With the release of Codemasters Online and NetDevil's Jumpgate Evolution getting ever closer and brand new info being released on the game's ships, we thought we'd fire a few questions at Hermann Peterscheck, Lead Producer, in the hope he had his shield down for us to get a few through his defences. Read on for details on why no ship will be the obvious choice and why Jumpgate isn't an MMO only for the hardcore.
VideoGamer.com: You've just unveiled a wide range of ship categories for Jumpgate Evolution. How much variation will there be in the way they handle?
Hermann Peterscheck: That’s the primary difference, actually. If you think about traditional RPG games, classes are different because of the way they feel to play. In vehicle games this translates to the way that the vehicle feels and I think this is even more the case with space crafts. It’s important that a small fighter feels agile and manoeuvrable and that a heavy fighter feels heavy and powerful. Commercial vessels should feel like intergalactic trucks. We discovered that subtle differences go unnoticed and therefore the strong and extreme variation is much better than tons of small little differences.
VideoGamer.com: What is the biggest ship you'll be able to pilot, and how does it compare to the more common vessels?
HP: Right now the biggest ship is a double hauler and it’s around 8-10 times larger than a basic shuttle craft. To put that into perspective, that kind of ship would be about 200-300 m long. In PVP there are capital ships that you attack and defend that are 3-4 km long. We’ve also got interior maps we are working on that are even larger than that. Lots of people want player flown capital ships so you never know what we’ll do next.
VideoGamer.com: The press release mentions the trainer ships for newcomers. How will you govern a player's progression through different classes and categories? Will there be licenses or training to complete, or is access purely governed by how much cash they've earned, like Elite?
HP: Both. We start people with a ship that is easy to fly and allows for versatile activities. Combat, mining, hauling and so on can all be done with these basic utility ships. Of course, they don’t do it as well as the higher level ships, so there’s lots of reasons and opportunities to upgrade. Thus we start you in a nice, easy and fun ship to fly and then introduce the more specialized ships later. There are various things required to get ships. Some of them require faction rating, others require licenses and most of them will cost some amount of money. The idea is that we provide multiple paths for rewards – and we consider new ships to be one of the most satisfying rewards.
VideoGamer.com: You've mentioned that players will be able to customise their ships... Could you tell us a bit more about this? What's the coolest thing you'll be able to modify on your ship?
HP: So in terms of equipment we have guns, missiles, utility slots, MODs, power plants, engines, and radars. Each of those has sizes ranging from 1 to 4 or 5. MODs are specific to type. For example, you might have a combat-based mod or, perhaps, a commercial mod which may give a bit more inventory space, for example. Obviously there is a lot of variation in terms of gun and missile types. Missiles and MODs can also be countermeasures – for example we have chaff that takes a missile slot. It’s really as complex as we want to make it and as varied as the player wants.
VideoGamer.com: Will players benefit from sticking quite rigidly to one career path (combat, cargo-running or whatever) or will it be necessary to jump around between roles?
HP: Both are valid paths. I expect that players will focus in one major role but dabble in the other roles as well. There is nothing in the game that stops someone from flying a combat ship in the morning and doing mining at night, however. You don’t choose to be a “miner” and are then locked into that type of gameplay. We wanted to make a game where players were free to grow their pilots however they choose and for as long as they wish.