Raphael van Lierop

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About Raphael van Lierop

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  1. Hello community! With the Easter long weekend, we're publishing the Mailbag dispatch a day early! And as promised since we skipped last week, this week will be a "double header" Dispatch. Enjoy and have a great weekend! ***** Question from @Azdrawee: We should clarify some terms to make sure we're talking about the same things. A "soundtrack" (to me)" is the collection of music, and a track is a piece of music in the soundtrack. So yes, we added new music (tracks) in Vigilant Flame, which are not in Volume 1 of the "Music for The Long Dark" as that was created when we first launched WINTERMUTE in August 2017. But, good news, everything we add to Survival Mode + the new WINTERMUTE music that gets added in Episode Three and beyond will end up in Volume 2 (we might even end up with a Volume 3). So yes, the tracks you're talking about will be added to the next volume of the soundtrack. ***** Question from @SlippedGear: Thanks for your question. The Long Dark has an age rating that is appropriate for its content. We don't currently have any plans to make it possible to turn the corpses on and off. But, I'll keep your request in mind. ***** Question from @Pan Pastwa: I have a very long list of things I'd like to add and improve in the game. We'll see how far through the list we get. I'm being evasive because as soon as I provide details people will think I'm promising those things. In terms of what tends to be in our updates to Survival Mode, the updates usually offer a mix of new systems and content, improvements to existing systems and content, tuning changes, and bug fixes. ***** Question from @BareSkin: In general, the goal with Rest was to add a benefit to deeper, more restful sleep over taking lots of little naps over the course of the day. It's true that you can regain some Condition from a good night's rest, but it's not a magic bullet -- Rest alone won't heal most afflictions and you can still only rest until you are no longer Fatigued. There are checks and balances. ***** Question from @Moll: Because I think adding a Revolver is more interesting. Hopefully once you've been able to play with it, you'll see why. ***** Question from @XAlaskan_420X: Yeah those are custom clothing loadouts and we don't currently have any plans to make them usable in-game. That doesn't mean we won't add new playable clothing in the future, though. It's nice for the story characters to have special clothing -- gives them a unique visual identity. ***** Question from @EpiK_Deadman: Yup, it's been discussed. VR is not ideal for games that depend on a lot of locomotion. Also, the market for VR titles is still very small. That said, we're still open to doing a contained VR experience that is in The Long Dark IP. But I don't believe a full VR "version" of the current game can be a good experience. ***** Question from @Mr. TwoPump: The lore really talks more about how Great Bear was exploited for its natural resources, not that it was an industrial centre. That said, there could be other Hibernia and Carter style environments in the future. ***** Question from @Kitsune_Wizard: Yes, we have some ideas about this! ***** Question from @Smellyfries: Yes! I really can't wait for [redacted]. ***** Question from @UraniumAnchor: I've never played it, but someone on my team recently found a copy (somewhere?) and we were looking at the packaging and manual together -- looks very cool! ***** Question from @Annette: I hope to add a bunch of new Merch items to the store soon! Love the idea of a Survival Snack Pack, though. Community: If you all made your own "snack packs" for when playing The Long Dark, what would you put in them? ***** Question from @thepatsbro: This should already work between Xbox and Windows 10 versions, based on XPA (Xbox Play Anywhere). Beyond that, there is no platform compatibility between Xbox, Steam, PS4, etc. so that's not something we can offer, unfortunately. ***** Question from @Rhett987: We really focus on marketing our updates to our current players, to bring them back to the game. We often get awareness from press who cover the updates, and we sometimes run sales around updates as well as sales + updates tend to support each other in terms of player attention. We've love The Long Dark to be even bigger than it is. We have some ideas about how to market the game even more effectively, but mostly we're focused on producing the best quality experience we can and making sure people feel good about their purchase of the game. ***** Question from @Skelegutplays: Not sure. All the mugs are the same price in Canada... ***** Question (not really) from @ThePancakeLady: I'm eating Pancakes in your honour, right now. ***** Question from @Smellyfries: Honestly? Depends on the day. We're definitely better at making the game, but the game is also HUGE compared to when we started which makes adding and improving it a much more painstaking process. Just the increased testing burden alone slows things down quite a bit. So, skill has increased. Speed has not always increased. I think we do some things very well, and I think we have a lot of areas we could improve. We're always working on it and hopefully, from the player's perspective, the game gets better every year. The team is always learning. **** That's the Mailbag for this week. Thanks for reading and have a great long-weekend! - Raph
  2. To be clear @Hawk -- because this isn't what I said -- I was referring to older versions of Windows that MS no longer supports like Vista and XP (which used to be in our min-specs). We've since removed them. Win 7 and Win 10 should be fine until we finish the game.
