by Ten Ton Hammer Premium Members

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by Hermann Peterscheck,
style="font-weight: bold;">Jumpgate Evolution style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;"> Producer,
and Nicole Hamlett, Jumpgate
style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;"> Community

In the second installment of Ten Ton Hammer's VIP Access series,
Premium Members had the chance to get their
Jumpgate Evolution
(JGE) questions answered by the folks at NetDevil. Ten Ton
Hammer Premium
submitted so many good JGE questions, and NetDevil's
answers were so lengthy that this VIP Access interview needs two parts.
Part two covers crafting, peripherals, and grouping.

Annache: Will we be able
to or required to manage our crew, and if so, to what extent?

style="font-weight: bold;">Hamlett: I think
that the best way to explain it is to imagine that your Ship is your
avatar. Like with games such as World
of Warcraft
or even City
of Heroes
you move your body around, complete quests and
missions etc.  Instead of a humanoid body, your ship will
represent you as a pilot.

Each ship is flown by one person and thankfully you just have to focus
on how you fly and where you go rather than having to concentrate on
whether or not an NPC crew stays happy. Speaking from personal
experience, I’ve never been able to keep my Sims happy in any form. I’m
rather glad that we’ve created the one person one ship scenario.

So while there aren’t crews per se, you will have the ability to join a
Squad (which is a guild in fantasy game terms) and there will be guild
tools that are comparative to other [massively-multiplayer online]
games.  You will also have the ability to play in wings (or
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style="font-style: italic;">No matter how big
it is, you'll never need to rely on another player to fly it.

Sardu: style="font-weight: bold;">Will there be any kind of
'multi-user' ship classes? For example, a combat vessel where one
player assumes the role of pilot while another takes control of manning
the guns?

style="font-weight: bold;">Hamlett: While there
has been some discussion on this feature, because all space flight is
real time and in the hands of the pilot, it’s really hard to design and
implement this so that it’s done right.  The team is
determined to make sure that the game is a great game and the dual
pilot scenario is just not something that we could insure would have
the excellent quality and gameplay that we have come to expect from

It may be something that can be worked on in future releases, but it
won’t be implemented for release.

Sardu: style="font-weight: bold;"> style="font-weight: bold;">How well will the gameplay scale
depending on the size of the group you decide to experience it with? In
other words, will a small group of friends be able to go out and
accomplish things effectively, or will there be a greater focus on
massive guild-like organizations of players?

style="font-weight: bold;">Hamlett: I think
that it scales well for both actually.  There are certainly
missions and scenarios that work for both.  The battlestations
that we’ve shown so far can be taken out by a wing of pilots, however
as you go further into the game, you are absolutely going to want to
bring a few more friends along. Also in terms of PVP, we want to plan
out some HUGE battles. Those will be perfect scenarios for squads to
take on.

Annache: style="font-weight: bold;"> style="font-weight: bold;">Will crafting and/or other
professions play a major role in the game? How will they be handled?

style="font-weight: bold;">Hamlett: We’re
designing the game so that haulers, miners and crafters will have an
integral part in the universe. The better equipment will come from
crafting rather than drops and we are very aware that we have players
who want to concentrate on hauling and mining as well. There will be
plenty for them to do.

Sardu: How
do you foresee inventory management working for a new player? Will
players be able to avoid the all too common scenario of having to break
from combat every 15 minutes to either sell or store items they pick up?

style="font-weight: bold;">Peterscheck:  style="font-style: italic;">This is a very
tricky balance issue. In order to demonstrate why, we can take two
extremes. Imagine you have 1 slot for inventory so each time you pick
something up you have to equip it, drop it or sell it in order to pick
something else up. Assuming the game has loot; this is very
frustrating. Now imagine you have a bottomless bag and can greedily
hoard every piece of trash you have ever picked up. This removes
frustration but also impacts the value of things.

The Peter Molyneux game, Fable,
had a great tag line: “for every choice, a consequence” which is true
on two levels. The first is that when designers pick something like
inventory size, it has massive, often unintended, consequences on the
game. It has to be considered in terms of loot drop rates, frequency of
equipment updates, number of crafting components, and so on. This
translates directly to the player experience where you want to create
choice and consequence. In space it makes sense in a few ways. For one
thing you expect that a large hauling ship can carry MUCH more than a
little fighter. This is inherently different than, say, style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft
which is not about fighter vs. hauler roles. Thus, there is no “right
answer.” Just like everything else it has to fit into the construct of
the game you are making and there is only one way to see if your
decision is right. Implement, test, fix, and iterate 10,000 times.

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Impact with these
asteroids will
cause damage.

Sardu: style="font-style: italic;">From the video and
images I've seen so far, the game is definitely visually stunning. What
inspired the art direction for the game, and what kind of challenges
did you face with such a small team in terms of implementing a high
volume of art assets?

style="font-weight: bold;">Peterscheck: Hard
work and iteration. Basically what we have learned is that you have to
iterate at every point in the process. In the case of art it begins
with concept art. We spent quite a bit of time getting a few pieces of
art that defined the first sector, the general look of space and some
of the first starting ships. We iterated on that for quite some time
before settling on a look. It’s really up to the graphics programmer
and lead artists to try and achieve that look. This has to be done
within the constraints of whatever your minimum spec is which, in our
case, is fairly low.

The term “stylized” gets thrown around a lot in order to encapsulate
anything that isn’t realistic. I actually think our goals were a bit
more simplistic. “Cool” is the word I would use. I’m not an artist, but
I love it when I see an image and it just grabs me emotionally and I
just have to see more. I think that this is the goal for graphics. You
want to see something that reaches into your psyche and forces you to
find more. It’s VERY hard to do that. Team size can be an asset here,
actually. It takes a lot less time to get a few people on the same page
and even less energy to keep them there. Trying to get 30-50 people to
all buy in and share the same vision is very challenging. Also, with a
small team there is high visibility, thus mistakes are caught early. It
also causes a laser like focus. Since we can’t make the same volume as
a team of 30-50 artists, everything has to be that much better. In my
opinion I’d rather have a few things that blow me away than a bunch of
forgettable stuff. Hopefully we have created some really memorable

Sardu: In
past interviews I've read that one of the ways you've addressed keeping
a faster pace to combat is to have a higher number of visual elements
on-screen to give a better sense of movement. How will physics factor
into combat in those areas? Or more specifically can ships take damage
from flying into objects like asteroids, or even into other ships?

style="font-weight: bold;">Hamlett: Speaking
from experience, you can take damage from flying into asteroids or even
while missing the enormous entrance to one of the stations [laughs out
loud]. While you aren’t going to die on impact, (unless your shields
and armor are already extremely low) your ship definitely takes damage
when you hit another object.

The visual elements that you speak of, having them makes the combat
more interesting and certainly makes it more compelling. I would
imagine that fighting in open space all of the time would get a bit
boring. You want to have the ability to hide behind asteroids or dodge
in and out of debris.  Since the targeting system isn’t an
automatic dice roll on whether you hit your target or not, having
things to fly through helps you or your opponent stay alive and makes
combat more

Annache: Will
you be working with any peripherals manufacturers to create
Joysticks/Keyboard sets with JGE in mind?

style="font-weight: bold;">Hamlett: Well that
is certainly something that is up to marketing, but I imagine that we
aren’t closed to the idea of partnering with the peripheral companies.
We are absolutely working to make sure that our game has a plethora of
peripherals to choose from.  Accessible is our motto.

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To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Jumpgate Evolution Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016