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United Mining Exploration Commission: A group of friends playing JumpGate-- "a MMORPG that launched smoothly, breaks from fantasy character setting, emphasizes PvP, and is the first persistent world space simulator that nobody talks about." ~Scorch
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HomeLAN's interview with scorch

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2001 6:41 pm    Post subject: HomeLAN's interview with scorch Reply with quote

HomeLAN wrote:
The massively multiplayer genre has exploded this year with a number of games being released in 2001 and more are on the way. One of the games launched this year was Jumpgate, a space sim that supports thousands of players online. Created by US developer NetDevil, the game was launched first in Europe this summer through MightyGames and later in the US through publisher 3DO. HomeLAN got a chance to chat with Netdevil's President and Jumpgate's lead designer Scott Brown about the game and their plans for the future.

HomeLAN - How did the idea for Jumpgate come about?

Scott Brown - All of the team members at NetDevil had always wanted to play an on-line space simulator.

HomeLAN - Having a space-based massively multiplayer game is certainly a twist in the genre. What were some of the major challenges that NetDevil have to deal with in creating the game?

Scott Brown - On of the problems of a space sim is that you can see lots of people at once so we had to make our network code very optimized from the start. Another difficult problem is the contrast of skill based versus RPG in an on-line game. We have tried to take the best components from an actual simulator and added a RPG twist to it.

HomeLAN - For people who might be unfamiliar with the game, describe briefly what Jumpgate is all about?

Scott Brown - Jumpgate is a MMP space simulator. Players are able to trade, fly missions, have combat with players or AI opponents, and explore space.

HomeLAN - The massively multiplayer genre has exploded this year with many different types of games. How do you feel about the development of the genre as a whole?

Scott Brown - We think it is very exciting. We believe that the future of the gaming industry is on-line. I think it is great to see many other games that are not simply fantasy on-line as well.

HomeLAN - What other games inspired the development team while creating Jumpgate?

Scott Brown - We have all played just about every space sim on the market so that is our primary influence though various sci-fi movies and books certainly influenced us as well.

HomeLAN - What are the team's favorite ships to pilot in the game?

Scott Brown - Most of our office flies Octavian but a quick poll shows the apteryx, intensity, gust and the new hawk are the most popular ships here.

HomeLAN - Having 3DO become your publisher in the US was a major coup, considering most people wouldn't normally associate the publisher with this type of game. How did the deal come about?

Scott Brown - 3DO was interested in what we were doing. Some of their employees were actually long time beta testers and finally convinced other people at the company that Jumpgate was a good game to publish.

HomeLAN - The launch of Jumpgate, first in Europe and then in the US, avoided the problems other massively multiplayer games have occured. How did Netdevil have such a smooth launch?

Scott Brown - We have a long beta with a smaller number of players all signing up at the same time. The beta allowed us to get the majority of the bugs out of the game while the slow player ramp up allowed us to adjust server load more predictably.

HomeLAN - What has the reactions been like from the reviewers and the players to Jumpgate so far?

Scott Brown - We seem to be getting very good reviews from both players and reviewers all over the world. We have been working to address player complaints and suggestions with a variety of new features that have been implemented and will be implemented over the next few months.

HomeLAN - What enhancements is Netdevil planning to put into Jumpgate for its users in the near future?

Scott Brown - We have just recently added storage, a long time player request, to the game. We are now working on improving the new user experience and adding realistic exploration options to the game. Now that players have storage they need some new interesting things to store.

HomeLAN - Will there be any retail expansion packs released by Netdevil and 3DO and if so what will they contain?

Scott Brown - This is still undecided. We are adding features each new version on a monthly basis and plan to continue this for the next few years. Some of the features planned include: Corvette Class Ships with multi-player turret control, Advanced Conflux engagement and capabilities (why would TRI need cap ships, after all), Cloaking Devices, Newly discovered Alien Life forms, Exploration Systems and New Technologies, Subversive Pirating Technologies and Support Systems, New Playable Factions at high ranks, Player and Squad Owned Stations and Resources, New, Interesting Types of "Space Weather".

HomeLAN - Peronally, how does it feel to see a game that your started developing back in 1996 finally realised?

Scott Brown - It is a big personal achievement for all of us. We have all wanted to play and make games for many years and to actually pull it off is a real source of pride for all of us here at NetDevil.

HomeLAN - Finally, is Netdevil planning on developing a new game outside of Jumpgate?

Scott Brown - Yes but I really can not comment on that at this time.
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