Raphael van Lierop

Milton Mailbag -- Dispatch #37

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Hey all!

It's that time of the week again -- time for me to open up the old Mailbag thread and see what kind of deep, thoughtful questions about The Long Dark, Hinterland, game development, and [other things] you've come up with to stump me and/or entertain me.

Hopefully by now you've all had a chance to read the Dev Diary we released last week. Please check it out and post any comments or feedback you have!

Now, on to the Mailbag questions for this week.

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Question from @Themadlad94

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When I was playing in Desolation Point, I was hunting rabbits with the revolver. I reloaded my revolver(I only shot 1, so their was 5 rounds left)and noticed that the round I shot was gone, as if it disappeared. A revolver should hold the spent round until the user manually removes it, as it has no way of ejecting it itself. Is their anyway that this could get fixed?

This isn't really the kind of question I want to spend time answering on Mailbag, but I will in this case because I think it's instructive in some ways (although I think @ajb1978 did a pretty good job of responding to it already). I can see why this would bother some people, and the people who would be bothered by it are likely very focused on the realism of tiny little details like this. In game development, you often have to make compromises to simplify systems and for gameplay purposes. In this case, the reload process for the Revolver is complicated and lengthened by the player having to first remove spent shells and then manually insert all of the shells. When we first implemented the Revolver, we started by having the reload animation first open the cylinder and manually remove each spent shell before inserting new ones, but this was a hell of a lot of work for programming and technical animation and we didn't feel it added much to the experience of using the Revolver. So we skip the first part by "emptying" the cylinder of spent shells offscreen and then we load new shells manually, which ensures you pay the "time cost" of a full reload action vs. reloading one or two shells (this time cost can make a big difference in the middle of an altercation with angry wolves, where waiting an extra second or two could be very bad for you). 

Just a small window into the kinds of decisions we have to make every day! Everything about game development is a trade-off between the effort involved with implementing something against the value to the player experience (and as you can imagine, 100 players have 100 different opinions about where that effort can provide the most value).

(All that said -- I reserve the right to discover that what you're referring to might actually be a small bug in which case we'll have a look and add it to the fix list. 😇)

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Question from @ThePancakeLady:

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With official support and security updates being stopped by Microsoft for Windows 7 coming in 6 months... I am curious if there is any talk in the industry about whether to continue making new games that support the OS or not. And if Hinterland has plans to support the OS in any new games you may have on the table? I like Windows 7. I don't want to upgrade to Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, until I absolutely MUST (all of my software stops working with Windows 7, for example). That being said, if the next game from Hinterland does not support Windows 7, that may be a MUST upgrade  for me. (Yes, I do really mean that...). I know what the talk is currently in the more mundane SW dev community I am still a part of, but since I am not a game dev, I am honestly curious if there are concerns in the games industry, since so many games are played online through a browser or online client, where security is a greater concern than it is for offline applications.

Yes, yes. I will have to get or buy a new rig, someday. Just trying to decide when that "someday" will be. And what OS I may switch to, to avoid the Bloat Monster that Windows 10 is.

 

In general it becomes pretty tricky for us to support Operating Systems that the original creators no longer support. Specifically, I think we would do whatever we can to support all our players and their systems (provided they meet our minimum spec), but as you can imagine with a game that has been in active development for 5+ years, that spec may have to evolve over time, both as OSs get retired and also as the game itself becomes more demanding (due to more content and features being added). I hope that answers the question to your satisfaction.

As for whether devs are worried about Win 7 -- my guess would be "no" because we tend to focus on platforms and not OSs.

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Question from @winterstorm:

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The question about having to use a dose of painkillers per injury got me to thinking, and I don't think I've seen this asked (though I may have missed it). The topic of addiction is touched upon in story mode, and I was wondering if it might be something you'd consider implementing into the player experience at some point.

To me, currently, the painkillers as a panacea takes away some of the fear of injury in the game; as long as I'm judicious about my fatigue and footing, sprains are rare, painkillers weigh next to nothing to carry, tend to be plentiful enough to stockpile, and instantly heal the injury. Even the threat of wolves is lessened to worrying more about clothing being ruined.