  3. Hello everyone! Below, you'll find the responses to the latest batch of questions from The Long Dark community. Enjoy! ***** Question from @TropicalSurvivor: You'll have to wait and see!!! ***** Question from @Sceh: What a fascinating theory! It's true that Great Bear can have a...darker history. Not sure about virgin-sacrificing cults, but I'm liking the potential Lovecraftian crossover potential here. Now that you mention it, Milton does share some things in common with some of the small towns in the Cthulhu stories. Hmmm... 🤔 ***** Question from @Dan_: Actually, what I said in the March Dev diary was: So, it *might* be ready for the update AFTER this upcoming one. It will definitely NOT be ready in this next upcoming update. Sorry to disappoint! ***** Question from @Smellyfries: Yup, pretty soon! ***** Question from @TropicalSurvivor: Re: 1 -- strangely, the items that tend to wash up are items that can run out or be difficult to find in coastline areas after long survival runs. Hmm. Re: 2 -- nobody on Great Bear can really know, but you can assume they have washed up from shipwrecks of one kind or another. In real life, there are lots of ways for things to end up in the water, and they can travel far! Re: 3 -- nobody on Great Bear can really know this, so I'm not telling. 😎 ***** Questions from @alone sniper: Re: 1 -- we're trying to keep our PC/Mac spec as close to the original as possible but TBH it would be nice to increase it at some point. Pretty soon we'll be forced to deprecate some versions of Windows because Microsoft doesn't support them anymore. The other questions I've answered several times so please check the Index, or maybe other people here can respond. ***** "Questions" from @Krait: Re: Revolver -- We never add anything to the game that doesn't contribute to the core mechanics in some way. Don't presume to know this game better than we do. 😊 We haven't just added it "due to popular request". It has a clear purpose and gameplay value. Re: "keeping it hardcore" -- the game will always offer a range of challenges and experiences for different kinds of players. If you want the game to be super hardcore, play Interloper or use Custom settings to find the right challenge for you. We're not trying to make an experience that only appeals to "hardcore" survival players. It should appeal to a wide range of players, depending on their preferences, considering all the options we have provided. ***** Question from @GrievingSage: Hey Joey. We'll record another episode as soon as we can make the time! If other people want to hear a new Signal Hill podcast, let us know in this thread! ***** That's all for this week. Thanks, all. And enjoy the weekend! - Raph
  4. Hey community, I missed out on Mailbag last week due to being at the Game Developers Conference in SF. Back this week and getting caught up! Lots going on at Hinterland HQ -- the place is buzzing with activity. Hope you had a great week. Anyone see anything cool coming out of GDC this year? Any game, studio, or tech announcements you find particularly interesting? On to your questions! ***** Question from @Maple_Syrup32: Thanks for the question. Did we suggest a military presence on Great Bear? Regarding the activities of Breyerhouse (the company whose trucks and equipment you see in Mystery Lake and area) -- their presence speaks to the overall history of Great Bear and how it's been used as a kind of resource sink for more populated areas, despite the Island's population being largely abandoned otherwise. I guess there's meant to be some social commentary tucked away in there somewhere. ***** Question from @Smellyfries: Apart from the Bear Spear -- the thing we've probably spent the most time maintaining is that damned Faithful Cartographer achievement!!! Much to all your chagrin, I'm sure. We have spent so much time testing and fixing that based on community feedback. ***** Question from @DirtyMadcap: It's still proceeding, albeit it very slowly. Mostly, people are waiting on me. It's nice to know people are still curious about it though! ***** Question from @Cairngormless: Before this game is done, there will very likely be regions that feature in Survival Mode but not WINTERMUTE. ***** Question from @Lesno: Can you be more specific? ***** Comment from @Smellyfries: Thanks! We discovered that our custom theme wasn't compatible with a recent security update, so we decided just to pull the custom theme out and go with something less bespoke. In the end, this will be more usable and will allow us to maintain the forums a bit more easily. We created new icons and whatnot to ensure it still has a nice cohesive look. We aren't able to maintain the old "landing page" that had links to a variety of other content, but we're planning overhauls of all our sites this year so we'll try to create a better community landing hub at that point. ***** Question from @Foxo: Oh yes. Have you played Episode Two? If you mean in Survival -- the answer is also Yes. I have a pretty big design around the Aurora, which is only about 1/3 implemented so far. ***** Question from @jrhr: I'm very happy with Episode Three. i think it builds well on our previous two episodes but also introduces a lot of fresh stuff, and seeing the world from Astrid's point of view is really interesting. Beyond that, we have some stuff in the next Survival Mode update *after* this one (so, two updates from now) that should be quite cool. 