They should have sent – hey, no, don’t interrupt me with your obvious, tired pop culture quote. I was going to say they should have sent someone with a triple SLI setup and a 4K monitor. Instead they sent me, with a single graphics card and a 1440p monitor. Even so, I was able to get a preview build of the Homeworld Collection Remastered [official site] running at a preposterous beyond-4K 5120×2880 resolution, via the dynamic super resolution stuff in drivers*. Take a below. It is… well, yeah, maybe I do need that poet after all.
Let’s start with a video of Homeworld 2’s remastered introduction. This is running at 5120×2880, which is deemed ‘5K’, but downscaled to 2560×1440 because my encoding programs were grumbling about anything more than that. If I can render a higher res video for you later I will, but even so, this conveys the galactic enormity and clean, star-travelling lines of it all. Fullscreen, set the settings icon lower right to the highest you can, and bathe in it!
How about that, huh? Sorry about the jumpiness and frame rate, there’s only so much my poor single GPU PC can handle. Maybe I should start a Patreon: “buy Alec a 4K system and monitor so he can make short videos of old games at silly resolutions.” That’d be worth making everyone hate me and publicly call my integrity into question, right?
The screenshots throughout this post will expand to the full, ludicrous 5120×2880 versions (hosted via Flickr) if you click on them, by the way. There’s possibly some image compression, but still. BUT STILL. Edit – actually it links to a downscaled version, but if you click the ‘download’ button on the lower right you can grab the full-size originals.
So that’s the shinies covered to some extent, but I’m afraid I can’t tell you an awful lot about how the remastered version feels right now. The unfinished pre-release build I’ve been fiddling with wouldn’t run on ATI cards and I was only able to lay hands on GeForce (a 970, since you ask) yesterday. Gearbox tell me the bug will be fixed before the game’s public launch on February 25th, however, so fear not there, but yeah, I haven’t been able to put much time into this yet. I’ll do a follow-up piece if I can.
Early prodding and poking does, however, suggest that Homeworld Remastered doesn’t feel at all archaic, although it’s almost immediately more complicated, and even fiddly, than the standards we’ve come to expect from more contemporary RTSes, which tend towards the hyper-slick Blizzard model. This is, I think, still a game which is going to require time and patience. Which is exactly what we want, right?
Honestly though, for now I’m happy just to roll around in graphics porn. 16 years old and this feels like an epochal thing to happen on my monitor. Clearly I won’t play it at 6K, although 4k at max settings is coaxing at least 30fps out of my system pretty happily. The UI is pretty tiny at that scale – edit: apparently there is a size adjustment option I hadn’t spotted – so I might end up going back down to ‘just’ 1440p, but in any case, I am extremely happy with what my eyes are beholding. This is a very different offering from the remastering we saw in Grim Fandango and The Indigo Prophecy recently. It looks for the most part like a modern game, not an old one with some bits given a good scrub.
Gearbox’s line when talking about this – including in an interview which we’ll run here soon – is that they wanted Homeworld Remastered to look like we all remember Homeworld feeling at the time. To be honest, I think it may have exceeded that.
More on this soon. Homeworld Remastered Collection – containing both remastered games plus their original versions – is due for release on February 25th. Here’s a bonus Making Of dev diary for you:
* That’s what NVIDIA call it, but you get Virtual Super Resolution if you have an AMD card. In any case, it’s a driver settings tweak which means making a game run at a resolution higher than your monitor supports, then downscale so it fits your screen but still gives you a crisper, more detailed image. Obviously there’s a big performance hit, but running at 4K often negates the need for anti-aliasing because there are so many damned pixels in play, so the performance trade-offs can cancel each other out if you’re lucky.