Counting Only Hours Awake for Time Trial Challenges?


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I don't want to hijack the other "challenge" threads with this idea so I thought I'd start a new thread.

I love the time trials and even the mechanic of finding coffee to stay awake all the time, but this brings in a huge factor of luck from coffee spawns. Also traveling nonstop forces you to deal with bad weather which is a huge dose of luck.

What if... you counted only the "Hours Awake" statistic on the stat page for a time trial challenge?

This would negate the need for coffee, but coffee would still be just as beneficial as it is in a regular survival run.

It would also allow the player to sleep until the weather is good and negate the luck factor of weather somewhat, but you could still get caught in bad weather in the middle of walking around just like in a regular survival run.

This would focus your time management on campfires, crafting, harvesting and repairs. (anything that passes time by faster while you are awake) which results in a much more skill based challenge.

Counting only the time awake seems to me like the answer to negating or at least greatly reducing the luck factor of the epic search for coffee and random bad weather.


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Although I do believe that it's definitely possible to design an exciting and funny community challenge whose winner is determined by the hours awake, I definitely wouldn't suggest to apply this rule to allready ongoing challenges retroactively.

In oder to minimize your hours awake counter you need to make use of an entirely different playstyle than if you want to minimize your overall time. This doesn't only come down to the question how much coffee to boil, but is way more far-reaching.

If I was e.g. to play the sea to summit challenge during an "hours awake" run, I would definitely not loot a single house in CH for clothes (which usually took me about 3-4h on the current runs), but simply have my health deteriorate from freezing until 60% condition or something, then enter an interior and sleep back to 100%. If played to the extreme, one could even do the same thing with the hunger & thirst bar as well - save the time to boil water or search cupboards & Co. for food and only eat a few candy bars & drink a few sodas (that you picked up on the move) before going to sleep.

Wildlife avoidance would also be less important if you can sleep-heal whithout any downsides. Bumping right into a wolf on purpose might thus turn out to be a better alternative than spending 30 ingame minutes trying to sneak past the beast.^^

Another option to save time would be campfires. Instead of warming up in front of a campfire for e.g. 20min by drinking some cups of hot coffee (like one might do currently) it would be better to go to sleep for 2 hours to warm up again. I for one would probably try not to light a single campfire during a sea to summit hours awake run. ;)

I'm not saying all of this to discourage your idea, but rather to emphasize that this specific winning criterion favors a very specific playstyle and would thus probably benefit most from a challenge that is specifically designed for it.

Letting an hours awake challenge take place in Coastal Highway (with its toilet water and various houses where you can sleep-heal) would e.g. lead to an entirely different experience than making people travel long distances in the large wastes of Pleasant Valley or TWM. I could also imagine crafting requirements (e.g. the task "craft all fur clothes and take a screenshot of your clothes inventory afterwards") to have great synergies with this challenge. ;)

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I understand that NOT implementing this into ongoing challenges, even as a variation, at least right now, is a good idea. It was just food for thought.

I also understand that this develops an entirely new play style, but that is the point.

The main factor I'm trying to acknowledge is the current strategy of finding as much coffee as you can to win. Although it was fun at first, relying on coffee became very tiresome after I tried the Sea to Summit Challenge 4 times. Not dissing the challenge, just trying to work out a different way to avoid the coffee overdose meta.

You brought up good points and I guess the only way to test it out is to, well, test it out. Maybe I'll come up with an "hours awake" challenge and see if anyone is interested.

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Well, at least ONE person definitely would participate. If you design a challenge, you can count me in! ;)

What I like about all these different challenges (and winning criteria) is that they favor totally different playstyles. Adaptation and playing in a creative and open-minded way is usually the key to master them.

I really like how the different criteria change the oder of importance of certain features or items known from the standart TLD playstyle.

You're right that it can be frustrating to abort a sea to summit run because you don't find enough coffee in CH. (Three of my seven attempts actually ended this way because I found less than 2 packages of coffee.^^)

But nothing in life is perfect and every winning criterion (no matter which one you pick) will always have both upsides and downsides. "Overall time" is coffee, clothes & weather-dependent, but favors looting priorization & handfight avoidance. "Time awake" favors health as a ressource & "punishes" looting, repairing and other timesink activities, but is coffee and weather-independant. "Distance travelled" extremely punishes straying from your optimal route (e.g. for hunting or looting), "Avoid wolf contacts" would be very weather-dependant (ninja wolves during fogs), "KM walked per day" would favor coffee again and so on and so on.^^

To cut it short: I would be happy to participate in a "time awake" challenge. If one knows right from the start what the winning criterion is, making use of a playstyle that benefits this criterion is great fun. ;)

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Great Idea Threshold & Scyzara! Personally, I'm just enjoying all these great ideas for new challenges!

I think it's awakened the community and encouraged folks to try some new styles of game play for The Long Dark!

Who knows, with enough ideas for good challenges, it could possibly become a part of the game itself!!

Story line mode, sandbox mode, and challenge mode!!! :P

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Definitely needs to be a combination challenge. Measuring just one aspect of survival for competition is sort of dull.

I assume you mean measuring more than one of the stats on the stat screen?

I imagined a "time awake" challenge to be more than just "get to point B from A" in the shortest time awake, but it could be just that simple.

I do like the addition of adding items as necessities like the 7 screen shot challenge, but that has nothing to do with the stat screen.

If more than one stat on the stat screen was to be considered, any other stat other than the "time" awake might have to be a certain stat met, pass or fail, otherwise you'll have players who have a better score in one stat while others will have a better score in another. How would you determine the winner then?

It could be something like "least hours awake while sleeping only X amount of hours" So someone might beat the time awake score but be disqualified for sleeping too much. Or it could be something like "least hours awake while eating at least Y kg of meat" or the combination of both X and Y while the main score to beat would be the time awake as long as X and Y are met (or not exceeded depending on criteria).

The solid X Y stat could be implemented in a time challenge without worrying about time awake also, it could just be a regular time trial with entire time calculated, but that brings back the coffee issue.

My main concern is not making a "time awake" challenge, it's too avoid coffee dependency. Maybe there is another way to avoid coffee dependency, but "time awake" seems like the most simple fix.

Maybe nobody is concerned as I am about coffee dependency in time trials. It has its own unique appeal since I found it exciting at first, but the luck factor is pretty huge and I quickly found hoping for coffee spawns tiresome.

What were your thoughts on a "combination challenge"?

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