Rest in Peace Jumpgate: My Rambling Obituary

Jumpgate Logo
RIP Old Friend...

Around 2000, whilst still a professional gaming journalist, I was turned onto a little MMORPG called Jumpgate, which looked to be as close as we were ever going to get to either a Privateer or Elite Online (and it was). I gobbled up all the info I could about the game and covered it as much as I could (check out my old interview, preview and review covering the game).

I played the game on and off for the next ten years, putting in at least 800-1,000 hours. To date, it’s still my most-played game, and one of my most memorable. Unfortunately, on the official Jumpgate website, it was announced that the game would close up for good on April 30th, 2012.


For those of you who don’t feel like clicking the link above, here’s the text from the announcement:

Hello Jumpgate Classic Fans,

Thank you for supporting Jumpgate Classic. We hope that you have enjoyed playing the game and that it has provided you with some entertainment along the way.

Unfortunately these things don’t last forever, and the time has come to move on. So it is with great regret that we must inform you that Jumpgate Classic will shut down on April 30th, 2012.

We will be refunding all payments made in 2012. If you don’t receive your refund within the next 7 days on your bank statement, or if you have any questions regarding Jumpgate Classic, please contact support@gazillion.com.

We are going to miss the Jumpgate Classic community. It has been immensely rewarding to see the community evolve.

We hope to see you again in Super Hero Squad Online (www.heroup.com) or in Marvel Heroes (www.marvelheroesonline.com). Thank you again for playing and supporting Jumpgate Classic.

– The Jumpgate Classic Team

This is just gutwrenchingly heartbreaking. The team that put Jumpgate together accomplished something wonderful. Rather than the simple point-and-clickness of games like EVE Online or Earth and Beyond, Jumpgate actually took real, viable skill in a cockpit to make the game enjoyable. Using a hybrid Newtonian physics engine (it also had drag), pilots had to actually practice docking and combat maneuvers in order to become successful at them.

The game offered a simulation mode to help with this, but the real thrill was taking one’s first ship — a really dinky little shuttle — and leaving your home base for the first time. When JG started, there were many hundreds of players online, and to see all of these space ships buzzing around you being flown by real people was an absolutely joy. The three factions in the game catered to everyone nicely, whether you wanted to be a pirate or an entrepreneur, and squads of all types formed up to exert their control, benevolent or otherwise, on the space trade lanes.  For many years, I was completely and utterly hooked to this amazing game, and spent hours running missions, searching for priceless and useful artifacts, mining asteroids, trading needed supplies and so on. I never much took part in PvP combat — not my thing really — but many did, and I was witness to some glorious battles.

As time wore on, the population thinned. Other games — like those mentioned above — lured people away, either temporarily or permanently. Some people got bored, either with the missions, the graphics, or whatever else. While additions were made to the game in terms of new ships, player owned stations and so on, these sadly were never enough to lure most back. When the doomed sequel, Jumpgate Evolution, was announced, this brought back a good number of folks for a spell to see what had changed and to revisit old friends. Sadly, this was pretty much the last hurrah, as far as I know.

Eventually Jumpgate Evolution was canceled, and while there were notions made to an opening of the source code to allow players to modify and run the original game themselves, this sadly never happened. As I raise my glass in salute to this amazing game, I am warmed by all the amazing times I had playing this wonderful game, yet saddened that the game will never get the chance to come close to its glory days again. Thank you, Jumpgate — and those who created it, maintained it and played it — for such a wonderful experience. You’ll never be forgotten.

38 comments on Rest in Peace Jumpgate: My Rambling Obituary

  1. Let me know if there's another space flight simulator game like Jumpgate. Because it was the only space game that got me hooked out of all the entire space games that tried and ran across.

    1. Trust me, if I find a worthy successor to Jumpgate, the world will know. ;-) Welcome, by the way! :-)

  2. Well said, Brian. A fitting post-mortem for a wonderful game. BTW I was Discord (an Octavian) in game. I will dearly miss Jumpgate.

