Gearbox Would "Love" to Re-Release Homeworld: Cataclysm

Gearbox Would "Love" to Re-Release Homeworld: Cataclysm

Gearbox COO Brian Martel says that a re-release of Homeworld: Cataclysm depends on "finding the original source code."

Gearbox's Homeworld Remastered Collection will be releasing later this month and the excitement among fans of the classic franchise couldn't be higher. For some however, the release of the collection is marred by the persistence of a substantial exclusion. While the Remastered Collection contains both the first and second Homeworld games, it will not include the pseudo-sequel Homeworld: Cataclysm. Addressing Homeworld: Cataclysm earlier today, Gearbox COO Brian Martel affirmed that the studio "would love" to do something with the game but is being obstructed by some unfortunate problems.

"The [source] code," he said. We don't know where it exists." Developed by Barking Dog Studios, the source code for Cataclysm has been missing for years, with no one seeming to know if a complete copy even exists anymore. That being the case, Gearbox's options with the game are limited. "It really comes down to finding the original source code. If somebody out there has it, we would take it and make sure we at least released the classic version."

The big question after that, of course, is whether or not the studio would take things any further. While some fans would likely be happy just to have a digital edition of the game optimized for modern PCs, most would probably still prefer to see an HD remaster similar to what Gearbox has done with Homeworld and Homeworld 2. Touching on that, Martel was less optimistic. "Frankly," he said. "I'd be surprised if we could actually do the kind of work that we've done with the remasters for Cataclysm." Even so, he didn't completely shut down the possibility of a remastered edition of Cataclysm. Even without the source code, Martel indicated that "there are some clever things [Gearbox] might be able to do if there was enough interest."

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Cant they just find a copy of the original and work from there?

Weird that they don't have that, somewhere. No one thought about preserving it?
Being a somewhat succesful IP and all?

On that note; many fans of the original wanting to grab this in 2014/2015?

Why don't they remake it using homeworld 1 remastered as a base, Cataclysm was basically an expansion of HW1 anyway.

please don't, Homeworld 2 retconned it for good reason.

Kenjitsuka:
Weird that they don't have that, somewhere. No one thought about preserving it?
Being a somewhat succesful IP and all?

Presumably it was lost or destroyed in a move, buy out or clear out, maybe somebody just wanted the storage space back. It's why the BBC wiped hundreds of thousands of it's recordings after use through the fifties, sixties and seventies, it wouldn't surprise me if the loss of this boiled down to archive drives being expensive.

Volothos:
Cant they just find a copy of the original and work from there?

Not really. A copy of the original would be a compiled version of the program, which is very different from having the source code.

In some ways, it's like the difference between having the recipe for something, and having the product itself. Sort of like how the formula to make Coca-Cola is still a secret despite the fact that you can buy a can of it just about anywhere.

There are decompilers that can create code from an executable, but the decompiled code is significantly different from the original, and is usually near-impossible to decipher, especially since the decompiled version wouldn't have any of the original's comments.

Since they'd probably have to refactor a lot of the game's engine to get it to run on modern systems, working through muddy decompiled code isn't a very feasible solution, because it's tedious, time-consuming, and difficult.

Volothos:
Cant they just find a copy of the original and work from there?

Nope. Without the source code it'd be like trying to build a space shuttle by looking at one that's sitting on a launch pad. Even if you could look at each individual piece (and for this comparison to really work, you can't), you still wouldn't have an easy time building one without knowing the design specs for all of the parts.

Kenjitsuka:
Weird that they don't have that, somewhere. No one thought about preserving it?
Being a somewhat succesful IP and all?

The worst part is it isn't that weird. The industry is notoriously bad about preserving source code for its games. And even when they do, they often get stored god knows where on media that they won't even be able to access 15+ years later without buying some retro equipment to do the deed. And that's assuming the backups aren't lost or damaged in that time, that the final code was backed up to begin with, and that the code is even readable.

The Silent Hill HD collection had a lot of problems at launch for example. Part of that was because they didn't even have a copy of the final code for the game. What they had was incomplete so they had to basically port it while fixing it so it would run properly. And when the original Killzone was re-released, not only did they have the backups on said archaic equipment (despite the game not being that old), but it was filled with comments describing the code which didn't make sense a decade later because it used things like names that were changed by the time of the final release to describe code affecting specific characters. It was basically like trying to decipher slang they hadn't used in some 10 years, and which a lot of people at the company probably weren't even their for when the game was made.

Long story short, the industry has a real problem with archiving it's work in a way that isn't ludicrously stupid.

RicoADF:
Why don't they remake it using homeworld 1 remastered as a base, Cataclysm was basically an expansion of HW1 anyway.

It would likely be as fast to remake the game entirely, while HW and Cata were both on the same engine there were changes done between the two games, time compression for instance was an option in Cata but not in the original, same deal for ship upgrades. Its easy enough if you have the source code, no so much if you don't.

That said I hope there is a backup of it somewhere that can be given to Gearbox as Cata was a good game even if its considered non canon.

Vivi22:
The worst part is it isn't that weird. The industry is notoriously bad about preserving source code for its games. And even when they do, they often get stored god knows where on media that they won't even be able to access 15+ years later without buying some retro equipment to do the deed. And that's assuming the backups aren't lost or damaged in that time, that the final code was backed up to begin with, and that the code is even readable.

