There has been progress on multiple fronts since last time! The most obvious one is the complete relooking of the buildings (see credits section of the Westward page for more information on the artist). On the picture below, you can see the fort (which should be renamed at some point I guess) and a tower, and they look pretty nice. If you wander around, you’ll find hunter huts, as well as brand new buildings: lumber camps and, in Hope, mines (use your map to find them more easily)! In addition, the Workshop building (which will be very important for crafting) is already made, although not visible in-game yet, and we are working on even more buildings which should be visible by the next dev log.
The cool thing is that each new building unlocks new segments of the settlements economy. In addition to food, we now have timber, coal and iron being produced. Once the resource flows between buildings are established, this will enable the crafting of a whole range of items.
Classes and levels
Equally interesting in my opinion is that the entire levelling system is now complete, both for civic levels and class levels, and the class system has been slightly reworked. From now on, each player can progress in the 4 classes simultaneously (but will do so faster in his main class). This progression is achieved by performing class-relevant actions. You gain soldier XP by fighting, craftsman XP by crafting, you get it.
The rationale behind this is that all segments of gameplay should be available to all players, and they should be in charge of determining how they want to balance them. Some will focus purely on battle, some will want to explore but have a few fighting skills to make it less dangerous, some will want to be good craftsmen and savvy merchants at the same time to trade what they produce… The possibilities are much more interesting that way than with a single-class system!
At the moment, it is possible to earn class XP for each of the 4 classes, as well as civic XP (by committing to buildings). It means that if you are so inclined, it’s possible for you to reach level 100 in all 4 classes! The only downside is that levels do not unlock abilities yet, so it’s actually useless to lvlup at the moment, but it’s great to know it’s a least possible. (Also, character progress is not saved yet, so don’t spend too much time trying to acquire XP yet!)
Minimap tracking has been fixed, and it’s now even possible to zoom-in in the world map menu. More useful perhaps are the orientation markers that now appear on the fringes on the screen when important things appear in your surroundings. At the moment, this is limited to wolves and players: if there are wolves or other players nearby, a marker will indicate in which direction they are. The size of the marker is proportional to the distance to the target.
It’s a small addition, but I think it has a lot of value to help the player get a better grasp of his surroundings. In the future, such markers will indicate the proximity of battles as well, and for explorers, indicate what items are nearby.
Another new menu has popped-up: the “Letters”. It will eventually be a full messaging system, allowing players to communicate with each others, and governors to inform their citizens of current policies. At the moment however, it is not functional at all, and only serves to display a single letter which acts as a small introduction to the game.
I keep making improvements and refactorings under the hood, most of which don’t have visible consequences but prepare the field for future features. One such improvement I’m proud of is a fully custom pathfinding library, much better integrated with the rest of the game and more efficient!
By the next dev log, new buildings should show up. I also hope that the UI will improve a bit by then, but that will depend on several other things. In the meantime, I have started working on the mechanics related to the enemy civilization, which will eventually be a very important gameplay segment of Westward. I’m not sure to what extent this will be visible in the next issue, I guess we will all have the surprise!