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Don't even ask "Are we there yet?"


 "100 years ago, a satellite detected an object under the sands of the Great Desert. An expedition was sent. [They found] An ancient starship, buried in the sand. Deep inside the ruin was a single stone that would change the course of our history forever. On the stone was etched a galactic map and a single word more ancient than the clans themselves:



 'Hiigara'. Our home.


The clans were united, and a massive colony ship was designed. ... The promise of the Guidestone united the entire population. Every mind became focused on the true origin of our people, every effort on the construction of the ship that would seek it out amongst the stars."
Homeworld, Opening Narration

A Real Time Strategy game created by Relic Entertainment in 1999. It was a groundbreaking title, as it was the first RTS franchise to allow fully realized 3-D movement. The game takes place entirely in space, and all units are spacecraft.

Kharak, a desert planet in some distant galaxy, is home to a fractionated race of formerly nomadic people, who have just recently begun to build a modern society with the beginnings of sublight space travel. The discovery of the Guidestone confirms that they are not native to their planet. The ship they create for their return to Hiigara, the Mothership, is a self-contained factory ship, able to produce anything it might need on the journey, and it has a cargo bay large enough for over half a million cryogenically preserved colonists. The game opens as the ship is to undergo its first hyperspace jump, to the edge of the system and back. But when they come home, they can only watch as Kharak is destroyed by The Empire. Now the only survivors of their race, the crew of the Mothership prepare to take the fight to the enemy... and reclaim their homeworld.

The game was innovative, but its slow pace, odd mechanics and tricky interface meant that it was not warmly received by the RTS community, who at the time were in the early stages of a long reign for the king of the fast-paced RTS, Starcraft. Despite critical praise, the game hasn't had the staying power of its competitor.

Two other games were released and both reference the Taiidan as the The Empire. Homeworld: Cataclysm is of disputed canonicity[1]; created by a different developer, it details the adventures of one clan of the Kharaki people 15 years after the successful return to Hiigara. The official sequel, Homeworld 2, revamped the original's gameplay somewhat, and massively improved graphics, but met with some criticism that its plot, mood, characterization and voice acting were of lower quality compared to the unusually high quality of the originals. Any talk of a complete trilogy had to be put on hold when Sierra sold Relic to Vivendi Universal but kept the rights to the Homeworld franchise for itself. It's rumored, however, that Relic have managed to re-obtain their property...

Despite its pacing problems the game has a very strong cult following thank to its extremely pretty visuals (even today, but especially back in 1999) and hauntingly good soundtrack.

Tropes used in Homeworld include:

  • After the End: The player's fleet continues on to Hiigara mainly because The Empire eradicated Kharak, their homeworld-in-exile, on the basis of a treaty banning the Kharaki from possessing hyperdrive technology.
  • All There in the Manual: All three game manuals, the first game and Cataclysm's especially, contained pages upon pages of extracts, setting information, stories, and general 'fluff' content to add to what was already quite well presented in-game.
    • HW2 was annoying in that elements of backstory and plot developments since the previous games, all necessary to understanding of the plot, were not in the manual but instead in the strategy guide. This includes the core concepts the story was based around, which were never explained in the manual or the game itself (like how the Kushan actually brought their exile on themselves by being a bunch of Jerk Asses with their new hyperspace core, or just what the heck Sajuuk was supposed to be in the first place).
  • A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away
  • Almighty Janitor: The Somtaaw in Cataclysm. Merely a clan of peaceful miners... which didn't stop them from kicking the ass of a techno-organic virus infecting everything it came in contact with. They lose this status in the end however, as their efforts become fully acknowledged.
    • The Junkyard Dog in the Karos Graveyard (HW1), a rather more literal example. Unless you know the trick to disabling it, it can and will make off with many of your capital ships. Even then, it is damn hard to kill.
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of any Bentusi whose ship is infected by the beast in Cataclysm, which is why they'd rather have themselves blown into a billion pieces.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: For constructed vessels, but significantly not for captured ones, in the first game at least.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: You can actually see kinetic rounds disappear into thin air (or is it thin vacuum?) if they miss their target and then fly out to their maximum range. Same is true for missiles.
  • Arms Dealer: The Bentusi, though instead of giving you actual ships they sell technology which gives you the ability to build them.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Take a look at "Tactical Rock Paper Scissors" below. HW2 has it such that certain units are good against other units. However the AI is pretty keen on using bombers to tangle with your fighters, sending flak frigates up against destroyers, or attempting to respond to a corvette raid with a battlecruiser. Also the AI will send units charging into a vastly superior force and doesn't know the meaning of retreat.
  • Asshole Victim: Background story indicates that the Ancient Hiigaran Empire was just as bad as the Taiidan Empire. The Hiigarans simply ended up being the losers.
  • Asteroid Miners: Your basic worker units. Cataclysm has a asteroid mining clan as protagonists.
  • Asteroid Drop: in a non-planetary example, the second-to-last mission of HW1 has you defend the Mothership from a huge Mothership-sized asteroid that the The Empire toss at you.
  • Asteroid Thicket: HW1 includes a mission where a thicket of asteroids must be cleared in order to advance into a nebula. If any one of the asteroids collides with the mothership (or any of the ships in the fleet), they will cause an incredible amount of damage (and very likely a One-Hit Kill).
  • Attack Drone: The original and first sequel both have ships designed to deploy these. Unlike in most games, these are quite vulnerable to enemy fire, and are often considered underpowered.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: There's a number of combat formations for your ships. Justified in that most of the formations have a practical purpose, and the manual explains that some of the formations are simply there because it makes grouping and keeping track of your forces easier (which was the whole reason for military formations since ancient times).
  • Back From the Brink: The first game averts this--the grand evil empire won thousands of years ago. The forces fought in the first few missions are either petty space pirates or the fringe fleets of the empire who just happened to be in the area. The Mothership intelligence officer even makes it rather obvious that the chosen flight route is designed to avoid having to deal with the bulk of enemy forces.
  • Bag of Spilling: Over the course of Cataclysm, the Somtaaw receive some very useful technology and applied it to several units, but in HW2 there is no evidence that these technologies were ever retained and improved--but this could be due to the Somtaaw hoarding their discoveries.
    • Somewhat averted in the case of strike craft, which no longer have to periodically refuel. However, this may simply have been for gameplay purposes.
    • The manual for Cataclysm even mentions that Kiith Somtaaw isn't using most of the awesome technology the Hiigarans gained in the first game because they can't afford the licensing fees for it.
  • The Battlestar: Battlecruisers from HW2. While they can't manufacture strike craft on their own, they can repair them and keep your fighter wings in the fight for that much longer.
    • There's also the Turanic Battle Carrier of HW1, which, on top of possessing the production and launching capabilities of regular carriers, also mounts heavy armor and two Ion Cannons.
    • The Kuun-Lan of Cataclysm initially doesn't fill this role since it lacks much weaponry, but once it mounts the Siege Cannon...
      • The Somtaaw carriers generally lack the firepower and armor of the heavier ships in your fleet, but if you protect them with a dozen Sentinels each, they can laugh off almost any attack in the game while supporting your fighter wings.
  • Beam Spam: Masses of ion frigates, and especially Cataclysm's Multi-Beam Frigates: take a cannon that normally has a whole ship built around it, reduce its power a little bit... and multiply the number of firing points (that can fire simultaneously) by five. Not to mention they're about as hard to herd as a horde of kittens.
  • Beat Them At Their Own Game: Almost all of the ships developed and built during HW1 are based on the opponent's weapons and engines technology, either reverse-engineered from capture or analysis or traded for with the Bentusi. Furthermore, almost every enemy ship can be captured and added to the fleet. Justified by the fact that most of the Kharaki clans ("Kiith") saw little value in preparing military forces for a peaceful expedition--and that the Mothership is capable of developing and building ships on its own.
    • ... And then, the Beast comes along in Cataclysm and start subverting the Somtaaw's best ships, meaning it's stealing what they stole. (Of course, that's what the Beast does.)
    • Averted in Homeworld 2, where the Vaygr technology (and deployment doctrine as well) is markedly different than that of the Hiigarans. Played straight again when both have to deal with and use the Progenitor technology.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The Bentusi.
  • Big Dumb Object: Chunks of what appears to be a Dyson Sphere or a ringworld appear in the background of the Karos Graveyard missions from both games. No explaination is ever given.
  • Big No: When the Beast Naggarok in Cataclysm is destroyed it lets off a whopping 30 second "Nooooooo!" in the Voice of the Legion, which continues long after the ship finishes exploding.
  • Boarding Party: Assault parties can board enemy ships via beaming and hull-breaching infiltrator pods in HW2.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Several missions park a heavy cruiser or three right in front of the mission target. If said cruisers have support frigate backup, you can quickly find yourself in trouble.
  • Bottomless Magazines: For mass driver weapons.