😎 ***** Question from @Smellyfries: In Predux Episode Two we needed to ensure you had a knife so you could "cut" your hand in the cinematic, drawing blood that would bring the Old Bear to you. In Redux Episode Two, we found other ways to crash the bear into you, so we didn't need the knife. It was always a bit of an awkward moment in Predux anyway. The "special" knife is still around and could make a cameo elsewhere... ***** Question from @hoasd1: I don't know about "like RE7" but yes we're improving a variety of animations in the game. ***** Question from @NinjaKid225: Yup. Probably not a coonskin cap since we don't have Racoons in the game, but there will be more craftable clothing. ***** Question from @thepatsbro: Yup, and PS4 Pro enhanced as well. We have most of it done, but have run into some issues with HDR which we'd like to fix before rolling out the enhancements. ***** Question from @Azdrawee: Just reminds you that the previous section was a flashback, and now you are back in the ravine, just having crashed. This is a pretty common narrative/cinematic technique. ***** That's all the Mailbag I have time for today. Hopefully you enjoy the responses, and many thanks for the questions. Enjoy your weekends! And as always, if you like the Mailbag, make sure you "Like" the Mailbag. - Raph
  5. Hello community, Just a note that I'll be out at GDC all next week (along with a group of the team), doing some professional development stuff and learning from our peers in the industry, so don't expect a Dispatch next week. Enjoy this week's Mailbag! ***** Question from @smaointeoireacht: Thanks for sharing that reference! I've not heard of Isle Royale, but it sounds super interesting. In terms of locations that served to inspire *our* Great Bear Island, mostly it's been inspired by my living on Vancouver Island: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancouver_Island ...but in general it's inspired by living on the Canadian West Coast, the Pacific Northwest, and in Canada in general. ***** Question from @Sipriano: Jeremiah asks Mackenzie to take a message to Atwood. Beyond that, you'll have to wait and see. ***** Question from @Sceh: In general it's always best to move things out of regions we're using in Story episodes, yes. We haven't given the warning to move them yet because we're trying to come up with a better way to handle this than having you move things around. If we're not able to do that, we'll definitely provide some advanced warning, including in the in-game Notification system. ***** Question from @Smellyfries: The can opener, back in the early days of the game where you couldn't open cans without it. ***** Question from @Sunwolf: Yup, it's been considered, discussed, and we have plans. ***** Question from @Azdrawee: Not as purely cosmetic changes, no. We've discussed adding support for variants (so, using your Prybar example, we might have one that looks slightly different and has slightly different stats, like better overall Condition, opens lockers faster, etc.). But that's an approach that would have to be rolled out across the entire game and all its systems so it's a bigger philosophical topic. ***** Question from @Tylor9261: Not as much as I would like -- I've made it to the early part of the Volga section. I absolutely adore the game. Love the atmosphere, the environment design, the overall tone and mood. The character designs are great, the actual models and animation look fantastic. I'm particularly in love with all the great little first-person presence moments. I hope to get back into it at some point because I'm just where it begins to open up a bit more (it's been very linear so far). It's kind of my dream Half-Life 2/STALKER mash-up, really. I love it. Kudos to the developers -- they've done a fantastic job (at least in the parts that I've played). I hope we can achieve something like this some day. ***** Question from @Skelegutplays: We have no plans for that, no. ***** Question from @JeremiahJohnson: Can there be thunderstorms in winter? I've never heard of such a thing. ***** Question from @francoisb: Depends, of course, on the type of item. Everything needs art, audio, some things need animation, lots need code, design set up and tuning, often they are part of a larger system and have to be integrated. Most also need UI hook-ups, sometimes HUD elements (for new gameplay) and always icons for the inventory, sometimes the radial, etc. Anything that needs animation tends to become a huge thing. Everything new has to be balanced against all the existing stuff in the game, so that hopefully it's additive to the experience and broadens the gameplay toolbox in a meaningful way. Everything in Story Mode is 10x more complex than anything in Survival Mode. Everything needs tons of testing. All changes to the game in terms of mechanics, tuning/balance, adding new mechanics, changing UI elements, etc. all needs to be checked against ALL the Survival Mode gameplay, ALL the Challenges, and ALL the existing WINTERMUTE content. This means Episodes One and Two also need to be replayed/re-tested regularly. Adding anything to the game is a huge task, mostly because of how big the game is now, and how many things can be affected by every new thing or change. ***** Question from @muoz: We put that Wolf in that cave on purpose. I'm not sure we would want them to potentially exist in "any" cave. I agree that it can add to the tension, though! ***** Question from @legolegs: The short answer is, we don't have the bandwidth to provide constant communication and updating on every bug or support query we get. Well, support queries we do handle 1:1 with the reporter, but bugs go into our internal database and get fixed as quickly as we can. Despite my "rant", I do think that most players try to contact us with their issues. My point was really that a lot of negative reviews on Steam are really just people who are too lazy to follow up with us to ask for help. We're not hard to find and we work hard to fix the issues that exist in the game (and, to be fair, we often get negative reviews for things that are *not* wrong with the game, but issues with people's own systems, etc.). My comment re: Steam reviews was really to say -- Steam already asks us to provide Support link for players, so why