Jumpgate Evolution Bi-Weekly Interview #2: Factions and Missions

Questions by Cody "Micajah" Bye, Managing Editor Answers by Hermann
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, Jumpgate. 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 Jumpgate will change in the “evolved” version of the game. Cody “Micajah” Bye sat down with Jumpgate Evolution’s 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 original Jumpgate, can you give us a brief description of the factions in the game?

Hermann Peterscheck: 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.

In the old Jumpgate there were three playable factions: Solrain, Quantar, and Octavius.

Ten Ton Hammer: How does the player interact with these various factions? Are all of the missions the players undertake faction based?

Hermann: Missions 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 great 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 for advancement are things I’m sure you can imagine: medals, access 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 faction system?

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 as 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.

Thankfully Jumpgate doesn't have hard and fast rules about allegiances.

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?

Hermann: Wow! 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?

Hermann: Yes.

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 it? 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 all 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 as 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.

Jumpgate Evolution will not feature out of ship avatar interaction.

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?

Hermann: This is a big issue that comes up quite a bit. The argument is usually something along the lines of “people don’t identify with a space ship” and therefore the game will feel shallow or 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 flies 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? Ask away on our forums!

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

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