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Interviews: Dev Chat Log

By Guest Writer on October 29, 2008

Dev Chat Log

MMORPG_Kunou: Howdy and welcome to's Live Chat on! I'm your host,'s Community Manager Richard "Kunou" Cox. Joining us today are members of the JumpGate Evolution dev team!


MMORPG_Kunou: Our guests will do their best to answer as many questions as possible, but due to limited time and a high volume of inquiries, they may not be able to answer every single one. Users are limited to one question at a time, and you will be notified if your question is rejected or discarded.

MMORPG_Kunou: To submit your question, please /msg MMORPGBot yourquestionhere. If your question was deleted, it's probably because someone else asked the same thing first.

MMORPG_Kunou: This room will be moderated during the chat; if you want to talk during the chat, feel free to visit #jumpgate.

MMORPG_Kunou: Now it's time for introductions! Feel free to start sending your questions to MMORPGBot while our guests introduce themselves!

ND_Hermann: Hi all. I'm Hermann and I'm the producer on Jumpgate Evolution

ND_Scorch: Hi! I'm Scott Brown, President of NetDevil and original developer of Jumpgate.

ND_Awen: Hiya! I'm Nicole Hamlett (or Awen) and I am Jumpgate Evolution's Community Manager

ND_Binkies: Hi Everyone. I'm Grace, Marketing Manager of Jumpgate Evolution

Community Question: slix asks, "Will Jumpgate be as "do-anything-you-want" as some other space mmorpgs, like EVE?"

ND_Hermann: Well. That's a very broad statement :). For example, if you want to drive pink elephant cars, that might be tough to do :P. Seriously though, Jumpgate is an open game in the sense that you are not forced to follow a linear path by some fixed set of limitations. If you want to mine or fight or craft, PvP, PvE, follow mission or just kind of explore around. All of that is possible and there is no required order per se.

Community Question: lordalderaan asks, "How are you gonna create a demand for the manufacturing part of the game when ship destruction does not result in item loss?"

ND_Hermann: That's actually a great question and something we discussed internally for a long time. When you think about it, though, games that have item loss are actually have far less instances of death, precisely because of the death penalty. In fact, te lighter the death penalty, the more frequent the cases of death. Compare, say, EvE with World of Warcraft, or maybe Counterstrike. It's been proven that games with item loss and without i

Community Question: AnubisX|LOVES_JUMPGATE_EVO asks, "Is the battle in JGE going to be fast paced or slow?"

ND_Awen: Jumpgate Evolution is a space combat MMO. We are very action oriented so you can expect that combat will be very fast paced.

ND_Awen: combat is real time and based on skill so be prepared to have a very adrenaline rush experience. :)

Community Question: Javeir asks, "Is there an 'end game' in JGE? If so, how long does it take to get there?"

ND_Scorch: While you can reach a max level, that is really not the point of Jumpgate and there is a lot to do once you reach that portion of the game. Since we have no dice rolls, level does not play as critical of a role as it does in other MMORPGs.

Community Question: blood asks, "How much will the game will cost at month ?"

ND_Binkies: We have yet to announce the business model.

Community Question: DLinkOZ asks, "How will death be handled?"

ND_Hermann: That's another one of those complex questions we think about a lot. For the most part we want to make sure the death penalty is not so punshing that people quit the game in frustration. Thus, currently, we basically damage your ship which you must pay to repair and put you back on the previous station. That being said - this doesn't preclude us from doing other things elsewhere.

ND_Hermann: I don't want to get into details, but we have been paying attention to the large group of people that feel there needs to be more risk and challenge, and there's ways we think we can do that, which other games haven't tried - sometimes an indication of a bad idea :)

ND_Hermann: In any case, we want to make the game challenging and rewarding instead of challenging and punishing.

Community Question: kalles asks, "Hi, when does beta starts?"

ND_Awen: Right now we're working very hard on making sure that the game is ready for external testing. We're very very close to that point. However, with that said, we just are not sure when it's going to be at that critical point for us to start the beta process. However, when we are ready, we'll make an announcement on our official website. Trust me, we can't wait to let you guys in to see all of the cool stuff that we've been working on.

Community Question: TGC_PanicMan asks, "I work by myself in a software company, I know a little bit how the way goes... Its all about Money, but is the discussion of the Players in the Forums important for the people who made dessisions?"

ND_Scorch: We have always used feedback from our community to shape the game, both in terms of features and balance. We also watch not just what people say but also what they do. By carefully measuring player actions we can gain a lot of knowledge instead of just guessing what would improve the game.

