There’s No Place Like Homeworld: Flotilla

By Kieron Gillen on January 28th, 2010 at 8:45 am.

DESTROY THE CEREAL!

You remember Blendo Games’ Gravity Bone, yes? One of the finest short-form indie games ever, frankly. Anyway, Mr Blendo, Brendon Chung, is working on another indie game which very much looks like RPS’ sort of thing. It’s called Flotilla and is a skirmish-level orbital-fleet RTS. In other words, yes, there’s a clear Homeworld influence. Woo! Between this and Frozen Synapse, the iconic-graphics micro-indie strategy game seems set to flourish in 2010. Hopefully! Hopefully Yays! Footage and explanation in the video that follows…

Dave Tosser says: I’m a little worried. That Relic’s Homeworld games have no obvious clones existent implies there is no interest in such games – because if there was a viable commercial niche to fill, you can be sure Triple-A product would be produced to satisfy that need. I also hope that the game is released for no more than three-dollars. Indie games do have the marketing costs associated with a real game, and the price should reflect that.

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66 Comments »

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  1. James Carey says:

    Faraday Cage is SUCH a good name…

  2. Retro says:

    Oooh Adventure Mode! Please keep us updated on that one!

  3. Lilliput King says:

    A kind of streamlined Battlefleet Gothic with a Strange Adventures in Infinite Space style campaign, by the creator of last year’s best indie game?

    Sold.

  4. Vinraith says:

    Now if we could just get the “micro” out of “micro-indie strategy games” we’d really have something.

    Yes, some people like short games, and for them this is lovely. For my part, if it doesn’t have a larger context, the weight of a play through that runs at least a few hours, I find it hard to invest in it at all. It’s a strange quirk of psychology perhaps, “the enjoyment will be over so soon, why should I bother to put any effort into it at all” seems to be the underlying thought. It’s something I’ve tried to break myself of, honestly, but even beloved staples of the “micro” genre like Strange Adventures in Infinite Space just seem like “wastes of time” to me. Weird. It’s a pity, too, this looks really cool.

    • DrazharLn says:

      @firghtlever
      Jim would say that games are not a waste of time. He wrote about 100 pages about it in his book

    • Muzman says:

      Vinraith:
      Games like this seem begging for a some ability to make modules for them. So that even if they are randomised ‘micro’ genre games you can edit things, add text and stories and so forth.
      Don’t ask me how, but the ephemeral nature of them turns me off for some stange reason as well.

  5. unique_identifier says:

    more games should be like strange adventures in infinite space, especially this one, which was looking great just from the combat.

  6. def says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t get this Dave Tosser “feature”? The comments are not the least bit funny and annoying as hell. Is there any way to get rid of this crap?

    • Thirith says:

      Apparently they’re in response to this Ubisoft shill on Gamespy. Doesn’t change the fact that parody this broad isn’t all that funny.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Every thread the same dream.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Don’t read it?

    • Klaus says:

      Well, I find them amusing. But are you truly compelled to read it?

    • Wolfman says:

      I don’t like it and I don’t read it. To me it is degrading the quality of RPS. It was funny the first time, but since then its getting very boring very quickly and the tone is out of place compared to the articles.

      Can we stop it please?

      Ta very much! :)

    • El Stevo says:

      Would you like some cheese with that whine?

      Just put up with it. It’s a topical joke; it’s not going to go on forever. In the meantime, don’t read it if you don’t like it. It’s not like it isn’t well signposted.

    • viper34j says:

      I’m in agreement with def and wolfman. Tosser is annoying and he detracts from the article.

    • Cooper says:

      I miss AP

    • Vinraith says:

      @def

      I’m really surprised by all the hostility, it’s a very RPS joke. I rather like it, myself.

    • Pod says:

      @Cooper I miss it more.

  7. DavidK says:

    On the retro, iconic graphics schtick, I wonder if we’ll see more of this over the next few years. On the one hand, we have tons of IDEs, engines, and other game-focused creation tools being made available at such a joyously low cost (i.e., free). On the other hand, creating game assets is still hard work — you either know an artist who can whip up a batch of textures and high poly models, or you try and find a stylish way to do it yourself, which usually involves more abstraction.

    I dunno, I don’t make games. Maybe others can comment.

