Alphyrion

Randomized item locations for infinite replayability

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36 minutes ago, ajb1978 said:

My two cents worth, think that loot tables are fine as they are, but what would be interesting is a Custom Random game. A Custom game, where every variable is randomly chosen, so you have no idea what to expect, at all.  Maybe it's low wolf spawn, high wolf fear, but Interloper wolf damage.  Maybe it's All Bears All The Time.  Maybe it's Pilgrim wildlife, but Interloper everything else.

This sounds like an interesting idea.

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6 hours ago, UpUpAway95 said:

I'm sorry, but i don't believe you because I notice things like corpses that were in a place on one playthrough not being there on the next.  Multiple deliberate tests of the revolver has definitively shown that it cannot always be found in particular locations.  Frequently found, I can buy.  Most likely found, I can buy; but guaranteed so that "you know" where to look for it.  No, I don't buy that unless you're talking about the 4 loot table spreadsheets a player devised for interloper that account for key items.  And I've already said twice, Hinterland could/should add more variations of those so that they are less easily tracked.  Ninety-nine percent of the time is not 100% of the time.  Adding loot tables rather than going 100% random spawn makes more sense to me in that a total 100% randomized spawn of everything in the game would mean that anything could spawn anywhere and in any type of container.  As I said, I don't want to find shoes in a fridge nor do I want a bunch of random containers lying out in the snow appearing all over the map like so much litter.  Those are my personal reasons for not upvoting this suggestion.  If you like it, then upvote.  I'm not stopping anyone from doing that.  There is no need to argue with me over my personal preference on this.

That's ok. There are several random containers that absolutely are always there. There are loot drops that always have the same thing (in various quantities) all over TWM. I've played every map region literally hundreds of times since there was ONLY Mystery Lake with a Fluffy in the Dam, and maybe 15 rifle rounds total (on a good day), the wolves were solid black, and you could run without ever getting tired. There are harvestable plants that have been in the same exact location since the beginning. Most remain fixed in each region as the maps have been added ~ the only real exception being several maple/birch spawns. Corpses have been random from the start (or within a few updates, can't really remember), although the lack of women/children is far more odd than their randomness … or that people actually use them as containers. 

I'm not arguing with you, but at this point I'm going to point out that your reasons are based only on your play style ~ with absolutely no consideration for any other person who plays this game. As for not wanting to find shoes in a frig, I've found the most bizarre things in unlikely places … and given the locations people tend to hide things/stash things when they don't want them found, it really isn't all that bizarre (no more bizarre than the long johns/matches/accelerant combo in tubs, or crowbars behind toilets (which seriously brings up mental images I would prefer to never have experienced).

The bottom line is that starting a new run in any mode means a player with more than 100 hours or so pretty much just runs from A to B to C getting what they need. There is no 'hope I find this' or 'I need this and have no idea where I might find it'. Thanks to achievements, the best little house in Coastal is forever burned down; random loot would mean we'd actually have to hunt for stuff every single game ~ and what you think would be inconvenient, others would find amusing. In any case, it would be preferable to the just 'going to the corner store' that everyone knows the location of imo. Just as you place your particular playstyle above others, others place theirs above yours. Upvoting something in no way guarantees that it will ever become a reality, but I at least try and upvote things that benefit the most possible players. If it were up to me, Interloper would not exist (as an example). I'd have much preferred more content and immersion over grinding my teeth and clenching my knuckles with more regularity than a CPR session. Real survival is nothing like that if you survive the first few days. I'm also aware that Anything added now that adds content and immersion completely screws over loper players (and most Stalker players to some extent) because they don't have the time or the resources for either. I can say that the more things added that cater only to the hardest two modes, the less interest I have in any part of the game. 

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On 7/5/2019 at 9:27 PM, FrozenCorpse said:

IMO, the devs cannot base game mechanics & design decisions on overt familiarity with the game-world especially considering that this familiarity is fundamental to survival in harder difficulties.

This might come across as opposing the OP's wish for randomized item locations and that was not my intention:  I totally favor it.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, loriaw said:

That's ok. There are several random containers that absolutely are always there. There are loot drops that always have the same thing (in various quantities) all over TWM. I've played every map region literally hundreds of times since there was ONLY Mystery Lake with a Fluffy in the Dam, and maybe 15 rifle rounds total (on a good day), the wolves were solid black, and you could run without ever getting tired. There are harvestable plants that have been in the same exact location since the beginning. Most remain fixed in each region as the maps have been added ~ the only real exception being several maple/birch spawns. Corpses have been random from the start (or within a few updates, can't really remember), although the lack of women/children is far more odd than their randomness … or that people actually use them as containers. 

I'm not arguing with you, but at this point I'm going to point out that your reasons are based only on your play style ~ with absolutely no consideration for any other person who plays this game. As for not wanting to find shoes in a frig, I've found the most bizarre things in unlikely places … and given the locations people tend to hide things/stash things when they don't want them found, it really isn't all that bizarre (no more bizarre than the long johns/matches/accelerant combo in tubs, or crowbars behind toilets (which seriously brings up mental images I would prefer to never have experienced).

The bottom line is that starting a new run in any mode means a player with more than 100 hours or so pretty much just runs from A to B to C getting what they need. There is no 'hope I find this' or 'I need this and have no idea where I might find it'. Thanks to achievements, the best little house in Coastal is forever burned down; random loot would mean we'd actually have to hunt for stuff every single game ~ and what you think would be inconvenient, others would find amusing. In any case, it would be preferable to the just 'going to the corner store' that everyone knows the location of imo. Just as you place your particular playstyle above others, others place theirs above yours. Upvoting something in no way guarantees that it will ever become a reality, but I at least try and upvote things that benefit the most possible players. If it were up to me, Interloper would not exist (as an example). I'd have much preferred more content and immersion over grinding my teeth and clenching my knuckles with more regularity than a CPR session. Real survival is nothing like that if you survive the first few days. I'm also aware that Anything added now that adds content and immersion completely screws over loper players (and most Stalker players to some extent) because they don't have the time or the resources for either. I can say that the more things added that cater only to the hardest two modes, the less interest I have in any part of the game. 