I think it could be interesting to see painkillers used as a temporary fix (you still have to rest and heal the injury, but in the mean time, the pain returns after, say, six hours), or as one that must be weighed against other options (rest or natural remedies) because there's a chance for tolerance or addiction if you rely too heavily on them. I can also see where this might become tedious for management though to some players, so I understand if it's been considered and decided against. 

I appreciate the time and thought you put into community interactions and especially to answering player questions. Thanks so much.

 

Thanks for the question. I think the idea of having painkiller use lead to some kind of addiction/withdrawal pattern could definitely be interesting from the aspect of long-term survival -- although hopefully you wouldn't become addicted to painkillers due to too many sprained ankles. ;) But if it was something like a more major wound, and you needed pain management to continue in your day to day activities, I could see painkiller addiction being an interesting balancing mechanism. As you said, it might be too micro for many players, however. The other potential issue is with the games ratings boards, who have fairly strict rules about the portrayal of narcotics/drug use in games. As you can imagine this could be a sensitive topic. In general though I'm a fan of these kinds of risks/rewards provided they are clear to the player. 

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Question from @Faithful Cartographer:

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How do you, as a developer, treat people who blatantly do not buy The Long Dark, and use pirated versions? If that I play on the license in Steam from the beginning 😃

Well, I don't think I personally know anyone who pirated the game so I don't really treat them in any particular way. I know whenever I meet someone who tells me they bought the game to support the studio I'm always very grateful. :) 

How do I feel about piracy? It's complicated. As a creator and studio head who provides a living for almost 40 people who depend on me and the business to support them financially, it's frustrating to think about people essentially stealing our game. They are stealing money from hard-working individuals with families and financial responsibilities, and they are stealing money from our ability to grow and build new games in the future. So, obviously I don't like that. 

I also think that, in general, Steam's local pricing and our frequent sale events (where the game is usually discounted by 50-75%) should make the game very affordable for pretty much anyone. I understand that this may not be the case on some platforms (like Xbox and PS4) where we discount less frequently. I also understand that there will be circumstances where despite all this, people just don't have the financial means to justify spending money on our game, but still want to play it. In that case, I would say that generally, if I can't afford something I typically don't expect to be able to have it. But I try not to think about it too much because (a) we can't do much about it and (b) I can't put myself in everyone's unique position to know why they might or might not be able to afford our game and (c) we've heard from enough people that they started out by pirating the game but later on decided to buy it because they wanted to support the studio, so I know that for some players this is their "entry" into the game and as long as they eventually buy the game and support the studio, I have to accept that.

I think it's interesting to note that a big push towards Free-to-Play monetization models in North America over the past 10+ years was because of piracy of traditionally priced titles (which is easier to do now that so much is digital). There's no concern about people "stealing" your content if it's free, and everyone who gets it is a potential customer that you'll derive revenue from. 

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Question from @Skelegutplays:

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How long are workdays at hinterland?

It varies from person to person, but in general we keep very reasonable hours in the studio. The folks in the office by 8AM are usually out by 4PM. Those who start later stay later, but the office is mostly empty by 6:30-7. We don't crunch (although we tend to put in some extra long days leading up to major releases and definitely put in some long days in the lead up to our original launch of WINTERMUTE and also, more recently, REDUX) but I can't think the last time we, as a team, worked on the weekend. We also have a flexible work week, and everyone has the option to work Wed+Thur from home vs. coming into the office (which is nice for people with longer commutes and gives some nice heads-down time if you want to hunker down and focus on stuff). So, I think we run a pretty reasonable, responsible work day and work week.

That said, we did work longer hours and weeks in the earlier years of the company's history because we were more of a "startup" then, still establishing ourselves, and we didn't have the financial stability/security we have now. We're really fortunate to be able to make the choice to work a more reasonable schedule, and I know not every company is able to do that. I try not to make judgments about other people's businesses because I know how hard it can be to keep one going and everyone has to choose for themselves -- whether they are founders or employees -- what feels right to them.

