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Laura Genender Posted:
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Jumpgate Evolution - Developer Chat

The guys from NetDevil stopped by to talk to MMORPG.com user about their upcoming sci-fi MMORPG, Jumpgate Evolution.

MMORPG_Taera: Greetings and welcome to MMORPG.com's Live Chat on irc.forthegamers.org! I'm your host, MMORPG.com's community manager Laura "Taera" Genender. Joining us today is the NetDevil Jumpgate:Evolution team!

MMORPG_Taera: 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 two questions at a time, and you will be notified if your question is rejected or discarded.

MMORPG_Taera: To submit a quesiton, please /msg DevBot yourquestionhere.

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

ND_Draker: Hi All. My name is Hermann and I'm the producer on Jumpgate Evolution.

ND_Draker: It's a fun project :).

ND_Awen: I'm Awen the Jumpgate Evolution Community Manager

ND_Binkies: I'm Binkies the Business Development Mgr

ND_Istvan: Good evening. I'm Istvan and I'm a programmer on JGE. I've been working on Jumpgate since 2002.

MMORPG_Taera: netburnrol :asks: when will Beta start?

ND_Awen: It's a common question and I'm afraid the answer is just as common. We have until at least fall of '08 to launch the game so you can imagine that it's going to be a few months prior to that time

ND_Awen: We're trying to get everything ready for that process now and we are taking beta apps on the official website

ND_Awen: I know it's not what anyone wants to hear, but rest assured we're working on it

MMORPG_Taera: smurfsamurai :asks: What features sets jumpgate apart from other space sims like eve online for example?

ND_Draker: There are probably more differences than similarities. The game takes place in space, but it is much more action based rather than an economic simulation. While economy plays a major role the focus of the game is space combat and I think that aspect is missing in the MMO genre.

ND_Draker: The goal is for people to have lots of things to do in the meta game... but we don't want to stray from the combat and that's what sets us apart.

MMORPG_Taera: ABRaquel :asks: Will the same merit/medal system be implemented in Jumpgate Evolution?

ND_Istvan: The medal system from Jumpgate Classic (JGC) will be included, and enhanced from its original form.

MMORPG_Taera: netburnrol :asks: are you really going to have a non-pvp and a pvp server instead of one big server?

ND_Draker: Jumpgate Evolution will be a "shard" based game as opposed to a huge single shard - like EvE. The reasons for this are many, but really it's that the game design doesn't necessarily work for 30k+ people. Imagine World of Warcraft with 10k people waiting to kill the same spawn. Our plan is to listen to what people want and attempt to satisfy them. Personally I love the idea of PvP and PvE servers :).

ND_Draker: We want to make sure that both types of players are equally served as well.

MMORPG_Taera: Chris :asks: hello ;) will there be a cockpit view and will there be an eu server at launch thanks

ND_Istvan: There are absolutely both 1st person/cockpit and 3rd person/ship views. We have plans to localize the game, but aren't ready to speak about where servers will be sited yet.

MMORPG_Taera: Eraser55 :asks: Will there be pirates? How will it work and Will it be different then Jumpgate TRI?

ND_Awen: Pirates is something that we'd really like to do but chances are that it will function differently as this is an entirely seperate game from the Classic. We'll be interested to see what the players are going to suggest in this area.

MMORPG_Taera: Miexon :asks: How much is Jumpgate Evolution going to cost?

ND_Draker: We haven't announced an exact pricing stucture yet but I'm sure you can work out the various possibilities.

ND_Draker: It really depends on a lot of factors... and we'll announce that closer to release.

MMORPG_Taera: Cutty :asks: class based game or open skill sets, end level play(ex. raiding pvp)

ND_Istvan: Gameplay is neither class or skill in the RPG sense. The game has more in common with flightsims like WingCommander and Xwing in terms of skill. You actually fly the ship. We expect end level play to includes both raid-style PvE and extensive PvP influencing the factional relationships.

