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Pillock

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Everything posted by Pillock

  1. If I were to guess, which I am, I would go for the birch wood that's out the back of Pleasant Valley barn. I think there's some tumbledown buildings thereabouts, which I can't remember the name of? But really I don't have a clue. (as you might have detected)
  2. I don't know. I think it's the other way around. A really long-burning fire gets much hotter and therefore tends to totally consume whatever fuel was there, leaving nothing much more than a pile of ashes. Shorter fires leave more of the fuel unburned because they die out through lack of heat before consuming everything - especially if you put large logs on it before it's really got going. But it depends how it's built and if/when/how much fuel is added during the burning time... but all this seems unnecessarily complicated for the game's purposes, maybe, and therefore probably not worth changing the art assets at all unless they totally overhaul fire-making mechanics? (which wouldn't be a bad thing) A fire that's blown out by the wind is another matter - I definitely would like to see those be harvestable for unburned fuel as well as charcoal. Oh and while we're (vaguely) on the subject, it's always slightly bothered me that you can pull wooden torches with your bare hands out of a 200° coal-fired furnace! On the main point of this topic, though: it would be nice if campfires degraded and disappeared, and fairly quickly. I shouldn't think there'd be much visible evidence or useable remains of any campfires after a blizzard had blown through the area (except for those made inside caves?).
  3. on some snow?
  4. That's in the woods. Near where the moose has been quite recently.
  5. Yeah, this kind of suggestion has been brought up before, but there's no harm in reviving the idea, as it's a good one. I'm not sure wild garlic and onions would be available in the depths of winter, but I'm sure there must be some edible plants and roots that would be. Also, things like shellfish on coastal maps, birds, small mammals, insects, etc. would fit the scenario. The issue with all these as always is about balance. You don't want to create a situation where food is too abundant or easily acquired, because the effect of that is to incentivise the player to stay indoors more, where they can stay warm, watered and rested easily. And that defeats part of the purpose of the game, which is exploration.
  6. Don't worry about it. That thread wasn't the first of this kind, either. And I'm sure yours won't be the last. The more the merrier!
  7. It' not a big deal, no. But you can now turn the stick spawn ratios right down in the Custom game set-up so I guess it might become a bigger deal, possibly? But intuitively, I think you should stop lighting a fire if you decide you don't want it anymore, anyway. And I've argued for a long time that simply beginning the process of fire-starting should never be enough to scare away a wolf in itself: you should have to get the thing actually burning before it has any effect. That way, it'd be much less of a gimme and would make torches and flares much more valuable in that regard than they currently are; also it would bring accelerant into play a lot more, where now it's pretty negligible in its usefulness.
  8. It's not that I've found a particular discrepancy between the description and the in-game reality; it's more that I don't really know what Low/Medium/High is going to mean when I get into the game. I feel like I'm shooting in the dark a bit. I can cycle through the default modes and note down what they are (or I can use the spreadsheet that someone else in the community has produced) and make a judgement from that. But it would be more useful if, as well as an overview of what the setting does in general (like you currently get), there was also a little description of each setting position, so that I could make a better judgement of which one I want. For example, for 'Blizzard Frequency' it says "Determines how common blizzards are". Well, that's obvious, thank you! But how frequent is 'Very High'? And how frequent is 'High'? Etc. Again, I can cycle through the default settings and judge from my experience of playing them, but I don't want to have to do that for every setting, because then it will reset all my previous choices and I will have to start again! It would be nice if, when you selected 'Very High', for example, the description panel actually said something like "Blizzards occur every 2-3 days on average", or "Every day there is a 60% chance of a blizzard", or however it works - or even something less precise without using numbers, but that at least gives you an idea. And it could say Interloper Level so that you have a quick reference to that for each setting. And then when you changed the setting to 'High', the description could change as well so that it says "Blizzards occur once or twice a week on average - Stalker Level " (or whatever). I think that would go quite a long way to making the process less oblique (if that's the right word to use). Thanks for taking the time to reply, by the way, @Patrick Carlson. Very much appreciated.
