The Long Development 2022 DevLog Thread (Custom Modded Regions)


KaiGamez
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Hey everyone!

The Long Development is a small team project and a collaborative community effort to expand Great Bear Island in a beautiful and balanced way.
We are focusing on creating as 'hinterland-like' regions as possible to ensure that they can fit in the vanilla game and not feel out of place. That means we will not be out to make the perfect base locations, but rather the most balanced locations.
We consist of a couple core team members that all bring their own talent to the project. The variety of work that each person brings allows this mod to be as expansive and unique as it is, featuring brand new regions that connect to the larger world of Great Bear filled with custom 3D modeled structures to really make these regions stand out in their own ways. Last but not least is tons of new music that not only fits the region's feelings, but also fits in seamlessly with the rest of the great tracks featured in survival mode.
As of now, there are a couple major regions, and a handful of transition regions in development with more planned for the future... but we take our time when creating these regions as the entire team has lives of their own and this project is all on our own time.
This mod is totally free, now and forever."


In order to not flood the entire forums with our DevLogs, I have decided that I will just post them down in this thread over time.
This might not be a totally perfect way of doing things, but we work with what we got.

 

Just a handful of reminders:

  • Everything shown is subject to change.
  • Due to the complex nature of this project, our team is not documenting every step of region creation. This means no, people will not be able to create their own regions.
  • If you would still like to contribute to this project in any way, our discord has spots for you. We have many areas that need community input, such as names for landmarks in the regions, and even beta testing the regions before they are released to the public.

So if you would like to contribute, have questions, or even just want to see some more sneak peeks, come join us!

The Long Development Discord Link

Edited by KaiGamez
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The Long Development Dev Log: February 2022

Hey everyone. Kai here.
First DevLog of 2022, things are looking great. We are nearing our very first anniversary of when this project was officially conceived and we have a very exciting future planned for our little mod here. This log focuses on some real technical talk, so get your thinking caps on.


Hey, What's Going on Over There?
Hi, Jeremy here.

Things have been quiet these past few months. I'm sure you're wondering why there hasn't been a beta yet. We want to share what's been going on recently.
Currently, our Unity project is very sensitive to changes made by Hinterland. Our regions touch a majority of the game's code, so even small changes from them can have huge impacts on our mod. These impacts are almost always bad, and might not be immediately obvious to the user.
As an example, early on after the 1.94 update, I encountered a bug that was breaking my saves due to a small bugfix Hinterland made for the Nomad challenge.

As a result of this sensitivity, stability can be hard to maintain. We take protecting your save files very seriously, so we've been holding back on releasing anything until we're certain we can handle anything that might happen. We need a robust system that lets us adapt to these changes quickly and efficiently, but we don't have that yet. As my GitHub profile would attest, I've been working every day to help prevent those terrible things from happening. Most of the commits go towards my AssetRipper project. It powers most of what we do. Without it, none of this would have ever been possible. This has been constant work. Since I started AssetRipper in July, I've only had 9 days on which I didn't make any GitHub commits.

In addition to the updating issue I mentioned above, there are some other problems I've been trying to solve. These issues are not as serious, but they do cause us inconveniences.

Static Batching is where the game combines a bunch of unmovable objects to run faster. Unfortunately, when we rip the game, the objects are still combined. This makes those assets almost impossible to use since manual separation is so tedious. We've only bothered to separate a handful of key assets such as fishing huts and hunting blinds. Due to the inconvenience of separation, our design choices have been limited in some situations. For example, half the house assets got put in static batches. One of the goals for AssetRipper is to separate them automatically, which would give us a lot more options when placing assets and prevent frustration over unavailability.

Some of the assets have duplicates in the game files. Although this doesn't cause huge problems, it makes updating our project more difficult. Whilst working on the static batching problem, I've been also working on this, since they go hand in hand. The idea is to merge identical assets before they get exported. This requires additional infrastructure because rounding errors can prevent assets from being merged.

Since it has to support every Unity version, AssetRipper requires lots of code to run. This code is time consuming to write and inevitably prone to occasional mistakes. As a result, it's desirable to have some of the code written automatically. This is the goal of my version specific assembly generation. It writes the most tedious code, so that I can focus on more important aspects of AssetRipper.

The version specific assembly generation has a secondary purpose. Currently, AssetRipper doesn't have support for all Unity asset types, so a couple get missed when ripping the game. These asset types are not very common, but they're still being missed and could have an impact on gameplay. The version specific assemblies don't have this limitation.