not just put those front-and-centre on the Steam page (like a big button that says "Ask for Help") so that it's easier for people to find, therefore maybe instead of writing a one-off negative review (in anger) that they won't update even when the issue is fixed, they might send us a note instead. (It probably won't be a nice note, but at least we have a chance to try to fix the issue for the player.) In short -- our Support portal and reporting works fine from my perspective. It's the Steam review system that is broken, IMO. ***** Question from @Faithful Cartographer: They might be. They might also have been closed, might have collapsed, etc. ***** Question from @PlayerPawn: What's your theory based on what you've experienced in the game? ***** Question from @Arran: The Experience Modes are intended to let players make a choice about what kind of experience they want to have. Pilgrim players choose to play Pilgrim because they want a more meditative, exploration-experience. If they later on decide they want to play Interloper, they can. Some players run multiple games in multiple Experience modes, depending on what kind of mood they are in. I don't think of the Experience Modes as "difficulty" per se -- I look at them as choices around what kind of experience players want to have. If they want to try something different, they can then start a fresh Survival game in a different Experience. ***** Thanks for your questions and have a great weekend! - Raph
  6. 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! ***** Question(s) from @ESWR: 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! ***** Question from @Ardawna: Portage could be very cool for a non-Winter survival setting. ***** Question from @FieldMedic4077: 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. ***** Questions from @Sir_Vincent: 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. ***** Question from @Its_the_Gman: 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. ***** Question from @Guenter: 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! ***** Question from @amadeuszbx: 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. ***** Question (?) from @thepatsbro: 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? ***** Question from @Azdrawee: Yes at some point we'll do this. ***** Question from @Michi: You'll have to wait and see! ***** Question from @thekillergreece: 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. ***** Question from @Kissodeath: 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. ***** Question from @Pillock: Answering this feels like it would be a lot like offering release date/range information, so I'm going to avoid doing that. ***** Question from @JeremiahJohnson: Same as above. ***** Question from @PlayerPawn: 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. ***** Question(s) from @Skelegutplays: Some questions regarding the revolver. 1) Yes. 2) No. 3) Most likely. 4) You'll see. I reserve the right to change my answers later. ***** Question from @Sceh: 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. ***** Question from @xantippee: 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? ***** Question from @Yodie78: 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. ***** Question from @Faithful Cartographer: 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. ***** Question from @Adeveth: Me too! ***** Ok that took a bit longer than an hour. That's it for this week's mailbag. Enjoy the weekend! - Raph
  7. Hello community! I wasn't able to get the Dev Diary finished this week, but it should be out next week! Fingers crossed. There's lots to talk about. Also, we're working on another hotfix which should land early next week, on all platforms. And now, to the Mailbag. ***** Question from @smaointeoireacht: This is a bug. ***** Question from @Skelegutplays: Conspiracy from the cracker companies, I guess. They fill the box with air and you think you are getting value when in fact, you are not. ***** Question from @Morrick: It's Fluffy's hushed casket. She's waiting. ***** Question from @Smellyfries: You tell me! From my perspective -- it's changed a lot, and also very little. The core game is the same as it was when we brought it to Early Access. But the scope, depth, level of polish, and amount of content is *vastly* increased and improved. The world is about 10-15x bigger than it was. Significant new systems have been added. Every single asset has been overhauled at least once, some 2-3 times. The overall style has remained the same but every texture has been retouched, the renderer is entirely new, the post-FX system is entirely new, new animation system, new UI, etc. We added 15+ hours of narrative-driven WINTERMUTE gameplay which is already about 3x more than we had originally scoped the game to be in our Kickstarter (where I think we promised like 5-7 hours TOTAL for the entire game), and we still have three episodes to go. But, for all that change, I think you can play a build from 2014 and see the core of the game there, and it still feels like that. I'm not sure what that means, but I think it's a good thing. ***** Question from @Sito: Yes. I think we should probably refresh all our loot tables and all our "random" spawns, just to shake things up a bit for our long-time players. It'd be a fair bit of work and would probably irritate some people but I think it'd be worth it. ***** Question from @muoz: We do have loot tables, and have had for a long time. We also have items with a % spawn chance in the world, outside loot tables. We also have some items on a random spawner so we can say there are X in this region but they will spawn in one of Y locations. We have 3-4 different systems (SYSTEMS -- not tables -- we have dozens and dozens of loot tables, ex. every container type in the game has a loot table) that handle where