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Jumpgate Evolution : An ION Interview with NetDevil

Posted May 23, 2008 by Jon Wood

Recently, MMORPG.com's own Carolyn Koh had the opportunity to sit down and speak with the team from NetDevil about their work on the upcoming MMORPG Jumpgate Evolution.

Jumpgate Evolution is not a massive update to Jumpgate. It is a completely different game. “Basically, this is a response to focus testing and user feedback,” said Scott Brown, President of Netdevil. “We can’t have Netdevil just do another game. It has to be a great game.”

Once Jumpgate Evolution launches, it will run side by side with Jumpgate until which time, Jumpgate ceases to be viable, if ever. “We still have a lot of players that love the game and we’ll continue supporting it,” said Scott, “Jumpgate Evolution will essentially be like Asherons Call 2 and EverQuest 2. Set in a similar, yet different world. A world of the future.”

At the Connect event in the UK, Netdevil partnered with their UK publisher Codemasters to bring the game to players there. They were able to have the public play test a vertical slice of the game on 50 PCs. “They played the new user experience, and it was the first proof of concept that the new user experience in Jumpgate Evolution works.” Netdevil has treated Jumpgate Evolution as a “Live” project from the get go, with internal testing and developers playing the game. The story takes part in a later time and different part of space, but current players of Jumpgate will absolutely find it familiar.

Read it all here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Exclusive Screenshot

Posted Apr 24, 2008 by Jon Wood

The folks from NetDevil have provided us with this exclusive Jumpgate Evolution screenshot that shows us what it's going to look like when a player attacks a battle station.

Check it out here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Exclusive Screenshot

Posted Apr 17, 2008 by Keith Cross

This week, the folks from NetDevil have provided us with a new exclusive screenshot. This one features a close up of a turret.

 

Check it out here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Exclusive Screenshot

Posted Apr 10, 2008 by Jon Wood

This week, the folks from NetDevil have provided us with a new exclusive screenshot. This one features a Battlestation in Bleakstone.

Check it out here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Exclusive Screenshot

Posted Apr 03, 2008 by Jon Wood

This week, the folks from NetDevil have provided us with a new exclusive screenshot. This one features a Quantar Fighter in Quantar Core just outside of an asteroid belt.

Check it out here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Evolution Name Change

Posted Apr 01, 2008 by Keith Cross

The American Standards Senate has requested that NetDevil’s Jumpgate Evolution change its name to Jumpgate Creationism, or at least offer an expansion of the same name alongside of the original product. The request comes after the conservative organization became concerned that impressionable children might confuse the title with Darwin’s theories on the evolution of man.

“Of course we don’t think that this game is literally promoting Darwin’s theories,” said A.S.Senate representative Lori Stephens in response to MMORPG.com’s questions. “However, the American Standards Senate feels strongly that the word evolution is misleading and should be removed from all forms of entertainment.

While NetDevil could not be reached for comment, sources close to the company say that they are considering moving to “Jumpgate Intelligent Design” as a compromise.

This announcement comes in the wake of NetDevil's announcement that they will be changing their company name to NetAngel in an effort to promote their image as a socially responsible game developer.

Read more here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Exclusive Screenshot

Posted Mar 27, 2008 by Jon Wood

This week, the folks from NetDevil have provided us with a new exclusive screenshot. This one features a fleet of Octavian ships flying toward a battle.

Check it out here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Exclusive Screenshot

Posted Mar 24, 2008 by Jon Wood

Each week the folks at NetDevil provide us with a new exclusive screenshot from their upcoming MMORPG, Jumpgate Evolution.

This week, they have provided us with a new exclusive screenshot. In this image, we can see two Octavian light fighters flying near an asteroid belt.

Check out the new image here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Hands-On at Connect '08

Posted Mar 17, 2008 by Jon Wood

Over this past weekend, MMORPG.com's own Donna Desborough attended Codemastes Connect '08 in England. While there, our intrepid reporter had the opportunity not only to speka with Scott Brown, the Producer of Jumpgate Evolution, but also (for the first time) to try it out for herself.

