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      The Light at the end of The Long Dark -- Launch Date, WINTERMUTE, Next Sandbox Update   05/16/2017

      For the latest information on WINTERMUTE (story mode in The Long Dark), as well as details on the final sandbox update prior to our August 1 launch, check out our recent Dev Diary here: http://www.thelongdark.com/news/posts/light-at-the-end/ And while you're there, be sure to have a look at our new FAQ as well: http://www.thelongdark.com/news/posts/frequently-asked-questions/
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      PS4 pre-orders are now available in some regions   07/18/2017

      If you or someone you know has been looking forward to playing The Long Dark on PS4, it's a good time to place your order. The game is now available for pre-order on the PlayStation Store and currently has a 20% discount! UPDATE: This offer is limited to most regions of North and South America. Please check the PlayStation Store to see if pre-ordering is available in your area. Things are pretty busy on our side, but we're on track to officially leave Early Access / Game Preview on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 and launch the first two episodes of, Wintermute, The Long Dark's story mode. As always, general information about the game and the upcoming launch is available on our stylish new website, TheLongDark.com . If you'd like to get news and announcements about The Long Dark by email, you can sign up for our newsletter.
Vulcan700

Biometric Realism

5 posts in this topic

DevTeam, the game is beautiful and well designed. Well done!

Some tuning comments. Generally, with enough water, the human body can last at least 30 days. Starvation issues begin at around 45 days. The game kills the player from starvation after about 2 to 3 days. This does not provide enough time to explore and find food. Calorie reserve seems too small. I recognize that the intense cold burns calories faster, so this will accelerate starvation. Currently, game play is limited to this short window of finding food.  However, I feel life expectancy from lack of food can be expanded.

Equipping the survivor with light clothing at the beginning of the sandbox also accelerates the ability to freeze to death, unless you similarly find enough warm clothing in your short exploratory window. This makes the game somewhat binary within a short period of time: i.e. I found good stuff and survived, or I didn't find enough good stuff and died. You can't make or insulate your clothing, although you can make incremental repairs. There are plenty of other things in the game that will kill you, so assuming the bush pilot flying over the tundra was dressed without backup survival clothing in his aircraft is another strange assumption.

Being able to create potable water from fires makes firewood critical to survival. Generally, three days without water is a good rule of thumb. Obviously, water loss through perspiration will be zero. It seems the water deprivation period needs to be tuned a bit longer as well. So, firewood = potable water (unless you find a bottled water/soft drink). Sticks are a critical resource as there is no additional calorie burn assessed to break them up, but at about 7 minutes of fire each, these are often in short supply. Hatchet wear of about 4% per cedar/fir limb limits a hatchet useful life to about 16 x 3 cedar/fir logs which is about 48 hours of fire time per hatchet. If you don't find a hatchet or sharpening stone, you're out of firewood pretty quickly (sticks issue). I tend to ignore branches, which require 10 minutes of breakup time. This should take about one minute even with mitts/gloves. Would like to see hatchet wear cut in half if possible, because in real life this kind of wear is unrealistic. You could increase the breakup time with an algorithm based on hatchet percentage life left.

Another issue is time. Northern Ontario, even James Bay, has over 12 hours of daylight during the winter solstice (worst case scenario).  How is it that I can go to sleep an hour or two after sunset, sleep for 12 hours, and then wait for another 2-3 hours for sunrise? This adds to about 16 hours between sunset and sunrise making for a 8 hour day.  Since everything is done in daylight, this is a significant damper or survivability because you have 33% less time to find shelter, firewood, and food. I know the game is called "The Long Dark" but let's make it somewhat realistic in terms of daylight hours.

These are relatively minor suggestions in an overall well made game, but as currently designed, the despair and panic factor in the game tends to quickly (a day or two) outweigh the feeling of possible survival. It often boils down to: I walked and walked, burning thousands of calories and I finally found a site to help me survive. Look!  I found a soft drink and a piece of beef jerky! A can opener! Great!  The slight caloric boost of this find can help me explore for a little longer before I die. I realize that in a real survival situation, luck is critical, but the balance between skill and luck needs to be set so the game feels 65% optimistic and 35% despair, instead of the other way round.

Thanks for your consideration in your future tuning! 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Vulcan700 said:

DevTeam, the game is beautiful and well designed. Well done!

Some tuning comments. Generally, with enough water, the human body can last at least 30 days. Starvation issues begin at around 45 days. The game kills the player from starvation after about 2 to 3 days. This does not provide enough time to explore and find food. Calorie reserve seems too small. I recognize that the intense cold burns calories faster, so this will accelerate starvation. Currently, game play is limited to this short window of finding food.  However, I feel life expectancy from lack of food can be expanded.

I would dispute these numbers. Those numbers are from otherwise healthy people who deliberately starve themselves, someone who is already low on nutrition would survive far less. However this is irrelevant anyway, the game is just that a game, numbers are tuned for fun, not realism. If it was realistic you would struggle to get anywhere, as time is vastly accelerated in game.

1 hour ago, Vulcan700 said:

Equipping the survivor with light clothing at the beginning of the sandbox also accelerates the ability to freeze to death, unless you similarly find enough warm clothing in your short exploratory window. This makes the game somewhat binary within a short period of time: i.e. I found good stuff and survived, or I didn't find enough good stuff and died. You can't make or insulate your clothing, although you can make incremental repairs. There are plenty of other things in the game that will kill you, so assuming the bush pilot flying over the tundra was dressed without backup survival clothing in his aircraft is another strange assumption.

