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UI Customization and Capital Ships In Jumpgate Evolution

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the make-mine-look-like-an-x-wing dept.

Space 41

ZAM got a chance to speak with NetDevil's Scott Brown at the recent LOGIN 2009 conference about various aspects of upcoming space MMO Jumpgate Evolution. He mentioned that massive ships will be limited in scope and role to begin with, but may expand and evolve as they figure out what users like. He also made some interesting comments about UI customization: "We built it with the goal of letting people mod the UI. There's still a little bit more work to do that, so I don't know if it'll be ready at launch, but all of our UI is built in Flash. This is with the idea that anybody can build something with Flash and put it in the game. Now, there are problems, for example, if you do certain things in Flash that might cause the game to perform really slowly. We've still got to figure out how to educate people or how we verify this so that you don't make a mod that I download and my game experience is destroyed. We want it to be easier than that. I think that there will be some work to do, but the goal is that, eventually, people will be able to, using Flash, make their own UI."

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Don't let users mod the UI! (3, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068133)

We all know what happened last time [google.com] an online world allowed that.

Re:Don't let users mod the UI! (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068231)

the article doesnt make it particularly clear what UI means, it could just mean the HUD and menu design (which is what i first thought) rather than the ability to modify skins an models

Re:Don't let users mod the UI! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28068273)

This one time, in second life, a furry dropped a giant fox head on my giant transparent cube, which was programmed to shout "Thanks for touching my goatse" when clicked.

Good game.

Re:Don't let users mod the UI! (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068933)

That's not the UI. That's just avatars. The UI is the part that tells you you are now on Blu! [thedailywtf.com]

Re:Don't let users mod the UI! (1)

bjelkeman (107902) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075075)

World of Warcraft allows modding of the UI. That hasn't exactly destroyed the user experience.

Re:Don't let users mod the UI! (1)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 5 years ago | (#28099237)

WoW is xml not satan's tool Flash. I wonder how long until all the flash vulnerablitites allow for hackers to 'pwn' the game ?

The next evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28068159)

Not content to have malware in email and browsers, someone just had to put Flash in an MMORPG. Somewhere, malware authors are rejoicing.

Re:The next evolution (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068505)

Hey, if people can PUNCH THE MONKEY AND WIN $20!!! right in the game, the gold farmers will be out of business. Seems like a brilliant plan to me...

Commas (1)

Amarok.Org (514102) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068217)

I really think, at the moment, that there are, in reality, too many, you know, excessive, unnecessary, and redundant commas, typically, in this quote.

Re:Commas (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28068675)

I read it just fine. My suggestion, to this problem, is that you learn to read.

Not Flash! ARGGGHHH (4, Interesting)

Helix150 (177049) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068233)

To be honest, my interest in this game just dropped by 30% upon hearing it uses Flash.

Flash for me is slow, buggy and proprietary. I would much prefer something like WoW where UI addons can be scripted in Lua.

I applaud the idea of making the UI totally customizable, really thats a great thing. But I really don't like that it uses Flash.

I guess only the beta will tell if it sucks or not...

Re:Not Flash! ARGGGHHH (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28068335)

Scaleform Flash interfaces have been used in a number of titles including:

        * Crysis
        * Mass Effect
        * Dawn of War â" Dark Crusade
        * Sid Meyer's Railroads
        * Sid Meyer's Civilization 4

Re:Not Flash! ARGGGHHH (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 5 years ago | (#28069591)

All of those games are slow and buggy.

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28070497)

All of those games are slow and buggy.

a non anonymous post linking correlation to causation, in slashdot. blew my mind.

Re:Not Flash! ARGGGHHH (2, Interesting)

forsey (1136633) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068429)

You'd be surprised by how many games, even a lot of console (I've seen flash used on the PSP, PS2, Wii, 360 and PS3) games, use flash for their entire front ends. Most just don't allow you the access to change the content... at least not easily. That said I agree flash is horrible and it tends to eat way more CPU than it should, which is why I've seen a lot of people moving away from it. The artists like it though because it's familiar to them, so it can be a bit of a fight to get them to switch to another system.

Re:Not Flash! ARGGGHHH (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068937)

The artists like it though because it's familiar to them, so it can be a bit of a fight to get them to switch to another system.

The last article I saw about it suggested that most MMO artists aren't in fact familiar with flash... it's just not a tool that's ever been used in that particular business before, so there really is little advantage in using it over other cross-platform UI toolkits. It's a buzzword that managers like, though, so it's probably getting a foothold that way.

Re:Not Flash! ARGGGHHH (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28069751)

This is not the adobe flash your thinking of!

Re:Not Flash! ARGGGHHH (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28069977)

This is not the adobe flash your thinking of!