  9. I think it would be much better if the Custom settings had more precise descriptions of what effects they will have in the game. I agree that Hinterland's policy generally seems to be for the player to work things out for themselves through in-game experience, and I very much like that approach to most aspects of playing The Long Dark - but I don't think this is a good policy when it comes to setting up a 'custom' game. If you choose custom settings rather than one of the preset Experience Modes, then presumably it's because you know pretty well what results you want to get out of those settings - if you don't know, you choose one of the preset experience modes. You don't want (or I don't, anyway) to have to learn this through trial and error, because that entails choosing some settings, going into the game, realising that you one or more of the variables isn't how you wanted it, quitting the game, starting again with adjusted settings, then maybe realising again that you don't quite like the results, and quitting again and starting again, and so on into infinity. That's not a good game experience. If I'm given the option to use custom settings, then I want to just set up my game how I want it, and then play. I want to get it right (or very nearly right) first time, otherwise I feel like I'm wasting my time. For that to work, I need to know pretty precisely what each setting does, and what I can or can't achieve with them; and I don't feel like this is something I should have to rely on 3rd-party spreadsheets and walkthroughs to find out - ideally it should be there in the menu. If you are allowing players the freedom to choose the settings, then I don't see any advantage in hiding the details or being vague about the results of those settings: that just makes the whole exercise less enjoyable.
  10. I've also encountered this. I thought it was probably an intentional change in order to make campfire-lighting feel less like an exploit for scaring off wolves (because it now costs you 1 piece of fuel every time where it didn't before, and it takes an irritatingly long time) But there are far better ways to achieve that aim, if that's what it is. And @cullam's post makes me think it could be a bug.
  11. Thanks man! That's a great help. I'll see what I can come up with. I suppose that, like many relatively-experienced players, I know fairly accurately and precisely what results I want to get from changing the settings - but as you say, the descriptions are sometimes a bit vague and I don't always know how the combinations are going to pan out. And I would rather just set up my game and play it through to the end, rather than constantly be stopping and restarting with small differences in the set-ups, becoming some sort of configuration junky. The beauty of the pre-defined Experience Modes was that you weren't led into doing that.
  12. Please do, if you have time/inclination! I'd certainly be interested in it. I've yet to try the sandbox post-update because I'm still playing through Wintermute on 'Hard' (or whatever it's called), but I was rather looking forward to tinkering with the custom settings for Survivor Mode when I'm done. If I understand what you're saying, the settings correspond to the existing Experience Modes (so, instead of Resource Availability being called 'VeryHigh/High/Medium/Low', they could equally be named 'Pilgrim/Voyageur/Stalker/Interloper, and so on for the other variables)? It's a little disappointing for me if that is indeed the case, as I was hoping to be able to create a similar experience to Stalker, which I enjoy quite a lot, but just with less loot. However, I don't want it to quite as sparse as it is in Interloper, which I find makes the world feel somewhat barren and lifeless; I was looking for something of a halfway-house between the two. I'd like to be able to find a rifle or a hatchet or a knife, but not to be able to accumulate several of each from the same map. In Stalker Mode, I rarely do any hunting or crafting (or any type of "bushcraft" at all, really) within about the first month or so of a character's life, simply because I don't need to: all the food and clothes I need (in fact, much more than I need) are available from visiting the abandoned buildings, and I just travel around taking what I need and moving on. I'm fine with the predators, I like climate and the weather, I'm fine with the parasites and the cabin fever - maybe I'd slow down the condition recovery a bit. Do you think it's possible to create something like that with the current options?
  13. The custom experience settings for Survivor Mode look intriguing! I expect I'll be tinkering with that for a good while. Also: Clothes you are wearing weigh less than the ones in your pack = great improvement, one that I've been hoping for ever since... ever. But the highlight must be the variable difficulty modes for Wintermute. This and this alone goes so far towards reinvigorating my interest in the game that I can't possibly overstate it. It's just the exact thing the game needed for me. Looking forward to giving Old Mother Grump another, long overdue, visit!
  14. In Survivor Mode, the objective is to survive. If you fail to survive, you have failed to achieve the objective and it's Game Over. That is the whole point of it. Having the option to remove permadeath from Survivor Mode would be a bit like having the option to remove the story from Wintermute.
  15. I think it's fine. If you're walking along a railway line covered in snow, you could easily fall over and sprain something. Even on flat ground or roads, you can still slip or trip because it's snow and ice you're walking on. I just think the fact that a few hours sleep or a couple of pills makes it all vanish is a bit cheap - and that's what causes most of the frustration. If you had to carry around these afflictions for some time and deal with your pain in a more believable way, it would feel much more like a valid part of the gameplay experience rather than the mild repetitive irritation that it currently is.
  16. This is pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear. I haven't played TLD at all since shortly after the full release, and it's precisely because I didn't like Story Mode at first. I didn't want to play Survivor Mode because I didn't want to spoil the new areas for when I played the story - but I didn't want to play Wintermute because, well, I didn't really find it much fun. So I ended up shelving the game altogether. These developer update posts are always very open and honest - which is great to see in itself - but more often than not they contain very interesting and exciting news on the future of the game, too. Hats off to the team.
