
Overall, the theme of RPG Mode is freedom. Where you will go, what you will do and in what order is all up to you. We are stepping outside of the idea of a fixed, linear campaign by introducing new things you can do between (or alongside) following the main story for your faction of choice. Maybe you’d like to go exploring the galaxy and see what quests (and stories) are available in different maps. Maybe you’d like to become a trader, and convert your profits into an awe-inspiring fleet. With these options and more to truly carve out “your” own path and playstyle, your journey in RPG Mode will be a journey in every sense of the word.
At the same time we intend for RPG Mode to be a community project, through which both players and HW modders alike can realize some of their wishes (e.g. quests, map ideas). Together, we will be able to truly create a living, dynamic Homeworld galaxy.
The idea is that from now up to the point where we have a first (early) playable release ready for you – we are aiming for the next big update (FX v1.40) – we will be releasing periodical RPG Mode-themed newsletters, each previewing a different aspect of it. In this first entry we want to give an introduction to the project and its history, and give you an idea of our progress and the things to come.
The concept for RPG Mode dates back to 2010, when Hw_Lover started making Trading Mode for the Fairy Empire (Yaodu) mod. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a famous mod among Chinese players, where most members of the team are from too. Anyway, it was a huge success, and many players enjoyed this feature.
Since then many new ideas and possibilities came to mind, and since Hw_Lover had decided to make Trading Mode for the FXmod in the first place, development on what would become known as RPG Mode began back in 2014 in the v2.0 series of FX:Commander. At the same time Trading Mode continued to be updated in the Yaodu mod too, so two variants were being developed at the same time.
In 2015 Homeworld Remastered was released, and the team’s focus was shifted to porting the FXmod over to the remaster (FX:Galaxy). Efforts were complicated when Gearbox released the 2.0 patch for HWRM in 2016: due to some reasons the team had to spend another ~2 years on making the FXmod compatible with this version of the remaster. In December 2017 this finally culminated in the release of FX v1.25, and we could slowly shift our focus back to the future.
In order to give some more context to what RPG Mode is and does (outside of the description on the main page) let us consider the regular Homeworld experience for a bit.
Traditionally, Homeworld’s campaigns make you (the player) follow a set story; you have some freedom in the sense of how you choose complete a mission (especially in HW1), but things like objectives, key strategies and the “path” you follow through the galaxy are all set in stone. Everyone of us who has played Homeworld1 has assumed the role of the Kushan, and followed the same path to Hiigara; we all escaped the Nebula by destroying the Kadeshi Needleships, toppled the Super Nova Research station by utilizing the shielded veins..you get the idea. The point is that the key focus of Homeworld has always been its compelling story and combat, and while this indeed worked out wonderfully this also means that there has not been much room to explore other aspects that you’d also expect to come with life in space.
Through RPG Mode, we have a means to give you an insight into what happens “behind the screens” in Homeworld. For instance, instead of just ordering your collectors to harvest with one click and you then putting ships in the build queue with another you will be harvesting the raw materials yourself. As a normal person in space, you will need to consider those things that you logically expected to be there but you didn’t see or have to deal with as a Fleet Commander.
In RPG Mode you are not born into the role of a high commanding officer on board the Mothership.
You will need to find ways to sustain yourself, and ensure matters such as supplies and fuel are accounted for as you travel the universe and seek to build up your fleet through various means.
At the same time, we wanted to keep this sense of freedom. You can harvest raw materials and process them, but that doesn’t mean that you must – you may prefer to travel the galaxy and earn the majority of your income through quests and collecting space debris or lost goods. In such a case, your exposure to the logistics aspect would be limited to keeping an eye on your fuel and other supplies. Or you could do both, and alternate between the two.
A similar concept was applied to the system of travel. We wanted to keep the idea of a big “main” campaign for all factions on the table, but at the same time we also wanted to offer some alternatives. In RPG Mode advancing the campaign for your race is encouraged (e.g. rewards upon completing certain parts, new areas that are unlocked upon reaching certain levels), but it not the only thing you can do. You can decide to go back to that previously visited map and suddenly take a left turn to explore other areas of space, or decide to take a breather by building up your fleet, income and supplies before proceeding.
Stargates connect nearby starsystems in real time, allowing you to freely move to and between areas.
RPG Mode: An Introduction
Now that we have elaborated a bit on RPG Mode as a concept let’s take a look at how this translates to the game itself.
As mentioned previously, the goal of RPG Mode is to create the image of a big, living, dynamic galaxy. To that end we are aiming for a total of five playable races: The Hiigarans, Turanic Raiders, Taiidan, Kadeshi and Vaygr. As things are looking now the first build will launch with the Hiigarans as the only playable race with some content, but later on we will add other races with some starting content while also adding new content to the already playable races..you get the idea.
Each of the five races starts in its own quadrant of the galaxy, with their own maps, and own big main quest or campaign (story). Later on, as you travel further and farther, you’ll find areas that are used by several races, or might even venture into enemy territories, where some endgame systems may be set to take place. As you travel the galaxy you’ll learn many different stories and see many different things – among the map concepts are new areas of Karos, a military development and testing site for AIs, and a map where once a terrible battle was fought and sometimes actual ghost ships may be spotted.
Set 5 years after the events of HW2, you’ll visit both known sectors from the campaigns (e.g. Sarum) and brand new areas altogether. All areas have their own place in the universe, and exist in the same one galactic map.
Regardless of what race you choose, you'll be able to travel everywhere - but a Hiigaran player visiting the Hethlim Ice Fields may not get the same reception as a Vaygr player..
