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Jumpgate Evolution Developer Blog

Jumpgate Evolution is a Massively Multiplayer Online Game set in the open expanse of space. With breath-taking visuals and an innovative twitch-based space combat, Jumpgate is the definitive space combat MMO, putting you at the heart of the action.

Author: JumpgateEvo

Contributor: Khatie

Iteration on Ship Design - Hermann Peterscheck, Producer

Posted by JumpgateEvo Thursday May 14 2009 at 1:47PM
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In Jumpgate Evolution, ship design is one of the most critical components in the game. When we first started working on it, we spent a lot of time with just one ship, in one sector, fighting a handful of enemies. At first we just wanted to make a ship that was both fun and intuitive to fly. This involved changing camera controls, controller input and lots and lots of unit tests. In the end it took about sixty to seventy iterations to get a flight model and control scheme that felt right.


The next thing we did is come up with what kinds of roles we wanted people to have. This was fairly simple in that the kinds of ships that people want are reasonably well defined. You want to have a quick and nimble fighter, a heavier combat ship, perhaps a missile boat of some kind. On the commercial side you need mining and transport ships. For the high end we considered things like “spy” class ships or heavy gunboats, support class ships that can repair armor or refuel ammunition and just about anything in between. It’s a really fun process to just throw ideas out and see what seems cool and fun to try.
 

After that we culled those ideas down to a much smaller number. We wanted to make sure that people could play many types of ships so it was not like choosing a “class” in a fantasy game, for example. Thus one pilot can own a mining vessel, a transport and a heavy fighter. We set to work doing broad strokes on the various classes. Initially this meant that we needed support for the various characteristics a ship might have, for example power, engine thrust (acceleration), mass, turning capability and so on.
 

Our first pass was a multitude of ships with different capabilities and small to moderate differences between them. For example, initially we had shuttles, light fighters, medium fighters and heavy fighters with distinctions and progression within each class. When our systems designer started working on implementing all of those he quickly came to the conclusion that lost of small differences aren’t very fun. We thus switched things around to make much stronger and clear distinctions between each class of ship. We ditched the idea of a medium fighter and took what was cool about it and split it between light and heavy. Suddenly it was much more distinct and fun to fly the two different classes. At first this decision hurt a bit as we thought of it as removing variety from the game. The opposite turned out to be the case. Variety comes from the ability to distinguish difference. If everything is only slightly different than something else, it turns things into a kind of gray goopy mess. By strongly identifying differences flying a light fighter, a heavy fighter, and an industrial ship feels right.
 

That’s a pretty general overview of one particular aspect of what goes into working on ships. It also involves balancing power availability, speed and maneuvering, equipment distinction and many other things. Another thing we learned is to balance in PVP first. When we make new ships now, Jay (Jay Ambrosini – Systems Designer) will spend quite a bit of time taking a stab at how things should fly, what configuration they should have and so on. We then give people those ships and during our daily play test do a series of PVP battles followed by everyone sending Jay feedback. He takes that, makes some changes and we play again. Sometimes we do this up to three or four times a day. You know when you’ve got it right because people won’t want to stop playing. Once a ship works in the PVP scenario, tuning it for PVE is much easier. Jay said it best when he proclaimed that PVE has to be fun, but PVP has to be fair. Making sure ships are distinct but avoiding super weapons is quite difficult. Our overall goal for ships is that there are as many distinct types as possible and that they are all enjoyable to play while each having weaknesses that can be exploited. This is how, we believe, you can achieve the kind of tit for tat combat that are a hallmark of great game design.

Mrbloodworth writes:

 

Concept images, production images, wire frames...etc would spruce this up nicely.

 

But, thank you for the entry.

 

Thu May 14 2009 4:16PM Report
Lobotomist writes:

It is now mont and a half before planned release of JGE. And all we have is a blog on ship design. No screenshots no ship design specific. No gameplay specifics. No gameplay videos...nothing

When will you announce the delay ?

 

Fri May 15 2009 3:29AM Report
Agricola1 writes:

Agreed, I'm interested to see release dates as all that needs to be determined is what effect instancing has on open world. This can only be done ingame as DEVs will always put a positive spin on instancing.

Also my new rig will be ready in June, so what's the SP?

Fri May 15 2009 3:47AM Report
Sain34 writes:

There are several videos floating around of gameplay footage. But there does seem to be a serious lack of information given that release is supposedly 42 days away.

Fri May 15 2009 8:52AM Report
Mrbloodworth writes:

What? there is a ton of info about this game out there. Tons of reviews, interviews, videos.

 

I just wanted to see some production images for this topic of ship designs.

Fri May 15 2009 10:46AM Report
sanedor writes:

Gamestop has thsi listed for 9/01/09 for shipping. still a while

Sat May 16 2009 2:45AM Report
A.Blackloch writes:

I thought this game was supposed to come out in June?

Sat May 16 2009 9:50AM Report
sadeyx writes:

Thing is though, its an MMO ! - if you want players to play for years on end you NEED the myriad of differences!

People like want to play about and fine tune things, to do that they need hundreds of different modules and classes to suit what they want to do..

Reducing the quantity of ship classes may be fun, for an arcade game, but not an mmo, an mmo needs depth, especially a space game.

Sat May 16 2009 11:16AM Report
freejackmack writes:

I had always felt that JGE had a good team working on it and this makes the feeling stronger. I can't bloody wait to play this game.

This game has some features that are gonna give this game a fun and different feel than what we are used to in the mmo world I think.

I bet they will add some things down the road too like more ship clases and whatever neat ideas pop into their heads.

 

Mon May 18 2009 3:26PM Report
OnAdayPass writes:

i can't wait for this game.I take it guilds will be squadrons.With ship design compare it to the US fighters,there basically weapons platforms.So there will be alot of diffence based on loadouts.

Sun May 24 2009 9:24PM Report
outfctrl writes:

IMO,I dont think it will be out this year.  It is May and, no Beta.   Heck, we dont even have a screenshot of the cockpit yet.

Tue May 26 2009 12:36PM Report
jwt3888 writes:

look forward to playing it  savew0wgo1d (google)

Fri May 29 2009 2:19AM Report
TdogSkal writes:

I got to play this at E3 this year and talk to some of the guys working on it while I was waiting in the Airport.... Great game, looking forward to playing it again... Second great bunch of guys

Wed Jul 22 2009 4:55PM Report
Storm1ty writes:

learn from EVE

Fri Jul 24 2009 10:58AM Report
Aryas writes:

I hope they learn from EVE, primarily how they can target the audience EVE doesn't. EVEs a great game but for many people it's quite slow and this game has the potential to fill that slot.

As for the guy slating the company for past products, only a dunce thinks like that. It's like judging a sports team's current potential based on their performance 40 years ago.

I'm really excited about this game and Global Agenda. I just hope the games have the visual, environmental and plot depth of fantasy MMOs, or they're going to have a job getting people to sub.

Mon Jul 27 2009 11:19AM Report
vectr0ne writes:

 Eve is a Game with a steep learning curve that is why it doesnt attract many players most people who play like myself had a mentor to get them to where they could function i know i would not have continued to play had i started alone

hopefully like said above they will learn from eve but i more so i hope that it doesnt become a copy of eve whcih would be sad not many games are the same caliber as eve which given some of the features it has now and what news ive heard just might be possible (not saying it will just something to look out for)

 

Mon Feb 08 2010 11:44PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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