March 2021 Developer Diary


Recommended Posts

Here's the thing- I love The Long Dark and I always will. I haven't sunk a ton of time into the game since I picked it up in 2015, but it's one of my favorite games of all time. I have a few concerns for the future of the game, though. I really don't see paid DLC fitting into The Long Dark whatsoever. Problem is, it's taken a long time for TLD to get to where it is today and it's going to take even longer for the game to be "complete."

7 hours ago, Admin said:

One of the gifts of The Long Dark is just how expansive it has the potential to be. The world and gameplay systems themselves are highly extensible, although we have run up against some technical limitations going back to decisions we made in the early years of the project -- things we’d do differently if we were building something from scratch today, but things that we can’t really change at this point without tearing the entire game apart and rebuilding it. That would be time-consuming, expensive, and would delay a lot of other things we’d like to be doing.

TLD is going to be dated and as you've stated is limiting you guys. I'm pretty keen on the idea of there being an entirely new sequel game to The Long Dark. Maybe not like a "The Long Dark 2" per se, but still something that ties into the first game. I'm sure you guys have already come up with some great ideas for this. I think you guys should finish up The Long Dark's story and start working on a sequel game. I'm proud of you guys.

  • Upvote 3
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 241
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Dear community, It’s time for an update on Episode Four progress, which I’m sure is the topic at the top of all your minds right now.   Episode Four Progress The aurora illuminate

I see some people bringing up Raph mentioning the "completeness" of Survival Mode, and begging to differ (politely, might I add. Amazing community all around) but I honestly see it this way as well. Y

I hope there will be Survival mode updates after Episode 4. Even more so I hope that region goes to survival mode as well. I'm bit concerned with the overall "after Episode 4, we go Episode 5" wi

Posted Images

I recently took the survey, And the questions that talked about a monthly subscription sounds like a bad idea for y’all because, As small as hinterland is (No offense) I feel like it will create pressure to release monthly add-ons and Struggle, And That’s the last thing We want to see to one of our favorite companies. No matter what choice y’all make in the future, Whether it’s updating the game, paid DLC, Monthly pass or making a new game, we will support you.

  • Upvote 4
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I see some people bringing up Raph mentioning the "completeness" of Survival Mode, and begging to differ (politely, might I add. Amazing community all around) but I honestly see it this way as well. Yes, the AI might not be razor sharp, but the mechanics and gameplay as a whole sure are ^_^ I love the game as it stands, and believe adding things like NPCs would kinda ruin the amazing sense of oneness the game provides. It's a beautifully haunting loneliness I've never seen evoked from a game before, and would hate to see that tarnished. I would of course love more Regions (who wouldn't, right?) but overall, I'm happy to see the progress they have made over the years. While I may have been skeptical of a few of the updates concerning gameplay mechanics, they won me over every single time.  Sorry to ramble, I just love this game soo damn much. The survey was a nice touch too! Thanks Hinterland!!

  • Upvote 3
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great update! I usually start my morning with half an hour of TLD survival so it's really neat to hear your thoughts about the future. And the good news about episode 4. You can tell from the survey that you have paid close attention to the voices of this forum. Paying for additional content make a lot of sense to me.

Edited by manolitode
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the update, lots of great information, looking forward to episode 4.

Also glad you mention a possible enhanced version in the survey for consoles. I know stuff like an enhanced version takes time, so maybe until you have the time, you can do the simple version where you cap framerate to 60fps for the next-gen consoles instead of 30. They should have plenty of horsepower to run the game in dynamic 1440p with 60FPS and it will add tons of enjoyment for people on PS5 and Xbox Series X, and also a group of new potential customers :)

Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hooray!   Hooray!   Hooray for Raph and DEVs!

SOON I will conquer Blackrock prison, make it my kingdom and the inmates will make me their queen!

Or maybe not!

Thank you Raph and DEVs for once again taking all of the time you need to do it well the first time!  :)

  • Upvote 1
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Man, I'm like a giddy kid when I see an email like this in my inbox!  Work goes on hold!