Since the goal of this first newsletter is to give an introduction of RPG Mode, let’s start by taking a look at those strange new UI icons you may have seen in some of the above screenshots:
- Funds – The galactic standard currency, replacing RUs as your money. Funds are acquired from (and used in) all manners of transactions; think purchasing (or selling) ships and items, repairing owned ships if you don’t have the supplies or units to do so yourself. They are also commonly awarded through quests.
- Trade Level – Your trading proficiency. Doing business (selling items), refining or crafting items (processing), and completing non-combat tasks or certain quests will all contribute to your trading level. A higher trading level will unlock higher tier cargo vessels for purchase, allowing you to carry more items.
- Military Level – Your combat proficiency. Your military level is raised by destroying enemy units or completing combat-oriented tasks or certain quests, i.e. everything you are used to doing in Homeworld. A higher military level will unlock higher class and stronger combat vessels for purchase, increasing the combat capabilities of your fleet.
- Population – Your fleet capacity (current/max). Each unit takes up a different amount of capacity. Your fleet capacity is increased alongside your trade and military levels, but can also be increased further or improved via the skill system.
- Skill System (WIP) – Your available skill points. Skill points are obtained as you increase your levels, and are used to unlock global research upgrades of various types. Think in terms of boosts to ship stats but also increased harvesting efficiency, sensor ranges. We will talk about the skill system in a later newsletter.
- Date – The current date and time in GSY (Galactic Standard Year). Some tasks will have a deadline, and will need to be completed before that date. Think in terms of an item delivery (economy) or an attack on a certain ship before it leaves the area (military).
Some maps and trade stations will require you to have a minimum trade and/or military level before you can access them. Leveling up both unlocks rewards and opens up more of the Homeworld universe for exploration.
Below is an overview of the planned systems for RPG Mode. There is a lot more to RPG Mode than what you see below (e.g. setting unit stats and prices, descriptions, creating maps, quest dialogues and rewards, event triggers), but we hope it will give you an indication of how far we are along and what will be coming in the future next to additional playable races and content for said races (quests, story, goods, etc).
- Trading System (Operational): The core system of RPG Mode.
-Harvesting System: In RPG Mode the traditional harvesting system (RUs) was replaced by our Trading System. Through harvesting you will obtain various raw materials, which can be used in several ways.
-Processing System: Raw materials can be processed into higher tier items, which in turn can be used to craft supplies. Additional (ship) recipes will be added later.
-Buy/Sell: Items and ships can be purchased from - and sold to - space stations or specific (NPC) units. An added gimmick is that the speed at which items are delivered is based on how close you are to the station. As a whole, you can refer to this aspect as the stevedore system.
Trading is one of the key systems in RPG Mode. Ships can be purchased or repaired at military installations (e.g. Shipyards), while civilian stations deal in a variety of supplies and goods. The offered goods and supply/demand very per map, so aspiring traders will find plenty of opportunities.
- Questing System (In Progress): RPG Mode offers three types of quests: a campaign-style big or “main” quest (akin to Homeworld’s campaigns) that is automatically updated, map-specific (regular) quests, and dynamic objectives. Objectives are a fast way to earn funds and trade EXP, and are reloaded each time you complete one or change maps.
- Skill System (Operational (Early Alpha)): See above. The framework of the skill system is finished (all 12 planned skills have been implemented and are functional), but we will be further polishing its UI and icons before the first release.
- Ship Management (Operational): Some eligible units can be refit from one type (e.g. military) into another (e.g. cargo). In other cases, key weapon systems may be swapped out. This, along with repairs, can be done via the [Manage] tab when near a Shipyard.
Planned Systems (Near Future)
- Ship Module System: An addition to the Ship Refit System, this allows you to further modify your ships, based on subsystems.
- Ship Assembly System: The item processing (trading) will be expanded so you can build/assemble your own ships with materials.
Planned Systems (Distant Future)
These systems will remain in concept stage until both the existing and planned systems for the near future have been completed and implemented:
- Dynamic Event System: As part of a living galaxy, there will be a variety of possible events that can occur. Some may happen at specific moments, i.e. be scripted (e.g. a large Vaygr attack on Hiigara at some point), while others are randomly selected from a pool of possibilities (e.g. a damaged transport spawning on your map and creating additional [Event] quests for a limited time). The pool of randomly selected events may vary based on your current map, trade and military level.
- Broadcast System: As part of the above, there will be a broadcast system to tell player what is happening in nearby areas. For instance, if a dynamic event starts on a nearby map you may see a message, and be able to instantly teleport to that map for the next ~2 minutes in return for a small fee.
Gathered raw materials in the Cargo hold (WIP). Adding cargo ships to your fleet will increase your cargo capacity (orange bar).
In later versions the type of materials available and amounts gained per harvesting run (efficiency) may vary per race, sector of space, and your selected skills. Ultimately, the refinery system will be expanded further, and the traject to turn materials into your own ships will become available.
Coming up next..
With that we have come to the end of this first (20th anniversary-themed) newsletter. But worry not - you can still check out the [Images] section for more previews, or try out the mod itself while waiting for RPG Mode. We have also setup a preliminary Discord server that we hope to expand upon later: discord.gg/ekG3Wry
In the next newsletter we will be taking a look at the trading system in more detail, but for now do let us know what you think about RPG Mode so far - what are things you are looking forward to, want to know more about, or hope to see in this mode? Let us know in the comments (guests can post), and together we can truly create a living, dynamic Homeworld galaxy for you to travel in preparation for Homeworld3.
And with that, we will see you the next time!