The announcement that Codemasters would be working with NetDevil on Jumpgate Evolution (JGE) caught many by surprise. Further news that those attending Connect'08 would get the first hands-on look at the game was exciting news though. Never before had anyone outside of NetDevil played the game.

I was only able to play one demo mission, but if what they have on show now is anything to go by, this game is going to be a beauty, graphics-wise. It is supposed to look beautiful even if you only have a good machine and even more amazing if you have a top end machine. The computers at the Omega Sektor (the event location) are of course top end machines so it was a treat to see JGE in all of its wonderful glory. It is good to know though that they are very specifically looking at making the game able to run on both lower and higher specification machines.

A combat system that can make it possible for someone like me, who is horrible at flight games, to enjoy space combat without massive frustration is a feat. The movement and shooting is smooth and easy to figure out, it even has a lock on guide that shows you where you need to aim. Movement is easy to figure out and feels like second nature once you do.

Read the whole article here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Exclusive Screenshot

Posted Mar 14, 2008 by Jon Wood

This week, the folks from NetDevil have provided us with a new exclusive screenshot. This one features a Quantar ship flying above a planet in Solrain Space. If you look at the background, it's clear that a fight had broken out nearby.

Check out the new image here.

Jumpgate Evolution : A Look at the Evolution of Evolution

Posted Mar 14, 2008 by Jon Wood

Recently, Managing Editor Jon Wood had the opportunity to sit down with Produceer Hermann Peterscheck to take a look at the progress of NetDevil's upcoming MMORPG, Jumpgate Evolution.

“Another area is "realism".” Hermann said to me as we discussed the subject of the game’s look and feel, “I kind of think that games are escapism. I know space is black and empty and silent and void of things. But I wish it wasn’t. I wish it was full of cool stuff to do and nice things to look at.”

“If you watch PBS specials you'll notice that they show space as full of asteroids and colorful nebulas... giant flaming suns and so on,” he continued, “they don't show the 99.999% part of space that is empty vaccum.”

The developers succeed in creating a more interesting and vibrant spacescape than strict realism might dictate, without making the game look cartoony and over-done. In the end, from what I’ve seen, the team seems to be striking a nice balance.

Read it all here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Exclusive Screenshots

Posted Feb 26, 2008 by Jon Wood

The team over at NetDevil working on Jumpgate Evolution have provided us with these three new, exclusive screenshots.

 

Check out all three here.

Jumpgate Evolution : PvP: Conflicts and Considerations

Posted Feb 13, 2008 by Jon Wood

NetDevil Programmer Steve "Istvan" Hartmeyer stops by once more to talk about the upcoming MMORPG, Jumpgate Evolution. In this new developer journal Hartmeyer talks about PvP in the sci-fi game.

The issue of PvP features in Jumpgate Evolution has the appearance of being extremely controversial, making the subject sensitive for the development team to address. Jumpgate Evolution is in many ways derived from Jumpgate Classic, and the original game's community has become extremely agitated over the potential changes coming in the new product. Even before Jumpgate Evolution appeared on the horizon, PvP was a divisive issue for the Jumpgate Classic community. Jumpgate Classic was designed from the start as a PvP game. Its simplistic PvE gameplay was a late-beta addition, nearly an afterthought. For some players, however, the available PvE became a major draw and main point of the game. For many others, PvP combat was simply never interesting or important because other activities and styles of play were more enjoyable.

Discussions of PvP matters in Jumpgate have a tendency to take on aspects of religious warfare. There are two diametrically opposed camps within the Jumpgate community, and there appears to be no dissuading members of either side. One group insists that "No place in the game should be safe from PvP", while the other side demands "Don't push your RP on me." As developers, we absolutely must build our game to appeal to the most customers possible, maximizing commercial success, or we risk inability to offset the costs of development. The PvP issue is so strongly polarizing, however, that the forms of PvP gameplay we provide can powerfully affect the number of customers we might attract. Despite the obvious conflict, we want to build a sound PvP system for Jumpgate Evolution that will satisfy many of the extremists in both camps, while also ensuring there is plenty of room in the game for people who don't wish PvP to be the entirety of their game experience.

Read it all here.

