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Dev Diary - February 2018

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I certainly can't disagree with that. :/ (Although for me this is the first episodic game I've played so I've zero experience with it.)

I think Hinterland has 3 main problems with developing The Long Dark at the moment:
1) Feature creep
2) Expectation management (has been talked about in different topics with community mods about how hard this is)
3) Perfectionism

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It's just .... if it takes years to release one season, how can there be a second season? There were 3 years of developement already before the release. Maybe it's a strategy by Hinterland à la Half-Life 3 to create even more hype :P

What i mean is: It's not really "developing" anymore because almost everything is already there. Maps, Items, Mechanics, Story, Characters ... everything is there already except maybe a few cutscenes. So it's just putting it together based on your story and the script and polishing. That's what all the time of alpha was all about, to create this foundation. You don't start from nothing. And if you compare the last 8 months to, let's say 2015 basicly nothing happened although more peaple are working at Hinterland and like i said, you don't have to start to create a map editor or build models and textures for a hammer anymore. This foundation existed already before August.

There must be something very serious going on, i don't know.

 

Edited by MueckE

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Those are what i was saying earlier, (nearly 1,5-2 months ago) and nothing changed. And as i see now, people who were against my opinions then, now realized what i really meant.

Depending on very previous announcement, we were expecting next episode at the end of 2017 or maybe January 2018. But now, we are at 2nd quarter of 2018, 8 months passed since last episode released. And still they said they're so far from releasing it, and no news since February. I think these are some complainings that everybody should respect.

Edited by Le Petit Prince
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6 hours ago, Le Petit Prince said:

Those are what i was saying earlier, (nearly 1,5-2 months ago) and nothing changed. And as i see now, people who were against my opinions then, now realized what i really meant.

Depending on very previous announcement, we were expecting next episode at the end of 2017 or maybe January 2018. But now, we are at 2nd quarter of 2018, 8 months passed since last episode released. And still they said they're so far from releasing it, and no news since February. I think these are some complainings that everybody should respect.

Nothing has changed in information terms, because we haven't had another Devblog yet. They've been releasing them about every two months since August, so there should be one in April (soon!) on that scale. But that doesn't mean nothing has changed in terms of development - I'm sure they've been working hard to get Episode 3 and the reworkings of 1 & 2 done and ready for release.

Releasing the game in episodes is a good idea in principle, I think. It allows for improvements to be made to game mechanics and the story structure in between releases, based on player feedback, which makes for a better game when it's all done eventually. But the episodic release structure hasn't worked well for the game so far, purely because of the length of time between the first release of episodes and the next. They've sold the game since August on the premise that you're buying 5 episodes that will be released at regular intervals - so far they haven't achieved that, or anything like it. If they do a Season 2, then I think they should either make damn certain that there is going to be a more frequent schedule of episode releases, or else sell it "as is" at release - say with Episodes 1 & 2 included at the start, but at a lower price, so that they can sell the remaining parts as individual DLCs which people can buy separately if they like the first bit they've played. That would free them from the obligation they've given themselves this time by promising 5 episodes included in the base price, while not having any idea of how long it's going to take to finish them.

(and if they do have an idea how long it's going to take, then should definitely tell us!)

Edited by Pillock
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While it is important to let Hinterlands know that more information is necessary to keep the community involved and engaged it isn't really fair to say they're not working at all. As @Blinkin said, feature creep and expectation management are consistent difficulties now that the game has such a large scope and audience beyond the original kickstarter. Be patient, ask for more information, and make informed judgements when reviewing or recommending the game. 

In other words, when writing a review or talking to a friend let them know what you think of the game but make them aware that they'll be playing a lot of the excellent sandbox while waiting for season 1 to be finished. 

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1 hour ago, cekivi said:

In other words, when writing a review or talking to a friend let them know what you think of the game but make them aware that they'll be playing a lot of the excellent sandbox while waiting for season 1 to be finished. 

You're right but seems like, (if they don't change their working styl) completing 1st season will take 3-4 years. :D This is hilarious time and i don't think anyone would want to wait this long time while playing sandbox.

And also my ideas about survival mode is a bit different from everyone's. I've wrote it in another topic but in case you didn't read it there, i'll post it below.