  17. I'd like to have a new special medicine that you can craft out of various plants, hides, sticks and whatever. Then you can feed it to Grey Mother, and she grows really tall so her head crashes through the roof of her house.
  18. discussion

    I don't know. I think Season Two could be set in springtime. Season One is called "Wintermute". Season Two could be called "Spring...loud"? And if they were going to do that, they may well want to test it in the sandbox version first, through some sort of early access/public beta type thing perhaps? But yeah, we're looking way ahead in the future, if at all. And I'd certainly expect to have to pay for it.
  19. It already does, though. You have to complete the missions that the NPCs give you otherwise you can't progress - and that means you already have to be "good". I was just suggesting that utilizing the Trust mechanic in the NPCs' willingness to give you the important story-progress tasks would allow things like time-limiting or otherwise failing of missions to come into play with the existing quests without the need to quit>reload>try again if you mess one up or choose to abandon it. I would favour an approach where there were more missions than necessary, and you wouldn't always need to complete all of them in order to progress. They could be tiered so that at low a Trust-level you get 'Tier 1' missions; completion of one of them would allow you to get a 'Tier 2', while failure reduces your Trust and forces you to do more lower-level tasks or give them gifts to win it back; completion of a 'Tier 2 mission' would allow you to go to the next stage, and so on. That way it wouldn't get too repetitive with the same missions until you succeeded. I'd also favour, as I think you were suggesting, a way of getting past an area of the game without being "good", or without succeeding in completing the missions you're given by the NPC. Your aim as Will seems primarily to be to find Astrid (Astrid seems to be doing all she can to avoid him, so far as I can tell, but maybe that's not true!): you need the NPCs, and you need to help them, because they know better than you do where she might have gone. But what if you were allowed to take a dislike to them, or if you lost their Trust to such an extent that they refused to talk to you any more? If there were a way to figure out how to move on from your location based on environmental clues (or tasks that derived from environmental clues that Will gave himself), so that you could follow Astrid's trail more independently, it would make the game feel much more interactive, I think. The current way the player interacts with the plot is so constrained and linear that I barely felt as though my actions or decisions were making any difference whatsoever. I felt like a passive observer to proceedings, not like an active participant.
  20. The obvious solution to this is to make much more and much better use of the Trust mechanic. The Trust system is pretty naff in its current form, to be frank: it's just a way of 'buying' extra stuff off the NPC that you don't really need. It feels pretty redundant to the overall flow of the game if you ask me. If certain appropriate missions - like the wood and food gathering for Old Lady Misery or the meds collection for Jeremiah - were time limited, failing to complete them could result in a loss of Trust. Then you'd have to build your Trust level up again in order to move on with the main story. There's so much more they could make of the Trust system. It's a really good idea in principle but what we've seen of it thus far is woefully underdeveloped and unsatisfying. Difficult moral choices are what I was expecting from Story mode - and there are none (rob/don't rob the gas station is utterly feeble in that regard).
  21. My biggest complaint is that the game holds your hand far too much. Throughout episode 1 it does nothing but. But even I was a bit flummoxed by rosehips for a short while in my first game. It seems a strange omission, when it tells you exactly how to do everything else.
  22. Wow, the Aurora. It seems to be powering the electricity. Hmmm, I wonder if that radio works, then? I'll go and have a look. Now, where was it? Over there, I think, near the... "Holy shit, that's hot!" Affliction: Burns. You Faded Into The Long Dark. ...... ... What? What the hell just happened? I was on full health, wasn't I? Or was I? I can't remember if I checked my condition after passing out from the knock on the head. I definitely had checked my status when I woke up, because I knew I was a bit tired, and I'd also had to drink to top up my thirst. I would have noticed if my condition had got really low while I was passed out, wouldn't I? Anyway, to just suddenly die like that without warning? I don't even know what it was that burned me. Well. I guess it does present a good opportunity for me to give some general feedback about what I think of Wintermute so far. I'd got some way in to the Luminance Fugue episode (I still don't really know what those words mean when put together like that) and had made a fairly thorough job of completing the previous chapter, I think. I don't feel like trying again from a earlier save because, well, I'm dead. I failed: that story is over. I'd rather start again and maybe try and do things a bit differently next time. But to be honest, I'm not desperate to rush back into it to find out what happens. I may well park it for the time being and go and play Survivor Mode. The narrative hasn't succeeded in pulling me in and gripping me; I haven't experienced any particularly exciting or tense moments yet, nothing that's put me on edge or that's challenged me; I haven't been given any difficult moral choices to make, or any choices at all, really; I haven't managed to engage with