As of 2012, Jumpgate Evolution is no longer in development. NetDevil was disbanded and Gazillion has removed the web page and forum for Jumpgate Evolution.
Jumpgate Evolution has been described as space combat MMO based upon titles like Privateer and Freelancer. The title is being developed by NetDevil, a small software development company based out of Louisville, Colorado with past experience on titles such as Auto Assault and the original Jumpgate. Codemasters is publishing the title for the EU region and Gazillion Entertainment is handling NA publishing. It has been confirmed to be in a closed friends and family alpha testing state. However, since approximately the time of E3 2010, there has been no official acknowledgment of what development state JGE is now in. Scott "Scorch" Brown, CEO of NetDevil, stated at GDC that there have been over 250,000 beta sign-ups. Scott Brown has recently departed from Gazillion.
The game is twitch-based as opposed to the dice-roll combat commonly found in MMOs including games like EVE Online; rather than choosing a target and doing damage or missing based on a random roll based on character stats, aim is controlled by the player in a similar manner to other space combat simulators. There will be a character leveling system based upon in-flight experience that will allow the unlocking of better ships. The developers made this choice in an effort to prevent players from abusing "gold farmers". A recent press release has revealed that the level cap will be 50.
The game features three playable nations, the Solrain Commonwealth, the Octavian Empire, and the Quantar Paths. Each nation will have a set of unique ships as well as star systems in their control. Inter-nation Player versus Player (PvP) and a full player-driven economy have also been discussed. Inside each nation there will exist groups of players called squads, similar to a traditional MMO's guild system.
In terms of Player versus Environment (PvE) content, there are plans for semi-instanced areas as well as nation-wide events. A nation-wide event occurs when a certain objective is met, such as 2,000 pirates have been destroyed, which will then spawn in a boss encounter for the nation to partake in. Additionally, players can pursue multiple career paths outside of combat. These include mining asteroids, trading goods between stations, and crafting items for trade and player use. There will also be a dynamic mission generation system. For example, if a space station is under attack by enemy Conflux, a player in a fighter craft will see a mission to go and destroy fifteen of them while a player in a merchant craft may see a mission to run laser defenses to the station.
One hundred years prior to the events of Jumpgate Evolution humanity was locked in a loosing battle with a vicious and mysterious alien force known only as the Conflux. Leaving only burning planets in their wake the Conflux quickly reduced the size of human space to a mere few worlds. As the last forces of humanity gathered for one last stand a strange phenomenon grabbed the remaining systems and scattered them across the universe. The force known now only as "The Shift", has either saved mankind, or prolonged its destruction.
During the pre-Shift era and even long before the first Conflux were encountered, there were four human factions in peaceful coexistance: Solrain, Octavius, Quantar and Hyperial. However, in a freak event the factions were scattered. During this time the Solrain Commonwealth launched an effort to explore local space, called the Solrain Reconstructive Initiative.
The Shift pulled planets, stations, and even small fighter-craft. Out of the confusion three powerful nations emerged from the separated pockets of surviving humans. As each nation explored their local sectors, ruins of an ancient space-faring civilization known as the Amananth were uncovered. Scientists believe that it was this civilization that saved humanity from certain destruction, and yet all that remains of the Amananth civilization are husks of ships and stations, signs that a great force had wiped out mankind's saviors.
After seventy years of isolation the TRI Corporation recreated technology capable of re-uniting the human nations. By building Jumpgates on anomalies called jump seeds, near instantaneous travel between systems became possible. But bad blood never dies and even as rumors of sightings of the Conflux become more frequent, the in-fighting between the three powers of humanity continued to worsen.
There are three player nations in the Jumpgate Evolution universe, the Solrain Commonwealth, the Octavian Empire, and the Quantar Paths. These nations emerged as the dominant powers in their local sectors prior to contact being made via the jumpgates. During their seventy years of isolation the nations societies have grown distinctly different, yet the tensions between the powers continue. Each of the nations' use different types of propulsion engines for their ships, resulting in unique particle trail colors for each nation. It has only been hinted at but not confirmed if the nation's lore traits give players in-game bonuses.