Excellent update @Raphael van Lierop - MUCH appreciated.  It was fun taking the survey too and knowing I may have an impact on one of my favorite games ever.

One thing I was hoping to see either talked about or in the survey was Player-Created Content and/or mod support.  I assume that since it was not listed in the extensive list of "futures" for TLD, it may not come to fruition.

Edited by hozz1235
  • Upvote 1
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I went to do the survey and was unsure how to answer the question about DLC.

Would I be interested in buying DLC? Sure. I like this game.

Could I buy DLC? Most likely not unless I buy the game a second time from Steam. I'm assuming GOG and Epic users will be out of luck on the DLC.

Would I buy TLD a second time at Steam, after having bought it the first time at GoG? Undecided. It would greatly depend on the DLC offered.

I do appreciate Hinterland keeping the GoG version updated, even though they decided to pull the game from that platform, but I think we're going to be left out of any option for paid DLC, except as noted above.

 

Edited by Hawk
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just thinking yesterday about how TLD could be worked into some awesome comics, with all the survival stories you could create about the Great Bear, so I was super excited to see that as a possibility on the survey

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

While new Regions are great, a procedurally generated area would be ideal, even if 33% were unsurvivalable, and 33% were OP, the community would spread the seeds for the 33% "barely survivable", which would make the game perpetually challenging.

I used to be outspokenly against procedurally generated maps. The problem with this sort of thing is that it is really hard to balance - as you rightfully point out, and it's really hard to replace the "human factor" in anything creative. But... computation is much more advanced these days, especially considering ML, and if it actually was "just" an option.... hm! It would be a lot of work to put into making a sound algorithm to actually created a world on the fly, and I doubt it could be done in current Unity (more on that below) ..... so I don't know if it would be worth to put the time into that. That being said: If it actually worked out to a point where you'd feel "home" in an unknown and unique and yet structurally sound and .... genuine? ... environment.... man, if they could pull this of, this wouldn't be just one serious heckton of an engineering feat, it would actually transcend the game for a large player base. Now that I think about it: me included. But there are a lot of ifs attached to that, so I am as pessimistic about this as I am actually intrigued by the idea.

16 hours ago, stratvox said:

I'm kind of torn, Hinterland. I mean, part of me wants to see the whole island get mapped out for a truly massive survival sandbox, but at the same time there are some hard limits that I'd love to see fixed by creating a new version of the game.

I feel that ambiguity as well. While I really do believe TLD has a lot of live in it left .... yeah, the legacy limitations the game has, which are mostly inherited from a time where PCs and consoles where inferior to today's smartphones, really hurt the game. Streaming a much larger game world with locations being part of them just as much as the TWM hut or the entire BI cannery for that matter would make the game infinitely more ... immersive (for a lack of a better word) since you can convey the sense of free movement much better if you don't get load-screened all the time, and can actually look outside a window.

Now one could say: well lets fix that. Upgrade Unity, rework some of the legacy maps, and merge everything into one big puddle of amazing greatness. Yeah, technically, yes, but no, since while a modern PC could handle that with ease, potato blaster consoles with spinning hard disks of doom like the Jaguar-era PS4 and .... whatever that Xbox was called again .... couldn't handle it - not to speak of everyone's favorite gaming-smart-not-phone: the Switch. So actually bringing TLD into a new game that takes advantage of modern hardware (mostly from the CPU and storage side, but heck, let's really do throw RT lighting into it then) suddenly looks like a very enticing prospect. And, just to be clear: if HL would decide to abandon TLD after Wintermute to make a more technically modern TLD: sign me up for the campaign. Sadly I think that most people would expect more from a "new game" than just updated visuals and game play, and at that point TLD2 would have to differ from OG TLD so much we'd really end up with a new game. Which, again, I'd pay AAA prices for in a heartbeat, but I'm not really sure I personally would prefer this route if it meant leaving behind Great Bear Island.