and when loot appears. But yes, we could always improve these! In terms of truly RANDOM loot tables -- I think a better approach is a blend of somewhat certainty around some critical items, and a sense of randomness about more common things. Some of the tools in the game -- ex. Rifle, Hatchet, Knife, Prybar, etc. -- if the loot tables were truly random, there'd be a chance these items would not spawn at all, ever, but you wouldn't know that, so you'd keep looking for them, and potentially never find them, then die because you got "bad rolls" and then you'd wish someone had hand-placed them the way we do right now. I think we can refresh the loot placement but I don't think going full random is the right solution. Also, many of the same people who feel the loot locations are too familiar/known are also the ones reading wiki entries that tell you exactly where to find the guaranteed spawns, and these wiki entries are often populated using data that was extracted from the game, info we don't give to you and don't want you to see, because it -- surprise -- makes the game feel too predictable. ***** Question from @Azdrawee: Because the alternative was locking you out of the cabin with all your stuff still inside. I thought our solution was pretty fair. ***** Question from @amadeuszbx: There are currently no plans to add this. Between the bedroll, cars, snow shelters, and every interior (most which have beds or mattresses of some kind), it seems you have a lot of options for where to sleep? ***** That's all the questions I have time for this week! Enjoy the weekend and stay cozy out there. - Raph
  8. You misunderstood. We know exactly where Episode Three takes place. We haven't confirmed in detail publicly what parts of the world the Episode takes place in. Please don't jump to conclusions about release dates.
  9. Hello community, I'm going to try to get a dev diary out next week, to provide a more general update regarding stuff we've been working on since the holidays, but for now, let's dive right into this week's Mailbag. I'm out tomorrow so this week's Mailbag comes a day early. Enjoy! ***** Question from @Mystix: Not many field tests. Most of the stats for Calorie counts and whatnot were taken from actual food guides, including for game meat(s) but we generally tune to gameplay needs rather than realism, the reasons for that being fairly obvious I think. For snow melting/boiling and other survival-type activities I general consult wilderness survival books, articles, and talk to people I know who are mountain guides and/or people who are generally knowledgeable about outdoor survival. The snow melting/water production timings were taken from tests that some mountaineers had done, when checking out different types of stoves, but of course boil time depends on altitude as well which we don't currently simulate in the game. ***** Question from @Tylor9261: *Very* stoked! I love the Metro series, and I really miss STALKER so this has to kind of scratch that itch for now. ***** Question from @Huffeltuff: Oh wow -- thank you for playing the game despite it not properly catering to your situation. I don't have a solution in mind right now but we'll take this feedback to heart and see if we can come up with something. Do you find the Rifle presents the same challenges? Stone Throwing? Knowing this will help us consider a more global solution vs. just trying to "fix" the Bow. ***** Question from @acemok: I'm sure I have no idea what you are talking about. ***** Question from @Faithful Cartographer: New location -- yes. New animal -- sure hope so! ***** Question from @XaldinVii: Could happen! But we haven't confirmed the locale for Episode Three yet so you'll have to wait and see. ***** Question from @bois vert: I've been thinking about this lately and will consider it along with the request to make Bow Aiming more accessible. ***** Question from @Sceh: Well, some people call a toque a "beanie" so I try not to be too offended by the vast ignorance of Canadianisms out there. In all seriousness, we were careful to include a voyageur reference in Jeremiah's Bear Legend story in Episode Two, partly to help with this. I don't know that it encouraged anyone to run off and research the history of the Canadian fur trade, but it sure made a good story (I thought)! Also, it helps that all our main voice cast (including Jennifer Hale, Mark Meer, and David Hayter) are Canadians. In this case, David Hayter (who plays Jeremiah) didn't need any help nailing the pronunciation. He knew it in his GUT. **** Question from @Skelegutplays: Kind of like a...Hushed River Valley? Something along those lines? ***** Question from @Azdrawee: Fluffy is a relic of the past, but it doesn't mean her legend doesn't (or won't) live on... ***** Question from @piddy3825: It's because those backers didn't provide any material for their Cairn. We're hoping to still hear from them! ***** Question for @BogenBlitz: Some of our interiors re-use elements; our art team isn't very big. We have discussed updating some that are too similar but it introduces a lot of additional hassles (including: how to handle all the stuff people may have stored in the existing locations)? A lot of what prevents us from making changes like this is just not wanting to break existing saves. But, we'll see what we can figure out in the future. ***** Question for @bikingviking: We are open to it, but also fear a "backlash" from players who may not want to see us working on Survival DLC while WINTERMUTE isn't yet finished. It's backed us into a bit of a corner, to be honest. If there was enough confirmed interest and we thought players would accept it (and not review bomb us or whatever) we'd probably do it. We love to add to the game but it does feel like we've been giving away a lot of content for free (for a lot of years). Profitability is not our