The Solrain Commonwealth
The Solrain Commonwealth was once a peaceful merchant society that has given into corruption and decay over the centuries. The line between corporation and organized crime has become blurry. Two powers compete over control of the Solrain Council: the Combine and the Zelcane Trust. Corporate executives have more power than elected officials leading to increases in criminal activity. There are a few hidden heroes struggling to restore the once great nation. Solrain factions include:
- Zelcane Trust - Initially a simple trading company, the Zelcane Trust has become the largest mercantile force in the Solrain sector. Accusations of corruption and greed have been made against the Zelcane Trust. Players joining this faction focus primarily on trade.
- The Combine - What was once the military wing of the Solrain Commonwealth was split off becoming its own corporation. Now nothing more than a group of mercenaries, the Combine serves as the standing military of the Solrain sectors. Despite being frequently charged with being a group of extorsionists ruled by a vast criminal organization, the Combine are key players in the politics of Solrain space. Players joining this faction focus on combat.
- Commonwealth Restoration Organization (CRO) - Also known as the Crows, this rebellious movement aims to topple the corrupt government. Players joining this faction can do either combat or trade without any particular strength.
Solrain ships have a sleek, streamlined look with engine exhaust that glows blue.
The Octavian Empire
More an army than an actual nation, the Octavian Empire prides itself in its military might. Children are born into legions and raised for combat with the ultimate goal of uniting known space under the banner of the Octavian Empire. The legions of the Empire are currently engaged in a bitter war amongst each other, each attempting to claim the vacant imperial crown. The factions that players will be able to join in the Octavian Empire have not been detailed yet.
Octavian ships have a rugged, angular look with engine exhaust that glows orange.
The Quantar Paths
A collection of different religions, the Quantar Paths all share the same core belief: humanity's destiny lies among the stars, guiding the thoughts on any pilot that will listen. This core belief has lead to a more nomadic societal structure, yet the skills of the pilots are truly breathtaking. The Quantar home sector is filled with asteroid debris and is noted as something that contributes to the skill of the pilots.
Quantar ships have an organic, almost insectoid look with engine exhaust that glows green.
The TRI Corporation is the uniting force of humanity's new home among the stars. Prior to the Shift the TRI Corporation oversaw the Reconstruction Initiative. The founders of modern jumpgate technology, the TRI Corporation has reinforced its other business facets with wealth generated from the jumpgates. This has produced the TRI News Network (TRINN), in effect a monopoly on the news.
Once in direct competition with the Octavian Empire, in the post-Shift universe the Hyperial control only a single station far away from the other nations now a part of the infamous "Hyperial Run" frequented by smugglers . During the long silence after the shift, the Hyperial have become a nation of pirates and criminals.
A mysterious race that has been wiped out by some unknown force. Husks of ships and stations clutter the sectors believed to have been populated by the Amananth some time ago. Little else is known about the Amananth, but humanity has been able to successfully restore and use a few of the stations left behind.
The mysterious enemy that nearly destroyed humanity before the Shift. The Conflux's ships appear to be living organisms with a single purpose: eradicate all life they make contact with. Virtually nothing is known about them as no contact has been established. It was believed that they were left behind from the Shift, yet there have been whisperings of Conflux spottings on the fringe of human space.
The Conflux travel the stars by opening up temporary warp anomalies. These look like Jumpgates, but glow a sinister black and red. It is unknown at this time how Conflux anomalies are closed, but there are reports of pilots successfully beating back Conflux invasions.
The first step of a Conflux invasion is to destroy everything in a sector, possibly including planets. Afterward all resistance has been cleared away, the Conflux infect the sector which slowly generates growths becoming full Conflux stations. These stations will serve as boss encounters in Jumpgate.
Individuals who have broken off from any of the societies and pursue profits are considered pirates. There are rumors of whole sectors under pirate control and even massive capital ships that have left their faction in pursuit of profit. At this time it is not possible for players to become pirates.
Player Versus Player
Details of Player vs. Player (PvP) play have only begun to surface in recent interviews from producer Hermann Peterscheck. While there has not yet been confirmation of dedicated PvP servers, the following forms of PvP have been confirmed:
These will be shorter battles between players in an "instanced" format, meaning that they will take place in areas separated from the rest of the game featuring a limited number of players. An example is a battle where each side must protect their capital ship while attempting to destroy the others. It is unclear at this time if the battles will be divided between factions or if player slots will simply be filled. There have been hints of two-faction and three-faction instances.
