Westward dev log #25: Functional buildings

The improvements since last time have focused on making the different buildings more functional and pretty. Here is the breakdown below!

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

A functional economy

It’s been a while since the economy of the game hasn’t worked properly. This was essentially due to the fact that I scraped the settlement mechanic to focus on the buildings themselves. Now, all existing economic buildings are fully functional again and have cleaner and more informative interfaces to boot.


You can build your own shops, store anything you want in them, and freely set the prices of the items you wish to buy and sell. To set up an item for sale (for example, a pelt you just acquired by hunting a wolf), simply store it in your shop (by “giving” it to the shop). Then, set a selling price greater than 0. The same goes if you seek to buy an item from the players. Set its buying price to a value greater than 0, give some gold to the shop, and wait for someone to eventually pass by and sell it. You can trade literally anything in a shop if it’s owner wishes so.

Most actions are achieved by clicking on items in the dual-panel interface (one panel for your inventory, one for the shop inventory). Hopefully this interface is intuitive; let me know if this is not the case!


In addition, you can also build workshops where you can craft new items. Again, the interface aims to be simple. You select what you want to craft in a list to the right, the left panel details the ingredients you need, and if you have everything you can perform the operation. As the owner of a workshop, you can let items be crafted for free, or set up a fee, pretty much like you can set prices in a normal shop. At the moment, the list of craftable items is short, but it’ll soon increase and will vary from workshop to workshop depending on the knowledge of the owner.

Resource-producing buildings

Finally, you can build a lumber camp to have a look at the interface of resource-producing buildings. Each such building lists the different items it produces. Buildings automatically produce their resources at regular intervals. A small progress bar indicates how close in time a resource is to be produced. If you are the owner, you can click on a resource to take some of it (for example to take timber to go build another building).

Together these three buildings enable production, trade and crafting. The possibilities are still a bit limited due to the small variety of usable items in the game. The necessary core mechanics are in place however to allow the economy to run, fully driven by the players.

In addition, you will notice that the buildings have once again changed in appearance. I really like this iteration, as the new buildings are prettier, have more original architectures and blend much better with the rest of the environment. Below you can see a comparison of how the game looks now compared to a few months ago.

Dear journal

Another new feature is that the character menu now boasts a “journal” panel which keeps track of recent occurrences relevant to your character. Of particular interest is that it indicates when a building of yours produces resources or when someone performs an action in one of your buildings. This is therefore a nice complement to the new functional economy, allowing you to keep track to some extent of what is happening while you are away.

New server

Finally, under the impulse of my new collaborator Mihail Ilinov, we have moved the game from Heroku to Digital Ocean. The pricing so far is more appealing. But the biggest advantage I see is the ability to access and manipulate the host machine at will. This is not possible with the more serverless-oriented approach of Heroku. This has led to a lot of playing around with cool things like keycloak and pm2. Another interesting part was setting up a bare-metal devops pipeline linking Bitbucket and the server using webhooks. Finally, more interesting stuff took place regarding the administration dashboard that will be discussed in a future dev log. Most of this doesn’t change anything yet from the point of view of the players. On the other hand, it’s definitely good to know that not only the game itself but its infrastructure is growing.

What’s next

My plan is now to focus on two brand new mechanics: fatigue/stamina and food. Food has lost all of its utility when I scraped the settlement system, but it’ll be restored by giving it two new uses. Fatigue/stamina will be a completely new addition, which will interact with food too. These two should be easy to introduce, but will likely require a lot of experimenting and balancing. As always, I’m counting on your feedback to improve all of this!

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!