primary motivation but more $$ means we can add more to the game. ***** Question for @Doc Feral: Nope, no plans to add this. ***** Question from @DarKube: I can't speak to how quickly the actual decoy item is consumed (i.e. removed from the world), but the Wolf should be slowed by the decoy in the sense that its advance should be delayed. This delay depends on the item. ***** Question from @Smellyfries: We're reluctant to add another click/button-press. If the loads are too short it's because your system loads the next content quickly which is a...good thing maybe? I get your point, but it's a tricky problem to solve, and please don't say "make it an option!". ***** Question from @U47: I'm not sure these are exploits per se, but they also aren't fully working as "desired". Some of the solutions/fixes for these issues are kind of noodly and in some cases make the problems worse. For example, for the tea thing, do we destroy the remaining tea if you couldn't consume the whole thing (b/c your Thirst bar was full), or leave the remainder so you can use it later if you are Dehydrated. Do we only offer the buff if 100% of the tea is intact? Do we offer 60% of the buff if you drink 60% of the tea? How do we communicate that the player? It ends up creating tons of annoying edge cases, UI problems, bugs, etc. and in most cases doesn't make the game any better (or at least, the improvement is not in line with the effort) so it just makes more sense to leave it as is. A lot of what makes games work is the abstraction of systems and while some of these inconsistencies can feel annoying, I don't think they detract terribly from the experience. ***** Question from @mean_jim: We've discussed it; could be added in a Survival update this year, yes. ***** Question from @amadeuszbx: We'll have more accessories coming. ***** Question from @Smellyfries: 1) Yup, depending on what you mean by soon. 2) Great! We're very busy. More info in dev diary (hopefully) next week. ***** Thanks for all the great questions! See you next week. - Raph
  10. Hello everyone! I'm going to dive right into the mailbag as I missed it last week. Thanks for your patience and for your questions. **** Question from @Sipriano: Great Bear is a pretty big island, so we'll continue making regions as needed to support WINTERMUTE and Survival Mode but I'm not sure if we'll complete the entire island. That said, you never know! ***** Question from @Its_the_Gman: Yup, we are adding more tools to the game, and one or more of these tools might be a new firearm. ***** Question from @Smellyfries: It's boring to watch a progress bar for too long. That said, I don't think our current solution (shortening them) is the best one. I've wanted to add a more "active" firestarting method for a while, and this ultimately would be better than watching a progress bar. ***** Question from @codfish107: Yup! You can currently do this. Just go into the settings and rebind the Interaction button to something other than LMB. Some people use Space Bar. ***** Question from @Azdrawee: Yeah, we have some fixes to make to our localization pipeline and then we'll be updating the Community Loc doc once that's done. At that point, the doc will have all the current strings so it'll be ready for community language mods. ***** Question from @Jendo: We use loot tables in the game so I think they are great. I don't think people sharing them is great, but that's up to the community. All items that appear in containers are determined using loot tables, and all items that spawn in the world (ex. placed on shelves, laying on the floor, etc.) use individually tuned spawn values. There are very few 100% spawns, so if there are guaranteed matches they are either there for a specific reason or their spawn % is bugged. I think refreshing the loot tables could be a fun idea, although I suspect some players would find it irritating. ***** Question from @NardoLoopa: UI changes are always the hardest to get used to. The previous HUD elements gave us less of a "range" to work with and made it difficult to feel a sense of things changing by looking at the bars. By adding the always-on HUD as default, and adding the radial progress bars to the status indicators, we make those aspects of the game more present for players, and we also ensure they see them and understand these mechanics are always in play. We also made some aesthetic changes to improve the overall look of the HUD elements themselves, embedding the warnings and the delta arrows a bit better, in our opinion. We didn't want to go back to horizontal bars and the radial bar is more compact, but this amount of "bar" is useful in that you can see changes more visibly (vs. a much shorter bar that has fewer "pips" to transition through from 100 to 0). ***** Question from @TheDrocker: It's a little hard to offer suggestions without knowing more about the specific crash. We fixed a memory leak and a few other PS4 crashes in the Redux update (and subsequent hotfixes), but it sounds like some issues are persisting for you? It'd be great if you could report some info to hinterlandgames.com/support. We continue working on overall game stability and performance and it's our goal to remove all crashes in the game -- sorry to hear you've run into this issue. ***** Question from @Michi: I guess the answer depends on if you think a darker game is more interesting. I don't feel that we've abandoned anything too significant and I certainly don't feel that the game or story has suffered for our rating. As you can see from Redux, we don't have any issues with portraying violence when needed, provided it's in service to the experience and it's not gratuitous. There are very strict rules about portraying drug use in games, in particular if it has a gameplay impact (which it would have in our case), so this isn't so much a question of "removing the