Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak


A ground-based RTS prequel to the classic Homeworld games. Assemble your fleet and lead them to victory on the shifting sands of Kharak in this compelling strategy game for PC from Blackbird Interactive.

I’m very grateful to be given an opportunity to work with the original creators of Homeworld, Rob Cunningham & Aaron Kambeitz. They were the original founders of Relic Entertainment and now moved on to a relatively new company called Blackbird Interactive to create a new Homeworld game, a prequel to Homeworld. I was there working for 5 months, from concept to launch phase. My main role at Blackbird Interactive was to construct a road map of the journey through the deserts of Kharak, adding an additional layer of storytelling experience for the single-player campaign. I was responsible for all the map sequences in the cinematics from design, animation, and compositing. It’s also used as the main loading screens and briefing mission pages. Homeworld has a very unique UI and animation style that we needed to keep from the older homeworld game, is not too techie, and has a feel that is seen something like on NASA or google maps. I was blessed to have worked alongside super talented artists: Brennan Massicotte, Noah Stacey, Jay Zhou, Aaron Kambeitz, and Karl Gryc.

Creative / Art Director: Rob Cunningham

Concept Artist: Brennan Massicotte

Design / Animation / Compositing: Jonathan Lai


I’ve worked closely with Brennan and Rob on developing the planet Kharak. It needed to feel right and precise with the landscape, weather conditions, and time of day. It had to hold a lot of weight as it’s like a character in itself. We wanted to make sure players can feel the experience of what Kharak was like before Homeworld 1. We used 3ds Max to generate all of the looks of Kharak and composited inside After Effects, it was an interesting experience as this was my first time using Max as I’ve been a C4D user for a while. It’s important for us to maintain the illustrated look instead of being too hyper-realistic.


The UI elements carry the story forward. It’s important for it to remain subtle but yet when it moves, it’s trying to tell the players something specific. This was my first encounter with UI design and it made me very interested in this type of work. After Effects and Illustrator was our to-go application to use for design and animation. In our vision, this is the primary screen inside Kapisi – the carrier. The characters in the game use it as their vital source for collecting data. We also use this as our primary source to tell players information along their journey.


Footages below to show what it’s like animated.

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