The Silent Hill HD collection had a lot of problems at launch for example. Part of that was because they didn't even have a copy of the final code for the game. What they had was incomplete so they had to basically port it while fixing it so it would run properly. And when the original Killzone was re-released, not only did they have the backups on said archaic equipment (despite the game not being that old), but it was filled with comments describing the code which didn't make sense a decade later because it used things like names that were changed by the time of the final release to describe code affecting specific characters. It was basically like trying to decipher slang they hadn't used in some 10 years, and which a lot of people at the company probably weren't even their for when the game was made.

Long story short, the industry has a real problem with archiving it's work in a way that isn't ludicrously stupid.

Don't forget the wonderful world of data corruption as well, as much as you think you have a working archive of data there is a good chance when you go back to retrieve it a few years later you won't be able to. A company I worked for kept a set of tape backups and the the tape drive itself, but there was a 40% corruption rate of all the data on the tapes after 12 years.

You know, maybe Gearbox should try reaching out to the Modding community. Sure, the original source code is gone but if there is any group of people who understand the inside and out of how to retexture a model, rework the rules, and the inner workings of how things are working with a 10+ year old program, it is the modding community. Yeah, it won't be the original code but it is somewhere to start working from and there is a ready corps of people who have a vested interest in getting a copy of something that could work for on current systems.

I'm sure if they really wanted to, they could take the irreplacable assets, like voicework and music, they have from an original copy and use them to build on the source code of HW HD. Maybe.

Blaine Houle:
You know, maybe Gearbox should try reaching out to the Modding community. Sure, the original source code is gone but if there is any group of people who understand the inside and out of how to retexture a model, rework the rules, and the inner workings of how things are working with a 10+ year old program, it is the modding community. Yeah, it won't be the original code but it is somewhere to start working from and there is a ready corps of people who have a vested interest in getting a copy of something that could work for on current systems.

Actually, one of the things we talked about during my conversation with Martel was how the Remastered team has actually incorporated and even hired members of the Homeworld modding community to help with the Remastered Collection. It didn't quite pertain to the topic in this story, so I didn't include it, but it was nonetheless an interesting detail.

They say this but I'm sure a team of modders will have it sorted without need of the source code. It's alright to guess the things you don't have access to, like I'm sure not even the most hardcore of fans will complain if they notice a slight difference in the Beast's AI.

I was wondering why it wasn't part of the set. Personally, I freakin' loved Cataclysm. The missions were fantastic, especially the one where you're fighting the Bentuzi, are totally out-classed and out-gunned, and are basically left having to beg them to see reason. It gave the whole game a feeling of humanity since you can't just build a huge fleet and win; you really feel the loss of not just the ships, but their crews.

Kenjitsuka:
Weird that they don't have that, somewhere. No one thought about preserving it?
Being a somewhat succesful IP and all?

On that note; many fans of the original wanting to grab this in 2014/2015?

Yep! I chomping at the bit to get Cataclysm. I love that game way more than HW 2. I would love to have a new version of it that I can actually play on my current system.

Rawbeard:
please don't, Homeworld 2 retconned it for good reason.

*hiss* Blasphemy! HW 2 had a terrible story, Cataclysm was way better as a gaming experience.

Happyninja42:
*hiss* Blasphemy! HW 2 had a terrible story, Cataclysm was way better as a gaming experience.

Yeah, the Beast was such great storytelling, I was barely able to roll my eyes from all the jawning. Cataclysm is just fanfiction.

Gorrath:
I was wondering why it wasn't part of the set. Personally, I freakin' loved Cataclysm. The missions were fantastic, especially the one where you're fighting the Bentuzi, are totally out-classed and out-gunned, and are basically left having to beg them to see reason. It gave the whole game a feeling of humanity since you can't just build a huge fleet and win; you really feel the loss of not just the ships, but their crews.

Probably my favorite mission in the entire series. So epic.

GOD! Now I have to go get my CD Copy and pray it works on my laptop....

What a coincidence! I would love for GearBox to spontaneously combust and erase all evidence of it's existence. They could always sell the property to someone with an interest in working the franchise. All GearBox wants to do is turn out crap for money.

Edit: christ, commented in the wrong threat.

Anyway, I loved the origional Homeworld. Certainly I hope they will do something interesting in the re release and not just a naked cash grab

I necro-bumped this thread because Homeworld: Cataclysm is one of my all time favorite games for almost flipping my mind.
One feature improvement would compelle me to buy the game again this very minute.

During game play you could rotate your perspective 360, but there was a hard stop. From the very first I was disappointed with this limitation. What was the reason? Was it a limitation of the rendering engine? or did the game designers believe a fully spinning perspective would make it too difficult to orient yourself during game play? Perfect! that kind of human cognition problem would need to be overcome in reality, too. See where this goes? Maybe you could switch to a different plane of attack, and just reset the hard stop. I played the game always trying to imagine the ability to pick the best plane of attack in multi-mode would be the key tactic to dominance. End rant. dust in the wind. Big love for Homeworld:Cataclysm for almost flipping my mind and freeing me from gravity.

 

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