Westward

Westward is a collaborative MMORPG where the players have to build a nation. “The story of the creation and defense of communities, the mastery of the land, the development of an economy, and the formation of a nation.” (Quoted from Wikipedia about a certain epoch of US history).

Starting from very small settlements, the players will need to collaborate and organize themselves to improve their lot, expand to the west and eventually cover the whole continent. This will require harvesting resources, trading, exploring, managing an economy, defending from invasions and securing new land through military conquest. In every single one of these endeavors, the players will have the central roles.

The geography, the location of resources, and the dangers posed by the wildlife and an enemy civilization will set the stage, while leaving the players in charge of deciding what goals to pursue and how to overcome the challenges they face.

A playable online demo is available here. It is updated regularly with new features. Follow the dev log for more information.

Key aspects

  • Settlements that have to be managed by the players and which unlock gameplay aspects
  • Fully player-driven economy (no NPC), heavily based on crafting and a network of various buildings
  • Vast persistent open world, communities separated by large distances (no fast-travel)
  • Long-lasting campaign against enemy NPC civilization
  • Turn-based multiplayer team battle

Tone

Westward aims to be a slow-paced, long-term oriented MMORPG. Battles will be an important aspect, but crafting and trade will be on an equal footing in terms of gameplay and importance.

Emphasis is put on realism to a certain extent. There is no magic, elves or dwarves; the assumption is made that the real-life challenges posed by colonizing a wild land, as observed in our own history, can provide enough depth and fun on their own. Some liberty will be taken however in making up the wildlife an (al)chemical ingredients present in the game.

Advancement

Milestone: prototype

75%

Westward is in development and is still far from completion. The current ongoing milestone is to make a playable prototype featuring distinctive gameplay mechanics.

As such, the game is extremely unpolished at the moment. All the visual assets are placeholders used for development. Therefore, the current aspect of the game is a far cry from what is intended for the release of the first version.

The development can be followed by checking the dev log.

Gameplay

Westward is played as a top-down 2D multiplayer RPG. Most actions are carried out by clicking (for moving, interacting…). The game proposes several traditional mechanics of adventure games: an inventory system, a set of character statistics that can be managed by using items and equipment, crafting and fights. The video below shows a few slices of that.

In addition, it introduces another layer of gameplay on top of that, in the form of settlements that players have to manage. This management takes place by moving around settlements and interacting with various buildings to perform various actions, such as trading or promoting construction and production.

The two gameplay layers interact closely. On the one hand, players benefit from a well-developed settlement by having access to better materials and equipment, and bonuses to their stats. They face the very opposite in the case of low-developed settlements. On the other hand, the adventures of the players in the wild yield a variety of items that fuel the player-driven economy of the settlements.

Battles take place in a turn-based fashion. Once triggered, they define a battle area that can grow in size in the course of the battle. Anything stepping into the area will be dragged in the fight, making large multiplayer battles are possibility by jumping in to help others. This will play a key role for the defense of settlements against attacks from a hostile NPC civilization.

PvP is currently not possible, battles only pitch players against wildlife at the moment.

Platform

The prototype is being developed as a multiplayer top-down 2D HTML5 game (using the Phaser 3 engine), played in the browser. The server runs on Node.js . Successful tests have shown that the game could be packaged as a desktop app for convenience (using Electron or NWJS), but for development and testing I’m sticking to the browser environment at the moment.

Credits

I’m using the excellent Phaser 3 framework for the client side of the game. I’m using Node.js on the server side and Socket.io to connect the two.

Credit goes to María Jesus Gormaz for the creation of the building sprites.

For the UI I’m currently using this icon pack and this spritesheet, with small personal additions. For the map, I’m using this tileset.

Contribute

If you would be interested in contributing to Westward, drop me a message. I’m particularly interested in visuals at the moment, but contributions of all kinds can be discussed!

If you share my enthusiasm about the progresses of Westward and would like to contribute, consider having a look at my new donation page. In particular, take a minute to have a look at my Patreon page, where you can find a listing of rewards for various levels of recurring contributions!

Jerome Renaux

I'm an independent game developer, working mainly on browser-based multiplayer online game (HTML5 & Javascript). I love to discuss about all aspects of game development so don't hesitate to get in touch!

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Jerome Renaux

I'm an independent game developer, working mainly on browser-based multiplayer online game (HTML5 & Javascript). I love to discuss about all aspects of game development so don't hesitate to get in touch!