This inter-nation form of PvP occurs in sectors of space devoted to PvP where players of one faction can attack players of the other two. There will be floating objectives called husks that can be captured by a nation. Capturing a husk turns the sector to that nation and gives the capturing side bonuses. The husk will then start to generate defenses such as turrets and will protect itself from another nation's attack. The number of players allowed into a single sector at a time has been said to be somewhere between 500 and 1000.
Videos from GDC 2009 have claimed that for a faction to take over a sector of space, all types of players must be involved. This means that those who have taken crafting-type careers will need to make the parts for the sector's space stations. Players that pursue the merchant career will be necessary to haul crafters products to the station build site. Combat players will have to provide escorts for the merchants as well as provide defenses once the station is running.
While each nation has their own unique ship designs, they each share the same base-set of classes. Player spacecraft are broken into separate categories including Combat Fighters, Advanced Fighters, Gunboats (Support & Combat) and Commercial Cargo Ships. Ships can be customized with various equipment types from either loot drops gathered from combat or items created from commercial activities.
- Trainers - Trainers are inexpensive, agile, light-duty ships designed for new pilots learning how to fly. They can mount light weaponry and minimal extra equipment and so are underpowered compared with their more advanced counterparts.
- Patrol Fighter - Incredibly fast but lightly armed and armored, Patrol Fighters serve as decent interceptor craft and excellent scouts. Their cheap cost makes them accessible to everyone. Unfortunately everyone includes pirates as Patrol Fighters are oftentimes favorites of the pillaging class.
- Light Fighter - Similar to Patrol Fighters but more durable and more customizable, Light Fighters serve as excellent interception craft and decent scout ships if more specialized craft cannot be found.
- Scout Fighter - Essentially stripped down Light Fighters with enhanced speed, piloting a Scout Fighter is like piloting a missile.
- Medium Fighter - The all-purpose military craft, Medium Fighters are the most important class of a nation's fleet. They have the adaptability to perform most combat roles well.
- Heavy Fighter - Designed for protecting slow-moving targets, these ships sacrifice speed for weaponry and defenses.
- Assault Fighter - Packing even more firepower than Heavy Fighters, Assault Fighters are essential in taking out enemy capital ships and stations. Only Assault Fighters can launch torpedoes and nukes, but sacrifice speed to do so.
- Cargo Shuttle - The basic commercial ship with few strengths and weaknesses. Cargo Shuttles have average cargo space and adequate defenses, just don't expect to be able to do much combat in one.
- Fast Transport Vessel - The favorite of smugglers and blockade runners everywhere, the Fast Transport Vessel has less cargo space but makes up for it with excellent speed and moderate defenses.
- Transport Vessel - The backbone of inter-stellar commerce, the Transport Vessel can carry a large amount of cargo but handles surprisingly well. This class is also customizable to add more defences for riskier jobs.
- Cargo Tow - Cargo Tows are powerful enough to haul one standard industrial deep-space cargo container, just don't expect them to be able to haul them very quickly.
- Dual Tow - Know what a Cargo Tow is? Now imagine something larger than can haul two containers.
- Prospector - This type of small and fast mining vessel is most frequently used by individuals in the Core areas.
- Light Miner - Ships of this class are about the size of a standard transport and are the main mining ship of the nations.
- Heavy Miner - Built for deep space mining, these ships carry a deep-space cargo container making them slow and difficult to handle.
- Capital Ships - Slow and extremely powerful, Capital Ships are the most important part of any fleet. Some capital ships have been reported to be up to 4 kilometers long.
- Space Stations - Refuge for ships from the cold vacuum, Space Stations serve as points of trade and refueling throughout the known universe.
From the March 31, 2009 Press Release:
- Windows XP/Vista
- Intel P4 1.4GHz or better (2GHz if using Vista)
- 512MB RAM (1GB if using Vista)
- 64MB Graphics Card
- Direct X® 9.0c
- Broadband connection
- Windows XP/Vista
- Dual-core Intel Pentium D
- 2GB RAM
- 256MB Graphics card with vertex and pixel shader capability.
A demonstration setup at PAX 2008 had the game running in a control configuration reminiscent of FreeLancer's keyboard and mouse control scheme, with the mouse moving freely, creating constant maneuvering in relation to the center crosshair, as well as firing at the mouse crosshair. NetDevil has also alluded to joystick control, akin to classic space combat simulations. Developers have also shown support for dual and triple monitor setups.