We appreciate you guys being patient these past few months. Rest assured that we have not forgotten you or given up the project. We've been working tirelessly to ensure that things go smoothly when we finally do release. I can't give a timeframe for when things will be ready, but I'm working hard to ensure that they happen as soon as possible. In the meantime, Kai has some things to share with you...


Mapping the Coast - Rocky Thoroughfare
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Rocky Thoroughfare Charcoal Map (wip)

This is a small coastal transition region that connects Desolation Point to Forsaken Shore. It features a few points of interest including a radio tower and a handful of trailers. Looking out over the ocean you may be able to spot the derelict Oil Rig that has crashed into the shore just ahead.

This small shoreline transition region design is held near and dear to me, as it is very reminiscent of… previous projects of mine. (If you know, you know.) It was super fun to bring this region into the game. I cannot wait for people to take a stroll through and experience its design in TLD.


Soundtrack Update
We have an older track to show off, one that wasn't featured in a previous DevLog, crafted by none other than Joeler. He has been hard at work creating not only music for this project, but branching off into other styles, and it is always wonderful to watch other people’s talents grow and evolve over time.
 


If you would like to hear some of Joeler’s tracks, you can check out our Nov2021 DevLog for more!

 

Final Thoughts

Once our team gets over these speedbumps, 2022 is going to be a wild year, and I cannot wait to get people in the new regions. I guarantee you I am the most excited out of anyone!
If you haven't seen the images we shared of our custom Train Maintenance Shed or the Fishing Cabin, or the in game region screenshots, check out our Nov2021 DevLog for some great sneak peeks.



Just a handful of reminders:

- Everything shown is subject to change.

- Due to the complex nature of this project, our team is not documenting every step of region creation. This means no, people will not be able to create their own regions.

- If you would still like to contribute to this project in any way, our discord has spots for you. We have many areas that need community input, such as names for landmarks in the regions, and even beta testing the regions before they are released to the public.

 

So if you would like to contribute, have questions, or even just want to see some more sneak peeks, come join us!

The Long Development Discord Link

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Woo Hoo!!!!

This is some exciting news!  Besides introducing some new transitional areas like the Rocky Thoroughfare and original music, will you be introducing any new animals into the game?  Perhaps like a walrus or seals?  Coastal water animals that maybe now call the derelict oil rig home?  ohhh and maybe we could craft some hand thrown harpoons so we could harvest those walrus and use their blubber for crafting candles using the existing candle mod?

Anyways, thanks for the discord link, I know I'll be dropping in from time to time!

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The Long Development Dev Log: April 2022

Happy Birthday TLDev!
This is quite an interesting (and content filled) DevLog this time around. Today April 16th marks the exact date a year ago, when Jeremy and I first met, and started on this massive project. Over these last 364 days we have made huge strides, and hit small speed bumps - but it is such a treat to see how far we have come.
In this DevLog we have lots to reveal: New Promo Art, The First Teaser Trailer, New Music, and a showcase of some location names for Mountain Pass. We also of course have some other little goodies to share as well.

I will put our trademark statement here once again for any newcomers:

“The Long Development is a small team project and a collaborative community effort to expand Great Bear Island in a beautiful and balanced way. We are focusing on creating as 'hinterland-like' regions as possible to ensure that they can fit in the vanilla game and not feel out of place. That means we will not be out to make the perfect base locations, but rather the most balanced locations.

We consist of a couple core team members that all bring their own talent to the project. The variety of work that each person brings allows this mod to be as expansive and unique as it is. It features brand new regions connected to the larger world of Great Bear that are filled with custom 3D modeled structures to really make these regions stand out in their own ways. Last but not least is (as of now) 15 minutes of new music that not only fits the region's feelings, but also fits in seamlessly with the rest of the great tracks featured in survival mode.

As of now, there are 2 major regions + 1 transition region in development with more planned for the future... but we take our time when creating these regions as the entire team has lives of their own and this project is all on our own time. This mod is totally free, now and forever.”

-


Did Someone Say (Teaser) Trailer - Promo
 

Today we release our first teaser trailer for Mountain Pass. It features a handful of different shots, purposely not giving away *too much information. In the background we have one of Joeler’s wonderful tracks playing. We will talk more about his music later on.
It is exciting to finally start creating some more promotional material for this project, and I am hoping to continue doing so. I am aiming to have a trailer for every region + transition region, with some of the larger regions receiving a teaser trailer beforehand.

