Hardware: Shipbreakers Shows Some Gameplay

We’ve talked to the Hardware devs a couple of times, and that’s left us keen to see a little gameplay from their online starship wreck-looting RTS. The first glimpse is below, showing a desert planet with Supreme Commander-style zoom and visual reminiscent of the Ground Control games. We’re still far from clued up about how it’s all going to work, but it promises much. Go take a look!


  1. Quasar says:

    Definitely getting a Homeworld vibe here, especially in the flight trails and that map view, which makes sense given the heritage. Looks slick.

    • Lugg says:

      I’m actually a bit underwhelmed. Not sure it’s just because that’s early development footage, but I was expecting it to deliver a better sense of scale, which is probably quite hard if you can zoom out for a strategic overview at any time. Still, that video tells me they have a ways to go yet.

      • SquidgyB says:

        I sort of agree with you – I love the art style, the sound, ambience and overall look, but a little more care could be taken with the animations and such to give a slightly better sense of scale. A little more acceleration/inertia displayed in the starting and stopping animations of the ground vehicles would help, as well as altering the hovering distance/grouping calculation for the airborne scouts so that they don’t follow the ground quite so religiously, and float a little more/have a little more random distribution.

        All IMHO of course.

        • DeVadder says:

          The planes following even tiniest hills on the floor does cost this game a lot of atmosphere in my opinion.
          If i was to play this, i could just not stop to notice that because it is just that stupid. Everything else looks okay to me though. I like the ‘minimalistic’ graphics, wether or not that is intentional or not.

          • kmwudjaid says:

            I keep reading that as Hardwar, and then I get sad because this isn’t a sequel/remake to Hardwar.


          • AaronLee says:

            I’m guessing it’ll be fixed. This is the first footage we have so I’d be expecting tons of rough edges. We are seeing Relic doing their usual awesome asset generation. Look wise I think this game is the closest to their awesome concept art any of their games have been.

          • Werthead says:

            “We are seeing Relic doing their usual awesome asset generation.”

            It’s not Relic, it’s Blackbird Entertainment, which was founded by several senior members of the original Relic team (including developers of the first three HOMEWORLD games). If it was Relic it’d be less visually stylised, but at least would (probably) have a single-player campaign.

          • SquidgyB says:

            Oh, Hardwar! Now that was a fantastic game, and a bloody brilliant soundtrack to boot.

            Going back to Hardware – having thought a little about this last night, little things like dust settling on larger vehicles and falling/being blown off when starting, dune buggies slipping and sliding in the sand, air brakes hissing when released on large vehicles… These are the kind of things I would like to see :)

          • AaronLee says:

            Yeah, BBI, sorry for that. As for singleplayer, maybe I’m kinda nuts but I feel more excited about the promised multiplayer metagame then I would for SP.

    • pupsikaso says:

      Yeah, you definitely said it right about ground control vibe. But the trailer still doesn’t show anything about the online part of the game, soo too early to say anything.

      Although I do feel like the whole purpose of the trailer was to get Homeworld fans drooling with all those trails from the planes. Wait. How do engine trails even work in atmosphere?

      • PatrickSwayze says:

        Obviously difusing ion streams.

        But glowy space trails AND nice long desert sand trails?

        That’s two graphics that are delightful alone but delicious together!

      • Lev Astov says:

        Mission accomplished; I’m drooling. Especially that radio chatter noise.

        I was seriously afraid they’d make this all top down high level tactics type stuff. This is exactly what I want from an RTS in terms of graphical interface. I’m much more at ease now.

    • 0positivo says:

      I’m going to withold judgement on this. On one part, it reminds me so much of the Homeworld I loved, plus the style, plus those sand effect..

      On the other, gigantic UI, so little shown in general… And while those ion trails are sure cool, they look kind of… wrong in low atmosphere. I would expect aircrafts flying that low to kick off the sand, or at LEAST have steam trails. Not to mention how they cling to just above the surface

      • foofad says:

        People have been screaming for gameplay footage of a game that’s still in development, so they gave it to them. The UI is functional, but I highly doubt it’s final. The same could be said for everything else about it. I wouldn’t get too downtrodden about it.

