Homeworld: Cataclysm was originally developed in 2000 as an expansion of Homeworld, but was released as a stand-alone game. It was produced by Sierra Entertainment, as was the original, but it was developed by Barking Dog Studios.
Though it uses the same engine as its predecessor, several changes were made such as: the ability to toggle time compression between normal speed and eight times faster; ship upgrades (improving armor and adding new abilities), Command Ships and Carriers are given the ability to add external modules for ship research and fleet support; fuel was completely eliminated from the game and finally the sensor display could be used to issue attack orders to units. The player's Command Ship is now capable of attack; though slow, the Command Ship is capable of delivering a vast array of weaponry, most notably the Siege Cannon capable of severely crippling an enemy Command Ship in a single shot if fired accurately.
Notable unit changes include the Processor, Cataclysm's adaption of the Resource Controller, which has medium-strength weapons to defend itself; automated repair beams to heal near by ships and four pads to dock with Workers harvesting resources. The game's resource collectors perform the same functions that they did in the original Homeworld, however, when upgraded they can be used to capture enemy vessels, harvest crystals and repair friendly vessels; functions that were carried out by separate, single-function ships in the first game.
The game also introduced new 3D features such as moving parts and transforming ships.
In general, the main difference is the scale of fleets. Where Homeworld was biased towards large fleets (as the player's main ship was a fully-fledged mothership and the opposition was an empire of galactic scale), Cataclysm down-scales the fleets (as the player's main ship is a simple mining vessel and the adversaries are all limited in resources)
Template:Plot The story focuses on the struggles of Kiith Somtaaw, a minor clan amongst the Kushan, as they unwittingly release a deadly menace known as The Beast on the galaxy and seek to contain it. The Turanic Raiders, Bentusi, and Imperialist and Republican Taiidan also appear.
The game opens with the Explorer-class mining vessel Kuun-Lan (which serves as the player's mothership) conducting mining operations somewhere in deep space. After receiving a distress call from Hiigara, the ship returns to the planet to provide assistance in a battle against attacking Taiidani forces. After the battle the Kuun-Lan is ordered to find and repair a lost destroyer. After repairing the destroyer, the Kuun-Lan finds a derelict beacon pod floating in space. After a discussion with clan elders (referred to in game as "kiith-sa") on what to do with it, it is decided that the Kuun-Lan will seek out the Somtaaw science vessel Clee-San to research the derelict, rather than share the discovery with another kiith and squander Somtaaw's chances for a technological edge.
After freeing the Clee-San from a Turanic raider minefield, the ship docks with the Kuun-Lan and begins to examine the derelict. During examination, something starts to take over the section of the Kuun-Lan where the derelict is being researched. Fleet Command is forced to jettison the lower decks in order to save the rest of the ship. The Clee-San is escorted to the jettisoned lower decks to perform a scan and determine what happened. As the scan is being performed, an energy beam shoots out from the hangar module and hits the Clee-San and surrounding escorts, subverting them. A Turanic Raider fleet - backed up by Imperial Taidani - arrives and attempts to board the Clee-San, but is also subverted.
After escaping from the battle, research of the entity codenamed "The Beast" indicates that it infects ships using a beam that coats a target in a layer of nanobots which then converts the unfortunate pilot and crew into a form of bio-circuitry, seizing control of the ship. The Kuun-Lan goes to a Bentusi trading vessel for more information.
Upon arriving, the Kuun-Lan finds the Bentusi vessel under attack by Beast forces. The Kuun-Lan fights off the enemies with the help of the Bentusi vessel and the Hiigaran carrier Caal-Shto. The Beast tries to take over the Bentusi ship but the Bentusi self-destruct rather than be subverted. Research of the data contained in the alien derelict reveals that the Beast originated over a million years ago when an alien vessel, the Naggarok, picked up an unknown entity in hyperspace. After researching the entity the Naggarok and her crew were assimilated. In an attempt to prevent The Beast from escaping, the drives of the ship were destroyed, however the ship automatically released a beacon with a distress signal, the same beacon found by the Kuun-Lan.
After saving a Republican Taiidani refugee convoy from the beast the Kuun-Lan learns that the Imperial Taiidani are developing a bioweapon similar to The Beast. The Kuun-Lan meets with a Republican spy who informs them that the weapon is being developed in a research base on the planet Gozan 4. After capturing enemy resource collectors to serve as a strike team on the base, the Kuun-Lan heads for the planet. There they discover that the bioweapon is not just similar to The Beast, it is The Beast, the Imperials were attempting to find a way to control it by allowing it to consume specially designed subjects. Ultimately The Beast defeats any attempts to control it.