I disagree.  I'm a player with way more than 100 hours and I do not just run from A to B to C getting what I need.  I don't choose to play that way and, IMO, you don't have to choose to play that way either.  I've stated my reasons for not upvoting this idea and 'I'm not arguing with you, but at this point I'm going to point out that your reasons are based only on your play style ~ with absolutely no considertions for any other person who plays this game."   Spare me your trite lectures, please.  Hinterlands can do whatever they feel is best and decide for themselves whether such a change is worth the time and effort it would take them to change their entire loot system in the game in order to implement it.

Edited by UpUpAway95

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, loriaw said:

That's ok. There are several random containers that absolutely are always there. There are loot drops that always have the same thing (in various quantities) all over TWM. I've played every map region literally hundreds of times since there was ONLY Mystery Lake with a Fluffy in the Dam, and maybe 15 rifle rounds total (on a good day), the wolves were solid black, and you could run without ever getting tired. There are harvestable plants that have been in the same exact location since the beginning. Most remain fixed in each region as the maps have been added ~ the only real exception being several maple/birch spawns. Corpses have been random from the start (or within a few updates, can't really remember), although the lack of women/children is far more odd than their randomness … or that people actually use them as containers. 

I'm not arguing with you, but at this point I'm going to point out that your reasons are based only on your play style ~ with absolutely no consideration for any other person who plays this game. As for not wanting to find shoes in a frig, I've found the most bizarre things in unlikely places … and given the locations people tend to hide things/stash things when they don't want them found, it really isn't all that bizarre (no more bizarre than the long johns/matches/accelerant combo in tubs, or crowbars behind toilets (which seriously brings up mental images I would prefer to never have experienced).

The bottom line is that starting a new run in any mode means a player with more than 100 hours or so pretty much just runs from A to B to C getting what they need. There is no 'hope I find this' or 'I need this and have no idea where I might find it'. Thanks to achievements, the best little house in Coastal is forever burned down; random loot would mean we'd actually have to hunt for stuff every single game ~ and what you think would be inconvenient, others would find amusing. In any case, it would be preferable to the just 'going to the corner store' that everyone knows the location of imo. Just as you place your particular playstyle above others, others place theirs above yours. Upvoting something in no way guarantees that it will ever become a reality, but I at least try and upvote things that benefit the most possible players. If it were up to me, Interloper would not exist (as an example). I'd have much preferred more content and immersion over grinding my teeth and clenching my knuckles with more regularity than a CPR session. Real survival is nothing like that if you survive the first few days. I'm also aware that Anything added now that adds content and immersion completely screws over loper players (and most Stalker players to some extent) because they don't have the time or the resources for either. I can say that the more things added that cater only to the hardest two modes, the less interest I have in any part of the game. 

Addendum:  Bet everyone who has played more than 100 hours in this game is gonna love it (if they do implement 100% random loot) after they spend a bunch more in game time working their way to the top of TWM... only to find a crate full of driving gloves or worse, a bunch of empty containers and maybe a tin of sardines.

Edited by UpUpAway95

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, UpUpAway95 said:

I disagree.  I'm a player with way more than 100 hours and I do not just run from A to B to C getting what I need.  I don't choose to play that way and, IMO, you don't have to choose to play that way either.  I've stated my reasons for not upvoting this idea and 'I'm not arguing with you, but at this point I'm going to point out that your reasons are based only on your play style ~ with absolutely no considertions for any other person who plays this game."   Spare me your trite lectures, please.  Hinterlands can do whatever they feel is best and decide for themselves whether such a change is worth the time and effort it would take them to change their entire loot system in the game in order to implement it.

I've played 2307 (edit to add ~ I just opened Steam to check, and I've got 100+ hours more than the 2200 I thought I was at) hours. I've owned the game since 2015. I've watched probably upwards of 100 videos on just Stalker and Interloper play ~ and they all run from point A to B to collect their beginning supplies. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

They do that because they can't survive the initial days without doing so. 

When Hushed River was released, I started a new game spawning into that region ~ blind ~ and the first week (of game play) was GLORIOUS. Absolutely glorious. It was tough and a bit nerve wracking and all brand new. I could see that blasted trail of smoke (occasionally), I had no clue where anything was, and it was the hours I already had in the game that gave me the skills to live long enough to start finding items that helped. It was similar to the first time I spawned into Mystery Lake and had no clue what to expect or where anything was.

Now ~ I know my way around the place. Sadly, I also have a pretty good idea which areas are worth the effort, which aren't, and can traipse straight up to get my moose pack and head on to other locales and loot. 

If you can't see the difference, perhaps you'll start to get an inkling when you get to 1000 or so hours of play time. Or not. Your mileage definitely seems to vary.

Edited by loriaw
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I guess for me the problem with random loot is that the loot distribution will not "make sense". It makes sense to find a lot of tools at the Maintenance Yard and at Hibernia. It makes sense to find firearms at the Hunting Lodge. It makes sense to find storm lanterns and magnifying glasses at the Camp Office (for summer science field trips). It makes sense to find a snare at Trapper's. It makes sense to find a boatload of stuff in the cargo section of the plane on TWM. It makes sense that the only reasonably densely populated regions in Great Bear (MT & CH) are places where lots of clothing and cooking utensils can be found.

Random loot distribution will mean that they will stop making sense. It's similar to why I don't want to see procedurally generated maps; they won't make sense. While there are some howlers in the geology of the area, by and large the handcrafted maps and loot tables make the layouts of the place make sense, and that adds a lot of versimilitude to the experience of playing the game. Personally, that whole "making sense" thing is part of what makes the game really great.

I completely echo what you're saying about HRV. I got my ass kicked the first time I went in there and had to go back to MT to recover; after I went back in the second time I was able to get a lot further in. It was a most excellent experience discovering the place for the first time.

I imagine that in a year or two when all the episodes are done and modding tools have been released, there'll be a rush of new regions designed by the community that will help create that experience over and over again.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, loriaw said:

I've played 2307 (edit to add ~ I just opened Steam to check, and I've got 100+ hours more than the 2200 I thought I was at) hours. I've owned the game since 2015. I've watched probably upwards of 100 videos on just Stalker and Interloper play ~ and they all run from point A to B to collect their beginning supplies. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

They do that because they can't survive the initial days without doing so. 

