Jumpgate Evolution: VIP Access Interview

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Questions by Ten Ton Hammer Premium Members
Answers by Hermann Peterscheck, Jumpgate Evolution Producer, and Nicole Hamlett, Jumpgate Evolution Community Manager

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 Members submitted so many good JGE questions, and NetDevil's answers were so lengthy that this VIP Access interview needs two parts. Part one covers the game's setting, tutorial, ship customization, and the JGE beta.

Whitgar: Does JGE take place entirely in space, or do you have avatars too?

Hamlett: Jumpgate Evolution does take place in space. While we do have space stations, there arenÂ’t any walking avatars for this game.  WeÂ’re working with the concept that you are the pilot, flying your ship in space and interacting with the other [non-player characters] and players within the surrounding areas.

With that said, you can customize your ship with a large combination of equipment and based on your faction rating with your Nation, there are different ship skins.  I imagine that there will be few ships that are geared exactly the same.

Jumpgate Evolution promises intense action.

Annache: EVE Online had a very steep initial learning curve that was considered daunting to many newcomers but got most of the learning out of the way in that one initial curve. Have you taken a similar approach or different?

Hamlett: There are a few mantras for our team, one of them being “Easy to learn, hard to master.”  The initial gameplay for Jumpgate Evolution is very accessible. Rather than a long and drawn out tutorial, weÂ’ve provided the player with on the fly tips that help them get situated within the game. 

We want people to be able to have fun as soon as they get into the game and through the storyline and different flight mechanics. I think that weÂ’ve accomplished that goal.

Annache: How heavy of a focus will there be on player-vs-player (PvP) or player-vs-environment (PvE)? Will the PvP and PvE affect each other? 

Peterscheck: We feel that both game styles are important for the success of the game. How they affect each other is a different matter. I think that itÂ’s largely out of the hands of the developer in many ways. We are implementing a player driven economy with some basic constraints on supply and demand. WeÂ’re going to try and make sure that there are things that relate to PvP and PvE within that functionality and then kind of watch what players do with it. As an example, we could put rare minerals out in more dangerous areas to see how players compete for those resources, bearing in mind that people who donÂ’t want to go into those areas still need fun and interesting things to do.

I’m also a believer in having PvE play “feed” PvP play. What I mean by that is having miners, manufacturers (crafters) and traders creating things like missiles, high end guns and so on which PvP players will then consume. I also think that Jumpgate is a bit different than many MMOs because it allows for multiple roles to be filled by one “character” if you will. For example, in a game like [World of Warcraft] you ARE a warrior or a mage. In Jumpgate you can fly a mining vessel, then go jump into a fighter, then go do some trading runs. I don’t think this is a strength of one type of game over another; it’s simply a game style difference.

Sardu: In PvP environments, will there be any system of potential consequence or will 'policing' be left primarily in the hands of the players?

Peterscheck: It depends on what is meant by consequences. Every action has one type of consequence or another, but I suspect what is meant is whether certain PvP actions will be punished – such as, for example, continuously killing a player or something like that. In general I think the idea of designers allowing, or especially encouraging, behavior that they then punish players for seems a bit silly to me. In some cases, for example verbal abuse, obviously we have to interfere. It always amazes me when online games allow for an action that they then punish people for so badly that they can’t or do not wish to continue playing. “Policing” is an interesting term as well. If the game is broken or not fun or if the rules don’t make any sense and players are required to step in to solve those problems, that seems like a suboptimal situation. Players should be having fun, so if there are policing activities that improve game quality and provide entertainment and value for the community, that’s one thing… if developers are relying upon players to make their game work, that’s quite another.

Each type of ship has a distinct look.

Annache: Reading around I have found that there will be no huge capital ships or other huge ships, How will equipment/gear progression take place?

Hamlett: Actually, we have recently implemented the first capital ship into the game. While so far they will be [artificial intelligence] controlled, weÂ’re working on creating some large scale battles that feature these ships.  ItÂ’s really exciting and every time we see one of them in the game, the entire dev team comes up with some pretty creative ways to blow it up. [smiles]

Equipment and gear progression will largely be based on the pilot's rank and the licenses and he or she has.

Annache: Certain space games allow new weapons and other equipment to make visual upgrades to a ship's model - such as more cannons, hull extensions, etc. Will these be present and/or be very noticeable? Will there be custom paintjobs on the ships?

Hamlett: Something that is really cool in the game is the faction reward system that the team is currently implementing. Based on your faction standing, you may have access to different skinned ships as well as equipment.  Right now, IÂ’m tooling around space in a wild cherry red number.  

Upgrades in equipment such as guns and engines wonÂ’t necessarily be visual in terms of making your ship look different, but with the faction reward option, you certainly can obtain different looking models.

Annache: Many jumping-style space sims allow only very restricted paths (eg Escape Velocity) and others simply have a range, where your only restriction is your fuel capacity (eg Star Control 3). Which approach is in JGE?

Hamlett: Something that we feel very strongly about right now is making sure that the players have fun playing Jumpgate Evolution.  Therefore, the team is creating a game that places very few restrictions on the pilots. ItÂ’s been said that the ultimate scenario is that your only restriction is your rank and your imagination. [smiles]

So in terms of fuel capacity and restriction, those two things are just not a design feature for Jumpgate Evolution. This could change as the design process moves further on, but right now, you can fly however far youÂ’d like to fly. 

However, if your ship takes damage, you will certainly want to repair that at a local station, but weÂ’re working with the thought that we want to allow the players to explore as far as they can, as much as they want.  ItÂ’s their universe to play in, [so] why would we want to restrict that?

Annache: Will there be oceanic servers?

Hamlett: My understanding is that if there is a demand weÂ’ll do everything possible to ensure that we have local servers where they are needed.

Annache: When can I play [beta]?

Peterscheck: When itÂ’s ready. [smiles]

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