    • bob_d says:

      Yeah, and not only do those high-poly models with normal maps (etc.) take a lot of skilled manpower, they also quickly increase both the system requirements and the size of the game files, which is bad if you’re an indie doing web distribution and/or trying to include lower-end machines. This is an issue for studio projects as well – visuals sell a game to a (sad) degree – what if you don’t have the resources for (or the engine capable of) “next-gen” graphics? You stylize the visuals in some way so that the game is still visually distinctive and you don’t notice the lack of shiny high-powered graphics. (Example: Torchlight)
      Absolutely we’ll be seeing more and more of this from both individual developers and studios, as the cost of developing games with graphics even remotely approaching the quality of what’s possible in the ID or Unreal engines will simply be out of reach of most of the industry.

  8. Newblade says:

    I love Dave Tosser. You sir are an enemy of independent thinking.

  9. Robert Yang says:

    I love Brendon Chung and want to have his space babies. That is all.

  10. Premium User Badge

    pauleyc says:

    I’ve finished the last book from Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series a few days ago – perfect timing then for this to be unveiled. Fleet actions and lovely graphics for the space win.

  11. Brumisator says:

    Sometimes, reading RPS makes me sad.
    Find something small, cute and great like this, get all giddy…and it’s “released soon”

    Maaaan, I need my fix, c’mon, where’s my fix, maaann?

  12. SirWhat says:

    like Homeworld but TBS?

    Relic, make Homeworld Tactics happen now!

  13. mandrill says:

    All very nice but just makes me want Homeworld 3 even more :(

  14. CMaster says:

    Turn Based, small scale, Homeworld.

    Like SirWhat says – it just makes me want more Homeworld (or actually, other true-3D space stratergy)

    • Karry says:

      Yeah, like being in 3D actually mattered in Homeworld. You could move in three dimensions, but it was totally useless. There was no true 3D space strategy before.

    • Dominic White says:

      Never played multiplayer then, Karry? 3D movement became massively important there, as ships had front/back/side/top/bottom armor, and tricking the enemy to face one way while ion cannons fire from another was pretty much the key to combat.

    • Rich says:

      CMaster’s pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.

    • Rich says:

      Damn. Sorry, I mean Karry’s pattern. I’m sure CMaster thinks along many dimensions.

    • CMaster says:

      @Rich

      Hundreds.

  15. Super Bladesman says:

    This looks really sweet; I like!

  16. Serenegoose says:

    well, I’m going to admit it. I’m fickle. I didn’t think it was pretty enough for me to want it. I don’t know why, as normally substandard graphics don’t affect me if the core gameplay is strong. But that feels like I’m going to want graphical woosh along with indepthy space combat. I just feel that if a game is going to make a stab of simulating the real time component, even in a turn based context, then I want it to look a bit prettier than that, because I genuinely find it harder to engage with games that look ugly.

  17. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    So I guess Brendon Chung is a full-time indie now? Last I heard his day job was at Pandemic, but obviously that didn’t work out. Their loss is our gain, I say. Hooray for indie treats!

  18. Gilly says:

    You can’t fathom how much I WANT that one now.

  19. Wolfox says:

    Wow, sweet! Loved it. 2010 is going to be a great year for indie produced tactical gaming, it seems. ;-)

  20. duel says:

    @def; Its supposed to be ironic?

    its not degrading the quality of RPS, its making a clever statement.

  21. Acidburns says:

    Maybe I missed it in the video but if ships have weaker rear and bottom armour then surely every combat should devolve into a downward spiral as each fleet tries to get below the other. Now if the ships can simply roll over (as they should) to present their top armour to an opponent below them we’ll have something more tactically interesting.

    • Lilliput King says:

      You can select where they’ll face when they end the move by the looks of things, so I guess it’ll be possible.

      EDIT: Unless they just do a 180 degree spin laterally, which is probably what would happen. Mmm.

  22. EthZee says:

    …Surely the solution would just be to armour the ships equally on all sides?

    • Chris D says:

      Not necessarily. If you’re confident you can keep your opponent facing your strongest side for a significant part of the engagement you’d have an advantage if they have evenly distributed armour because most of theirs will never get used.

    • Rich says:

      I was going to say that it wouldn’t matter how much amour you put on because the weight doesn’t matter. Except that ships in these games always have huge engines at the back and bugger all up front, so they’ll be most able to control their inertia in one direction.

      As that article linked to in a Sunday Papers post a while back said, the best ship would be roughly spherical with armour, weapons and thrusters all over, since an enemy could conceivably come from any direction.

    • Chris D says:

      I think there are always going to be trade offs involved in adding more armour. You have to pay for it to begin with. The extra weight would also affect your acceleration, which is going to affect how you’re able to position yourself relative to an opponent. I’d imagine that armoured areas couldn’t be used for other purposes, such as sensor arrays, solar power etc.

