This is the first in a series of regular development updates for Junction Gate. The updates should take place roughly every two weeks, except when replaced with a release notice or a longer-form content update. The updates will give a brief update on development progress, potentially share some screenshots if there is something new and noteworthy to share, and I'm also going to be opening it up to questions from the community about Junction Gate.
After the release of Beta 0.0.5, I took some time to play through the beta and took note of issues and bugs that I encountered while playing. The beta testers also pointed out some issues. While I had originally intended to immediately return to working on 0.1.0, I felt it best to do another smaller release first to address some gameplay and usability problems.
Beta 0.0.6 won't have a lot of new features, but it should be a lot easier to play. I'm doing a balancing pass, fixing some key bugs, and making numerous quality of life improvements. You'll find out a lot more about it soon.
There hasn't been time to poll the community for questions for this first dev update, so I'll ask my own to start.
You'll be able to see the roots of the Alpha in the Beta version of Junction Gate, but in so many ways, the Beta will play like a completely new game. The Alpha was primarily an incremental-style game that began to evolve into a Civ-type of game in later stages. In the Beta, you'll need to use strategy right from the beginning, starting with where you place your facilities on the hex map.
If you haven't noticed from the videos, the Beta is much more ambitious than the Alpha. It will contain many of the same elements, but those elements will have actual working systems behind them, making for more immersion and smarter and more in-depth gameplay. If you're interested in a more detailed breakdown of the difference, check out the Junction Gate Alpha vs. Beta Feature Comparison.
The when question is a tricky trap for developers, simply because estimates in game development are always wrong. Rather than give a date or time and then turn out to be immediately wrong, the best answer that I can give is to be transparent on what I am currently working on and where it is in relation to the Junction Gate roadmap.
The Beta is private right now for a few different reasons. It currently has a lot fewer features than the Alpha and I want to get it further before I introduce it to the public. There just isn't enough gameplay yet because I've been working on systems and background simulation code that won't show up for a while in the game. And, as my recent playthrough revealed, it still has a ways to go in terms of polish.
Because the Beta isn't there yet, opening it up to the public would also mean a lot more support requests, which would take time away from development. And having an incomplete game could be damaging to its marketing potential as well. So it'll stay in the incubater for a while longer yet.
However, if you're desparate to try out the beta before it's made public, you can sign up to be a Beta Tester and help test out Beta 0.0.6 when it comes out.
There are at least three or four features that I'm really excited about, but some of them are still in the theory stage and I'll need to do some research and development to see if they're actually possible, much less in a game designed for the web.
The AI is one feature that is showing a lot of promise, but it needs to be further fleshed out and tested to see how it scales. Part of how the development will go from here will depend on how many AI units I can simulate at a time within a browser. There is a huge difference in gameplay between dozens and hundreds and that number will affect how deep of a simulation I can actually develop, because the AI will be the foundation for a working economy and a number of other planned pieces of simulation. I should know more about the scaling sometime soon after the 0.0.6 release.
Maybe at some point, but for now it's just me. If we reach the point of a Kickstarter, a lot of the money would go toward hiring a good 3D artist and a musician. Junction Gate won't be going the way of a full 3D world anytime soon, but I would like to see some of the facilities, ships, and components rendered in 3D if the budget allows. A composer with an original soundtrack would also be fantastic, as would additional voicework for Essence, the computer voice.
If you have a question about Junction Gate, ask it in the comment section below or on reddit or social media and I'll include it in the next Dev Update. You can ask technical questions, gameplay questions, lore questions; pretty much anything about the development of Junction Gate.comments powered by Disqus