Dev will Long dark always stay the same?

Ms Nutcracker

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There is this dicussion i found on steam:

Its about adding realism but also keeping enjoyable? Will The Long dark mechanics & environment be kept as it is or will it change? Like after the story is release will they be plans to overhaul the game? Like why can't it be similar to real life to how you make things and find things? This is what most are asking on steam as well as this forum? 

Does not need to be a accuracte simulation but sometimes certain simulation will be helpful to the game. You can play the map over and over again because you can do so many things on that map. You won't even need to mod it. 

Yes it would be a different game but it be a more complex enjoyable survival game. Where you don't just find stuff lying around but just like how its in real life. 

It also won't change the vision of the game and that it would still be a survival game like no other! You be able to add all the suggestions players want because it will be possible the mechanic will be there to support it. 

So can we hope that the game becomes something like this or will it just be forever how it is now? That we won't see an ecosystem for the wildlife and plants, that the environment will be just static. That finding wood will just be walking around finding things on the ground in a unrealistic way? It will just be on the same engine and any major change in the future is not the vision of the game? I read that the developer like the wildlife so i am sure they are wanting to simulate what i have suggested because at the moment its not possible. 

There was sim city where developer never wanted to add life to the game for around 10 years and only made the map smaller. Then came cities skyline where there was actually a living AI population and players loved it! Its not the best Ai population but it did help bring that immersion to the players that players wanted for a long time and never got it. 

So like to know if this is what you like the Long dark to be one day? Or will it be just another small game that you make and move on to other things? 

I read that if story is successful you will go onto another dlc. But its already very successful so wondering why it can't have these things later in the game with the correct funding? 

Is there any danger to the development of the game like i once read long ago where the community starts to dictate the direction of the game and so the game loses its focus? As said still survival but more realistic and enjoyable and it gives the challenge and excitement the players are looking for. 

Its an indie developer but i already made a post that being an indie developer does not mean the game just got to be small forever. 

So really like to know if they will want to expand if it stays popular? You can already see in the wish list and discussion what players are wanting to see? So like an answer from the dev if you can reply thanks. So I don't need to experience it in the wild in real life i can do it in the game! 

There isn't a game out there that is able to have this type of experience? Where you become lost on an island like in the movies and now you have to survive. Or just watch survival shows and it those things that keep the player going because its real and also enjoyable. Those things i like to see but not sure what the team thinks of this of why it can't be in the game in the future? It can still be alone it does not matter the mechanics is there to have this survival experience! :) 

Because i say it again one day some developer will catch on and will do what i am asking! Because that was how Start citizen was created! From players who wanted more like the star wars game old serious but most developer did not want to do it. And now it has happened and Star citizen is in development! Complex realism and fun! And to let you all know it started out as an indie too! Small with small funding and small goals! But goals were pushed as more support for the game grew. 

Long dark does not need to be right on top of the chart making millions but its good to know that you also have dreams of having such a deep experience of survival playing a game and that can only happen when thing are ready and if you want it to be like this. I just don't see why it can't be later on?

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  • Hinterland

OP - not really sure how to respond to your post. Are you asking us if The Long Dark will become an entirely different game down the road? No, not at all. If you don't like the game as it is, you probably won't like it 2-3 years from now either. Most of your questions seems to be built around "realism" (or the perception of it). It's never been our goal to be a "real life" simulator. That's maybe for another game to do. We have our own take on what makes an interesting exploration-survival experience, and it's The Long Dark. Other teams making survival games might have a different point of view.

Now, having said that, of course the game will continue to evolve. Some aspects will change. Hopefully they will all improve. In terms of the "size" of the game -- our game world is already as large as Skyrim's and it's growing, so I think you can feel sure that the game world won't get *smaller*. 

But it sounds like maybe there are fundamental things about The Long Dark -- mostly around "realism" -- that you don't like, and are wondering if the game will become everything you are looking for in a "real world" survival experience. That's never been our goal with the game, and if we were to shift to that direction, it would go against what the game is. So, I would say that we won't be doing that. But, we will continue to build on what we have, and continue to fix things that aren't working, and continue to improve, and the game will continue to evolve, along the paths we're already travelling. 

Hope that helps!

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TLD is a simulacrum of survival. which means it is intended to be similar to real life but reduced to the essential aspects. It's more than a game of solitaire and more than a puzzle because it has elements of choice and trade-offs. It gives the player creative choice. It also involves what is known as "the willing suspension of disbelief". A theme that is expressed frequently enough in the forum is that "why can't I do this? it's what I would do in real life to cope with the challenges". It can be frustrating to users if a particular tactic can't be done which seems perfectly reasonable (i.e. spears) or if something just doesn't seem right about animal behaviour for example.