  2. realmenhuntinpacks says:

    Well, they had me at the Chesley Bonestell vibes. Oh yeeeaahhhhh.

    • Turquoise Days says:

      I see your chelsey bonestell and raise you a Chris Foss. He did the covers for the old Isaac Asimov books. I might get in on this just for the art style alone…

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      • realmenhuntinpacks says:

        It’s those stripes. What is it about the stripey spaceships? Definitely more Foss-y, touche.

      • GallonOfAlan says:

        Foss did a lot more than book covers, and in a lot of different genres apart from his SF stuff, which was of course iconic and highly influential. He illustrated the Joy Of Sex, for example.

  3. Tridae says:

    It’s Homeworld 2 on land by the looks of things. Looks great, I’m just hoping for a little bit more gfx. The ground textures are a little unimpressive and could do with more work, shots where the horizon is shown could also do with some atmosphere or something. The dust trails are nice though. . . just think they could add a couple more little fx. It looks exactly like HW2 in terms of gfx. . .

    My prediction is that this is aimed at tablets too, the HW2 engine could easily run on modern tablets.

    • Captchist says:

      The way the dust blows and the movement of the ships over ground was a little immersion breaking for me. The ships bob up and down like they have no momentum, and the sand just travelled through objects without blowing around.

      Those niggles asid – if they can do the same sense of scale, pace and huge vistas that they did in Homeworld and combine it with solid RTS I’ll like it.
      Just please don’t end up with the Supreme Commander effect where you spend all your time in the zoomed out overview watching triangles and circles.
      This game has a great sense of the sky – it makes it feel expansive and momentous, and you need to stay in touch with that by being able to see the horizon. Homeworld had the advantage of no land so you could always see a horizon. Here they don’t have that option because they have to work on a surface so when ever you are zoomed out looking down all you will see is the bland terrain.

      • ritalingamer says:

        This game is definitely pushing my nostalgia buttons.

        I agree that this game is better kept on the small scale, with relatively few units of greater individual importance. After all, these guys are private security for a salvage operation, not zerg hordes.

        • DeVadder says:

          “After all, these guys are private security for a salvage operation, not zerg hordes.”
          And that is exactly why the trailer destroys any atmosphere it has build in the end. When those clearly manned aircraft get murdered, the commander sounds almost bored when he says: ‘So much for for easy money, prepare for battle.’
          As if he is completely used to loose friends or colleagues and expensive equipment. A behaviour that would still feel cold if it came from a battle-hardened general over a huge army in a warzone.
          ‘They are dead? Too bad i may get late to dinner tonight.’

          • AaronLee says:

            It was a little too badass-deadpan for my tastes as well.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            Yeah, that was pretty bad.

          • Gypaetus says:

            I understand what you are saying but wow, I completely disagree… The heartless radiochatter was one of the things I LOVED about homeworld 1. Fielding a small fleet and taking 20% losses in a fight is nerve rattling – but when it’s accompanied by a stone voice ” we’re taking heavy losses” and “friendlies under fire” … I don’t know, it just does something for me.

            I like the “we’ve been dying a long time(and know how to deal with it)” atmosphere

      • DarkFarmer says:

        To each his own, but personally, I think the best tools for immersion are music, gameplay, and a setting that all comes together to put my brain in the place. I found myself immersed in Heroes of Might and Magic back in the 90s and still felt immersed in MOO 1 when I played it a few years ago. I think it’s a mistake to rely on graphics & fx for immersion; the most important GPU of all is your brain! the converse of this is that all of the fancy graphics FX in the world will not immerse you into a crappy game, boredom is the ultimate immersion killer. probably if anybody is still reading this the immersion is fading fast!

      • PatrickSwayze says:

        Aint even alpha dude

    • DatonKallandor says:

      They’re never going to hit 21st Century graphics, since they’re aiming at mobile and social web platforms. Expect simplistic, touch-only designed UI and gameplay with gorgeous art design held back by phone hardware.

  4. Duke of Chutney says:

    all the voice coms and the ambient sound track are very HW as well.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Yeah, the tired-Canadians-on-the-radio voicework really brings back memories. Does seem to have a similarly lonely feel, too.