When Hushed River was released, I started a new game spawning into that region ~ blind ~ and the first week (of game play) was GLORIOUS. Absolutely glorious. It was tough and a bit nerve wracking and all brand new. I could see that blasted trail of smoke (occasionally), I had no clue where anything was, and it was the hours I already had in the game that gave me the skills to live long enough to start finding items that helped. It was similar to the first time I spawned into Mystery Lake and had no clue what to expect or where anything was.

Now ~ I know my way around the place. Sadly, I also have a pretty good idea which areas are worth the effort, which aren't, and can traipse straight up to get my moose pack and head on to other locales and loot. 

If you can't see the difference, perhaps you'll start to get an inkling when you get to 1000 or so hours of play time. Or not. Your mileage definitely seems to vary.

In a post farther up the thread, I have alreayd indicated that I have played more than 1000 hours in this game... that's, BTW, WAY more than 100 hours (which is also what I stated).  

Fact is, you don't represent everyone who has played more than 100 hours in this game.  Different people like different things.  I happen to like loot that makes sense where it can be found and being rewarded for getting someplace not so easy to get to by finding better quality loot in that location rather than throwing it all up into the hands of the RNG gods.  I would hate to randomly find all the good stuff in my starting zone... which would not encourage me to explore further.  I'd hate to climb Timberwolf and only find a tin of sardines and a bunch of empty crates; whereas, I don't mind finding that tin of sardines on the counter in a Milton House (even though I predict finding it there 90% of time) because that house wasn't as tough to get to in the first place.  Knowing that sardine tin is there, does not prevent me from searching all the cabinets in the house.  I don't run to the Ravine and only pick up the distress pistol either.  While I'm down there, I'll still check the other loot locations near there and on the way to there.  If you find yourself just beelining to get to the good stuff, then you CAN decide to change how you play the game.  The loot system isn't preventing you from doing that.

You don't seem to appreciate the nature of a totally random loot system... which BTW very, very few games ever have.  I did say early on in this thread that they could afford to have more variations of the locations where the essential or most desired stuff is located.  That makes things less predictable without going to totally random loot.  I suspect that will happen anyways as more lootable items are added and more zones are added to the game.

Edited by UpUpAway95

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24 minutes ago, UpUpAway95 said:

In a post farther up the thread, I have alreayd indicated that I have played more than 1000 hours in this game... that's, BTW, WAY more than 100 hours (which is also what I stated).  

Fact is, you don't represent everyone who has played more than 100 hours in this game.  Different people like different things.  I happen to like loot that makes sense where it can be found and being rewarded for getting someplace not so easy to get to by finding better quality loot in that location rather than throwing it all up into the hands of the RNG gods.  I would hate to randomly find all the good stuff in my starting zone... which would not encourage me to explore further.  I'd hate to climb Timberwolf and only find a tin of sardines and a bunch of empty crates; whereas, I don't mind finding that tin of sardines on the counter in a Milton House (even though I predict finding it there 90% of time) because that house wasn't as tough to get to in the first place.  Knowing that sardine tin is there, does not prevent me from searching all the cabinets in the house.  I don't run to the Ravine and only pick up the distress pistol either.  While I'm down there, I'll still check the other loot locations near there and on the way to there.  If you find yourself just beelining to get to the good stuff, then you CAN decide to change how you play the game.  The loot system isn't preventing you from doing that.

You don't seem to appreciate the nature of a totally random loot system... which BTW very, very few games ever have.  I did say early on in this thread that they could afford to have more variations of the locations where the essential or most desired stuff is located.  That makes things less predictable without going to totally random loot.  I suspect that will happen anyways as more lootable items are added and more zones are added to the game.

So keep clothing in dressers and food in cupboards. It honestly makes zero sense to find anything edible in ovens, frig/freezers given the rate of decay for any other food item (particularly when canned goods in the same kitchen are at 14%). As for TWM, I want to know if that plane was hauling a shipment from the Goodwill store or new goods ~ because anything being shipped should be in better than average (as compared to other ingame loot) than what I've found up there. Think about it. Why is there an entire container of various shirts/sweaters all at 40% or less condition? Why is there a container with MRE's at 26%? I go there for coffee/tea, whetstones, rifle rounds, and matches/firestrikers. 99% of any clothing is turned into cloth and canned goods less than 60 % I just leave where I find them. I'll snag the MRE's if they are above 75%, otherwise I just snack on the while I'm there and leave the rest. 

I absolutely appreciate the nature of a totally random loot system. The game I play most has one and I love it. On the other hand, I don't depend on loot in that game because I hunt, plant stuff, and I can craft just about anything/everything when/if I need it … and the weather is worse. If the best one can manage while surviving is depending on loot they find, they aren't going to last all that long; and the same applies to defense against predators. In all honesty, I don't expect much more in the way of new loot as far as TLD. We're still stuck with beans, peaches, and tomato soup after more than 4 years. 

I read your earlier posts (I had not read this entire thread, but I finally caught up on it), but again, I don't really expect any major changes in this department. A lot of the loot is hand placed (per Hinterland's comments), and the rest is all done by rng. They don't seem all that interested in changing that. That is sad, because in the long run, it is a self-limiting aspect that more and more people are going to grow disenchanted with. Knowing what I do about game mechanics and modding, I suspect they severely limited themselves right at the start and that is why so many things can't/won't be changed now. I'm not even sure that if they ever open the game up to modding that it will change because that will also be limited by how they set up the mechanics. 

The bottom line ~ for me ~ is that skill matters in a survival game. A LOT. If my skill can't improve, and counts for squat against an rng deliberately set to failure it starts to feel like I'm beating a dead horse so to speak. I've been fighting against that for almost two years now. The elements that made the game stand out have been shadowed by the never ending list of punishments and limitations (and those HAVE grown since the game was first out in EA). My 'vision' of survival has diverged quite a bit from the devs. I can't enjoy 'stasis', which is why almost ANY change that makes it worth covering all of the map appeals to me. 

