Carriers - can these be done?

The original Homeworld was and still is my favorite game. However, I have never been able to understand the purpose for including carriers in both HW1 and HW2. I wonder if the following is possible for … perhaps in a future Homeworld 3 (here’s to hoping)?

The main flaw of the carriers:

They are too cumbersome to operate. Needed far too much micro management for a single carrier, and there is already a mothership (which is a huge carrier by herself). Carriers are little more then expensive, very limited and often unnecessary construction extension to the Mothership.

… is it possible to:

Enable us player to ‘program’ each carrier’s attack (or defense) functionality for the strike crafts that it ‘carries’?

For example:

  • Say you have build 20 interceptor, 10 bomber and 5 scout in an Imperator Class carrier (of HW1).
  • You assign/programmed/selected the ‘interceptor’ to support the bomber in aggressive mode.
  • You assign the bombers to attack the ‘carrier’s target’ in normal mode.
  • You assign the scouts to support the bombers in evasive mode (… harassing attackers?).
  • You set the carrier not to auto launch.
    THEN, each time you selected you carrier, and set it to attack a target or group of targets, it will not attack like the other types of capital ships, but will instead launch all its strike crafts from a distance, with their pre-assigned roles. Another word, the strike crafts becomes the carrier’s ‘weapons’: after all, that would make the carriers more like actual carriers; instead of a glorified construction yard with tiny guns.

I have always wanted to ask if it is also possible to set something similar for support frigates in HW1. In which case a player can assign (e.g.) 6 interceptors, 4 bombers and 5 heavy corvette to a support frigate. The same thing, after setting up the ‘assignments’ for each type of strike crafts, if a player selected the support frigate and directed it to attack a ‘target’, the strike crafts will launch and carries out their ‘assignments’. Of cause, a support frigate will not be able to replace its losses; but will depend on a carrier or the Mothership for replacement. Effectively, this makes the support frigates some sort of ‘mini-carriers’.

Of cause, this will make setting up carriers (or support frigates) time consuming. However, for those who are prepared to ‘organise’ their carriers, these ships might become their most dangerous assets. Just imagine in a multiplayers game, seeing three carriers suddenly jump out somewhere behind your Mothership and immediately started to launch everything they have against you (you better have field generators to prevent something like this from happening!)

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I think there was a script for HW2 that did something like this (hive script, maybe?)
Getting the aggressiveness of the strike craft should be doable, and maybe the guard/ attack part, with enough scripting

This would make for an interesting game type, very fast paced, with limited building and resourcing

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Honestly, not a fan of that idea, carriers are supposed to be support vessels that reinforce your frontlines, not offensive ships, thats what destroyers and battlecruisers + frigates are for. Also it would take away quite a bit of micromanagement, which I think is an essential part of a good rts game, otherwise it becomes far too easy to play. You can play carriers aggressivly if you want, just load it up with a huge number of fighters and corvettes and jump close to a battle and launch them.

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Carriers are just meant to be mini-Motherships, able to build strike craft and corvettes to defend resource operations without needing to build them from a Mothership and send them over. They are not, and never will be, offensive ships and I will never condone them becoming such ships in either HW1/HW2 or even any future games.

Well, I am just attempting to share an idea that I did asked back in the days of the original HW1 forum (2001?). There is a reason why there was a clamor to remove refueling need for strike crafts class ships in the days of the original HW1: because it was simply unmanageable to have more than a few large group of strike crafts operating far from anything like the Mothership, carrier or even support frigates: they needed refueling after all. The grouping functions helps, but you really cannot form more than one strike group of mix strike crafts; the rest of your strike crafts will likely be relegated to defensive duties around your mothership (there are only ten groupings that you can form, and you need some for your capital ships).

I remember back then I argued that strike crafts are for ‘striking’ enemies, not just for defending. However, given their short range (HW1), that’s exactly what they will eventually be restricted to. That, or we use them as ‘cheap and disposable’ units (we send them out expecting most if not all to be destroyed, and that we can always build more later). I’ve also argued then the carriers’ possibilities were wasted since they cannot be use effectively: especially since the amount of micromanagement required to operate just one unit means we cannot pay more attention to other capital ships. That was why I tend to focus on capital ships from frigates onwards, and stored my strike crafts for deployment when needed only; otherwise it became to messy to organise them during battle. After all, frigates are way more durable compared to strike crafts, and easier to account for.

In a way, I guess a lot of people likes the idea of personally controlling a strike craft (like the slick looking Taidani scout). Kind of like ‘you own car’ mentality perhaps?

When HW2 was released, the role of the carriers still remains unchanged. That was a reason why I didn’t play HW2 much; I felt there wasn’t much improvement in the game play, and that we still need to micromanage strike crafts instead of ‘organising’ and command them strategically. The game was still a ‘big ships death-match’. The game also felt less ‘realistic’ and more ‘mythological’ overall. I still consider HW1 the gold standard, a near perfect match between story, environment and game play: in the sense of it being compared to previous ‘strategy’ games. I asked the question:

“What is the difference between a carrier and a shipyard? Yes, a shipyard is much larger and can build super capital ships, but doesn’t that makes carriers mini-shipyard instead? Why then are they called ‘carriers’ instead of ‘mini-shipyards’?”

