As conferences go, the Austin Game Developers Conference was full of
people to converse with, but fairly sparse as far as new information is
concerned. All of the interviews I conducted for Ten Ton Hammer brought
about really cool information about the processes of making games and
the developers strategies on doing things, but really didn't open up
any new looks into the developer's particular game. It was
frutstrating, but the information concerning process and a developer's
opinion on a subject were still interesting.
to make space look unique and visually compelling.
However, there was one game that was actually showing new content, and
that was NetDevil's upcoming space-combat MMOG, Jumpgate Evolution. As
I pulled a chair next to Hermann Peterscheck, he pulled out his laptop
and placed it on the table between us, which is always a good sign. Out
of all the events I'd been to that summer, Hermann had been to almost
all of them, so he and I chatted about what had been going on over the
last few weeks and what was coming up for the both of us. But
eventually matters turned to Jumpgate, and my first comment was about
the art direction of the game and why they'd chosen to make space look
“It’s this whole idea of making space look visually
compelling but different,” Hermann says.
“We’re really beginning to get into that
Hermann fired up his laptop and jumped into the instance of the
Jumpgate Evolution client he was running. He took his ship through the
undocking procedures and launched away from the space station.
Instantly we’re forced out into a section of space
that’s full of red-orange light. Dominating our view is a
giant Mars-like planet that looks as if it might have some sort of
civilization on it.
“As you can see we’ve got a different sort of sky
box going on here,” Hermann states.
“What’s a sky box?” I ask, figuring it
was some sort of term the developers used between themselves. I was
“It’s our word for the background you’re
seeing,” Hermann answers. “This one is more of a
red-orange color than what you’ve seen previously.”
“As you can see here,” Hermann pauses and points to
a giant asteroid with stag beetle-like pincers coming off a side,
“this is one of our space stations built into the side of an
asteroid. We’re not done with it yet, but it’s sort
of buried in this asteroid field.”
“And you can fly around and through the space
station?” I ask.
A close-up of a
“Oh yeah,” Hermann answers, aiming his ship towards
the space station. We travel for a bit and fly up and into the station
before coming out the other side. Watching him do that reminded me of
my X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter days when I’d camp out in the space
stations and ambush enemy pilots, if I was outnumbered. However, when
we were inside the space station I was amazed at its size. While you
may not immediately consider the objects around you to be very large,
when you get close to them it quickly becomes apparent that these are
As Hermann turns the ship around, I notice that we’re
surrounded by asteroids on almost every side. “Here we were
trying to see how many asteroids we could plug into one
space,” Hermann notes. “This is kind of a demo area
just to test out what our system can handle and a few other things. For
example, what happens when we plug a bunch of asteroids into an area
then place Jumpgates intermittently throughout the asteroids? What kind
of strategies will people devise when flying into and out of these
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Jumpgate Evolution Game Page.