  • Breather Level: After each level of HW1, the player can choose to sit around and do whatever they like, such as collect resources or build ships. In addition, a few missions (such as missions 09 and 11) feature very little in the way of combat or difficulty compared to the previous mission(s). The game drew some criticism for how long these breather segments could last.
    • Homeworld 2, on the other hand, removed manual exiting of a mission zone in favor of just giving all the resources that were left in the area, then leaving--even when it made no sense, such as being given thousands of kilometers worth of unharvested resource pockets while fleeing an explosion that creates a massive spacial hazard, with seconds to spare.
    • One of the points where Cataclysm was praised was the option to increase time-flow by up to 800%, as it stuck to the first game's way of dealing with mission endings (though it often left the player with a significantly stronger force coming after their hide, as an incentive to move on.)
  • But What About the Astronauts?: The Mothership fleet after the The Empire burned Kharak, though any other astronauts present during the attack where killed anyway.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: When Fleet Command finally calls out the Bentusi for screwing them over and ignoring them, this happens.
  • Check Point: HW1 automatically saves at the beginning of each level. HW2 auto-saves almost every time something interesting happens.
  • Civil Warcraft: In Cataclysm, the Beast captures and converts many of the Somtaaw's own ships, then sends them into battle against their former brethren. This leads to near disaster later on when the Somtaaw meets an allied fleet while the Beast attacks them with their own converted ships--the allied fleet assumes all of the Somtaaw have been absorbed by the Beast, and treats them as hostile until proven otherwise.
  • Clown Car Base: There is no way the Carriers have enough room to fit all of those Strike Craft and the manufacturing facilities for them. Even the largest vessels still seem too small for what they are said to contain.
    • Scaling of units is deliberately skewed, especially when the camera is zoomed out, to make the smaller craft visible at scales the larger craft are useful on. It's possible to disable this scaling, which makes carrier capacity a bit more realistic visually, but doesn't entirely solve the problem.
  • Collision Damage: Ships will take damage if they collide with each other or with asteroids. It may also be a One-Hit Kill in certain situations; see Asteroid Thicket and Ramming Always Works. This is even done as a valid tactic both by the computer and by players.
  • Command and Conquer Economy: Justified in that the player is the commander of a military fleet whose centerpiece is a massive construction ship.
  • Competitive Balance: All of the games have this in some form or other; strike craft are beaten by frigates, frigates get eaten for breakfast by destroyers, destroyers get owned by heavy cruisers, and heavy cruisers get swarmed by strike craft. Homeworld 2 takes this several steps further, with certain ship types getting bonus damage against others (for instance, bomber squadrons doing bonus damage against battlecruisers).
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Really bad in Homeworld 2. Let us count the ways:
    • Dynamic Difficulty: The computer's forces are dynamically spawned based on your own, and will always be numerically superior, usually to a rather unfair degree. Even worse, this is in real time; programming scales enemy forces according to how many ships the player's fleet has. Editing a savegame file to increase the amount of ships owned by the player's fleet will correspondingly add to the enemy's as well. This leads into...
    • Do Well, But Not Perfect: If you max out your fleet, you've almost guaranteed that you will lose certain missions. If the mission requires you to protect anything but yourself, you've basically failed. It is possible to win, but unlikely as hell. This is because...
    • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: You have a limit to how many of each type of ship you can have. The computer does not. Good luck shooting down seven battlecruisers (you can have two max) without losing a fair chunk of your fleet.
    • Not Playing Fair with Resources: In the third mission of HW2, the Vaygr have unlimited money and are not relying on a resourcing operation, since you can (by manipulating map triggers) bust it up long before the enemy actually arrives, and still not dent their infinite stream of attacks. To a lesser extent, the Vaygr in any given mission do not actually seem to need their resourcing operations, but in the interest of fair play they will not build more ships if you stifle it. Instead they will build wave after wave of resource collectors to act like they're playing nice.
  • Concept Art Gallery
  • Construct Additional Pylons: Partially averted, but wholly justified, in HW1; the Mothership--which houses all the Kharaki colonists--is their entire base, and handles construction of practically every ship internally (and there is a hard limit to the amount of ships of each type that can be built — but not for captured ships). The Mothership was specifically designed with this ability so that it could adapt to unforeseen situations; hostile alien encounters were deemed unthinkable, which is why the only real military ship available at the outset is a lightweight strike craft. Everything else had to be reverse-engineered, traded for, or researched in order to build them.
    • Cataclysm, however, plays it straight with support modules, although even there it's more of a nuisance, as you only build them once, and you have more than enough money to max them out and forget about them for the rest of the game.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: In the first game, both playable sides are almost identical except for having two unique ships each, with the main difference being the location of turrets (usually not an issue, but Taiidan Gunships and Kushan Destroyers have better gun placement than those of the opposing side). In the later games, much more diversity is in place.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: In HW1, most capital ships lack point defense systems, leaving them especially vulnerable to strike craft. The Kushani in particular lack designs capable of effectively covering themselves.
    • Roles flip in HW2, where the Vaygr (who perform a lot of pillaging of ship designs and technologies) have the highly-specialized units, while the Hiigarans have worked on integrating their acquired technologies into units capable of fulfilling multiple roles.
  • Critical Existence Failure: A ship in HW1 will start smoking and flaring when sufficiently damaged, but will still work just fine until that last hit point goes and it suddenly explodes.
    • Averted for the most part in Cataclysm, sometimes to the point of jabbing game balance. Ships decrease in effectiveness, especially movement speed, as more and more damage is taken. This can be especially harmful to fighter squadrons, which stubbornly refuse to leave any of their members behind unless expressly told to do so, and thus one damaged strike craft makes all of its wingmen vulnerable.
    • Averted in HW2, where it is possible to target "subsystems" (such as the engines or missile launchers) on some ships, allowing you to disable that ship without destroying it. However, any weapons or systems that don't have a subsystem available will still work perfectly until the ship explodes, massive chunks of blasted hull and plumes of flame and gas aside.
  • Cutscene: HW1 has both in-engine cutscenes during the missions and hand-drawn animations between each mission.
