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Stratics Exclusive - Interview with Jumpgate Evolutions Hermann Peterscheck


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<div align="center"><h2>&quot;Nothing can prepare you for the journey that is about to unfold...&quot;</h2><p align="left"><a href="http://www.stratics.com/files/u4/1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.stratics.com/files/u4/1.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="175" align="left" /></a>For anyone who hasn't had an opportunity to see <em>Jumpgate Evolution</em> first hand, that statement is not one tossed out there just to entice you to buy the game. It is a statement that definitely reflects the true scope of what NetDevil will deliver when <em>Jumpgate Evolution</em> is released.</p><p align="left">Stratics had an opportunity to spend some time with Hermann Peterscheck, Producer of <em>Jumpgate Evolution</em> and catch up on the latest game developments. First seen by this writer at SFGDC last year, <em>Jumpgate Evolution</em> immediately stood out from other titles for many reasons – the most obvious being the devotion NetDevil has to bringing a very unique MMO to us upon release. This level of commitment is unwavering, as any person who has followed the development of the game will agree.</p><p align="left"><a href="http://www.stratics.com/files/u4/4.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.stratics.com/files/u4/4.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="175" align="right" /></a>Over the past few months much has been added and fine-tuned within <em>Jumpgate Evolution</em>. PAX 2008 gave us a glimpse of the <em>Solrain</em>, one of the three nations that make up the JGE universe. &quot;At PAX you could play in that first area for Solrain, and we had basic missions in there. It was part of our basic development philosophy to have one area as complete as we could.&quot; Hermann tells us. &quot;Since then we’ve really done a lot of production so there’s a lot more playable areas now.&quot; The three core nations' – <em>Solrain</em>, <em>Octavian</em>, and <em>Quantar</em> – starter areas are complete and the intermediate areas are fleshed out and playable.</p><p align="left">&quot;We've added a lot more of the traditional MMO mechanics,&quot; continues Peterscheck, &quot;so there is now lots of faction grinding you can do and you can get items as rewards for that. The crafting system has been fleshed out more, so basically you affiliate with Corporations and as you gain status with them you can work with other resource gathering people which are mostly miners and then refine those materials and turn those refined materials into items you can trade with people, use yourself, or trade on the Auction House. That part of the game is [functionally] complete now.&quot;</p><p align="left">
More ships have also been added to the game. &quot;We've got about thirty ships or so per nation now, and we're building a lot more.&quot; says Peterscheck, &quot;and they’re more on sort of different 'classes' if you will. We're making ships like bombers - sort of big heavy ships with lots of missiles and maybe smaller gun slots, and heavy fighters that might have large gun slots but fewer missile slots that are smaller. Balancing all those kinds of combat mechanics is important.&quot;</p><p align="left"><a href="http://www.stratics.com/files/u4/6.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.stratics.com/files/u4/6.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="175" align="left" /></a>In a game as combat-intensive as <em>Jumpgate Evolution</em>, good AI and PvP mechanics are crucial. Battle Space, the term given to instanced PvP scenarios within <em>Jumpgate Evolution</em>, promises to be very unique and very rewarding. &quot;We’ve been doing lots of iterative work on making sure that PvP experience is really fun,&quot; explains Hermann. &quot;I think a lot of PvP in MMO's is either like arena style like three on three and very strategic, or it's maybe ten or so on a side. We want to go to a scale much bigger than that.&quot;</p><p align="left">PvP will comprise of thirty or forty ships per side, and you'll be fighting against not only other teams of players, but also with and against AI controlled ships. &quot;This will really give you the sense of epic combat on a really big scale that I honestly haven't seen in any MMO. This is something I'm very excited about.&quot; commented Peterscheck.</p><p align="left"><a href="http://www.stratics.com/files/u4/jumpgate-2007-10-18-14-42-28-1802.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.stratics.com/files/u4/jumpgate-2007-10-18-14-42-28-1802.