Raphael van Lierop

Milton Mailbag -- Dispatch #25

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Hello community,

In case you missed it, here's the March Dev Diary, providing an update on various project and studio-related things. Below, I'll try to get through as many Mailbag questions as I can get done in one hour, which is all the time I have for it today. Enjoy!

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Question(s) from @ESWR:

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what do you think about adding more wildlife?

2nd question, any plans for creating a new world? Maybe Sibiria or Scandinavia? They also have wolfes and bears 😉

 

Yup, I believe I've answered the first question a few times, so please check the Mailbag Index.

Second question -- no plans to create settings in other parts of the world, at least not so far, but who knows!

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Question from @Ardawna:

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Okay - I had this thought today while watching a YouTube video of Atheenon playing Interloper for his Librarian challenge.  What about a very Canadian thing called portage? Maybe it's not a Canadian thing but I spent a few weeks around the boundary waters and I'm thinking "WOW!  That would be such a cool new region in The Long Dark".  It would be a region where there are a bunch of islands, maybe some cabins, maybe not but it would be so fun to have this new concept of portage which means, you'd have to find a canoe, maybe repair it, maybe even have to build it.  You could boat out to some of the islands, find portage paths to some of the areas.  Portage bags, canoe paddles, so many things to craft!  You would definitely have wolves and moose because ... moose and water, right?!!  It could be a very cool concept.  The canoes would only be good in that region, you wouldn't be able to carry them to another region.  So many thoughts on this! 

Portage could be very cool for a non-Winter survival setting. :) 

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Question from @FieldMedic4077:

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Are there any plans to do a balance pass on the Wintermute spear mechanics / bear encounter?

Yes, I touch on this in the dev diary, but yes we're reviewing and making some fixes to the Bear Spear and the Bear encounters, particularly the last one in the cave.

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Questions from @Sir_Vincent:

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Hi! I like very much play TLD, but the game has changed to much, lots of glitches... i hope u r trying to fix all this glitches, am I right?? ...

-GELtaz had a special Cairn? He r working 4 u now? 

 

 

 

Yup, we're always fixing bugs. We released another Hotfix recently and we have about 50+ more fixes that will go out in the next Survival Mode update, release date TBD.

Re: GELtaz and the cairn -- Kickstarter backers paid for those and GELtaz was one of the backers. He doesn't work for us.

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Question from @Its_the_Gman:

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Why is there only 1 craftable item from wolf pelts? Is it because they are so common? 

I feel that the moosehide cloak is a little bit underwhelming. It's waterproofness and protection are great, but it's weight and sprint penalty are what has kept me from hunting moose. Is there a possibility for a buff or rework for this item? 

 

Each type of wildlife can provide skins that can then in turn be crafted into one type of crafted clothing. This makes hunting each animal worthwhile and encourages players to experiment with all the different mechanics, not just the one you need to kill wolves.

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Question from @Guenter:

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Will there be a custom inventory "item adder" for custom sandbox?
Because my friends and I enjoy to play our own challenges, but if you play only Hush River Valley, you may cannot find some special items, which you need to survive in just this region; so I would be thankful when you can add your own inventory items at the beginning : )

No plans for this, no. The regions are balanced and loot is placed so that you can't just survive indefinitely in one region without needing to travel and find resources in others. If you need something to survive in Hushed River Valley, you may have to find it elsewhere!

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Question from @amadeuszbx:

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Do you think you will ever offer entry-level positions at Hinterland? Perhaps, when the company has grown to be big enough? Would you like to offer job and experience opportunities to beginning (often inexperienced) but determined and hard-working artists/programmers/developers?

I totally understand the current approach to Hinterland's team building, focusing on experienced veteran developers. Just curious about distant, theoretical future.

 

It's hard to say. So far we've staffed up almost exclusively with developers who have 10-15 yrs of experience. We have a few with 5-7, and some with 25+. If we got to a point where we were big enough to be able to properly mentor inexperienced people, we'd of course consider it, but right now our focus is on hiring veterans who can bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the studio, and help the whole team get better.

