Raphael van Lierop

Milton Mailbag -- Dispatch #23

Recommended Posts

5c660f9b19184_23-social.thumb.png.250d9be038c73ab1a3b800fd7cf24a44.png

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:

Quote

I'm curious... What kind of field tests have you and the team done to determine the various values that are incorporated in the game's code? For example did you go out to lite a fire and see how much time it took for snow to melt and boil, or go ice fishing to see how often would a fish bite, or how long does it take for a piece of meat to go bad for example. What kind of things do you only research and what kind of things you actually tried. Which are the most memorable experiences?

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:

Quote

Raph, how stoked are you for "Metro: Exodus"?! 

*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:

Quote

 I love playing TLD,  it’s hands-down one of my favorite games. I do have a problem however with some of the gameplay.  I have brain damage which causes tremors in my hands. Normally this doesn’t bother me and I can play the game just fine, however it makes it nearly impossible to hunt with a bow and arrow or any of the firearms .  Is there a way to make hunting more accessible for people with disabilities?  I understand it might make the game easier for non-disabled players but given how it’s currently made I can’t use the hunting features no matter how much I practice.  I’ve already tried adjusting the mouse sensitivity and that hasn’t helped.

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:

Quote

Hi, I remember that, in some version (or maybe in test branch), we were able to take battery from car. Was it a test of something ?, or do you have any plan about car battery ? thanks

I'm sure I have no idea what you are talking about. ;) 

*****

Question from @Faithful Cartographer:

Quote

Hello Raph! If the chances to see in 2019 a new location for survival mode and a new animal?

New location -- yes. New animal -- sure hope so!

*****

Question from @XaldinVii:

Quote

The transition area between Mountain Town and Mystery Lake has a part where you overlook what seems to be the other side of the tunnel that takes you out of Milton, possibly the way Astrid went. It has what looks like truck turned over turned. Will this be a new area that can be explored in the future? Maybe the start of episode 3 where Astrid is on the other side of the tunnnel? :)

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:

Quote

I'm a deaf gamer so I wonder if it's possible to show any subtitle that showed any animal spawn that would make any noises such as footsteps or growling, howling, etc. to be shown in subtitle so that I could stop and pause and consider my options to keep myself alive.  I just do not like any blindside attacks.   If it's possible, make it an option in the menu.  

I've been thinking about this lately and will consider it along with the request to make Bow Aiming more accessible.

*****

Question from @Sceh:

Quote

Being decidedly and proudly Canadian, does it bother you that many people  - including youtube letsplayers - keep mispronouncing Voyageur as voyager? It seems to me the name was picked with intent and with pride in your country's history, not to mention the incredible spirit of early settlers and frontiersfolk. From what I gather their time period is fondly remembered in legends and songs and the people regarded as heroes. I don't think anyone intends to offend you/them, but it shows some level of ignorance, no?

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:

Quote

Will we ever get a region with very rough terrain and lots of climbing, but less wildlife?

Kind of like a...Hushed River Valley? Something along those lines?

*****

Question from @Azdrawee:

Quote

Fluffy was really difficult to deal with and it gave heart attacks to new players, so I think it was wise to remove her, but have you ever considered adding her back to the game through custom settings or something? I really don't think she should be added back to normal difficulties (or at least not pilgrim and voyageur), but it would be nice to have a way to bring her back.

Fluffy is a relic of the past, but it doesn't mean her legend doesn't (or won't) live on...

*****

Question from @piddy3825:

Quote

I typically check each one I find in hopes of finding a thoughtful morsel of prose, but so many are still empty and the "story hasn't been told" message isn't very rewarding.  Is this because of programming effort it takes to do so or was it because the backers didn't provide you with any material?    If it was due to lack of material content from the backer(s) and if the backer(s) were amenable to the idea, would you consider some community generated content with which to fill those "empty" cairns?   You could make it contest!

It's because those backers didn't provide any material for their Cairn. We're hoping to still hear from them!

*****

Question for @BogenBlitz:

Quote

I love exploring the unknown, and The Long Dark scratches that itch, but the interior layouts of many of the places I explore are very “cookie cutter.” Is there an effort or plan to differentiate interior locations even more in the future? I mean new artwork hanging on the walls, different looking chairs and furniture, etc, would go a long way toward creating an even greater sense of immersion.