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Posted (edited)

I don't understand the seemingly toxic responses to Alphyrion's excellent suggestion. There are four loot tables that 100% predict the location of key items. Anyone who denies this doesn't know how to use Google.

All he is asking for is an OPTION to better randomize the loot. Having played several loper and deadman games through to 100+ days I absolutely want this option too.

 

The response of, "well don't look at the loot tables", FOR ME, goes in the same category of "just don't eat birch if you want deadman back", in terms of their helpfulness and insight.

I want to set the game up hard and then be forced to work myself hard under the constraints I set initially. If this wasn't the ethos of the developers too, then why do they delete saved games THE MOMENT YOU DIE.

Everyone should be free to play the game the way they want...

So yes Alphyrion, right on, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give us an option that really randomizes locations of loot, his suggestions are what I want too.

 

 

Edited by lyttol
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Let's make sure that we're:

a) being polite and empathetic as possible while still arguing our point of views
b) not claiming to speak for anyone but ourselves.

Obviously this is a hot topic and seeing you discuss it passionately helps us see the various points-of-view our in the player base but we don't want it to turn into a fight. 

Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

I think that the problem with randomized loot is that you will have a rather high chance of getting a rather unbalanced or even unviable game. You would have to employ a rather smart algorithm that makes sure that even tho a roll on some loot fails in multiple locations, the amount of key loot is still present somewhere, key loot is not stacked in one location and absent in another, and this accross all maps. Sounds easy enough to do, but it's probably hard enough to do well. Using loot tables makes this process a lot easier to accomplish while also ensuring that the loot makes sense beyond what a machine might deem viable.

That being said: You don't need to use spreahsheets or have savant-like capabilites to notice patterns and remember some of them. I've got a large portion of guaranteed matches memorized, I knew most of the possible spawns for things like the hacksaw or the bedroll, and noticed patterns emerging from where I found them before even discovering the existence of the loot speadsheet. Loot tables, or more precisely: the small amount of them, takes away a lot of the game, this is true. I usually don't play with the spreadsheet, but I just "know" that when I find the Heavy Hammer in the fishing hut on the lake in TWM I can't rush the summit without going to the PV Barn first. I've done this so many times now I just do. Having maybe 6 or 10 loot tables would make it harder for my rather average brain to make these connections.

But really totally randomizing this loot would probably pose to many problems without good solutions, and as so often with TLD especially: I feel like there are bigger fish to fry. Even after 2000+ hours Interloper still keeps me on my toes, whether or not I know some loot locations, know pretty much all wolf spawns, bear routes and rabbit runs, or can tell probably any starting point in the game within seconds without even knowing which region I am in. Every game is still challenging, every game is still surprising, success is never guaranteed. To me that's not perfect, but the only other thing I've invested that much time into I can say this about is Chess - and Chess is probably the least random game ever.

Just 2 more cents for the jar.

Edited by jeffpeng
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Posted (edited)

Thank you for the thoughtful response Jeffpeng. I agree that the game is excellent as is, its my favourite game EVER. (and I'm a gaming geek :)

And I agree that having loot tables can be fun too, working out (either for yourself or via a spreadsheet) what routes to take based on what you've found is fun too.

What I (and orignally Alphyrion (and others!?) are asking for is an option for something different, not to replace what exists already.

And I don't agree with what you say in the first paragraph about needing a very smart algorithm to give a more randomized distribution of loot. Others have already suggested ways of doing it. (okay so a smart algorithm perhaps, its not trivial, but I don't think its super hard either)

I hear that for you,  you don't feel it would contribute as much to your experience as others things that are being worked on at hinterland, I respect that.

For me, its the thing I would like to see the most.

----------------------------------------------------------

PS. Thinking some more about your 6 or 10 loot tables, there is a number of loot tables n (where n>4 and n<100) for which it is to all intents and purposes the same as the random algorithm that would be the alternative. I think setting the algorithm (or humans) to churn out say, 25 loot tables, and then removing loot tables by hand which were somehow "flawed" to leave a new set would be just as good for me. You could then have an option in setup to chose between the "Golden 4" tables or the "Twisted 20" tables. ( I mean more is better but 20 would keep the community busy for quite a while!) And by checking them over it removes the risk of randomly designed impossible games.

Sorry that i sorta missed your suggestion in the second paragraph until I reread it. "My bad". <-  (Please tell Canadian Immigration that this ex-pat Brit deserves his citizenship now, he even uses Canadian phrases...)

 

 

 

Edited by lyttol
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, loriaw said:

So keep clothing in dressers and food in cupboards. It honestly makes zero sense to find anything edible in ovens, frig/freezers given the rate of decay for any other food item (particularly when canned goods in the same kitchen are at 14%). As for TWM, I want to know if that plane was hauling a shipment from the Goodwill store or new goods ~ because anything being shipped should be in better than average (as compared to other ingame loot) than what I've found up there. Think about it. Why is there an entire container of various shirts/sweaters all at 40% or less condition? Why is there a container with MRE's at 26%? I go there for coffee/tea, whetstones, rifle rounds, and matches/firestrikers. 99% of any clothing is turned into cloth and canned goods less than 60 % I just leave where I find them. I'll snag the MRE's if they are above 75%, otherwise I just snack on the while I'm there and leave the rest. 

I absolutely appreciate the nature of a totally random loot system. The game I play most has one and I love it. On the other hand, I don't depend on loot in that game because I hunt, plant stuff, and I can craft just about anything/everything when/if I need it … and the weather is worse. If the best one can manage while surviving is depending on loot they find, they aren't going to last all that long; and the same applies to defense against predators. In all honesty, I don't expect much more in the way of new loot as far as TLD. We're still stuck with beans, peaches, and tomato soup after more than 4 years. 

I read your earlier posts (I had not read this entire thread, but I finally caught up on it), but again, I don't really expect any major changes in this department. A lot of the loot is hand placed (per Hinterland's comments), and the rest is all done by rng. They don't seem all that interested in changing that. That is sad, because in the long run, it is a self-limiting aspect that more and more people are going to grow disenchanted with. Knowing what I do about game mechanics and modding, I suspect they severely limited themselves right at the start and that is why so many things can't/won't be changed now. I'm not even sure that if they ever open the game up to modding that it will change because that will also be limited by how they set up the mechanics. 