Community Question: PenguinOfDoom asks, "Will the game have non-consensual PVP, or will PVP be limited to some sort of a flagging system?"

ND_Hermann: It depends on what you mean by non-consentual. For example, if I log into a game that is PvP only, I am giving consent by playing. What we want to make sure of, is that the large number of people that do not want to do PvP have a valid game that they can play. That doesn't preclude an open PvP environment or even mixed mode PvP in PvE areas. What it does mean is that if people want to play Jumpgate and not be killed, that is a va

ND_Hermann: That doesn't preclude an open PvP environment or even mixed mode PvP in PvE areas. What it does mean is that if people want to play Jumpgate and not be killed, that is a valid choice.

Community Question: Ezequiel asks, "Where will Jumpgate be sold I.e. Online with a download, Stores, etc."

ND_Binkies: We plan to make the game available through a variety of channels. Just like what you have mentioned, stores and online channels are in the plans. :)

Community Question: Savag3On3 asks, "Will this game use any sort of purchasable ammo system? Craftable ammo? Or just "infinite" ammo?"

ND_Hermann: If you mean in game purchasable ammo for in game credits. Yes.

ND_Hermann: There are various types of weapons: energy based, ammo based, mortars, machine guns, that kind of stuff.

ND_Hermann: Some of them have "infinite" ammo, others are limited. The goal there is to create choice and consequence, not to mention game play variance.

ND_Hermann: For example, ammo guns may use less power than energy weapons.

Community Question: Asylus asks, "What are the current plans as far as the roles of AI capital ships in the game? Where can we expect to see them and what will the be doing?"

ND_Scorch: Cap ships are a huge part of space combat lore so we would be remiss to not include them. All the great space battles I can remember from various movies and games have combat scenes with fighters flying along huge cap ships.

ND_Scorch: That being said, we want the pacing to Jumpgate Evolution to be fast so players will not be flying cap ships, at least at launch.

ND_Scorch: The AI will play various roles with the cap ships where players will be asked to destroy or defend the various cap ships in the game based on the situation. [18:28]

Community Question: scathis asks, "Hello ND, I'd like to know if there will be ship custumization, not equipement change, but actual ingame diferent ship Textures?"

ND_Awen: 'Rather than actual customization of the ships, there will be different ships you can purchase through your faction rating. We've discussed having small squad logos implemented, but it's probably not something that we'll be able to implement by launch. With that said, the ship kit has infinite possibilities so you can definitely equip your ship in some very customizable ways.

Community Question: LordAlderaan asks, "Do you see PvP as a daily activity for the average player including multiple deaths per day?"

ND_Hermann: I guess it depends how good you are at PvP :). Seriously though, I suspect PvP will be a significant part of the game for a large number of players.

ND_Hermann: That is why we want to support various types of PvP game play as well as making the game advance through PvP (that is XP for PvP play).

ND_Hermann: The goal is to make it a significant game play mechanism not "the fun part that comes at the end." To be clear, I want people PvPing day 1 and day 100 and having tons of fun doing it.

Community Question: Radi asks, "During recent interviews it was said that items will only be damaged when your ship explodes. Will that change and it is current iteration of the gameplay or is that permanent change?"

ND_Scorch: First off, nothing is permanent, especially at this stage in game development. We intend to start beta with item damage on death but I can’t say how that will work at a large scale of players. So based off feedback, we will make appropriate changes.

Community Question: Obductus asks, "What are you guys currently working on, nothing really new since months? What can we expect from the beta? Any little details out there?"

ND_Hermann: It's funny how when I wait for game outside it feels agonizingly slow, but on the inside time is speeding by.

ND_Hermann: The real answer is that the devil is in the details. Getting everything right takes A LOT of time and that can be frustrating.

ND_Hermann: Specifically, right now we are working on all kinds of aspects of deployment, a PVP system for arena style play, always more content and getting ready for testing :P.

ND_Hermann: Giant moving ships looks really cool.

Community Question: K-Rizzle asks, "Will there be ways to further modify weapons...such as re-fire, dmg, heat inductance..etc?"

ND_Scorch: We are not planning for item modification at launch, though the idea is very cool!

Community Question: latinthug3 asks, "what makes jumgate evolution different than any other mmorpg in the market?"

ND_Binkies: Jumpgate Evolution offers players fast action space combat gameplay with huge battles in a persistent online world. But of course, it will have all the other cool MMO features such as auction house, crafting etc. :)

Community Question: Argo asks, "Will crafting be givin just as much dev attention as combat, or will it take a back burner like in so many other MMOS? Will it actually be engaging and fun to do full time?"