For my part, I put in some long days/weeks but you would expect me to, as the studio head. I expect to work more than anyone else on the team and it would be wrong if I didn't. But even I probably "only" put in 50-60 hrs/wk, when you add it all up. For years I've worked half a day most Saturdays just to deal with "overflow" from the week. I really like my work and nobody is telling me to put in those hours so hopefully this doesn't get quoted as "Hinterland studio head thinks working weekends is good". I think company founders tend to put in long hours/days and expecting otherwise is probably silly. I suspect there is strong correlation between successful entrepreneurs and people who are willing to put a lot of effort (which also means time) into building things. For me, it would be more stressful trying to cram everything I have to get done in 40 hours than to be able to spread it out a bit and having part of the weekend to get caught up on stuff when things are more quiet is an important part of my process. This approach also means I can be more available to my family during the week, as I can shift hours around to when people are asleep, etc.

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Question from @thepatsbro:

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I was just wondering if there currently is, or if there will be, a way to transfer progress from one platform to another? For example, from xbox to pc?

Specifically -- the Xbox Play Anywhere feature supported by The Long Dark means that your game should be in sync between Xbox One and Windows 10.

On Steam, we use Steam Cloud so any account should automatically update with your latest progress. This means that if you have the game on Steam, and you have an account on more than one system (ex. a work PC and a home Mac), the game should be in sync between them and all saves and progress should be maintained.

Besides that, we have no ability to offer cross-platform progress or saves, like between PS4 and PC or whatever. I'm not sure how we would go about doing that and I suspect these are things that would have to be handled on the platform side (ex. by Sony). 

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Question from @PlayerPawn:

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You've talked about game streaming in the past and it seems your stance has been one of wait and see.  With the reveal of Stadia and your attendance at E3 this year, I was wondering if your perception has changed on the matter.  Follow up question: What are your thoughts on owning a game digitally vs. owning a physical copy?

I think it's important to make a distinction between game streaming (which is a technology) and game subscriptions (which are a business model). 

I think game streaming like how Stadia is approaching it could be cool in the sense that if we remove ourselves from hardware limitations or the need for a customer to own an expensive console to play a game, this could potentially open up the market a lot and with a lower barrier games could be accessible to a lot more people, which is probably a good thing.

Game subscriptions have the potential to be very disruptive to the current business models, as they will in many ways have the same affect as Netflix has had on linear content production. As a content producer, you get no more money from Netflix if your show or movie is seen by a lot of people, or by a few people -- they pay a flat rate, or "buyout", your content. This is contrasted against the theatrical model based on ticket sales, where a lot of people going to see your movie translates to more revenue. In games, how this might translated is that there will be less incentive to create long-running games like The Long Dark, because we would get paid a flat-rate fee from a platform holder. This shift could open the door to smaller narrative games being more viable then they currently are, and it could also mean that smaller studios might end up having a much more stable revenue stream, assuming they can make games and sell them to platform holders. But, you'll see fewer breakout hits that transform studios "overnight". So fewer troughs but also fewer peaks. This is all speculation on my part -- I don't think anyone really knows what will happen (yet).

For my part, as a business owner, I have some trepidation about this shift but I'm also open to new opportunities it might present. I also appreciate some attempts -- as by Microsoft and Sony and (it seems like?) Google with Stadia, to create an ecosystem that supports different types of business models. I could see a version where a future game from Hinterland could exist at different pricing tiers across different platforms or services -- an "entry level" version in a subscription service like Game Pass for a limited period of time and with a clear DLC path, a full "premium" edition available for a one-time purchase, a version on a platform like Stadia that offers the choice between a monthly subscription and a paid version, etc. Different price points means we can bring different players into the game at different points in its life cycle, which has the potential to be really positive as everyone has a different level of price-point sensitivity and we don't to lose people just because they don't feel the game is worth $X to them at this point in their lives.