You could also say: let's go the Skyrim route and make an updated version for new hardware. Good idea! Sadly only works really well if the world files you have are still identical - which wouldn't be the case in this particular ... eh.. case - and there really isn't a lot of new content coming for the game - or you end up fixing twice the bugs for the same product. So.... yeah..... meh... probably not. With 5 platforms to support (well, technically 6, but the Linux version has been broken for years so ... meh) this is already hell for a small-ish studio.

But maybe just reworking the maps to function more like TWM would be somewhat bearable for the legacy hardware options (do PS4 players really care if a map loads 5 or 6 minutes?), with a new version of Unity and without having to tear down the game and rebuild it from the ground up. Just "fixing" that interiors are actually not part of the game world would go a long way. Sure, this as well would be a big (although not as herculian) effort which you'd actually have to put against a cost-reward analysis, but personally I'd think the best way to go forward would be to see what can be done on the hardware the game has to support with an updated engine, and rework the existing content to make the most of these limitations.

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Hawk said:

I'm assuming GOG and Epic users will be out of luck on the DLC.

Both sells DLCs for many games. See Outer Worlds for example

Edited by Serenity
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just stopping by to say I truly appreciate the diary, I know it's not easy to find time within a busy work schedule ( + keeping the little people at home studying and behaved ) to make these. 

I also appreciate immensely the survey, it shows HL has a commitment to always making the best possible product. 

I truly believe that Survival mode DLCs would be hugely successful. I own 20 or so games I purchased personally and still play on my Steam library, I've purchased DLC at some point for every single one of them that have it available. It is a valid way for the established player base to curate titles they enjoy and at the same time gives the developer even more time and resources to expand and experiment with new mechanics/experiences. The way the survey pictured the scope of the DLC packs also pleases me. It's better to have a more comprehensive content pack at a fair rate for the developer than purchase multiple small tidbits, the proposed prices also seemed really fair for the content as it was broadly described. 

:coffee:

Link to post
Share on other sites

One addition I would love to see in the sandbox is seasonal changes.  While it would depend on the type of global geomagnetic event which had occurred, there is still very likely to be some seasonal variation.  Winter could be even nastier, but there could be warmer periods as well when ice is thinner - not necessarily thin enough for the various ice fishing huts to break through, but trying to get to one would be quite hazardous.  I'm aware that sadly this might require a small change in the scripting interface for the game engine.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Go with a clear vision for a new game. People don't know what they want. 

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/18/2021 at 9:51 PM, The Orange Birb said:

Thanks so much for the update/dev diary! I know most people REALLY wanted one, myself included! :) 

Can't wait to explore this area/region as well! :) 

Please give us a break from your bold orange typeface.  It is hard on the eyes.

  • Upvote 3
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Serenity said:

Both sells DLCs for many games. See Outer Worlds for example

I appreciate you bringing that up. :)

However, since Hinterland pulled TLD from GoG, it doesn't seem likely that Hinterland would go against their decision and sell DLC through them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't believe a $5 a month subscription model was an option in the survey.

Really curious what that would mean as far as content in The Long Dark Survivor Mode.

Will they then drastically change animal behavior, add more in depth hunting mechanics, give us a map editor or integrate procedural generated maps?

Not sure exactly what is being proposed with a live service model or if that would actaully be a good idea or not.  Leaning towards not.

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

So most people doing the survey with leave the sort-order questions mostly untouched, and we will get a Mountain Lion and Safehouse Improvements. Awesome! I love cougars. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Hawk said:

I appreciate you bringing that up. :)

However, since Hinterland pulled TLD from GoG, it doesn't seem likely that Hinterland would go against their decision and sell DLC through them.

That's a good point. I likely wouldn't even consider DLC if it wasn't released DRM free. I do wish to mention that, AFAIK, hinterland could just give all GoG users a steam key for the game if they wanted to. That would likely win over some people. I suspect that a lot of people on GoG use GoG because they don't like epic/steam for one reason or another and simply wouldn't be interested in paying for stuff on steam anyways. But I am sure some would at least.

