Sign in to follow this  
ctstannard

Does anyone else find the finite resources thrilling?

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

My second post here so still bear with me as I get used to the etiquette of this board.

I've read several discussions about how, currently, you are bound to run out of something essential for survival as some items are finite in the game world. I know there's also been discussions about how to rectify this, such as the ability to make a bow drill to start a fire once all other options are exhausted.

However, I have to admit I sort of like the idea that, at least for the sandbox mode, no matter what you do or how hard you work sooner or later you will simply run out of resources... It's rather gloomy but there's sort of a poetic "do not go gentle into that good night" end to it. I am not saying that this is definitely how it should stay but I also wouldn't be opposed to it. I actually get a bit of a thrill knowing that if I play for long enough eventually I will simply run out of something essential and right now fire seems like a good limiting factor especially in the frozen north. Now that limit could be quite a ways off for sure-- after all fire starters can last a rather long time but just knowing that after 1000, or however many, days out there in the wilderness if the predators and the environment haven't gotten you the fact you are about to use your last match will. Eventually when you have no other food or source of heat you have no other option but to find a quiet spot and wait for the end while the Northern Lights dance overhead.

I like the idea of there being a finite limit to really how long you can survive but where exactly that limit is depends greatly on how well you manage your resources, scavenge for new items and frankly luck of the draw as to what resources are available.

What are your thoughts on this? Does anyone else find it exciting to not know for sure if they will find that next box of matches that they so desperately need?

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. TLD has been a revelation -- I find myself enjoying the fact that the character dies of exposure, or starvation, or the result of poor resource management much more than being killed by an AI.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are your thoughts on this? Does anyone else find it exciting to not know for sure if they will find that next box of matches that they so desperately need?

I would actually find TLD much more thrilling if resources were so scarce that I ever had this feeling (again). As an experienced player (someone who knows the maps, that is) you hardly ever lack anything. Even if you start a new game every 20-30 days, you usually won't lack the most important tools for more than two or three days of each savegame.

As I consider this topic to be extremely important, I'd like to share my thoughts about it in detail here. Maybe some other players agree and Bethany (or another mod) can get some valuable feedback for the Devs from it. Sorry for the wall of text.

To start with, let me assure you that I really try to take my time and not hurry the exploration & looting process while playing. Nevertheless, I always end up with a hatchet, a knife, at least 40 matches (and usually also a rifle + several rounds) prior to day 5. I very much LONG for a desperate search for matches or any other important resource, but it hardly ever happens that I'm in desperate need of anything (except maybe antiseptic).

I understand that it's (probably) natural for a lot of new players to get lost somewhere, walk in circles or overlook half of the potential items. I also totally understand that item scarcity in TLD needs to be balanced not only for veterans, but also (and probably even more) for those new players. But please, for goodness' sake, either reduce the amount of items in Stalker mode (my preferred solution) or give us a Stalker+ mode that combines Stalker mechanics with way less items.

I'd like to explain this opinion of mine in a more detailed fashion. A "typical" 30-40 day run in Mystery Lake only (= the timeframe after which I currently abandon every game because mid-game boredom would settle in otherwise) usually yields the following items:

- 1-4 rifles & 25+ rifle rounds

- 3-5 knifes

-3-5 hatchets

- 4-7 can openers

- 2-4 tool boxes

- about 2 prybars

- 1 magnifying lens

- 0-1 firestriker

- at least 150 matches

- enough Saplings for two bows and 15 arrows

Furthermore:

- canned food for at least 20 days of survival

- 2-3 bottles of antiseptic, 25+ antibiotics & painkillers (as well as material for several lichen bandages/reishi tea/rosehip tea)

- purification tablets for 4-8l water

- 30+ pieces of scrap metal (including those from harvested tools)

- a vast amounts of cloth (I guess easily 70+ pieces if you harvest every pillow, armchair, etc.)

I've emphasized items that I find WAY abundant in red. Those items whose amount I find reasonable are blue. I don't care much about the remaining items as they don't considerably influence my gaming experience in the long run.

