An Interview with Pouk, the Creator of Homeworld REARM

Rearmament Expansion And Redesign Mod for Homeworld


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I have to start this piece with a personal note. My virtual sit-down with Pouk via Skype was everything but productive to be honest. Although we did cover a lot of stuff about Homeworld (what else?) in the interview, Petr Mišák (Pouk’s actual name), is such an interesting individual and insightful correspondent that we ended up shooting the breeze for most of our interview. While I always admire game developers, meeting a true artist in this domain and our conversation was certainly a pleasure.

Petr is currently in Prague. He is working with his friend in a studio that they’ve started themselves. A bold move, but for someone as talented as Petr, certainly a logical step as well. So now as a full-time dev, let’s hear Petr describing a day in the life of Pouk.

REARM

You get up at 1pm, go get some food, you slowly start functioning over the next two hours, then the darker it is outside, the more focused on your work you are. Then sometimes you’re staring at the screen for so long that you see the sun again and that never fails to surprise you, but it alters your plans to finish and go to bed.

Pouk REARM

actual pouk
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What was the first game that drew you to modding, and when was that moment when you were like – “this is what I want to do!” What ultimately helped you make that decision?

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And, of course, one of those questions that I have to ask for the sake of the fans who are reading this.

How long have you been building REARM, at this point and is there any chance that we will get to play it soon?

When I was younger, I had these notions once a year to learn something new. One day, out of nowhere I had an idea that since I like 3D graphics and design, I could become a modder. Just a momentary idea out ouf the blue. I took a day to decide whether I’ll mod Homeworld or Arma. I realized I’ll bring way more original concepts into Homeworld and after a day it was decided, I’ll mod Homeworld. Just like that. The next day I was on Relicnews forum, a day after that I sliced Hiigaran Platforms in halves and made double and tripple platforms out of them. Week in I thought I knew all I need (not quite true obviously), but I was on fire and I couldn’t stop.
It literally was a matter of days from zero to full dedication.

I should also note that the credits to start modding Homeworld go to Battlecry and his TFS mod.

Battlecry TFS mod: moddb.com/members/battlecry
actual pouk

My Relicnews forum mod thread says that I started in September 2009. Since then the first version of R.E.A.R.M. (REARM with dots back then) was in development for years, but the development gradually declined due to the massive feature creep. It was new to me, I was excited and I couldn’t quite keep the scope reasonable. Then it reignited with the Gerbox’s Remastered release and the new version is being in development since. I started over from the beginning, I dropped most everything and now I’m focusing purely on ship making and maps.

The main idea of the mod is exactly the same: To make something as close to the hypothetical official expansion as possible. “Expansion” was always the key word for me. new weapons, new ships and new maps yes. But never a change of pace, addition of extra point defense or other dramatic changes.

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Ok, well, since Remastered inspired you this much, is DOK inspiring at all? Can we expect some work done for DoK any time soon?

I love the style of DoK. It is a beutiful Homeworld game and it does feel like Homeworld. Not only the atmosphere, the sounds and the music, the sensor manager, but also the utilitarian look of the vehicles painted in bright colors with numbers on their armor. The fact that despite it being a land based game it actually has Carriers and Battlecruisers. And that they didn’t go with glowing lights for the lift engines of hover vehicles and bright auras for unit special abilities, but instead avoided the gamey elements and aimed for the perfect immersion instead, with such details as amazing unit chatter. And the fact it’s from the original authors. All these things make it a beutiful true Homeworld game to me.

I am itching to dive into modding DoK, the game has an artistic style that really resonates with me and it doesn’t have that many units, so making a new “race” seems more manageable than making a new race for Homeworld. But in order to get something done, it’s crucial I have one project. I might try to poke around, see how it works and maybe some day make something small, a new unit type for each side maybe. But that’s the most I can realistically afford.

REARM early works (R.E.A.R.M.)

one of the first models
the begining

Ok, and what was the most challenging model that you created?
The one that took you the most time and the one that you are particularly proud of?

Unfinished models:

REARM Models in progress

If you had that sort of money, what type of game would you develop personally? My own space strategy game obviously. If I had a lot of money, imagine a Mechwarrior 4 with spaceships, a game focused on weapon customization, performance and penetration that includes ammo storage space for the kinetic weapons and missiles and heat mechanics for energy weapons. And just like Homeworld, no shields, just steel on steel. If I had money only to cover my living expenses, then I would learn to program myself (such a “realistic” goal of course) and make a much smaller project that I have dreamed of. A turn based formation 3D strategy game, something along the lines of Flotilla (from Blendo games), with three times faster and user friendly controls and more depth in unit types and formations.

“The Missile Battlecruiser. Because that’s the biggest ship I’ve made and it’s also the ship I built twice. I made in for the old R.E.A.R.M., but when the HWRM brought the whole new texture standards, I updated the model and recreated the ship’s texture from scratch.”

The Missile Battlecruiser1

Don’t make me chose between Rob Cunningham and Jon Aaron Kambeitz. It’s Homeworld, it’s both. It’s like asking a kid to chose between mum and dad.

Homeworld to me literally feels like a game that was made for me. The art style brings back the old memories from primary school, when it was the first time I saw the sci-fi book covers by Chris Foss and Peter Elson. So to me it’s a pure nostalgia processed into a playable game. The nebulas are more clouds than nebulas and I’m a person who even now regularly looks up and stares at the clouds. The gameplay is amazing, just the right pace for me, fighters stay relevant even in later game (which is not given, Haegemonia for instance) and it doesn’t lean heavily on invisible buffs, which is something I really dislike, because to me it takes away from the clarity. And it’s the first RTS I’ve played with perfectly intuitive control in a 3D space. Homeworld is ‘the’ space RTS.

Ok, so now we know “why Homeworld.” Here is a tricky question – which one of the HW designers is your favorite?

Don’t make me chose between Rob Cunningham and Jon Aaron Kambeitz. It’s Homeworld, it’s both. It’s like asking a kid to chose between mum and dad.

REARM map

Ok, so we will finish up for now with the latest images of your new map (that you promised to let us test  out in one of our streams ;))  Before we wrap this up, let me know what other space games you’re playing at the moment?

Here’s the thing: Each time I turn on a game these days, I’m immediately attacked by the sense of guilt that I’m wasting my time and I should be modding instead. Then I go work on some ship texture and later I tell myself that what I made today wouldn’t exist if I played a game. So that doesn’t make me the biggest player. And I was always the one who enjoys making games for other people far more than the one who plays them. But when I do play it’s obviously Homeworld Remastered.

And if by space game you mean any space game, then I really enjoy small doses of Shattered Horizon -a shooter in space suits with six degrees of freedom and no right side up.

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George is an avid blogger, a fiction writer in his own spare time, a content marketer during the day and a manager of the FoH website. A book nut, a movie nut and everything space nut, who loves to talk about himself in third person. He's awesome.

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