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New Jumpgate Evolution Details

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the can't-go-wrong-with-lasers-and-spaceships dept.

Games 37

Hermann Peterscheck, lead producer for Jumpgate Evolution, sat down with IncGames for a lengthy interview they've split into three parts. In the first, he talks about the scope and feel of the game, and how they broke the vastness of space down into usable, "logical chunks." He goes on to confirm that there are no classes, and he provides some basic information about the game's economy and how Jumpgate Evolution compares to other MMOs. In the last segment, Peterscheck discusses the lore and some of the thought process behind developing the story, noting how happy they were to own the IP from the original Jumpgate.

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Unboring "space" (0, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25922619)

So many of these games now are turning the elegant compromise of Elite into submarine physics.. eventually someone is going to make a SeaQuest DSV MMO and close the loop.

Re:Unboring "space" (3, Insightful)

Jupix (916634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25923449)

What I hate about all the spacefaring games I've seen so far is the way they divide space into "rooms". At the boundaries of each one you have to go through a magical door to get to another one, not actually fly really fast across vast distances like I always imagined.

Jumpgate has jumpgates, the X series has gates, EVE has stargates and so on. In fact EVE is a good example. In a game with such prevalent PvP what this philosophy translates into is all the pirates just camping the gates so they are bound to get fights, because everyone has to pass through that bottleneck.

I believe STO (Star Trek Online) will be the first to feature some genuine SPACE and the ability to fly from A to B without "leaving the universe" in between. Then there's Infinity, but that one's so far from beta it's not funny.

Anyone know any current (modern) space games without such a claustrophobic representation of space?

Re:Unboring "space" (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25923553)

Well, Eve has ships that can open their own jump holes.. so in a way it is more like Babylon 5.

But still, if you're going to start complaining about "realism" in space sims, it's a case of be careful what you wish for. Space is big and boring. These games (especially Eve) are already too big and too boring. And as much as I like to think I would enjoy a game where you have to take orbital mechanics into account, I bet it would get tiresome real quick :)

And it's not just games that have this "bunch of systems linked by hyperspace" mentality. Although Star Trek gave the impression of there actually being some "travel" involved in getting from system to system (to nebula) there was never any plot points that happened in interstellar space.

The only exception is Star Wars.. where the Imperial fleet was often marshaled out there in "deep space". A hyperspace jump had to be plotted so you didn't pass near any large gravitational bodies like a star or a planet or a black hole. Star Destroyers were so big that they could pull a ship out of hyperspace.

Re:Unboring "space" (2, Informative)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 5 years ago | (#25923917)

Orbital mechanics could be the bee's knees, if it was done right, like for example in Sins of a Solar Empire, where it's basically taken care of by the ship's computers and you can just move faster toward the sun than you can away from it. It would add "terrain" tactics to the mix, which is always a good thing... provided it's done right, of course.

Re:Unboring "space" (3, Interesting)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 5 years ago | (#25923895)

Well, to be fair, within a solar system EVE actually simulates proper space, even during "warp" travel. If you and another ship warp at the same time, in the same direction, you'll see them flying next to you even though you're both traveling millions (? can't be bothered to do the math) of times faster than normal in-game travel. When you run a scan probe, if someone's in warp you catch them where they are between the two points, not at one point or the other. There's no blinking between places except when you go from one solar system to the other. Given that even in warp travel you're only going up to about 200 AU max, and that the length of your jumps is limited by your ship's capacitor, simulating the multi-light-year distances between solar systems would be pretty pointless.

Really, how fun of a game would it be if you could just pick a random 0.001 degree aberration from your course and be basically guaranteed that you won't run into trouble? The bottlenecks are a source of fun, not a detraction from it.

Re:Unboring "space" (1)

Jupix (916634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25923989)

You direct your thoughts at mine in such a way I feel I need to respond directly.

I'm assuming, from the way you view this matter, that you are a long-time EVE player. I think you might currently be a tad too stuck with the EVE model to objectively comment on the model I described above.

Let me expand on my original post: in my mind, flying from A to B doesn't have to be boring. It doesn't have to be waiting like it is in EVE. Neither has it to be uninterrupted travel. There could be any number of things to do while in warp from A to B.