darker stuff" as whether a decision like that prevents us from actually selling the game or not. In short, I think you're reading too much into the morphine thing. **** Question from @CalNieDaGtarGuy: What, games can't use literary references? ***** Question from @Faithful Cartographer: We're only including locations that are relevant to the WINTERMUTE story. You'll have to see what all those are by the time we finish Episode Five. ***** Question from @melcantspell: If we felt there was enough community thirst for new regions as paid DLC, we'd consider making them, yes. ***** Question from @musrass: Will knowing the answer make you enjoy the game more, or less? My guess is less, so for your sake I'll keep it secret. ***** Question from @Doc Feral: Probably not that exact cave, but maybe another like it. ***** Question from @UTC-10: Not really. Do you think it would be useful? In Story, the game introduces most of the concepts you need to know. In Survival, part of the fun is discovering how the game works. ***** Question from @Foxo: The Demon Bear from Jeremiah's fireside story-time. ***** Question from @Oystershell: I've never heard of them -- I'll definitely check them out! Thanks for the recommendation. I've been enjoying the Lumineers a lot lately though I'm not sure if they qualify as "indie folk"? ***** Question from @Smellyfries: It's not permanently winter, but I wouldn't call the seasons "normal" either. ***** Thanks for your questions! If I skipped yours, it's probably because the answer would be too long, or maybe it's something I've answered before (check the Index). Maybe you asked multiple questions in a thread and I wanted to give a chance to someone else so I picked one of yours and skipped the others. It's also possible that I felt your question was intended to kick off an argument or wasn't really in the spirit of the Mailbag, so I'm ignoring it vs. taking the bait. In general I try to respond to every question (although I may genuinely just miss some) and I try to use the Mailbag to try to enrich the community discussion around the game. Hopefully it's doing that for you. Til next time! - Raph
  11. Hello everyone, Wow has this week gone quickly. Here's Dispatch #21! Looks like a shorter one this week as there weren't *that* many questions. ***** Question from @smaointeoireacht: This was to accommodate changes to the opening hour of Episode One. I found the old intro path into Milton felt kind of winding and empty, and was difficult to pace well, so it didn't make for the best opening or introduction to the game or world. By adding Mackenzie's Hangar, the player would have 15-20 minutes of gameplay before crashing on Great Bear, and by clipping the "survival bowl" section to just one night (vs. 4-5 days in the original), along with simplifying the route into Milton, I felt that this just made a stronger introduction to the game and world in general. I particularly like that this new route lets us present a vista of Milton before you arrive. So, the route change was made primarily for pacing and staging reasons. ***** Question from @Vinceofpyrenees: The reflection of player choice for hand and arm coverings in first-person is still on the list, yes. It's a pretty huge technical and animation challenge which is why we've put it off. It's always interesting to me to see how many people find this to be an issue -- it's certainly not universal (remember when you didn't even have hands in the game? ). But as long as we can do it with an effort that is reasonable, we'll make an attempt, as I agree it's an important way for players to feel more connected to the game world. ***** Question from @Michi: I have some ideas for this, yes, but I don't think it's what you have in mind. ***** Question from @Looper: We actually already have some of this behaviour in the game, although it's certainly not as transparent as Frostpunk's UI which shows you exactly when these major temperature shifts will happen. For us, it's more gradual. You'll also see if you play the WHITEOUT challenge (which predates Frostpunk, I'll add ) , that we have this idea of a "monster blizzard" and a kind of almanac page that counts down the days to this massive blizzard, and also shows days where you are likely to have blizzards (big and small) along the way. This challenge was a test to see how that kind of a long-term weather forecast might affect player choices -- ex. you might find Almanac pages in the world, and they might give you a hint of weather that might be coming in the future (next 5 or 10 days) so that you could prepare for it (stock firewood for the 2-day storm that's coming), or make travel decisions around it (don't plan that trip from Mystery Lake to Desolation Point because there's a high likelihood of a blizzard tomorrow). I still like this idea and it's definitely something we could build on in Survival Mode. I also like the idea of dramatic temperature drops, as in Frostpunk, although I think it makes more sense in their world (arctic, steampunk, etc.) than it would in ours. I agree that we should be manipulating indoor temperatures more to keep indoor shelters a little more interesting. ***** Question [SPOILERS] from @DerpyLemon115: I didn't want the decision to be motivated by whether you would get a knife out of it or not. The knife in this instance is a prop. The decision should be a narrative one and a moral one, not a gameplay optimization. ***** Question from @BareSkin: I think that depends on if you are the curer or the "curee". ***** Question from @Arran: 1) Adding the position and arrow is a concession to Story Mode players who are generally more focused on exploration and narrative than on survival challenges. Even with the arrow, the game is still pretty tough. 2) I prefer that players rely on landmarks vs. a location marker. 