Raphael van Lierop

The Long Dark Sandbox Updated to v.321: "Tireless Menace"

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Hello community!

We've just updated The Long Dark Sandbox to v.321, which we're calling "Tireless Menace".

(Please note the Xbox release version of “Tireless Menace” is v.320; the difference between v.320 and v.321 are Steam-centric fixes.)

You can check out the update video here: http://bit.ly/1Vk62tV

Some highlights from the new update:

New! Radial Menu & Streamlined Status

To support our goals of deep immersion and informed decision-making, we have completely overhauled our user interface. The new Radial Menu replaces the previous Actions Panel and puts all the player’s major gameplay actions within one or two clicks or button-presses. The Radial has also made it possible to add a subset of basic craftables made directly from the menu, rather than requiring the use of a Workbench to make simple items like Torches, Bandages, Tinder Plugs, etc. The new Streamlined Status screen lets you quickly check on your Condition, Calories, and other important survival information without needing to refer to a separate screen that pulls you out of the game world. Overall we think this improves the player experience by keeping the gameplay flow uninterrupted.

New! Challenge Modes

We’ve added Challenge Modes to the Sandbox. These challenges add objective-based gameplay to the core Sandbox experience. To start with, we’re launching “Hunted, Part One”, where you have to escape a murderous bear stalking you from Pleasant Valley to Mystery Lake, with only the Distress Pistol for protection. And “Hopeless Rescue”, where you have to get from the Trapper’s Cabin, to the top of Timberwolf Mountain, and then over to fire a signal flare from the Lighthouse in Desolation Point, within seven days! We’re excited to see how you find these experiences.

Rest System Overhaul

We’ve turned Rest into a true resource. You can now only Rest when you are tired, or have an affliction that requires it. We’ve added a “Pass Time” mechanic to the Rest interface, which allows you to advance the clock, without gaining the calorie-reducing and healing benefits of Rest. And finally, we’ve added a Cabin Fever affliction, to keep things interesting for our Hibernators. We feel that these changes will go a long way towards keeping the game more interesting for long-term players, add another layer of strategic decision-making and resource management around where and when you Rest, and increase the challenge for those who’ve embraced long-term hibernation techniques.

Decay System Overhaul

Previously, items in the world would only start to decay once the player entered the region they existed in. This made tuning unnecessarily complicated and led to some undesirable player behaviours. As of this update, all items in the world now begin to decay as soon as a Sandbox is started. To balance this, all item decay rates have been re-balanced on a much longer time-scale -- 1000+ days, as compared to the previous tuning which was on more of a 100+ day timescale. We’ve also added some decay modifiers to account for interior/exterior storage, and more realistic decay for fish and meat items (both raw and cooked). We feel that this overhaul keeps item decay at reasonable levels while supporting both nomadic (explorers) and sedentary (hunkering down) play styles.

First-Person Presence for Wolf Struggle

We’ve added first-person hands and held weapons to Wolf struggle, to hopefully clarify for players that they are actually using the best tool in their inventory during the struggle (which has always been the case, but never been well visualized before). We hope that this will help players understand what is happening during the Wolf struggle, and also serves as a proof of concept for further work we’d like to do to improve the sense of first-person presence in the game.

Those are just some highlights from Tireless Menace. See the full changelist below!