From another perspective, any hostiles could be equipped with scanners to detect ships in warp and intercept them. How likely it is for, say, a trader to run into one could be determined by how much of a detour said trader is willing to take. Say, a 5 minute warp from A to B with potential hostiles in scanning range in contrast to a 15 minute one with relatively clear waters.

What I'm trying to say through examples is, even if space travel without "teleport" gates can be made boring, it doesn't have to be. It just takes skill, vision and competence to make an interesting game around such a model. I'd be the first in line to try out such a game.

Re:Unboring "space" (2, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25924443)

Thing is, space is big. It's so fucking big it doesn't fit into the human mind. Without forcing people to travel along certain lines there is no fucking way you'll ever meet someone. There are points of interest that would gather people (like space stations) but e.g. a planet alone is already so damn huge you wouldn't meet anyone randomly just by going into orbit.

Even just "warping" from one planet's orbit to another can already happen through so many possible routes that intercepting them is impossible unless you give the interceptor system some kind of magnetic attraction that pulls courses within several hundred thousand kilometers towards you. For travel between two systems that are lightyears apart there's so many routes that you'd need an even larger field that could lock down an entire solar system if deployed inside one. And that's just covering the direct routes, there's always the option to take a really tiny detour (nothing like 3x as long, given the distances in space a 1% deviation for half the distance would already turn into a HUGE distance without significantly impacting travel times).

Another problem is that you don't want people to move freely through the galaxy in a game with territory, with free flight there's no way you could ever be sure to intercept an invasion fleet since there is no way you could possibly cover the gigantic volume a territory of a few planets would include, you'd basically have enemies popping up anywhere inside your territory.

Also it doesn't make for very interesting combat to see literally nothing and only get computer feedback on whether you hit anything, even if you magnify the target it still won't give much of a connection since any weapon inaccuracies will be so far off that you won't even see the shots and the distance is so huge there won't be much of a connection between the magnified view and the sense of "here".

Now I'm sure there are simulation geeks who'd love simulated space combat at real ranges but most people want space dogfights like in the movies and the territory system would annoy everyone.

Re:Unboring "space" (1)

sraviik (1375785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25924597)

forgive me if this is slightly irrelevant in any way, but... whats it matter if space is so huge, just add (deep space) scanning equipment and radio/sub-space channels so if you do "go into orbit" around a planet you can "talk" with players in the general range of your radio. also if a civilization is big enough to have a "territory" then they should be big enough to have a fleet with a regular ellipsoid patrol pattern around that territory... btw did anyone mention that space sims tend to try to orient you with an up and down... maybe we could scrap that to in the interest of accuracy.

straight line travel a problem? add obstacles along the way so you can choose to "randomly" plot a divergent path around that particular asteroid/mine field oh that reminds me, if theirs not enough ships for the faction to lock up their territory there could be mine fields so they only have to patrol a small area.

Re:Unboring "space" (2, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25924687)

That's exactly what the previous poster was talking about when he said that space was "so fucking big it doesn't fit into the human mind". You might be able to set up a minefield around a planet (you could use half a million mines to set up a 200,000 km barrier around a planet, giving each mine a 1000 km x 1000 km area to defend).

But even going to solar system levels, things get totally ridiculous. A minefield of the same density as above in a sphere roughly encompassing Neptune's orbit would require more than 250 trillion mines.

Re:Unboring "space" (2, Informative)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25925777)

"The bottlenecks are a source of fun, not a detraction from it."

Which reminds me about the problem of all MMO's: Too much time is wasted travelling, in every MMO almost, almost all waste an enormous amount of time making you travel at slow spaces and limiting things like warping, etc, which causes the game and action to drag. In space this problem is MUCH worse and anyone suggesting the idea of "infinite space" is asking for enormous gameplay problems with herding players in the right direction. If you play ANY game in which large levels and open spaces are a part, the contact between players is more infrequent and the time between events is more spaced out, and this ends up being boring and a waste of players time.