I find survival modes annoying and pointless. It is only my opinion. Because, you are collecting items to survive -most of the time without any other mission- and then of course the day comes that you die... Survival games' purpose is to get highest score of yourself, when you're out of supplies you have to start over, and try again for better, and ofcourse everything you've done before will be gone. Thats why i don't like survival modes. I don't feel like i have a reason to fight for. I mean there are two ways. You survive, or you die. If you will die at the end, why play? Because you know it will end with nothing, with no final scene or sth, it's just you're dead. If you don't die forever, so still why play? Game gets so monotone. Find supplies and it's just it.

Like i said earlier it is only my view, i know that it changes depending on player and i respect players who finds survival modes more enjoyable.

On the other hand, in story modes, i wonder what's coming next. And to see it, i have to survive. Just like a book or movie, there is a written story and it makes you go on. I am very curious about what happened to Astrid. As being taking up seriously with my character, i want to save or help my ex-wife. With mysterious i believe stories makes everything much more enjoyable and attractive. (If TLD was multiplay game, i would think different.)

However, i think Hinterland lost this story adventage. Since it's been so long since i've finished the 2nd episode, i lost my curiosity and desire to play. Even in the upper paragraph, i had to check woman character's name from google because i couldn't remember it. I was almost writing Ashley :D. Now it's been 8 months, still no specific date for next episode, and 1,5 months since the last news we got. One thing i know is if Hinterland makes players wait about 1 year for each episode of story they will keep losing story's attractiveness.

Edited by Le Petit Prince

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And that is a perfectly fair assessment of the game. To be honest, I haven't even tried story mode yet. I just get more enjoyment from the sandbox so I wanted to wait for it to be complete before trying :$

 

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I can't understand how managing expectations is hard. Just be forthright with the fans and give realistic goals, and if you miss them explain. 

When you are at the point where you can't make realistic and accurate goals, the studio needs to reevaluate itself. Are there too few employees? Are they trying to make too much? Are they not working hard enough? I don't know. 

However, keeping the backers and fans in the loop simply isn't hard. HL has exhausted all benefit of the doubt however, by missing every single timetable they've set. 

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Watched the GDC talk recently, and loved the look of the new conversation system. Hoping we get another dev blog soon. I'll keep plugging away at my other games for the moment, but I'm getting the itch to come back to TLD and hoping that I can experience the revised ep1 and 2 soon. :x

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On 10.4.2018 at 10:04 PM, MrJade said:

I can't understand how managing expectations is hard. Just be forthright with the fans and give realistic goals, and if you miss them explain. 

When you are at the point where you can't make realistic and accurate goals, the studio needs to reevaluate itself. Are there too few employees? Are they trying to make too much? Are they not working hard enough? I don't know. 

However, keeping the backers and fans in the loop simply isn't hard. HL has exhausted all benefit of the doubt however, by missing every single timetable they've set. 

We might not become best friends after the "true fan" shitstorm, but this is starting to get worrying. I can barely remember this game existing. I had faith in HL. Had. I know they are probably working hard, but keeping the fans in the dark and missing those timetables is going to kick them in the ass. I can barely remember the Story mode plot and I played it trough twice and watched many YouTubers play it. I don't know what to say. I quess that I'm not a "true fan." Barely a fan anymore

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I think they're redoing the first part of the story mode because they found that people were encountering bugs because you're free to wander around but the story is linear? I ran into a game breaking bug because I did something before I got the quest to do it and couldn't progress.

That's easily time well spent IMO, worth missing some timeline.

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I drank in Story mode back in August when it released. Luckily I had a reasonably bug-free experience despite having 2 weeks off in August and jumping right in on release day. But my impressions were that it was a strangely linear, almost constrictive experience. I mean, I knew it was always intended to be authored, but I was left wondering why they wanted to blend that level of linear narrative with such an open world. The re-jigging they are doing makes me super excited to go back and try it again. 

Here's the talk I was referring to earlier: https://www.gdcvault.com/play/1024896/A-Long-Dark-Road-Blending

I like that TLD is a unique experience. I've tried The Forest, or other survival sims but nothing really does what TLD does. I'm happy being patient. I know it's been years, but TLD feels like an old friend. I just hope Hinterland still love what they're doing and are happy and passionate to keep plugging away. It seems that way. After all, I can go off and play a bunch of other games. Thy have to stay focused on crafting this experience. 