As you can see from these numbers (and various posts from other players spread over different threads here in the forums), the items from ML alone can last you at least 500 days with an active playstyle and no hibernation. You don't even have to live solely on bears to reach these numbers, killing wolf-deer combos with the bow is sufficient. I guess if you kill nothing but bears and manage your resources pefectly, even surviving 1000 days is possible with ML loot ALONE! And exactly this is what bothers me.

I simply don't understand what the purpose of this is. I have yet to read a single post of a person who enjoys the grinding mid-game phase (in which you've settled down, established a base and play for hundreds or thousands of days until you finally run out of ressources). AmericanSteel recently explained these different "stages" very well in his thread: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=7601

What I personally call "mid-game" is what he describes as phases 4+5.

As a sidenote: "Endgame" (=finally running out of ressources) is very exciting again, but unfortunately only a handful of players will ever experience it under the current conditions because 99,9% of the players will most likely abandon their game out of boredom hundreds of days before they could ever run out of ressources.

Everyone who ever posted on these forums (who managed to survive long enough to reach TLD's mid-game phase, that is ofc.) seems to agree that this phase is by far the least exciting part of the game. The obvious solution seems to be to make the mid-game phase as short as possible to give people the chance to experience all game phases - early, mid AND late game in a reasonable amount of real life time. And reasonable doesn't mean 300hours+ in this context as it is currently but rather something like 30-50 hours maximum.

I just completely fail to comprehend why various changes in the past (be it the introduction of bow&arrows, the increased amount of items that can be found, the expansion of bear spawns to all maps or the reduction of the animal respawn timer) all seem to aim for nothing but an INCREASED mid-game length. Could anyone please tell me, what good this is?

I have the strong impression that both the Devs and some players believe that infinite survival should be possible in TLD's sandbox mode and that TLD would be most fun if you can survive for all eternity.

In my humble opinion, the complete opposite is true.

If there is no lack of resources (be it tools, hunting prey, medicine or whatever else), there is no real excitement in playing. No desperate search for a life-saving item, just thoughts like "oh wow, another hatchet. Now I have 11 of them, guess that will last for 1250 days...".

A survival game is most fun (at least for me) if it provides so little resources that it's barely enough to get along. It's fun if it forces you to really struggle for your survival, if it forces you to make desperate decisions or take reckless actions to squeeze out another two or three more days. It is definitely not fun (for me) to be given enough resources to survive for thousands of days of mid-game grinding.

Which finally draws a line back to the original topic of this thread. Sorry for the detour in the middle part. (Does anyone else see the inherent irony in the last sentence? ;) )

TL, DR:

Finite resources are the most important aspect that makes TLD thrilling for me. Please decrease the amount of items & prey in Stalker mode considerably.

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Theoretically you can still survive to infinity. Solution eventually involves avoiding conflict, using snares and a magnifier, and exposing your body to nature. Did it for 30 days. Boring. EDIT: Not really boring, it's a lot of management to do. Just repetitive and infinite.

But I'm pretty sure we're still missing a major antagonist: other people.

When they show up you may be glad there is an overabundance of those finite resources to share(fight over).

Edited by Guest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am glad to see a few people adding their comments in and also that others can relate to my experience.

Excellent response Scyzara! I enjoyed reading your post for sure. I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. While eventually running out of resources and dying is obviously not "good" for your character, it definitely provides an exciting end, at least for the sandbox mode, in those final few days as you scrounge for missed resources before finally accepting your fate.

During those final moments when you think you've run out of a resource and there's nothing more that can be done, I find I can't help but think of the the poem "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert Service: "Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm.". A good read, along with anything by Jack London, if anyone wants some enjoyable Yukon poetry.

Perhaps if there was not just the Stalker mode but also like an option for how plentiful the resources would be "Plentiful, Fair, Scarce". That way new or casual players can choose plentiful resources, which I feel is where the game would currently be set at, so that it is relatively easy to get started. The more experienced players could then choose scarce which would make it harder to find several of those valuable tools you mentioned.

Or to keep it simple just tie it all together in an overall "difficulty" selector.

Survivalist - Aggressive animals, scarce resources

Camper - Moderate animals, fair resources

Tourist - Passive animals, plentiful resources

Just a thought of course. Again thanks Scyzara for the insightful post!