This is the reason why good level design and the best levels in games manage the flow of gameplay and events over time so that you don't get totally bored out of your mind by poor design and lack of interesting things to do or events to engage in.

Many people who complain about games have no understanding of what makes game fun to begin with, and I think if they actually were forced to design the levels and have to endure the wrath of end users they would think twice about their 'perfect level' or 'perfect world' of 'open-ness', open worlds have severe drawbacks in that interaction between users, items, npc's and events becomes longer in time and spaced more far apart. Most people hate travelling, this is why people pay good money when they travel around the world for the fastest flights. The same applies to games : People don't have infinite time and reducing time spent doing menial and boring tasks is something all game designers need to be aware of.

In my opinion one of the cardinal sins of MMO's is the backtracking of gameplay to try to force users to waste even more time in their worlds as they collect money over the months. MMO's have been a real setback IMHO in terms of gameplay for RPG's and games in general in a lot of ways where the business becomes about breaking gameplay for profit, which is the exact opposite of why games became great in the first place.

Re:Unboring "space" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25929887)

"Many people who complain about games have no understanding of what makes game fun to begin with"

And many people who complain about games have different tastes than you. Different people find different things fun.

Some people hate travelling, thats true, but some people love exploring. You seem to define this as a menial and boring task, but not everyone would agree with you.

Sometimes in an MMO people just want to roam the world, finding interesting places or events. In other words, people can enjoy travelling just for the sake of travel itself.

IMHO the whole draw of an MMO is that its a virtual world. travelling is, at least for me, a big part of it. It creates a sense of vastness that feel lacking in most modern MMOs lack due to reliance on instancing.

I guess the main draw of MMOs for me, is your main gripe. And vice versa.

Re:Unboring "space" (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 5 years ago | (#25926303)

What I hate about all the spacefaring games I've seen so far is the way they divide space into "rooms". At the boundaries of each one you have to go through a magical door to get to another one, not actually fly really fast across vast distances like I always imagined.

I've thought about this problem quite a bit. Unfortunately, a completely realistic space sim on a large scale simply doesn't work. If you are at Earth and you want to go to the Moon, you don't want your entry level ion engine to actually take a couple of months to get there. For an Earth-Moon crossing in a game that simulates even just the solar system (let alone any volume of space bigger than a single system!) you need to be able to get there a heck of a lot faster than any current proposed propulsion system that operates within the laws of physics can get there. Even an hour would be a gameplay killer. And, then think about an Earth-Jupiter crossing.

So, to my mind the Stargate isn't a gameplay killer. Really, it's the only way to take the vastness of space and turn it into something you can interact with on a time scale that's reasonable for a game. Now, that said I think the idea of one Stargate per system or something like that is just silly. It gives spawn campers, which sucks. So if I were doing an MMO space sim, I'd have a lot of star gates in every system. For s system like our Solar system, there might be 50 just around Jupiter. A few by each moon. Some in the rings. Some in Jupiter polar orbit. Etc. So, you'll have the whole solar system, and you can fly from one end to the other if it suits you. But, you can also usually have a choice of gates nearby, so you can always get around easily. A gate doesn't imply a 'special' volume of space like you see in some game engines. There are more like freeway onramps.

The only other option for a space sim where you deal with realistic time scales and orbital mechanics, and so in would be constrained to the orbit of a single planet. I spent a little time coming up with a fictional backstory to justify a setting of an extremely densely populated orbital civilisation with no ability to travel to other planets. (It was a bit of a hokey backstory, but it was no thinner than most games! ) Then you can basically have a "Wing Commander" like environment where a small one man ship can fly between a bunch of different starbases in an afternoon. They just need to be absurdly close together compared to what a normal backstory would have.

Re:Unboring "space" (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25928729)

Why not have "real" physics and "unreal" propulsion technology?

Make warp engines and other "power signatures" detectable and you've got a real for people to go sub-light-speed.

Re:Unboring "space" (1)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | more than 5 years ago | (#25929157)

I believe that you can get anywhere on Freelancer without using some kind of "gate". You'll get there far slower, but you'll get there. Except the gate to the alien world.

