Another particular type of mission that Petersheck alluded to
was a story-driven type mission, which the developers at Jumpgate are
trying to implement. “We’re working on ideas on how
to get more storyline into the game,” commented Petersheck.
“That was something the original version of the game was
Eventually, Petersheck accepted his first mission and set off
into space, which was a standard kill-and-loot scenario. As he was
flying around, trying to catch the enemies that were evading him,
Petersheck also made note of another impressive improvement made upon
the initial Jumpgate. “There really wasn’t much AI
[in the original Jumpgate], it was very PvP-centric,” he
said. “We really wanted to add much more AI to the
alt="A piece of a monolithic station."
title="A piece of a monolithic station." name="photo_j"
border="0" height="113" width="150">
The Jumpgate team decided to make sure to fill space
with monolithic structures, like this station.
With Hermann flying through the depths of space, it became
evident that the game could be easily controlled with a mouse and
keyboard combo, a huge step up from the joystick-only version of the
original Jumpgate. Although players can still use a joystick, the mouse
/ keyboard combo makes the game accessible for thousands of potential
users who don’t have their old joystick hanging around
anymore. Including a mouse/keyboard combination also puts Jumpgate
Evolution into the same type of gameplay that is available in
Privateer, Wing Commander, and X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter.
As we were watching Hermann maneuver around other ships,
asteroids, and the larger space stations, he pointed out a ship that
had left one of the stations. “One of the cool things about
Jumpgate,” he said, “is that it had a sort of real
economy. In other words, everything was supply and demand driven.
“Let’s say a station needed to build a
weapon and they needed a specific material in order to complete it. If
the station didn’t have that particular element, it would
generate a mission on another station that a player could take and
fulfill,” Petersheck continued. “That’s
great when you have lots of players playing, but you run into imbalance
issues when there aren’t enough players to fulfill those
mission. So we created an AI system that generates NPCs that takes
these particular elements to and from other stations. Of course, once
these convoys are out in space, you can attack them and destroy that
shipment altogether; essentially creating a blockade that other players
would have to break.”
In order to fulfill these particular missions, players will
have the opportunity to find enormous asteroids that are floating
around in the depths of space. Asteroids that players are allowed to
mine will be denoted with bright colors of some kind – in our
demonstration we saw asteroids with crystalline green, blue, and
metallic gold markings. When you see an asteroid that can be mined,
you’ll know. “It’s sort of like an Easter
egg hunt,” Petersheck stated. “You’ll go
out to an asteroid belt and attempt to find rocks that you can mine
from. There will be lots of common asteroids, but you’ll know
when you find a rich one.”
alt="Bearing down on a ship." title="Bearing down on a ship."
name="photo_j" border="0" height="113" width="150">
PvP will remain in Jumpgate Evolution.
Despite the intricate economy and resource gathering systems
in Jumpgate Evolution, NetDevil’s goal for Jumpgate
Evolution is to make the gameplay easy to get into. While many MMOGs
require hours upon hours of play time to reach the
“fun” content, NetDevil hopes to make Jumpgate
Evolution accessible for players who may only have a few minutes a day
to pilot their spacecraft. “Even if somebody
doesn’t have 20 hours a day to play a game, they can still
jump in, play for 30 minutes, have fun, and then get back to
work,” Petersheck said.
For the existing Jumpgate fanbase, there’s no need
to worry about the future of your game. Petersheck mentioned that PvP
remains in Jumpgate and will remain a part of the game. NetDevil is
still trying to determine exactly how the new player experience will
run, whether the new players will be exposed to PvP environment from
the beginning or if it will be a gradual build up, but they are
certainly aware of the older fans being accustomed to a strong PvP
element in the game.
Petersheck is also aware of the fact that the current fans are
very interested in seeing the number of people in their game increase,
and that’s what the current team is trying to accomplish.
“Sometimes I’ll enter the game as a complete newbie
just to see what the initial player response is like,”
Petersheck said. “More often than not, someone will greet me
when I enter and try to help me. The other players want more people
interested in Jumpgate.”
In the end, Petersheck wanted to make sure that potential
players understood that NetDevil was trying to make a game that allowed
for easy entry into the world, but also remained fun after the player
had shot down their thousandth ship. “We don’t want
players to say, ‘Ugh, now I’ve gotta go out and
shoot some more ships’,” Petersheck said.
“We want player to continue to have fun as they progress
through the game and never lose interest in what they need to
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