Hermann Peterscheck, Producer for Jumpgate Evolution was interviewed by Rick Charbs, Onrpg writer
Jumpgate Evolution, the successor to its preceding title, Jumpgate, is currently in heavy development. The development team was present at the PAX conference, stating that they had gotten a great amount of feedback they thrive on in order to perfect their title: “we got a ton of feedback that we can use to improve the game and make the experience even better, said Hermann of the Jumpgate Evolution team.” The focus on this title was to revamp the AI, as well as the overall experience of Jumpgate, such as the graphics. Be prepared as they are getting closer and closer to their open beta release!
Onrpg: It is known that Jumpgate Evolution was presented at the PAX conference. How was the experience, and what kind of feedback did you receive?
Hermann: It was great, actually! We had about 8 machines out for people to try out the game, and they were full pretty much the entire time. In addition to getting some nice exposure, we got a ton of feedback that we can use to improve the game and make the experience even better.
Onrpg: What are the core differences between Jumpgate Evolution and its preceding title, Jumpgate?
Hermann: There are lots of differences; however the spirit of the game is the same. The key areas of improvement are visuals, more AI and activity, more “MMO” types of features and improved accessibility. AI and improved graphics were what we worked on first.
Onrpg: Why did you come to the decision to revamp your current title, Jumpgate?
Hermann: The short answer is because we wanted to. MMOs are long term, major commitments, and so if you’re going to embark on one, you better really want to do it. We had an existing space game, we really love space games, and there is a notable lack of this kind of game in the market. Those three factors really contribute to the decision to make another Jumpgate MMO. I feel like I still can’t play the Freelancer, Wing Commander, X-Wing experience online with thousands of people. Also, having an existing game gives us a big head start, because we have years of data to pull from as well as an existing game to test to evaluate what we should and shouldn’t do.
Onrpg: How long have you been working to perfect this game?
Hermann: The new game has been under development for over two years now, but we had a head start, since we had an existing game to build on. While we have changed quite a bit of the game, we are building from many years of technology which we already had.
Onrpg: What kind of environments and areas will players be able to explore and battle in?
Hermann: One of the areas that we really wanted to focus on was variety. Space games tend to be dark, empty and, frankly, boring. We want to have a universe that was visually compelling and interesting. We want people to explore and feel that sense of not knowing what they might see next. Obviously there are limits to what you can do because of engine limitations, resource limitations and so on. That being said, when you make a game you are free to be very imaginative and it’s fun to not be constrained by the real (boring) world. As we continue to develop the game we fully intend to add all kinds of interesting things. The nice thing about MMOs is that you can do this well past going live.
Onrpg: Jumpgate Evolution has three factions: Solrain, Octavian, and Quantar. Could you please explain these factions in more detail?
Hermann: There’s actually information about them on our website: www.jumpgateevolution.com, and then go to the galactic database. In short they have a different kind of world view as opposed to being separate classes per se. Solrain is a more mercantile kind of profit driven group, however they are mercenaries and smugglers as much as CEOs and business people. Octavians tend to be more militaristic, regimented and honor driven. The Quantar have a more spiritual bend to them.
We’ve tried to make the fiction, ship design and other aspects reflect the flavour of the different nations without giving one an inherent advantage or disadvantage. Thus, each group is capable of fighting, mining, trading, manufacturing and so on.
Onrpg: What is your personal favorite faction?
Hermann: I’ve always had a soft spot for Quantar, but I will certainly be actively playing all three as I tend to play all the various groups in MMOs.
Onrpg: The world of Jumpgate Evolution is entirely player driven. Could you please explain how players dominate this game’s economy?
Hermann: An important part of MMOs is for players to feel a sense of ownership and belonging in the world. In terms of economy, it is mostly player driven. Specifically this means that there are stores that sell basic goods and equipment, but most of the objects in the game are either made or found by players. By having a crafting system and auction house, you allow players to dictate the price and availability of goods. The order is similar to the way production works in the real world. Miners are able to harvest various raw materials (raw materials may also come from other sources such as defeating opponents). Those raw materials can then be turned into refined goods (for example common ore may be refined into metal bars). Those refined goods are then used to build various objects in the games such as guns, missiles, or engines, which are then resold to players. That’s one example of where players may have an impact. We also have other features that accomplish this, such as PvP mechanics which will be detailed later?.
Onrpg: Could you offer us an approximate date as to when you plan on releasing this game in open beta?
Hermann: The honest answer is when it’s ready. Game development is a rather messy and unpredictable kind of thing so it’s really hard to estimate things like beta phases. We are reasonably close, however, and the goal is to get there as soon as possible.
Onrpg: Will players need to pay a monthly subscription for this title, or will it be fully free? Will it have an item mall?
Hermann: We haven’t announced final pricing model. I know there is always a lot of discussion about how to charge for a product but I always believed that if you make something really fun and high quality the pricing model is largely secondary.