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Homeworld: Cataclysm

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Homeworld: Cataclysm
Homeworld: Cataclysm cover
Barking Dog Studios
Retail Sierra Entertainment
Digital Gearbox Software
Release dates
Windows September 12, 2000
Metacritic 89
Monetization One-time game purchase
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives Bird's-eye view
Controls Multiple select, Point and select
Genres RTS
Themes Sci-fi, Space
Series Homeworld
Homeworld: Cataclysm on HowLongToBeat
Homeworld: Cataclysm on IGDB
Homeworld: Cataclysm guide on StrategyWiki
Homeworld: Cataclysm on MobyGames
Homeworld: Cataclysm on Wikipedia
Homeworld 1999
Homeworld: Cataclysm 2000
Homeworld 2 2003
Homeworld Remastered Edition 2015
Homeworld 2 Remastered Edition 2015
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak 2016
Homeworld: Vast Reaches 2024
Homeworld 3 2024

Homeworld: Cataclysm is a singleplayer and multiplayer bird's-eye view RTS game in the Homeworld series.

The game is a standalone expansion to the 1999 Homeworld, and does not require the original to play.

It was re-released on as Homeworld: Emergence due to "Cataclysm" being a registered trademark of Blizzard Entertainment.[1] Aside from the different name shown in the main menu and game version text, the gameplay of this version is identical to the original.

On Windows 8 and later, the game requires a hardware acceleration fix to properly run.

General information

Homeworld Shipyards - A fairly old but big Homeworld fan site Community Discussions Support Page


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
CD key
SecuROM 4 DRM.


A free demo version is available from GameFront.

Essential improvements


The latest official patch is, available from SierraHelp.

Hardware acceleration fix for Windows 8 and above

For Windows 8.x, 10, and 11, use the Homeworld hardware acceleration fix
This solution force-enables compatibility mode for Windows NT 4.0 (Service Pack 5) which is not a selectable option in newer versions of Windows, but is still present in the backend.

Skip intro videos

Move, delete or rename intro videos[2]
  1. Navigate to <path-to-game>\Movies
  2. Delete or rename the following files: sierra.bik, bdogintro.bik
Use the launch argument /disableAVI[2]


Despite the name of the parameter, mission briefing cutscenes are still functional while using this method.

Restore original title ( release)

Delete or rename files[3]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>.
  2. Delete or rename the folders feman and credits.

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Windows HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Sierra On-Line\Cataclysm[Note 1]

Save game data location

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\SavedGames[Note 2]
Separate folders are used to store Singleplayer saves, Multiplayer saves, Recorded games (replays), and saves from the Training mode.

Save game cloud syncing

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy


Video settings.
Video settings.
Effects settings.
Effects settings.

Graphics feature State Notes
Widescreen resolution
See Widescreen resolution.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
Determined by the aspect ratio. See Widescreen resolution.
See Windowed.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See Windowed.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
Use the command line parameter /triple
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
No frame rate cap. Ships and other elements move and update at a locked frame rate.
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.

Widescreen resolution

Modify the game registry keys[4]
  1. Navigate to the Configuration file(s) location using RegEdit.
  2. Change the ScreenHeight and ScreenWidth registry keys to the desired width and height.


On 64-bit versions of Windows, the configuration files may be in a different location if the game is not run in Administrator Mode.
See the Game data article or the Configuration file(s) location tooltips and notes for more information.


Use launch arguments
  • For windowed mode, Use the launch argument -window.
  • For borderless fullscreen windowed mode, use -window -noBorder.


For standard windowed mode, the game must be set to less than the screen resolution. Otherwise, the game will crash.
Alternatively, use the borderless command.


Gameplay settings.
Gameplay settings.


Audio settings.
Audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
An in-game equalizer is also available.
Surround sound
Up to 7.0 output with DirectSound3D restoration software.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
Royalty free audio


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Retail only; download for release
Retail only; download for release


Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
8 Versus
Online play
8 Versus
The official WON service has been shut down.

Connection types

Issues fixed

Black screen/game window not appearing in re-release

Some users may find that the game window will stop rendering correctly as the video intros end, with only the desktop visible as the menu is supposed to appear.
The issue appears to be an incompatibility with nGlide.[5]
Remove and/or replace nGlide[5]
  1. Remove or move the following files:
  • glide.dll, glide2x.dll, and glide3x.dll (nGlide related DLLs)
  • nglide_config.exe (nGlide configurator)
  • 3Dfx (folder, contains a DLL that links 3DFX OpenGL support to nGlide)
Optionally, the following files can be removed as well:
  • nglide_readme.txt (readme file for nGlide)
  • 3DfxSpl.dll, 3DfxSpl2.dll, and 3DfxSpl3.dll (3DFX animated splash screens)


After removing these files, the game may default to software mode. This can be changed in options. The OpenGL renderer(s) are recommended.
3DFX-enhanced OpenGL mode may be unusable after applying this fix. If desired, it can be restored using dgVoodoo 2; otherwise, standard OpenGL will still be available.

Severe lag in menus

Use OpenGL rendering. If running Windows 8 or above, see Hardware acceleration fix for Windows 8 and above.[citation needed]
Run the game with the following command line arguments: /nofastfe /noglddraw

Game runs on wrong screen (multi-monitor setup)

Use Windows key shortcuts to move the window

Use Win+ Shift+ or Win+ Shift+ to move the game to another window.


