Raphael van Lierop

Hinterland
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About Raphael van Lierop

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  1. I didn't say the container is getting bigger; I think those were your words. I said you are getting a Condition increase when you get the Well Fed buff. Therefore, when you lose the buff, you lose the associated Condition increase. I'm not sure if it "seems right" or not, but you asked how it works and if the observed behaviour was something that should be reported as a bug, so I am merely clarifying. Sorry if it's not the answer you're looking for.
  2. By nature of how it works (as I described it), logically it would be possible to die when the buff is lost.
  3. Yes. Old analogue rotary phones can function with a very small amount of power. There are even some old ones that can be used with a hand-cranked magneto: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_magneto I recall reading, years ago, about the importance of maintaining an old rotary landline phone in the event of a disaster -- not necessarily a geomagnetic one, mind you; it was more of a prepper-type scenario. The idea stuck with me.
  4. Hello all! The weeks are getting longer these days, it seems, so the Mailbag is more frequently getting pushed to the weekend. Sorry about that! Thanks to everyone who submitted questions this week. There are some great ones! ***** Question from @Pinefarmer13: I see what you did there.... --> "Warmest Regards" We've talked about (and been asked about) many times, the idea of overheating/sweating and the risks that could introduce. I've always held back from it because it does start to feel very fiddly. There is currently a little Warmth bonus you get during Sprinting but it's pretty subtle; we could definitely build on that in the future. Some of these things start to step on improvements that might require significant overhauls to our entire Survival System infrastructure, and between you and I I'm not sure when the best time to do that would be. After 5+ years of active development on The Long Dark, I think there are things we can definitely still do to improve the core game, but deeper improvements will require starting from scratch, essentially, something I'd like to put off for a future game. At the very least we might be able to treat "sweating" as another form of Wetness (which we already have), that goes from the inside out (vs. the outside in as it currently works), and then you'd have to deal with the same risks of Ice forming and then Frostbite (or, at the very least, your Wet clothing loses a bunch of its heating value so you'd pay a cost there). I think we could do it but we'd have to feel the change was worth how many bugs and tuning issues it would introduce! ***** Question from @Starving Gamer: They are screenshots from the game, with an artful treatment from our talented presentation artists. ***** Question from @Dan_: Yes, I spent a couple of days in Reykjavik, which was an incredible experience! What a lovely people, and the city is absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time there to get out and explore the landscape, but I plan to come back in the future. It's definitely a very dramatic, inspiring environment. I also had the opportunity to visit CCP, developers of EVE: ONLINE, at their HQ in the city. They were super friendly and it was great to see how their studio and teams are organized. Definitely gave me some ideas for Hinterland. I can't speak for others but I find travelling to be hugely inspiring, and typically whenever I embark on creating something new I try to do it from a new location, just because the change of scene seems to really stir up the creative juices. I think it's something about breaking routines that readies the brain for fruitful enterprise. ***** Question from @BESt: I thought it was equal parts interesting and funny. I also think it kind of misses the point of the game. ***** Question from @Timmytwothumbs: Yeah I've thought a lot about hygiene and how to incorporate it into The Long Dark. I'm generally always impressed by RDR/RDR2 and a bit jealous at how effortlessly they incorporate basic survival-type mechanics into those games. For us, we get stuck on a lot of these things because the realization aspect becomes kind of tricky to pull off. But I'm sure there are good solutions that would work within our game as well. I do agree that this should be part of the overall Survival System. ***** Question by @TheRealPestilence: The Buff expands your Condition bar and also gives you a boost to Carrying Capacity. When the Buff expires (due to starvation), you lose these benefits. ***** Question from @Azdrawee: Partly based on reality (research this online and you will find some answers) and partly poetic license. Not everything has to be explained and not everything has to be 100% realistic, as long as it is true to its own fiction and players accept it as logical. There are a lot of things in The Long Dark that don't line up 100% with reality. I'm totally ok with that. ***** @MikeV -- please use regular formatting for your questions. As we've stated many times, we're not offering