    1. Ah, yes, a baby eater. ;) Thanks for the compliments. I hope, hope, HOPE we see something take its place.

  3. Thanks for your tribute to Jumpgate, Veloxi. It's excruciating to see the old girl go, but given recent history, it was time. I think Jumpgate inspired everyone most because if its potential, which despite the efforts of many (players and devs alike), it never truly approached. The community of Jumpgate was the finest I have ever had the privilege to be involved with, first as a player, then as a developer. We were all entranced by the dream, and we all made more of, and put far more into, the game than the reality ever quite reflected. The dev team had too few resources even from the time of launch, and the most recent, final year of Jumpgate's existence under its current owner (not NetDevil, but a company whose name I shall not repeat) has been a gauche embarassment of neglect beyond any that preceded it. Jumpgate Evolution was our last, best hope for a revival, but it was stifled by bureaucratic forces before it had a chance to shine, which had we released what we had built in 2008 under Draker's apt leadership, I believe it would have.

    There are many who were affected by the Jumpgate experience who continue to believe in the dream of a space MMO with Jumpgate's characteristics, perhaps one truly created by the pilots, for the pilots. I am confident there will be other efforts in the near future to fulfill our need as players for such a game, possibly by several of us.

    Fly Safe. And Remember. They CAN'T take the Sky from us forever.

    So say we all.

    1. OMG HI Istvan! I know this is a sad occasion, but as an aside I just have to say that to me, you're something of a celebrity, especially in how you kept JG going. It's truly an honor to see you here. I also want to thank you for your efforts in keeping JG running as well as it did for as long as it did.

      1. Thanks, Veloxi. All I did was try to carry the torch that Scorch handed me for a while. I loved the game as much as anyone else: it was much more than a job.

        Thanks for your work on this site. I have trouble keeping up with all the new products, while trying to spin up my own company and work contracts full-time to feed my family. I'll be visiting often for news.

        Hopefully someday soon my company will have a product worthy of mention here on your site – though I'm working on mobile stuff in the near term. Meanwhile, keep your eye on Borderspace! Teeleton is leading that effort and several other well-known Jumpgate community members are contributing heavily.

        1. I appreciate and admire your humility, Istvan, but you did so much more than carry a torch, you helped keep the game alive and vibrant ages after it could have fallen into disarray, and for that, if I ever meet you, I owe you a drink, at least one. ;)

          Thank you! This site is a labor of love because space video gaming is one of the things I'm most passionate about, and I am loving writing for this blog. I hope you enjoy your stay here. :)

          I was gonna ask you about that. Sadly I don't cover mobile stuff, but I am gonna keep an eye on Borderspace. I tried registering for their forum, but no luck yet, weird. Anyway, I see some familiar names over there, so I hope I can say hello soon. :)

    2. Is this the same Istvan who ran FTL in the beta? Hard to believe it's been so long since then. I was in FTL for a little over a year until the end of the beta and for what ever reason never played after release.

      Thinking back Jumpgate was an experience that I haven't found replicated yet. I've played many MMO's and I would rate simple cargo runs in Jumpage up there with killing raid bosses in WoW! :)

      I'll end this with the last message Istvan sent to the FTL mail list, which I still have saved over a decade later!

      "To all former FTL pilots still receiving this list:

      The 3DO Stress Test officially concluded at 22:00 PDT on 21 September.

      JumpGate release launches on 24 September.

      For those pilots returning post-release, I hope to see you in space.
      Please look up Postal, Teeleton, or me if you wish to rejoin FTL. We are
      reorganizing, and an incarnation of FTL will exist in release, though it
      will likely be a bit different from the beta version guild.

      For those pilots not returning: I wish you well. Thank you for being a
      part of FTL. All beta FTL members will continue to be listed, with join
      date, on a special roster on the FTL website. Perhaps we will see you in
      some other game. Wherever you may go, fly safe.

      Istvan"

      1. Hey Dainan, I'm not Istvan, I just wanted to pop in and welcome you to the site. Thanks for commenting. :)

      2. I remember you, Dainan. Yes, I'm the same guy. Post-release NetDevil hired me to help maintain Jumpgate ( in November 2002 ) and I stayed with the project until NetDevil was liquidated by its "new" California owners in early 2011 (with a hiatus helping part-time on JGE 2006-2010).

        1. Well I must say it's nice being remembered over a decade later. :)

          Just like to say the time I spent in Jumpgate and FTL is still something I remember fondly and I hope one day another game comes along where we can all get together again.

  4. I was in the studio that JGE was being worked on (I worked for LEGO on LU) and I saw mostly the graphics of the new ships being designed etc. (It all looked really cool!!) It was a shame they stopped the project since I was 1st in the line to be a beta tester :) Having played eve-online solid for 7 years since it came out, I would like to see something with more focus on hand-eye coordination, rather than spread-sheet combat. I truly hope that somehow JG v3 for a lag of a better word will find its space in the universe for the enjoyment of us all!