      It also depends on how we’re modelling space combat, many games don’t use actual physics but treat it as if it were a Naval or Air engagement.

      I agree there are situations where armour all over will be the best solution but I’m not convinced that’s always going to be the case. If you’re highly maneuvreable then maybe you’d just want armour on the front so you can absorb a few hits while going in while keeping the weight down as much as possible. Or if you’re part of a fleet then you might just want armour on one or two sides while relying on the rest of the fleet to cover your more vulnerable areas.

    • Acidburns says:

      Line of sight in space is unlimited unless your hiding behind some celestial object; detection and engagement could easily take place at ranges where attempting to flank you opponent would be too time consuming to be practical. In such situations having you heaviest armour concentrated on a side perpendicular to your primary angle of thrust would allow you to perform large changes in velocity along a horizontal plane whilst keeping your most heavily armoured aspect facing the enemy. Armour on any other facing would be irrelevant because you could detect an enemy fleet long before it was in effective weapon range, and the engagement could be over before any fleet could pass behind another.

      Not to say that it would make for a good game mind you. It depends on what sort of technology is available in your setting and how “hard” you want you science fiction to be.

      Obviously the designer of this game wanted lower armour on the bottom and rear as a simple concession to allow flanking as a viable tactic. I think with the ability to roll you ships to protect that exposed bottom you would offer more tactical options than simple trying to get below or behind you opponent. It wasn’t clear to me on the video if the ship’s firepower was concentrated to the front or not.

      Edit: had not seen reply from Brendon Chung down below

  23. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    OMG OMG OMG OMG

    I will pay lots of money for this

  24. autogunner says:

    not nearly complex enough in my opinion, still looks good though, but I want proper newtonian combat dammit!

    as mentioned before, why not pitch and roll, different weapons systems, inertia, system damage, power redirection, point defense, ecm…

    i wish i could make games…

  25. Heliocentric says:

    I played much multiplayer homeworld, even the often insulted homeworld 2.

    I’m very interested about this game. I can take or leave the quirkiness, but the game interests me.

  26. Horatius says:

    I would pay for this. Gameplay looks clearly defined and fun, art and design looks fantastic. I love texture-free polys!

  27. Brendon Chung says:

    Acidburns – good point on being able to roll. During the “Orientation” step where you select which enemy to face, you can choose to activate “Manual Mode” where you have manual control over your yaw, pitch, and roll. You can give your ship whatever arbitrary orientation you like.

    • Acidburns says:

      Well that opens up lots of tactical possibilities, very nice. Thank you for the response.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Whats the price point? I’d pre order to get to bugger about with the prototypes.

  28. FhnuZoag says:

    Will there be more interesting tactical situations than fleets of roughly equivalent size facing off against each other? E.g. raiding attacks on convoys, say, or maybe some battle in and around giant space structures, which offer cover from enemy fire. (Like that which was cut from Homeworld 2.)

  29. l1ddl3monkey says:

    Ever since I found Puppy Story (and then all his other mod type things) Chung has been one of my heroes.

    Absolutely want to play this!

  30. Mr.Vandal says:

    Quick question doesn’t the R in RTS stand for real time ? Isn’t this a not real time strategy game seeing as there are turns and all ?

    • mujadaddy says:

      No, it stands for “Real” — the ‘T’ stands for “Time”

  31. Spacewalk says:

    That looks reet good. Would totally put down $20-25 for this without second thought.

  32. Elbee says:

    Space ships, explosions, and simultaneous tactical turn-based combat?

    Sold!

  33. jay says:

    Yay, new Brendon Chung game.

    @Robert Yang

    Join the queue. Unless you liked his games first, in which I’ll join the queue behind you. My first encounter were some of the incomplete Half-Life sketches. I don’t know if those are even up on his site now.

    This is getting a bit wrong, it’s equally bad to objectify male game designers as it is to objectify female game designers. Even if its based on the quality of their games.Anyway… Can’t wait for this game.

  34. jay says:

    Oh wow. Actually watched the video. Last post was just residual love from previous games.

    So much style, looks very elegant. Random encounters look hilarious. WANT.

  35. David says:

    Is there any chance that the split screen multiplayer mode will be in the PC version?

  36. Pod says:

    I like the look of this game. I’d happily pay £11.35 for it.

    NO MORE THOUGH.

    • MD says:

      Perhaps if you buy fewer cups of elaborately embellished takeaway coffee, your opinion will change!

  37. jay says:

    It’s out!