version 8.4.2

The Complex mod is a custom modification of Homeworld 2 designed expressly for experienced Homeworld players with a lot of time on their hands. It expands the original scale and premise of Homeworld2 into something truly vast and genuinely epic. As mods go, its earned it's place in the modDATABASE Hall of Fame - alongside other famous mods such as Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, Garry's Mod, and Defense of the Ancients. This is a slickly produced, professional production that has constantly produced exceptional work, and continues to produce versions on a regular basis.

Hiigaran Cruiser Type B's shred a Vaygr Artillery and Heavy Destroyer force

Hiigaran Cruiser Type B's shred a Vaygr Artillery Frigate and Destroyer force.

To summarise: you buy the old Homeworld 2 game just to play Complex. Of all the mods for this game, this is easily the deepest, slickest, most elegant and best one.

As the name implies, it makes Homeworld 2 more complex - and fiendishly so. Beginners will almost certainly feel utterly lost in it. The basic premise is to return complexity back to those who feel that commercial pressures have whittled away any gaming substance to attract a more casual player. There are many extra units you've probably already seen (some pioneered long ago in the Modernization Mod) and an entire ensemble of completely new ones, all tricked out to the same high standards found in Relic's original title. There's all the usual tweaks and fiddles, but what really sets this mod different from its contemporaries a.) it is largely complete, and b.) it really does add a swag of new gameplay features and mechanics.

Almost to a fault.

There's an extraordinarily dense build and tech tree and a swag of unique game features not seen in any other HW2 mod. Every ship and aspect of play has at least a dozen techs and upgrades for it, at basic, intermediate and advanced levels. Every game element in your fleet can be improved and built, with the detail and love you'd seen in a roleplaying game. From acceleration rates on Capital craft, resource gathering, shield battery recharge rates, multiple speed and armour improvements per ship, entirely new lines of shipping, a battery of custom Modules, Battlecruiser add-ons, radiation fields (for those pesky nebulas), spy technologies, cloak enhancements, long distance artillery and sniping shipping.... the list is too long to fully go into.

Complex uses a calendar to mark off the passage of in-game years, which turns the game from a simple slash and burn mining economy into something rivaling a Starfleet version of Civilisation. You are charged Maintenance for all the units you currently have in your fleet once a year. Build a massive fleet and it'll start to cost you. The usual unit caps have been done away with as well, replaced by a Crew and Officer caps. Each unit, squadron and ship uses up Crew. Capital Craft and Mothership classes take up Officers. You also have a Military Rank, which is expressed in Honour points. You score Honour by building, researching, earning tribute(!), capturing ships and winning battles.

As you start to progress through Military Ranks, your population cap is raised - or more precisely, you have to "recruit" via Crew or Officer Recruitment techs. So, you can't just sit around in your cozy corner building up a huge fleet and then thumping your mate with it - you've got to get out there and earn yer Honour in order to unlock higher techs and make available more crew to build more ships. What's more, if you can't pay your maintenance bill your Honour goes down, and worse, the RU's you owe will be docked from all your existing batches of ship building. In effect, the Complex Mod has finally given Homeworld 2 something that starting to look truly epic.

Version 8 and onwards introduced the concept of Power generation to the game, which almost pushes it over the edge from complex to obsessive. Power simply regulates how fast things can be built, so it becomes not a new way to make even more complex fleets, but simply an obstacle you're forced to overcome just to keep things moving along. It's a worry. It also introduces a power generating ship that, if lost, can effectively cripple your otherwise booming and well managed economy. Fortunately, later versions of the mod seem to have tamed this extra feature.

For the Hiigarans, the Research Station makes a welcome return to the game; its the only way you can tech up. Being a specialised Capital Ship, you need to seriously invest in a Capital Module before you can even think of building any techs, and then there's a long and protracted building and teching tree to work through. Its important to build the right add-ons as well to unlock the techs you want. For example, The Station is your fleet's Achilles Heel - losing it can seriously cripple you, and looking after it becomes a high priority.

There are three levels of research you can do, each have their own Module Slot in the Research Station; they're analogous to the research "Tiers" you find in a WarCraft clone or in Dawn of War's tech trees. Any research you do scores you Research points. However, to unlock the Science Division and Engineering modules, you must have accumulated sufficient Research to start with, or at least sufficient Honour and Population. so there's no rushing up tech trees either; you must get out and engage with your opponent and spend some time researching all your basic techs before you can build half a dozen Destroyers to smash your opponent with. Each level of teching requires a lot of prerequisites, and its not hard to drive yourself spare trying to find or work out what they might be. Often you need to build the right module on the right ship to unlock a trail of techs.

The cool thing is that you can build up your fleet to specialise in certain fields: defence, production, manoeuvrability, striking power, and to make them the best in the game. Best of all, both Hiigarans and Vaygr have distinctively different build trees and styles of play. The neat thing is, you never have enough to build everything; there are more techs and upgrades here than in most overblown 4X strategy games!

Literally, it'll take you hours to fully kit out your fleet, and games are slow moving until the battles kick off. Even if you decide to begin with an Empire (as distinct from a lone Mothership without any Resource Collectors) it will take minutes for all the ships to undock, assemble and make themselves ready for you. This can almost work to its detriment: Complex caters to niche gamers, not casuals. Make sure you've got a few good hours up your sleeve and give yourselves a few goes at this before trying to work out what the hell everything does. There's a long learning curve, but for any spaceship fans out there the payoffs will be huge.

End game: fully kitted out Vaygr Battleships take on a Command Fortress.

You have a huge amount of flexibility in how you decide to kit our your fleet. This'll no doubt frustrate some people no end. Complex comes with its own wide-ranging maps, rich and broad enough to accommodate all these extras. It truly can be epic: some of the big fights make the original game seem like a minor skirmish. Even a 1v1 skirmish can take on endgame proportions! The idea was to have a long and complex game - and you can be pretty sure most of them will last an hour or three. If you're an action gamer or someone who gets bored waiting for things to set up, then the style of this mod probably isn't for you.

This is perfect for any grand taskforce builders or sand boxing armchair admirals. It takes Homeworld 2 to the next level: high strategy is just as important here as your tactics. There's also a swag of other little features, some not entirely finished, but all looking extremely promising. Pressing a button enables Cut Scene mode, where the mod will attempt (albeit a little primitively) to make a cut scene out of your current game! All the icons are executed to a high level of polish and all the extra details doesn't get in the way of your game. There's even a help feature narrated by Karen Sjet herself (which can be turned off in Options) that explains all the stats and scoring in-game.

The arrival of version 7.4.3 saw the inclusion of planets to the mix, along with suitably scaled up pyrotechnics, debris fields and mighty, mighty explosions.

Since then, the Complex "8 series" has expanded the game still further.

Current version: 8.4.2

This version arrived in April 2013, fixing a critical bug found in 8.4.1. You'll need the original Homeworld 2 game patched before you can install Complex.

See also: Complex Mod Forums, RelicNews Forum thread and its modDATABASE entry.

Back to Homeworld 2 Custom Mods HW2 Custom Mods
HW2 Links On to Homeworld 2 Links
Top of page Top

Last modified Tue, Apr 9 2013 by Lindsay Fleay