This may cause the game window to render incorrectly/off-center from the screen, or cause the mouse cursor to be caged to the wrong monitor.
Pressing Alt+Tab and returning to the game should fix mouse cursor bugs.
Change resolutions once to fix off-center screens.
This fix should only be necessary once.

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 7 DirectX 7.0a is required to run the game.
OpenGL 1.1
Software renderer
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes


Middleware Notes
Cutscenes Bink Video Version 0.8i
Multiplayer, World Opponent Network

Command line parameters

The following command-line parameters may improve quality on newer systems, or enable extra functionality:
Parameter Description
/triple Enables OpenGL triple buffering, improves graphical quality and removes flickering at higher resolutions. Use unless it causes problems.
/enable3DNow Enables the 3DNow processor instruction set if available. Use unless it causes problems.
/enableSSE Enables the SSE processor instruction set if available. Use unless it causes problems.
/disableAVI Disables the intro movies when the game starts.
/nofastfe Disables the fast graphical frontend. Use this only when having graphical problems like flickering
/noglddraw Don't use DirectDraw to setup OpenGL renderers. Try this if you're having problems getting OpenGL to work.
/safeGL Don't use possibly buggy optimized features of OpenGL for rendering. Try this if you're having problems getting OpenGL to work.
/heap BYTES Allows the game to use up to BYTES bytes of RAM for the heap since by default the game isn't allowed to use much. 256 MB should suffice: /heap 268435456 but if you have more, try raising it to 1 GB: /heap 1073741824
A list of all recognized command line options (can be viewed by passing an invalid option)
    /heap <n> - Sets size of global memory heap to [n].
    /prepath <path> - Sets path to search for opening files.
    /CDpath <path> - Sets path to CD-ROM in case of ambiguity.

    /enableSSE - allow use of SSE if support is detected.
    /forceSSE - force usage of SSE even if determined to be unavailable.
    /enable3DNow - allow use of 3DNow! if support is detected.

    /dsound - forces mixer to write to DirectSound driver, even if driver reports not certified.
    /dsoundCoop - switches to co-operative mode of DirectSound (if supported) to allow sharing with other applications.
    /waveout - forces mixer to write to Waveout even if a DirectSound supported object is available.
    /reverseStereo - swap the left and right audio channels.

    /rasterSkip - enable interlaced display with software renderer.
    /noBG - disable display of galaxy backgrounds.
    /noFilter - disable bi-linear filtering of textures.
    /noSmooth - do not use polygon smoothing.
    /noCPV - do not use vertex CPV.
    /nilTexture - don't ever load textures at all.
    /stipple - enable stipple alpha with software renderer.
    /noShowDamage - Disables showing ship damage effects.

    /safeGL - don't use possibly buggy optimized features of OpenGL for rendering.
    /triple - use when frontend menus are flickering madly.
    /nodrawpixels - use when background images don't appear while loading.
    /noswddraw - don't use DirectDraw for the software renderer.
    /noglddraw - don't use DirectDraw to setup OpenGL renderers.
    /sw - reset rendering system to defaults at startup.
    /noFastFE - disable fast frontend rendering.
    /fullscreen - display fullscreen with software renderer (default).
    /window - display in a window.
    /noBorder - no border on window.
    /640 - run at 640x480 resolution (default).
    /800 - run at 800x600 resolution.
    /1024 - run at 1024x768 resolution.
    /1280 - run at 1280x1024 resolution.
    /1600 - run at 1600x1200 resolution.
    /device <dev> - select an rGL device by name, eg. sw, fx, d3d.
    /nohint - disable usage of OpenGL perspective correction hints.
    /aiplayerLog - enable AI Player Logging
    /SaveMPGames - periodically save multiplayer games

    /nopal - disable paletted texture support.


Graphics mods

All these mods work together[6] to improve the graphics of the game, but by changing some of the default values, so it is recommended to use them for a second playthrough.
It is necessary to start a new game to activate them.
SAAAfarVIEWmod by SAAA - increases draw distance[7]
Max LOD by Cewrin - forces maximum level of detail at every distance.
Disable NLIPS by Cewrin - disabled Non-Linear Inverse Perspective Scaling.
Cataclysm Engine Tweaks by ncblakely - improve the universe update rate up to 64 fps.

System requirements

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95, NT 4.0 SP4
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium II 266 MHz
System memory (RAM) 32 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 250 MB
Video card (GPU) 4 MB of VRAM


  1. Applications writing to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE will be redirected to other locations based on various criterias, see the glossary page for more details.
  2. When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).


  1. Release: Homeworld: Emergence - - last accessed on May 2023
  2. 2.0 2.1 Verified by User:Cptmold on 2019-07-17
    Intro-skip methods were tested with the GOG release.
  3. How to turn Emergence back into Cataclysm, page 1 - Forum - - last accessed on 2021-03-30
  4. Reference
  5. 5.0 5.1 Verified by User:Cptmold on 2019-07-17
    Method detailed in fixbox was used to fix the game failing to render correctly outside of video intros.
  6. [1] - last accessed on 2023-08-25
  7. Reddit, Cataclysm draw distance - last accessed on 2023-08-25