We managed to get an up-close look at Homeworld 2 at the VU Games booth at E3. The game has, by all appearances, come along quite well, and it will feature numerous graphical improvements on the original game. We watched a few of the new visual details in action, such as the custom colors and skins that you'll be able to import into multiplayer play, as well as the new animated cannons that will actually move, swivel, and track their targets before discharging. Homeworld 2 will also feature improved explosion effects, such as the internal chain-reaction explosion, which is represented by a stream of light that will flicker across the hull of a doomed ship before it explodes in a burst of flames and a glowing corona.
In the meantime, developer Relic has been hard at work attempting to make its sequel more accessible. The game will be playable completely with your mouse if you prefer, since you'll be able to access the game's various command menus--such as strike groups, tactics, recent events, and outstanding objectives--with a single click. You'll also be able to direct your fleet simply by selecting your ships and right-clicking on your destination, and if you wish to move along the z-axis (in the third dimension), you'll simply need to add a left-click on your destination.
From what we've seen, Homeworld 2 will put much more emphasis on combat than either of the previous games in the series. The sequel will have plenty of new futuristic weapons to equip your ships with, but we were informed that every weapon in the game should have counterweapon, so multiplayer matches should include a good deal of interesting tactical manuevering. Homeworld 2 will also let you target specific areas of enemy ships, so in the single-player game, you'll be able to capture certain vessels by disabling the weapon and engine systems on them, rendering them unable to move or defend themselves. The sequel will also include a number of new long-range weapons that will be usable from light years away--in fact, if your squadron is equipped with such weapons, you'll be able to direct a battle entirely from the long-range sensor screen if you so choose, acting more as a fleet admiral than a ship captain. Homeworld 2 will be released later this year.