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Point Defense - The Cover Story
October 2013
 
 
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Wed, Dec. 7th, 2005 09:48 am
Point Defense

Recently I've started playing Homeworld 2 again. While I was playing a game with noble_resonance, he suggested I check out the Point Defense Systems mod. I checked out the site, and the site throws around some impressive terminology. I loaded up the game, and started playing about with it.

The biggest change (to my mind) is severe modifications to what can be built; there are more unit types than you have slots to fill. For example, there are three different classes of ship in the "Battlecruiser" classification for the new Higarran navy, however, you only have one battlecruiser slot in your build caps. The other major element of the game is, as the name would imply, the Point Defense systems. The CIWS systems aboard the various ships throw up an impressive set of flak to try to down incoming fighters and missiles. Although its interesting to look at, the guns are outrageously inaccurate, and extremely weak. Unfortunately, this syndrome carries into the realm of a ships' main guns as well. As a result, battles that would normally take a few minutes in stock Homeworld 2 can take upwards of 20 or 30 minutes in PDS. The game actually takes advantage of this fact by introducing a new game mod entitled "Ship Duel" (which I enjoy), which is a taskforce-on-taskforce engagement with production disabled.

The mod introduces some very good-looking new hulls for some of its ships, but otherwise it badly wounds Homeworld's very attractive look and feel. During a relatively small engagement, the screen is filled with ballistic and ion cannon fire that obscures much of the battle. While an argument could be made for "realism", it makes the game harder to play and certainly runs against the concept of "next-generation battle management". There are many more modules on ships now that are tied to their weapons loadouts, which allows for more "crippling" of warships. Another interesting addition to the game is a blue bar each ship now has, which is sort of a "stunned" value. As the ship takes damage, the blue bar drops very quickly, but also regenerates very quickly. If the blue bar ever hits zero, the ship is "stunned" -- it can't more, fire, or take any action. This is meant to simulate non-fatal damage causing the ship to be combat ineffective for a short time. It will eventually regenerate, although I'm told it can take as long as 20 minutes (which raises the question of why there is no tug in the game).

When the music stops, this game is an interesting as a very soft-science battlespace with a cinematic quality, (I've had a CVE pull maneuvers in PDS I'd be impressed with a frigate doing in conventional Homeworld 2) but it comes off feeling like it should be simulating a closer approximation of modern-day navies in space, which it utterly fails to do. The mod is an interesting exercise in and of itself, but its just not a good game. That said, the next project the group is coming out with, NGCS, looks like it may well be a very impressive modification. I'll have to keep an eye on it.

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1CommentReply

lopaanre
Jonathan
Wed, Dec. 7th, 2005 05:50 pm (UTC)

I it was a neat concept of not building lots of ships, but instead just making a few ships that you could choose exactly what weapons were. However in practice, it just felt like a really show shiny homeworld. Perhaps if they had better documentation on what each weapon did. Oh and I really wish you could turn off the new voice acting *shudder*.

But yes, I agree. Interesting mod, but not fun.


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