This is a tutorial for how to play the alpha version of Junction Gate. It's not 100% comprehensive, but because there are some common things that get asked about from time to time, hopefully this guide will help if you get stuck.
Junction Gate is a story-driven resource management game. Because much of the content is procedurally-generated, every time you play through, the game will be slightly or drastically different.
Your goal in the game will be to survive, keep your personnel alive, grow Junction Gate, and defend it from enemies.
Facility names change on each playthrough, so keep that in mind as you read this guide.
As you first start out, you'll need to quickly gather resources to survive. The resources can be viewed in the Resources Panel in the upper right of your screen. Each resource functions slightly differently, and some can even go negative, so it's important to keep an eye on them during all stages of the game.
Let's take a brief look at what each resource does:
- Ore — Ore is essential for building physical objects like buildings or ships. The amount of ore mined per turn is not affected by population.
- Helium3 — Helium3 is used as fuel for ships and can only be found by harvesting it from gas giants or by trading for it with other players.
- Air — Air is vital for your population to survive. If you run out, your personnel and eventually you will die. The air production must match or exceed the current total population or it will start going into the negative. If the population grows beyond the limit, an overpopulation penalty will occur and air will be used up more quickly.
- Food — Food functions in the exact same way as air and is necessary for your station personnel to stay alive.
- Credits — Credits are the currency of the Commonwealth. You will only be able to begin producing credits once you unlock the Economy tab, so spend wisely when you start out. Credits will help you build advanced facilities, ships, and interact with various Commonwealth factions. The "limit" indicator for credits indicates the number of credits that are insured in case of damage or an attack.
- Energy — Energy is collected through solar panels and is required to power station facilities. Each facility will require at least one unit of energy. If you are at your energy limit, you won't be able to construct new facilities until you increase your available energy.
- Population — Your station's population grows automatically and needs to be carefully watched as going over the limit will incur an overpopulation penalty. Later in the game, you'll be able to exercise a little more control over your growth rate.
To produce more resources, you'll need to construct various facilities appropriate for each resource. At any time, you can toggle between viewing your current resources and your resource production rates by clicking on the "View Production Rates" link in the Resource Panel.
Dealing with the Population Problem
- If you haven't unlocked the economy yet, upgrade your sensor facility to level 2.
- Upgrade your government building and lower your population rate policy to the lowest setting.
- Wait for commanders who specialize in nutrition, atmosphere, or command and then train them. If you don't get one of those, you can fire them. There is nothing you can actively do to get commanders, they appear randomly and you can have up to 4.
- Upgrade diplomacy and trade for more food and air.
- Research the food and oxygen technologies. This will upgrade your production efficiency.
The Command tab is where you manage Junction Gate's personnel and policies. Much of this functionality won't be present until you build governmental facilities. Be warned, the command decisions you make will have a profound impact on your game!
Commanders amplify the effect of your workers by providing them direction. Commanders each have different specialties and can only affect workers in their own department. By training your commanders, you can increase the impact they have on station personnel and decrease the liklihood that the commander will be killed if disaster strikes. You can only have up to four commanders at a time and they are assigned randomly as the story unfolds.
Here are bonuses for each type of commander specialty:
- Mining - Each level of rank increases worker ore production by 10%.
- Atmosphere - Each level of rank increases worker air production by 10%.
- Hydroponics - Each level of rank increases worker food production by 10%.
- Research - Each level of rank increases worker research production by 10%.
- Command - Each level of rank increases worker production by 5% across all categories.
Station personnel can be assigned to various departments in Junction Gate to supplement basic resource production. However, station personnel will not be assignable until governmental facilities have been built. Each worker equates to an additional unit of production.
The Station Governance tab allows you to manage your station's social, military, and economic polices. Each policy will have an affect on your station itself, as well as affecting how the various factions interact with you. To see what a policy does, hover over the text for a description.
The Economy tab is where you'll manage your finances. As you progressively upgrade your facilities, you'll have access to investment funds, a stock market, and even a casino.
Each level of investment will allow you to earn credits interest at set intervals based on the amount invested.
Stocks and Managing Corporations
Once the stock market has been unlocked, you'll be able invest in corporations across the Commonwealth. Here are a few keys to investment:
- Limit Orders - Allow you to buy and sell stock when (and if) it reaches a custom price you set.
- CEO Rating - CEOs with a high rating will run a good corporation while bad CEOs will run the corporation into the ground.
- Dividends - You'll earn dividends for any stock owned at set intervals, but only if the stock is up from the previous quarter.
The stock market is semi-randomized but also responds to supply and demand and company management style. Each of the corporations is owned by a faction and you can also start your own corporation. You can buy and sell stock, issue new shares for a corporation you own, and collect dividends. The factions do all of that too. You can take over their companies, but they can also take over yours. If you do take over their companies, however, they won't like it and they'll remember, so be careful.