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Question (?) from @thepatsbro:

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I was thinking of an idea that isn't exactly multiplayer but also allows you to have a good time with the game with other people.

A versus mode where the game would generate the same loot, start location, starting loot etc. to both players that are playing the mode.

How it would work is basically 2 people play in there own seperate games to see who can survive longer with the same starting materials. This way it still stays away from an actual "multiplayer" feel. It'll be just 2 players trying to see who can survive longer in certain situations.

Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think!

 

It's a cool idea. I think you can already do this with the Challenges, though? For example, you could start WHITEOUT or HOPELESS RESCUE at the same time as a friend and see who could finish soonest?

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Question from @Azdrawee:

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Will we ever be able to work with lantern fuel the same way we can with water? Dropping only a bit of a fuel instead of the whole can or even defueling storm lanterns would be a great addition, imo. Thanks for your answer! 🙂

Yes at some point we'll do this.

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Question from @Michi:

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As you revealed in the dev diary post, the entirety of Episode 3 is going to take place in Pleasant Valley. Looking at the world map, that region is quite far from Milton. Is the episode going to pick up after Astrid has reached PV or is her transition from Milton to PV gonna be shown in the form of cutscene or is the gameplay sequence just so short that you don't really count the transition region as part of the episode's setting? (or something else entirely?)

You'll have to wait and see!

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Question from @thekillergreece:

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1. Will the new survival update affect the current save files?

2. Will we find the revolver on existing save files? Perhaps only at areas we havent gone/searched yet?

 

1. It should not. We always test for that before releasing our updates.

2. The Revolver will be added to the loot tables and whatnot so it should appear in existing Survival Mode games.

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Question from @Kissodeath:

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Are you planning on adding some critter backstory ... Like why are the critters acting crazy what's affected what isn't why are they affected ECT...  And are you planning on a critter AI revamp maybe add pack behavior to wolves or maybe that's a affected behavior. If changes are to be made any hints as to what changes you have in mind?  

Could you go as far to have the wolf fog up windows trying to sniff you out while your hiding in a car or maybe even in a cabin. That would be terrifying 

 

Backstory for why wildlife is acting "crazy" --> play Story mode

Wildlife AI upgrade -- yes we'd like to do this but we're not ready to talk about it yet.

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Question from @Pillock:

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 I know you don't like talking about release dates anymore, but I was wondering whether you can say if the next update - whenever it comes - will be for Survival Mode or for Wintermute? Or with the splitting of the team into the two sides of the project, will it just be whichever of them finishes first?

Answering this feels like it would be a lot like offering release date/range information, so I'm going to avoid doing that. 

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Question from @JeremiahJohnson:

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Super excited to see what the motion capture studio has in store for the future at Hinterland! I do know that you literally just said you don't want to release any dates about future updates and such, I don't mean to be a weenie...but are we expecting this amazing sounding Survival update within a few months or soon? Just want to say thank you for letting us know whats going on. :coffee:

Same as above.

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Question from @PlayerPawn:

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So in religious texts, Methuselah is thought to have incredibly long life, or is sometimes even portrayed as immortal in various creative works.  There is also a book called: Forever Young: A Cultural History of Longevity wherein the author posits that Methuselah is actually a symbolic link between the creation of man and the great flood, which could draw some parallels of Methuselah in the game.  He himself says this has all happened before, which makes me think he's been witness to a previous "rebirth" of civilization (creation) and is now witnessing its downfall (the great flood).  Considering that Methuselah in the game seemingly is all knowing and appears in the right locations at the right time, I would wager a guess that his presence is either divine or even predestined.  Maybe even time travel, depending on how sci-fi this story goes.  I honestly felt Great Bear might be like the Island on Lost, shifting through time.  I know it's probably spoiler territory to ask but, is there any truth to anything I said?