THE LONG DARK™ -- SANDBOX UPDATED TO v.321, “TIRELESS MENACE” -- FULL CHANGELIST


Gameplay, Tuning & User Interface

* New! Radial Menu and streamlined Status Screens.
* New! Sandbox Challenge Modes: “Hunted, Part One”, and “Hopeless Rescue”.
* New! Emergency Stim gear item. Emergency stims added into various locations (also made available in older saves) and also available in some containers.
* New! Brands can now be taken from a burning fire (replacing Torches taken from fires; Torches are still craftable).
* New! There is now a chance of getting Cabin Fever from spending too many continuous hours inside.
* New! There is now a chance of contracting Intestinal Parasites from eating too much meat from carnivores (i.e. Wolves and Bears).
* New! Added a Curiosity state to Wolf AI. There is now a chance that Wolves will hang back and follow the player from a distance, before deciding to either leave, or stalk the player.
* Refreshed wildlife spawning in all major regions (except bears).
* Overhauled item degradation behaviour and retuned all decay rates for 1000+ day timescale. Gear decay now begins at game start for all items in the world. All Clothing items decay based on a daily rate modified for interior/exterior storage, and player use. All food decay is based on storage (interior vs. exterior) and, for fish and meat, whether an item is raw or cooked. All tools continue to decay based on use only.
* Removed decay from Matches.
* Added various rope climbs and climbing anchor points across all regions (including access to a couple of previously inaccessible areas).
* Added rope gear spawns into a few locations (also made available in older saves).
* Journals can now be saved on the death screen. Saved journals can be viewed from the main menu. A maximum of 10 journals can be saved at any given time.
* Updated the gear naming system to reflect item condition (applies to Food and Clothing items, currently).
* Complete overhaul to Rest system. Player cannot Rest if there is no fatigue. Added a Passing Time mechanic to allow advancement of time.
* Added slow Condition gain while awake and healthy (i.e. no Afflictions, and not Starving, Exhausted, Dehydrated, or Freezing).
* Added Hypothermia Risk affliction, as an early warning system to help avoid “surprise” Hypothermia.
* Added more stats tracking including: Intestinal Parasites, Cabin Fever.
* Differentiated all light sources more clearly, by tuning burn times, Brandishing effectiveness, and item “cost”. This applies to Torches, Flares, Brands, and Lanterns.
* Flares are now Brandished and not thrown.
* AI will now ignore dropped Torches and Flares.
* Harvesting Branches now produces 3 Sticks (increased from 2).
* Harvesting Sticks now produces 2 Tinder Plugs (increased from 1). 
* Hatchets now modify Branch harvesting time correctly.
* Brandishing now only works if an item is lit.
* Items that decay to 0% Condition will now be marked Ruined, but persist in the world.
* Increased the Wind speed required to blow out existing fires, as well as which prevents fires from being started. This should reduce instances of strong fires being blown out suddenly due to wind changes.
* Delay condition-loss from Bear struggle until the struggle animation is complete. (This does not apply to Wolf struggles.)
* Combined Stats with Journal. Made accessible from Main Menu and Deathscreen as well as in game.
* Simple Crafting now accessible directly from Radial Menu (see above for more details).
* Updated art for Feed Fire screen.
* In the Options screen, Key Bindings will now display a mouseover effect.
* Show sheltered icon when in caves and other large enclosed spaces outdoors.

Art, Animation, FX

* New! Added experimental First-Person presence for Wolf Struggles with Knife, Hatchet, and Prybar.
* New! First pass on colour grading. 
* New! Added rim lighting effect for night-time lighting. It should be more possible to see the “edges” of snow banks and things on clear, moonlit nights, enhancing night-time navigation.
* Improved the Bear model and texture.
* Improved the Bear animations.
* Improved the Wolf animations.
* Updated the visual effects for Torches, Flares, Lanterns, and Brands, so that flames begin to “sputter” when you are running low on burn time.
* Added new Footprints system, which improves the footprint visuals as well as respects weather conditions; footprints will persist for a longer period of time, unless filled in by snow or high winds. (Future improvements to this system will be focused on enhanced Tracking gameplay.)
* Improved draw distance for falling snow.
* Updated the “light shafts” window effect to improve performance.
* Increased the visibility of blood drops, to aid with tracking wounded animals.
* Added blood splatter effect when player is injured by blood loss event (ex. during wolf struggle), when wildlife is hit, and when a carcass is harvested. Also, when hit, the first blood drops from a bleeding animal will be larger, to help the player determine the direction of the animal’s movement.

Misc.