MMORPG_Taera: Smegit :asks: So whats about safe zones :D

ND_Awen: So as you may have heard, Hermann spilled the beans on our regulated zones and unregulated zones earlier this week. We will have areas within the game that are "safe zones" as you call it. We want people to feel like if they don't want to PVP they don't have to. It's entirely consensual. We'll have unregulated areas for people who want to go head to head.

ND_Binkies: We want to support every terriorites we can and recently the guys went down to australia and spoke to some fans there.

MMORPG_Taera: TrigZ :asks: With alot of MMORPG these days the servers are always located in US or UK... Is ND in talks with any Australian companies to have one over here? :D

ND_Binkies: We want to support every terriorites we can and recently the guys went down to australia and spoke to some fans there.

MMORPG_Taera: smurfsamurai :asks: can you controle more then one ship at a time in jumpgate Evolution?

ND_Draker: Jumpgate Evolution is about piloting the ship so it's not so much a strategy game where you control a fleet. Having said that we have kicked around ideas that involve large multi-person ships, tactical views and things like that - but this is all post launch type stuff. I'm interested to see what players want us to do next.

ND_Draker: It's tricky... because many times stuff sounds fun but ends up not being fun, so we'll see :)

MMORPG_Taera: Elmdor :asks: Will ship availability be universal as it was in jumpgate, or will specialization be required to access certain ships?

ND_Istvan: We're looking at having some ships that have to be "unlocked", such as with faction rating in the traditional sense. There are going to probably be several different ways to unlock ship types in JGE.

MMORPG_Taera: netburnrol :asks: how do you plan to advertise JG:E after release?

ND_Binkies: Obviously tradition advertisement methods but we also believe that fans are important to the game and so we want to work something on that too

MMORPG_Taera: biteme :asks: I noticed the releace of warmonger today Is JGE going to have support for Phsx cards?

ND_Awen: While Phsyx is something that we're really excited about and want to explore further, it's not something that we have planned for release. However, it isn't entirely out of the question for the future.

MMORPG_Taera: Zzeno :asks: On a more serious note, Avatars and character creation seem to be a biggie in today's MMOs. What plans do you have in JGE?

ND_Istvan: Avatars are certainly a big deal, but in Jumpgate, you are physically the pilot of your own ship. We're exploring several ideas for customization, but we are unlikely to release with avatars walking around.

MMORPG_Taera: TrigZ :asks: in Alot of MMORPG's there is community made items that are useable. Is there any crafting in Jumpgate that will allow you to create items and use them/trade?

ND_Draker: Something we are working on is making the economy more player based. Central to this is the player's ability to find, or perhaps make, items. To this end we are evaluating changes to mining, manufacturing, refining and so on... all of these thigns are complex and have to work together to create a cool experience. We all love the idea of a player driven economy so it should be fun to come up with solutions.

MMORPG_Taera: Zorvan :asks: What are the fundamental differences between Jumpgate and Jumpgate: Evolution? What will JE have that will bring in players who didn't find Jumpgate interesting?

ND_Istvan: The biggest difference between JGC and JGE, beyond the huge graphical update, is that JGE will be a more modern game overall. Systems that are incomplete in JGC will be more fully implemented in JGE.

MMORPG_Taera: netburnrol :asks: Do you have any more information about the implementation of Player Storage space in TRI stations, or do you plan to implement Player Owned Stations instead?

ND_Awen: Hey Net, we're not sure how we're going to implement that yet so I'm afraid that I can't answer that now. Ask me again in a few months.

MMORPG_Taera: Elmdor :asks: Will there be instances?

ND_Draker: At this time we don't have plans for separate instances per se. There are plans for high end content of various kinds and we are considering a battle grounds type pvp system. Instances are something that may appear in the future.

MMORPG_Taera: Chris :asks: glad to hear cockpits are in, can we have a video soon please ;)

ND_Binkies: Yes we are working on a good one. A video speaks a thousand words.

