The two main improvements of these past two weeks are the completion of the crafting system and the addition of forests to the landscape. Several smaller additions have been made as well. These changes have been uploaded and are visible in the demo.
You can test a rough but functioning version of the crafting system by clicking on the icon representing a wrench and a hammer. In the left pane are displayed the items you own, in the right pane are displayed the items you can craft, and the middle pane is where the magic happens. If you click on an item in the right pane, the ingredients required to craft it will be displayed in the middle. You can adjust the amount you want to craft with the blue “+” and “-” buttons and click the green one when you are set. For the purpose of the demo, you are provided with enough material to craft a few things, out of two recipes. The “buildings recipes” are only there for show at the moment.
I’m well aware that a crafting system is probably the least original thing in a MMORPG. It is however unavoidable for Westward, since the players will be at the center of the economy of the game. This central role will be articulated around two main mechanics: crafting and trade. I will elaborate on this in future dev logs.
A first version of the forest-making algorithm is finished, and kindly produced around 17000 trees to populate the map, in a natural-looking pattern. I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to do it manually. Here is a “satellite view” of a part of the map, giving a glimpse of how the trees are distributed:
Further improvements are planned. So far, all the trees are identical. The goal is to have at least three different types of trees, distributed differently depending on the geography. I will also experiment a bit with scattering isolated trees between the existing clusters.
I feel that the trees bring quite some life to the environment, making it a bit less dull.
If you connect to the game soon after the server has (re)started, you might be lucky enough to spot some wolves wandering around the map. If you log in later you may still encounter them but the probability drops as they scatter around the huge map. You cannot interact with them yet though.
If you walk a bit north from the starting area, you’ll see two buildings, a fort and a trade post. More on that later. I honestly feel they don’t blend in very well with the landscape, but again, these are borrowed assets. In the future I hope the same artist will be able to draw both the landscape elements and the buildings, making the two much more coherent.
Lastly, it’s a very small thing but I enjoy it quite a lot, you’ll notice small footprints appearing when you character walks around. It serves no purpose, but I find it pretty! Eventually animals will have that property as well.
Things are progressing well, both on the world-building and content fronts. I have written quite a few tools to help me automate as many of this as I can. Here is a capture of the current list of Node.js tools I have added to PHPStorm:
Some of them are not used anymore but it gives a glimpse of the variety of tasks that need to be run in the course of development!
Thanks for the feedback I have received so far, and see you in (hopefully) two weeks for the next update!