One last quick comment on what Selfless said in his post. I know having other people around would provide more conflict but personally I like the isolation you feel being alone... Knowing that everyone else has already either succumbed to the harsh cold or left long ago and that there is no hope for finding others is another one of those gloomy but thrilling feelings. At least that is how I find it but again that could be another option perhaps.

Keep the ideas coming! I'd love to hear of more experiences/opinions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
no matter what you do or how hard you work sooner or later you will simply run out of resources... It's rather gloomy but there's sort of a poetic "do not go gentle into that good night" end to it.

Well said. This is the underlying mystique that I find so appealing about TLD. I am thrilled to hear Bethany say it is a core element of the game because this challenge won't be coded away any time soon. The artistic environment they've created is truly one where nature deceptively hides the dangers, just as the early abundance hides the truth of finite resources. As a puzzle it fits together so well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well said. This is the underlying mystique that I find so appealing about TLD. I am thrilled to hear Bethany say it is a core element of the game because this challenge won't be coded away any time soon. The artistic environment they've created is truly one where nature deceptively hides the dangers, just as the early abundance hides the truth of finite resources. As a puzzle it fits together so well.

Also well said! I hadn't thought of it that way but yes you are definitely right. This beautiful mystical world that is full of danger.

I too was glad to see Bethany say that this is a feeling they want to keep in the game. I do like the idea of struggling to use less ideal resources such as starting with a firestriker and eventually using matches and eventually relying purely on the magnifying glass, assuming you can find one, but at the same time knowing that there is a finite limit to it all adds to that feeling of dread that is never looming far away.

This is an exciting discussion! I hope we can continue to hear more opinions about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. I think finite resources are a key element of TLD. As I've said in other threads, if there's a craftable replacement for every resource, it reduces the risk of running out of things which reduces the thought and consideration required during gameplay.

Unless resources are finite (or very rare), your resource management decisions don't matter = less compelling gameplay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
if there's a craftable replacement for every resource, it reduces the risk of running out of things which reduces the thought and consideration required during gameplay.

I agree, though I think the common replacement requests like stone tools could have a place, they would just also have to be finite. That said, I think the game would also be fine (and make sense) without them, which is my personal metric for whether it should or should not be added.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent post by Scyzara, I second everything written there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all of the thoughtful feedback, guys. I'll definitely be passing some of this along.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for passing it along, Bethany. (I assume you don't want to exclude me by saying "guys".^^)

I've spent quite a lot of time lately thinking about which amount of items could guarantee a decent balance between overall item scarcity and a high probability to find the most important tools in a reasonable amount of time after the start of a new game. (In other words, how to decrease the mid-game length while at the same time prevent the early-game difficulty from skyrocketing).

Do you know (or could maybe ask Alan) if it's theoretically possible to give the player relatively more items on his/her starting map but decrease the amount of items that can be found on every other map he/she enters later on? (E.g. starting map =70% of the current amount, every subsequent map =35% of the current amount).

When you start a new game, you could then be given the "item bonus" for your starting map only (whichever it may be) and all other maps would be given the item status of subsequent maps.

Such an item distribution might (imho) ensure that players don't have too much trouble finding their most important tools in early game while it might at the same time prevent them from building up vast stockpiles of everything in mid-game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been thinking about the exact same thing as Scyzara, but I ended up having a different idea.

Add the crashed plane and have it contain resources while decreasing the resources available on the maps.

The obvious problem with this is that the spawn locations would have to be changed, this is easy, what is not easy, I imagine, is creating the set pieces, the actual plane crash sites, with the plane, and the damage it created to the environment in the process of "landing".

Also some would argue about the timing, if the player crashes just when the event happens, where are all the people, stuff like that. But if the aurora event will be a thing (powering on electrical gizmos and such), you could argue the player character was flying when it started, or stopped, whatever, and therefore the plane crashed; or something like that. This after the initial event, to account for people missing and so on.

From a gameplay perspective what this would do is give the player a strong start with a harder game "soon".

