A bit of a diversion for this post and something very special. I’ve been waiting to get hold of a copy of the art book ‘The Art of Homeworld’. Gearbox Software obtained the license to re-issue the classic game, in its original format and an enhanced high-definition version. Along with the game (which first found support for its re-issuing on Kickstarter), Gearbox have published a large-format hardback book with drawings, colour plates and development images from Homeworld and Homeworld: 2 with a commentary about the inception and development of the game. I’ve been watching for its release in the UK for some time and last Sunday I noticed that there were a few copies available to purchase from Amazon UK for £39.99 excluding delivery. I jumped on it like a ton of bricks and was delivered on the 5th of May.
The commentary is provided by Rob Cunningham and Aaron Kambeitz throughout the book and describes the inspiration for the spacecraft designs, notably the late great Peter Elson and the artists of the Terran Trade Authority Handbooks. The book is broken into sections featuring many of the concept designs for the ships and vehicles used in the game, based on the Kushan and Taiidan. The minor races (such as the Bentusi and Turanic Raiders) are also featured.
The book is huge – over 230 pages in total. It is lavishly illustrated with line art drawings and colour concept drawings on heavy quality paper. If you are looking for inspiration for spacecraft designs, you’ll find it here as there are plenty of variations, developments and revisions of the many designs some of which did or didn’t find their way into the final game.
You can see the influence of the TTA books in the design and decal colouration of the ships, which is borne out by the description of the programmers and artists.
The book doesn’t have any images from the game, which in some ways is a slight omission in my opinion – it would have been nice to have a few colour plates to compare the final electronic versions with the hand-drawn originals. However it doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.
If you’re interested in a little game history, art or design inspiration or just love spacecraft in general, this is a fantastic book and despite the steep price, is well worth purchasing.
Overall rating – 9.5/10.