Let's deconstruct the essential aspects of the game that provide player positive experience. Please don't consider this as "official" or complete. I'm just blue-skying and brain storming.

  1.  adrenaline kick & thrills, excitement
  2.  exploration & discovery
  3.  planning & pleasure when a plan succeeds
  4. simulacrum of enjoyable experiences (crackling fire, beverages, favorite foods, frying sounds, bird songs, beautiful skies, climbing mountains)
  5.  learning of a) game strategy b) real life survival (discovery)
  6.  challenge, difficulty, risks and rewards
  7.  newness (via a long iterative development life cycle)
  8.  What else???

What are the aspects of other games that TLD intentionally does not provide?

  1. Gratuitous violence
  2. Supernatural enemies
  3. Excessive arcade skills (eye-hand and reaction time coordination)
  4. Linear goals
  5. Vast skill and tool tree (minimalist)
  6. Vast object/action diversity without clarity of purpose and the inherent trade offs (Mech Warrior)

Yes the game will evolve while I understand some aspects of the story line still have several degrees of freedom. Let's examine the ways the game will  or could add enhancements.

  1.  Wildlife
  2.  Enhanced wildlife behaviours (AKA AI)
  3.  Hope, morale, loneliness & mechanics pertaining to this such as the photograph
  4.  Communication with other players or NPCs
  5.  Tools
  6.  Weapons & force protection
  7.  Early warning systems / alarms
  8.  Foods
  9.  Medicines
  10.  Clothing
  11.  Shelters of various sorts
  12.  Natural resources
  13.  Ad-hoc improvisation
  14.  Maps & regions
  15.  Craftable items
  16.  New skills pertaining to crafting/game mechanics (real or game simulacrums) ( ie. Fire starting, forging, knapping, fishing, gathering, growing things, cordage, nets, snares, deadfalls)
  17.  Interactions with NPCs such as conversation, new skills, new resources, trading, conflict, friendship & alliance, perversity of human nature, human psychology and character judgement
  18.  What else??

I could go on and the temptation is to expand at length with examples. I think a unique aspect of Hinterland's development approach is to solicit input from the user community. This forum provides social interaction and intellectual stimulation and creativity. It gives us a sense of product ownership as stake holders. The Scrum Agile process provides incremental development which minimizes development risks and provides participation from the user community. It opens the door to elaborate the game's philosophical approach and vision. An important aspect of the Indie development environment is that it provides the creative director with the opportunity to share his vision. This may be a new way of thinking about game development from a completely different perspective; the open world approach is, I think, a new genre of game where the objective is no longer to go from A to B to C and then complete the game; it gives gamers the opportunity to be completely in control of the path and choices they make in the game; much greater degrees of freedom. In the past, the marketing people tended to own the role of creative driver whereas Hinterland seems willing to let end users participate more directly. I don't know if that is something @Raphael van Lierop had in mind at the outset or even if he agrees with this concept. (shared ownership of features & vision)

I like the OP's question. I hope this is useful or at least somewhat inspirational.

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Thank you Director for responding but still need to ask more questions! Thank you illanthropist i have read the article but still confused!



It's never been our goal to be a "real life" simulator. That's maybe for another game to do. We have our own take on what makes an interesting exploration-survival experience, and it's The Long Dark. Other teams making survival games might have a different point of view.

1. Most massive games out there are doing what your doing already so its why been going on like a worm of doing something different that players would like! Why not do something different and have it as close to reality as possible? Does not need to be 100% like reality or it be real boring! Just like realistic racing games are not exactly like reality but close enough! I am thinking long term here much longer then sim city! Enjoyable too! 

I keep requesting because it will give you the exploration and expandable desire you want for the game. Is there any reason the team is objecting to such ideas? You already know it will be a hit! Why not ask the players if this is the direction they would like to see in the game? Because it has not been done before! :(:(:( 

2. When you play Kingdom come and star citizen you can see how addictive it will be! My ideas all goes around about immersion and keeping the players interested at all times.  They can play the game for 200+ houes and still can't get enough because they are just so many different things you can do to change the fate of the player. If they are so many things to discover so many things you can do in a forest players will have endless amount of play! Goes beyond most simple survival game! You can't do this with the long dark with how it is set up to be. You can add more content and discover more things but it just won't have the same feeling like trying to live in a real forest. 

An example of how Long dark can improve
The environment is not simulated like the real thing! So players need to use and find things realistic in the environment to survive! You can't do this at the moment as the environment is static there is not enough elements like you would find in a real winter environment. So would this for example not be a good thing to have for the game? Why not change your ideas for the game if it will generate lots of positive feedback and the game grows and your company expands in the long run? Why do you want to wait till someone else gain these credit? 