dates so I'm not going to tell you how long it will take for us to deliver all five episodes of WINTERMUTE. ***** Question from @PlayerPawn: I had the good fortune to have Cris and Sascha score my last game, SPACE MARINE. I really enjoyed working with them so when I started putting THE LONG DARK together I reached out to see if they would score it. In terms of selecting composers -- of course you want to find a composer with a style that fits the kind of experience you are creating. In this case, Sascha is great with electronic music and created this really cool sound for Survival Mode, while Cris's strength is in orchestral and we found a way to use a small ensemble and some key instruments like piano, guitar, strings to create a "frontier" feeling in the soundtrack that also hits on the emotional depths of the story. Mostly you just want to find people that you gel with well creatively. I love soundtracks and listen to them almost exclusively, but mostly movie soundtracks when I think about it. Lately I've been listening to the soundtracks to INTERSTELLAR and WESTWORLD a lot, for no particular reason than I really enjoy them and they help put me in the right mood for the work I need to do. ***** Question from @liam: We just wanted to provide a tool that felt desperate and like something you'd use when you are in a really bad situation, whether it's trying to make it to the safety of that shelter in the distance, trying to get away from that Bear, etc. It felt like a tool that let us play with some of the survival mechanics in the game and something that might save you from a bad fate, but also something that came with a heavy cost, so you'd kind of hate to need to use it, but it'd be better than dying (and losing your save). Do you have opinions about the Emergency Stim? ***** Question from @Jendo: I think it would create a tremendous amount of busy work and also require us to add a lot of new mechanics to counterbalance it, so I'm not sure it would really be worth it? ***** Thanks again for all your questions and enjoy the rest of your weekend! - Raph
  5. Hey everyone! It's been another busy couple of weeks in the studio. The team's been hard at work on Episode Three and a bunch of other things, but you already know that because that's what we're always doing. Things are coming along really well, and I and the rest of the team are really excited to get to the point where we can share some more definitive info with you. You also may have noticed we added some new Merch items to hinterlandstore.com. I know the items are on the pricey side when considering shipping and the power of local currency -- we're doing some work to figure out how we can support our fans in territories where our CAD prices and shipping make things cost prohibitive. I missed last week's Mailbag due to workload so let's see what you all left for me to discuss this week. Onward! ***** Question from @JujuBear: Welcome to the forums! I'll take each question in turn. 1) We read everything the community says about the game and use it as a kind of extended "sensory system" to judge game health, quality of life for our players, and what areas of the game might need a refresh. Beyond that, we have an internal roadmap of new things we'd like to add to the game. Often it lines up well with what players are asking for which is always nice, but often we work on things we just believe will make the game a better experience. In general I have a big-picture roadmap for where I'd like to take The Long Dark that goes out for years (multiple projects -- far beyond the current game -- I doubt we could ever do it all) so we're just working on layering things, putting the foundations in place for the future, both for the Episodes to come but also for things we want to do in the next standalone game set in The Long Dark IP. 2) Design, implement, test, iterate. Repeat until it's good enough. Release, then repeat again based on community feedback. Iteration is our core development philosophy. 3) We found the Brandishing action was a bit hard for players to understand -- it wasn't a nice discrete action with an understandable outcome, while throwing something and getting it close to a target, then having success in scaring that target, just made more sense. Keep in mind that Throwing the Torch was the original option. Brandishing replaced the Throw, and then we decided to go back to the Throw because it wasn't working the way we wanted it to. ***** Question from @Azdrawee: I don't think adding another Experience Mode beyond Interloper is the right approach -- at least, I don't think that yet. My feeling is that if some players are surviving for very long on Interloper, there is something in the XP Mode that isn't quite working. It requires us spending more time analyzing how people are playing it, how some of them are managing to survive for so long, and then tweaking the tuning or revising the approach to make it more challenging. If however we felt that we could sufficiently differentiate an even more Survival-focused experience mode beyond Interloper, we might do that. For now, though, I think offering 4 different XP modes that map to different play styles