    • Cutscene Incompetence: One mission opens with a Bentusi vessel on the brink of destruction due to an Imperial ambush, despite its obscene firepower.
    • Cutscene Power to the Max: Progenitor Dreadnaught obliterates a battlecruiser in one shot in a cutscene. Unable to do it once you take control of it. Justified, since the shot in the cutscene was clearly too strong, crippling the dreadnought itself.
  • Darker and Edgier: The premise of Cataclysm.
  • Deflector Shields: Largely averted; ships rely on armor plating to stop enemy attacks. The Taiidan do get a Defense Field Frigate and Defense Fighter in HW1, which can nullify enemy mass driver weapons and missiles, but not ion beams, and only as long as they have enough energy.
    • Played straight with the Sentinel strike craft of Cataclysm. Sentinels are slow and have very little firepower, but a group of them can link together to form a shield, and can be ordered to escort one of your units and project this shield in front of them. Group enough of them together, and you can create a shield that completely surrounds a unit.
  • Disc One Nuke: See the YMMV page's entry for Game Breaker. In both HW1 and Cataclysm, it is possible to use your salvage units to pick up enemy ships, often ones that you can't build until later or that you can't obtain at all.
    • In HW1, it is possible to hijack an Imperial Carrier and two Destroyers before the end of the fifth mission, and Kadeshi Multi-Beam Frigates soon after. And while there is an Arbitrary Headcount Limit on constructing new ships, you can capture as many as you like; a well managed squadron of salvage corvettes can result in exceeding the various ship caps five or six times over by the endgame. You can even exceed the limit on Heavy Cruisers before you are allowed to build any of your own.
    • This can be taken to ludicrous extremes in Cataclysm. In the sixth mission, you are ordered to destroy a Taiidani Heavy Cruiser using Leech drones, since you don't have the ability to construct anything that can take it down in a head-on fight. You could also capture it instead, and then alert the nearby security station of your presence, causing them to send a fleet of Frigates and two Destroyers at you... all of which you can capture as well. And you can't even construct any of your own Destroyers until mission 11.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: That's precisely what Cataclysm is about.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Both the female fleet command and the male tactical advisor keep their voices level at all times. This becomes quite chilling in, say, the third mission in HW1 where fleet command narrates the destruction of Kharak, and at the end of this mission the advisor tells you the information they got from a crew member one of the attacking ships you captured during this mission. He concludes with "The subject did not survive interrogation."
    • Averted by the command team in Cataclysm--justified, as they're simply a group of miners way in over their heads.
    • Also averted in places by Homeworlds 1 and 2. While Karan is, generally, very calm and composed there is the odd point where things become too much for her and she slips, and on a couple of occasions the bridge crew become emotional as well - the slightly broken-sounding 'there's nothing left for us here' at the end of the third mission, or the choked delivery of the death tolls during Homeworld 2's final mission.
  • Doomed Hometown: As mentioned above, your home planet (along with about 300 million people) is destroyed right at the beginning of HW1.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: HW1 has a persistent fleet; therefore, doing well early on makes it much easier later, while doing poorly makes it much harder... but it's possible that doing extremely well can make the later missions virtually impossible--one common trap is stealing too many Ion Frigates in the "holy Hiigara that's a lot of Ion Frigates" level. Fortunately, the game is so ridiculously difficult that it is almost impossible to do well enough to meet that eventuality.
    • HW2 is very very bad about this, especially in the later missions, because of the Dynamic Difficulty. One mission involves the defense of several (relatively tough) subsystems. If the Hiigarans have next to no ships, few enemy ships will attack the subsystems. If the Hiigarans enter the mission zone with a full fleet instead, the enemy will have no less than a dozen frigates for each subsystem, blasting away as fast as possible. In all likelihood, two of the three will be destroyed by the time you get close enough to defend them, and the third will quite literally be on its last bits of health. It's possible to win, just absurdly difficult. The next mission allows the enemy fleet to surpass the limit of ships allowed to the Hiigarans--meaning that where the player can only have two battlecruisers, the enemy will have seven.
  • Dummied Out: A promotional demo disc of Homeworld was released under the title "Raider Retreat". It follows the first few missions of the game faithfully, which almost all deal with the Turanic Raiders, but the final mission in the demo is an assault on the Turanic Raiders' world, which doesn't appear anywhere in the game, and even had some special voice acting. A look at the game's data files reveals that it is present as "mission05_oem", but unplayable in the final version of the game. Quite a pity, because the level was enjoyable.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Kushan lost their home, were wiped almost to extinction, forced to flee across literally half the galaxy pursued by an interstellar empire, and were nearly obliterated many times, but in the end managed to find their Homeworld.
  • Earth-That-Was: Hiigara, the eponymous homeworld. In a rare subversion, the plot of the first game is all about getting back to Hiigara, which is found in more-or-less pristine condition. Cataclysm and HW2 are all about protecting Hiigara after it's been reclaimed.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Beast.
  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower: Several, such as the fully repaired Progenitor Dreadnought (and eventually Sajuuk) in HW2 and the Super Acolytes in Cataclysm.
  • Enemy Civil War: The Imperial Civil War. The impetus for the conflict was the destruction of Kharak, and the rebels even aid the exiles in the last stage in return for rescuing their leader. This is played further in Cataclysm where the Taiidan Republic is allied to the Hiigarans, but the Taiidan Empire is continuing to look for a way to regain their power.
  • Everything Fades: Destroyed vessels will simply disappear, despite debris fields from other vessels featuring quite prominently in several places.
  • Fan Nickname: "Banana Ship". Guess what it is for.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The Ion Cannon Frigate and Vaygr Battlecruiser. Tactically very important, as both ships have limited turn speed.
  • Flavor Text: Descriptions for all of its units in the manual of the game.
  • Defictionalization: there's a program that allows you to convert ship files into paper cutouts for 3D models.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Despite its massive engines and ability to hyperspace jump, the Mothership cannot be ordered to move in the single-player campaign of HW1. It can, however, move in multiplayer gameplay and during campaign cutscenes, and in HW2 its propulsion systems are fully operational.
  • Garrisonable Structures
  • Glass Cannon: Frigates pack a lot of punch but are easily destroyed, and the enemy really likes to pick on them. This is especially true of the Kadeshi Multi-Beam Frigate, which boasts as much firepower as a Heavy Cruiser, if not more, but is just as easily destroyed as any frigate.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Well, the Taidan imperials think so.