3) Hmmm...I'm not aware of an object limitation there. We'll have to investigate. If there is one it's not intentional and something I'd like to fix. In general I think our mapping system in Survival can use some love and it's something I'd like us to improve this year. ***** Question from @Azdrawee: In general, TV shows don't change their opening titles for each episode. Do you find it weird there too? ***** Question from @codfish107: Do you mean this bio? https://thelongdark.gamepedia.com/Will_Mackenzie If so, I wrote this bio during our Kickstarter campaign in 2014. The game's story has changed since then, so the bio is no longer accurate, although some of the details are still true. I don't think we've released an official bio for Mackenzie, but we certainly could. ***** Question from @ltnshinysides: I'm not sure I'd agree that shortening the path into Milton makes the game "easier" -- I think it makes the introduction more interesting and better-paced, which is really important for the opening of a narrative experience. Otherwise you are likely to lose players due to disinterest or unfair difficulty and then they never get into the "good stuff" later on, including -- possibly -- never discovering Survival Mode. We always have to think about the various "entry points" our players find into the experience of The Long Dark, and also it's very important to remember that not everyone who plays our game is looking for a punishingly challenging survival experience. In general, I think what we've learned about WINTERMUTE and Survival Mode is that they appeal to different types of players, people who are looking for different things from the game. I do think that, even though Episode One isn't intended to be a tutorial per se, that like most games, the beginning tends to be a bit softer because there's so much for players to learn. This learning process is very different in Survival Mode, because there the regular failure and permadeath are integral to how you learn. But in a narrative experience, that kind of failure works against the emotions and sense of connection to the story we're trying to create for the player. The challenge of survival and the "no hand holding" philosophy will always be core to how we make The Long Dark, and the best place to experience that kind of pure survival is always going to be Survival Mode. And if you are interested in the story of what happened to Mackenzie and Astrid, Great Bear Island, the history of the people there and what happened before and after the "first flare", then Story Mode is always going to be the best place to experience that. I do think it's also worth acknowledging that even if we've made some slight concessions towards new players or making the story experience a bit more accessible than Survival, The Long Dark -- in all its modes -- is still pretty unforgiving, and I don't feel at all that we hold the player's hand. We still expect a lot from the player, and that's never going to change. But, I also don't believe the most important thing we can do is make the game interesting *only* for those players who care about finding the toughest survival challenge around. That is one group of players we make the game for, but it's not the only group. I think what's important about that idea is that we have fluidity in our player community, meaning some people come in as story fans and "graduate" to the challenges of Survival Mode, while others might be long-time Survival fans and then find that WINTERMUTE adds new dimensions to their experience that they then take back with them to Survival. In short -- I would deny the "general softening" claim. I think a healthier way to think about it is that Survival and Story are both becoming better at delivering the experiences they are intended to deliver. ***** Question from @Faithful Cartographer: I would say the current in-game world map is more accurate than that old one. We're still revealing the world of Great Bear slowly so we'll update the map accordingly over time. ***** Question from @Doc Gonzo: Whenever I look at the name The Long Dark, I feel like everyone must be better at naming things than I am. ***** Thanks for all the questions and have a great week! - Raph
  12. Ah! Well not everything spawns, or spawns in exactly the same place, from game to game!
  13. I understood from your feedback that you find the new HUD to be a "mess" and "annoying" because you couldn't find information you were accustomed to finding. My feedback is that the info you are looking for is still there. I'm more than happy to take feedback from players (and do, and have for 5+ yrs) and the only time you'll see rudeness from me is when I think you are unfairly attacking me or my team for editorial decisions we make, or challenging our "right" to change the game to improve it as we see fit, which this statement: ...clearly does. The implication being -- if the "community" (in quotes since with 3m players there is never a consensus on what is better or worse for the game) doesn't like something, it should be changed, and if the community likes something as it is, it shouldn't be changed. We changed it because we felt it improved the game for the majority of players. I still believe that. We'll continue to make these kinds of changes. Regarding this: I know this is a convenient way to write-off my response, but we both know this isn't true.
  14. We'll have another look at the sun position to verify.
  15. I find it incredibly insulting that you would assume we only make changes based on instruction by our players. You think you're the first player who hasn't liked something we added or changed in the game? You think your downvote is worth more than the upvote from players who like the change, or new players who will benefit from it? This game is changing all the time. You won't like all of the ways it changes. Either get over it, or go play something else.