    1. Welcome, Lasse, and thanks for commenting! LU also shut down a little while back, and that was sad to see. :/ Seems like the writing was on the wall even back then. :( What was it like working with Netdevil, if I may ask?

      1. Seeing LU shut down was for me as upsetting as seeing ND go, not only because my son was an avid LU player and now really misses the game. So many great people worked hard on that project, and had made something really special. Such a shame that mismanagement at the top and in marketing did it in. Best wishes to you, Lasse.

  5. Another wonderful Space Sim that inspired many going the way of the dinosaur. I have been waiting for a very long time for a successor to Freelancer but so far it has not materialized.

    That is very sad news. Even though I didn't often play the game, I kept my membership active over the years because I felt it was worth supporting. I would be very interested if something else comes along, although it will be a very tough game to replace.

    1. Yeah, it'll be a VERY tough game to replace indeed, but it sounds like folks are trying to do just that with this Borderspace project I keep hearing about.

  6. Heya Veloxi =)

    Your obituary couldn't have said it better. I, too, will miss the game that has impacted my life to a great degree since 2003. I will cherish the memories and friendships I have gained, and with those, Jumpgate will forever live in my heart.

    And Istvan, since you are lurking, thank you for everything you did behind the scenes and in the spotlight to keep us alive and progressing for so many years. Your dedication to us, the community, is something that I will forever respect and appreciate. Thank your ability to communicate with us and making us all feel as though our wants, needs, desires, and opinions actually counted for something. You cared about us as people, pilots, and a community, which is far more than I can say about those who "took over." (More like managed not to trip over the cord for the past year….but that's a different story.)

    As former pilots stumble across this page, I encourage you to join our alumni group on Facebook. Currently, we are over 250 members and we always welcome stories and screenshots that help us to relive the wonderful days of our precious Jumpcrack. <3 http://www.facebook.com/groups/JGalum/

    ~ Regs =)

    1. Hey Regan, welcome to the site, and thank you! I totally just asked to join that FB group. JG will live on for many people, I hope. It truly was a revelation in space gaming.

    2. Hi Regan! Gosh, this post brings up memories. And howdy Istvan – you did great work on the game! JG stands out as one of my favoritest games ever. I also first got into the game for journalism – the magazine Massive Online Gaming. Which lasted one whole issue! Soooo many memories! I can't even remember everyone's names – the pain of growing old. But this was such a great game, and an even better community.

      1. Hi there Kwip, and welcome to the site! I'm totally with you on missing that game and community. Sigh.

  7. After reading this article and the comments, I wanted to mention some Jumpgate players may be interested in trying Vendetta Online. I've never played Jumpgate, but from what I can tell by reading and watching some videos the combat is very similar to VO:



    Compare to:



    or



    Newtonian physics with drag, aiming, managing energy, momentum, and attitude. 3 Factions, mining, manufacturing, conquerable stations etc. VO's public alpha was in 2002, so it's just coming up on 10 years. You can find the website at: http://www.vendetta-online.com

    There is an 8-hour free trial (game time, not all at once) after which there is a monthly subscription. I hope you will consider at least giving the trial a shot. We need more players.

  8. To me JumpGate was an alternate reality where I could go to be the best I could be. It was more than just a shoot ’em up (although it was a great form of that relying as it did on actual skills in real time rather than magic swords and armor in a turn based game). There were so many things you could do and be in JumpGate and there is nothing currently out there (yeah, I’m watching BorderSpace closely) that comes any where close.

    Everyone who was involved in JumpGate, whether player, developer, empowered player, squad leader, wingman or lone wolf had a hand in what I believe was the best space game ever. Many people have said that the best thing about the game was the community. I agree with that as I made many on-line friends as well as on-line frenemies and a few nemisisi (?).

    Hail Octavius!

  9. I had some crazy idea about making a multiplayer based space trading game much like Jumpgate. With the three factions to choose from(or not), semi newton physics, traveling from sector to sector, tag system with a difference of having original content apart from Jumpgate.

    I’m not expecting to have a large player base or AAA graphics like JGE but more like simple, low poly graphics. So if it does happen, it will be mostly just for fun.

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