{{quote| Kuun-Lan: How can you be helping this thing?
Taidan flagship: What choice do we have, Hiigaran? Your mad quest shattered our imperial sphere. You took the life of our immortal emperor. [[Why Did You Make Me Hit You? Whatever we have been driven to now is your fault." }}

  • Gunship Rescue: The arrival of the rebel reinforcements in the final mission of HW1.
    • In an earlier mission, the player themselves do this for a stricken Bentusi vessel.
    • In the final mission of HW 2, it's this and The Cavalry when The Mothership/Sajuuk fleet jumps back to Hiigara, with the Sajuuk and its main cannon as the centerpiece of the fleet.
  • Hand Wave: The sudden lack of need to refuel strike craft after the first game. The manual states that the Bentusi let you "borrow" the advanced reactor found in the Acolyte fighter (not to mention the design for the ship itself).
  • High Fantasy/The Epic : Even though the setting is a pretty standard Space Opera, the story is told in a very mythical way, more similar to an ancient folk legend passed on via oral storytelling.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: All over the place in Cataclysm. Some are reasonable, some are quite grating.
    • "Join the kiith!" is used at one point by Kuun-Lan's Fleet Command to express (disparaging) sympathy toward the Bentusi when the latter says they're afraid, in place of "join the club." It's Justified because the Faal-Corum, Kuun-Lan, and their respective fleets practically are what remains of Kiith Somtaaw, and they're all terrified of the Beast.
  • The Homeward Journey: That's precisely what HW1 is about.
  • Hufflepuff House: There are six major Kiith in HW1, but only S'jet is mentioned in game.
  • Human Aliens: Practically all the races.
  • Infinity-1 Sword: While capturing enemy Heavy Cruisers and Destroyers in Cataclysm will result in a Disc One Nuke, they become essentially obsolete when you gain the ability to build your own Destroyers and Dreadnoughts. While the older capital ships can field more raw firepower than the ones you can build, they also lack the capability to be upgraded... meaning that they lose their firepower advantage over time, they do not have the ability to self-repair, and they can be turned against you with infection beams.
  • Instant Expert: Completely averted in Cataclysm, where ships had to be "upgraded" after you researched a new tech for them. Unfortunately, Cataclysm warfare is so stop-and-go in the first place that this concession to reality had almost no practical effect. Played straight in Homeworld 2 where any and all researched upgrades are immediately applied to your fleet.
  • Invisible Wall Attempting to wander off from the map is quite impossible.
  • ISO Standard Hiigaran Spaceship: The Kushan ships of HW1 are very thick and boxy in design (even with their strike craft!). Their default colors are gunmetal gray with white detailing. The Hiigarans continue the tradition in HW2, though they paint their ships blue, and the ships are more sleek in design.
  • Itano Circus: Very pretty trails behind strike craft and corvettes as they loop and twirl in combat. No "float there and plink each other" for this game!
    • The game justifies this by providing documentation on how fusion drives work in-universe; the pretty trails are the pressurized plasma exhaust from each ship's fusion core whose ejection is used for thrust. The minutia of this engine design were used to further justify atmospheric fighter-like movement and the fact that a lack of thrust results in a lack of movement in general. That is, as well as using the primary exhaust for thrust, much smaller, secondary exhaust ports are littered across ships' hulls, providing counter thrust both when needed, and to simulate conventional flight for the sake of pilots' sanity.
  • I Will Fight No More Forever: If you bother reading the backstory and fluff of HW2, turns out the Bentusi did this trope after they manhandled the Kushan's ancestors in a epic battle between the Harborship and the Pride of Sajuuk and have relegated themselves to Lawful Neutral and Arms Dealer ever since. Though as evident, their trade ships are still armed to the teeth with rapid fire ion cannons but they only ever use them for self-defense, making it a justifiable use of weaponry on their part.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: "The subject did not survive interrogation."
  • Justified Tutorial
  • Letter Motif
  • Lightning Bruiser: Thanks to its "Inertialess Drive" the Naggarok can "slide" through space with the speed and agility of a fighter-sized craft despite being the size of the Kuun-Lan. This makes it a bitch to score a hit on with the Kuun-lan's slow-charging, slow-firing, but super-powerful Siege Cannon; fortunately, the drive can be temporarily disabled using the ACV's electrical discharge ability.
    • Dear GOD the Kadeshi Swarmers and Advanced Swarmers. They far outmatch any strikecraft you can field in terms of sheer speed and damage, and they're so fast that some of the Kushan battle chatter while attempting to (and failing) fire upon Kadeshi swarmers is something along the lines of "Target's too fast". Luckily they've got some fuel problems, and you're eventually able to field multi-gun corvettes that are great counters to the Kadeshi in general.
  • Living Ship: The Beast, from Cataclysm, a biomechanical virus that turns living matter into neural control networks, takes this to the next level by being a living fleet. The Beast tactical advisor in multiplayer even refers to its ships as "selves".
  • Locked Out of the Fight: The main role of the Ramming Frigates in Cataclysm is to push out the enemy ships out of the battle, buying time for the Somtaaw fleet to eliminate the rest of opposition before the rammed enemy ships can rejoin.
  • Long Lost Sibling: The Kadeshi are the descendants of the same people as the Kharaki. Which you learn only after you wipe them (or most of them) out.
  • Lost Forever: in the sequel, when you switch command from the Mothership to Sajuuk, you lose the ability to build Movers. If you don't have any, or you lose any, you can't make more.
  • Machine Monotone: Karan S'jet shows little emotion, which wavers between creepy or reassuring depending on the situation. In retrospect, her voice is actually quite helpful in keeping the player calm in intense situations.
  • Made of Indestructium: The Far Jumper drive core can emerge from a completely destroyed ship without a single scratch.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Standard operating procedure for the various Missile Destroyers. The first game even has a special command to fire all the stored missiles in one massive salvo, if you wish, accompanied by the ships' commanders chattering "Missile dump, missile dump, empty the bins!"
    • And a frighteningly effective tactic for Cataclysm's acolyte fighter squadrons, albeit one that can only be used once per docking run.
    • And let's not get started on the entire culture of the Vaygr, which revolves around throwing as many missiles as they can to the opposition--and they use fusion missiles designed to take down frigate class and upwards. A Zerg Rush made up of Vaygr missile frigates puts the "massacre" in Macross Missile Massacre.
  • Meaningful Name: All the Somtaaw ships are named for temples on Kharak. The Kuun-Lan, your main ship in Cataclysm, means “Purifying Flame”
  • Meat Moss: Ships infected by the Beast are visibly covered in random parts of their hulls. It's all made from the ship's materials and the crew's living tissue. All of that is used to make a connection and interact with the assimilated ship's functional abilities.
  • Mobile Factory: In Homeworld II, the mothership, shipyard, and carrier classes are able to manufacture smaller vessels, and battlecruisers can repair fighters. There are also mobile refineries, which convert matter into energy.
  • More Dakka: Multi-Gun corvettes. Designed to chew up bombers and fighters. Six rapid-firing turreted railguns.
  • The Mothership: The core ship in all of the player's fleets (Carriers can sometimes stand in for Motherships in multiplayer games), most notably the Hiigaran Mothership. The alternate Mothership stands in as the Imperial Flagship in the first game.
  • Mr. Exposition: The Bentusi sure love the sound of their voice(s).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Beast infection in Cataclysm was unleashed by Kiith Somtaaw, who then spend the rest of the game taking level-after-level in badass in order to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
    • It's subtly implied in the backstory to HW2 that the only thing keeping the Vaygr from sweeping across the galaxy like a horde of locusts like they do in HW2 was the Taiidan Empire...
  • Oh Crap: The entire second mission of the game is one giant Oh Crap moment for first time players, particularly after the wreck of the Khar Selim is located and its black box is recovered and replayed.