should be enough. We just need to tune them better or differently. ***** Question from @Jendo: Knowing how hard game development is, I try very hard not to criticize other developers. In terms of No Man's Sky, I think the team delivered an incredibly ambitious experience and it was very hard to see the incredible hate and anger that was channeled towards them at launch. I recall tweeting something in support of the devs on launch day during the outcry, and I think to this day it's the most "popular" (in terms of impressions) tweet I've ever posted -- but it's because I was positively hammered for DAYS afterward, by angry NMS players, for daring to say something in support of the studio. That was already years ago now, but it seems things are even worse now than they were then. So, did I feel sympathy for them? Hell yeah. I also think Sony should have/could have done a much better job of shielding the developer from the abuse, as it was largely their marketing machine that brought so much attention to the game (and yes, the NMS devs were happy to talk up their game and promote it excitedly and fuel that anticipation, and really you shouldn't expect anything less from a dev -- it's not our business to talk down our own games). In the years since I think the NMS team have proven that they mean to live up to their promises and their player's expectations, despite maybe not hitting the mark right out of the gate, and I applaud them for that. I feel a lot of empathy for that as it's a very familiar situation (cough), and my hope is that one day when we ship Episode Five of WINTERMUTE, people will look back on the previous years of waiting and acknowledge our own journey, hopefully in a positive way, in the same way people can now acknowledge the good work that Hello Games has done. I'm not expecting any billboard ads singing our praises, for the record. ***** Question from @smaointeoireacht: Glad to hear the Accessible Struggle feature has been useful for you! If you haven't also tried it, the Hold to Search (vs Tap) can also be pretty useful, depending on what type of interaction you find comfortable. In terms of connecting regions -- we know where they'll go and what we want them to connect to, so we'll usually decide up front if we want it to be linked through a cave, a rope-climb, or whatever. ***** Question from @rancid0: Yes, I have an idea but we're not really sharing info about new Regions because we don't want people to be disappointed if they don't happen, or if they don't happen as quickly as they would like. ***** Question from @Themadlad94: I like the limited aspect of it -- six rounds and then you have to deal with reloading. Most other hand-guns have more ammunition. Also, a Revolver feels like a better deterring to wildlife than, say, a 9mm. And finally, it has a kind of simplistic roughness about it that really suits The Long Dark (vs. something more sleek, more modern). I know there are tons of guns out there but The Long Dark isn't really a "gun game" -- for us, a firearm is just another tool. The Revolver balances well against the Rifle as they each have a clear role, and clear trade-offs. It happens to be quite useful against Wolves, but it's even more useful against Timberwolves, which you'll see in Episode Three. ***** Questions from @yollarbenibekler: I'll answer the ones that are questions. 1) Yes, Episode Three has its own soundtrack. At some point we'll create a "Volume Two" that will have more WINTERMUTE music and additional Survival Mode music as well. 2) I'm not sure about using Clothing for fuel but I'll think about it. Thanks for the 4DON idea. ***** Question from @Skelegutplays: Ask me again after Episode Three ships. ***** Question from @Tohono O'odham Man: We are currently only working on The Long Dark and have no other projects in active development. That said, we know what we want to make next. ***** Question from @Jolan: I believe we had more Blueprints as Trust Unlocks in the "Predux" Episodes One and Two. Fewer were needed for the Redux Episodes One and Two. In general we only unlock Blueprints that are relevant to the episode content. ***** Question from @SpanishMoss: The Energy Drink wasn't mean to replace the Stim. Stim, Go!, and Coffee all have different effects, different ideal use cases, and, more importantly, have different degrees of scarcity. You can't really compare things without taking scarcity into account. ***** Question from @Alex Azrael: You probably know I don't like to comment on release timings or when things might come out, but we have committed to Mod Tools and so you can believe we will deliver them. When we have more definitive news to share about them, we'll definitely post it in a Dev Diary which will end up being re-published here in the forums. ***** Looks like that's all the questions for this week's Mailbag! Have a great weekend and keep those questions coming. I'll do my best to stay on top of them and give you good answers. - Raph
  6. We have the rights to use this music in the game, but that doesn't necessarily extend to it being shared in videos. It's up to the copyright holder to grant you permission to include the song in your own content.