The bottom line ~ for me ~ is that skill matters in a survival game. A LOT. If my skill can't improve, and counts for squat against an rng deliberately set to failure it starts to feel like I'm beating a dead horse so to speak. I've been fighting against that for almost two years now. The elements that made the game stand out have been shadowed by the never ending list of punishments and limitations (and those HAVE grown since the game was first out in EA). My 'vision' of survival has diverged quite a bit from the devs. I can't enjoy 'stasis', which is why almost ANY change that makes it worth covering all of the map appeals to me. 

Finding a fish in an oven makes a lot more sense than finding a heavy hammer there.  I can certainly head canon an explanation - Perhaps some person walking to the coast used the house and tried to use the oven to cook a fish that was caught long after the original family of the house abandoned it.  Perhaps they are only an hour or two ahead of Will/Astrid.  As for the sweaters in TWM being at 40%, I usually don't get up there until later in my game (nearing day 500) so my head canon is that they've been sitting there deteriorating while I explored all the other areas of the map.

What's the game you play that has 100% random loot... without at least placing some choicer loot in places that are more difficult to get to?  I play at lot of FO4 and loot is certainly not totally random in that game.  Even drops aren't totally random since they change as the player levels up.  I played TW3 and loot certainly isn't totally random in that game (I go to this place for the Cat armor, that place for this particular sword, etc.).  I'm currently playing RDR2... again, it's not all random loot but has numerous placed items that are always there.  Even Minecraft isn't toally random since certain things only spawn in certain biomes.

If you make, say, the moose satchel a truly random spawn, it means it could spawn in the Camp Office.  If you find it there, then what is the point of even trying to go up to the signal tower... for your upteenth hatchet (if you're not in loper) and some food?  Right now, it's spawning in a place that, guaranteed, it's going to take some effort to acquire it.  Knowing it's there, doesn't make that journey any easier (and I have a feeling timberwolves are going to make it a lot harder soon).  I really don't have a problem with it not being a random spawn.

Addendum:  If someone stacked the odds in any way with any sort of algorithm in a slot machine, the odds of winning are no longer "totally random."  They're being manipulated.  If Hinterland can (and wants to) write an algorithm that ensures 1) choice loot only spawns in hard to get to locations; 2) disperses choice loot so that the player cannot totally equip themselves in a single zone; 3) ensures that the containers and places in which we find certain types of loot make some semblence of sense; and 4) don't litter the game world with an excessive amount of "random" containers, they can do that... but I'd still then that it's not "totally random" loot.

Edited by UpUpAway95

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Posted (edited)

I went through the Milton Mailbox Index and perused the entries on "Loot Tables" and "Loot System".  For ease of access, I have colored RVL's responses in the blue text normally reserved for his responses.

 *****
Milton Mailbox #22; Feb 1, 2019
Question from @Jendo:

    "What are your thoughts on the "loot tables" people like (the excellent) Atheenon have curated over the years? Would you ever randomise some of these elements to provide more of a challenge and/or mystery (and dare I say a bit of a "screw you, smartasses!") to the more seasoned players that know exactly where X is going to be because they found item Y in location Z? I guess the same goes for things like guaranteed match spawns etc, for example the ones that are ALWAYS on a shelf in the basement of the Farmstead - would you ever remove those?"

Response from @Raphael van Lierop:

"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."

*****

Milton Mailbox #24; Feb 22, 2019
 *****

Question from @Sito:

    "Hi Raph, one of the things I really like about HRV is to find random stuff when exploring out of the way areas. For example, I wandered up some out of the way hill and found a rifle leaned up against a tree. Golden!

    Would you consider adding more random items in the other maps to make exploration more exiting? In ML for example, I know every square metre and know that there is nothing to be found up that ridge or behind that cliff, so I don't bother going there anymore. I think some random treasure like an old campfire with a pot in some out of the way place would make each new start a new experience. "

Response from @Raphael van Lierop:

"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."

 *****
Milton Mailbox #35; June 7, 2019
Questions from @kosatka:

   " 1: Will you rework the looting system? I thought if in game you actually would open the crates, cabinet, cupboards and you can and take all what inside, I mean, there's would be a space where all loot is placed, so this is would give some more immersion

    2: I feel that the all locations are quite empty, do you planning to add more details in all locations do you planning to add some details that telling our some little stories like its doing Bethesda in their fallout and skyrim games?"

Response from @Raphael van Lierop:

"1 - Some aspects of it, yes, but probably not the way you are thinking.

2 - For the most part, the level of detail and object density you see in the world is what we intended, although there are still some locations that are getting updated to bring them to the same level as, for example, Milton (Mountain Town) which was built specifically for Story Mode."

*****

End quoted material

*****

@Alphyrion made a few statements and asked a couple questions in the OP:

Statement #1: "after a while was that I ended up knowing the more likely spawn location for key items, and even knowing patterns of when item types would be likely to spawn in a specific play through."

Question #1: " Does anyone know if the devs have ever considered randomizing spawn locations "(?) "I am keen to know if 1. this has been considered and why it hasn't been implemented"(?)

or (and) Question # 2. "how I can get the dev's attention on this idea"(?). "Are they reading this forum? "

 

Some of these questions are easily answered.
" Does anyone know if the devs have ever considered randomizing spawn locations "(?) "I am keen to know if 1. this has been considered..."
Answer:  Yes.  The matter is under consideration.  See MM dispatches quoted above.

Question # 2. "how I can get the dev's attention on this idea"(?). "Are they reading this forum? "
Answer:  Yes, HL staff read the Wishlist.

And others not so easily answered:

"...and why it hasn't been implemented"(?)
Answer:  I am not qualified to answer this question because I don't "Know" the answer.  The best way to get an official response is to pose the question in the Question Thread of the Milton Mailbox here on the forum.  However, since you asked the question here as part of your wishlist post, I will tell you what "I think".

