Westward dev log #17: Cartography

The last few weeks have been busy with talking to people. I have started actively discussing with many artists of different kind to try to get a better vision of the art direction of the game, as well as work on the buildings. Nothing new to show in that respect yet, but it’s progress nevertheless and it should pay off in a few weeks when new assets start appearing in the game.

It’s a nice experience, as I’m learning a bit about how game assets are made, how long it takes, the vocabulary, techniques, and all that. This is part of the gamedev experience too. It takes me a lot of time, both for conceptualizing what I need and communicating about it, but I’m getting more efficient at it.

In parallel, I’ve started shooting emails to indie publishers in order to seek out possible collaborations. So far, one of them has taken the time to try the demo and to write some feedback, which is what I need most at the moment. Most of the work I’ve done since the last dev logs has been oriented by these feedbacks.


Click here to play the demo and discover the changes discussed in this post.

A new map menu has been added, which displays the full world map, centered on the player. It reuses the same code as the map available in the forts. It’s very basic at the moment, but I have great plans for a rich, deep map system which will benefit multiple aspects of the game.

For now, you can see the whole world and drag the map around to see all areas. In the future, you’ll only be able to see on that map what is known about the world, which will require extensive exploration and scouting, by you or other players. More specific and diverse markers will be added, as well as an additional level of zoom.

In addition, and more prominent, you’ll notice a minimap in the top-right corner of the screen (not visible in the screenshot). I find it quite cool, and also very useful in order to have a better idea of where you are going. It doesn’t always follow the player super well just yet, but I’ll eventually improve that.

These two additions are useful stepping-stones towards the “exploration” side of the gameplay, which will be elaborated upon in the future.

Sound effects

Also, the game isn’t silent anymore! Each item has a sound effect associated to it, as well as most menus. I didn’t think it would be terribly important in the beginning, but now that it’s there I do find it gives some life to the game.

What I’m most excited about are the ambient sounds that will be added in the future, which should really help create an atmosphere. Eventually, most elements of your surroundings will be making sound, event those that are not visible on-screen. This will be useful for immersion, but also to inform the player on what’s happening around him and help him find his way.

New player look

I was getting tired of the old player sprite, so I used this sprite generator to make a new one. This one looks a bit better, and more importantly has more animations, which can now be seen in fight and when dying. It looks weird without a weapon in hand but one thing at a time. Obviously it’s just a temporary solution before custom-made characters are made specifically for Westward.

What’s next

For next time, I hope to be able to show significant changes on the visual front. If all goes well I’ll even start teasing them on Twitter. In the meantime, feel free to give feedback on the current state of the game in the comments. Feedback is a compass which can help me identify the best direction to follow in the huge sea that my to-do list is. What do you hate, what seems promising in what I mention, what do you think is missing, any comment you might have will be valuable.

If you’d like to support Westward, consider having a look at my 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!