Again, this is not reality, it is a game and for game purposes. Presumably within the story it makes sense that they were escaping in an emergency and did not plan well for what they would encounter.

1 hour ago, Vulcan700 said:

Being able to create potable water from fires makes firewood critical to survival. Generally, three days without water is a good rule of thumb. Obviously, water loss through perspiration will be zero. It seems the water deprivation period needs to be tuned a bit longer as well. So, firewood = potable water (unless you find a bottled water/soft drink). Sticks are a critical resource as there is no additional calorie burn assessed to break them up, but at about 7 minutes of fire each, these are often in short supply. Hatchet wear of about 4% per cedar/fir limb limits a hatchet useful life to about 16 x 3 cedar/fir logs which is about 48 hours of fire time per hatchet. If you don't find a hatchet or sharpening stone, you're out of firewood pretty quickly (sticks issue). I tend to ignore branches, which require 10 minutes of breakup time. This should take about one minute even with mitts/gloves. Would like to see hatchet wear cut in half if possible, because in real life this kind of wear is unrealistic. You could increase the breakup time with an algorithm based on hatchet percentage life left.

Nice numbers, and I do agree that breakdown time for branches is too high for 3 sticks, but I disagree that sticks are in short supply, they are abundant. If you have ever been in heavy snow before where snowfall happens often it is actually quite difficult to find sticks, even if you do they are soaked, in the game they are quite easy to find but they replenish slowly. Also, again with realism for tool reduction, it is a game balance issue, not a realism issue. As I have said before realism in games should only extend to the point that it is rational and intuitive, not not beyond that. If that were the case all tools would practically last forever (as games rarely last more than 3 months in game).

1 hour ago, Vulcan700 said:

Another issue is time. Northern Ontario, even James Bay, has over 12 hours of daylight during the winter solstice (worst case scenario).  How is it that I can go to sleep an hour or two after sunset, sleep for 12 hours, and then wait for another 2-3 hours for sunrise? This adds to about 16 hours between sunset and sunrise making for a 8 hour day.  Since everything is done in daylight, this is a significant damper or survivability because you have 33% less time to find shelter, firewood, and food. I know the game is called "The Long Dark" but let's make it somewhat realistic in terms of daylight hours.

This is a game based on an extreme solar event that has affected the whole world's weather, and presumably fauna habits also. The game is fiction, not a true story. Pretty sure the game gives us nearly 10 hours of daylight anyway, but there's often fog and storms in the morning and evening and a lot of twilight, so presumably the area is far north...

1 hour ago, Vulcan700 said:

These are relatively minor suggestions in an overall well made game, but as currently designed, the despair and panic factor in the game tends to quickly (a day or two) outweigh the feeling of possible survival. It often boils down to: I walked and walked, burning thousands of calories and I finally found a site to help me survive. Look!  I found a soft drink and a piece of beef jerky! A can opener! Great!  The slight caloric boost of this find can help me explore for a little longer before I die. I realize that in a real survival situation, luck is critical, but the balance between skill and luck needs to be set so the game feels 65% optimistic and 35% despair, instead of the other way round.

This is not supposed to be real life, it is supposed to be a game where you are faced with fictional circumstances. Trust me, it is very possible to survive inevitably in this game if you know how. Your suggestions would actually make the game worse, take an extremely long time for anything to happen, such as starvation and dehydration etc and ultimately be boring.

Sorry to be blunt but TLD is supposed to be a fun game, not a simulator.

Edited by Renegade30
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Regegade30, thank you for your thoughtful and intuitive comments. I am still new to the game, so there is much to learn.

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In many ways I concur with your thought here, @Vulcan700.  As for the counter argument made concerning the period of starvation, I can personally attest that a person of average health can survive a much greater length of time on only water...I once was in a situation where I had to sustain on water along for a period of 3 weeks.  Granted, by the end of those 3 weeks I had issues with muscle control due to sodium and potassium depletion, however I think that this is something that could also be factored into the game.

I know it is a game and 3 weeks may be too long in 'game time' to delay for the onset of debilitating effects of the lack of food, however I also agree that 2-3 days is a bit of a fast forward.

Just my 2¢

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13 hours ago, L² said:

In many ways I concur with your thought here, @Vulcan700.  As for the counter argument made concerning the period of starvation, I can personally attest that a person of average health can survive a much greater length of time on only water...I once was in a situation where I had to sustain on water along for a period of 3 weeks.  Granted, by the end of those 3 weeks I had issues with muscle control due to sodium and potassium depletion, however I think that this is something that could also be factored into the game.

I know it is a game and 3 weeks may be too long in 'game time' to delay for the onset of debilitating effects of the lack of food, however I also agree that 2-3 days is a bit of a fast forward.

Just my 2¢

Wow, a bit off topic here but how come you had to do that? That's pretty extreme.

I'm no nutritionist, but I know that surviving in such cold environments requires a lot of energy and your body is put under extreme stress when exposed to cold and mentally stressful conditions which can greatly influence your survival. I really don't know how long someone could survive conditions like the ones found in TLD in real life but it would be interesting to find out. 

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