Westward dev log #20: War

Following the reshuffling of the planning discussed in the last dev log, the past three weeks have been quite productive, seeing a lot of progress in terms of a core pillar of the game: the enemy civilization.

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

The War

The end goal of the game (once all the gameplay mechanics will have been put in place) will be for the players to settle the whole continent. A key aspect of this will be securing it, by overcoming hostile enemy civilizations.

This aspect was totally absent from the demos so far, but now it’s finally there, albeit in a very primitive form. There is only one civilization (called the Behemas), consisting in four small outposts (two nearby each player settlement) which you can see on the map. They constitute a threat in the sense that they periodically launch raids on the player settlements, attempting to destroy them. Indeed, it is now possible to attack and destroy buildings, with obvious negative consequences on the economy. There are two main mechanisms of defense at the moment:

  • The towers and the Fort can defend themselves by firing arrows at the attackers. This is fully automated and allows to protect the settlements even when no player is around.
  • The players themselves. Short term, it’s up to them to intercept and fend off the attackers, to prevent too much damage to the settlements. Long term, they have to mount their own attacks on the enemy outposts and destroy their buildings to stop the waves of raids.

Buildings repair and rebuild themselves automatically based on each settlement’s productivity, which can be boosted with player commitment, just like resource production.

At the moment, this is still relatively basic, but this constitutes a full gameplay loop already: enemies attack, players have to defend, help repair damage, arm themselves and eventually counter-attack. It’s not really feasible for one single player, but multiple players should be able to craft the necessary equipment relatively fast, and destroy an enemy outpost if they go as a group.

This now works for the current situation of two player settlements and four enemy outposts, and can already be moderately entertaining. But imagine in the end, a dozen player settlements along the coast, all cooperating economically and militarily to overcome the threat of more than a hundred outposts! Destroying them one by one, expanding, triggering new threats as they go deeper in enemy territory, etc. And I’m barely mentioning the implications in terms of exploration, crafting and trade. Sounds good, no? Well, with this update, we are definitely getting closer to that.

The Economy

In support of this, an improvement on the economy front is that the resource flows between buildings are now established. It means that the first resources they produce are dispatched between three targets:

  • The Fort, mainly to maintain a sufficient food level (and in the future, to try and meet the resource requirements of each development level)
  • The trade post, to offer some of these resources to sell to the players, so they can use them for their own goals
  • The workshop, so that there is always a minimum of crafting ingredients available to make something

For now, the way the resources are distributed is fixed, but in the future, the player themselves will be able to decide that! That’s relatively low in the planning though, but it’s there.


Due to the introduction of the enemy civilization, battles take a renewed importance. To make them more fun, I finished introducing the bombs. Example below.

If you want to give it a try, it should be possible for you to craft one yourself or to buy one if some other player has crafted it. Then, in battle, during your turn, click on the bomb (the mouse cursor will change), and then click on where you want to throw it. Beware of not harming yourself in the process!

There is obviously a lot more to refine on that front as well, and I have many plans for that!

Closing words

I’m aware that in my explanations, I’m mentioning a lot of gameplay aspects (“development level”, “trade between settlements” …) without explaining them much. I realize it may be a bit confusing, but explaining all of that and their interactions would boil down to writing a 30 pages design document. Which is precisely something I have done, but is probably not appropriate for a dev log format. I’m mentioning all of this nevertheless to give a hint of the intended depth of the game and of where we are going. If anything is unclear, feel free to ask in the comments, I’d be happy to elaborate. Same with the technical details. I’m not discussing them much at the moment because none of them were particularly huge or revolutionary challenges, but I can definitely talk about it if anyone has specific questions.

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!