Homeworld Remastered Collection - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Jamie Wallace)

Dream Daddy

Not only does Humble currently have its second ‘Very Positive’ bundle going on right now, the site is now listing a separate sale, appropriately titled the ‘Very Positive Sale’. As with the bundle, the sale features a bunch of games all with ‘Very Positive’ or higher ratings on Steam right now, with discounts of up to 80%.

Before you ask, yes, that means you can get Dream Daddy for 9.89 / $13.49. Also featured are things like lovely retro Metroid-like Axiom Verge, perpetual Early Access feudal RPG Kenshi, the Homeworld Remastered Collection, Sniper Elite 4 and more.

We covered the strange adventure possible in Kenshi quite recently. In a year that gave us Divinity: Original Sin 2’s hungry elves and face-stealing undead, it’s astonishing to realise that Kenshi has weirder cannibalistic possibilities than Larian’s latest masterpiece.

(more…)

EVE Online

Welcome to our list of the best space games on PC. Short of training to become an astronaut or hitching a ride on a deep space probe, your gaming PC is the best way to leave Earth behind and journey through the cosmos. Whether you're trading or pirating your way around the Milky Way or being hunted by a monstrous alien on a stricken orbital station, these are the best space games you can play on PC right now. From survival horror and 4X strategy to deep simulators that let you live another life among the stars, there's something here for every wannabe astronaut.

Homeworld Remastered Collection

Year 2015Developer Relic/Gearbox Software

One of the best singleplayer RTS campaigns ever made, and beautifully remastered by Gearbox. The sight of thousands of your ships streaking across the game’s vividly colourful space-scapes is hugely dramatic. And battles are tense and tactical, with many types of ship to command, including colossal battleships. The Remastered Collection looks great on modern PCs and comes complete with the original Homeworld and its sequel.

Tacoma

Year 2017Developer Fullbright

The crew has mysteriously abandoned the Tacoma lunar transfer station, and you’ve been sent to investigate and recover its precious AI, Odin. This atmospheric sci-fi mystery from the makers of Gone Home is wonderfully written, with a cast of rich, nuanced characters telling a compelling story through interactive AR recordings. Exploring the hyper-detailed station is a delight thanks to the game’s extraordinary attention to detail, and the more you learn about Tacoma, the deeper the mystery gets.

Elite Dangerous

Year 2014Developer Frontier Developments

An entire galaxy is your playground in this space sim. Starting with a basic ship and a handful of credits, you shape your own destiny. Do you become a fearsome pirate? A master trader? An explorer? The beauty of Elite is being able to play in a way that suits you. From thrilling dogfights to gentle exploration, there’s something for everyone. And its ships are all an absolute dream to fly, whether it's a nimble fighter or a heavy duty cargo hauler.

EVE Online

Year 2003Developer CCP Games

Live another life—in space! There’s nothing else like EVE Online on PC, a massively multiplayer RPG where everything is controlled by players. It’s a living galaxy in which thousands of capsuleers fight, trade, mine, and explore together. Break away from the relative safety of your police-patrolled starting system and you’ll find a ruthless, cosmic Wild West, where piracy, espionage and scamming are rife. Whether you’re fighting in a massive space war, where thousands of real-world dollars hang in the balance, or just exploring New Eden on your own, EVE is an unforgettable experience.

Star Wars: Empire at War

Year 2006Developer Petroglyph

Developed by Petroglyph, a studio founded by Westwood veterans, this real-time strategy is one of the best Star Wars games on PC. The streamlined interface and accessible systems might turn off some hardcore strategy fans, but in the thick of its chaotic, thrilling land and space battles the game is irresistible—especially if you’re a Star Wars fan. And hero units like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker only add to the excitement.

Duskers

Year 2016Developer Misfits Attic

Despite being viewed entirely through a retro-futuristic computer interface, Duskers is one of the scariest, most tense sci-fi horror games on PC. In it you pilot a fleet of drones searching derelict spaceships for fuel, upgrades, and clues about why the galaxy is so mysteriously devoid of life. The ships you board are crawling with strange creatures, which makes looking for clues in those narrow, dark corridors an especially nerve-racking experience.