I really appreciate the research and thought you put into this question. I can't answer it, but I really appreciate it just the same. I wish I got more questions like this. :) 

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Question(s) from @Skelegutplays:

Some questions regarding the revolver.

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1. Will the revolver have separate shooting skill from the rifle?

2. Will it always spawn in a hunting bunker?

3. How rare will it be compared to the rifle?

4. Will it be possible toi use it in a bear/wolf/moose strugle?

 

1) Yes. 2) No. 3) Most likely. 4) You'll see.

I reserve the right to change my answers later. :) 

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Question from @Sceh:

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What are your plans concerning the Buffer Memories? Will you implement a way for us to read them again later (like the notes we collect)?

As a side note, the counter seems to be broken. After collecting all the Memories available at the time in Survival mode and then going around and collecting some more for the Archivist challange, it shows me 34 of 31 collected (and I know there's more than 31 in this version).

I LOVE them by the way. What a great addition to the game's world and what a nice glimpse into the pre-lights lives of Great Bear. Huge props to whoever is writing those.

 

The memories are currently collected in your Journal so you can read them again later. UPDATE: Unfortunately, there is currently a bug where if you don't have any paper collectibles in your Journal, you won't get the EXAMINE button, and without that you can't actually re-read any of the Buffer Memories. This is fixed in mainline and the fix will be pushed out in our next update. Apologies for that. 

In general I'd like to update the Journal screen and how we handle Collectibles in it so that we do a better job surfacing these cool stories once you've found them.

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Question from @xantippee:

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Though I know what almost all sounds in the game are supposed to be, I have not yet figured out what that kind of scratchy metallic sound is which you hear inside a house or building every now and then. It doesn't seem to be similar to any of the other sounds, such as wind noise. The closest I get is a tropical bird someone I knew had as a pet, who'd make a metallic type of sound like that, but I am sure that's not it. 😉

I'd have to hear the sound to comment for sure, but could it be the sound of loose metal roofing bending in the wind?

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Question from @Yodie78:

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 not to nitpick or anything but have you ever thought of modifying the deer so that there’s a doe (female) version and making it so that there’s just a bit more meat? Just kinda wondering also a use for antlers?

Yes we've discussed this. Adding a Doe is quite a bit of work for pretty low gameplay value, so I don't see us doing this until at least after we've added other new wildlife first.

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Question from @Faithful Cartographer:

 

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Hi Rafael! I studied the developer diary and had a few questions.

1) I'm a big fan of WINTERMUTE and I was personally upset that the playing time of episode 3 will be drastically reduced, besides 3 action centers will turn into 1, and even it will be a gratifying valley, which I know as 5 fingers =( You said that the action of episode 3 will take place in a completely new region, and now it turns out that it is not so =( Question to you, what will happen with this new region, will you add it to the survival mode? Or he does not exist and was only in your plans?

2) Why in July you so suddenly called the release date of episode 3, and then 3 months after the "release date" is published in the Developer Diary, which States that episode 3 is still unknown how many will be in development... What happened? If you named a date, it turns out that you were so sure of the release date, so the episode was already almost ready?

3) And the last question, as we are working on episodes 4 and 5, they are already in any stage of readiness? Or did you not start working on them at all?

 

1) Nothing was reduced. The story that would have gone into three regions is now in one (Pleasant Valley). We just know our original plan for the Episode Three story being spread across three regions would have made it way too big, so we're not doing that. 

2) Please refer to the Dev Diary where I talk about no longer discussing release dates. Your kind of question is part of the reason why.

3) We're hardly discussing details of Episode Three yet so you can be sure we have nothing to say about Episode Four or Five. Please don't ask questions you know I'm not going to answer.

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Question from @Adeveth:

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I want  a Chapter where we can play as Jeremiah reeeeeeeeee

Me too!