    • Danny252 says:

      I swear that about half those voice clips are re-used from the Homeworlds – “Signal is clean, no movement” really struck me as familiar.

  5. Turin Turambar says:

    Huge Homeworld vibe, even if at first it seemed something else. Interested!

  6. Inigo says:

    Aircraft generally work better when they’re more than 20 feet off the ground.

    • Cinek says:

      Hahaha, so true.

    • Brun says:

      Actually, in terms of strictly staying airborne (i.e. producing lift), they work better when closer to the ground:

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      EDIT: Some aircraft exploit this effect to carry extremely heavy loads in ground effect that they could not carry to higher altitudes. Usually these “ground effect aircraft” are amphibious and operate over water but there’s no reason to think they couldn’t work over a relatively flat, uniform surface like a desert.

      • Cinek says:

        These don’t look like WIGE. That’s a classical flying wing.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        In terms of essentially every worthwhile function of an airplane (except the specific case of carrying heavy cargo over inland seas), airplanes do not in fact function all that well in ground effect. Extra lift doesn’t really make up for constantly being a half-second away from a fatal crash.

        Noticing enemies more than a damn quarter-mile away, for example, is one thing that airplanes do better from higher altitudes. Also, dropping ordnance on said enemies from safely above their retaliation range.

        3D does RTSes no favors for making it obvious that the dude flying an airplane in broad daylight over a damn desert somehow can’t see a tank division in his direct line of sight less than a mile away.

    • Teovald says:

      Those aircrafts are terribad.. I am even surprised this would go to a trailer, would it be that hard too manually control their altitude in this video ?
      Seeing them follow each little ondulation of the terrain is ridiculous, especially when a huge fall does not affect their xy velocity..

    • Lemming says:

      I would’ve fired the rear two pilots for hot-dogging. Maintain safe distance, idiots!

    • Seraph says:

      How are people complaining about this? The ships fly exactly like the snow speeders from The Empire Strikes Back, which is totally awesome, and, in fact, the opposite of bad.

  7. Solidstate89 says:

    Anything that reminds me of Ground Control is A-OK in my book.

  8. Gap Gen says:

    This looks very nicely like Ground Control, which is exciting me in all kinds of ways.

  9. DigitalSignalX says:

    So the wrecks will be the resource gatherable, the baserunner truck thing will be the “mother ship” that produces constructors or unit constructing structures? Slap the HW ambience and story on it and I’ll pay full price for it. Now.

    • drvoke says:

      It’s F2P, so the full price is $0. Or $Infinity. Depending on how you understand the concept of “full game.”

      • Seraph says:


        • JarinArenos says:

          Yeah, that pretty much killed any and all enthusiasm I had for this project. Seriously, what sort of twisted creature could take the spiritual successor to Ground Control and Homeworld and turn it into a F2P MMO? That’s some devil-worshiping, puppy-eating stuff right there.

  10. Christo4 says:

    Aww, and i thought it was a multiplayer mode with player-controled cars and capture/CTF mode.

  11. Bassem says:

    I keep reading that as Hardwar, and then I get sad because this isn’t a sequel/remake to Hardwar.

  12. Adriaan says:

    Kinda underwhelmed here. As said before, I think it somehow fails to capture a proper sense of scale. Maybe due to the relatively low detail terrain geometry, or a lack of scale reference. AA, nicer shadows and some shift to blue in the distance could probably help too. The aircraft being (seemingly) fixed height relative to the surface instead of free to fly wherever is a little dissapointing as well.

    That said, it’s all work in progress, not to mention they probably haven’t got a huge budget. I guess it’s hard not to dissapoint when they’ve showed so much amazing concept art before anyways. Hopefully they’ll be able to polish the visuals and just create a fun game overall, because the concept itself sounded interesting enough.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      ” Due to production scheduling the air scouts were captured before we fixed the elevation jiggle problem. Lots of changes and improvements to come yet.”

      That’s from one of the devs. I wouldn’t be concerned. It’s not even Beta footage, people, remember that!

    • Trithne says:

      I’d like to see the aircraft behave like the ones in Ground Control; circling the area when idle, rather than hovering in one spot.