If the industry eventually transitions fully to streaming subscription, this could be bad news for studios like ours, though. I think part of this transition is why you see mid-tier studios getting snapped up by platform holders right now. They need a guaranteed stream of content for their services, and those studios also know they are safer being inside that system than outside it. But I'm hopeful that games will be able to sustain several different business models, and there will be more opportunities and more players vs. fewer.

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Question from @Wilderwalker:

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I was curious, does the "Geomagnetic Event"  take place on the night of September 5th 2022?

My reasoning: Grey Mother Says that Milton needed help "ten years ago. During the collapse" and a note by the front door of the Milton Credit Union states that it was forced to close due to "economic realities" in September 2012. Also, a note in the Mountaineer's Hut states that the Grizzly Airliner crashed (obviously because of the Aurora) during the night of September 5th.'

Good sleuthing. I think when Grey Mother says that she isn't saying that the "collapse" was literally ten years ago, but about ten years ago (could be a bit more or less).

The September references -- they probably pop up fairly frequently as we have a few studio milestones built around that month. I think you can assume that, in the aftermath of either the Collapse event, or the events of the night Astrid and Mackenzie crash, people might be a bit fuzzy about dates, etc.

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Question from @FrozenCorpse:

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Hi Raphael; 

Quick question(s) re: Feat progression in custom modes.  I read the Wiki document but it's a little vague on how custom mode affects feats progression.  It seems to imply that feats progress during all modes (including custom), and I've read older forum posts where some players claim to gain progress towards their badges while playing in custom mode... but I see even more posts where players are saying feats don't progress in custom and I'm confused.

I have no probs with the way it works, I'm just curious about the specifics..

 

"Is it possible to choose custom settings which actually qualify as "Pilgrim", "Voyageur" etc. so that the mode says "custom" but feats still progress?"

"If the game mode is shown as being "Custom" will feats progression automatically be deactivated?"

 

Thanks for your time,

Really enjoying everyone's efforts to make a great survival game there at Hinterland. :)

 

You don't make progress towards accomplishing Feats when in a Custom experience mode. Reason? It's too easy to come up with settings that make acquiring the Feats super easy, which detracts from their value as an accomplishment. 

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Question from @hozz1235:

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    • Do you know how many countries TLD has been bought in?  (Not sure if Steam tracks those kinds of statistics).
    • I've seen on the Steam page there are some "language translation" add-ons.  I've never really looked into them but did you guys port TLD for any language besides English?

     

On Steam, The Long Dark has been purchased in over 200 countries.

The game has been translated officially (meaning, we paid a translation company to translate it) into 18 languages (and we are working on Ukrainian, to make 19). 

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The language mods are community mods, which cover a lot of languages we haven't ourselves translated the game into, partly because it's quite expensive to translate the game (there is a LOT of content) and so it's difficult to justify the expense for languages where we have a really small number of players.

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Question from @FrozenCorpse:

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Hello again Raphael;

IRL, I am an avid Sasquatch believer & enthusiast.  Following an injury which took me out of commission for a few months a couple years back, I began to research the topic in earnest which was an eye-opening experience to say the least.  With increasing populations throughout the Americas, an influx of readily accessible electronic technology and in combination with environmental changes, sightings and reports are arguably at an all-time high.  You're probably equally aware that your region has the highest concentration of Sasquatch activity in the Americas:  Perhaps in the World.
I realize you've previously stated you're not entirely opposed to Sasquatch being an extremely rare part of TLD somewhere in the future here in the MM, and I'm also aware of another popular game on the subject of Bigfoot already released which I don't find particularly intriguing owing to various departures from current evidence regarding the species and phenomenon.  I have two questions regarding this topic:

1. Have you or people you know of on your staff ever had an experience or even seen something which could be attributed to these elusive (and scientifically disputed) creatures (or similar Cryptids)?

2. Have you toyed with the idea of possibly exploring this intriguing phenomenon in greater depth in the convention of TLD for a future IP for the Hinterland franchise?  I would find a game where I was tasked with gathering evidence supremely enjoyable especially if it was of a more pensive nature like TLD without a concentration on hunting them.