The Dig

Year 1995Developer LucasArts

A mission to divert an asteroid heading for Earth goes awry, sending a group of astronauts to a distant, seemingly abandoned world. Some of the puzzles are maddeningly obscure, even for a LucasArts point-and-click adventure, but the colourful, bizarre planet feels genuinely alien. Great voice acting too, with X-Files star Robert Patrick playing the lead character.

Universe Sandbox 2

Year 2014Developer Giant Army

This space simulator lets you become an all-powerful cosmic deity, manipulating replicas of real galaxies and solar systems and witnessing the (often catastrophic) results of your meddling. Increase the mass of Jupiter and you’ll see the rest of our solar system being sucked into it, or delete the Sun and watch Earth and the other planets drift away confused.

Event[0]

Year 2016Developer Ocelot Society

Stranded alone somewhere near Jupiter on an old luxury starship, your only hope of returning home is an AI that has serious emotional problems. You interact with Kaizen using your keyboard, and sometimes it'll be willing to help you. But then it'll change its mind and decide the best thing to do is close the airlock and trap you outside the ship until you run out of air. A clever adventure with the understated mood of a '70s sci-fi film.

Mass Effect 2

Year 2010Developer BioWare

If you’ve ever fantasised about being Captain Picard, in command of your own starship, exploring the galaxy, meeting weird aliens, being confronted with cosmic dilemmas, then Mass Effect 2 is that in game form. It’s part Star Wars space opera, part brilliant Star Trek episode, and one of the best sci-fi games on PC. It doesn’t have the freedom of Elite and is largely a linear experience, but it takes you on an unforgettable journey around the galaxy, visiting bizarre planets and getting involved in the lives of the aliens who live on them. We love the whole series, but we all agree that this is our favourite.

Stellaris

Year 2016Developer Paradox

Developed by Paradox, of Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis fame, this sci-fi epic puts the ‘grand’ in grand strategy. Explore the universe, form alliances with alien factions, and engage in the odd large-scale space battle. The multitude of systems makes Stellaris a powerful story generator, and you never know what strange beings you’ll meet among the stars.

Alien: Isolation

Year 2014Developer Creative Assembly

Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen, is hunted through a dilapidated space station by a xenomorph in this incredible survival horror. Taking its cues from Ridley Scott's original 1979 film, it's a masterpiece of slow-burning tension. And the station itself, Sevastopol, is a great example of lo-fi sci-fi, with chunky retro-futuristic tech and eerie flickering lights. One of the most faithful movie adaptations ever, and a great horror game in its own right.

No Man's Sky

Year 2016Developer Hello Games

This is one of the most dazzlingly colourful sci-fi universes on PC, and being able to seamlessly transition from space to the surface of a planet is an impressive technical feat. The addition of features like base-building and a mission system in recent updates give you a lot more to actually do when you touch down on these worlds, and the procedural generation algorithm has been tweaked to make for weirder, prettier planet surfaces.

Star Wars: TIE Fighter

Year 1994Developer Totally Games

A rare opportunity to be the bad guy in George Lucas’s beloved space opera. With a variety of Empire-themed missions—dogfights, escorts, attacking capital ships—and a story to follow, it’s one of the best Star Wars games LucasArts ever published. Of course, you can replace this entry with Star Wars: X-Wing if you’d prefer to play as the boring old Rebel Alliance.

FTL: Faster Than Light

Year 2012Developer Subset Games

FTL mixes turn-based and real-time strategy together to capture the experience of captaining a Star Trek-style spacecraft. It’s a strong roguelike, too, with a backdrop of a familiar yet fun sci-fi universe that comes with its own semi-humorous lore and a neat set of narrative beats that make the journey to its finale endlessly exciting. Being able to name your ship and crew makes it all the more heartbreaking when they die together in enemy space.

Wing Commander: Privateer

Year 1993Developer Origin Systems

Fans of the series will argue endlessly about which Wing Commander is the best, but we love Privateer’s darker feel. It’s a rich sandbox in which you can be a mercenary, a pirate, a merchant, or a mix of all three. You jump between systems looking for bounties to hunt and ships to rob, and the first-person dogfights are a thrill. There’s a linear story, but the real joy lies in doing your own thing and carving your own path through the stars.