Its not like your design has not been done because lots of survival game are doing what your doing. It just have zombies but the rest is simplistic survival. So I don't understand why you would want to do the same old thing and not something different that a survival game should be. 

Because I can promise you that this will get done one day just like Star Citizen! Games are already heading on a very realistic approach so its a very good investment to do the same and come out with a BANG of a survival game! 

I don't understand why your vision for the game is to keep it as it is but just add more things? Fishing planet is doing that its arcade and its adding more things but the realistic immersion is missing! Euro fishing have that immersion of real fish but just carp species but its going in the right direction of having it as the most realistic fishing game out there! 

it reminds me of sim of city and how to refuse to give life to their AI so i think after 10 years they also cap how big your city can grow! Players were not happy! Then came Cities skyline with a living population and you can build cities that are much bigger then the latest sim city and it was a hit! Because players have just been wanting more! 

3. You could just keep adding maps and more content but then it be just like old games where you keep adding new maps. The enjoyment is to play a same map with a changing environment because its simulating a real one. :) You concentrate of making an area just like reality and player will never get bored! You create the whole of canada just like the american truck sim. You can do it in stages!

What drives the players is not how smart you make the map but what the map can offer to the players! 


So why a complex real environment will supply that to players, the environment will drive the players to new challenges! You already are doing it with food and calories and finding things. So only make sense to take it further.  When you add more content there will come more challenges just like in reality! Not just add a super bag in the game so when you find it then it becomes like a power super suit so you take longer to die.  You know what I mean? They can be so much more? 

Players are getting bored of the map


4. Again I stress you don't need to keep creating new maps! Because look at it today players are getting bored with the map because there is nothing to do! After so many hours it just get repetitive and you can't do any more in the game. Just like traditional real time strategy game you finish the maps and the only think left are mods and multiplayer and even that gets boring eventually.  So players will want new stories and new content just like the majority of games out there like Ark survival. Your game is just like Ark survival just finding things at random places. 


So I hope you can see this is a very good approach to the game and it will still be a survival game but a richer survival experience that you and the team are wanting to experience! :) Why just keep it like a fantasy team when you know you can push it beyond like start citizen or kingdom come!? 


You can create more content for the game and more maps but this is not how it plays out in the real world or survival! You can go to the same place many times and it will always be different all the time because they are just so many variables so many things to find! The wildlife and environment plays a very important role on this! Why would this be an idea that is just forgotten? And when I say different I meant everything is different to what things you can craft and what you can eat. So why is this not something excited to be use in the game? Players will love it and it still be a survival game. :) If you like what is happening with Star citizen or Kingdom come then why not do something similar? It has some exciting realistic features that would increase the game longevity and enjoyment! Like the AI it would be a world of its own to play with Kingdom come AI in a survival world! Try and out smart a clever wolf and report that! Players would love it and do all sort of things to see how far they can push the wolf! :) 

Thank you if you can reply and if what I said has helped in anyway? And if these thing still do not bring excitement why? Why not have that in a sequel or future? Why is it never? Perhaps its better so i don't stare at the comp all the time and it will make me want to go to Canada and experience the real wild! So at least that is good in a way! If you want to experience the real thing do it in the real canada! :) Is that how it is to be? 

Thanks also for the game as I am a supporter of the game! And I do like what the game is but wish it was more then just another survival game. 

I guess i got to go here then! cause you can't experience this kind of immersion in the game! 



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I think what Raphael may be driving at is that in many senses, TLD is minimalist. It is minimalist in art style and not in slavish devotion to realism. It stresses the basic survival philosophy of considering trade-offs and risks. It has to be more than a maze exploration game; it must present situations that challenge thinking. It has to be more than an arcade game so that it does not rely upon eye-hand coordination exclusively. It appeals to a broad audience especially people in my demographic, the boomer generation. It permits you to do some things using dexterity of mouse while giving the tactical option of using the brain (and fire) It let's those who dislike the cerebral approach and prefer the dexterity approach the option to succeed without using fire for hunting.

I think the minimalist approach also implies: don't worry too much about realism because things are reduced to a representative number of dimensions that are rational and not magical.

My point is TLD is also a metaphor for life. It attempts to touch us in a deeply emotional way by solitude and by the experiences that Will McKenzie is forced to bear witness as the Epic unfolds. This is not our purview; it is the purview of the story tellers.

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@Ciliate Organism Why do always write so much, with various fonts and styles ?