Jumpgate Evolution : JGE at Codemasters Connect

Posted Feb 06, 2008 by Keith Cross

Codemasters and NetDevil have announced that Jumpgate Evolution will be at Codemasters Connect, where fans will have the chance to play a pre alpha version of the game.

Codemasters Online have today confirmed that NetDevil, developers for the highly anticipated space based MMORPG Jumpgate Evolution will be in attendance at Connect.

Representatives from NetDevil will be on hand during the 2-day event presenting Jumpgate and to answer questions from the community.

Attendees to Connect will be able to play a pre-alpha version of Jumpgate exclusively at Connect and will each receive a goody pack containing exclusive items one of which will be a BETA key for this highly anticipated MMO game due for release later this year.

Attendees to Connect will be notified on the official website when their keys will be activated once the game moves into BETA.

Read more here.

Jumpgate Evolution : The Jumpgate Times

Posted Feb 06, 2008 by Keith Cross

NetDevil has published the first Jumpgate Evolution Newsletter, The Jumpgate Times, which promises articles, dev blogs, screenshots and more.

This is the first volume of Jumpgate Times, the publication dedicated to Jumpgate Evolution. It will provide you with a summary of all that has recently happened in the Jumpgate community. We will also unveil snippets of the upcoming edition, including insider news about the game, faithfully recorded and prepared for you by Jumpgate Community Manager, Awen. You can find those in the "Jumpgate Undergound".

Just last month, we launched the Jumpgate Evolution website, which contains never before seen in-game footage, new screenshots, forums, and the story of turmoil in the Jumpgate universe. There's a few exclusive developer updates from "Istvan" in our forums, as well as a developer blog from one of our artists in the Blog Book. Please join us in discussing the game; and while you're here take some time to socialize with your fellow pilots!

Read more here.

Jumpgate Evolution : An Interview with Codemasters

Posted Feb 01, 2008 by Jon Wood

Recently, the world learned that NetDevil's upcoming Jumpgate Evolution would be published by Codemasters. MMORPG.com's Jon Wood had the opportunity to ask some early questions to the publisher about the agreement and the game itself.

MMORPG.com:

How long have you had your eye on Jumpgate Evolution as a possibility for publication?

Codemasters:

As a business we monitor all titles in the market and Jumpgate as a title shone out brightly in a particularly cluttered space. We feel that Jumpgate offers us as a publisher / operator of the game the right genre, the right theme, the right hooks and features along with the right development partner. As you can probably tell we are extremely excited about Jumpgate and we look forward to bringing this exciting new game to market along with our good friends at Net Devil.

Read more here.

Jumpgate Evolution : UI: Accessible Functionality

Posted Jan 30, 2008 by Jon Wood

Today, NetDevil's Steve "Istvan" Hartmeyer submoits this new developer journal looking at the user interface in the upcoming Jumpgate Evolution.

Most developers are well aware that user interface can break a product. Sadly, it doesn't usually "make" a product. Players don't often think, "Wow. This UI is really well-executed!" If the UI is really well-executed, it's most likely that players hardly notice it at all. The trouble happens when the interface gets in the players' way, or is found inadequate. A game can be beautiful and have great features, but if the interface annoys, irritated players tend to simply pick something else to play.

Obviously, user interface has to be taken very seriously during development, which can require quite a significant investment of time and effort. Every feature needs a good interface, but there's a seeming infinity of presentation methods. How should we as developers decide how to build each interface component? There's certainly more than one way to approach the problem, but for Jumpgate Evolution, our team has elected where possible to let the players themselves guide us.