MMORPG_Taera: smurfsamurai :asks: Does jumpgate Evolution have sides you can join and work for?

ND_Awen: Yes absolutely!!! As a matter of fact I met our backstory writer today and the story for these factions is just simply amazing. You can play between Quantar, Solrain and Octavius. The solrain are very corporate, the Octavius is very militaristic and the Quantar are like space age hippies. :) They wander about and get very spiritual. :)

ND_Awen: There are also a few surprises.

ND_Awen: but I'm not giving that away yet!

MMORPG_Taera: CLAW_Quantar :asks: I have a question about Scale. I think it is important for JGE to look Big. The stations need to feel HUGE IMO. It is reall important to me that the space feels bigger.

ND_Istvan: We think we have that covered. The video will make that fairly clear.

MMORPG_Taera: Miexon :asks: How many people are working on Jumpgate Evolution? How many in each department?

ND_Draker: The team is made up of 10 people now 5 programmers, 3 artists, Community management, and me :)

ND_Draker: It's a lot of work for such a small team, but we all work hard and love it :)

MMORPG_Taera: netburnrol :asks: Will JG:E have voice integration build in?

ND_Binkies: Yes there will be voice integration. I can't imagine without it. :)

MMORPG_Taera: icezizim :asks: how big will the game world be

ND_Istvan: In terms of size, back in JGC beta, we had someone fly at top speed for about 48 hours before they were able to reach the "edge" of a sector. The game will start with some reasonable number of sectors, and we're considering player-driven ways to extend it as part of gameplay.

MMORPG_Taera: ABRaquel :asks: Will the game be published by NetDevil or you will pair again with NCSoft?

ND_Awen: At this time we do not have a publisher.

MMORPG_Taera: Chris :asks: will there be npc police in the safe zones or will we not be able to fire on people there ?

ND_Draker: we are changing the way that PvP works to some degree thus there may still be police but their function will be different to reflect those changes. We want to make sure that we respect people who don't want to play in PvP but also give PvPers a fun experience.

ND_Draker: That being said, there are currently Defenders patrolling the sectors in the internal game :).

MMORPG_Taera: daemonbarber :asks: Will players be able to control territory, or influence the control of their factions territory?

ND_Istvan: We've got a couple ideas we're experimenting with on factional territory control, but we do not know yet what final form these mechanics will take. The more limited beacons system from JGC is being retained in some form, as well. I flipped a few yesterday.

MMORPG_Taera: mahes :asks: I haven't really heard anything about Jumpgate's story - for the classic or the upcoming evolution. Is there a story you're trying to tell, and if so how will you tell it in Evolution?

ND_Awen: Right now we're keeping the backstory under wraps. We're going to reveal pieces of it over the next several months. I can tell you that Keith Baker is writing it and he's incredible. I mentioned earlier that he was in the office today and we were discussing elements of the story.

ND_Awen: I'm not normally a huge lore / backstory person. It's not something i generally base my play it or not from, but i can tell you that I am seriously excited about this one. I listened with rapt attention as he explained some of the concepts to me. I'm really excited for it to go out to our community.

MMORPG_Taera: DailyCamera :asks: How easy is it to attract talent from the gaming industry here to Colorado?

ND_Binkies: It is always a challenge getting talent especially where we are not in a "gaming hub" like San Francisco or Austin. But we are definately getting more interests of talents moving out here. Skiing and outdoor activities is still a good selling point for Colorado. :D

MMORPG_Taera: Cutty :asks: What are the predicted system requirements?

ND_Draker: One of the core things we are concerned with is keeping specs low. Right now we are aiming at 512MB Ram and fixed function video cards. We are more or less trying to shoot for the same requirements of games such as EvE and World of Warcraft. They both accomplish impressive visuals without asking people to pay $3000 for a new machine. We are taking the same approach. Specifics will be on the website when we launch it soon :).

MMORPG_Taera: Atlas :asks: What will the conrols be like? Will it be point and click, or wasd style?