  13. Cinek says:

    I don’t know to be honest. Still got a mixed feelings.

    One one hand – soundtrack, sense of scale, strategical map – done brilliantly.
    On the other hand – crafts flying “20 feets off the ground”, jerky movement, rather horrible rewards for people willing to donate 100$, and F2P label are VERY discouraging (especially F2P part which somehow become synonymous to average-quality-greedy-designers)

  14. Scroll says:

    That bassy sound effect when they go into the weird map mode is exactly the same as Homeworlds.

  15. Stevostin says:

    First I was like “doesn’t look that great”, then I realised it’s about surviving and fighting for your ass, the wonderful outer workd vibe. Now I want it.

    • JarinArenos says:

      Then you see that it’s a F2P MMO-alike and you’re all “it’s not that great” again.

      • Asurmen says:

        That’s about your 3rd anti F2P comment. What’s with the hate?

        • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          He lost his family to an f2p game. Now he roams the land in his modified Ford Orion, finding and killing f2p games, always searching for clues as to the whereabouts of the one that took from him everything that makes life worth living and left him for dead.

          All he has to go on is a low resolution picture of a badly textured model of an impractically huge sword that is also a crossbow with thirty blades wielded by what appears to be a female elf wearing chainmail lingerie who was inordinately blessed by puberty, and the words “She want free play NOW!”.

        • Svant says:

          Because it usually ends up shit? F2Play very rarely brings out something good from a game, it just makes it worse. Sure there are good F2Play games but most if not all of them could have been as good or better with a traditional scheme. It also “forces” the game to focus on multiplayer which pretty much kills all immersion and atmosphere this game could have had. So I support his anti F2Play MMO posts fully.

  16. Rich says:

    Such a shame they’re not making a single-player campaign. Maybe a story-driven one would be silly*, but a persistent map of the desert that you move your salvage teams around would be lovely.

    *Or at least that’s what everyone else says. Personally, I love them.

  17. Splynter says:

    Oh hot damn those map bloops and beeps! Even the music seems like a direct update of a Homeworld track (the one that plays in the Garden of Kadesh when things heat up, maybe?).

  18. kyrieee says:

    You weren’t kidding about the Ground Control vibe. But that’s okay because it’s one of my favourite RTSes.

    • pupsikaso says:

      You know, that’s what I thought too, until I went and played it again a few months ago….
      My gosh how important the time context is on our memories of games. Back when Ground Control was released, in comparison to anything else available at that time or before, it was excellent. Today, though? Well… I can’t even judge it by today’s standards, that would be unfair.

      • Trithne says:

        I’d say it holds up pretty well by today’s standards. The player interface it used is still one of the best.

        • Werthead says:

          Yeah, it’s great. A fairly minimal UI (which for some reason was dumped in the second game in favour of view-obscuring panels), still-impressive environments and details (the soldiers are blocky, but the spent shell casings being ejected when they fire is still cool) and some really good sound and effects work. The artillery has never been bettered (not even in GC2, where the artillery was gimped fairly heavily).

          The only thing that hasn’t aged well – or was even that great at the time – was the inability to save mid-mission. That made the game grindingly hard at times, but also forced you to employ real caution and recon tactics rather than blundering in and hitting reload if everything goes tits-up.

          GROUND CONTROL, HOMEWORLD and HOSTILE WATERS are my holy trinity of RTS games from the same time period (1999-01) which tried to do things a little differently from the C&C paradigm, all were brilliant, and none of them sold brilliantly (though HW and GC did do well enough to get sequels).

      • PatrickSwayze says:

        Let’s all just say World In Conflict then…

        • pupsikaso says:

          Oh yeah, I’m surprised I forgot about that game.
          It was basically a modern ground control, wasn’t it? I don’t remember anyone mentioning the similarity, though.

  19. Choca says:

    Well, looks like I’m about to lose a hundred bucks.

  20. Iskariot says:

    Single player = first day buy, whatever the price.

    Online F2P Multiplayer = Never buy/play, not ever, not even when hell freezes over and the gods of man tell me to buy it.