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:

Quote

I bought The Long Dark in 2014 (almost five years ago!) for $15 on a Steam sale. Since then I've played ~1,000 hrs which easily makes this my favorite game ever. I'm always a fan of good value, but it's also in my best interest that Hinterland stays healthy and solvent :) Do you have any plans to release paid DLC, like new locations, episodes, tools, stories, etc? I think there would be a lot of interest in this.

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:

Quote

Any chance to see a way to simplify the handling of large numbers of items? A hotkey to pick up everything in sight and range, or making so that items dropped in a bunch remain in a bunch... There are complaints and pleads about this almost weekly.

Nope, no plans to add this.

*****

Question from @DarKube:

Quote

In all of my saves, wolves eat decoys instantly, this is normal ? I saw a video where wolves take time to eat decoys.

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:

Quote

In the future could you guys possibly add an option to click out of a loading screen? The information in them are short, but I often don't finish reading them before it finishes loading.

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:

Quote

 

1. Eating ruined (0% condition) cooked meat gives the full calories and with Cooking at lvl5 the player has no chance of getting food poisoning also cooking ruined (0% condition) meat restores it to 50% condition. Ruined is ruined, we are unable to repair clothes or other items that are ruined so what makes meat so special?

2. Drinking a tea to get a few calories and reduce the weight of said tea does not give the benefit of the tea. Drinking this left over tea, at a later time, gives the player the full benefit as if they had drank the entire tea.

 

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:

Quote

As for survival mode, is there any chance a way of preserving food will be introduced, like a smoker? I like the idea of smoking food for hours and using specific resources (i.e. fir, green wood, sticks and hides) to accomplish it. 

We've discussed it; could be added in a Survival update this year, yes.

*****

Question from @amadeuszbx:

Quote

1) People seem to really want this, theoretically small, but much needed change and I'm one of them. What change? Making scarfs and accessory, not a piece of head-clothing! It makes no sense for them to take up the same space as hats, while ear wraps are considers accesory (and I think they are the only accessory currently in game). Will you make scarfs take up accessory slot rather than head slot, because ear wrap being an only accessory seems a bit empty and definitely not very sensible (like: Who would wear two ear wraps??)? Do you plan to add more accessories?

We'll have more accessories coming.

*****

Question from @Smellyfries:

Quote

 

Plan on adding anything new soon?

Also, how goes things at Hinterland?

 

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

  • Upvote 5
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please use this thread for discussion of @Raphael van Lierop's answers. However, while we will be monitoring the thread, he won't be following up on questions here. If you have more questions please post them in the main question thread and they may be addressed in a future Milton Mailbag.

If you want to know if a topic has been addressed please check the Milton Mailbag Index.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

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. :)

I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing for a Suvival DLC, even if it slows WINTERMUTE development, but I feel vocal negativity from an entitled minority is inescapable.  It's a shame, since in the long run everyone would benefit. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, NardoLoopa said:

I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing for a Suvival DLC, even if it slows WINTERMUTE development, but I feel vocal negativity from an entitled minority is inescapable.  It's a shame, since in the long run everyone would benefit. 

I disagree. I think Wintermute ought to be finished before any paid DLC is released - Wintermute is supposed to be part of the base purchase of the game, and the full release version isn't truly 'finished' until Wintermute Episode 5 is out.

I'd be really excited to purchase and play new paid DLC after that, though.

Looking forward to the new Devblog, by the way! 

Edited by Pillock
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, NardoLoopa said:

I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing for a Suvival DLC, even if it slows WINTERMUTE development, but I feel vocal negativity from an entitled minority is inescapable.  It's a shame, since in the long run everyone would benefit. 

I disagree. As much as I love Wintermute and Survival, Hinterland should be currently focused only on Wintermute, in my opinion. I personally really don't mind and I know that Ep. 3 was delayed with the release of REDUX, but I absolutely understand that people are angry about how long it takes - episodes 1 and 2 were released in August 2017, which is almost 2 years now. That's a bit crazy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So no idea where Ep. 3 will take place? That's bad, Q4 2019 at best then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been playing TLD for over 2 000 hours now. The price was very resonable, therefore every hour have been very cheap. It's the best game I ever played and I've been playing computergames for 30 years. Yeah, I'm an old guy! However, I think nobody would be offended (I hope) for some DLC for Survival, new regions etc.  I would gladely pay a couple of bucks for a new region. If the region isn't included in the Story mode, what's the beef? Well, thank you Hinterland for an amazing game.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, jerry486 said:

So no idea where Ep. 3 will take place? That's bad, Q4 2019 at best then.