 

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I've had a lot of fun with this game. I just hunted a deer and hauled 40 pounds of meat through digital snow. Pretty fun. One thing that I've had happen is randomly getting a sprained ankle or sprained wrist for no apparent reason. I don't know if that's some game mechanic working that I don't know about or if it's a bug.

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9 hours ago, TheGuppySquad said:

I've had a lot of fun with this game. I just hunted a deer and hauled 40 pounds of meat through digital snow. Pretty fun. One thing that I've had happen is randomly getting a sprained ankle or sprained wrist for no apparent reason. I don't know if that's some game mechanic working that I don't know about or if it's a bug.

It's a game mechanic.

I've found I most often get the random sprains when climbing a hill while having my rifle in my hands. So a stumble...will give a sprain.

It's very easy to slip and fall on snow, ice or snowy ice- or snow on top of ice.

But there are no say stumble animations so it can be strange.

Also that GDC video is the bomb.

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On 05/04/2018 at 9:36 PM, Vinceofpyrenees said:

Usually, there is an update each season. And we like it like that. So, waiting the spring update, whatever its content size.

You might.. however, I believe most of us would appreciate far more regular progress reports, such as most other game devs provide. Hinterland are amongst the worst in the indy gaming world, when it comes to keeping their fans/customers informed as to how things are going. I blame it on their AAA backgrounds, where they were never required to keep players informed.

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On 06/04/2018 at 4:55 AM, Pillock said:

(And there's absolutely no way they should be putting the game into hard copies on store shelves before they've fixed the planned reworks of Episodes One and Two, by the way.)

Couldn't agree more.. to do so would be a clear indication of greed winning out over common sense, in my never-humble opinion.

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On 13/04/2018 at 6:57 AM, TheGuppySquad said:

I've had a lot of fun with this game. I just hunted a deer and hauled 40 pounds of meat through digital snow. Pretty fun. One thing that I've had happen is randomly getting a sprained ankle or sprained wrist for no apparent reason. I don't know if that's some game mechanic working that I don't know about or if it's a bug.

Yeah, messing about on slopes results in sprains, and it appears that includes even walking over a tiny but slopey mound of snow. I get so many sprains. Much as I hate it I think its a good mechanic as its a trade of between moving around on the flattest routes, which can be longer and involve entering areas a bit blind vs using contours for vision and shortcuts. Its still bugs me that it seems random - I'd like to think I had the choice of moving on inclines 'carefully' and thereby reducing the risk. I'm not sure if it works like that. I feel a feature request coming.

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I think of it as the game abstractly representing things like stumbling, or falling and catching your weight badly on your wrist, without actually animating the motion. I have found it appears to happen most on slopes or when heavily encumbered.

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On 4/10/2018 at 10:43 PM, LucidFugue said:

Watched the GDC talk recently

I just looked at it and wow! I really didn't recognize Raph with the beard and glasses :o

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On 23/02/2018 at 7:19 PM, Le Petit Prince said:

LOL... It's been almost 7 months and you say it will still take long time, and you can't still give a date about only 1 episode which should be already done 3 months ago at the end of 2017. I don't know what others think but i think this news are nothing but tragedy. I'm not very into survival games but i really liked the story mode, and i finished it in only 24 hours and waiting for 7 months... I wish it wasn't too late to refund this piece of trash...

So you changed some actions of NPCs on previous episodes on 7 months? CONGRATULATIONS...

I hope you make this character be able to jump, so that this "THE LONG TIME" waiting worth it at least a little bit.

Sorry guys, i know everyone's gonna attack me on comments, but hey! You all know what you have just read are truths.

Dude go spread your hate somewhere else, this is a brilliant game with some amazing people doing some amazing work, Ralph is trying to balance the players own self-created stories in the sandbox mode with the authored stories in survival mode and if you can’t respect that then you’re damaging this community. Which is one of the best and most helpful I’ve been a part of.

if you know you’re going to be ‘attacked’ by other users for saying it then you must know it’s not helpful, constructive, or necessary to say anything that you said.

Oh and btw it’s ‘the truth’ not ‘truths.’

You want high quality yet you aren’t prepared to wait for it? Really man? 

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