ND_Awen: That's a really great question. We're working through the crafting system now and we want to make sure that crafters have as much to do as people who just want to combat or haul. It's all about making a diverse system and we want to make sure that everyone who plays has fun. I think that because of the nature of the game, you will be able to craft full time to keep pilots well equipped.

Community Question: Blood asks, "What kind of players will play that game ? Casuals, PGM ?"

ND_Hermann: The goal is all of the above, of course. That being said there is a core group of people to whom the game appeals.

ND_Hermann: We believe this is people who liked prior space action games but have been left somewhat high and dry lately.

ND_Hermann: we want to make sure the game meets the expectations of people who played Freelancer, XvT, Freespace, and games like that.

ND_Hermann: But as with any game, if it's executed well, people find it to be fun and it draws from all kinds of areas.

Community Question: paulscott asks, "Average life expectancy of two people not moving and with 100% accuracy?"

ND_Scorch: That’s a hard question to answer exactly because there are so many variables, refire rate, shields, etc. But right now if you were just to fight a low level player it would take maybe 15-20 seconds. It’s certainly more than just one shot to kill.

Community Question: AnubisX|LOVES_JUMPGATE_EVO asks, "Will there be a story to this game, or will it be player-generated with actions done by certain guilds etc.?"

ND_Binkies: Yes there is definately a backstory to the game which will drive the in-game missions. However, actions from players will also have impact to the game too.

Community Question: DLinkOZ asks, "JGC had item loss, and people found it very easy to luanch into dire situations, so how does that factor into the no-loss philosphy?"

ND_Hermann: It's true. It's not that it's not a valid game play mechanic it's just a measurable tendancy that people resist danger as the punishment goes up.

ND_Hermann: Another thing that has changed is the variety of equipment and ships available. we want there to be many more options which then makes item loss even more expensive.

ND_Hermann: I understand that there are people who feel that without a really harsh death penalty the game feels fake or not hard enough and we're working on ways of addressing it.

ND_Hermann: I think that we have focused a lot on making the game accessible which then makes it look like we are ignoring the issues from the other side. That's not the case, it's just that you have to consider the multitude of game play styles and try and build for as much diversity as possible.

ND_Hermann: I think we have had some interesting internal discussions on how to address this very point, and hope to reveal some details to let you guys kick some ideas around.

Community Question: Slix| asks, "Will Jumpgate allow for good political pvp? For example, a world war between many guilds over control of an area or something?"

ND_Scorch: Besides typical things from shooters that we will have like leader boards and kill lists, there is an “open” PVP part of the game where players compete over maps and can try and turn space to their faction for various short term perks.

Community Question: aelena asks, "will there be a way to switch shards to be with other friends?"

ND_Hermann: Yes. Although we're working on details there. For example, most games limit it for various reasons, some of them balance, some of them system overhead. We want people to be able to play with friends as easily as possible so hopefully we can make that process easy.

Community Question: Tritian asks, "Hermann, what exactly about the JGC death penalty do you believe was too harsh?"

ND_Hermann: It's not really about what I think specifically. We do lots of internal testing and I can tell you when people die and lose all their stuff, most of them never play again :). Some people like it, but most don't.

ND_Hermann: I think that's why you see a collective movement in MMOs to reduce death penalties. That being said I think you can get both of those groups without having a half way solution and that's something we are working on.

Community Question: Javeir asks, "Why do you think JG: EVO will succede when JG original did not?"

ND_Scorch: Because I am not programming it this time! :)

ND_Hermann: Hahahah

ND_Binkies: lol

ND_Awen: hahahahaha

ND_Awen: Well measuring success is certainly arbitrary. With that said, we're creating a game now that is very accessible to all walks of MMO players. There will be a rich storyline, a solid economical draw with crafting and tradeskills, the combat is intense, it's graphically gorgeous. I'm going to play it and I'm the common MMO player right? I think that it's a matter of taking something that was really great and improving upon it. :)

ND_Awen: and uh..

ND_Awen: scorch isn't coding it this time *ducks and runs*

Community Question: Asylus asks, "A lot of MMOs on the market have a heavy storyline that the player goes through, with a number of sidequests and the like. In addition to Jumpgate's Mission based system, will JGE implement any storylines that a player can follow?"

ND_Hermann: Yes.

ND_Hermann: However, Jumpgate has always been a more open kind of game than many MMOs and we want to keep that.