ND_Istvan: Controls won't be point-and click as such, but mouse and keyboard WILL be an option. WASD is part of the default mouse/kybd control scheme, but of course that will be configurable. Joystick and gamepad are also absolutely supported.

MMORPG_Taera: Ikeprof :asks: Will there be any enhanced "raid leader" controls for target designation or other large fleet management tools?

ND_Draker: It's a great question. One of the things we are dealing with now is how to find people in a 3d space. Suffice it to say that it must be easy and intuitive to find people so we're playing with all kinds of ways of doing that. I'm guessing we will get a lot of feedback and enhance those things for a long time, even post launch.

MMORPG_Taera: Ichijo :asks: mt 1st question since I am late, has there been any timeframe set for getting the game out of alpha ?

ND_Awen: As I said earlier, our launch is going to be late Fall of 2008. We're working like mad here to get things ready for Beta. Currently we're in pre-alpha so as we move forward in development, we will absolutely change the status of our beta test. Our community will be the first to know when it's time.

MMORPG_Taera: Eraser55 :asks: With all these safezones and artificial protection. How do you think this is going to affect Roleplay. Wont it limit it to much?

ND_Draker: I think that there are many examples of games that have similar out-of-game type protection systems but still have deep role play. I think if it's well done it can actually enhance it. Also, I have found that no matter what developers do to predict how people will play, they will find a way to play the game they want :).

ND_Draker: It is, however, a tricky issue and we constantly battle about it, believe me.

MMORPG_Taera: CLAW_Quantar :asks: I have been playing jumpgate since Beta, The one thing I alway wish for is "RADAR" JGE really needs cool RADAR. Situational awarness is a huge deal to me as a player.

ND_Istvan: We have plans to enhance the JGC radar significantly, but it's not entirely clear to us yet what of the myriad ideas are going to be implemented by release. We're aware of the sita problem and are trying to address it. Beta will probably be instrumental in this.

MMORPG_Taera: Miexon :asks: Will Jumpgate have an Earth and Beyond Style ship (one ship that can be upgraded) or will it have a Vendetta Online style (you can buy multiple types of ships)

ND_Istvan: Jumpgate Classic allows you to purchase more than one kind of ship, but you have upgrade options. You do not stick with the same ship all the time, however. What you fly depends on what you want to do. Transport, combat, etc.

MMORPG_Taera: We are no longer accepting new questions; the questions still in queue will continue to be answered.

MMORPG_Taera: Elmdor :asks: ITs been said that combat has been made easier in JGE. Could you go into depth on how this was achieved? ie. Ship size increase?

ND_Draker: I think a better term is accessable. Easy implies that it's mindless. My favorite example is chess which is a relatively "easy" game to learn how to play and yet it can be incredibly difficult. What we want is to introduce people into the rules of the game so that they feel comfortable before hitting them with incredibly challenging things. It's all about ramping up... just because its easy at the beginning doesn't mean it stays that way :).

MMORPG_Taera: Ichijo :asks: next question, can we get a flight model with higher speeds and conversely ships with better braking ? I should be able to mount some huge engines on the front of my miner to be able to decently brake with large loads.

ND_Istvan: It turns out that one of the usability changes we've made to the "flight model" is is simply to offer more effective braking.

MMORPG_Taera: Cyty :asks: Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly IS Jumpgate all about, in regards to the game play system, plot, etc.?

ND_Draker: That's a really big questions and I'm sure you can find more details in various interviews and the soon to be launched website. A quick description is that it is a space combat MMO; basically think Elite or Privateer online. We really want people to FEEL like they can live their life in space.

MMORPG_Taera: bfstu :asks: Will jumpgate evolution have a tutorial to help new players with the game.

ND_Awen: The goal is to make the game intuitive enough that we don't need a tutorial. It will be a learn as you play with tips and tricks that pop up as you may need them. We're still working on this system so it's hard to say what will make it into the release.

