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The Hyperspace inhibitor is a device commonly used in the Homeworld universe. It projects an inhibitor field in space, interrupting the hyperspace jump of passing vessels and forcing them to return to normal space. The inhibitor field works by disrupting the quantum wavefront generated by a ship's hyperdrive, which is a crucial process required for ships to sustain a jump. This causes the energy required to maintain the field to increase exponentially, which ultimately results in the ship dropping back into realspace, unable to supply the hyperdrive with enough power.
Hyperspace inhibitors: HomeworldEdit
In Homeworld, the Protectors of the Garden used a hyperspace inhibitor to prevent the Mothership Fleet from disengaging via a hyperspace jump. The Mothership Fleet managed to escape by forcing the Kadeshi Mothership, the emitter of the inhibitor field, to retreat from the battle. Even then, the Kushan emerged from hyperspace only to find themselves trapped by another inhibitor field. It was only with the complete destruction of the Kadeshi armada that the Kushan fleet was able to jump out of the nebula and continue their journey.
The Mothership Fleet encountered another hyperspace inhibitor at the Galactic Core, where Gravwell Generators were used to pull the fleet out of hyperspace. This may be considered one of the more significant events in the Homeworld War, for the interruption allowed the Kushan to meet up with Captain Elson, leader of the Taiidan rebels. His help would later prove crucial in defeating Emperor Riesstiu IV the Second in the final battle for Hiigara.
According to Captain Elson, a network of hyperspace inhibitors surround Hiigara, another defence aimed at stopping ships from jumping directly to the planet. Though outnumbered greatly by the defending fleet of Ion Cannon Frigates, the Kushan pushed through and destroyed the inhibitor - a large intricate loop of generators spinning slowly in space.
En route to Hiigara, the Mothership Fleet was once again pulled back to normal space by hyperspace inhibitors. The Taiidan fleet attempted to destroy the Mothership itself with a large collision asteroid. It took all the firepower the Kushan had to stop the asteroid from obliterating their existence.
In multiplayer, hyperspace inhibitors take the form of Gravwell Generators. While players usually use gravwells to immobilise enemy strike craft, these generators can sometimes be used to great effect on hyperspacing enemies.
Unlike gravity well generators in Homeworld 2, gravwells in Homeworld do not stop ships from passing through its field. However, they do halt ships in hyperspace transition, when ships are either jumping to or exiting from hyperspace. In this phase, the hyperspacing ship cannot fire or use any abilities, but it can take fire and damage from surrounding ships. Common tactics involve activating gravwells when a fleet is hyperspacing into the field radius, trapping the ships in transition and killing them at one's pleasure. The same can be done for ships trying to escape to hyperspace.
A major drawback to the Homeworld gravwell generator is its limited field radius - one cannot hope to effectively trap incoming hyperspacing ships without doing some complex predictions as to where exactly the ships will emerge from hyperspace.
Hyperspace inhibitors: Homeworld 2Edit
Hyperspace inhibitors are abundant in Homeworld 2. There are natural inhibitors as well as artificial inhibitors - some of which have contributed to some of the largest plot holes in the Homeworld storyline.
The first inhibitors the Hiigarans come across in Homeworld 2 are the Vaygr asteroid inhibitors that protect the Gehenna asteroid fields. The Pride of Hiigara and its accompanying fleet had to destroy a total of 12 inhibitors on 3 asteroids, after which the fleet could then make a tactical jump to engage the Vaygr outpost further inward. Though how they could jump so close to the inhibitors is a mystery; maybe the inhibitors only acted as a barrier, stopping ships that tried to pass them in hyperspace and alerting the local Vaygr forces.
En route to the Progenitor Dreadnaught, the Hiigaran fleet was pulled out of hyperspace in another region of the vast Karos Graveyard. The reason for this was that the surrounding Progenitor derelict hulks were emitting quantum waveform anomalies that were interfering with the Mothership's Hyperspace Core. The only way out was to destroy the hulks with reverse-engineered Progenitor Movers. However, the task was made more difficult with the arrival of a substantial Vaygr fleet.
When the Pride of Hiigara arrived at the Dreadnaught Berth, the fleet's approach to the Dreadnaught caused the ancient Keeper to power up. The Keeper emitted a powerful inhibitor field that effectively trapped the fleet where they were. Combined firepower from frigates and destroyers were useless against the Keeper's energy shields. It was only with a plot devised by Fleet Intelligence that the Hiigaran fleet was able to trap the Keeper within another Progenitor relic, allowing them to escape to hyperspace. However, that was not the last of the Keepers.
The Pride of Hiigara was jumping to the Command Station Thaddis Sabbah to rescue the captured Captain Soban. However, the fleet's jump was interrupted in the Great Wastelands by the Keepers of Abassid. In this battle, the Keepers were completely unstoppable for they had the ability to phase out when they had taken a certain amount of damage. Meanwhile, the Hiigaran fleet continued to take damage from the Keeper. It was only with the self-destruction of Bentus that the Hiigaran fleet was able to escape with their lives. Even then, it remains a mystery as to how the fleet was able to jump with the Keeper inhibitors still on.
The greatest inhibitor of all is the natural inhibitor at Balcora. Balcora is a black hole cluster at the centre of the Galaxy. The massive gravitational influence of the black holes prevents all hyperspace activity within a 500 light year radius. However, the Progenitor megalith, Balcora Gate, provides a path into the place where the Sajuuk is sealed. After defeating the Vaygr forces that were trying to disable the gate, the Hiigaran fleet jumped through after activating the gate with the Dreadnaught. Also, Sajuuk demonstrated a massive feat by jumping straight out of Balcora, unaffected by the inhibition.
In multiplayer, hyperspace inhibitors, or Gravity Well Generators, are subsystems that can be built on super capital vessels. They no longer trap stike craft, but have a greatly extended area of effect around the ships they are built on. Other than preventing ships from entering hyperspace within their effective radius, inhibitors also pull hyperspacing ships back to normal space when they hit the outskirts of the field.
In most multiplayer games that involve more than 2 players, hyperspace inhibitors are given high priority in build queues. It is usually desirable to have a hyperspace inhibitor up within the first few minutes of the game so as to thwart the notorious Hiigaran Hypertorp or its deadlier cousin, the Destroyer Rush. Inhibitors are also crucial throughout the game, be it halting an invasion long enough for bombers to target engine subsystems, or to simply prevent a critically damaged enemy battlecruiser from escaping. It is hence no wonder that hyperspace inhibitors rank among some of the most important subsystems in online multiplayer games.