For a game that hasn't been released, such a pronouncement might sound ridiculous, but we're working to accomplish this very goal from three different directions. First of all, we're driven by the need to make the displays and controls very accessible and easy to use. Information must be available where and when the player needs it. Key choices must be practically self-evident. Frustration must be minimized, especially in the first fifteen minutes of play, when the new player is deciding whether the game is interesting or not. To learn how to do this, we test very frequently, in focused sessions lasting about fifteen minutes, using someone who has never seen the game before. We watch everything they do, asking them to tell us what they are thinking about as they do it. This teaches us what they are trying to do, where they are looking, and what they are, astonishingly enough, not seeing. We have found repeatedly that even though the information a player needs may be there, placed in a very obvious way from the designer's point of view, the player still may completely miss it. As UI designers, watching these tests can be brutal, agonizing, even maddening. Our response to the input that comes from the tests, though, is really simple. When the tests show us that things are being missed, we change those things. In this manner, many parts of our user interface are being adjusted every week, as we strive to make sure that needed information is clear and noticeable, and that it ceases to be intrusive when it's not needed. We’ve already gone through three major design iterations as well as scores, possibly even hundreds, of minor adjustments and it's not finished yet. Nearly every day we change some part of the UI again, little by little moving closer to our stringent accessibility goals.

Read it here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Codemasters to Publish JGE

Posted Jan 29, 2008 by Keith Cross

NetDevil has announced that they have partnered with Codmasters to publish Jumpgate Evlolution in Europe and North America.

Codemasters Online have today unveiled their next generation MMORPG set for release in 2008, Jumpgate. Developed by the US-based experienced MMOG developer NetDevil, Jumpgate is a space-based MMO incorporating all-new action style gameplay like never seen before in any previous online game.

‘We are very pleased to be working with NetDevil to release this exciting project across North America & Europe. Jumpgate brings something new and fresh to the online persistent space,” commented David Solari, Vice President, Codemasters Online. “The all-action approach and thrilling, twitch-based space combat really sets it apart from other MMOs in the market and we are very much looking forward to releasing this space epic in late 2008.”

Read more here.

 

Jumpgate Evolution : AI System: Nuts & Bolts

Posted Jan 16, 2008 by Jon Wood

Steve Hartmeyer, a programmer on NetDevil's upcoming Jumpgate Evolution, files this Dev Journal on the game's AI system.

We've spoken a great deal in interviews and other articles about just how excited we are about Jumpgate Evolution's AI system. It has rapidly gone from being a system intended to solve one or two things, to becoming the tool of choice to address all sorts of interrelated game issues. Although we try to maintain perspective and recognize that employing the AI system is not always the proper solution to a problem, this is truly a case where the excited kid inside each of us tends to burst out and enthuse, "We can make the AI do that! Wouldn't that be great?" It's simply the case that our AI system is turning out to be very capable and versatile, so it's extremely tempting to make quite extensive use of it.

Read the whole thing here.

Jumpgate Evolution : Dev Journal: Flight Dynamics

Posted Jan 09, 2008 by Jon Wood

In this new Developer Journal, NetDevil Programmer Steve "Istvan" Hartmeyer talks about flight in their upcoming MMORPG, Jumpgate Evolution.

Jumpgate Evolution owes the basis of its flight engine to NetDevil's first product, Jumpgate. Arguably a unique feature, the Jumpgate flight engine allowed the game to be distinguished as an online spaceflight simulator, rather than a run-of-the-mill MMORPG, which were only then (in 2001) beginning to be churned out by a nascent industry. Jumpgate's distinguishing element was that, as in prior spaceflight and combat games such as Elite, the Wing Commander series, the X-Wing series, Freespace, and Alliegiance, the player directly pilots their ship, often with a joystick instead of a mouse.

Though often described as realistic when compared with other games' flight models, the Jumpgate flight engine is neither strictly realistic, nor is it by any means arcade-style. Perhaps the simplest description is "playably realistic". Underlying the flight model is basic Newtonian physics: engines apply a force to the ship's mass, which accelerates in response. During experimentation with early builds, the original Jumpgate developers quickly recognized that a wholly realistic flight engine would be incompatible with their vision of hands-on flight. Strictly realistic spaceflight creates a demoralizing list of playability issues: unreasonably large potential speeds, impossible reaction times required of players, inability of ships moving at greatly different speeds to fight or even interact effectively, as well as complications to travel because of the need to slow down again to rendezvous with a destination, just to name a few of the problems. The ultimate goal of Jumpgate was to re-create white-knuckle fighter combat as seen in movies and TV such as Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, or Babylon 5, so solving the gameplay problems by departing from the hands-on control paradigm just wasn't an option.

Read it all here.