or been compelled to care about any of the characters, playable or non-playable, who I've encountered; I never felt as though I was in any danger whatsoever from falling to any of the core survival problems - hunger, thirst, cold, rest. And then I suddenly died without warning to some unknown burny thing. Ah well. My over-arching feeling so far has in fact been that I've been playing a rather extended tutorial: dutifully fulfilling a linear series of prescribed tasks so that I can get past the preamble and go on to the main course - the real substance of the game that's hopefully more interesting and engaging later. But an episode-and-a-half in, I still haven't found it yet. "How far will you go to survive?" the game's tagline asks you. Well, I don't know - as far as the game tells me to, I suppose. I haven't had the chance to answer this question for myself, because I haven't been presented with any form of meaningful dilemma. I really, really don't want it sound like I'm rubbishing the whole project that Hinterland has spent years lovingly working their hearts out to bring to us. But I am going to concentrate mostly on highlighting where I see shortfalls in Wintermute's execution and delivery, where its potential hasn't been realised as far as I think it could have been, and hopefully making some suggestions that could improve the experience for future episodes. I love The Long Dark's premise, its scenario, setting and ambience; and I especially love the in-your-face contrast between beauty and brutality that confronts the player as they wander the wilderness. And while Wintermute does maintain that same atmosphere, the pacing of the narrative is frustratingly slow, aspects of the plot you have to follow are jarringly illogical and the dialogue is beset with continuity problems arising from any tiny deviation that the player might make from the intended order and method of completing tasks. Even some of the mechanics and the UI actually serve to detract from the feeling of involvement in a story. The rest of this post is going to contain direct reference to events and missions in Episodes 1 and 2, so if you don't want it spoiled, you probably don't want to read any further. The thing that got me hooked into The Long Dark in the first place was the uncompromising lack of any hand-holding offered to the player: you're dumped into the middle of the a hostile environment with very little equipment and no prior instruction, and you have to survive. Nature is harsh: deal with it. You die, but you learn enough from your brief initial attempts to convince you that you can do better next time. You realise that you are too cold, so you look for solutions: fire, shelter, clothing. You're hungry so you look for food: animals, plants, maybe scavenged loot. A cursory glance around the menu when you light your first fire will teach you that you can melt snow in order to quench your thirst. Tiredness is obviously solved by rest, and your bedroll is a prominent part of your starting inventory. It's obvious and it's intuitive and it's simple to grasp the concept of survival, but it's difficult and takes practice to achieve a sustainable balance between these needs while avoiding the dangers all around you; and that's the appeal that creates replayability. And it's great. Right from the start, Wintermute is the opposite of this. It tells you exactly what to do, even to the extent that if you try to improvise or use your own intuition you're bluntly told that it's not allowed. Do as you're told and don't try to be clever. This continues throughout Episode 1 and into Episode 2, well beyond the initial phase around the plane crash site where it can be passed off as a genuine tutorial. The player really doesn't need this level of schooling, and the game would be much more exciting if the player were left to find things out for themselves. And there are aspects of the UI that exacerbate this, as I mentioned before. The map is the prime candidate: where did you get it from in the first place? It tells you where everything is before you've had the chance to find it for yourself. It even tells you where to go for your mission objectives, which removes any need for real exploration, or for working things out through your own efforts. Then there's the journal screen: here you can find a list of prizes that you can win by bribing the local gameplay-instructor with easily-acquired treats. The 'Trust' mechanic is a fantastic idea with an incredible potential for creating thoughtful, dynamic moral choices that could change the direction and/or atmosphere of a play-through. But it doesn't do that; it's just a handful of largely unnecessary side-missions that don't affect anything else. In no way does spamming bandages out of the mountains of available cloth in the game so that you can get your hands on a fancy pair of mountaineering boots feel like you're genuinely winning the character's trust through your good deeds; nor does winning their trust (or losing it) seem to have any impact on how they interact with you or what they ask you to do in the main quest. I can't help feeling that it's a huge missed opportunity, and the fact that the requirements and rewards for each Trust mission are mapped out for you from the beginning makes it all feel shallow and false. I also dislike that the "collectible" items do not form part of your main inventory. By the time I was killed, I was carrying a very large amount of this stuff, including several large, heavy, bulky items, which didn't affect me on my travels at all. If carrying Astrid's briefcase is essential to the story, there are better ways of reminding (or forcing) the player not to leave it behind when they transition between levels; while I'm carrying Jeremiah's rifle, it becomes a mysterious