You can go about your business.

Move along.

Re:Not Flash! ARGGGHHH (2, Insightful)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 5 years ago | (#28070695)

In other news, Java is really slow and no-one would use JavaScript for anything serious.

Re:Not Flash! ARGGGHHH (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28071695)

how is this 5, interesting?

this is pure flame bait, and that's what its gonna get because the author is terribly informed.

First of all, flash is no slower than javascript, which is your only real alternative in a browser( silverlight/java have very low market penetration by comparison). On some tasks, such as image manipulation, it is much faster.

As for being buggy, this is really a problem for flash developers, not for the technology itself. The flash libraries themselves are extremely polished and well documented. Check them out if you wish. Bad programmers will make mistakes in any language. There are plenty of badly made javascript sites out there.

As for being proprietary...Most of the swf standard is in fact open. The flex SDK is open source. The flash compiler is free to download and use and there are open source IDEs available. Also, what's the alternative? Years of open standards in the web space have brought us ie 6 and a half dozen other interpretations of the standards. Years of proprietary flash development has resulted in a package that renders the same no matter where you do it, and can do many things the open standard cannot. I'm not generally a supporter of proprietary software, but for this the case could be made.

Furthermore, the flash that is used in games is not made by adobe, its made by ScaleForm. This version of flash is heavily optimized to be run in games. The api is more limited and a lot of processing is offloaded to the gpu. It's a complete apples to oranges comparison to the flash you find in your browser.

The only reason flash gets a bad reputation is that it can do with ease what html/css cannot, and that's rich media. Thus it is the tool of choice for people who do annoying things (ie advertisers). Its not the fault of flash that these things end up poorly coded and annoying. What are you going to blame when standards like html5 are actually common, and people start using that to annoy you instead?

Re:Not Flash! ARGGGHHH (1)

Helix150 (177049) | more than 5 years ago | (#28074537)

first, as the OP, I'm as surprised as you are that I got modded up to 5. However, I was not attempting to start a flamewar.

I am simply speaking from experience. In my experience (using adobe flash with firefox, and internet explorer) Flash is slow and buggy. Things take much longer than they should and use more CPU than they should. I would happily switch to a 3rd party flash plugin but none exist that come really close to providing the same functionality. So I am stuck with using this buggy piece of crap that slows down my intarwebs.
That's all I'm saying- IN MY EXPERIENCE USING IT, flash is slow and buggy.

Javascript- at least there are multiple implementations. I can use Firefox, or switch to a beta and use the new TraceMonkey engine, or I could use WebKit/safari's, or I could switch to Google Chrome and their absurdly fast V8 javascript engine.
All of these implementations run faster than flash, and are less buggy, FOR ME, IN MY EXPERIENCE. YMMV.

The SWF spec may be mostly open (it's not completely open, certain bits of it aren't open), and there may be open compilers and IDEs, but I'm not a dev. I care about running the thing, and right now the only real choice is the official version unless I want half the sites I use to not work. That's what matters to me, as a user.

You say that open development brought us IE6, no offense my friend but what the hell are you smoking? MICROSOFT brought us IE6, and in doing so they chose to ignore the many years of open standards that you speak of. Now that IE isn't the only game in town, they start embracing web standards, but that wasn't always the case.

Standards, real standards that everybody embraces, that's where compatibility and portability come from.

What you're saying is akin to saying Microsoft ported IE6 to mac as well so it works for everybody. It just doesn't make sense, not if you truly believe in open standards.
You also say that flash can do what HTML cant, and thats true. Embedding video works great with flash and badly without. No argument there. And yeah it's used for a bunch of annoying ads, but that's not why I don't like it. I use the flashblock plugin for Firefox, so I control what I see (and don't). I don't hold this against flash as a platform.

I do agree that Flash is somewhat a write-once-run-anywhere type thing, but that's only because Flash plugins exist for many environments. You could say the same thing for Java.

Now you do say that the gaming implementation of flash is made by ScaleForm, and that's interesting, I didn't know that. Maybe their implementation of flash will suck less than Macromedia's / Adobe's. I keep an open mind, like i said, we'll see if the beta sucks.

Re:Not Flash! ARGGGHHH (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28075803)

The problem with flash isn't the technology, it's that it's so easy to develop something with it a lot of people that don't understand it use it. Is that Flash's fault? If it is, we should also throw away PHP for being insecure when you don't sanitize your inputs.

If you want to make a fully customizable UI Flash is currently the very best tool available. Whether it works well or it's slow on buggy depends on your coding skills.

Jumpgate? Gate Ship One? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068237)

I guess the ships that go through the gate will be called Gate Ship 1 [aol.com] , Gate Ship 2, etc.???