My Conjecture:  Hinterland does work the loot tables to "some unknown extent" that has been noted publicly.  They tune various spawn parameters (eg. revolver & ammo quantity; HF v.1.5) and address issues where things are spawning where and when they shouldn't (HF v1.48).  And they upgraded Unity to a newer version which might also affect the loot system(?).  But tweaking the loot tables isn't something that is, IMO, a matter that warrants public awareness or scrutiny, and doesn't necessitate  a formal announcement / acknowledgement.  The Creative Director has already expressed a willingness to change things up in that regard and to me it seems to lean a little more in favor of implementing some changes at some point rather than an ambiguous, "maybe we will, and maybe we won't".  All that notwithstanding, who's to say they haven't?  Granted, HL probably would say something about it when they did implement significant changes to the system since there are players with huge amounts of time and energy invested in their play-throughs that would probably be disappointed if some mechanic they felt was integral to their survival  was changed without their being notified.  All in all, I think HL treats their players the way they would want to be treated and I don't see them throwing any game-ending spit-balls.
i.e. ..Let's say there was a few places where in previous loot tables, one might reasonably expect to find - or even be guaranteed to find - a bedroll.  Changing that could have a major impact on a play-through.  I don't see something significant like that happening without some  type of announcement.  But I don't see HL as obligated to keep players informed every time they implement a change to their underlying loot system, but any significant change would probably be noted in the notes of a hotfix or update because they have noted similar "tuning" in the past.  I think it's a good practice to keep an eye out for changes after any patch or update simply because things sometimes reset, unintended bugs happen...

TL;DR

Finally, to the conundrum centered around the use of the term "randomized item locations".  I think all the hullabaloo over this proposition is simply another instance of semantic ambiguity.  Even after @Alphyrion clarified his usage of the term by saying, ".."randomizing spawn locations completely (but in a smart way, of course, not totally random. would need limits on total number of objects per map or per play-through)", and it became clear that he wasn't actually referring to a "complete randomization of the loot system".  On one end of the spectrum you have the opposite of randomization, you have items being hand-placed and never changing: X container will always have Y contents.  On the other end, you have "complete randomization of item locations":  Anything could be anywhere.  I believe what @Alphyrion is referring to something in between the two extremes.  The good news is:  That's pretty much how it works already. 

Some players expressed concerns that what he meant to imply was "change the loot system up to such an extent that it would no longer function as it was intended.  I don't think we are ever in danger of having a crate of cloth clothing and leather driving gloves appear on TWM because the devs know what players are more likely to need in that situation and randomizing all containers could well mean that you never get some essential things:  Like food or matches. And at other times, you might be swimming in items that you shouldn't have much of.  The current loot system keeps that scenario from happening.  That's because the devs have already devised an elaborate loot system - "In a smart way", "according to some logical rationale", "Randomized, but not completely random" - that offers both the means whereby the necessities required for the game to work can be assured (with as much randomness as possible), and the remaining loot being largely random so opening containers still scratches that "looting itch".

I think what the OP is really getting at is "mixing things up" so guaranteed spawns are possible to spawn in a few places rather than in just one, and nothing is ever always "where it's supposed to be".  That way, players are never guaranteed to find something in a particular place, and I think that makes a lot of sense.  Predictable is boring.  The rest of the loot system is already randomized "in a smart way"  according to a logical rationale.  You'll be able to find what you need, some of what you want, and a a few things that maybe you can use ..or not.

@Alphyrion, That second mailbox dispatch should pretty much answer your question...

Edited by FrozenCorpse
changed "third" to "second" / wording
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Thank you very much for collating all that info, frozen

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7 minutes ago, lyttol said:

Thank you very much for collating all that info, frozen

You're quite welcome :D

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Posted (edited)

Frozen.. wow.. what can I say? Thanks for your hard work in bringing these responses from the Devs. Really helpful.

You've also helped to cut through some of the misunderstanding around my initial post. I'll know to be more precise next time I suggest something :)

 

So to clarify my suggestion and add a few comments:

I'd like HL to consider randomizing item locations as much as possible, both in terms of which place in the map they appear but also where in what specific place they appear (below wardrobe x, just to the right of corpse y) ... This same process could probably be extended to harvestable resources, and maybe even predator movement patterns, but I haven't given this as much thought.

 

This would be while:

1. Preserving overall gameplay balance, probably by introducing certain scarcity-related rules ("one bedroll within radius x", for example)

2. Preserving "logic" and character of spawn locations (no shoes in the fridge, more tools in warehouses, more clothes in homes, etc..)

3. Probably maintaining some weighting of item locations in favour of the main hubs (better quantity and quality items in key locations)

--- --

the net result would be:

- Incentive for gameplay to enter new patterns, rather than set ones

- An experience that more closely resembles a true survivor experience

- Added incentive to visit all parts of the map

- Added incentive to search all locations more thoroughly

- Maybe even help make new locations as suitable bases depending on an element of luck (rabbit spawn or less wolves nearby, for example)

----

The end result could be more variety in gameplay experience, more difference between playthroughs. Near infinite replayability can be achieved by some games (Civilization comes to my mind at least). I'm just an an old-time gamer who ranks TLD in my all-time top 5 and want a broader audience to taste its raw fear and vivid atmosphere, and I feel that the predictability of some of the game's mechanics is holding it back from fulfilling its true potential.

------

And if these changes are deemed too dramatic for the main sandbox, then at least as an option for players that want to mix things up.

Edited by Alphyrion
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Posted (edited)

Thank you for elaborating your position so completely @Alphyrion seems the dialogue is developing in an interesting way to me.

For me, I think that the sort of deep randomization you are suggesting might involve quite a lot of work for the dev team. I think that @Jeffpeng made some good points in his post here:

 

 

I agree that we don't want shoes in ovens etc etc. And a lot of what is done already is perfect for me. For example, the distribution of thermal underwear in loper. You never know where or if you are going to get a second pair, and you can be fully tooled up and 100 days into the game, with wolf skins covering your walls and floor, and still yearning for that extra pair to complete your outfit...