After the plan to destroy the base is carried out, the Kuun-Lan hides in a remote debris field. While there, the Kuun-Lan discovers the wreckage of a siege cannon, and fits it to the ship. The Kuun-Lan comes under attack from pirates who also want the siege cannon. During the battle, the Caal-Shto (which has been subverted by The Beast) arrives and destroys or takes over the pirate force. What used to be the lower deck section of the Kuun-Lan hyperspaces in, but it is now the Beast Mothership. The siege cannon is fired at the Mothership, but it fails to do any significant damage. The Kuun-Lan flees, and decides that in order to be able to harm the Beast effectively; a sample of the original is needed from aboard the Naggarok. The Kuun-Lan seeks out its sister ship, the Faal-Corum, for assistance.
The Kuun-Lan arrives to find the Faal-Corum under attack by Beast forces. After the Kuun-Lan fights off the Beast ships, the Faal-Corum transfers its astrogation team to the Kuun-Lan. The Kuun-Lan heads to a Turanic Raider base in order to gain access to their advanced star charts to more accurately locate the Naggarok. After harming the Raider base enough to force them to surrender, the Kuun-Lan acquires Raider navigation personnel and heads for the location of the Naggarok.
In mid-hyperspace the drives of the Kuun-Lan are damaged by a saboteur and the Kuun-Lan drops out of hyperspace in the middle of a Taiidani ambush. The Faal-Corum arrives and aids the Kuun-Lan in battle, transferring command of its fleet. After fighting off the enemy the Kuun-Lan departs for the Naggarok.
The Naggarok is discovered being repaired by the Imperials. The Kuun-Lan attempts to reason with them, but the Beast has promised them half of the galaxy in return for helping it gain power. The forces of the Kuun-Lan fight off the Imperials and Beast ships, and obtain a sample from the Naggarok. After capturing a fleeing Imperial vessel, interrogation reveals that the Imperials are trying to capture a Republican ship yard, where a new weapon codenamed "Nomad-Moon" is being developed, and that The Beast wants to obtain the weapon.
After modifying the siege cannon with the sample obtained, the Kuun-Lan heads to a Bentusi fleet for assistance in overcoming heating issues with the siege cannon. Upon arriving it is discovered that the Bentusi are trying to escape the galaxy through a huge hyperspace gate. After destroying the gate and reasoning with the Bentusi, they agree to help and modify the siege cannon to work properly. After upgrading the weapon which the Bentusi admit shows great promise, the Kuun-Lan group meets up with a Kiith Maanan carrier battle group to get the latest update on the conflict. The carrier group inform them of the location of the Clee-San. Being the first ship infected by the Beast Mothership, it is hoped by the Somtaaw that it will maintain a strong link with it and will be able to draw the Mothership into range of the Kuun-Lan's upgraded siege cannon.
After a long battle, the siege cannon is fired and disables the Clee-San. A boarding party sends off a distress signal to the Beast Mothership before scuttling the vessel. The Beast Mothership then enters the engagement field and is engaged by the Hiigarans, who destroy it using the siege cannon. The Kuun-Lan and its battle group set a course for the republican shipyard where the Nomad Moon battle station is under construction, where the Naggarok is heading.
Upon arriving, the Kuun-Lan finds the Republican base under attack by Beast forces, and the Nomad Moon under the control of the Beast protecting the Naggarok. The Beast intelligence on the Naggarok is amused that 'the miners are now warriors' and offers an alliance, pointing out that it can make their Kiith supreme upon Hiigara. The Hiigarans flatly refuse and engage the Beast units.
The Naggarok begins to move at an incredible speed using an inertialess drive. The ship speeds around the map only stopping to 'feed' upon ships, Imperial and Hiigaran alike before shooting off again. Research leads to limited countermeasures such as an EMP that can disable the ship for a short time. A Bentusi vessel arrives and transfers plans for an ion 'super' fighter to the Kuun-Lan. Using this technology, the Hiigarans are able to stop the Naggarok and bring overwhelming firepower to bear, destroying the vessel. The ending sequence begins, noting that hunting down the beasts 'children' took some time, but ultimately was successful as was developing an 'immunity' to the beast infection. In recognition of their enormous efforts against all odds in defeating the Beast, the Somtaaw are honored by the combined fleets of the Kiith upon arriving back home, parading their small fleet past the assembled Hiigaran fleets on their way to the orbiting Mothership.
Since "Homeworld: Cataclysm" takes place only 15 years after, and uses essentially the same game engine as "Homeworld", several ships make a return, notably in the 'new' Hiigarans/Kushan, and the Taiidan forces (both Imperialist and Republic). Some new features in this game not previously seen are ship upgrades and Support Units- the latter of which put a lower cap on the player's fleet size as opposed to the maximum fleet size of 300 in "Homeworld".
While the Kushan and Taiidan fleets remain almost identical to their Homeworld counterparts, the player's clan, Kiith Somtaaw, is forced to scratch its own fleet specs based on salvaged technologies. The player's own ships are all new and basically vastly superior to both Taiidan and Kushan counterparts and are only matched by the main adversary, the Beast and its own fleet (which is composed of upgraded Taiidan, Kushan, Somtaaw and Turanic Raider ships).