Questions by Cody
“Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor
Answers by Hermann
Peterscheck, Producer for Jumpgate Evolution
The space combat genre is all about action. If
you’ve ever had an opportunity to boot up one of these games,
you’ll be familiar with the “strap yourself
in” sort of mentality that the developers used to run with
when creating these games. When I asked NetDevil’s Hermann
Peterscheck about the combat in Jumpgate
and how that game was being designed, his
answers were so thorough and lengthy that the Ten Ton Hammer staff had
to split the interview into two parts to encompass the entire span.
With Part One of the "Combat and Controls Interview", the Ten Ton
Hammer staff asked Hermann about control options, joystick vs.
keyboard, and how a player advances throughout the game. We hope you
enjoy his responses!
Ten Ton Hammer: What
options do the players have in terms of their control system? Will both
keyboard and joystick be optional?
Control is a primary
area of concern for the Jumpgate
Control is a primary area of concern for us. Our view is that people
want to experience the game in different ways. Some people only have a
kind of basic keyboard and mouse setup so it’s vital that the
game plays well with that kind of setup. However, as a space combat
game we have a large number of people that have very elaborate control
setups and we want to make sure that we take advantage of those.
Ten Ton Hammer: Have you
have to make any sort of compromises to support both methods of
control? Will players with a joystick have an unfair advantage?
The good news for players is that we have some developers that fit into
this category and I can assure you that they would not be satisfied
with anything less than a fantastic joystick experience. Going beyond
that we also support more advanced stuff such as TrackIR and continue
to evaluate all kinds of different hardware to see how we can make the
game even more immersive and versatile.
We also support both a 3rd and 1st person mode as people feel very
strongly about what mode they want to control their ship in.
Hermann: The answer
to the first question is no. We spend a lot of time making sure that
both control schemes work. There is no point in adding an option just
to be able to advertise it. Players are smarter than that, and poor
implementation of control schemes is worse than not supporting them, in
my opinion. As for having an unfair advantage, I am sure that will be a
hotly debated topic. Think of it this was: has there ever been an MMO
that didn’t have arguments over Class X or Weapon 12 being
“unfairly overpowered” or
Ten Ton Hammer: Will the
newest version of Jumpgate utilize all of the common toggles you find
on a joystick? Things like throttles, toggle hats, alternate fire, and
The game mechanics should not be effected, whether people who use
joysticks or mouse/keyboard or anything else are more effective than
others is something we will be watching with a great deal of curiosity.
We don’t want to end up faking things to balance the game.
The thing that makes Jumpgate Evolution different than a lot of MMOs is
that combat is skill based. We never want to go down the road of making
a mouse more “accurate” than a joystick or
something like that.
Hermann: Yes. I
think we will be, if not the most, one of the most thorough MMOs with
regard to supporting various control schemes.
Ten Ton Hammer: How will
combat encounters typically play out in Jumpgate Evolution? Are we
still playing in a dogfight style world? Or will more defensive players
actually be able to run away without dying?
Combat is, and always
will be, skill base in
Hermann: I think
that those things are different sides of the same thing. Combat is, and
always will be, skill based. Many things are part of combat, attack,
defense, handling, speed and so on. The various permutations of all the
things that people will do is something that we could fill pages with.
I also suspect we will only scratch the surface of what players might
Ten Ton Hammer: Will
combat be the only way to advance? Or will other methods of advancement
be an option?
As a simple scenario imagine if you have short range quick turning
missiles, ammunition weapons, strong shields and a decent afterburner
and I have 2 more guns, but they are energy weapons that can fire
further. My missiles are longer range but can’t turn as
quickly. I think that just in that simple scenario the combat
possibilities are potentially endless. Our role is to give players
enough options so they can decide what they want to try; then get out
of the way and mix and match the various equipment to come up with new
Hermann: There will
be many other ways to advance and many types of advancement as well.
For example, there is the traditional gain experience, rank up, buy new
equipment route. We’re also going to put a large emphasis on
economic advancement. This is an integral part of most of the really
fun space games that have come about and in an MMO environment
it’s even more important for long term game value.
Then there are things like medals and titles which represent alternate
advancement paths outside of XP and money. For example, if you down 500
of a given type of opponent you might get a medal for that. If you have
a mission success rating of some amount then you can get a medal for
that. We have all kinds of ideas to give medals value beyond the pure
achievement value so it’ll be fun to see how that turns out.
Faction rating is another area we want to expand on. The original game
allowed you to gain and lose faction rating with the major nations
depending on activities you did. We want to use that same system to
enrich the game to a much great degree.
The trick with advancement is giving people enough things to advance to
and reasons for doing so. It’s great to get a medal from time
to time, but it’s even better if getting that medal comes
with some other kind of reward beyond the completion value.
For you, what's the most
important part of space combat? Is it the control system or something
us know on the forums