Re:Jumpgate? Gate Ship One? (3, Funny)

EdZ (755139) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068805)

A link to an AOL portal of a youtube video of a camera recording of a VHS copy of SG1? Seriously?

Re:Jumpgate? Gate Ship One? (2, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#28069373)

What are you saying? Half the pixels are white and the other two are black?

Re:Jumpgate? Gate Ship One? (1)

cskrat (921721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28072283)

Yeah, there really needs to be a wooden table involved in there somewhere.

Missing the point (3, Insightful)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068467)

You know as much as it sounds cool to fly the bigger ship, I'm imagining it's kind of like one of those Battlefield games where you could drive the aircraft carrier around the island. Well it turns out that aircraft carriers are slow and they don't move very fast, and it's not that exciting a thing to do in an action game.

As far as military sci-fi goes, aren't capital space ships supposed to be responsible for coordinating the battle, kinda like a mobile HQ? If you want to make it exciting for people to choose the "slow" unit, give those players an expanded view of the battle field, the ability to give orders, coordinate supplies, handle communications, and other stuff that the fighter pilots wouldn't be interested in, or have the time to do.

There's more to do in a space battle than just fire lasers.

Re:Missing the point (1)

ThreeE (786934) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068647)

Yeah, but pew pew is da best!

Re:Missing the point (1, Funny)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068821)

There's more to do in a space battle than just fire lasers.

Such as finding space-sharks on which to mount said lasers!

Re:Missing the point (1)

Drafell (1263712) | more than 5 years ago | (#28068955)

Giant space-sharks with fricken' laser beamz! Yeah baby!

Re:Missing the point (1)

shepmaster (319234) | more than 5 years ago | (#28069435)

There's more to do in a space battle than just fire lasers.

Like photon torpedoes! <csi type="miami">YEEEAAAAAHHHH!</csi>

Re:Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28070693)

That would be YEEAAAAAHHHH!

Re:Missing the point (1)

Wild Wizard (309461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28072227)

Have you tried the X series of games?

The latest, X3 Terran Conflict includes capital ships in the data but aren't used in the game. The things are just too damned big.

Re:Missing the point (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#28073203)

Don't M2 and up count as capital? Sure, they may not be Freespace sized but in most games anything larger than a fighter counts as capital. Basically in sea battles the actual ships would be the equivalent of capital ships in space and the air support would be the fighters and bombers.

Re:Missing the point (1)

cskrat (921721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28072269)

If you look at Egosoft's X-Universe series you'll find 2 capitol ship classes, destroyers and carriers.

When you head into a big fight you'll usually ride in a destroyer with a handful of corvettes (light capitol class) as your escorts. Once you're in sector and a few km from the jump gate, you'll bring in your carriers with lots of heavy fighters (scouts and medium fighters go splat too quickly). All in all you can coordinate a fight with 60-80 ships under your control.

I would love to see something like this on an MMO. The player flying the destroyer could control a half dozen escort corvettes while the player flying the carrier could control whatever fits in the carrier. Something to make it a little more interesting would be if there was no way to know what enemy fighters are PC or NPC piloted until you see one break formation and lay waste to the AI ships on your side (Alternatively they could also break formation and fly into an asteroid, depending on the pilot).

Balancing the system would probably be a nightmare though.

What a newb (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28068849)

You know as much as it sounds cool to fly the bigger ship, I'm imagining it's kind of like one of those Battlefield games where you could drive the aircraft carrier around the island. Well it turns out that aircraft carriers are slow and they don't move very fast, and it's not that exciting a thing to do in an action game.

Talk about being inexperienced at BF42. The purpose of sailing the aircraft carrier is to run over other ships or ram the enemy carrier into an island. If spamming "RAMMING SPEED" and then pushing the enemy carrier onto land, causing it to teleport around and kill everyone in the vicinity, isn't considered exciting and fun, then this guy has no idea how to design a game.

Will I like this game? (1)

imbaczek (690596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28069315)

I hate EVE, but love Freespace 2. Is J:E a game for me?

Re:Will I like this game? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28070937)

Yeah, probably. You can always play the first Jumpgate to get an idea of what it will be like.

Re:Will I like this game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28078701)

I played an early version and it's already far better than the first game, which is pretty out of date by now. But then, I always advocate waiting until it ships to make a purchase decision.

Re:Will I like this game? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28074159)

If they succeed with what they are trying to do you should like it, and so should I :-)

Re:Will I like this game? (2, Informative)

slithytove (73811) | more than 5 years ago | (#28080099)

You might also like Vendetta Online, which is an MMOFPS/RPG, in space, which runs on Mac and Linux, as well as Windows.

http://vendetta-online.com/ [vendetta-online.com]

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