 EVE: Valkyrie

Year 2016Developer CCP Games

If you have a VR headset, this is the game to play on it. In Valkyrie you get to experience EVE Online’s famous space battles from the more intimate perspective of an individual fighter pilot. The feeling of being strapped into a cockpit, hurtling through space at immense speeds, is a visceral one. And the combat has been tuned specifically for virtual reality.

Kerbal Space Program

Year 2015Developer Squad

Wrestle with gravity and the laws of physics as you build your own spacecraft and attempt to explore the cosmos. A robust, compelling sandbox of possibilities that’s as funny as it is clever. Escaping Kerbin’s atmosphere and landing on the Mun (without exploding) for the first time with a ship you’ve built yourself is about as satisfying as PC gaming gets.

Take On Mars

Year 2013Developer Bohemia Interactive

If you like your space games a little more grounded, try Arma developer Bohemia’s Take On Mars. It’s a space exploration and colonisation simulator largely based on real astro-science. You can build a Curiosity-style rover and explore the surface of the red planet or construct your own Martian colony. A game for folk who want the sci without too much of the fi.

 Sins of a Solar Empire

Year 2008Developer Ironclad Games

Mixing real-time strategy with 4X elements, Sins is a game of galactic conquest. Choose a faction, gather resources and become a mighty space-lord. Commanding its real-time wars is thrilling, but combat isn’t always the answer: you can use diplomacy to conquer systems too. A refreshingly slow-paced RTS with some truly massive space battles to stare slack-jawed at.

Space Engineers

Year 2013Developer Keen Software House

Harvest asteroids for building materials then craft them into floating bases, flyable spaceships, and more besides. You can hover around the map with a jetpack or build a gravity generator to walk safely on the surface of bigger asteroids. One of the best co-op build-’em-ups on PC.

Starbound

Year 2013Developer Chucklefish Games

Terraria-esque survival with a science fiction twist. Hop between randomly generated planets on a starship, hunt alien creatures for food, build colonies and underground bases, and try not to die in the process. A brilliant sci-fi sandbox with a charming art style. Playable races include robots, beings made of solar energy, ape-like creatures, and colourful wingless birds.

SpaceEngine

Year 2010Developer Vladimir Romanyuk

Do you like feeling small and insignificant? Then play SpaceEngine, which features, incredibly, the entire universe. Or at least the bit we know about. Focus on Earth, then pull back at top speed, and you suddenly become aware of how you’re on a tiny speck of dust hurtling through an endless void. The tech is remarkable, allowing you to travel effortlessly between galaxies and land on planets. But besides exploring, there isn’t much else to it.

Homeworld Remastered Collection

Homeworld: Cataclysm, the standalone expansion to the magnificent trans-galactic RTS Homeworld, was not included with the Homeworld Remastered Collection released by Gearbox in 2015. The reasons still aren't entirely clear, although Fists of Heaven does a good job of summarizing the confusion and conflict over ownership rights, missing source code, and whether or not the code was really needed in the first place. The bottom line, though, was that Cataclysm was not coming back. 

But now it has come back, though not remastered and with a slightly different name—Homeworld: Emergence—but playable out of the box (in the digital sense) and exactly as it was when it was new. Set 15 years after the story told in Homeworld, Emergence follows a minor mining clan called Kiith Somtaaw, which stumbles upon a deadly nanobot infestation that threatens to overwhelm the galaxy. It features the same basic gameplay as its predecessor, expanded with new ship and technologies, and "enhanced fleet management" that makes corralling your forces in real-time 3D space a little bit easier. 

"The source code is in fact lost, but we didn’t need it to work on the game and make it compatible with modern OSes," a GOG rep explained. "We worked closely with Gearbox Software and used the builds we had in-house." As for the new title, that's a precautionary move. "'Cataclysm' is now a registered trademark of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., and the game has been renamed to avoid confusion," GOG said.   

Homeworld: Emergence is available now for ten percent off its regular $10 price until June 29. GOG has also picked up the newer, ground-based prequel RTS Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak, which is 66 percent off ($17) until June 29, and has the Homeworld Remastered Collection on sale too for $12. 