* New! The game now supports Steam Cloud Saves for Windows, Mac and Linux. This means that you can continue to play your saved games across multiple systems (provided you are using the same Steam account).
* New! More graceful handling of corrupt or incompatible save games. Saves will be shown as corrupt or incompatible in the UI, allowing players to remove them and avoiding system crashes due to corrupted save files.
* New! All game sessions are now saved upon start, not at first Rest or interior/exterior transition. This should result in fewer “mysterious” save losses when players abandon games before they have been auto-saved.
* Improved Steam Controller support. All in-game actions can now be rebound using the steam controller configuration screen.
* Particle optimization now active for Windows. This should result in better performance of heavy snow and blizzard conditions for some players.
* Mac and Linux rendering now uses OpenGL 4.1, which should result in some performance improvements for players on those platforms.
* Added error handling for updating to default key-bindings due to the addition of new controls (ex. the new radial menu is bound to the Space Bar by default). Note that this error will only be seen if a newly added binding was already in use.
* The save icon now appears when saving the player profile.
* Added save file compression which results in smaller save files and faster cloud-save uploads.

Audio

* New! Added master volume slider. 
* Added more general ambient and exploration music, and fixed some issues that were preventing ambient music from playing in certain circumstances.
* Fixed issues that were preventing desired gameplay speech from playing. As a result, you should hear more gameplay-relevant voice feedback from the survivor personae.
* Overhauled struggle audio for both Wolves (to account for new first-person presence) and for the Bear struggle (to make it more impressive).
* Footstep audio now differentiates between shoes, boots, and bare feet.

Bug Fixes

* We now display an error message if user tries to use a stove to start a fire but are missing all of the required items.
* Fixed issue where you could get stuck in an infinite cooking loop when using gamepad/controller.
* Fixed issue where you could get stuck in an infinite crafting loop.
* Fixed issue where you could quit the game in the middle of a save, which would result in corrupted save files.
* Fixed issue where worn-out tools could be used one extra time.
* Fixed Distress Pistol using wrong ammo icon on inventory screen.
* Fixed issue where the First Aid screen would not update if an affliction healed itself while the screen was open.
* Fixed a bug causing the player to holster the held item while cancelling item placement.
* Fixed issue where blood trails were only being left when wildlife was fleeing.
* Bears are now spawned facing outwards from Dens. This helps fix some pathing issues when the bear attempts to leave the Den.
* Fix issue with items being left behind when transitioning scenes with item placement in progress
* Fixed issue with corpses getting re-oriented after loading a save.
* Fixed issue where players could add fuel to fires that had already blown out (the fire FX didn’t reflect this state).
* Fixed issue with camera sometimes crashing into geometry when placing a campfire.
* Fixed issue with being able to place snares too close to geometry, causing the snared rabbit to be inaccessible
* Fixed issue with Bear playing sleep animations after leaving the sleep AI state.

### END OF CHANGELIST ###

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Hi Raph,

from watching the Trailer, this is a great update. Thanks a ton! This is going to get a long night for me ... :)

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Looks... interesting.

I can't wait to poop my pants from bear stalker. O_O

Great work guys. Validating the crowd funded game revolution one excellent update at a time.

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Congratulations to you and team, Raph. This update looks and sounds phenomenal. Can't wait to playtest and, beyond that, can't wait to dive in for a new season of content with a new patch to back it up.

Few questions:
- Can you say a little more (for my sake, as I won't be able to play for a week or so) about the cabin fever changes? How long, roughly, does it take for it to set in?
- Is the radial menu optional and, if not, could that be done? Granted, I haven't played it, but as a PC player the radial menu doesn't immediately make me feel great.

-H

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Yay, challenge mode & hibernation fix! Sounds great so far, can't wait to give it a try. :love:

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NO!

Not for the update but the fact I'll likely not have time to play until the weekend :crying:

The change list as a whole looks awesome! Is it bad that I kinda want to tangle with a wolf now to see how the first person presence looks? :silly:

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9 minutes ago, Hadrian said:

Congratulations to you and team, Raph. This update looks and sounds phenomenal. Can't wait to playtest and, beyond that, can't wait to dive in for a new season of content with a new patch to back it up.

Few questions:
- Can you say a little more (for my sake, as I won't be able to play for a week or so) about the cabin fever changes? How long, roughly, does it take for it to set in?
- Is the radial menu optional and, if not, could that be done? Granted, I haven't played it, but as a PC player the radial menu doesn't immediately make me feel great.

-H

I'll hold off on talking about Cabin Fever until more people have a chance to play it. :) That said, Cabin Fever is contracted based on a number of hours spent inside out of a total number of hours. If the ratio is excessive, you may get it. 