Re:Unboring "space" (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937499)

uhh.. how's that? If you try to fly off the map you hit an invisible wall and your ship turns around.

Re:Unboring "space" (1)

Hai-Etlik (11767) | more than 5 years ago | (#25931317)

Vegastrike is working on it. At the moment it uses the standard jump-point mechanism, but there is an in system FTL drive as well, and they plan to eventually allow for intersystem travel using it. All the systems already have 3d coordinates that are used to generate starfields.

Re:Unboring "space" (1)

Zenin (266666) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936665)

When I played Jumpgate in the beta (oh, so long ago now...) while there were Jumpgate between sectors, you still had to cross each sector to get to the next gate in the line: There were no short cut gates.

Many sectors took 45+ mins at max speed of a very upgraded ship to cross. 45 mins of going in a single straight line pointed at the next jumpgate. And often you'd have to cross a dozen of such sectors (no joke) to get where you needed to go. That's double digit hours of real world "game" time, all while listening to hypnotic techo music that's incredibly sleep inducing.

And you couldn't AFK that 45 mins: If you hit a rock in the middle and blew up, it could cost you *days* of real world time to fully recover. And even in sectors where you knew you had a clear path, if you were off target on the next jumpgate you could run into it and blow up (and some were 90 degrees from where you were coming from, forcing you to make an S turn at the end anyway).

If you didn't hit a rock, and didn't hit the next jumpgate, you could still get attacked by other players or some of the hostile NPC "space creatures" around. And crashing in Jumpgate was *HUGELY* expensive to recover from.

---------

Thank god for worm hole theory and non-realistic gameplay: It saved the space sim.

---------

BTW, shameless plug:

Allegiance [freeallegiance.org] , the best game you've never played. And yes, it has "alephs" to jump though (thank the gods!)

Finally (1)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25922713)

This is the game I was looking for when I first tried out EVE online, and I'm not displeased by the time I've spent with EVE, but I really wanted a dogfighting MMO, something like Battlefield 2 and 2142's dogfighting, but with more people, and in space, with cool lasers and whatnot. My fears for the game though are that it will have limited population, and you could wander pace aimlessly for a while before finding something to do. On the other hand, if it goes well, it'll be AWESOME. For anyone like me needing to satisfy their space combat needs, try ICP, you can find it at http://www.infinity-universe.com/ [infinity-universe.com] Infinity looks similar, but possibly with more depth, and the combat prototype is awesome, though sparsley populated. The key difference I see is that Jumpgate lacks NPC bots you can hire and have do stuff for you, whereas infinity does. Then again, JG:E has a release date planned in the near future.

Re:Finally (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25922747)

Have you played Freelancer? Not an MMO, but dog fighting fun.

Re:Finally (1)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25922811)

Looking into it, thanks!

Re:Finally (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#25922829)

Agreed, freelancer is a heck of a lot of fun!

Independence War 2 and Freelancer's prequel Starlancer are great games too! Although they are single player...

Have yet to find a game that can match those two.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25922963)

Freespace? Wing Commander?

Re:Finally (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#25924681)

Got me there, Freespace 2 was excellent, forgot about it.

Wing Commander I could never get myself into as much as I tried. The only WC I managed to fully play was Prophecy which was fairly different than the older Wing Commander games.

Re:Finally (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25923213)

"Infinity" is the most vaporware MMORPG out there. There is absolutely no substance. It is held together only by people who are gullible to its creator's fanciful promises about how awesome the game will be. I really can't put it any other way that that.

Re:Finally (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25923279)

Your describing it as an MMORPG clarifies how little you must actually know about it. Its quite substantial, and some interesting progress has been made already.

Please go troll somewhere else, like the stargate mmo forums...

Re:Finally (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25925605)

The only work they have to show is Bryce 3D pictures and an ICP they released two years ago. It's too bad that the parent got modded up, because this is a project holding its fans together by only hype. Anybody can visit the forums [infinity-universe.com] to see this themselves. You're likely not to encounter anything except Bryce 3D renders, text from the guy working on Infinity describing all the features, and mostly fans themselves who are excited about all the features described.