    • pupsikaso says:

      Well, that would be rather easy to do since you can’t really “buy” something that’s F2P :P

    • Lawful Evil says:

      If only it had some basic offline singleplayer/skirmish. If only…

      Also, people continue to compare this to HW(2), simply because of the graphics, art direction and sounds (Paul Ruskay is composing music for Hardware, so no surprise). But what about the beautiful *single-player* campaign? The skirmish offline battles?

  21. LionsPhil says:

    So, it’s a “Gameplay Preview Trailer”. It’s supposed to be representative of what the game will be like to play.

    It’s 95% cutscene.

    • Trithne says:

      In-engine cutscene. It actually says a fair bit if you view it through the lens of Homeworld experience. Sometimes just turning off the UI and watching your units do their thing in HW, listening to the chatter, was the greatest joy. The 5% of showing the UI was informative enough.

  22. WHS says:

    If 0:20-0:35 are representative of this game’s soundtrack, I’ll be turning the sound effects down to about 20% and cranking the score as high as it’ll go. Who wants to hear explosions where you can hear TOTAL AND UTTER DESOLATION instead?

  23. BlackAlpha says:

    “Supreme Commander-style zoom”

    Correction. Homeworld-style zoom. Also, the music and aircraft are also Homeworld-style. Looking good so far.

  24. The Sombrero Kid says:

    no offense guys but this is so obviously bullshots.

    • LionsPhil says:

      …not really?

      Probably mocked-up, but “bullshot” usually means photoshop-esque tinkering to make something look better than can actually be achieved in realtime, whereas this looks decidedly primitive in its current (primitive) state. RTSes were this graphically sophisticated over five years ago. (SupComm was 2007; this gives me C&C: Generals visual vibes and that was 2003. Yes, really.)

  25. SwiftRanger says:

    I like the art and music a lot as it resembles Homeworld the most but when I look at the actual game in this trailer… the word “SupCom-mod” comes up near-instantly. For early footage that might be understandable so I do hope they’re not done yet with the graphical look. This has to and probably will improve.

  26. wodin says:

    No single player…can’t be bothered..lazyness…can’t be bothered to make an AI so take the easy way out.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      There IS an AI in the game. Try again.

      It’s not because it’s multiplayer only that there’s not going to be NPCs.

  27. Hunchback says:

    OMG the audio! Music, radio chatter, bleeps, camera-zoom-out-to-map… HOOOMEEWORLD

  28. squisy says:

    Getting a Homeworld feeling from this. That’s great news to me. I was a fan of just about everything in Homeworld and it looks like the developers are sticking to what they know works. Still not sure what in this game would herald the dawn of a new era in 3D RTS but ill just have to wait and see. Getting very tempted to throw money down to play early but i think ill hold off until i see something more.

  29. ziusudra says:

    This game needs sardaukar elite soldiers, and sandworms as soon as possible by Muadib.

  30. Dave L. says:

    Man, that ticked all my Homeworld nostalgia buttons. Definitely more interested than I was previously. It’s entirely possible to tell an interesting story through the MP metagame, which is what I’m guessing they have planned (also confused by the virulent anti-F2P strain in this comments thread. I thought Tribes: Ascend and definitely PlanetSide 2 were both pretty well thought of in these parts).

    I also want this to succeed so Blackbird Interactive can make Hardware: Shipbuilders (which I just made up), a space set Homeworld-alike. (Why have the Shipbreakers sub-title if they don’t plan on expanding the IP with other stuff?)

    Also also hope something comes of the Blackbird guys meeting with Gearbox at E3 re: the Homeworld IP. Sad as I am that Relic’s name won’t be on any future entries, if Blackbird is involved I think it would be in the right hands.

  31. Oryon says:

    Holy shit.

    This is so Homeworld my skin is crawling and my hype jumped through the roof.

    Yes. YES. YESSS!

  32. Arkymedes says:

    Turanic Riders soundtrack.

  33. Screamer says:

    AWWW F2P. No thanks!

  34. barney says:

    Love the deadpan voices of the characters. That’s what I really loved about Homeworld. Admidst piloting acrobatics, fighting extinction against all odds, forever seconds from unexpected death… Everyone is focused on group survival. Makes the whole thing really human while avoiding the ludicrous individualism of 99% of narrative-based games.