Questions by Cody
"Micajah" Bye, Managing Editor
Answers by Hermann
Peterscheck, Producer for Jumpgate Evolution
The massively multiplayer online gaming marketplace has changed since
NetDevil originally developed their science-fiction space combat MMOG,
Games have come and gone, a MMOG has cornered the
marketplace, and the space combat genre has dwindled to a scant few
titles released sporadically. Therefore it makes sense to wonder just
how the factions and missions that were available in the original
will change in the “evolved” version of the game.
Cody “Micajah” Bye sat down with Jumpgate Evolution
producer, Hermann Peterscheck, to dig up the details on the upcoming
massive space shooter.
Ten Ton Hammer: For those
individuals who aren't familiar with the
can you give us a brief description of the factions
in the game?
The original game had 5 factions: Solrain,
Quantar, Octavius, Amananth and Hyperial; the first 3 being playable
and the last 2 being non-playable. Those factions, now called nations
will also be in the new Jumpgate but we have LOTS of surprises waiting
with regard to their roles, especially with regard to Amananth and
Hyperial. There will also be many more groups in the game but I
don’t want to let too many cats out of the bag.
Ten Ton Hammer: How does
the player interact with these various
factions? Are all of the missions the players undertake faction based?
In the old Jumpgate there were
three playable factions: Solrain, Quantar, and Octavius.
are given out by nations and factions, yes. Other
things also affect faction standing, such as attacking their ships.
Ten Ton Hammer: What sort
of role will the factions play when the
player is progressing within the game? Can he advance in the ranks of
this particular faction? What are the rewards for doing so?
Hermann: This is
something that we are looking into. We feel that
having a relationship with the various factions and nations within the
game is critical to long term believability. It’s also a
way to reward players for doing things and to allow players to affect
the flow of the game – two big goals of the game. The rewards
advancement are things I’m sure you can imagine: medals,
to special items and information and so on.
Ten Ton Hammer: Does a
player have to be a part of a faction? Are there
any negative repercussions if they choose not to be a part of the
Hermann: It depends
what you mean by being “part of a
faction.” When you start the game, you choose which nation to
play for: Quantar, Solrain or Octavius. Jumpgate does not
have hard and
fast rules about allegiances however. That is to say, the factions can
interact with each other: trade, talk, fight, etc. We have made a
deliberate choice to put more of this into the player’s hands
opposed to forcing a war or peace situation onto them .While it is
important that players make choices and that those choices have
consequences we want to be careful not to make people feel like they
might make the “wrong” choice.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can a
player ever start his own faction (a large,
multi-guild sort of operation)? If so, will other players be able to
make "faction specific" missions for players to use?
Thankfully Jumpgate doesn't
have hard and fast rules about allegiances.
That’s a great idea. Mind if I steal it?
Ten Ton Hammer: Will
there be faction specific weaponry? Perhaps if the player completes a
high level faction-based mission?
Ten Ton Hammer: How will
players receive missions in the game? Will it
be via an in-game communication system (commlink type equipment) or
will they need to find an NPC with a floating golden exclamation point
above their head?
Hermann: Not quite.
*smiles* We’re actually looking at different
ways to give players missions. Obviously there will be missions you get
and complete on stations; but the standard, click on guy, get mission,
return to guy doesn’t have to be the only solution, now does
Something I have always liked was the System Shock method of missions
where they would just kind of push to you while you were playing the
game – it’s a much more immersive solution I think.
Ten Ton Hammer: Missions
are obviously very important in any
roleplaying based game. How will missions proceed to progress the story
elements of Jumpgate?
Hermann: This is
another area we are looking to expand. While I have
talked a lot about not innovating unnecessarily, I think this is one
area where MMOs can still gain a lot of ground. World of Warcraft and
Everquest 2 did a lot to make MMOs feel more like complete worlds. The
things that I hear a lot is that people “don’t read
that stuff” and that is true for the most part; however, you
still get a strong sense of fiction if it is well presented. To give
you an idea of what I’m talking about I like mechanics such
finding a bunch of data disks or something then piecing them together
and getting a nice little story reward. Because you had to work a bit
to get the bits and pieces (and obviously there should be a reward
beyond just story) you are more likely to pay attention when you get
it. I’m excited about exploring these possibilities.
Ten Ton Hammer: Finally,
will players ever be able to get out of their
spaceships? If avatar movement isn't a part of the game, how will
players be represented in the game aside from their ships?
will not feature out of ship avatar interaction.
Hermann: This is a
big issue that comes up quite a bit. The argument is
usually something along the lines of “people don’t
with a space ship” and therefore the game will feel shallow
something. I think this is a false comparison, the reason being that as
a developer you are in control of what people are identifying with. For
example, in Freespace 2,
you are also a “ship” and yet that
game is highly immersive. The reason is that the game immerses YOU the
player, not your ship. You aren’t playing an avatar that
the ship, you are the avatar flying the ship.
In that sense Jumpgate
is more like an FPS. I also think that it is
dangerous to try and be all things to all people in a game. There have
been games that tried to do both and unless you do both as well as the
top games out there, the players are left feeling like it’s a
half implemented feature. Players are smart and can tell when
developers forced features into the game to hit some box on a checklist
as opposed to focusing on what makes the game better. While we may add
avatars at some point, right now we are focused on making the best
flight game we can – and if we accomplish that I feel that we
will have a very immersive experience.
If you could ask one
question of the Jumpgate Evolution development team, what would it be?
away on our forums!