  7. Hello all, I missed last week's Mailbag so let's see what questions you left for me to tackle this week. I'll jump right in! ***** Question from @mateosega: I wouldn't say Jeremiah is based on Jeremiah Johnson. I would say I picked that name partly because I like that film, but any comparisons are entirely coincidental. So, unfortunately, as much as I like your theory, I cannot confirm it. ***** Question from @Sceh: We're working on what I hope will be a better solution for both Episode Three and the game in general -- a system that "protects" your gear items whenever an interior location or container ends up being changed for whatever reason (sometimes this can happen accidentally, for example if an artist is working in a scene and accidentally selects then moves a container item a tiny bit). The idea would be that we spawn a temporary container, something super obviously not part of the world, and move all your stuff to that magic container until you can get it back. This would hopefully address the various ways in which people might lose lot due to updates, and is generally a good failsafe for us because as careful as we are about not breaking the game or removing your loot, it does happen occasionally and sometimes things slip through our net (ex. one of our players lost a bunch of items they'd stored in the Mountain Town cave that links to Hushed River Valley when we added the cave transition). That said, I think your solution could also work. If you moved everything outside the PV Farmhouse, for example, and then picked it all up such that you didn't have to move (you wouldn't be able to anyway, you'd be so over-encumbered), the items would be on your character (and not in the scene) and therefore (theoretically) you wouldn't lose anything, and post update you could drop it all back into the world and move it back in. Not a very elegant solution (ours is only marginally more elegant), but better than losing all your stuff. That said, I think it's on us to find a good way to ensure your loot doesn't get wipe out, so we're working on that. ***** Question from @GothSkunk: Well you get more feedback than just carrying capacity being reduced -- you will hear, multiple times -- feedback from the character indicating how tired they are, and these cues will become progressively more serious as you become more Fatigued. We have experimented with some more screen-fx type solutions for Exhaustion, Freezing, etc. but haven't added them to the game yet. We might in the future. I agree that some more physical responses to being Exhausted (like stumbling, falling, blacking out for seconds, etc.) would be a good addition. Regarding giving the player the choice to rest X hours -- since Sleep is a resource, we leave it up to the player to manage it for themselves. If we locked you in on sleep based on how tired you were, I think it would feel quite frustrating to have this choice made for you, and since Sleep = Time and Time costs so many other things (Calories, Cold, Hunger, etc.) it needs to be up to the player to manage this as they see fit. We have discussed the idea of becoming "overtired" and oversleeping (rendering the timer setting a bit moot in those cases) and adding an Egg Timer item that you could use to wake you up, but we didn't add it because it felt noodly and overhauling the Sleep/Rest system isn't the most pressing thing for us. But, we might revisit this system in the future and come up with a deeper Fatigue simulation. ***** Question from @Themadlad94: I don't like anyone to "expect" anything because then they are bound to be disappointed. If you are asking me do we have plans to add any more Bears into the game, the answer is, at the moment, No. ***** Question from @FrozenCorpse: I would expect you to hit with aiming profile B. (The crosshairs seem to be a red herring, IMO, as they suggest the middle of the "circle" is the targeting area, when in fact you are lining up your front post with the rear "scoop" and trying to get your target right above the post.) ***** Question from @Skelegutplays: Grey Mother was not born blind. How she ended up blind is a story for another day. ***** Question from @Faithful Cartographer: I'm honestly not sure, but I'd love to hear what other people think. I think there are a lot of great survival games out there but they are all focused on different aspects of survival from the ones we're focused on...I think? I don't tend to think of The Long Dark as something that exists within a "genre", and I don't think too much about how we compare to those other titles, so I can't really say. I know a lot of people talk about Subnautica as offering a similar "feeling" as The Long Dark, so maybe they are the closest? ***** Question from @ajb1978: Nope, there's nothing I can reveal about that. But it's nice to hear people notice these little details. ***** Question from @SpanishMoss: I can see why you might feel like me making up a general "outside date" for when Episode Three will arrive would be a good thing, and that it would somehow be "doing a service" to you, but it wouldn't be at all. And it wouldn't be helpful to us either. So I think the best thing is maybe to be patient, and when you encounter a developer in the industry who has had to change a release date for whatever reason, maybe be one of the people who supports them and doesn't attack them or try to destroy their reputation, so that they can feel safe in sharing tentative dates. But no, I won't do this, because it won't give you what you want, and it can only hurt us. You're excited about Episode Three, we're excited about finishing Episode Three, and that's what we're focused on. I think delivering a good experience when it's ready is the best thing we can do. ***** [Skipping a bunch of wishlist questions since that's not really what Mailbag is about.] ***** Question from @thepatsbro: Last we checked it was over 50 square kms. Bigger than Skyrim, I believe. ***** Question from @selachias: Not a silly question at all. Some of our achievements need to be completed within a single session, and others can be completed across multiple sessions. We specify in the description itself. Good luck! ***** Question from @Pixel: 1 - Half-Life/HL2, STALKER, BioShock, Deus Ex...I think I've answered this elsewhere, maybe someone can point you to the response. 2 - You'll have to wait and see. 3 - You'll have to wait and see. ***** Question from @slvrsrfr: That's like...a hundred questions. https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/features/achievements/ach_guide There's definitely some work involved, both on the back-end and content side. But nothing terrible. ***** Question from @PlayerPawn: We haven't had a look at Blender at all. We have a lot of tools and pipelines set up that use Max/Maya so I don't think switching to a different modelling package would be that time or cost-saving for us, initially, but yes the licensing costs for Max/Maya add up to 10s of thousands per year so they are not insignificant. I can't speak to whether the industry is shifting to adopt Blender -- I would say that unless all the additional plug-ins and tools we use that are based on Max/Maya workflows are also compatible with Blender, it would be quite difficult to switch over. But we could look into it for a new project. It would also depend on how much work is involved with transitioning artists to new tools and workflows. ***** Question @TrAlfred: Scary? He's just trying to give you a BIG HUG. ***** Question from @Moll: We produce dev diaries and I respond to questions in the Mailbag every week (more or less). Not enough? We always have to balance the time taken to produce updates like dev diaries and Mailbag entries against time spent making the game. I think we do a good job of communicating stuff out to our players but we're always open to feedback re: how we can improve. I think Rust's approach makes sense for a game that isn't trying to avoid spoilers. A lot of games use a progress report and "roadmap" update to keep people interested, and while we've done that in the past, it often just fuels disappointment when things don't go according to plan, so I think our approach, while it might be less satisfying to people who are looking for constant updates, is probably better for us. ***** Question from @Khan_Drichthyes: We haven't considered that, no. ***** Thanks everyone for the great questions! Remember, Mailbag isn't meant to be another wishlist thread, so please try to keep your questions related to development, game dev in general, or general references/inspirations, and don't ask me to share stuff you are are spoilers, because it's just going to be disappointing for both of us. Have a great weekend. - Raph
  8. Congrats on finishing the book! That's a real accomplishment. 👍 Glad to hear the game was an inspiration to you, just like a lot of great literature has been an inspiration to while when working on The Long Dark.