MMORPG_Taera: Zzeno :asks: Guild play is an imporatnt aspect of many MMOS. What kind of features can we expect to see in JE to support Guilds?

ND_Istvan: We intend for JGE to have a much more modern/complete guild system than JGC had. We have plans in place, but the final form of the system is not set in stone at this point.

MMORPG_Taera: ekoostik :asks: How will mining in JGE compare to mining in JGC? Any plans for things like moving asteroids or other dynamic "nodes?"

ND_Draker: So just so everyone knows. I LOVE mining and meta games in MMOs so I really want to see mining play a bigger role. Moving asteroids is an interesting technical problem, also while it may sound like fun to chase down an asteroid, I think you might find it more annoying than anything else. I personally want mining to be more like a slot machine, part social part "ooh, look what I got this time!"

ND_Draker: I have big plans for mining :)

MMORPG_Taera: TrigZ :asks: Will i be able to fly co-pilot with another pilot and use alternate weapons on his ship to help destroy AI/enemy? :)

ND_Draker: Co-pilot is one of those things that sounds really cool but is hard to design. For example, in Evolution you fly fast and turn a lot, how can you man a gun at the same time without being really frustrated. It's certainly not out of the question, but it gets tough.

ND_Draker: That being said if theres a big demand and we can make it work... I'm all for it :).

MMORPG_Taera: Chris :asks: will there be a squad banking system

ND_Istvan: A guild/squad account feature, and some form of integration with the rest of the economy, is certainly one of the possible features among the plans for guild system I mentioned.

MMORPG_Taera: netburnrol :asks: Do you guys plan on testing Ship Collision in JG:E to see if it can work? Perhaps with Collision Avoidence Control/Assistance for newer people? How do you feel about being able to "fly through" people?

ND_Draker: I remember when I played Ultima Online they had it so that you could shove past people and it was really fun to grief by blocking doorways. Eventually they made people "etereal" which is unrealistic but in the end, more fun. With ship collision this is a bit different, but we still have similar concerns. Is it better to have the realism of colliding or the less frustrating but less real "magic" flythrough.

ND_Draker: I kind of think that you have to remove frustration wherever you can even if it means suspending reality a bit - or maybe a lot.

MMORPG_Taera: Disorient :asks: I know most games run on C++ and Java script. Are you using one of these or a different one?

ND_Istvan: Jumpgate Evolution is coded in C++.

MMORPG_Taera: Ikeprof :asks: Will there really be "incentives" to promote deep space exploration and will there be equipment/tools to make it something more than a blind shot in the dark

ND_Draker: Yes :). Details will come later.

ND_Draker: I can say that we're big fans of rewarding exploration and there's lots of ways to do that.

MMORPG_Taera: Eraser55 :asks: Are all NPC ships, police and all other destrucable?

ND_Istvan: Whether something needs to be destructible can be somewhat circumstantial. This turns out to be a very sensitive design issue we're still discussing internally and we're not prepared to address the matter yet.

ND_Awen: human avatars is not being considered for release. It's something that we want to look at for the future. Right now you've got your trusty ship to differentiate yourself from other players. :)

MMORPG_Taera: mniels :asks: Will the game have both human-like avatars as well as spaceships or will it be more like Eve Online?

ND_Awen: please look above for that answer. :)

ND_Awen: I have a habit of talking out of turn. Always got me into trouble in school :)

MMORPG_Taera: rigZ :asks: Since the game is like a flightsim/carsim etc. damage on your ship, are parts able to be damaged beyond repair? kinda like when your tyres blow out in a carsim and you need to replace?

ND_Draker: this is once again a real vs. fun question. I remember that Starwars Galaxies had a system of item decay that eventually items got destroyed. To me this is like telling players that they shouldn't use their best equipment in case they "really need it later." I don't like that idea so it would be hard to convince me that item destruction is a good thing. I'm hoping that we can find a better way to do damage and item sinks than taking people's

ND_Draker: There should be some cost of course, but we want to balance that against frustration.

