It's the lore and history of a game that creates the framework that will transform you from a person sitting at your computer to a character immersed in an alternate reality and that's something NetDevil understands. Jumpgate Evolution's Producer, Hermann Peterscheck took some time recently to answer some questions about the lore of their universe from one of our space combat junkies, Eric "Dalmarus" Campbell.
Hammer: For some players (myself included), the lore of any game is
just as important as the virtual world you find yourself in. Did the
team take any "real life" events or characters from the first Jumpgate
and add them to href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/306" target="_blank">Jumpgate
Jumpgate Classic had a lot of really cool things in it and
we’ve built Jumpgate Evolution by using the best of Classic
combined with a fresh perspective. Obviously ideas always
draw from pre-existing fiction of all sorts and I suppose you
can’t help but be influenced by real life events, but we
haven’t done anything specific to incorporate details of real
life or other fiction, yet.
Ten Ton Hammer: Three
seems to be the magic number when it comes to
conflicting cultures/races in MMOGs today. Can you explain why this
number also works so well for you, compared to adding a fourth playable
Honestly I don’t know why three is such a
magical number. From a balance point of view, two is much simpler as
you can make a point-counterpoint design. I think what makes a three
sided game interesting is that it automatically creates diplomacy. It
throws a wrench into the balance of power and that creates a natural
state of conflict. This might be bad in world politics, but
it’s fun in games.
Ten Ton Hammer: The
Solrain are currently in the lead for appearing to
be the most fleshed out in comparison to the Quantar and the Octavians
in terms of the lore available on the website. What intrigued the team
the most about them as their lore has expanded?
I don’t think it was because Solrain appealed to
us more or less than the other two groups. Honestly, it was just the
first group we started with and since we wanted to build the game by
putting together a slice of game play first, it’s natural
that they seem to be the most fleshed out. I think what intrigues
people is simply mixing all the various pieces of the game together and
how those pieces influence and extend the fiction. We’ve
tried to make Jumpgate a bit more gritty. It’s easy to split
groups into warriors, miners and spiritualists; but we wanted to ensure
that all groups were more human and believable than that.
Ten Ton Hammer: With the
majority of the Solrain people being part of
the corruption that appears to be rotting it, will players be able to
rise up the ranks of the various mega corporations? Will they be able
to join up with the Commonwealth Restoration Organization to fight the
system? What different advancement methods can players use to gain
reputation with the various factions?
There are two
distinct types of associations. On the one hand we have the large
corporations which the player affiliates with in order to gain access
to their production facilities located throughout space. As you work
with them, you gain trust (affiliation) which then grants you access to
build more valuable and powerful equipment. The other type is faction
rating. This is your relative standing to the various groups including
the CRO (although there are many more). As you do things for them, your
rating goes up which gives you access to things such as CRO specific
equipment and ships.
Ten Ton Hammer: How
drastically will a player's beginning experience
differ from another who chooses to be part of a different culture when
they create their character? How long will those differences persist
throughout that character's career? Are their methods in place to bring
friends of differing factions together relatively quickly if they so
Peterscheck: The story, missions, map layout and general feel are
completely different, but the mechanics and options available are
largely the same. At the beginning this is much more pronounced as the
groups are largely separated. After the first few hours, however,
players begin to mix much more – earlier, I believe, than
most MMOS. I think those differences will remain throughout a
player’s career, but that is really something that players
themselves tend to decide. While the nations can communicate and
transact with each other, they can’t join each
other’s squads. We need to have ways of enforcing some kind
of conflict that is clear to communicate and it became increasingly
difficult to deal with things like open PVP and battlespace if we
allowed for mixed squads.
Ten Ton Hammer: The lore
on the website mentions how it’s
said that great Quantar pilots have the Skein flowing through their
hands. Will there be anything in place in the game to actualize this as
a player grows in skill and power? If so, what?
We’re working on that very thing right now.
Something to keep in mind is that Jumpgate is primarily a skill based
game – that is the player’s skill. We have to be
careful not to rely too heavily on stats. That being said we have some
stuff in mind that will work along the lines you are describing.
Ten Ton Hammer: How will
the ships of
the Solrain, Quantar, and Octavians differ from each other past the
shape and style? How has the team gone about giving the player (an
Octavian, for example) a sense of being different from his Quantar and
Solrain competitors without actually upsetting the balance between the
So early on we tried to make
ships that looked like they belonged to a particular nation. The
Solrain ships looked like this, the Quantar like that. What we ran into
is that they all ended up looking the same, and what people really want
is radically different looking ships. Afterwards we went down that path
instead. The most important thing to a player when they look at ships
is that they think “Wow. That’s cool! I want to fly
that ship.” This is
secondary to “Oh, I can tell that is also a Solrain
ship.” Thus we rely
much more on color and texture to define nation and let our artists
have more freedom when it comes to shape and profile.
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src="/image/view/69006" hspace="10" vspace="10">
Hammer: Obviously, I'm a huge fan of game lore. Some companies have
found success in creating novels based on their games, with some that
even serve as a sort of prologue to give those that are interested some
extra depth of "universe development". Are there any plans to do
something like this in the future? I mean, Keith Baker has done some
writing in the past….
I suppose anything is possible…
Ten Ton Hammer: The href="http://us.jumpgateevolution.com/gameinfo/transmissionlog" target="_blank">first
transmission log, admittedly posted long ago,
gives a great sense of impending danger (perhaps even doom?) with hints
that the Conflux have discovered the human race again as we continue to
seek out the mysteries of the universe. What kind of role will they
play in the conflict of JGE at launch?
The Conflux are a great story mechanic because they are
both mysterious and antagonistic. We have a lot of ideas about how to
use the Conflux and Amananth in particular, though I’m not
going to reveal them right now.
Ten Ton Hammer: With the
reported attack on Bleakstone, it's been
almost nine months since the last Transmission Log was posted on the
Jumpgate site. Are there plans for more official fiction for the
Jumpgate universe to be posted on the website soon? How soon should
players expect the storylines of the Quantar and the Octavians to be
Yes. It’s always difficult to juggle the
development of the game and communicating those things to players
effectively. As we get closer to the end of development things also
become much more firm, which I know is what players are really after.
Ten Ton Hammer: Thanks
for taking the time to answer these questions.
Is there anything else about the various human factions (or alien
enemies) you'd like to share with the community before signing off?
Just want to say thanks to everyone for the continuous
interest and support. We got a ton of great coverage at E3
last week and many fans stopped by to say hello and play the
game. The best part about game development is seeing how much
the players enjoy your work!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Jumpgate Evolution Game Page.