PC Gamer

We last talked about Homeworld 2's Complex mod back in 2012, and the ambitious enterprise has jumped up two whole numbers since then. Now a modification for Homeworld Remastered rather than the original Homeworld 2, Complex adds many more intricacies to the business of multiplayer space battling, while finding room to include a new co-op campaign, lots of fresh assets, and other additions and tweaks to the Homeworld formula.

Creator Bocchi started a successful Patreon campaign for Complex 10 around a year ago, and it was released just before the end of 2016, adding, among other things, playable Hiigaran and Vaygr factions and a "new multiplayer environment". You can download it here, although the file is listed as "archived" for some reason, so I'm guessing there's an update in the pipeline.

YouTuber Dinky has a video series detailing Complex 10. I've put the first episode below.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

An entirely objective ranking of the 50 best PC strategy games ever made, now brought up to date with the riches of the last two years. From intricate wargames to soothing peacegames, the broad expanse of the genre contains something for everyone, and we’ve gathered the best of the best. The vast majority are available to buy digitally, a few are free to download and play forever. They’re all brilliant.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - [GBX] JoeK
General

- Resolved a memory fragmentation error which could lead to crashes.
- Homeworld 2 classic properly responds to -locale command line
- Fixed a crash when a missing mad state was called.
- Fixed exploit where hyperspacing mothership would allow autocapture of ships already headed toward it
- Frigates and Corvettes now attack more consistently. (With Balance tweaks to account for this)
- Fixed issue when loading old campaign persist files (ships missing when in legacy strikegroups)
- Fixed weird cursor skin issue when hovering over certain buttons
- Ships no longer overshoot kushan carrier docking bays
- Fixed mouse speed issues on giant multiscreen display setups and added command lines to future proof it a bit. -CameraDragX -CameraDragY. (Multiplier)
- Fixed issue where a few ships had missing geometry, textures, odd normals, etc.
- Tweaks to primary ship shaders for improved visual fidelity, speed.
- Cryotray and transports can be sphere guarded now.
- Vaygr resource collectors no longer aspire to be archeologists.
- Mods - added traceHOD command line to ease tracking down corrupt or invalid files.
- Mods - ConfigFilter.lua - BasePath string allows specification of Player profile path for Mod data.
- facetAutoFOV - Command line property for use with facetCount to limit total horizontal FOV.
PC Gamer

Today is June 7 and that means the Homeworld Remastered 2.0 update is live, and the full list of patch notes is now available to the public. The complete list of changes can be seen here, but highlights include a rebalancing of the entire game both single and multiplayer and a complete overhaul of the formations system to better support Homeworld 1 formations.

Formations will break on combat into combat groups based on the ships that are part of the formation. This is to more closely emulate HW1 and to make sure that ships perform as optimally as you would expect, the patch notes state. Formations have a unit cap depending on the ships and formation used. This is to ensure formations are as effective in combat as possible and so that the game performs at a reasonable speed.

All ships in the game have been rebalanced to work more effectively in the new formations, and have also had their flight dynamics and engagement behaviors improved. Weapons may now use ballistic rules rather than RNG to determine hits, and tactical settings have been split into separate Rules of Engagement and Stances, to simultaneously emulate Homeworld 1 and 2 gameplay.

One important thing to be aware of is that pre-2.0 saves will not be valid after the patch is installed. Campaign progression will remain in place so you won't need to start over from the beginning, but mid-mission saves are out.

Homeworld Remastered also debuted on GOG today, and is currently available for half-price.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Alec was jolly pleased with the Homeworld Remastered Collection [official site], revisiting Relic’s spaceship real-time strategy classics after Gearbox spruced them up. Now they’ve even fancier, as the promised mega-patch has arrived with everything from improved fleet formations to proper ballistic weapons.

The Collection has also now arrived on GOG, for those who prefer their games DRM-free, with a hefty discount t’boot.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - [GBX] JoeK
• Note: All prior in-game saves are no longer valid. Campaign progression is still valid; you just have to restart any missions you are currently on.