  "What do you mean "they're not ours"? Well if they're not ours, then who the hell are they?"

  • One World Order: The discovery of the Guidestone and subsequent construction of the Mothership united the clans of Kharak. It's also mentioned however that the clans still exist after they "returned" to Hiigara.
  • Orchestral Bombing: Kharak
  • Organic Technology: The Beast converts its victims into this.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Part of the backstory of the Kushan. Subverted in that the religion they abandoned was a mix of their pre-exile religion, which many had taken up again by Homeworld 2, and confused folk memories of their exile. It turns out they really were put on their dying world as punishment for their hubris, just not by Sajuuk.
  • Overrated and Underleveled: Players expecting the Beast side in Cataclysm to either be a Zerg Rush side or a turtling side often claim this.
  • Patient Zero: The Beast infection started when the Naggarok picked it up and was infected in hyperspace then dropped out of hyperspace in the Homeworld galaxy.
  • Pausable Realtime
  • Portal Network: The Eye of Aarran, a network of hyperspace gates. An unusual instance, in that it wasn't a gameplay element, but rather, was apparently the crowning glory of the Age of S'jet, discovered by Karan during the game's ending and opening up free trade and communication with every corner of the galaxy.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Captured vessels are able to be crewed and operated less than a minute after capturing, even if their are thousands of years of disparity between the two forces.
  • Protection Mission: Done in several missions of HW1 with the Mothership.
  • Ramming Always Works: In HW1, a common multiplayer tactic involved ramming the enemy mothership with one's own mothership. Certain ships are even designed to exploit Collision Damage with a "kamikaze" attack mode--the small portion of the rebels in the last mission of the game, for example, will head directly for the Imperial Flagship and ram it in order to help take down its monstrously high health bar.
    • In Cataclysm, two ships in particular are only able to attack kamikaze-style, most notably the Somtaaw Ramming Frigate, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Having said that, the point of the Ramming Frigate is to push its target out of battle; any damage done by the collision is almost incidental.
    • Makaan will have his fighters do this in the second to last mission if you corner him. It works annoyingly well.
  • Retcon: The role of the hyperspace core found in the Khar-Toba changes significantly between HW1 and HW2, becoming one of only three known Mac Guffins capable of traveling across the galaxy in one jump.
  • Ridiculously-Fast Construction: More justified than most considering the advanced technology available, but being able to construct a colossal, fully-stocked warship from scratch within minutes is still impressive.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: The discovery of Khar-Toba, the massive ruined spaceship in the middle of the desert, and the hyperspace core and the galactic map within are what starts the plot of the series.
  • Scary Amoral Religion: Subverted by the Kadeshi in HW1. Their hostility and insularity--allowing no one to leave the Garden of Kadesh alive, either through destroying them or having them join their society--is an attempt at keeping the The Empire from finding them.
  • Scenery Porn: Arguably the first game to successfully bring this IN SPACE!.
    • All the backgrounds were just gradients between low-resolution grid points. Somehow they managed the most beautiful sky(space?)boxes as of yet seen while having an extremely limited method of creating them. Even the mission that took place inside a partially constructed Dyson Sphere was made the same way.
    • The Karos Graveyard (pictured in the Image Links tab) features mind-bogglingly huge pieces of hull drifting in the background. The size of the ships, stations or even Dyson spheres these would have been attached to are almost impossible to imagine.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Ship weights in "tons" range from vaguely plausible to light enough to function as a zepplin.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The first contact with The Beast is made by the Somtaaw, who pick up a pod drifting in space, "A pod that contained a tiny portion of The Beast...". Subverted later with the Naggarok, a massive trans-galactic ship utterly consumed by the infection.
  • See the Whites of Their Eyes: Despite being able to travel hundreds of thousands of light years, combat is mostly restricted to several dozen kilometers of space. Justified by the "fluff" in the game manual, which explains that the Mothership with its cobbled-together hyperspace technology is all but blind unless it's in real space. It can tell if "something big enough to be interesting" is present as it goes by, but has to drop out of hyperspace to actually look.
    • The Turanic Missile Corvette is one of the exceptions, which can be captured with some slick salvage tactics. Its volley attack, similar to the Missile Destroyer's, can hit targets well beyond visual range provided another ship acts as a spotter.
    • Also, the Siege Cannon in Cataclysm pretty much has to be fired beyond visual range, or the Command Ship might blow itself up.