Anyways, problems with Sim City can be summed up by one word/acronym - EA. Prior to EA devouring Maxis it made excellent games, but now, as everything infected with EA, it only produces casual crap. Also, City Skylines is not as perfect as you try to show it to be, it has it issues, both with ai and performance vise.

And seriously, dont use term "realism" and refer to games like Star Citizen in the same sentence. Most of the features of that game are completely fictional, they are either unrealistic or have no scientific basis to them.

While i do agree that certain things in LD are implemented poorly, it could be far worse and it is an excellent game. More stuff and options, better balancing, more maps, expanded crafting system, etc would do game good, but thats why game is still in early access. Im sure there are plenty of things 2 come. Especially if devs are being poked enough times on forums.

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Dirmagnos when I mention realism i did not mean everything about it is 100% like in real life! I am sorry i did not explain it clearly but there is that cut off when realism becomes very boring. But star citizen is hard core realism and not arcade and nothing like any other space sim out there this very day! :) 100 million donations and counting and it was never like this before when it started! It was a small indie developer but it grew because fan wanted more! :) 

So I do not mean that TLD should represent everything we see in real life such as peeling or the bark of the tree one by one. 

I did not mention skyline because it was perfect as no game is perfect not even star citizen but skyline did what sim city could not do in 10+ years! 

Steve when you reduce a game to minimalist then the feature i see are reduce too and perhaps i have not explain properly what I mean by realism? 

This is from the article: 

The game is built around wanting to present the player with interesting choices, not trying to create an incredibly realistic survival simulation.


This is what will happen with a realistic simulation that is enjoyable to play, players are put in a forest and the elements are for them to choose what to do! The realistic simulation gives lots and lots of opportunities for players to decided what to do! :) It does not mean less content or less it just means more and more challenge and more things to do because the environment is setup in a way that allows this to happen! Like life is feudal and how they have crafting and multiple skills areas or again star citizen! I keep using it because they have made the missions the immersion in the game so realistic and life like! Kingdom come AI will show a short example of it when it is release but watching the videos on the AI you only get excited! 

Again these games are not perfect examples but just using it because it has realistic features to it to show it can work. 



TLD  currently is very exciting i am not saying its a boring game! :) Just wanted to know the dev thoughts of why they want to keep it minimal when there is more advancement for it in the future.

Its all about excitement for survival not 100% just like reality where you need to go to the toilet because you got moving bowels but did you know arch survival players poop? And all the ideas that have been posted are pointing towards this and its what players are wanting! :) Why would you not want a simulated ecosystem where you can try and test your skills and see how far you can push it? Again perhaps you dont like Wolf A and want to track it down and kill it? Then perhaps its sibling might notice and take revenge if you manage to take out its mother! This could be very interesting for the player! Not 100% realistic but some exciting fun as you could watch at night! Just an example to use! This is how it will be in star citizen with the AI! They don't spawn they are not mindless they learn!  

However it is up to the team whether they want it or not and if not then we got the next best thing! Reality! :) So no lost if not done! :) But if they decided to do it then you all will gain! :) 

I know having realistic features in the game could have issues but as i said all games have issues and it can be work through and balance and tested.   

I forgot to mention that not all realistic hardcore games are done properly like that military game that Steve mentioned its why you need an exp team and feedback from community. So its done right and again i have to say Star citizens is doing this because its hardcore and they are many thing about it that could bring it down if not done right. As it will not just be a game about flying but also on FPS! There are many things in this massive game that has not been done before so many things can go wrong too! So how are they going to to prevent this technically i am not too sure! Perhaps hinterland can ask so they too won't make the same mistake and hit disaster? :) 

We all are just fans so we just give the ideas and let hinterland work out how it can be done and if they want the technical advice they are very exp in knowing where to get it.  

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What exactly is realistic about space sim ? There is hardly anything realistic about it, since there is no real life precedents for 99% of it content.

Irl i can pick up a rifle and go out in the winter to hunt a wolf. But where exactly do i buy Sabre or what gas station could sell me a few cans of antimatter for fighters power plant ? Theres reality, then theres theory and then there is fiction.

Regarding Skylines, there has been only 2 SimCity games in past 10 years and one of them actually had a different focus that pure sity building(altho it did sucked anyway). So there arent that much to compare with.

Again, speaking of realism, wolves dont take revenge. Unlike humans they are free of such primitive impulses. Its not just "not 100% realistic", its an utter nonsense.

And pls, stop bringing up Star Citizen as positive example. With all the controversy, stating with constant delays for module releases and ending with financial questions, this game is one step away from being biggest disaster in recent gaming history. From what ive seen there is nothing in that game that havent been done be4, there has been a lot of promises, but thats about it.

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