Westward dev log #16: Gameplay footage and turn-based economy

If you follow me/Dynetis games in any way, you probably have seen the very short gameplay video I have posted a few days ago. In case you didn’t, here it is:

It’s a 1min. clip featuring several gameplay slices. It’s very basic, nothing stunning to see, it’s not a trailer. It would actually be way too early to make a trailer. The goal of this video is to help communicate about the game, especially when contacting indie publishers, which is something I’m gradually starting to do (the game is far from publishable but it is important to seek for potential collaborators early on). It provides, in a short time span, a snapshot of how the game looks like and what’s it about at the moment, and the publishers themselves are the first to stress the importance of such visual snapshots over walls of texts.

I’ll make more such clips as the game matures, and it goes without saying I’ll keep you guys updated if any collaboration starts to materialize!

Aside from that, no big visible changes in the demo for the moment. I have nevertheless been busy, but mostly with big refactorings to prepare for future features.

Turn-based economy

The economy is now turn-based. Previously, all economy-related events were bound to loops timed in seconds and associated with timestamps. For example, the hunter huts would produce food every 3600 seconds, while commitment could last 60 seconds. All these durations were stored in various locations, and it soon became clear that it was messy and brittle.

I realized that was when I started working on a simulation mode for the game, that is, a way to simulate several weeks of gameplay in a few minutes, given a set of parameters, to see how it goes. Such a tool is going to be very useful for debugging. But in order to achieve that, I had to clean up and standardize the temporal aspects of the economy.

Now, the only duration stored anywhere is the duration of a turn (by the way, this duration is stored in a config file that I manage using the very nice config NPM package). All the other temporal events are now expressed in terms of turns. For example, food is produced every 10 turns, commitment lasts 1 turn and building construction progresses at a pace of 3 turns.

Dissociating the events from an actual time duration allows to more easily tune the relative durations between various different economic activities. More over, it allows me to tune the pace of the economy by changing one single number, the duration of a turn. For the moment, a turn lasts 10 seconds for testing purposes. In practice it’ll last longer (1 minute?), but I can also set it to 1ms for that fast-forward simulation mode I was referring to above.


In terms of gameplay, there is one very small addition. Experience is a core mechanic in many MMORPGs. In Westward, there are two kinds of experience: civic experience, reflecting your involvement in civic duties, and class experience, related to the class you have chosen.

It was possible to earn civic XP since a while ago by committing to buildings. Now, it’s slowly starting to become possible to earn class XP as well: explorers now earn some XP by exploring, and craftsmen earn XP by, well, crafting stuff. The experience system will become much more refined in the future, it’s only a first step. The other two classes don’t get experience yet!

What’s next

I have been working on a custom pathfinding library, specifically tailored for Westward. More on that in the future, when it’ll be done. I’ll also discuss the justification behind this. In terms of gameplay, refinements of the economy and the class system are to be expected.


I’d like to thank Sean Pope for becoming my second patron on Patreon, following in the footsteps of Brynn! It really means a lot!

Also, thanks again for the bug snapshots I receive, they are very useful, especially to fix the small anomalies caused by the procedural world generation.

If, like Sean, you’d like to support my work, 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!