Mountain Pass Teaser Trailer

I would also like to remind everyone that footage shown in the trailers are not always representational of the final product. This trailer serves as a great example as the MP you see in this trailer is already a slightly outdated version of the region.

-

The Long Dark but Different - Concept Art

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The Long Development Promo Image created by Kai.

Following in the footprints of Hinterland’s Official ‘The Long Dark’ Artwork, we wanted to create something that is familiar, but with our own spin on things. This promo art is mostly kitbash, and sticks to a gradient palette to really stand out from the official artwork. (It is also ridiculously easier to paint grayscale.)
The image features our signature hammer and our *upcoming Oil Rig building in Forsaken Shore - and this will be serving as our promo art for the time being.

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-

Keep The Ideas Coming - Community Focus

From the conceptualization of this project, we always wanted to have a decent amount of community input. From point of interest names - to full blown region concepts, we love seeing people's ideas. I wanted to showcase to everyone that yes, we actually are taking into account your suggestions and merging them into our designs to make these regions as good as they can be.
Today I wanted to share some examples of how we have done this.

For the main course - without spoiling every part of the map, I did want to reveal some names that were taken from our discord that *will be used when the region is released. I did a quick photoshoot (in a blizzard) to show off some of MP’s locations.
A quick reminder, everything you see in these screenshots are a work in progress and might not end up being the final product.
 

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The Lonely Respite - a small cabin, hidden away on a cliff ledge in Mountain Pass.

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Frontier Lake - a large frozen lake in the centre of the basin in Mountain Pass.

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Pritchett’s Clearing - a grassy field enclosed by towering rocky cliffs in Mountain Pass.

TLDevSignalPondPNG.thumb.png.7f8c088db775e5bb30120b7a58f9537e.png
Signalman’s Pond - a small pond that drains into Frontier Lake in Mountain Pass.

We feel as if these names fit wonderfully into Mountain Pass, and we are so happy that they came from the community.
In a later DevLog I have plans to outline a few ways of potentially having even more community work adapted into our mod - but I will save that for later.

Special thanks to Blockhead428Fuar, Jaspo, and HoboFarmer for these specific names.

-
 

Names Aren't Everything - 3D Art

While the location names are great, you might be asking:
“Is that all you guys are incorporating from the community?”
and to that I say, no!

We have - I will admit sometimes random ideas brought up in our server. Sometimes ideas peak the interests of different team members we have working on this mod.
Recently, one of our members (Decency) was talking about the idea of including some man-made Stone Walls on Great Bear. Spurred on from this conversation, our 3D Model Artist created a custom asset that will be making a few appearances in our coastal regions. 
 

TLDevRockWallPNG.png.7793206e3caf93147381c1857d04b729.png
Rock Wall model created by Waltz.
 

We are so thankful to have Waltz on our TLDev team, he is a very talented individual that has created many high quality models for our mod.
If you haven't seen the images of our custom Train Maintenance Shed or the Fishing Cabin that Waltz created, make sure check out our Nov2021 DevLog for some great sneak peeks.


-


Speaking of High Quality - Soundtrack Update

Fresh out of the oven, we have a brand new track created by Joeler. He has been hard at work creating not only music for this project - but branching off into other styles for different projects. It is such a pleasure to watch other people’s talents grow and evolve.

Mountain Pass -- Ambient Track -- The Long Development

With this track added to the collection, I am fairly certain we are nearing ~20 minutes of music for this project alone. Quite impressive for a standalone composer.


-


Happy Birthday TLDev - Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading our anniversary DevLog. I hope you enjoy the teaser trailer, oh and make sure to keep sending us your ideas through Discord, we love seeing them!
It is time for our team to put our heads down and continue working on what's to come in the future.
Just a quick heads up, the next DevLog should touch on what Jeremy’s been up to - as well as potentially bringing a community region idea to life sometime in the future.

Here are a handful of other DevLogs you can check out:

February2022 DevLog - Programming Log
December2021 DevLog - Team Insight
November2021 DevLog - Custom Building Reveal

 

Just a handful of reminders:

  • Everything shown is subject to change.
  • Due to the complex nature of this project, our team is not documenting every step of region creation. This means no, people will not be able to create their own regions.
  • If you would still like to contribute to this project in any way, our discord has spots for you. We have many areas that need community input, such as names for landmarks in the regions, and even beta testing the regions before they are released to the public.

So if you would like to contribute, have questions, or even just want to see some more sneak peeks, come join us!