In fact, the distribution of clothing in general is already near perfect for me. I think the guaranteed mackinaw and combat pants and earmuffs in HRV is non-optimal, and there are some weird spots where clothes are nearly always present that could do with some sprucing up (the sports vest on the table in the office in pleasant valley farmstead, the ski jacket/down vest under the bed on timberwolf), but overall I love the fact that I spend my time yearning for wool socks and thermal undies, coz I can craft the rest given time... Love it. I even found a mackinaw jacket in a car boot in milton once. I nearly fell off my chair!

I am also very happy with the distribution of cooking pots, can openers, recycled cans, and firewood of all varieties.

Where it falls down more for me are the key items which are determined by one of the key four loot tables (I won't link it but you can google it easily). These are:

Hacksaw

Heavy hammer

Magnifying glass

Firestriker

Bedroll

Storm Lantern.

And I would add the guaranteed match spawns to the list. (Farmstead basement metal shelf, grey mother's kitchen, etc)

 

Knowing which loot table you are on allows you to effectively plan a route across the long dark to get what you need. Its ironic, because for me, finding that loot table actually enabled my loper play, because without it I was just dead all the time. And for a month its been great. As @jeffpeng alluded to, there is a chess-like element to the gameplay of planning your route which is actually really fun.

So I really don't want this to be removed.

But for all the reasons you elaborate so eloquently, I sometimes want to not know, and to be blazing crazy trails through blizzards holding on to hope alone... And be disappointed, and frustrated, and occassionally gob-smacked at my luck.

As@jeffpeng points out there is a lot on the to do list for hinterland, so the more we ask for the less likely they are going to be able to give it to us.

While I love the idea of a purely algorithmic approach to loot distribution, as @jeffpeng (yep, I liked his post!) points out, its a lot of work, especially if you try to catch all the possible "impossible" or just "unfun" random outcomes.

For me I agree with his (kinda implied) suggestion of asking for a new set of 6 or 10 loot tables to keep the community guessing. (with a spruce up of the clothing and match locations too as I discuss above).  To be clear, I want this as an option, not a replacement to what exists right now. I talk about this in my reply to @jeffpeng's post.

If we get ten new loot tables, what will happen, People will start trying to map them out. We will want to learn what to expect, its a human thing to do. And its also fun. Trying to make the unpredictable predictable. And if the community ever post the google docs spreadsheet with the loot tables for the new set of ten loot tables, yep I'll be back asking for a new set of 20! etc etc....

It might seem like a watering down of your request, but I think its more likely we'll get it, and for me, it'd be very nearly as good.

I do agree with what you say about more variety in the exact placement of loot items (I mean exact as in the same spot in the building or same place on the bed), but for me this is more cosmetic that fundamental.

I also agree with what you say about harvestable resource placment and predator movement patterns. My thoughts on this would be as follows.

Harvestable resources----

Although run to run the exact location of cat tails varies, the law of probability dictate that you still end up with roughly the same number of cat tails in each cat tail rich location. (If there are 100 spots on the milton basin where cat tails might appear with and independent probability of say 20%, you will always get around 20 cat tails in total) I would like the population of cat tails for each "cat tail location" to get rolled once, (so following the example, milton basin gets one random number between 10 and 40 cat tails  and those cat tails are then randomly distributed around possible cat tail locations. I feel that this would make it more interesting.

(A really simple way to implement this would be to assign each cat tail location a "local population label", and then modify the base spawn chance for each cat tail by a "local population health modifier". In the example Milton Basin would be the local population label, the base spawn chance would be 0.2, and the local population modifier would a single random number between 0.5 and 2.0, for example!)

I actually am quite happy with the other harvestable resources, because there tend to be far fewer of them, the variation is more meaningful.

 

Predator movement patterns---- (not sure quite what you mean (look forward to your elaboration of this) so I will talk about "Predator and Prey Distribution"

Predator and Prey Distribution-----

Even with the spawn chance set to low for bunnies and deer, all the animals always appear (when they do) in the same locations. For example, the trailer in milton. One deer appears right in front of the trailer door. Its either there or its not, its never there when you walk out, but if you do a little loop around the woodpile, and you are lucky, poof it magically appears. There are two bunnies on the pond where the moose sometimes spawns, and two on the path up to HRV (or sometimes just one). There is another deer that sometimes spawns if you continue on past the cave to HRV (which you can always push into the wolf that guards the road up past the moose pond.

Is it apparent how my game has become a bit over predictable! ( I can give these sorts of details for most of most of the maps) (#get a life)

It would be nice if not only the spawn chance but also the spawn location of deer and rabbits moved around. This seems to be the case for some of the wolf spawns which do seem to change about in a more unpredictable way.

Would love to see this for the deer and rabbits too.  I think this is sort of what you mean when you say " Maybe even help make new locations as suitable bases depending on an element of luck (rabbit spawn or less wolves nearby, for example)"

------

Thanks for reading to all those still awake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by lyttol
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One thing I can add to this; when you get into the deep game (after say 150 days) and the wildlife population declines really start to bite you can find that places where one expects an animal may very well not have them any more.

I've only really had one deep game (~745 days now) and it's been interesting seeing where they die. I expect that the "death" of spawn points is randomized... and is actually a really good candidate for total randomization.

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Posted (edited)

Right @stratvox . Good to know that "reduce wildlife population over time" kicks in at around 150 days. I have it set high, but often peace out at around 150 days once I have all the kit (bearskin+wolfskin etch). And by peace out I mean, get mauled to death by wolf coz I got bored and dumb!

 Can you elaborate what you mean by "good candidate for total randomization"?

Edited by lyttol

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Loot should not be totally randomized; who wants to find a hacksaw in a dryer?

However, as the wildlife "die-off" continues into the game by extinguishing spawn points that used to produce wildlife but don't any more (bear caves that stop being bear caves, deer spawns that stop producing, rabbit groves that die, wolf spawns that disappear), as well as by reducing the spawn rate of animals to replace the ones lost to predation, the selection of which spawn points to keep and which ones to flush is definitely a good candidate for total randomization. For example, say a map starts with five rabbit groves, and they decide over time to reduce that number to two. From one run to the next, there's no reason not to completely randomize which rabbit groves fall to the population decline knife. This is quite different from which loot goes where when the game is created.