Gameplay

• Entire game rebalanced. (Singleplayer and MP!)
• Formations have been completely rewritten to better support HW1 formations
• Formations will break on combat into combat groups based on the ships that are part of the formation. This is to more closely emulate HW1 and to make sure that ships perform as optimally as you would expect.
• Formations have a unit cap depending on the ships and formation used. This is to ensure formations are as effective in combat as possible and so that the game performs at a reasonable speed.
• All ships have been rebalanced to work with formations
• All ships have had a pass to improve flight dynamics and engagement behaviors.
• Weapons will now use ballistics when set to do so. (Many ships are set to this by default now.)
• Tactics have been split into "Rules of Engagement" and "Stances" to better emulate HW1 and HW2 gameplay at the same time. (Hot keys updated accordingly.)
Rules of Engagement:
• Offensive. Ships will attack all enemy ships that enter range.
• Defensive. Ships will retaliate against attackers of allies and themselves.
• Passive. Ships will not retaliate, even when fired upon.
Stances:
• Aggressive. Aggressive strike craft receive bonuses to weapon damage but penalties to speed. Aggressive ships will fight at closer ranges and will fight and stay in formation during combat.
• Evasive. Evasive strike craft receive bonuses to speed, acceleration, and take reduced damage. Evasive ships will break formation as soon as they enter combat and attempt to dodge incoming fire. Evasive strike craft fight at longer range. This stance is intended as a delaying or harassing action.
• Neutral. Normal power shunting, ships receive no bonuses or penalties. (Default)
• Ships will now automatically try and fly away from large ships that are about to explode. (Splash damage is much more meaningful now.)
• Ship Dock Holds and UnitCaps have been reworked to account for HW1 and HW2 ships being traded/salcapped and to allow a more flexible system for modders.
• 2p_Shields start locations tweaked for more balanced gameplay.
• 4p_ironcurtain, 4p_lostfalls start locations fixed to not cause rush protection damage
• 5p_treeoflife, 8p_hyerspacearena, 8p_scattered, 6p_radialsymmetry – RU locations and amounts better balanced
• Swarmers now refuel much more effectively.
• Waypoints can now be closed, creating a patrol loop. Ships can leave their patrol to attack enemy units encountered while on patrol and return to the patrol based on their Rule of Engagement or even ignore enemies altogether.
• HW2 Mission 2 – Elite Bombers are granted correctly now.
• Lagging is much less likely to cause a desync now.
• General MP game desyncs are much much rarer now.
• Drones no longer count as ships when calculating relic value
• Relic game mode balance/behaviors tweaked.
• New Magnetic field used for Tai_DefenseFighter, Tai_FieldFrigate
• Carriers Only game mode rebalanced
• Races can now have race specific formation variations.
• Various research requirements tweaked to better balance game.
• Dockpaths for Capital Ships, Motherships reworked to be quicker/more efficient.
• The salvage capture command can now be issued to multiple targets.
• Salvage capture corvettes will now stop chasing a target if it becomes obscured by fog of war.
• Added a selection modifier to select all ships not in any strike group. (Mapped to the "-" key by default).
• Fixed various drone frigate issues including some targetting issues, removing command "response" audio from drones, an issue with CPU players spamming activation, and drones sometimes not being properly destroyed.
• Cleaned up some issues with changing targets when the kamikaze command is running.
• Fixed a possible crash when cancelling a waypoint move command with no waypoints set, then issuing a move command.
• Fixed some docking issues with ships carrying back large salvage chunks (and fixed an issue with Homeworld 1 resource collectors not being able to return salvage to carriers).
• Ships running a capture or salvage capture command will break out of it if the target hyperspaces.
• Hyperspace inhibitor and defense fields will now stay active if salvage capture corvettes are latched on, but they aren't at the "returning with capture" stage.
• Fixed an issue where the Homeworld 1 scout speed boost could stay on permanently.
• The magnetic field is no longer visible through fog of war.
• Fixed the GravWell Generator so the hyperspace command is more reliably disabled when the gravity well is active.

