Westward dev log #22: organic settlements and tutorial

As announced in the previous dev log, this new update introduces a significant shift in the gameplay in the form of what I call “organic settlements“. In addition, a brand new tutorial mode makes its apparition to help introduce the new mechanics.

Before I detail this further, let me also point out that I have added Disqus comments below the game window. I encourage you to let me know about bugs, questions or remarks you might have!

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

Organic settlements

The previous fixed settlements have been removed. Instead, it is now up to the player to build them, however and wherever they want. A new menu is now available to help players build buildings. It is still quite basic, but you can build a shop, a workshop, a shack or even a defense tower, provided that you have the necessary building material (mostly timber, which you can acquire by building a lumber camp near a forest).

This change pushes the player collaboration aspect further. Now, players start with absolutely zero infrastructure to support them, and they need to make it themselves. Some players will want to craft things, and seek to build a workshop, but may need for that the timber that other players have gathered. Since it’s in everyone’s interest to be able to craft equipment, the players may be tempted to pool their resources to help that workshop being built. Same with defense towers: without towers, their buildings would soon be destroyed. Collaboration will be more than ever in the collective’s interest, and will now become particularly concrete with respect to buildings.

I use the term “organic” to denote that if a few players decide to build a few interdependent buildings within a relatively small area, this can essentially be considered a settlement, whose existence is organic in the sense that it emerged from the needs and collaboration of the players only. Nothing fixed by me anymore!

As the possibilities expand in future versions, I’m looking forward to the results this new mechanic will produce!

The main downside at the moment is that there was a need for new, smaller buildings. Unfortunately, the new ones are less nice than the previous ones. That’s entirely my fault, the artist followed my instructions to the letter, but it’s a short-term situation. When everything starts falling into place, I will replace the existing buildings by much nicer ones.

Lastly, the enemy civilization which was introduced a few weeks ago has been removed for now, because of some incompatibilities with the new mechanic. But they’ll be back soon.

Permanent characters

Each building is owned by the character who built it. In order to make this tangible, I’ve now made your characters permanent! Which means that your progress will be saved as you play, allowing you to come back and resume later, which is kind of essential in a MMORPG. When creating a character, you’ll therefore have to give it a name, too.

Note that your character will be recognized using a key in your browser’s localStorage. If you empty it, you lose your character for ever. (Obviously a much more robust account system will be introduced at some point, but that’s very low on the todo list).


The title screen has been revamped and is much cooler than before. In addition, it now offers the possibility to follow a small tutorial about buildings. This is the first of a (probably) three-part tutorial that should eventually give an overview of the main gameplay mechanics in Westward. It’s still a bit rough, but it’s a start. Feel free to give it a try and give feedback!

What’s next

On the menu: restoring the enemy civilization, expanding the building mechanic (new buildings and more), and expanding the tutorial to cover all of this. If there are particular aspects that caught your interest, feel free to let me know and I’ll gladly elaborate on them or even focus the development accordingly!

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!