Thanks in advance.

 

Thanks for sharing your passion for the Sasquatch. I can't honestly say that I've had any kind of direct experience myself, and I don't believe anyone on my team has either. We did joke around with the idea of having a Sasquatch appear in a random 1 in a million chance for a few seconds, just enough to get people commenting in the forums with a "crazy story" about seeing one in the fog or whatever, but we didn't end up implementing it.

...or did we? 🤔

(I appreciate that you feel some kind of evidence-hunting experience would be well suited to The Long Dark's more pensive nature. I'll definitely keep that in mind.)

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Question from @Hawk:

I have a question about the decay rate of meat.

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I harvested a deer carcass I found on the side of the rode and after about 3 or 4 days the meat is at 84%.

I shot a bear about 100 yards from the Quonset Gas Station, harvested all the meat and before the sun set on the same day the bear meat was at 75%.

Why the difference in the decay rate of the different animal meats and why is the bear meat immediately at 75% after a fresh kill?

Thank you in advance for answering. cheers.gif.1b041a26d49accfc4ec3dfa74ba68057.gif

 

Edit: I just killed a deer and in the few minutes it took to harvest it and get back to the gas station, the meat is already only at 79%.

So I guess the question really is: Why is the meat harvested from dead animals on the side of the rode (or wherever else you find them) rated higher than an animal you just killed?

 

The meat in the world is frozen. The meat you killed is not.

That said, the game treats a placed frozen carcass differently from something that is harvested from an entity in the world. Once the meat is harvested it becomes its own object with its own decay rates.

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Question from @Garden Gnome:

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Internally  before Wintermute was released in 2017  has the starting point of Wintermute always intended to be Milton, or did that change over time? Thanks. :)

Since Redux in Dec 2018, we moved the start of WINTERMUTE to Mackenzie's office in the Jackrabbit Transport hangar. But as far as where you end up on Great Bear, yes it was always the town of Milton. We went through a variety of iterations around exactly where you would "crash land" with regards to Milton itself -- sometimes closer, sometimes further away -- and how the story of Milton would unfold for the player, but in general Milton has always been meant to be the first introduction to the world of Great Bear, as far as the story goes.

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Question from @SpanishMoss:

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Why when you eat pre-packaged food,  like beef jerky, chocolate bars ect, why do you not get an empty package?

Because every single system in the game has a cost, to development, testing, tuning, and from a game performance standpoint. Every system also has a cost in how it adds complexity to the game systems when they interact with each other.

Adding a system that spawns empty wrappers and tracks those in the game world adds nothing meaningful to the player experience, which is why we don't do it. It's just an example of 100s of other little things we could implement and track that would add "realism" to the game, but wouldn't add much value to the experience. Game development is 100% a process of reduction to only the things that matter.

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Question from @LilWolf:

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And I have a question about it: Along with Episode 3, will be released a DLC with music for this Episode as Volume Two, as it happened with Episode 1 & 2 (Music for The Long Dark -- Volume One) ? I enjoy listening to these soundtracks not only when I play the game and don't know if there're some plans about it or maybe in the future. Thank you.

I'm not exactly sure when we'll release the music for Episode Three, but we definitely will at some point!

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Question from @Azdrawee:

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When you thought about the name for The Long Dark, what other ideas did you have? If you could rename the game today, would you choose a different name? What would it be?

I had a bunch on a whiteboard. For a long time the game was called "Survival Story" and I still really the simplicity of that title.

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Question from @StrayCat:

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In the game, wolves' behaviour is either fully passive (pilgrim - except if attacked) or fully aggressive (except some rare case when wolves run out of fear). I know well of the context and lore of TLD, that the aurora has made them somewhat crazy. But in terms of gameplay, is there a specific reason why you didn't prefer a more progressive approach, with a fleeing percentage chance depending on the game's difficulty (20/80, 50/50, 80/20, and so on) ? This would have added some unpredictability and therefore improve replayability. Have a nice day !