Edited by odizzido
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a couple comments on the survey.  There really wasn't an option to describe the sort of "binge playing" I do with most games... playing them almost 27/4 constantly for a few weeks and then moving on to binge on a different game for awhile.  I just saw options that described x hours per week (presuming that playing time remained consistent over the number of years the game has been owned).

I also found the options regarding DLC somewhat limited since I saw no real way to say that my absolute preference would be DLC that affected both the story mode and survival mode at the same time so that if a story-based DLC added a new area to the map that new area would then also be playable in survival mode.  I would hope to not have to pay separately for 2 DLC's... one to get the new story in story mode and another to get a new map area into survival mode.  Also, I didn't see a real way to say that I buy the significant DLC's for any game I enjoy but I never buy smaller DLC's (e.g. things like appearance packs, weapons packs or other item packs).

Otherwise, keep up the great work and I'm very much looking forward to Episode 4 (and, hopefully, the addition of another new zone to Survival mode before Episode 5 is released).  I'm also absolutely stoked to learn about the film!!  Can't wait to see it when it comes out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is fabulous! I will purposely not watch the trailers not to ruin the surprise!(if I can withstand my curiosity).

From what I am reading, it'll be some splinter cell stealth goodness! Ah can't wait to up my body count! Thank you! Always enjoyed sneaking around past enemies!

Edit: couldn't help myself and watched video. It is so short:((((((

Edited by Stinky socks
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone,

first of all I would like to thank Hinterland and @Raphael van Lierop for their openness. They are open about their current thoughts about the game and open for community feedback. I value both traits and took the time to complete the survey.

I love hearing about the new update but I want to focus on the future of TLD in this post. Interestingly enough, two weeks ago I was checking something in Steam and saw that I bought TLD in 2014. "Right. It is that old..." was my thought.
I love TLD. I think on Steam it is the game with the most hours for me and I bet it is in the Top 3 off all games I ever played. And I want to spend many more hours surviving the Quiet Apocalypse. But my revelation how old it is also made me realize that it also will fade into the long dark some day (pun intended). All games do. So while the thought saddens me a bit it is clear Hinterland has to think about the future.
In this day and age I commend Hinterland for sticking to their promise. I also do not think they should feel obligated to deliver beyond that promise (although I would certainly take it ;-).

But I also would love to explore more regions and see the game mature a bit more. I would happily spend a few bucks here and there for new content and further improvements for the sandbox. (Tbh, I am not so sure about Wintermute.)

And since I am sure, no matter how good the new content will be, there will come a time when the game will feel old and stale for me. That's why I strongly support the idea of diversifying for Hinterland. When Episode Five comes out TLD will be ten years old or close to it. If Hinterland can come up with a worthy successor that would be ten more years of enjoyment 🙂

So to summarize a path forward that would be viable for Hinterland and great for me as a player could be:
1) Finish Episode Five and push for a bit more maturity within the game mechanics (Sandbox)
2) From then onward release content (DLC) that keeps players engaged and the lights on with some spare change and resources for the next title
3) Find a workable balance between the two streams and within the streams

I know this sounds easier than it is and these are just my two cents. But I could not fully express those in the survey 😉

Cheers,
Z

  • Upvote 2
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

After having stated my absolute love and adoration of this amazing game, there is one thing I'm hoping to see more of, and that is "aurora interactions". Other than the collectable notes on computer screens, the only real gameplay mechanic of it ,aside from the agitated wildlife and making the flashlight usable, is the new electronic gate to the Cannery (an AWESOME idea ^_^) and am hoping to see more of this implemented. Especially at the Prison, that would be wicked! Or even going back to some older maps and maybe adding some? Like being able to use the elevator at the Hydro Dam? Just some thoughts. Even without anymore added (and if there are in Story, no spoilers please! I'm waiting for full release on that, thank you!) the game is still the coolest survival game ever, and my favorite all around :) 

  • Upvote 1
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now