Gameplay & True 3D
Can you handle a true 3D world?
At the core of the gameplay is your ability to manage and control a fleet of ships. So one of the first things we noticed about the game is the amount of control you have over your viewpoint. You can use the mouse to zoom your viewpoint in and out, and rotate your point of view to see your ships from any angle, much like you can in Myth and Myth 2. The difference here is that you can rotate over and under your ships, which is necessary since your units can move in any direction including "up and down." Well ok, that's not entirely accurate since "up" and "down" have no meaning in open space but you get the picture. This is a welcome change from what many real time strategy fans are used to, which is a fixed overhead or isometric view of the battlefield. Relic has released the shackles and given gamers unprecedented freedom over the viewpoint of the battlefield. Certainly such a camera set up is necessary for a space combat/strategy game with Homeworld's ambitious size and scope.
At the launch party last April and at E3 in May we were able to watch the lead designer of the game, Erin Daly, pan and scan and zoom his viewpoint all around with grace and ease, making the game look truly beautiful. With some practice at the game, it seems that anyone can learn to play Homeworld as deftly as the creators. Relic promises that learning the controls will be intuitive and easy, so to help with this process they included lots of useful keyboard hotkeys. Among these are a hotkey for remembering the previous camera angle and automatic focusing on any single ship or group of ships. They claim however that 80% of the game can be controlled with mouse alone, so if you're not inclined to use the keyboard as much, this should be of help to you. It should also be mentioned that there is a mini map screen that has a view of all the surrounding space, so controlling two parts of your fleet on opposite sides of the map shouldn't be too difficult.
Ship firing - How purty!
Can't we all just get along?