Integrating Narrative, Dev Updates, & Grunge Wallpapers

Last week was a vacation week, so not much got done on the programming side of Junction Gate, but the week off did allow for some much-needed reflection on various aspects of the game. In this brief update post, I'll talk a little about that, share what will be worked on this week, and I also have some new desktop wallpapers for you.

Integrating The Narrative

As you may know from taking a look at the roadmap, the story will be one of the last things added to the game. This is done for several reasons: to make sure the game mechanics are fun in and of themselves, for some marketing reasons, to allow for flexibility in storytelling in relation to unfinished game mechanics, to ensure the writing has a consistent tone by doing it all at once, and to prevent spoilers for all beta and early-access players of the game.

The time away from a computer this last week gave me some time to think about Junction Gate's story. I had had a general idea about the plot before, but now there is a much clearer direction. Without going into specific spoilers, there will be an over-arching conflict that spans the time from when the Earth was destroyed in the Burning to the time you discover Junction Gate and beyond. Though the story starts small and focused, as the game progresses, it will expand to the point that you will have the opportunity to affect the future of the human race.

There will also be smaller stories told on an interpersonal level against the backdrop of larger events. You'll learn about the character's backstory. You'll interact with various political figures, ship captains, and business leaders. Your station personnel will also be much more fleshed out than in the alpha.

Even though the full story won't be integrated until the very end, you'll start seeing more of it in the beta before then. Building a rich and nuanced hard sci-fi universe isn't an easy task and there are multiple layers that need to be laid well in advance of the actual story. Game mechanics need to match the narrative in order to provide better immersion and cohesion.

You can already see some of this in the beta now with descriptions of facilities, components, and technologies. The integration of story into game mechanics will continue as other parts of the game come online: the economy, exploration, trade, diplomacy, politics, and combat. These elements won't be the story itself, but they will provide dynamic and emergent gameplay that will dovetail into the meta-narrative of the game.

You won't see many narrative additions in the upcoming Beta 0.1.0 release other than some new facilities, components, and technologies, but the releases following will have much more opportunity for further immersion into the universe of Junction Gate. This is just a teaser, but I'll be sharing more in the future and I really can't wait for you to experience it all.

Development This Week

The major programming tasks this week will involve finishing the other trade screens outlined in the wireframe design post. The Trade Center screen is mostly finished, but still needs to be updated in realtime. Also on the docket are the Universal Resource Price Index screen, the Commercial Port screen, the Ship Trading screen, and the various trading modals.

If time permits, I'll also start working on the ship arrival and departure scheduling, cargo manifests, and the progression of actually building all the trade buildings on the hex grid. However, I anticipate that those items will probably be worked on next week.

Grunge Wallpapers

The main Junction Gate UI theme won't be done in a grunge style, but after playing around in Photoshop one evening, I thought I would share some grunge desktop wallpapers with the Junction Gate logo. You can get them directly from here, but I've also created a new wallpapers media page where I'll be sharing future wallpapers.

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