The condition of items could be justified by the crash. So, give the player a crap knife, a 5% knife or something. Players that still have problem with wolves would get a huge bonus at the start against them. But it wouldn't last them long, and with less scrap metal overall, and less items to harvest for scrap metal, it would not create a problem in the long run, the fact the player has a knife from the start.

Same with a rifle. Finding a rifle and 5 rounds in the plane doesn't matter in the long run if there's only one or two boxes of ammo per map.

Same with clothes. A crap, 17% premium winter coat on the plane. Doesn't matter, less sewing kits, less scrap metal for hooks, less ammo to hunt so less guts for line.

Same with food. Seven cans of beans, doesn't matter, less food on the maps, less ammo/resources to hunt.

So what you would get is a window of time, say, a few days, where it's very hard to die because you have the clothes, the ammo, the tools, the food, water, but they're all in very bad condition, and after they are no more, you will have a very hard time.

This would not only help out new players at the start of the game who are not going to survive for long regardless (but longer than they would without the plane cache), but will also introduce medium term planning at the start of the game as far as experienced players are concerned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm glad to see so much discussion taking place about this! I agree with what's been posted so far. It would be nice to keep that looming threat of eventually running out of those much needed supplies, at least for the sandbox mode I think this is a good "ending".

I also like the idea of using the crashed plane to get your "starting" resources. Maybe even if the plane crash location was static and always in the same part of the environment you started in, this way you just need three different crash sites depending on which map you started in. You could still have your character spawn randomly away from the plane with the idea being that they crashed and went out to seek shelter or try to get their bearings or seek help etc. and now this is where you take control and can decide to go back and loot the crash site once you realize you are here for the long haul. Just a thought but I definitely hope they can work it into the game.

Keep the discussions coming!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great discussion and posts.

I think the joy of this game is going from danger to stability and figuring out how to do so. Once it gets too comfortable, it gets a little boring. It seems to me, the best way to make the game fun is to create situations where the player must go again from danger zone to comfortable.

Maybe there can be random events like a snow slide that covers up some areas for a bit (like trappers in ML), or a bear that gets super hungry (because you've hunted the deers/wolvs) and can actually raid your huts and houses and steal food/supplies, or some insect swarm that causes accelerated food decay.

Having these "acts of nature" affect the player and the player having to adjust and adapt to survive is really what makes this game fun so I think, not necessarily lasting to 1000 days by repetitive playing. Maybe there's a badge if you can survive the hardest levels and all the random events that occur.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scyzara and Octavian (among others) make excellent points. I honestly don't feel the amount of salvageable resources is all that bad. It feels about spot on for what might be left behind after everyone has fled/died. I think the real kicker is prey animals (and consequently hibernation). You can have all the bullets/arrows you want but if you can't find food they matter very little. In the "Rule of Threes" food is really the last item on the list BUT it is the one item that really sinks the current game. Take away the abundant food and the abundant player made clothing dwindles. We are then struggling to manage the finite resources against the need to go out and hunt/fish/trap. Wolves alone give players enough food and resources (gut/hide) to make the warmest clothing item in the game. They are simply food that can fight back. However, man being the alpha predator has them beat in just about every situation... except when they are in pack and we are weak.

I fear though the solution would either make the wolf an uber predator (basically killing the player in melee combat) or their numbers so thin they cease to become the predator the devs wanted. I say put them in packs and have them roam about the landscape. This would be a real change in dynamic and AI. Lots to code. If it was done though, player caught unaware would simply be torn apart. A wary player could still kill one or two, causing the pack to lose morale and break to the four winds. However, this would make the early game substantially harder as the new player would not have the gear to defend themselves. Tough call.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fear though the solution would either make the wolf an uber predator (basically killing the player in melee combat) or their numbers so thin they cease to become the predator the devs wanted. I say put them in packs and have them roam about the landscape. This would be a real change in dynamic and AI. Lots to code. If it was done though, player caught unaware would simply be torn apart. A wary player could still kill one or two, causing the pack to lose morale and break to the four winds. However, this would make the early game substantially harder as the new player would not have the gear to defend themselves. Tough call.