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Yes, I agree, and I think it works both ways actually. Whether its hacksaws of rabbits, there should be a set of "possible" locations, from which a subset are randomly picked. For loot it happens when the game is created, and at the moment, for rabbit groves it happens over time. 

What I was trying to say about prey distribution is that I would like there to be perhaps twice as many possible rabbit groves (10 in your example) and deer locations, from which half are picked as active on any run, and then those five also fall over time to the population decline knife. (Also, once all rabbits from one grove are dead, if they are going to respawn, the next location is picked from the 10 possibles).This would really change how you would approach each map.

As for hacksaws, what I am asking for (and I think @Alphyrion is the same on this), is that there are more possible and sensible hacksaw locations, (never inside dryer, sometimes in tricky occulded spots), and that the location of one item should not so easily predict the location of others. @Alphyrion and I have slightly different ideas about how this might be best achieved, see above!

 

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, lyttol said:

(okay so a smart algorithm perhaps, its not trivial, but I don't think its super hard either)

As I said: Easy enough to do, but hard enough to do well 😉

19 hours ago, lyttol said:

I think setting the algorithm (or humans) to churn out say, 25 loot tables, and then removing loot tables by hand which were somehow "flawed" to leave a new set would be just as good for me.

I would consider this to be the most realistic approach. I work a lot with algorithms (as you might have guessed) and introducing a human factor (i.e. putting a ghost into the machine) is always positively notable.

7 hours ago, Alphyrion said:

I'd like HL to consider randomizing item locations as much as possible, both in terms of which place in the map they appear but also where in what specific place they appear (below wardrobe x, just to the right of corpse y) ... This same process could probably be extended to harvestable resources, and maybe even predator movement patterns, but I haven't given this as much thought.

There is a threshhold at which randomness becomes destructive. For example being struck by lighting is probably a very exciting and surprising experience. However most people would chose not to have it since it involves a lot of pain and often dying quite a bit. What I am saying is: being greeted on the porch by a bear when leaving Grey Mother's might be as irritating as being jumped from a stack of a dozen wolfes hiding out under the bringe to the dam, or dying from thirst because the first set of matches is 3 maps away. Such instances would happen very rarely, and mostly likely so rare that most people never experience them, but those that do will feel cheated out of an experience that is supposed to be (somewhat) fun. The community backlash for such a thing is too great. It's already very much possible to have stellar bad luck and just spawn next to a bear gnawning on your face in a remote corner of HRV (which happened to me, and I lived to be 300 days old ... but I cannot say I was particularily happy with my start)

So of course you would employ mechanisms to mitigate this: bears would be excluded from camping players on porches, wolf populations would be limited to a certain density, and every map would have at least one sort-of easily accessible source of ignition. But then of course you would think about how to further streamline these mechanics to offer a great and compelling experience to the vast majority of your audience. Before long wildlife has set spawn points and areas they can roam in relative randomness, and key loot is organised so the every game is viable and balanced, and it is made sure that it is placed properly so that it is actually accessible. Whambam! You created The Long Dark as it is today.

I'm not saying TLD is handling everything perfectly as it is. Nobody is, even the devs are (as they are being devs and I want to claim to know a bit about how developers tend to think about their own software ... ) very aware that there are glaring issues in the game, some of which have good answers, some of which, as this one at hand, do not. I honestly think that, even if that means a lot of work and subsequent playtesting, expanding the set of loot tables is the most sensible thing to do so late into the lifecycle of a game as complex and as reliant on good balancing as The Long Dark. What the number is here I don't know. 10 feels like a good measure. I can memorize maybe one or two more, 6 more would overload my brain to the point where I can maybe make educated guesses, but certainty vanishes.

Edited by jeffpeng
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3 hours ago, jeffpeng said:

As I said: Easy enough to do, but hard enough to do well 😉

I would consider this to be the most realistic approach. I work a lot with algorithms (as you might have guessed) and introducing a human factor (i.e. putting a ghost into the machine) is always positively notable.

There is a threshhold at which randomness becomes destructive. For example being struck by lighting is probably a very exciting and surprising experience. However most people would chose not to have it since it involves a lot of pain and often dying quite a bit. What I am saying is: being greeted on the porch by a bear when leaving Grey Mother's might be as irritating as being jumped from a stack of a dozen wolfes hiding out under the bringe to the dam, or dying from thirst because the first set of matches is 3 maps away. Such instances would happen very rarely, and mostly likely so rare that most people never experience them, but those that do will feel cheated out of an experience that is supposed to be (somewhat) fun. The community backlash for such a thing is too great. It's already very much possible to have stellar bad luck and just spawn next to a bear gnawning on your face in a remote corner of HRV (which happened to me, and I lived to be 300 days old ... but I cannot say I was particularily happy with my start)

So of course you would employ mechanisms to mitigate this: bears would be excluded from camping players on porches, wolf populations would be limited to a certain density, and every map would have at least one sort-of easily accessible source of ignition. But then of course you would think about how to further streamline these mechanics to offer a great and compelling experience to the vast majority of your audience. Before long wildlife has set spawn points and areas they can roam in relative randomness, and key loot is organised so the every game is viable and balanced, and it is made sure that it is placed properly so that it is actually accessible. Whambam! You created The Long Dark as it is today.

I'm not saying TLD is handling everything perfectly as it is. Nobody is, even the devs are (as they are being devs and I want to claim to know a bit about how developers tend to think about their own software ... ) very aware that there are glaring issues in the game, some of which have good answers, some of which, as this one at hand, do not. I honestly think that, even if that means a lot of work and subsequent playtesting, expanding the set of loot tables is the most sensible thing to do so late into the lifecycle of a game as complex and as reliant on good balancing as The Long Dark. What the number is here I don't know. 10 feels like a good measure. I can memorize maybe one or two more, 6 more would overload my brain to the point where I can maybe make educated guesses, but certainty vanishes.

Thank you Jeff.  This is basically what I've been trying to say.

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