In terms of how the Wolf AI currently works, it works exactly as you suggested it should -- there are a bunch of possible behaviours (including Flee, Stalk, Attack, etc.) which have probabilities based on a variety of factors, including Experience Mode. While the behaviour might seem binary to you, outside of Pilgrim (where we make predator AI flee automatically), it's very much non-binary. 

Keep in mind that you pretty much tend to encounter the Wolves that have already selected you as a target, have decided to stalk you, and have managed to get into a place where you are now their active target. The ones that decided to flee or avoid you, you often never see.

That said, we're working on some AI stuff that will hopefully make wolf behaviour more readable/less predictable.

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Question from @jerry486:

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With all of the nice items available around various locations, would you consider making it possible to pick up toys / various objects? Some people (including me) would love to collect these trophies (of sort) and put them on display in my base(s)?

Yes, we've been talking about ways to allow for this type of activity. 

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Question from @Ape88:

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The images of the new wolves give me the chills just thinking about dealing with them. Just knowing they are coming eventually makes me wonder about a couple of other things. Will any other animals and/or food sources be added? I feel like the threats are beginning to pile up a lot to the point of being unbalanced! Also, when they (the new wolves) are added to the game will they be present in all regions? Will they be a bit more like the moose where they spawn more rarely like the bears and other groups of wolves where their presence is pretty much an everyday thing when they do spawn?

You'll have to wait and see what the Timberwolf presence feels like in the world. In terms of the threats adding up, since all dangerous wildlife are also a source or resources, I don't think you should be too concerned about the game balance.

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Question from @Flagg:

 

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Hi! I have two questions.

  1. Why did you remove the original skill book cover designs? Didn't match up with the overall art style of the game?
  2. Do you ever feel creative blocks? If so, how do you get over them? 

 

1) Yes we changed their art style when we did a presentation pass on all signage, books, etc. when we originally launched WINTERMUTE.

2) Yes, all the time. When it happens, I usually go for a walk outside.

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Question from @frickoffanddie:

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Did you ever consider delivering the WINTERMUTE story through other mediums such as cinema or literature? Have you ever felt like you're "confined" by using a video game to convey it?

Yes. We're working on a film and have other extension plans as well. We also created a short film called ELEGY to communicate what The Long Dark might feel like if adapted to live action. I'm also interested in expanding the world into other mediums, and using the strengths of those mediums to explore different aspects of the setting. 

I don't feel constrained by the fact that The Long Dark started as a video game; I believe that interactive entertainment like video games are the uber-medium for everything linear (film, tv, print, etc.) so my theory is that IP created in interactive experiences are better able to make the leap to non-interactive mediums, vs. the other way around.

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Looks like those are all the questions from the Mailbag this week! Thanks so much for submitting such thoughtful material for me to consider, and I hope you find the answers interesting.

Enjoy your weekends and we'll see you next week.

- Raph

 

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This mailbag was really interesting, it felt like you gave really detailed answers this time and I've really enjoyed that. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

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2 hours ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

That said, we're working on some AI stuff that will hopefully make wolf behaviour more readable/less predictable.

 

YES!

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

That said, we're working on some AI stuff that will hopefully make wolf behaviour more readable/less predictable.

This is some exciting news!

Follow up: Is the timber wolf the product of this idea, or is it a first step towards expanding into an even greater range of dynamic animal behavior?

Edited by ManicManiac

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2 hours ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

Yes, we've been talking about ways to allow for this type of activity.

That would be great!  Every time I see the teddy bear in that crib... I always have the inclination to try and pick it up and take it with me.  :) 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

You don't make progress towards accomplishing Feats when in a Custom experience mode. Reason? It's too easy to come up with settings that make acquiring the Feats super easy, which detracts from their value as an accomplishment. 

It's also super easy to just play Pilgrim. I like what Crusader Kings 2 does with game rules and achievements. There are tons of different rules to tweak, but ones that make the game too easy disable achievements. So you can make the game harder or adjust some things to taste, but you can't go below a certain baseline

Edited by Serenity
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Thanks for the answer about Windows 7 and other Operating Systems.  I suppose I will be retiring Rosie, sooner, rather than later, so I am ready for the next great game by Hinterland. Time to start getting ready to build or buy a new computer. Yule isn't that far off. Time for a present to myself. :)

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

Question from @Hawk:

I have a question about the decay rate of meat.