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Ok that took a bit longer than an hour. :) That's it for this week's mailbag. Enjoy the weekend!

- Raph

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Please use this thread for discussion of @Raphael van Lierop's answers. However, while we will be monitoring the thread, he won't be following up on questions here. If you have more questions please post them in the main question thread and they may be addressed in a future Mailbag.

If you want to know if a topic has been addressed please check the Milton Mailbag Index.

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The bug with reading buffer memories was actually a bit worse. I don't know about anyone else, but it was entirely possible to try read a memory and find that you would be stuck unable to back out and be forced to close the game and restart. For me that was with some of the higher numbered buffer memories that I had for Broken Railroad (those were the highest I had at the time). I try to be careful until it is fixed.

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Regarding the question about Methuselah. I strongly believe he is not literally a divine figure but rather just a normal human being. I think that Raph purposefully designed and wrote the character (name and all) to hint at this concept of the religious figure of Methuselah and his relevance to the story. Almost as if the character has a double meaning which is meant to be something the player figures out. Like a "meta" sort of thing. It is truly an interesting way of storytelling.

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1 hour ago, Fuarian said:

Regarding the question about Methuselah. I strongly believe he is not literally a divine figure but rather just a normal human being. I think that Raph purposefully designed and wrote the character (name and all) to hint at this concept of the religious figure of Methuselah and his relevance to the story. Almost as if the character has a double meaning which is meant to be something the player figures out. Like a "meta" sort of thing. It is truly an interesting way of storytelling.

I have to admit I shot him and nothing happened.

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On 3/9/2019 at 2:02 PM, Doc Feral said:

I have to admit I shot him and nothing happened.

Gameplay limitations, honestly it should restrict you from doing that. 

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regarding methusalah,i like to think he is not real,divine,or otherwise spirited.i think he is wills mind expressing itself in physical form as he never truly gives answers but helps in what ways he can and seems to go off evidences of things you the player have seen procedurally generating on what you have witnessed throughout the story such as the lights in the sky and while he calls them an omen of mother natures wrath you take logical steps to put it down to something as to the cause but find you cant so that voice in the back of your head as methusalah tells you what it could be in order to keep your sanity in check.this as well as methusalah appears before or after key moments in the story when you leave milton he is there talking of the old world and at the gas station doing so as well and this leads to two other encounters in ep 2 where he is at BR after the bear tackles the railcar knocking you out until the aurora fully appears in which he comments on how nature has gone awry and how those who once well knew how the ecosystem worked a.k.a. jeremiah were now puzzled at what was happening a thought jeremiah told will which was probably well in his head as will went to retrieve the bear spear which methusalah had no real way of knowing.another thing is near the end of ep 2 he is at carter hydro and speaks to the player about how the world will never return to its original state saying "that we may dispel this darkness at times,but the light is never coming back" further building into wills mind the realizations he faced in milton where he saw something forgotten to our world or as grey mother put it when speaking of milton in this quiet apocalypse as "i have learned to hear the difference between something quiet and something abandoned,this goes beyond that...it is like the entire world has gone to sleep and we are the only ones left to realize it" which like jeremiahs comment on the inbalance in nature this stays in wills head and remeains related in his two conversations with methusalah in that episode. in my conclusion i believe methusalah to be your mind and as you will mackenzie know the world has changed in mother natures favor and she is against you,you cling to thoughts of rescue and things returning to the way they were but methusalah as the voice in your head reminds you of the state of the world and reminds you there is no saving it despite your efforts.

this ran really long but i feel it is good to have as a thought moving on about the state of methusalah but as to whether he is a voice,person,divine entity vying for or against you,or maybe Jesus we may never know.beside this he is probably my most favourite character adding to the already rich environment.

So raph,what is methusalah?

P.S. why are wolves so buggy lately?and why is the long curve area of PV so buggy as of late?i lost a day 74 interloper when i fell through the ice and out of the worldthere.

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