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.
Diplomacy can be a little tricky and needs improvement. The beta will have a lot of changes to diplomacy to fix the shortcomings of the alpha, but here's how the alpha works:
Dealing with Factions
The computer factions can be found in the Commonwealth Factions screen. Each faction has a disposition towards Junction Gate, based on your popularity with the faction. Popularity is calculated based on your policy compatibility with the faction, the number of incidents that have occurred between you, and if you have made any gestures toward the faction.
Each faction now has a personality: Submissive, Polite, and Aggressive. The faction's personality will dictate what tone you should use when contacting the faction. If you use the wrong tone, you can cause an incident, lowering your popularity with the faction. Get the tone right and the faction will view it as a gesture, which increases your popularity. A neutral result is also possible, which is not viewed as a gesture and does not cause an incident. Be warned, though, because your communication should not be a 1:1 match of the faction's personality. You'll need to discover the correct tone to use with each personality type.
You can send gifts to factions to improve their disposition. However, if you use the wrong tone for the faction's personality profile, you can cause an incident. There is Diplomacy option on the Station Governance screen. Each level added will decrease the effect of a diplomatic incident and increase the effect of a diplomatic gesture.
You can establish trade routes with factions that have a favorable disposition towards you by contacting them in the Factions screen. The faction must be able to afford the trade route. Each resource now has a credit value, which will affect whether a trade route proposal is accepted or not. Factions will be willing to accept varying deals at different times. Sometimes they will allow you to get a bargain, sometimes they will demand you pay a premium.
If you aren't able to meet the requirements for your trade route with a faction, you trigger an incident with the faction, which lowers your popularity. Given enough incidents, the faction will break off the trade route.
Each upgrade of the espionage facility will unlock more information about the factions, including their personality, disposition, your popularity, and their policies. Use this information as an edge in your diplomatic communications.
There are close to 300 different procedurally-generated planets in each game. To explore, click on a planet location once you've unlocked the exploration tab. In the planet modal, click on the tab marked "Your Fleets" and send a scout ship to explore (they'll need to be in range).
Once your ship has arrived at the planet, you can scan it from the "Actions" tab to learn more about it. If you send a mining ship to a planet with resources, you can also harvest the resources. The exception to this is Saladin System planets, which currently cannot be mined or scanned.
Getting Helium & Mining Ore
Helium can only be obtained by mining planets, usually gas giants, with a mining ship. To mine, you'll need to travel to the planet with a mining ship and open up the planet's action tab. You can use the mining ships to mine either ore or helium, depending on the planet. To obtain the mined resources, you'll need to return the mining ship back to Junction Gate.
Combat is available under the actions tab of a planet modal which you have scanned and have a military presence. There are currently 2 types of combat: auto and strategic.
Strategic combat is turn based and allows you to select your targets between each turn. Each ship or fleet can choose to attack or evade each turn.
Attacking another ship or defensive facility doesn't mean you will automatically hit them. Your chances go up if you set your "Military Doctrine" policy to Deterrence or if your ship has a lot of experience. The damage that you deal is also based on the same factors.
Evasion works the same way. The more experience your ship has, along with the Deterrence bonus, will effect your ability to evade enemy fire.
Each battle your ships survive will award them with experience. Flawless victories will earn you extra experience.
You can retreat from battles. If you retreat from a battle before it begins, the diplomatic consequences will be less severe than they will be if you retreat in the middle of a battle or see a battle through to completion.
If you find you don't care for selecting your targets each turn, use the auto combat option. Auto combat works the same way as strategic combat, but chooses your targets for you, advances all turns, and proceedes directly to the battle summary.
You cannot attack a defenseless enemy planet. However, if the planet has natural resources, you can mine from it during the time it has no ships or defenses.
You can attack other factions, but they can also attack you. Be warned in advance, they will attack hard and if you lose, there will be damage and death on Junction Gate. If you make other factions angry enough and they beat you enough times, YOU COULD LOSE THE GAME. So tread lightly.
There are two defensive facility types: Missile Defense Platforms and Laser Turret Arrays. You can research blueprints for the defensive facilities in the same way you research the ships. The defensive facilities are also constructed in the same way as ships. These will help prevent Junction Gate from attack. If you make factions angry, they will attack.
An unlockable defense facility upgrade and screen is available in the Station tab. This will display your armor rating for each section of the station and list your defensive facilities. The total firepower and total defense stats will also include stats for any docked ships.
Armor plating protects the different parts of your station from attack if your docked ships and defenses are all destroyed. The enemy fleet will have one combat turn to target an area of your station. If their remaining firepower is greater than your station area's armor, some facilities in that area will be destroyed and workers may be killed. Armor research will improve your station's armor plating in addition to your ships' armor. After an attack, you'll be able to repair your armor if necessary.