  9. I'll let @Admin and/or the @Support team comment on this. Also if you are so inclined feel free to report to our Help Desk directly: hinterlandgames.com/support We try to channel all support requests through one channel if possible, otherwise it just becomes too overwhelming for our team.
  10. 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. ***** Question from @Themadlad94 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. 😇) ***** Question from @ThePancakeLady: 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. ***** Question from @winterstorm: 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. ***** Question from @Faithful Cartographer: 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. ***** Question from @Skelegutplays: 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. ***** Question from @thepatsbro: 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). ***** Question from @PlayerPawn: 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. ***** Question from @Wilderwalker: 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. ***** Question from @FrozenCorpse: 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. ***** Question from @hozz1235: 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). 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. ***** Question from @FrozenCorpse: 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.) ***** 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. ***** Question from @Garden Gnome: 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. ***** Question from @SpanishMoss: 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. ***** Question from @LilWolf: I'm not exactly sure when we'll release the music for Episode Three, but we definitely will at some point! ***** Question from @Azdrawee: 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. ***** Question from @StrayCat: 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. ***** Question from @jerry486: Yes, we've been talking about ways to allow for this type of activity. ***** Question from @Ape88: 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. ***** Question from @Flagg: 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. ***** Question from @frickoffanddie: 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. ***** 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
  11. She's smaller but definitely not weaker than Will, which you will discover in Episode Three. Let's keep the generalizations and ignorance around genders to a minimum, please.
  12. (Just to make it clear, @Admin posted this on my behalf -- I probably should have posted it myself, but we realized we've always done it this way. I'm grateful to have help as we post this info across 6-8 channels so it's a lot of communications and timing to coordinate. Also, there won't be a Mailbag today because I spent all that time writing this dev diary.)
  13. Hey community! You may have noticed I missed the Mailbag last week due to being at E3. I'm back now and ready to dive into the open questions. Hope you had a great week yourselves. ***** Question from @GudJob: Hey! In general we don't have any gas-powered or electronic tools because one of the effects of the Aurora and the geomagnetic disaster underpinning the game and its fiction is that electrical/electronic stuff doesn't work...at least unless it's "animated" by the Aurora on some nights, and even then that is very unpredictable. This is part of why, for example, none of the cars in the game work, why there's no snowmobile, etc. ***** Question from @RaukGorth: I think there is always area for improvement in the game. Also, when we add something to the game, while we don't intentionally try to break Experience Modes, we also don't necessarily focus on trying to avoid or promote certain common player strategies. All things being equal, it's already pretty challenging to maintain 72-hours without ever beginning the Starving process, and on Interloper this is even harder than anywhere else, so I would argue that if you can manage to secure and maintain the Well Fed buff in Interloper, you probably deserve to have it. If nerfing Well Fed specifically for Interloper players becomes a goal, we'll try to find a way to do that which is true to the core game. ***** Question from @Someone: Yes, when we added Simple Arrows it's because we had other arrows in mind. We may still have other arrows in mind. Re: the flashlight in struggles -- every item we add to the Struggle system creates a ton of extra work and testing effort so it'd have to be something really special, like we recently did with the Revolver. As for the Flashlight -- I think the Battery continues to work once the aurora ends but it will gradually deplete on its own. I don't think the idea is that batteries can "store" a charge from the aurora. The batteries are working because the aurora is active. ***** Question from @GothSkunk: We didn't intentionally pick the Rabbit to be the hardest animal to kill, but I do think the choice to take a life to