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="175" align="right" /></a>One aspect of JGE that is much different than most MMO's today is the way NetDevil has presented early looks of game play to the public. Many companies wait until much closer to release before letting people actually get some 'hands on' time. From almost day one, <em>Jumpgate Evolution</em> has been shown at shows and conventions. A sort of 'blind testing', this form of exposure has been a tremendous help in gauging players likes and dislikes. &quot;The result of that focus strategy has been that people want to see more, and to me that's an indication of interest. The way you can tell if your game is any good or not is if people want to know more. If they want to know more – they care. If they don’t, they’re out,&quot; explains Hermann. &quot;We've taken the approach that we really want to give people a game they want to play. If people expect something to behave a certain way, you design the game to feed that expectation. That approach is different than I think a lot of game studios use. A lot of game studios, and especially designers, want to make the game they have in their mind and kind of want to run it down your throat – like 'I have this great idea, and you are going to enjoy it'&quot;.</p><p align="left">
<em>Jumpgate Evolution</em> will also offer both the casual gamer and those who play for hours a day a rewarding and balanced experience. Hermann explains, &quot;You have to make sure there are rewards that are short term and rewards that are long term. As an example, leveling at the beginning especially, is a very short term kind of reward - you level up, you get new equipment, you get new ships. We have a reasonably elaborate medal system. For example, maybe you'll get a medal for destroying ten enemy ships of a certain faction. Then there's other medals that require you to kill a hundred thousand of these things, or accomplish much more difficult tasks.&quot; Faction ratings, PvP points and other risk versus rewards will help provide an enjoyable game for any player.</p><p align="left"><a href="http://www.stratics.com/files/u4/jumpgate-2007-10-19-TRI-Drones-Convoy02.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.stratics.com/files/u4/jumpgate-2007-10-19-TRI-Drones-Convoy02.jpg" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="175" align="left" /></a>One area that is a concern for many players of any MMO with any sort game economy is what can happen with exploiters and the 'farmers'. We asked Hermann what NetDevil's thoughts were on this issue and what will be done to curtail this element in JGE. &quot;Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet there. You need to develop tools to track things like exploits and ways of mitigating those problems. It's just one of those things you have to be vigilant about.&quot; Hermann went on to explain that in actuality it's a very small percentage of players who grief, exploit and cheat and dedicating resources to policing this side of any MMO is crucial.</p><p align="left">As a company, NetDevil is relatively small in comparison to some we hear of today. With a team of around 20 people working on <em>Jumpgate Evolution</em> one may think this would be a disadvantage when compared to some of the mega-companies. While there certainly may be times when having dozens of people working in one area is a plus, Hermann explained why this is not always true. &quot;It's kind of ironic. I think the less resources you have the more focus you need. The smaller you are, the more you have to focus on the weaknesses or perceived opportunities that are available. As a company, especially as a team , we have become very very good at focusing as much as we can in areas and exploiting those strengths as much as we can to make the most out of it. It’s not so much that we’re free because we don’t answer to people – you always answer to somebody – it’s more that we have to be clever because we don’t have giant resources.&quot;</p><p align="left">With beta and release drawing closer we asked if any decisions had been made regarding pricing and subscription rates. While nothing definitive has been decided, Peterscheck did tell us that JGE will be priced similar to what we’re used to seeing. &quot;There’s only a handful of ways you can monetize your game so [ours] will be similar to what you’d expect.&quot;</p><p align="left">After being asked hundreds of questions in dozens of interviews I asked Hermann if he had any closing comments or anything he wanted to relay to the community. &quot;For me,&quot; he said, &quot;the thing that I really like and I’m very appreciative of …we go to quite a few shows, or try to, and we are trying to compete in the space where there’s a lot of IP and a lot of money that’s being thrown around. I really like that we get the kind of positive attention that we get from players, press, and the media. It's really nice to feel that support. It really helps us from the development side. I really do appreciate we're getting the positive responses that we have been.&quot;<br /><br />While there is no solid date for beta, Peterscheck did tell us &quot;it is very very soon.&quot; If you haven’t applied for a beta slot, make sure and head to the <a href="http://us.jumpgateevolution.com/" target="_blank">official <em>Jumpgate Evolution</em></a> site and sign up!</p><p align="left">Thanks very much to Mr. Peterscheck very much for sharing more info with us. We’ll be bringing you more <em>Jumpgate Evolution</em> updates and interviews soon!</p><p align="left">&nbsp;</p>