Go Flux Yerself

Jumpgate is trying very hard to dislodge AC from my “Mostest Favoritest MOG Evah” slot. As if PuzzlePirates wasn’t enough.

The thing that really has me loving Jumpgate so much more than other space MOGs is the fact that you really do fly the ship. It’s not EQ in space; when you go into combat, you’re not just clicking buttons and reading the action as it scrolls by on the screen. You’re really controlling the ship, aiming the guns yourself, launching your missiles, and crashing into asteroids.

Oh, wait, that last part only seems to happen to me.

In Jumpgate, the big bad enemy consists of bright neon pink space creatures called Conflux that look more at home in the bottom of the ocean. No kidding. Squids, snails, manta rays, krakens – I keep waiting for a neon mermaid to swim by my ship. Meow! These invaders from a neon dimension are sent here to… erm… well, nobody’s really sure what they’re doing here. Killing me certainly seems their main focus. And they’re pink, Kaigon – that should be reason enough for you to get in this game!

There’s all sorts of intrigue and espionage going on surrounding them, though. The lore of Jumpgate is perhaps more interesting than any other game I’ve played, only because so much of it is constantly being built by the players. The great thing about JG is that although there’s a smaller player base, that allows just about everybody to get involved (perhaps because it’s a smaller player base). And the quasi-real physics of flight make flying such a cool thing – actually, I could probably go on for quite some time about how many cool things are in this game, but I’m sure you’d rather hear about how often I crash.

I think I’ve pointed out before the fact that JG uses more realistic physics than other space sims. That means if you’re heading over that way at 400 meters per second (or whatever the measurement is, I have no idear), and suddenly flip around 90 degrees and start going this way, you’re still going to drift for a while until your momentum is counter-acted. Someone like Wi can explain all the technicalities of that stuff if you’re really interested, I’m sure. Basically, it just means that if I’m heading towards the docking ring and realize that I’m actually heading for the command section of the station – more importantly, their big window… Well, I’m about to make things very interesting for everyone inside the station. Decompression sickness, anyone?

Thankfully, stations are made of much sturdier stuff than my ship. Instead of doing any harm to the station, I merely splatter my ship over the window like some crazed juice-filled bug on your windshield. Nice analogy, huh? So I splatter, my ejection pod shoots off, and I’m back at the station, watching my insurance rating get worse and worse. I think I’ve clocked in more time flying my ejection pod than any other ship. I should just figure out how to put a gun on that thing and go for it. At least I haven’t crashed one of them yet. That could be because I’m so good at flying smaller ships…or it could just be you don’t actually pilot the escape pod. I tend to believe it’s my own skills, though. I feel better that way.

I think I’ve talked about the Conflux, or “Flux” as us cool kids call them. The Flux basically show up each time someone jumps into a sector and try very hard to blow that person up. If that person jumps out of the sector before the Flux get to them, the Flux will then attempt to go after another ship that’s in the sector. So you could be mining asteroids peacefully, and some doofus will jump in and out of your sector a few dozen times, ensuring there’s about a billion Flux in the area, and then leave completely. The Flux will then come play with you, and if you’re far away from the jumpgate with nothing but mining lasers to defend yourself…well, your life is about to get very interesting.

However, one of my most memorable nights I spent in that game was a time when Phil and I did nothing but keep Flux off of a miner’s back. He’d then reward us with a cut of the very pricey minerals he was mining – a win/win situation for everyone! Well, maybe not for the Flux, of course. Silly Seafood. That will teach them to taste so delicious with tarter sauce!

The new thing with the expansion is the whole pirate scheme. It used to be they were in abundance, but all they would do is PoD you  – that is, Pay or Die. Give them money, or they really pod you – as in, escape pod. Of course they’d know nothing of value was ever coming off of my sorry broke keister, so they’d usually just ignore me. But now there’s some new technology on the scene, and it’s making for mischievous pirates.

Now they can pull up behind you, take something from your inventory, and scoot on off into the sunset. Or, uh, something like that. They never get anything of value from me, really – I think they just do it to be funny. Or maybe it’s some sort of dare in the pirate gangs – like, see if they can get close enough for me to freak out and try and fly away from them – which could very possibly result in my crashing into them. After all, I certainly can’t predict which way my ships going to go when I start screaming and jerking on the joystick, why should anyone else?

I’ve also got some really cool missiles. You know the ones straight from Top Gun, that lock onto a target (say, Tom Hanks’ face) and head straight for it? Yeah, them. The problem is my targeting computer. Well, some people would say the problem is me, but they’re liars. Obviously it’s my targeting computer that hates everyone and wants us all dead.

You see when I’m flying, I routinely cycle through targets on my radar. When I’m out fluxing with a squadmate, I try and keep track of where they are. But when a couple of Flux pop up on my screen, I fire off a deadly Purgatory missile or three at one of them to keep them busy while I focus on shooting down their buddy.

Only…I forgot to switch targets, and now my wingman is zooming away in his escape pod wondering when the hell Fluxes got missiles that are so powerful they give someone else a bounty…

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