 

The Long Development Discord Link

 

Edited by KaiGamez
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Hi I have a rough edge for a map of this picture helps I tried to do my best by drawing if you have any questions about it make sure to ask (btw another source suggests for a transition zone name as "lovely lane")

 

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Looking great; seamless integration from what I can see.

If you want any modeling assistance, like on the oil rig interior or whatever, let me know. I can do nicer work that what I did for Forgotten Plateau; after all that was basically a concept sketch in its entirety so most every thing was only half-baked, just enough to get the idea conveyed properly. I'd probably not want to be doing the texture art though since I don't think I could do it justice.

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On 4/22/2022 at 11:59 AM, hozz1235 said:

Thanks for the update!  I'm really excited to try it out!  Any idea on when you may have some early access?

We don't give specific dates, mostly because we don't want to back ourselves into a corner and end up disappointing people if we hit a speed bump. But I can say that MP should be accessible to the public some time this year. 

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On 4/19/2022 at 8:27 PM, Jaspo said:

Looking great; seamless integration from what I can see.

If you want any modeling assistance, like on the oil rig interior or whatever, let me know. I can do nicer work that what I did for Forgotten Plateau; after all that was basically a concept sketch in its entirety so most every thing was only half-baked, just enough to get the idea conveyed properly. I'd probably not want to be doing the texture art though since I don't think I could do it justice.

Thanks for the comment.
I have played your concept project and was quite impressed.

Right now we have Waltz creating our models, but he has said in the past that he wont be doing this forever as he has to make sure he is working towards his career and pursuing job opportunity's - which of course is way more important than this mod.

If a spot opens on the team I will most likely check through our discord to find a replacement,  so id recommend joining up. :)

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On 2/15/2022 at 1:21 PM, piddy3825 said:

Woo Hoo!!!!

This is some exciting news!  Besides introducing some new transitional areas like the Rocky Thoroughfare and original music, will you be introducing any new animals into the game?  Perhaps like a walrus or seals?  Coastal water animals that maybe now call the derelict oil rig home?  ohhh and maybe we could craft some hand thrown harpoons so we could harvest those walrus and use their blubber for crafting candles using the existing candle mod?

Anyways, thanks for the discord link, I know I'll be dropping in from time to time!

Sorry for the very late response.

TLDev is only creating regions - we have no plans to introduce any new wildlife.
We have tossed around the idea of creating special tools like a 'heavy axe' but things like that aren't set in stone, we do want to keep things as vanilla as possible.

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  • 6 months later...

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The Long Development Dev Log: October 2022

Hey everyone. Kai here.

We return with an interesting DevLog this month that outlines the future as well as gives everyone a general update of where we are at in regards to the changes that are coming to The Long Dark soon.

Our trademark statement and our first teaser trailer here for any newcomers:

Quote

“The Long Development is a small team project and a collaborative community effort to expand The Long Dark’s Great Bear Island in a beautiful and balanced way. We are focused on creating as 'Hinterland-like' regions as possible to ensure that they fit within the vanilla game, and not feel out of place. We are not out to make the perfect base locations, but rather the most balanced locations.
Our team consists of a handful of core team members. The variety of work that each person brings allows this mod to be as expansive and unique as it is. Our mod features brand new regions that seamlessly connect to the larger world of Great Bear and that are filled with custom 3D modeled structures that make these regions stand out. Last but not least is 15 minutes of brand new music that not only fits our various regions' atmospheres, but also fits in with the rest of the soundtrack featured in survival mode.
As of now, we have 2 major regions as well as 1 transition region in development, with more planned for the future. We take our time when creating these regions, as every member is contributing to this project with our own free time. We apply the ‘no crunch’ rules and our work releases whenever we feel it is ready, and it is completely free, now and forever.”

The Long Development -- Mountain Pass (Mod Region) -- Teaser

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Welcome Back
You might have noticed the time between DevLogs has increased fairly substantially. From now on, we will be sticking to larger and less frequent logs. This is due to a multitude of factors but it all boils down to; the work we are doing now is not super exciting or flashy. Jeremy has been working hard on his portion of the job, and this has taken a ridiculous amount of time, but has included a multitude of improvements. Although too numerous to list individually, the improvements give us many more options to work with and enable the creation of higher quality regions. Any roadblocks holding us back on this front will soon be removed. We inch closer and closer to the finish line every day, and we cannot wait for everyone to begin exploring Mountain Pass and our other regions.
 