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.

  • Upvote 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, NardoLoopa said:

I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing for a Suvival DLC, even if it slows WINTERMUTE development, but I feel vocal negativity from an entitled minority is inescapable.  It's a shame, since in the long run everyone would benefit

Agreed. I'd have no problem paying for a Survival DLC. Most of the excitement is exploring a new area for the first time.... the "wow" factor!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, pliton said:

I think nobody would be offended (I hope) for some DLC for Survival, new regions etc.

You can already see from a couple posts that some of the audience thinks 100% focus should be on finishing WM.  I feel for @Raphael van Lierop and HL, because like he said, they have inadvertently backed themselves in a corner with the promise of 5 episodes.  I dunno, maybe fire up some kind of "DLC kickstarter fund" and only those funds would be used to develop DLC (leaving the rest of the original team to continue to focus on ep 3-5)?

Edited by hozz1235

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, hozz1235 said:

You can already see from a couple posts that some of the audience thinks 100% focus should be on finishing WM.  I feel for @Raphael van Lierop and HL, because like he said, they have inadvertently backed themselves in a corner with the promise of 5 episodes.  I dunno, maybe fire up some kind of "DLC kickstarter fund" and only those funds would be used to develop DLC (leaving the rest of the original team to continue to focus on ep 3-5)?

The way I look at it, Wintermute is a commitment that Hinterland have made to their customers. Survival Mode isn't.

You could perfectly argue that Survival Mode is 'finished' in terms of the product. The fact that HL have continued to update it (for free!) with new features as well as fixes, and have consistently indicated that these (free!) updates will continue in future, is fantastic for us gamers, but it's not incumbent on them to do it. It is very generous of them nonetheless.

But the game was and is marketed as including a 5-part story-mode as part of the base purchase. Until that base commitment is completed, I just think it looks bad if you start charging money for new content. I'd happily buy DLC before or after Wintermute is finished. But I don't think it's a very good idea from a customer relations point of view to release it before Wintermute Ep. 5.

I've read several times @Raphael van Lierop over the last couple of years commenting on how he and the company take review score averages (on Steam, for example) and customer feedback pretty seriously. That's a good thing, I think. He's also admitted to having made a couple of mistakes when it comes to player feedback and relations - the 'countdown to the countdown' thing and the initial Wintermute release in August 2017 not being up to their own standards are examples. I think releasing paid DLC before completing Wintermute would have a similar negative effect, and they're wise to be reluctant to do it. I don't think they should.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed.  If they were to do something like I mentioned, they would have to be VERY clear that the resources devoted to the DLC has NO impact on the work being done  for WM.   Could be complicated, but just brainstorming.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, NardoLoopa said:

vocal negativity from an entitled minority

Getting snooty about it isn't going to help your cause.

Personally, I have no problem with Hinterland making a little more money to help the game move forward. The bad part, for me and a few other users is that we would be left out of the ability to buy the DLC because we don't use Steam, and if that DLC left us out of some important aspect of the game, that would seriously suck, but at least Hinterland would get a little money for the work to continue.

Now if Hinterland could make that same DLC also available in some other fashion, say - at their website or here in the forum, that would be great.

Edited by Hawk
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/14/2019 at 7:13 PM, NardoLoopa said:

I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing for a Suvival DLC, even if it slows WINTERMUTE development, but I feel vocal negativity from an entitled minority is inescapable.  It's a shame, since in the long run everyone would benefit. 

I would gladly jump on board a round of crowd funding if it meant more and more!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cougar is going to change this game forever! ;-)

Smoked meat/fish! Be still my beating heart!

I suppose one way to transition to a new decor in a house would be to burn down the old one and then randomly reassign goods stored there to a new place. I'm fine with an abrupt update, even loosing loot. Scratch games are the way to go!