The meat in the world is frozen. The meat you killed is not.

That said, the game treats a placed frozen carcass differently from something that is harvested from an entity in the world. Once the meat is harvested it becomes its own object with its own decay rates.

Thanks for that answer. That kind'a makes sense.

I really like that Elegy video. I've not seen that before. 👍 👍

Edited by Hawk

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7 hours ago, Raphael van Lierop said:

For a long time the game was called "Survival Story" and I still really the simplicity of that title.

I'd say you made the right choice with "The Long Dark".

Cheers as always for the Mailbags! Looking forward to Ep3.

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Thanks for getting in touch with the community every week like this. I really like seeing the game from your perspective, especially the challenges and decisions you face as a developer. I really look forward to these every week. :D

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I love the LD, been playing for years. But, the mailbag replies are just too vague. We see "we will look into that. Or, its a possibility, or i have already touched on that.' 

Why not wait and give definitive and non open-ended answers with time frames??

You are going to loose your core player base unless the pace and game progression is accelerated.

 

 

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3 hours ago, SunsetCrawdad25 said:

I love the LD, been playing for years. But, the mailbag replies are just too vague. We see "we will look into that. Or, its a possibility, or i have already touched on that.' 

Why not wait and give definitive and non open-ended answers with time frames??

You are going to loose your core player base unless the pace and game progression is accelerated.

 

 

I agree with the whole thing. I know hinterland doesn’t have a big marketing team behind it and isn’t as big as other game studios, but it should be able to get updates out faster, and Raph should at least explain why he is saying the things that you mentioned 

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7 hours ago, SunsetCrawdad25 said:

I love the LD, been playing for years. But, the mailbag replies are just too vague. We see "we will look into that. Or, its a possibility, or i have already touched on that.' 

Why not wait and give definitive and non open-ended answers with time frames??

You are going to loose your core player base unless the pace and game progression is accelerated.

 

 

 

3 hours ago, Themadlad94 said:

I agree with the whole thing. I know hinterland doesn’t have a big marketing team behind it and isn’t as big as other game studios, but it should be able to get updates out faster, and Raph should at least explain why he is saying the things that you mentioned 

They stopped giving dates after the "Countdown to a Countdown blunder. Which makes sense. They gave a date for something, missed the date, had what was revealed not be what people were expecting, and took HUGE backlash from it. The review bombings on Steam, and the flooding of the forums with angry, negative threads was bad. 

Developing software, be it a game, or other large SW project is not "simple". You go in with the best intentions, you promise a "feature" or "features", then at almost the end of the project, near the expected shipping date, coding conflicts that can't be eliminated or mitigated pop up. And... it has to be scrapped, or stared over again, using a completely different approach. The game has gotten to be HUGE. With the number of lines of code, it is almost impossible for any gamedev or to know for 100% sure that something in the 12,343rd line of code won't cause a gamebreaking bug due to a conflict with the 29th and 537th lines of code. Sometimes that "guano" just pops up, unexpectedly. 

Hinterland does not crunch. It sounds like @SunsetCrawdad25 thinks they should? Crunch only generates more errors due to devs being sleepless, stressed, kept away from their partners and families, wrecking their bodies  at times, not eating right, not sleeping enough, constantly worried about meeting expectations and deadlines set by people who paid $20-$30 for the product. That's insane to expect people to work faster, crunch, and still put out a high quality product. i have to respectfully disagree with both of you. They won;t lose the core playerbase. Those of us who are hooked on the game, are not likely to just walk away from it, unless development comes to a complete, and total stop. Hinterland would have to go out of business all of a sudden for that to happen. They are hiring more people, things *may* pick up a bit once those new people are hired, given orientation, and familiarized with the game, and their jobs. But this is not Blizzard, or RockStar. Hinterland is a small, independent studio, self-publishing. Though, I am sure if you gave them the never-ending funds to hire a few hundred people, to speed things up, and give them AAA game studio size teams, they might be able to meet your request for more updates, faster. And as far as not giving small, intricate, detailed answers... if they aren't 100% sure about something, they can't. And if they are... the more you tell, the more chances there are that people will bash you for it, or try to snipe the concept or mechanic away from you. "Loose lips sink ships...". Sometimes it is better to not tell everyone everything they want to know.