Carriers should have been the most priced ships in HW1. They are already one of the most expensive. However given their ability, they are no better then ‘glorified resource controller’ most of the time. I like the idea that carriers are cheaper then heavy cruisers, because one should also consider the strike crafts that they can build and store. It was (and still is) a shame that there is no way a carrier in HW can match up to a heavy cruiser (simply out gunned, by a long shot). Have you wondered why no one in our real world today still consider ships like cruisers a superior option to carriers?

Micromanagement, yes, but when? Think about it, does it make sense to ‘micromanage’ during the thick of a battle? Or, would you prefer to be prepared first? Another word, would you prefer to micromanage first and organise you carrier beforehand, then focus on directing your pre-organised carriers and fleet against your opponent’s pre-organised fleet. HW’s battle field is a very messy 3D environment after all. Of cause, if the Gearbox team do implement something like ‘pre-planning’, it would be interesting to see how a pre-planned fleet (with carriers organised) fare against a ‘traditionally’ micromanaged fleet (i.e. where a player prefer to select all his/her ships, then pick the type and direct it against the type of targets it want to destroy)

I always found the idea of ‘dumping’ your strike crafts and then directing them to attack their targets from you carriers chaotic. When things goes wrong, you will tend to leave behind all those strike crafts and save you carrier only. Compare that to the idea of selecting the carrier and ‘command’ its strike crafts to dock asap, then jump out.

Well, these are just some idea, on a faint hope that if Gearbox do make Homeworld 3, they might consider something like this: nothing serious about it. Given that HW2 had left the carriers pretty much the same (mobile construction yard/glorified resource controller), I am not holding my breath. Also, it had been so long since I have that much time to play strategy games (sad). Anyway, just discussing it for discussion sake: not intended to be serious.

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So carrier as battle star basically? You could give them a special version of the Fly Round attack script with a really long standoff distance so that you can launch fighters, swoop in and harass, attack, and your carrier will orbit that ship at a distance so you can retreat to it when necessary.

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Uhm you can totally outgun a heavy cruiser with a carrier, if you have enough bombers docked and that is EXACTLY what real life carriers do as well, a real life aircraft carrier has no heavy weapons installed, it has airplanes that use it as a launching platform to attack far away targets and then come back to reloead/refuel and get repaired if necessary and that is exactly how you can use a carrier in homeworld !

Homeworld carriers are even MORE powerful since they can also build additional units, which a real life carrier can not. So I don’t see your point, all you need to do is build your strikecraft BEFORE attacking an enemy and then launch them at a safe distance and order them to attack while your carrier stays out of battle and functions as a mobile base that builds reinforcements and repairs your ships when needed. And that is just like an aircraft carrier, those also need to be loaded up with aircraft before they deploy and never engage in combat directly themselves.

And just to clarify, I am talking about Homeworld 2 carriers because I never played the original Homeworld 1 back in the day and have only played the Hw1 races in the singleplayer campaign of the remastered edition, so it might be different for Hw1.

Think about it, does it make sense to ‘micromanage’ during the thick of a battle?

Yes I think it makes sense, thats part of the fun, especially since this game is rather slow paced even in battles, compare it to the highspeed action of a starcraft II match where you also need to manage your units and you can’t really complain about a bit of micromanagement of some fighters. Thats at least my take on that, not saying its the absolute truth.

Shipyards are basically stationary, carriers are mobile and that is exactly the difference between them.

Same here, this is not meant as a personal attack on you, if you got/get that impression from my responses :slight_smile:

Carriers are fine for offensive purposes just the way they are.

Seriously, you need to brush up on you etiquette skill :sweat: , no offence intended: that simile (at the end) is a poor substitute for saying things properly. I would think that if you don’t mean to give a false impression of your true intentions, a little bit of humility would serve much better. However, I will still accept you ‘apology’, of sort, and would most definitely not think any less of you for any unintended wrong perception of personal attack. On the other hand, I hope my earlier reply hasn’t ruffled you hair or tickled your temper, because it certainly wasn’t my intention: in honesty and sincerity. If you do felt uncomfortable in anyway, I certainly regret that you have perceived it the way you have perceived it. After all this is just a discussion. :grin:

I guess we are ‘drifting’ in different directions here, because I think I had originally included that quote as a a precursor to a point. So, I guess there’s no point in furthering any discussion on it. After all, what is the point of discussing two different views while we are both appearing to be saying similar things. I guess in a way a shipyard is like a giant carrier: they do store strike crafts after all is said. Just that they are very slow: another way of saying “basically stationary” perhaps.

Well, I guess most people do stick to a tried and tested recipe. We are more comfortable with familiarity after all.

