Jumpgates received some special graphic touches – as
they are the name of the game – and it clearly showed. The
jumpgate we saw looked like an immense watery dome in the middle of
space, with blue lights scattering off of its surfaces. Once inside the
Jumpgate, your entire field of view distorts, and it will certainly be
a special experience for first time players. The ease of entry has
certainly been enhanced with the updates NetDevil has made to the
graphics in the game.
Even with the upgraded graphics, NetDevil wanted to insure
that players with computers of all ages, makes, and models would have a
decent chance of playing this game. Although no concrete numbers were
put on the table, Petersheck assured us that they wanted to keep the
specifications low. “We learned from Auto Assault that when
you make the specifications to high, you’re cutting out a
large percentage of people who might enjoy your game,” he
said. “We did everything we could to keep the system
requirements low, and the art team has done a fantastic job of keeping
polygon counts low but still making things look good with various
shaders, textures, and saturated colors.”
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Accessibility is one of the major factors in the
development of Jumpgate Evolution.
Accessibility has turned into one of the major projects for
NetDevil and their Jumpgate team. Jumpgate, at least when it was
originally deployed, was a very difficult game, and new players were
often culled from the herd because the level of entry was so high.
“Jumpgate was a very hard game for beginners, and we really
worked on bringing that learning curve down,” Petersheck
continued. “It’s okay for players to not
play a game because they don’t like it. It’s not
okay if they don’t play it because they can’t.
Those are two very different things.”
For the Jumpgate team, making sure players can understand the
game and know what they need to do to achieve an objective is paramount
in their desire to refurbish Jumpgate. “Everyday at 4:00
P.M., we bring over someone from a different project to test the
game,” Petersheck said. “We videotape their faces,
hands, and the screen, so we know exactly what’s confusing
the player at a specific time. We just sit back and watch them play.
It’s painful to watch people play, because there are all
these signifiers on the screen telling people where to go, and for some
reason they don’t see them. It’s our job to figure
out why the players don’t automatically see these
“We really try for 80-90 percent
accessibility,” Petersheck continued. “If eight out
of nine people can get through a particular area, we’re
there. After that point, people will spend a lot of time learning, for
example, how fifty man raids work. But they’re not going to
take a lot of time learning how to swing their sword.”
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Missions in Jumpgate Evolution may include a
One of the key elements that has been improved in the
revitalization of Jumpgate is the mission system. Procedural missions,
which are a fairly common trademark of space combat sims, have already
been integrated into the early version of the game. Petersheck, in his
talk with Ten Ton Hammer, talked about two particular missions
– an ore-hauling mission and a kill-X-mobs mission
– but suggested other missions that were available including
combat, patrols, mining, and delivery.
There are a few elements of the missions that NetDevil is
still playing around with, including a difficulty adjuster for players
that might want a more challenging experience.
“Let’s say I’m a beginner
player,” Peterscheck stated. “I may want to choose
easy for my initial mission level. But if I’m a veteran, I
may want to ramp up the difficulty for a more trying experience. This
way, if a player gets blown out of the sky, he thinks it’s
his fault and not the fault of the developer for making the game too
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Jumpgate Evolution Game Page.