UI

• UI is now contextually aware of what the ships are doing. The Move Icon highlights when the ship is executing a Move Order, cooldowns are represented on the icon, and available formations/active formation highlights.
• Formations are now represented as single icons in UI. (Option to use previous flat view is in the options.)
• Launch menu performance optimized. (Also uses grouped icons. Same option to use flat view affects this as well.)
• Marine Frigate capture button is now properly displayed.
• Timer moved over to allow for better layout of subtitles and other items.
• Subtitles are forced on in tutorials. This fixes a lot of odd issues with tutorial progression we were seeing.
• Chat screens cleaned up to layout and display “Left the game” messages better.
• Game saved text is displayed when a game is quick saved now.
• Cursor is more contextually aware of the player’s commands
• Stances/Rules of Engagement icons changed to match TO icons and to be more consistent in general
• Invalid save games are not displayed to user or are greyed out depending on reason.
• Population Cap screen optimized
• MP Lobby views now auto-refresh, unless disabled.
• Fixed an issue where chat messages sent to CPU players would be sent to the host of the game.

Visual/Rendering

• Dust clouds, veins, and Nebula are much easier to see.
• Various ships have had visual tweaks to improve appearance. (Geometry, texture, animations)
• Sensors screen visual fidelity updated. (Rounder shapes, clearer tactical dots). Red tactical docs are now scalable in options screen for really high rez monitors.
• Game will no longer crash on load when primary screen is in portrait mode.
• Lens flares: fixed to be occluded as intended by designers.
• Engine Glow/Burn/Trail visuals improved slightly and performance optimized.
• Merged all Goblins into ship meshes to improve performance. (Goblins no longer supported)
• Command Line: Added -fakeFullscreen option. Allows use of a fullscreen window that does not capture the device. Use this option at your own risk as it is not officially supported.
• Command Line: Added -facetCount=XX option. Draws screen in vertical slices to prevent distortion, 'bends' the view. Can allow for 360 degree rendering, etc.
• Fixed a few mismatched portrait icons.
• M02 sun and flare now align correctly.
• EZ13 mission performance greatly improved.
• Game will try and use a discrete GPU rather than integrated GPU when available. This applies to Windows Vista and Windows 7 only. Windows 8 and Windows 10 users are advised to ensure a profile exists in the vendor's control panel to ensure optimal performance.
• OpenGL initialization improved to compensate for legacy overlay rendering performed by 3rd party software. While 3rd party overlays are not officially supported, overlays should no longer cause inappropriate translucency ordering or difficulty streaming.
• Added DOK badge.
• Capture/Latch points refined.

Misc

• Various Localization fixes.
• Executable load time improved by removing most DLLs.
• Removed DirectX 9 dependency check on startup.
• Russian save games now work properly.
• Keybindings in Russian and other languages are now consistent with English.
• Handfull of new keybindings/adjustments. See keybindings menu for details.
• Plus key bound to selecting ships not in a Formation.
• NumPad now works correctly.
• Removed necessity to sign up for SHiFT to play MP.
• Selections using mouse input should feel a lot better in general.
• Improved level load times.

Modders

• Added Scenario system to allow saving and playing back of starting fleet arrangements. (-loadScenario/-saveScenario)
• Added dropdown menu control.
• Buttons now have the ability to have different behaviors based on if the alt/shift/ctrl keys are being held down. Tooltips react to inform players of changed functionality.
• Ship turrets are instanced, allowing the base game assets to be easily modded via the new mod patching system that allows base assets to be nondestructively altered.
• .HOD format has been updated. HODOR/RODOH updates to come in the near future.
• Ship performance and behaviors can now be modified depending on what stance they are in. Formations also share these modifiers and can stack on top. Bullet speed, firing rates, weapon damage are just some of the things that can be changed. A formation of Laser Corvettes can turn incrementally slower as more ships are added to the formation or accelerate faster as the formation gets smaller due to losses.
• New flight maneuver abilities allow for more intuitive behavior- for instance it is now possible for fighters to slow down during their attack run to maximize time on target and speed up when coming back around. This behavior feeds into the ballistics system-ships caught going slower during a strafing run are easier to hit.
The original, Homeworld 2 classic requirement for a ship to be mine-laying capable before it will consider firing at missiles/torpedoes/mines has been removed. Additionally, all missiles/torpedoes/mines have been separated from the generic attack class “projectile” to provide ease-of-use for mod authors wishing to create ballistic anti-missile/torpedo defense systems.
...

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