One thing I like about HW was how they did things differently: compared to other RTS back then. In a way it was ahead of the time, and perhaps the reason why Relic did not received better result than they should or hoped. I remember telling my friends about HW, but they either couldn’t get use to it, or said it makes them dizzy. :smile:

I like the game back then because it was trying out new ways of doing things. Not the same harvesting with refineries approach like many RTS then. Not the same 2D battelfield. Even something simple like being able to bring the units you build in one stage to the next; no need to start over at every stage. And then there is the story: it all fit so well (my opinion). :blush:

One sour point is that I have always found carriers … underwhelming. The game allows more than one carrier, but it is already hard to manage (the stored strike crafts of) the mothership (which is like a super carrier of sort). You made a very sound point about carrier’s weapons being their ‘airplanes’, but then why is it that when we select one (carrier) and point it to attack a target, the carrier will proceed to attack it with its small guns? Why doesn’t it launch its stored strike crafts to attack from a distance? Just as you said, a carrier “can totally outgun a heavy cruiser”; just that in the game, it has always choose to use the wrong gun. I am just making a point that if Gearbox can provide some sort of configuration function for carriers ‘attack’, it might make things more interesting. Another word, making carriers the most versatile ship. You know, kind of doing things differently; instead of just using the tried and tested approach.

Well, seriously what’s the use for discussing it here now. Unless the people at Gearbox wanted to do something like that, we are basically just killing time, and I think I have spend enough time reminiscing about a game that I enjoyed very much then. Or, hoping the faint hope that the people at Gearbox will try ‘something different’ sooner.

Anyway, here’s to hoping that Gearbox will make Homeworld 3. Cheers.


Well, I always wished Carriers were a little bit more like Battlestar Galactica. But since this is an RTS and not RTT, mobile production ships is what they are.

I actually think some more advanced strike group commands is a nice way around it. If you could lightly link strikecraft to their “mothership” (not capital M). If Carriers had a “Retreat All” button that recalls back all ships that previously docked it. If you could preset a level of damage a formation will endure before automatically returns to its “mothership” Carrier. And load of other options…
I for one think that would be nice.

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Linking strike craft to their preassigned carrier would be a great idea. Something like:
1 ) Either putting them in formation or a hotkey with their carrier would link them.
2 ) Auto launch when attack command is given to the carrier.
3 ) Carrier attack stance would be move to target but with very large standoff.
4 ) The strike craft would then have a ‘auto dock for repair’ order when health reached a minimum threshold; after which would resume last command.
5 ) Since their linked, selecting one will select them all. Give a dock command and they all have new orders, retreat to dock.
6 ) To unlink them, break the hotkey or formation.

7 ) This would allow for microing the carriers only, with the strike craft assigned to them taking very simple orders from the carrier directly but only while grouped.

Carriers are now a very exciting new toy :smiley:


I honestly don’t see where I was lacking etiquette or failed to say things properly, but okay, I guess people read things differently ^^, but feel free to point out where you felt offended or I was rude so I can keep that in mind for the future.

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Yes, people do read things differently: very differently indeed. In a lot of cases and all too often, unfortunately, it seems some do focus on a single word or just a couple of sentences instead of an entire message. I guess I should have use that sentence (the one you quoted from me, above) in the ending instead of using it at the opening: for you seems to have forgo reading anything afterward.

If you do want some pointers, I guess a few things that I can perhaps suggest might be for you to read more, and more carefully before forwarding your responses. In addition, perhaps exercise a bit of a habit for re-reading what you wrote over a few times, and do constantly ask yourself if your writing has successfully convey your intentions to your conversation partner (or partners). If you feel it has not, feel free to change you sentences, use different words, or even try changing directions and re-read it again.

One more thing, don’t just try to keep things “in mind” for the future; that doesn’t always work, or work well when it does. If you depend too much on just your ability to memories things, you are likely to repeat many lessons. It might be better to given yourself good habits, acquire an understanding (on the subject), and keep an open mind for the views of others. Of cause, if it is justifiable to yourself, do repay in kind what you receive from others: be that boon or bane.

I do hope I have, as honestly as possible, made some progress in answering your query about etiquette.

I have read everything you posted and to be quite frank, your tone is far more condescending towards me than anything I have written and I DO read my posts beforehand and the message I wanted to convey was quite clear and as intended. I simply don’t see anything rude/aggressive in what I have written but you obviously did so I simply wanted to know what parts you felt where out of line.

But this is getting more and more off topic, so if you want to continue this discussion lets do so in private messages rather than spamming this thread.

Maybe we could talk about Carriers?


Quit targeting others. If anyone cant discuss the topic at hand without making things personal then they probably shouldn’t be commenting.

Either ignore someone you aren’t getting along with or talk it out in a friendly PM. But airing drama like this won’t be happening again.
And if you think someone was being too aggressive, flag it rather than reply to it.

Now back to those carriers…


Those are some pretty cool ideas.

I’d add this:

8.) Allow for an option to assign a strikegroup number to specific unit types before or while they’re built. So say you’re building a set of bombers to reinforce a group you already have - call it “group 6”. Any bombers produced from that carrier (or mothership) will now automatically join strike group 6 as they’re produced.

The idea with something like this is to aim for “quality of life” improvements. Sure, you can assign all your strikegroups manually, but does that add to the game in any meaningful way or make it more fun? If not, why not make it slightly more intuitive?


Heck, I’d settle for being able to assign squadrons while they were still docked!
That is a great idea, especially if combined with some of Herby’s ideas about linking them to their carrier.