I agree with AmericanSteel. I think if the individual wolf is made anymore powerful it will start to become frustrating and disproportionate, however if they could be made to sometimes roam in packs that could present a real challenge. Especially if you hunt what appears to be one wolf only to find out the pack is nearby, perhaps when that one wolf lets out it's death cry it alerts the others to it's location. You then have moments to harvest as much as you can before you are swarmed by 3-4 other wolves. Sometimes however a lone wolf is just a lone wolf with no pack nearby. This would add an element of suspense and surprise-- never quite knowing if the pack is around the corner or not. I realize the programming and AI for this could be challenging but it sure would add to the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm fairly certain the Deep Forest release decreased available resources significantly. The weather seems to have gotten worse at least in Voyageur and Stalker so this puts a big strain on clothes, which I have not found to be abundant at all on ML. The resources are scattered around so you have visit several spots to get the essentials. There is a shortage of harvestable cloth on ML (no curtains) but fortunately one extra bedroll and perhaps a second in the Carter Dam. Coastal Highway seems to have really abundant resources like lots of clothes and cloth and a little bit more scrap metal. It's so hard to gauge wear on the knife and hatchet but these always seem to wear down quite quickly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...It's so hard to gauge wear on the knife and hatchet but these always seem to wear down quite quickly.

One thing is certain, salvage your hatchet before it breaks. A "good" hatchet nets you two scrap and a fir. A broken hatchet nets you a scrap. A 100% repair skill gives what, 35% back (don't recall). This will allow you to put one of your backup hatchets back into it prime and you don't even need to find another fir right away (with that other scrap to spare). If you have multiple hatchets, scrap them when the condition falls into the red. Hording hatches profits nothing. The knife is not so generous, you just get the scrap.

Look at your rifles too. I found one rifle at like 24% in my last run (sitting inside the train car in ML). I then found another rifle at 92% under the bed in the homestead in PV. I then found an 85% rifle at Radio Station. I ended up leaving one rifle and a few boxes of ammo in PV. I then took the other rifle back to ML and parted out that 24% weapon. I could have wasted 3 pieces of scrap on the 24% weapon to get in back into working condition, only to find two more rifles a few weeks later.

I am just saying you need to explore various avenues and gather what resources you can before you commit. If it is not a matter of life and death, then it can wait. It is easy to live 100 days. Getting beyond is going to take a vision of living for the next few months instead of surviving the next few days. Good resource management is what is going to get your game to the next level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

agree with scyzara.

at leasst the resource which is finite and shouldn't be are killed animals.

i guess simple downtuning of animals respawn would change the survival feeling and gameplay a lot.

you ill be forced to change location much more then just waiting for the bear walking in front of the farmhouse to be shot by one arrow to have food for 20 days and so on. Also catching rabbits with a 100% chance every day is too simple.

i suggest when animals are killed they should not respawn or at least not before 100 days.

this should be downtuned at leastmfor stalker.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find this interesting because I honestly have NEVER left any map/area for want of resources. I actually just explore like a madman and then I get bored because I have days and days and days worth of resources across one or two "home bases." Reducing the resources to extend the more precarious balance between life and death would be great. Let's make Stalker truly difficult. New players should still struggle to some degree on Voyageur as well IMO. No game should have too leisurely a setting. Ramp it up. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As has been noted repeatedly, there are some folks who like resources so limited you cry with joy upon discovery of a match, and some who like extensive resources and the sense that they can live forever. There are some folks who like crazed animals and instantly-lethal environments, and some who like normal animals and more forgiving environments.

I'd be supportive of a "resource level" option that could be set separately from the current difficulty level options. If I want to play Pilgrim with scarce resources, or Stalker with plentiful resources, those should be options just as surely as the inverse. Three resource levels, three difficulty levels, that would combine to both make a lot of people happy, and give nine different gameplay experiences (or even thirty six, if you count starting in each of the four zones). Toss in an achievements for reaching 30 days (or some other chosen number) in each of those nine combos, and there will be a number of challenges there waiting for people who want to test different environments or compare their experiences.

Sometimes I want to fight and claw for breath, and other times I just want to make a fire and whittle things. The option to now have multiple saves means you could have both going at once and play what you were in the mood for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this