ND_Hermann: There are negatives to making a game a linear narrative experience, for example, players that don't want that feel like they are playing "wrong" if they don't follow it, and we don't want that.

ND_Hermann: Thus, while we want to make sure there is engaging fiction and intersting stories through missions we don't want to cram it down people's throats. That's what awesome single player games like Fallout 3 are for :).

Community Question: Ezequiel asks, "Will there be a free-to-play area like for say... Runscape has a free to play area and a pay to play area"

ND_Binkies: Hmmm interesting idea. Although it's not in the plans now but who knows. :)

ND_Scorch: The free to play area will be called "Beta" lol

ND_Awen: hahahahahaha

ND_Binkies: hehehe

Community Question: LordAlderaan asks, "Are the RvR (as in 'PvP with permanent teams and persistant points of conflict') elements of this game gonna be based on Squads or on Nations and how do multi-national squads fit in?"

ND_Scorch: When you conquer a map, it is based on the faction of the player that takes the map. Players that contribute to this will also get additional rewards, similar to tracking agro for XP. Only the faction that captures will get rewards.

Community Question: TGC-ChakStar asks, "You said that you want a totally player driven economy. What if 90% of players wanna do PvP? Let's say all need engines but they cant be produced because the lack of commods? Are there NPC-Miners or anything that hold the stock up to a minimum?"

ND_Hermann: Then I guess that answers the "how can you have an economy withouth item destruction question" :).

ND_Hermann: Honestly though, in general that doesn't seem to happen. People are greedy and there will be those who will exploit an economy for profit, and because of that there will be those who compete against them.

ND_Hermann: I guess if it really falls apart we can also make craftin more appeling or simply find other non-player generated ways of adding items.

ND_Hermann: I think that would be a pity though... it's so much cooler if it's a player market, I think.

Community Question: Radi asks, "Some of the veteran players may not like final product that JGE might become. Istvan said that he will not stop working on JGC. Are there any major plans for JGC at this point?"

ND_Scorch: JGC is on hold other than server support while we develop JGE, we'll see how players react post release and decide what to do from there.

Community Question: Kalles asks, "Can players exit their ships?"

ND_Awen: Think of your ship as an extension of yourself. Right now we don't have plans for human avatars. It may be something that the team explores in the future, but you can be certain that at the launch of Jumpgate Evolution, you will not be able to exit your ship.

ND_Scorch: There is one way to exit your ship, escape pods.

ND_Awen: well you got me there. :)

Community Question: EdFanMH asks, "Will we be able to switch factions anytime?"

ND_Hermann: When you create your pilot, you choose a nation to align with (Solrain, Quantar, Octavius) and that is not changable.

ND_Hermann: However, you can create many pilots, so it doesn't stop you from seeing the other experiences.

ND_Hermann: Also, nothing really stops you from working with the other nations, so that is still available as well.

Community Question: ScotzMan asks, "you've already said you take on board what the community want and in hermann's recent interview with kotaku he mentioned catering to as many different gaming styles as possible, do you think there is a worry you're trying to cater to too many and breaking the game up into something thats just a mash of good ideas that may not work well together in practice?"

ND_Scorch: Certainly that could be an issue but really we are focused on making an intense action space MMO. That is pretty directed. We have put off lots of other features, like making a character based game as well for example, so that all of our focus can be on a fun space combat game. Making a game simple to learn and difficult to master hopefully will not be a design nightmare.

Community Question: latinthug3 asks, "Most of mmorpgs don't sell copies of their game in countrys from south america, what about jumpgate?"

ND_Binkies: We are working on bringing Jumpgate to as many players from different counties as possible. A couple of countries (South America included) are in the plans but we are still working on it. :)

Community Question: K_II asks, "hi ND: Will we see the Sim Mode from JGC in any form ?"

ND_Scorch: The sim mode of classic is being reformed into our instanced PvP battles, more details coming later.

MMORPG_Kunou: This concludes the Jumpgate Evolution Dev Chat! Thank you Awen, Hermann, Scorch and Binkies for your wonderful time and expertise! Thank you Coldfront for hosting us! And thank you everyone for joining us! Logs will be posted on asap.

ND_Scorch: Thanks everyone for coming! Hopefully we will see you in space soon. :)

ND_Awen: Thanks so much guys!

ND_Awen: we're looking forward to the comments for sure!

ND_Binkies: Thanks for everyone's participation. Those were some excellent questions asked. Enjoyed the chat alot! :D