      • If the player on the receiving end of the shot has a repulsor, they can swat it right back from just as far away.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Each ship in the first game and Cataclysm have an option to do this. This is normally done to either deny the ship to the enemy in the event of a capture attempt, and in the case of Cataclysm, if you're fast enough on the button, to keep them from being assimilated by the Beast.
  • Sensor Suspense: Playing the game entirely in sensor mode is like this.
  • Shout-Out: The references to ancient mythology and actual historical places/names are innumerable.
    • There's also the final cutscene in Cataclysm which bears strong similarities to a famous finale.
    • Not to mention, the aftermath of a fleet battle, rendered in cutscene form, shows the shuttle from Alien briefly.
    • The art design of the Homeworld series was molded after Peter Elson's artwork for the Terran Trade Authority series. The leader of the Rebelion in Homeworld is named Captain Elson in his honor.
    • Besides Elson, some of the ship designs were apparently also inspired by the art style typical for Chris Foss.
    • Several of the missions in the first game bear resemblance to scenes from Homer's The Odyssey, including one where the Kharaki have to explore a graveyard of dead ships to find a blind oracle, protected by a dog. Another features a spaceship that enslaves all those who come near enough to hear its song.
    • The Hiigaran fighters from Homeworld II suspiciously resemble the Frazi class fighters of the Narn from Babylon 5. The Frazi fighters are manufactured by a Narn corporation called Ma'kan. And the Big Bad of Homeworld II is a Vaygr mercenary warlord called Makaan. Coincidence?
    • The Vaygr fighter bears more than a passing resemblance to a Blitzspear.
  • Signature Sound Effect : The one which plays when ships enter/leave hyperspace.
  • Space Clouds: The games have mission areas which take place inside nebulae, often used story-wise as cover against detection (though visibility is usually not significantly reduced while in one). Areas inside nebulae often contain wisp-like strands of stellar gas that function as harvestable resources, but these areas are otherwise like open space missions.
  • Space Mines: The game has Minelaying Corvettes. The mines themselves are proximity-triggered homing mines.
  • Space Pirates: Turanic Raiders in the original and Cataclysm. The Vaygr in Homeworld 2 are more like Space Vikings.
  • Spaceship Girl: Karan S'jet.
  • Speed Run: No, really. Homeworld 1 in 2 hours and 7 minutes.
  • Sphere of Destruction: The Siege Cannon in Cataclysm wipes out every non-capital ship in an about 500 meter wide sphere, badly damaging everything that survives.
    • Ships can be ordered into a sphere formation, which can then be deployed around either an ally or enemy ship. If the latter is done, the ships involved sacrifice individual maneuverability in favor of concentrating all of their firepower on the victim.
  • Stealth in Space: There's the Spectre cloaked fighter and the Cloak generator in the first game, and the sensor distortion probe in the second.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: The start of Homeworld Cataclysm. Prime example is where you must to send your science vessel to investigate the jettisoned part of your ship, but are not allowed to do it without sending a specific (large) number of fighter escorts. Once you do, the science vessel and all those escorts are immediately infected and attack you, unless you immediately hit "dock" for your fighters as the cutscene begins, allowing you to keep your fighters.
    • Later, during a fight with the Turanic Raiders, a friendly ship appears out of nowhere and contacts the Kuun-Lan with this message: "Attention Kuun-Lan. This is the... Caal-Shto. We have arrived with reinforcements from Hiigara... Come to us." The odd hesitation and clearly sinister tone in that last sentence is dripping with the potential for horror, but Fleet Command doesn't catch on until the Raiders send a group to investigate the 'reinforcements' and get themselves assimilated. Fortunately, this is only an in-story case of the trope, and you're allowed to keep your fleet right where they are until you have a plan for dealing with the Beast's arrival.
  • Suicide Attack: The Mimics of Cataclysm are this, with a research option even allowing you to upgrade their explosive bombs. In the first game, you can even use the 'Kamikaze' option with strike craft to order your pilots to collide directly into their targets.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: In HW2, certain units will get bonuses attacking certain unit types; bombers inflict bonus damage against capital ships, flak shells do minimal damage against frigates but devastate fighter and gunship squadrons, and so on.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If you dock strike craft to a support frigate, then tell it to hyperspace, it will take the strikecraft along with it, turning the frigate into a jeep carrier. This is not mentioned anywhere in official documentation.
  • Take Your Time: Most missions have no time limit, or won't even trigger the next event unless a certain action is taken.
  • The Hero's Journey: Most notably HW1, but the later installments also feature this.
  • The Obi-Wan: The Bentusi.
  • The Time of Myths/Shrouded in Myth : Homeworld II opens with the following words:

 "In the First Time, the great hyperspace core was found. With it came the gift of interstellar travel and the outer rim trade routes were established, uniting the galaxy in peace."

  • 2-D Space: Mostly averted. The map is accessible on any axis, and attacks from above and below are possible, common, and quite fun. There is however a universal zero-altitude plane on the map, and all capital ships will align to the same "up", though not always.
  • The Virus: A sentient bio-mechanical Grey Goo-like organism capable of consuming and converting both people and technology into extensions of itself. According to in-game lore, it is apparently an extra-galactic creature that exists in hyperspace and infected the Naggarok as it passed through a patch of it at random.
  • Translation Convention
  • Used Future: The Turanic Raiders of HW1 and Cataclysm are the dirtiest of the bunch, barring derelict hulks... if you don't mind the odd tiger stripe pattern paint job some of their ships have.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Only one of the cryotrays need to be saved after Kharak is destroyed, but letting hundreds of thousands of helpless people die is not an option.
    • One of the six trays is more or less expected to be destroyed, as you're forced into an in-engine cutscene shortly after the mission starts and the tray is under attack the whole time. Act fact enough, though, and you can have your fleet engage (or capture) the enemy forces even as the cutscene plays.
  • Voice of the Legion: The Beast ships; especially prevalent in the case of the Naggarok, constantly switching between a feminine voice and a deep masculine voice, often several times in a single sentence. Justified by the fact that as a biomechanical virus it has no ability to speak per se, so instead it uses bits of chatter acquired during millennia of spacedrift, the content of the ships logs and possibly the memories of its victims.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Cataclysm's Siege Cannon, which has ungodly range, one-shots most ships over a wide area-of-effect, is spinal mounted to the Command Ship, and capable of devastating one's own fleet if not carefully used. (Yes, you can accidentally blow up your own fleet if one of your ships is in the projectile's line of fire, it's difficult but possible.)
    • And then Homeworld 2 rolls in with the Progenitor Dreadnaught, the Sajuuk, and the Vaygr Battlecruiser, which remarkably does resemble Yamato from Space Cruiser Yamato.
    • Honorable mention goes to the ion cannon, the primary anti-capital weapon. The smallest ship that can carry it is a frigate, and in that case the entire ship is built around it. Catacylsm's multi-beam frigate, well... those are something else entirely.
  • Wetware CPU: The Mothership and Bentusi tradeships are effectively city-ships run by people/a person (such as Karen Sjet) plugged in, with such ships often being described as extensions of/replacements for one's own body. The Bentusi seem to consider this a stage in a civilisation's development and collectively refer to races that have achieved this feat as "The Unbound".
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A very dramatic scene in Cataclysm, done by the Somtaaw.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Radio chatter coming from strike craft pilots and capital ship captains has a hint of hesitation or refusal to obey a friendly fire order. The three quotes below are taken from Homeworld 1 and have variations in tone and form, but they are the essential three.

 "Uh... target confirmed."

"It's your call... target acquired."

"Friendly target... please check."

  • Worker Unit: played straight in Cataclysm, but averted in the other two games where you need separate units for salvage (and, in the first, a separate unit for repair too!).
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The first game is all about going home, but the third mission kicks off with your exiled home being obliterated, meaning it's Hiigara or bust.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: To build ships you need to mine resources from asteroids or whatever else is minable, often fighting with your enemy to do so. Played fairly straight in HW1, where resources were fairly rare even though you could spend forever mining every last drop at the end of the level. Subverted (probably unintentionally) in the campaign in HW2; since the game simply gives all the resources in the area to you at the end of the level regardless of circumstance, it's rather likely you'll have more money than you'll ever be able to spend by about halfway through the game.
  • You No Take Candle: Most Beast ships that try to talk speak this way, though how they can send a voiced radio transmission startled Kuun-Lan bridge officers at first; justified by the fact that it assembles it's lines from the ship's log recordings and victim memories. The Naggarok however can speak perfectly albeit in a very weird voice.

 Beast Command Ship: Kuun-Lan parts! We want beacon brain! Give us data or we take data with your parts!

Fleet Command: What?! How can it be talking to us?

    • And later:

 Beast Command Ship: Parts! Do not flee. Come to us. We require knowledge of birthself!

  • You Will Be Assimilated: The Naggarok puts it simply: "You are what all life is to us: FOOD!"
  • Zerg Rush: In one Homeworld 2 mission, you have to rescue a guy from a space station. If you have a decent or full-sized fleet, expect to see a wave of fighters so huge that it probably outnumbers every fighter you've built in the game combined.
    • The Kadeshi in Homeworld also rely on Zerg Rush tactics. Their swarmer fighters are small, fast, and abundant, but run out of fuel very quickly.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Beast is much like a Zombie infection Recycled in Space, except that the horde has an intelligent Hive Mind.
  1. the next, truly official sequel did not at any point explicitly discredit or reference Cataclysm, though it did carry over a number of concepts, such as what it means to be "Unbound"