For the Radial -- no, not at all optional. It changes the game's interface pretty fundamentally. I'll say that as a primarily mouse & keyboard player, I find the new radial to be *fantastic*. So, try it out and see what you think! This isn't a "consolification" move on our part. This is 100% about immersion and keeping things smooth.

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@Raphael van Lierop Quick question: will the game save on resting? I normally can't play for long lengths of time so I've been reliant on my bedroll and an hour snooze to save my game. Also, does resting require a bed or bedroll or can it be done anywhere?

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Just now, cekivi said:

@Raphael van Lierop Quick question: will the game save on resting? I normally can't play for long lengths of time so I've been reliant on my bedroll and an hour snooze to save my game. Also, does resting require a bed or bedroll or can it be done anywhere?

The saving behaviour hasn't changed at all. Resting still requires a Bedroll or Bed, as does Passing Time. This is placeholder (we needed a UI for it); I have other ideas for how to handle Passing Time in the future. :)

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2 minutes ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

The saving behaviour hasn't changed at all. Resting still requires a Bedroll or Bed, as does Passing Time. This is placeholder (we needed a UI for it); I have other ideas for how to handle Passing Time in the future. :)

Excellent. Thanks for the quick reply :)

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The more I read the new features, the more exited I am! Cannot wait to test it all...

I am very glad that I decided to support this project. It is becoming a very unique type of artwork, for which I am grateful. Thank you very much, folks/Hinterland, for all the hard work. Keep it up! :)

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Oh my god guys,

this is awesome. Was able to play Hunted, Part 1 (which implies a part 2, yay) and it´s absolutely scary! I died 30 seconds into the game because i didn´t find the radial menu ;P (spacebar) and then this huge monster ran after me, the music became very spook & thought that´s it, gonna die horribly, I couldn´t look behind me! Heart pounds fast! Then I jumped off a little cliff and managed to delay the beast and finally found shelter. Phew...

Hinterland, great job again! The radial menu is very intuitive, the atmosphere has greatly improved (dat music Oo) and the overall feeling seems even more real and detailed. and those footprints! ♥ Just a quick feedback, gotta test some more^^

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Awesome. I'm heading home early and my wife will have to wait for my attention :-)

Thanks, guys.

And not to be nit-picky, but the post title names the version as V.231. I was curious as to why an old version was suddenly hot ;-)

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5 minutes ago, loganw3 said:

Awesome. I'm heading home early and my wife will have to wait for my attention :-)

Thanks, guys.

And not to be nit-picky, but the post title names the version as V.231. I was curious as to why an old version was suddenly hot ;-)

Thanks. Fixed.

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Damn, update drops in the middle of the week! Have mercy, some people have to work! OK, forget about work. My clients can wait...

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Whouhou! Update looks great! And Challenging, love that. Thank you Hinterlands Team!

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Just finished the hunted challenge, great work@devs!

Haven't had that much fun for a long time! Panicked a bit too much at the beginning and fired 3 flare gun shots during my first night in PV, but still somehow made it to trapper's cabin eventually. :normal:

That bear is REALLY persistent once it has decided to start running. Fired my last flare at the logging camp and thus desperately tried to evade him by climbing some steep hillsides afterwards, but he nevertheless almost caught me in the end. Almost got a heart attack when I heard him coming for me - my relief when I was finally close enough to click the door of trapper's cabin was beyond all description. xD

Definitely need to improve my time (and especially number of hypothermias contracted), though. Much fun ahead for sure! :love:

I'll write a more detailed feedback on the challenges and the other  changes once I've had the chance to play more than just a few hours. 

 

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Great to hear that the challenges are working out so well. I can't wait for the weekend when I can try them myself :)

Also, the teaser mystery is finally solved. I'm assuming the screenshot was of the bear in the hunted challenge. I wonder though: if you found a rifle could you hunt your hunter?

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Whaat??? no more torch safety ? flares can't be thrown? Cabin fever ? You really want us do die do you?  :) Can't wait to try it, finally matches are 100% degradation free I can start stockpiling them as it should be thanks.

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