Just my 2¢.

 

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Posted (edited)

@ThePancakeLady's 2¢ are right on the money.  :) 

 

As I mentioned in another conversation along similar lines:

On ‎6‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 3:51 AM, ManicManiac said:

I would again urge patience.  I'm sure the team will be eager to share news when they have something to share with us.  Lets give them room to work and show them a little faith, we know they are working on it... and we know they do great work.  That's why we are all here.

 

Edited by ManicManiac
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17 hours ago, SunsetCrawdad25 said:

I love the LD, been playing for years. But, the mailbag replies are just too vague. We see "we will look into that. Or, its a possibility, or i have already touched on that.' 

Why not wait and give definitive and non open-ended answers with time frames??

You are going to loose your core player base unless the pace and game progression is accelerated.

 

 

Generally if @Raphael van Lierop says he's touched on something it's because he's given an answer in a previous Mailbag. In 37 dispatches he's covered a lot of ground and these would get boring if the same questions kept getting answered again and again. We have an Index that links to the previous Mailbags and a forum search function that'll help connect you with the answers.

Rather than address your other two issues it's important to note that fundamentally a weekly(ish) Q&A mailbag isn't the place where we intend to give out major new news, dates and milestones. Those are best suited to the Developer Diaries where we can take a bit more time to craft the messaging and share things like concept art and more details about them. 

These are more about connecting with the community and sharing a bit of a glimpse into what it's like at Hinterland and Raph's thought process behind things. They're also for stuff that we wouldn't cover in a Dev Diary, but that fans might be interested in. Raph's unlikely to talk about being a werewolf or what bands he likes in a Dev Diary. Fans have also gotten him to talk about things like where he sees the industry going in an interesting way in this very dispatch.

This might not be the content you're interested in, which is fine. But we believe that some fans value it and that it's generally pretty unique to have such a direct line to a game's Creative Director. If you're more looking for the big news than our Developer Diaries are for you.

Hope that clears up our intentions with these. 

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We deleted a post.

Let's make sure posts are moving conversation forward and not just continuing an argument. Having divergent points of view and two sides putting forward reasonable supporting information is one thing, just responding to carry on a fight is another.

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I hadn't considered the ratings board issue with the topic of addiction; that makes perfect sense. Thanks for answering. 

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On 7/9/2019 at 6:08 PM, Admin said:

We deleted a post.

Let's make sure posts are moving conversation forward and not just continuing an argument. Having divergent points of view and two sides putting forward reasonable supporting information is one thing, just responding to carry on a fight is another.

 

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Any thoughts on buffing some of the current items? For instance, the bunny hat isn’t that much on an upgrade over the toque, considering you have to craft it and it takes guts and pelts to maintain. Same with the moose cloak. It’s a tough craft, plus not really that much, if any, of an upgrade over the bear coat, considering it requires moose hides and isn’t nearly as warm. Most people I’ve seen go with two bear jackets rather than bothering with the cloak. 

 

Keep up up the good work on my favorite game! ❤️

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41 minutes ago, ShortDark said:

Any thoughts on buffing some of the current items? For instance, the bunny hat isn’t that much on an upgrade over the toque, considering you have to craft it and it takes guts and pelts to maintain. Same with the moose cloak. It’s a tough craft, plus not really that much, if any, of an upgrade over the bear coat, considering it requires moose hides and isn’t nearly as warm. Most people I’ve seen go with two bear jackets rather than bothering with the cloak. 

 

Keep up up the good work on my favorite game! ❤️

You're going to want to ask something like this in the Questions thread.

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