The Name Game
Earlier last month our team had a bit of a scare regarding a handful of our beloved region names. I won’t get much into it here, but I will let everyone know that we are in between a rock and a hard place. Eventually we will have to decide whether to rename our regions, or to run the risk of two Mountain Passes existing in the future. A change this drastic will require a lot of effort on my part to rebrand just about every piece of content we as a team have ever put out. This might not solely affect MP, but Forsaken Shore as well. Worst case scenario, we would most likely release a couple of polls on our Discord community server and allow the members to weigh in on choosing a new name from a provided selection. Again, all of this hinges on the final names of the upcoming official expansion regions. (See https://www.thelongdark.com/expansion/ for more details on that.) All is not bleak though, after short exchange with The Long Dark’s Game Director over Twitter, I was assured that: 

Quote

You don't have to change anything, and you certainly don't have to stop working on your region.” - R

While this is wonderful, this is also not explicitly stating that the Mountain Pass name will not be used officially in future. The team is crossing our fingers, but we just won’t know until the dust has settled. The regions we create are nothing more than love letters to players that adore The Long Dark as much as we do. Our self-imposed mission is to create unique, beautiful, and grounded regions; and we do not think having a duplicate named region would work under those criteria.
 

Our Expansion Dilemma 
I want to preface this section quickly by saying this will be controversial. I would also like to remind everyone that nothing is set in stone, and feel free to let us know what you think in our Discord community.
Throughout the last couple months our team has been working through the idea of limiting access to our custom Mod Regions behind the ownership of recently revealed TALES FROM THE FAR TERRITORY official expansion. It is common practice for larger modding projects to do something akin to the aforementioned idea, and would give our team more freedom and capabilities to bring our dream regions to life for you all to enjoy. This comes out of respect for Hinterland. Everyone on the TLDev team wholeheartedly believes that the creators of The Long Dark should be paid accordingly for all the hard work they have poured into this world that we all get to enjoy. As we enter a brand new DLC era for this beloved game, we at TLDev would never want to be responsible for a loss of profit in any way. 

 If we proceed with this limited access model, players would have to purchase TFTFT before gaining access to any of our free mod regions. Please see the visual representation below.
image.png.ab746e362a277c9160197adfd7646d82.png
Potential Content Model Pathway

In addition to all this, we are also contemplating the idea of providing one ‘freebie’ transition region as a proof of concept. This would likely be Rocky Thoroughfare, and would allow players that have not purchased TFTFT to get a feel for what our team's mod regions have to offer. This leaves our main regions (MP, FS, and whatever else we create) limited behind the official expansion.
Like I mentioned before, this is still in heavy discussion. If you feel inclined, please let us know what you think about this over on our Discord community server. (The Long Development Discord Link)


One Final Push
With all of these previous points, upcoming weighty decisions, and the upcoming repercussions of TFTFT release taken into consideration, the TLDev team has decided to push back the release date of *Mountain Pass into 2023. We know that this is a little disappointing, but we feel it will be the best while we figure out where we all fit within this brand new expansion filled era of The Long Dark. However, just because the public release has been pushed back does not mean that our closed beta test will also be. We are still aiming to have some testers give feedback before the end of the year.

image.thumb.png.427138476d6d72acdb53f650ee6baf5a.png

Final Thoughts
Thanks for taking the time to read through. We are in the final stretch. I sincerely hoped this would be the big celebratory one, but we must keep working. I will let everyone know that our next news drop should be a little sooner this time around. Next time you can look forward to MP’s release, and a bit more insight into the development of our second region: *Forsaken Shore.

I will also add at the end here that we have expanded TLDev’s presence recently. (The Long Development Official Twitter Account) We now share our news through Discord, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and Hinterland Forums. I am also working towards eventually separating TLDev’s posts away from my personal (Kai) accounts, as it only seems more professional. With this step in a more standardised direction we have also opened up an official email for TLDev. This ensures that even people that do not have accounts for the various websites we are on still have the opportunity to get in contact with us if need be. More on that in a later DevLog.

Other DevLogs
April2022 DevLog - Birthday and Location Reveal
February2022 DevLog - Programming Deep Dive
December2021 DevLog - End of Year and Team Insight
November2021 DevLog - Project Announcement and Custom Building Reveal
 

Reminders

  • Everything shown is subject to change.
  • Due to the complex nature of this project, our team is not documenting every step of region creation. This means no, people will not be able to create their own regions.
  • If you would still like to contribute to this project in any way, our Discord community server has spots for you. We have many areas that need community input and we would love to see you there.

So if you would like to contribute, have questions, or even just want to see some more sneak peeks, come join us!

The Long Development Discord Link

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