[2] Atlas of Kharak – Khar-Toba Start

Until I somehow get a hold of a nice planet texture view of Kharak, I might as well put some time into other things.

There are two interest areas I already know I’d like to depict. One is Lungma Jiin (Somtaaw’s Shimmering Path), the other is Khar-Toba itself.

The subject of Khar-Toba is interesting because it’s one of those minor areas actually retconned by Deserts of Kharak. The implication within the Homeworld 1 lore was that the exiles, after crashing, built their city with scrap hull plating very close to the original derelict. When the powerplant failed, the exiles simply moved on. Rachel’s scan and Deserts of Kharak show almost no structures by the derelict itself, but something else, and much wider and more sprawling. I tried to reconcile this new projection with an asset from HW1 depicting the excavation of Khar-Toba:


So, I would have to reconcile this within this creative project. It will invariably draw some comments on how my work “isn’t canon”, but I hope this highlights the problems one has by making something canon. As author of this project, unless BBI steps in to correct me, I have control of the editing to say what is put into this book. Just as any other project head has with his project.

Moving on…

As with my other maps I start with what we know. Rachel’s scan in the last mission is the most direct image of the ancient city buried under the sand. However, in a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, there is a physical satellite image projected just before Rachel’s overlay:


The most interesting this about this map is the massive physical ring surrounding the wrecksite. What is it, why was it built, and who put it there? Since Rachel’s display shows it as blue, we can take it to mean that this is a rock formation and not something artificial. But since Khar-Toba crashed and didn’t materialize there via hyperspace, I think we can rule out Hyperspace core shinanigans forming this circle around the derelict.

In my imagination this circle was constructed out of native rock by the inhabitants of Khar-Toba as a sand-barrier. They could have put it there to protect their city or the wreckage itself.

Since Karan’s scan gives us a ring identical to the second, but smaller, North of this current location we can presume it’s the same ring built for similar reasons. But nothing is at the center?

Khar-Toba’s layout is probably purposeful. By building their new city in the shape of the Angel Moon the city’s builders may have hoped never to forget their origins. Since the guidestone exists bearing the Angel Moon seal (in two versions, HW1 and HWR have different depictions), we can easily suppose this symbol pre-dates the landing on Kharak.

Unfortunately, the city did not last. Even though the Hyperspace module is outputting a tremendous amount of power it’s likely that the Exiles had no way to tap it or understand what they had. So when the ship’s main power reactor failed, the inhabitants may have been unable to hold back the desert and spent the last of their energies to head north to easier climates. Khar-Toba remained abandoned until 1110 KDS, where the Kapisi expedition found it.



This is what I have so far on my map of Khar-Toba. The only thing missing are fainter orange-traces which I think indicate tunnels dug beneath the city. I’m still pondering how I would like to present this in the atlas… one idea is to include some 3D snapshots of the city still being unearthed, but before the discovery of the guidestone.

Additional: I learned a little bit more about Khar-Toba’s changes and depiction when I met with Rob in March of ’16 just before his visit to the Game Developer’s Conference. Khar-Toba was one of the first questions I asked about. I learned that the devs were originally conscious of Khar-Toba’s initial depiction (the city huddled close to the starship wreck). But a random sketch from J. Aaron Kambeitz showing the Angel Moon logo drawn into the sand was impressive enough for BBI to consider the retcon. And when Rob and the team figured Khar-Toba was occupied for hundreds of years, there was plenty of time for the city to expand outward.

I did get from Rob that the Center Barrier is an earthworks embankment. It was inferred before through the tactical display, but it’s nice to get solid confirmation that this is the case.

[2] Atlas of Kharak – Khar-Toba Start

[1] Atlas of Kharak – Comparing Kharak

Since Deserts of Kharak released this past week I found I missed Homeworld a lot. I’m a backstory nut, and with my passion for art projects I gravitated to the atlas of Kharak in the supplementary “Expedition Guide” BBI gave out to those who pre-ordered.

It’s nice, but I think it’s incomplete. It doesn’t specify all the locations and places that were mentioned in the previous installments of the lore. I have the feeling BBI might have been a bit rushed when they put this out, or perhaps they decided to fill in information later, or both. Regardless I feel like I do want to go ahead and map Kharak on my own, maybe to create an atlas and present it to BBI.

I wanted to start with this the same way I got my Homeworld maps started: Compile all resources, sift through them in order of canonicity, draw, inform. This research part of the project is hampered some because some work has to be done to get the assets needed to present the clearest picture. I also want to make the most “accurate” to the original materials as possible, because that is one of my goals for this project.

My first objective was extracting the Kharak planet asset from Homeworld Remastered. This was a higher-detail and more recent depiction of the planet than in the original. My own efforts to extract it hit a roadblock when the mod tool would not unpack the asset. Fortunately I had some help from the Gearbox forums, and I was able to import HWR’s textures into 3DS Max to create some impressive visuals.



However, this isn’t the most true source.

The Expedition guide gives us the most recent and current map in a number of ways. Kharak is now a setting, not a background object, and careful attention was paid across Deserts of Kharak to match all of the in-between map images to the map in the Expedition Guide. Since more sources point to that, it would seem like the HWR map is knocked down a grade in what is the most truest source.

How I found this out was by trying to find DoK locations on the HWR map. Not finding them, I tried to compare landmarks to work my way from there. The HWR Kharak has a massive northern sea whereas the DoK one does not.


The final straw for the HWR map was a small paragraph in the Homeworld 1 manual describing Kharak’s environment… that there are three northern seas and the great Majiirian ocean in the south. Aside from splitting HWR’s massive northern ocean into different areas, it would seem DoK is the truest-to-form of this description.

Now I just need to find a way to get a hold of the map out of the Expedition guide. A pity it is so low-resolution, but it’s the “truest” source to start with making an all-encompassing world atlas of Kharak.

[1] Atlas of Kharak – Comparing Kharak

Dungeon War dev Part 1

So I feel now that the best way to get back to being hired is to start sharing how I approach projects, and my thoughts behind putting some of them together. It wasn’t until now (maybe a week after I had set up my website to do this and this blog) that I finally have an idea. It is a game design I’m tentatively calling Dungeon War.

The idea came from thinking about Dungeons, Dungeons, and more Dungeons from the cartoon Gravity Falls. It’s obviously a parody of Dungeons and Dragons, laden with heavy mathematics that (as cool as that would be) I do not want to try to replicate. Instead, I liked the simple idea that one character is the dungeon master, the other is the player, and navigating/surviving a dungeon to defeat the boss is the objective. What kind of game would that look like with only two players?

Moreover as Dipper, one of the main characters, is shown assembling a dungeon. I wanted to add the mechanic where one player takes the time to assemble a set of cards and abilities to comprise his or her dungeon for an adventuring player to face. With this concept in mind I took some time letting ideas and thoughts flow on to paper, and now I have the development ideas for a two player micro-adventure game.

This is the first time I’ll be documenting one of my projects, and I’ll be posting the results on my website. I’ll follow up here in a bit with more on the design and some thoughts that put together the concept!

Dungeon War dev Part 1

Prelaunch commencing


This blog is a support site for my online portfoilo at http://www.pilotillustration.com. Here I’d like to talk about my art process, current thoughts, share project ideas, and just be an outlet in general for my creativity. I’m currently seeking employment, and I feel this could be a good spotlight to see how I approach creative projects while they are in progress.

Of course, I already have some projects on my website. Check them out here to see what’s up already!

Once again, welcome, and enjoy the ride!

Mike “Norsehound” Ptak

Prelaunch commencing