There seems to be a huge appetite for modding support and I have heard of some spiffy ones. Love to see a map creation feature. Endless possibilities just like the old Doom! world. I could also see a map testing and validation tool if map data were somehow available. Hire me, Raph! ;-) I work for peanuts and applause.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, SteveP said:

I would gladly jump on board a round of crowd funding if it meant more and more!

Yeah, I'm in! If Hinterland got some more money they can hire some more people. Without knowing anything about Hinterland's structure as a company - more money can perhaps hurry up things.  Or maybe I'm totally wrong! This game can't be hurried... Well, I trust that Raphael will make the best decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Pillock said:

The way I look at it, Wintermute is a commitment that Hinterland have made to their customers. Survival Mode isn't.

Normally I agree with you Pillock. But not fully on this. In perspective - what has drawn almost all fans and players to the game is what? Survivor mode. No doubt about that. The non-scripted roaming exploring and surviving gamer who wants to create their own story. These players will never (?) be  fully satisfied with story-mode because it will always lack the freedom. So we're putting HL on an impossible mission. A small studio with limited resources. 

I feel it's unfair for several reasons. The survivor mode is simply brilliant. With custom settings HL has solved some of the gap problem between the many different wishes for customization.  Every player got 10 times what they paid. Going to the movies 1 time cost more than what I paid for the game. That lasts 2- hours. To me, the promises on purchase shouldn't be a factor. 

Should HL go a different route and f.e. ending the story mode in ep. 3 at least for now, I wouldn't take any offense. One should ask one selves - what's best for the game? To me that is expanding and building on to what has made its huge success. Obviously I would pay for that content hence above. But it should also ofc. be available for all (in regards to platforms and non-steam). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 15/2/2019 at 2:04 AM, Raphael van Lierop said:

New location -- yes. New animal -- sure hope so!

So cool. I sincerely hope it's a mixed zone since I love the haunted feeling of an abandoned industrial or rural site. 

New accessories, new weapons, new craftables etc. Good things coming. I really hope Hinterland also keeps and eye on power creep. To many games have been ruined by its fanbase demanding more and more skills, items, powers etc. and whining about every challenge until the game is boring and then all  just left it and moved on. Reminds me of a story: A cat wanted to bake the best cake on its birthday. The cat thus asked every animal in the forest what it should put in the cake . The bear wanted salmon in the cake, the mice wanted cheese, the squirrel nuts and so on and so on. No one liked the cake in the end. 

Of course new things is the way to go.  I just hope HL holds on to their spirit of creating a game that is mercilessly challenging :D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 2/14/2019 at 11:33 PM, Pillock said:

I disagree. I think Wintermute ought to be finished before any paid DLC is released - Wintermute is supposed to be part of the base purchase of the game, and the full release version isn't truly 'finished' until Wintermute Episode 5 is out.

I'd be really excited to purchase and play new paid DLC after that, though.

I agree 100% on this. The backers made the game exist, and they asked for story-mode, whatever happened after that, Wintermute is the first deal between players and Hinterland. I'm myself new to the game (6 months) and I prefer Survival, but a deal is a deal, and a studio's word is priceless.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 17.2.2019 at 1:38 AM, BareSkin said:

I agree 100% on this. The backers made the game exist, and they asked for story-mode, whatever happened after that, Wintermute is the first deal between players and Hinterland. I'm myself new to the game (6 months) and I prefer Survival, but a deal is a deal, and a studio's word is priceless.

This. I also belong to the group of players who would buy DLC right away, Wintermute or not. If it was just for me, development on Wintermute might as well stop here and all the funds could go into Survival mode. But a deal is a deal, and there are a lot of people out there who have bought the game and are now waiting for the story. Most of them don't understand how a company works, and there would certainly be some public backlash if Hinterland started selling DLC before finishing the story. So it might be better to finish that first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 16/2/2019 at 1:12 PM, pliton said:

I would gladly jump on board a round of crowd funding if it meant more and more!

I would like to see DLCs in form of more CHALLENGES for example, or a new MAP, or maybe side HISTORY with other characters as Jeremiah or Hobbs for example. That's a thing that wouldn't change the core experience of the people that doesn't have the DLC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.