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Junction gate

title:Junction gate
download page:No link!
genre:Strategy Games
developer:Virtuosi Media
platform:Online, web browser
features:text, sound, visuals
last edit by:Dark


Welcome to Junction gate a small abandoned planetoid in an out of the way star system holding a long disused colonial station. Though full of resources to setup a colony after the catastrophic Burn, Junction gate has lane forgotten, it's population sleeping, it's robots and mining equipment rusting.

As a drifter in space you find yourself landing on Junction gate, and for both your own survival and that of the sleeping population, the only viable option seems to be to use the colony's equipment and skills to make a life for yourself. Of course between the problems of limited resources, an uncertain economy and a large number of unknown galactic factions who's intentions you cannot be sure of, survival, much less prosperity will not come easily.

This is the scenario in Junction gate, a single player resource strategy and discovery game for your web browser, in which you go from an insignificant colony of struggling survivors, to a galactic power and a force to be reckoned with.

The game involves building buildings, assigning workers and managing the growth of your population, then as time goes on playing the galactic stock market or managing your own corporation, engaging in scientific research and eventually constructing starships to explore the galaxy, mining planets for resources, battle, trade with or establish diplomatic ties to a number of galactic factions.

Though following a distinct story with atmospheric log updates, in it's current alpha status the game is rather open ended, but still contains many hours of gameplay, especially considering that much of the galaxy from it's stock market to the other factions is generated randomly afresh for each game, meaning that no two playthroughs will be the same.

Also note that despite being played real time and requiring a lot of clicking and managing resources, Junction gate is significantly more involved than your average incremental browser game and you won't get far with mindless hammering at the same button. It is possible to seriously damage your progress, come under attack and even lose the game if you aren't careful.

To begin playing, just hit the "play" link on the main page and then select begin game. You can also use the game settings to customise your character name and gender and select what starting condition you want . Survival (the default), begins you at the beginning with no resources, buildings or workers and the need to make everything from scratch. Economic begins with the economy tab already unlocked for those who want to get straight into the galactic stock market or managing their own corporation, and exploration begins with a ship yard so you can start exploring the wider universe outside Junction gate immediately.

Though Junction gate is definitely not a short game, a cookie is used to save your progress (remember not to delete it accidentally or clear your browser's history by mistake), and being an alpha version the game is absolutely %100 free, though it is possible there might be a commercial version sold in the future.

The developer has done some exceptional work on the games' accessibility, not only labelling all buttons, but also insuring that page elements may be quickly navigated by screen readers in built browser navigation keys.

The page is divided into two main sections, a top panel and a bottom tab. The top panel can be set to show items such as your current resources, production rates or workers, while the bottom tab is used to switch between major game areas such as the log where you can read about current events and story updates, the resources tab where you build resource buildings, or the station tab where you build facilities such as energy production (more tabs get unlocked as you progress in the game).

You can use the jump to landmark key to both switch quickly between these panels, and the areas of the screen where you can switch them, and use the read menu item key (or the up arrows), to move between different individual items such as your amounts of resources, the buttons to change the game speed or alter the top display, or the items to enter the various tabs.

On the main game tabs themselves where you build buildings, buy stocks, begin research projects and so on, important items such as building types can be navigated by headings and buttons.

The game is played entirely in real time, with rates of resources changing per second, workers carrying out their tasks and often the need to plan quickly ahead to avoid possible disaster. The game can however be paused at will if you want time to navigate the screen or even start building, also the speed can be changed, to twice or even four times normal speed if waiting on a certain number of resources, or alternatively turned down to half speed if you want more time to plan or examine the screen but still want things ticking along in the background.

Because the game is real time, many events also occur by notification. These should be read automatically by most screen readers (the game was heavily tested with nvda), however if not, you can always find the latest notification at the top of the page.

As well as the use of in page elements to navigate and notifications, the developer has implemented several handy shortcut keys which can quickly get you around the pages, such as shift alt l for the log, quickly give you stat information such as shift alt a for your air stat, or even toggle certain game functions such as shift alt z to toggle the game speed or shift alt p to pause. For a full list of shortcut keys check in the game settings tab.

Though the game is entirely browser based, there is both some rather doom laden background music, and sound effects, though both of these can be changed in game settings or toggled with the correct on screen control.

For some handy pointers on various aspects of gameplay you can see the Junction gate tutorial found here though note that as various aspects of the game need to be unlocked, you won't have too much to deal with all at once especially if you choose the "survival" setting and start from the beginning (something which is recommended if this is your first time playing).

With open ended and addictive gameplay, a compelling setting as well as some awesome work on accessibility, junction gate completely changes the bounds of what is possible in a web browser. If you've always wanted that explore, expand, exploit and exterminate style space game, Junction gate is absolutely what you've been looking for, and with this obviously being an alpha version, even more is on the horizon.


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Updates: entry 2 Feb 22 and description 2 Feb 22

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