MMORPG_Taera: smurfsamurai :asks: can guilds have tags on ships?

ND_Istvan: Guild decals are a type of customization we're looking into very seriously. We simply don't yet know if it's a feature that will be included at release.

MMORPG_Taera: FiberCode :asks: What steps have you taken to prevent bots/farmers from ruining the enconomy as with many other games.

ND_Draker: I'm not sure that anyone has succeeded at preventing botting/farming completely. We will do what other games do, of course, and try and balance the economy. That being said I'm always concerned that devs can go too far and end up ruining the game for people that want to play by doing too much to punish the few that exploit it. It's a tricky balance.

ND_Draker: So I think what you need to do is keep the game as balanced and "fair" as possible but not to the point of ruining it for legitimate players.

MMORPG_Taera: daemonbarber :asks: How forgiving will JG:E be when it comes to death (or at least the destruction of your ship)?

ND_Draker: There is a deflation over time in MMO death penalty. If you remember UO and EQ they were brutal - XP lost, items gone and so on. Now with WoW you basically lose time and a bit of money. I think it's important to understand why this is. When people die, that is a significant punishment. They are down already, there is no need to kick them in the head :). that being said if death is meaningless the game becomes boring.

ND_Draker: The nice thing about MMOs is you can track what people do, where they die, when they quit and so on... these things are really important when you deal with things like death penalty.

ND_Draker: It should sting, but not burn to death :)

MMORPG_Taera: Chris :asks: can i reserve my old jgc name and squadname for jge ? will they be carried over to the new game

ND_Awen: We really appreciate the support that our classic players have given us over the years so it is something that we're looking into implementing.

ND_Awen: I really hope that it's something that we can put in there. You guys have been awesome to us.

MMORPG_Taera: Ichijo :asks: Will we be able to make more than one character per account ?

ND_Istvan: More than one character per account is already implemented and working in pre-alpha.

MMORPG_Taera: Elmdor :asks: Are astroids going to be static objects as in JGC, or will they move/randomly spawn?

ND_Istvan: We're definitely starting with static asteroids as in JGC, but we're experimenting with some interesting mobility features. We don't know yet what will be workable and make it into release.

MMORPG_Taera: netburnrol :asks: Would you rather make a medium group very happy by targeting the game to them, or would you rather make a very large group someone happy by targeting the game towards everyone?

ND_Draker: The cynical "producer" answer is that we are a commercial entity and therefore want as many users as possible. That being said I never exactly understood the "who is the market" question. For example, I'm not an FPS player, but I bought Gears of War, Bioshock and Halo 3 because they were great games. I'm not really an RTS player but I can't wait for StarCraft 2.

ND_Draker: I think if you make a great game you make a lot of people happy... and if you don't you will and deserve to fail. Of course we want to get the core excited because they spread the word, but we want to bring joy to as many people as possible.

ND_Draker: I don't think that they are mutually exclusive goals... what I always say is that not everyone will want to play Jumpgate Evolution, but everyone should be able to.

MMORPG_Taera: Ichijo :asks: How about the "space junk" problem in JCG, have you considered setting up POS' so that they require a maintenance for continued operation or maybe the stations could defend themselves from player attack as long as the player keeps restocking ammo for the station ??

ND_Istvan: Maintenance on POS in JGC was an intended feature, and is likely to return in some form in JGE, just from a logical economic standpoint. We're also looking very seriously at POS or the equivalent being involved in PvP/faction warfare more directly, but we still don't know what's going to be included at release.

MMORPG_Taera:: Thank you for attending MMORPG.com and forthegamer.org's Jumpgate: Evolution dev chat! Logs will be available ASAP on MMORPG.com. Let's have a round of applause for our devs

MMORPG_Taera:: And an extra special grats for being the first team to ever get There are no question(s) in the queue.

ND_Awen:: Thanks for showing up guys. These were great questions.

ND_Draker:: I hope we answered well, but I'm sure we'll hear if otherwise :)


Laura Genender