ghost item which I cannot use, even after I've repaired it (I have deliberately carried ammo along with me for the purpose of using it on my way back); the medical kit from the Dam doesn't exist either - what if I'd got seriously injured on my back to the Trapper's homestead and not had anything else? Would I not have maybe wanted to use the supplies on myself? As it happened, I had loads of medical supplies already, so the trip to the dam was unnecessary in the first place. "Get to the Dam. Need Meds. Aaarrrgghh." "It's OK, mate, I've got 4 bottles of painkillers, 5 bottles of antibiotics, enough antiseptic to drown a deer, a whole bunch of bandages and 4 emergency stims right here. You'll be fine." "Don't argue with me boy. I need you to fetch me the morphine that I'll refuse to use anyway." In a similar vein: "You'll need a knife and a hatchet to survive out here." "I'm still on the look-out for them... ...Oh, no sorry, I must have forgotten: I've got two hatchets already, and I just found a brand new hunting knife in one of those fishing huts. I'm set." "Go to the old farmstead. There is a forge there with blueprints for making them." "Yeah, but I don't need to because I just said... nevermind." Or: "The farmer is... dead. I think the wolves got him." Really? How did Will know that? I didn't see any dead farmer. Oh, maybe that's what the wolf in the barn was munching on? But I didn't go in there so couldn't possibly have known that. There are numerous other instances where I found myself questioning the logic of the dialogue and the tasks I was being asked to carry out; questioning why I couldn't use this or that item; why I'm not allowed to go in here yet; why this character only eats MREs and that one only eats pork and beans; why Will trips over a corpse and bangs his head while he's stumbling about in the dark and didn't see it, when in fact I was using a lantern at the time and was deliberately approaching the body in order to search it. It felt as though I was battling with the storyline rather than participating in it, tiptoeing around the maps and trying to obey all the rules and instructions to the letter, for fear that any tiny deviation or error would upset the plot and cause it not to make sense. On top of that, there is no urgency or tension at all. Even when the mission instructions tell you must quickly collect firewood before Old Bag's fire goes out, or get Jeremiah's medication before he dies, you know in the back of your mind that it really doesn't matter how long you take: they'll still be there even if you leave them for a month. I've already written far more than I was intending to here, and apologies if it began to descend into a bit of a rant. I haven't completed Episode 2, so perhaps something was about to happen that would have changed my perception of the game, had I not succumbed to Sudden Violent Inadvertent Treading On The Wrong Bit Of Scenery syndrome - I don't know. If the game was about to come alive and become engaging and challenging and I should have had more patience, then I'm sorry. But I can only respond to what I've experienced, and I think I've seen a good 2 thirds of what's available to us. I'll sum up with some general suggestions - pleas of sorts - to the developers: Please, please, please just trust your player base a bit more. We are not idiots: we can handle a little bit of difficulty. We can accept failure. Would it be possible to allow some missions to be failed and for the quest to take a different turn as a result? To make the dialogue and plot just a tiny bit more dynamic so that it can cope with our own individual decisions? Let us improvise. Give us some puzzles to solve. We don't need to be shown in advance how to do everything and where - a bit of trial and error, searching for answers, exploring by ourselves, using our noggin to complete objectives: this would make the game much, much more fun. The narrative is so fixed and inflexible that I don't feel like I'm even involved in it. I don't feel that the decisions I take or the successes I achieve or the mistakes I make are having any consequence whatever to Will's fate or to Astrid's. And that's leading me not to care about seeing what happens to them. Which is a big shame.
  23. Lalalala, I don't want to know that yet, sorry! I'll get back to you when I reach that part again. I wasn't deliberately trying to fight the storytelling in order to undermine it and pick holes. I was genuinely trying to follow it as I thought it was intended to be followed. The 'battle' I mentioned was a result of a few occasions where the dialogue didn't match what I'd previously done, or the mission didn't make sense in relation to my inventory, for example. These things lead me into the mindset that I there was a fight going on between what I interpreted as the most sensible way of completing a mission and how the game's author wanted me to do it, and this caused me to try and second guess the author in order not to disrupt the continuity. I didn't always succeed, and I definitely didn't enjoy the fact that I felt that I had to do this at all. ie. The flexibility afforded the player in their movement around the world and order of completing tasks is not matched by the total rigidity of the script, plot and dialogue. This causes the two to clash. And when it does, it utterly breaks your suspension of disbelief and buggers up the experience. A videogame is supposed to be an interactive experience, not a passive storytelling.
  24. Why not? The ammo was mine. That's not a good reason! I was planning to go back and see Jezza without visiting the lodge this time, because, and I quote Will here, "I must stick to the task in hand." Anyway, I'm going to start again and see if I can cause trouble for the Old Grouch before I do that bit.