Re:Finally (1)

Aereus (1042228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25923967)

Oh man, I remember someone linking me to that website YEARS ago. If Infinity hasn't came out by now, it's most likely never coming out. And tons of MMOs promise the moon (rimshot) and don't deliver on their stated initial features.

Re:Finally (1)

Durinthal (791855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25925039)

Allegiance [freeallegiance.org] might be what you're looking for. It was abandoned by Microsoft a long time ago but a small part of the community kept it alive long enough that the developers noticed and decided to release the source code. It's a lot closer to Battlefield than EVE, with non-persistent matches making two teams face off. The main problem with it that I've seen is that the community is tiny so there's only one active game at a time and a lot of drama can flare up.

Re:Finally (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25927731)

I was just about to suggest Allegiance myself. It's a fun game with fairly realistic physics (for a game), lots of 0-Gee dogfighting, and a substantial strategic element if you want to play as the team commander (alternatively, you can just how in a fighter or the turret of a capital ship, and blow stuff up).

The learning curve is a little steep but there's some great tutorials and even human-guided training, and the community in general is very accepting of newbies so long as they make the effort to learn (a characteristic that, to me at least, distinguishes newbie from n00b). That said, the community IS small, and it is rare to find more than one game in progress (though a given game can have dozens or even over 100 players).

It isn't a classic MMO without the persistent world (there's a sort of metaverse thing that some people participate in, I think - I just play it to fly around and shoot stuff) but it's well worth trying - especially since it's free and pretty much guaranteed that your system can run it.

Re:Finally (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 5 years ago | (#25925895)

You missed out then, way before Everquest, and the other current games there was the Genie network and Air Warrior http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Warrior [wikipedia.org] , Cyberstrike (which was fantastic fun), and Multiplayer Battletech. Don't you wish you could walk on my lawn?

Re:Finally (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 5 years ago | (#25933805)

Vendetta Online [vendetta-online.com] is a twitchy fps/mmorpg set in space.

hope they don'r shaft their Euro users this time (1)

frost22 (115958) | more than 5 years ago | (#25925367)

With Jumpgate 1, they apruptly closed the European servers, leaving all of us out in the cold (playing the us server wasn't really an option - too much lag).

I never really understood the reasoning. Comparted to programmin g and maintenance, server and traffic is really neglibible in a MMO budget, and they had several thousand paying customers over here. Ther was an issue with their local parrtner, but I think with some good will that could have been solved - especially since the European server als was quite an iunteresting alternative sto study to the US one.

Back then criics of the US server described it as one huge oderless mess of deathmatch forever PvP junkies, while critics of the European server described it as "carebears in space", for its nice and working set of rules that managed to keep the PvPers (Thieves and Pirates, mostly) from molesting the PvE players. Of course the pirates kept whining about how hard their live was, but they could always fight each other.

Re:hope they don'r shaft their Euro users this tim (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#25926931)

Comparted to programmin g and maintenance, server and traffic is really neglibible in a MMO budget, and they had several thousand paying customers over here.

They probably weren't programming or maintaining those servers much either, as the dev and deployment work would have been mainly targetted at the US operations. Chances are the number of subscribers fell, they needed to concentrate the remaining players on fewer servers, and they saw European servers as the least busy, and most disposable.

Re:hope they don'r shaft their Euro users this tim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25931271)

Actually the european server was the most populated one. I think it had to do something with germans since they are freaks at pc games.. while US is more console..

At the time of closure, EU server had 3 times more population then US server.

The thing is I think.. is that EU publisher didnt want to pay what the developer wanted for license fee, so they just closed it. To bad for players tho.. since US server was more of quake in space then a MMO compared to EU server..

Scientology Google ad on this article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25927665)

There is an ad for a Scientology channel on YouTube by Google on this article.

Re:Scientology Google ad on this article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25930057)

Of course there is. Why pretend to be part of an intergalactic empire when you can join a real one, today!

Can't wait! (1)

BanditB17 (1383039) | more than 5 years ago | (#25930223)

Played JGC since Beta. Fell out after release for awhile but overall it was an excellent gaming experience. The team seems to be trying hard to hold onto what made Jumpgate so great.
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