When managing a corporation, the budget basically controls production, marketing, and profit for the company, with administration modifying all three. If your industry has more demand than supply, marketing becomes less useful and production should be more of a focus. However, if there is a lot of competition and demand is met, then marketing will help you sell more. And if you have excess inventory, that'll cut into your profits. The number of workers change your production, which, depending on your inventory levels, will require different numbers of workers at different times.
For your share price, you want to try to budget so that your projected share price is greater than or equal to your ideal share price. If you manually adjust your budget and go below the ideal share price, you may go bankrupt or have other factions buy up your stock.
The industry demand is somewhat randomized, but also largely follows global trends in the market. It's ultimately based on a percentage of the total Commonwealth population, which is why you see growth, especially early on. Faction-controlled corporations are able to readjust both the corporation's budget and the number of workers. This is pseudo-random as well, but if the corporation isn't performing up to the ideal share price, it'll generate a new set of numbers. Given that the ideal share price varies depending on the industry demand and the corporation's market share and excess inventory, the ideal budget and number of workers needed will vary over time. Higher rated CEO's will help turn around a falling stock price whereas lower rated CEO's will tend to hurt the stock price over time. If they do it long enough, they'll get replaced.
When you build the casino, you'll have access to Moonshot. Moonshot is a multi-turn betting game, where the rules change every turn. You can win big, but you can also lose more than you started with, so tread carefully.
First lock in your initial bet. Once you've locked in, that round's Set will be generated. The Set is a series of randomized numbers that will determine how you can win during that round. Once the Set is generated, you'll have the option to increase your bet based on how good you think your odds are. Then, when you're ready, roll the dice and see how you fare against the Set.
The Set is made up of the following numbers:
- Moonshot - Roll the Moonshot and you'll win your bet times the accelerator.
- Widowmaker - Roll the Widowmaker and you'll lose your bet times the accelerator.
- Return - The return is a single number or a range of numbers that are deemed safe. If you roll a number in the return, that round is essentially a draw and your bet will be returned to you.
- Accelerator - A multiplier that determines both the Moonshot and the Widowmaker. The Accelerator will increase by one for each consecutive Moonshot. If a Moonshot streak is broken by a loss, the Accelerator returns to 5.
If your roll doesn't hit any of the Return, the Widowmaker, or the Moonshot, you'll simply lose your bet for that round.
The science tab is where you'll perform research on new technologies, research ship types, and build ships.
There are two types of research: tech research and ship chassis research. Each is performed in a different facility, but they essentially function the same way.
Upgrade your research facility to unlock more technologies (and more will unlock as you perform research as well), and upgrade your engineering facility to research ships.
Once the facilities are unlocked, you'll need to assign workers to become researchers in either the Command tab or in the Workers tab of the top panel. You'll also need to manage your funding by adding credits to your science budget.
After you have researchers and funding, you'll need to add them to the technology or ship you want to research. The more researchers you have, the faster your research will go. Once your research on a particular tech maxes out, your researchers will be returned to the general research pool.
If you run out of funding, all research will stop until you add more.
Building and Using Ships
To unlock the science lab, you'll need to upgrade your worker facility in the station tab (it has a star and two down pointing arrows) to level 5 and also get the stock exchange facility under the economy tab. Once you've built the lab, you can start research new technologies. To do this, you'll need to add funding and add research workers.
Eventually, you'll be able to unlock the engineering facility in the science tab. This will allow you to research blueprints for ships and station defenses. Then you'll also be able to unlock the shipyard. Once you've researched a blueprint, you'll need to customize it in your shipyard (wrench symbol). You can access the shipyard in the science tab on the right column menu. Once there, you'll see two tabs, "Construction Queue" and "Blueprints". Click on "Blueprints" and "Create New Blueprint". This will allow you to create variations of each ship type. It doesn't cost anything to create a blueprint, but you'll need to have researched the base blueprint in the engineering facility first.
To create a new ship, you'll need to have fully upgrade your worker facility because you'll need both materials and military workers (the materials workers build the ship, the military crews it). Go back to your shipyard and click on "New Construction". Once you have enough resources to build the ship, name it and it'll be added to the construction queue.
You'll need to build a scout ship first. To use the ships, go to the exploration tab and go to the Commonwealth screen. Click on any colony link in the table and then click on the "Your Fleets" tab in the modal that pops up. Once your ships have completed construction, you'll see them in the "Available Ships" table if they are docked at Junction Gate, in range of the planet, and fully fueled. Click on "Dispatch" and you'll send the ship to that planet. It will take a while for each ship to get there, but you can track progress of all ships from your hanger (in the Station tab).
Once a scout has arrived at a planet, open up the planet modal again and click on the "Actions" tab and scan the location. The planet's info will now be available to you and other ship types will now be able to perform other actions on the planet.
You can recall ships to Junction Gate either from the "Your Fleets" tab of the planet or from the hangar. You'll need to refuel them before using them again.