extend your own should be one nobody makes lightly and if we can do so in a respectful way, we may introduce other situations like the Rabbit choice but they are not a core part of those systems at this point. (Some players feel the Rabbit kill already crosses a line.) ***** Question from @Torqen: 1) game tuning, that's "what's up" 2) you should also get ankle sprains; if you aren't that's a bug. Feel free to report here: hinterlandgames.com/support ***** Question from @PlayerPawn: Regarding the industry practice -- it's a complex question that deserves a more complex answer than I have time to provide here. As far as how Hinterland approaches crunch, we are trying to avoid it and one way we're doing that is being deliberate about planning and working towards internal deadlines but not broadcasting those publicly anymore. Typically the "pressure" to crunch comes from trying to meet external deadlines that you fear to miss, and mostly you fear to miss them because you either don't want to miss a financial quarter that will affect a stock price (public companies), or you don't want to disappoint your customers and/or have them turn into an angry mob (public or private companies). Hinterland is private so we don't care about stock performance, but we can do without the angry mob. In general, also, people tend to forgive a late game if it's good. ***** Question from @Vagabond: I'm a big Gibson fan. Maybe some of his work is lurking in my subconscious. Have fun with it. ***** Question from @ajb1978: How do you know that it's irrelevant? ***** Question from @Snowtippedwolf: Welcome to the community! I think I've answered questions about the Late Game "problem" elsewhere -- someone might be able to point you to some of them in the Index. The short answer is (a) yes I do think there's more work to be done there (b) yes we have ideas for how to address it, and (c) I have no idea when we'll get around to it as our plate is very full right now. But it's definitely something I have in mind (Keeping in mind also that the % of players for whom survival past 100 days is a real concern is pretty small). I also think it's possible that it's just TOO EASY to survive in the game since the best part of the experience is the first 0-50 days in my opinion. We recently had an Interloper player survive 1500 days or something which to me means we have work to do.) ***** Question from @Skelegutplays: We don't try to prevent it. Good reflexes! ***** Question from @hozz1235: We're hoping to do it, yes! ***** Question from @CalNieDaGtarGuy: We have a new Hatchet yes and it should be up in the store soon, along with some other new merch. ***** Question from @ibloud: 1) We're developing our own linear content around The Long Dark. 2) No. ***** Question from @SpanishMoss: We do sent keys out to YouTubers and Twitch/Mixer streamers all the time. We ask that they request them through Keymailer so that their identities can be verified because there are tons of key-scammers out there. We only give out keys to people who have over a certain number of subscribers/viewers, and only if we think their content is in line with the way we'd like to see The Long Dark shared. ***** Question from @Themadlad94: I'd love to, but I won't. ***** Question from @Annette: Yes. ***** Question from @TheUnknown: The main one that comes to mind is the Trust system we implemented in the first versions of Episodes One and Two. We didn't achieve what I was going for with them so we pulled the system out for the Redux episodes. I'd like to go back to the Trust system some day. I still think there's a lot of potential there. ***** Question from @Jendo: Honestly? Not once. ***** Question from @Pan Pastwa: Same vision as today but with 2-3 original IP games live and in the wild, 2-3 original IPs in incubation, 2-3x the team size, and 2-3 linear projects based on our original IP. ***** Question from @Azdrawee: Yeah we have some tech to add damage to labels and cans and I'd like to see it on other things as well. ***** Question from @punklor: Could happen at some point, yes. Right now we're focused on Episode Three and the remaining Episodes to finish WINTERMUTE. ***** Question from @EfoDom: Yes, accurate constellations and navigation is on my internal roadmap, but I have no idea if or when we'll get to it. That was the original intention for the night sky -- that you be able to use the stars to navigate. ***** Question from @jkripper: There are 100 different reasons why this might be the case, but if you think something looks like a bug, please report it to: hinterlandgames.com/support ***** Question from @Moll: Perhaps some day -- "near future" is a bit vague, so I won't promise that. ***** Question from @MarrowStone: Not sure what you're referring to here -- can you elaborate? ***** Question from @TheRealPestilence: I find it's best not to jump to conclusions and also best to give people the benefit of the doubt vs. trying to find fault or something to be upset about. I also find that if you find a way to ask questions that doesn't sound like you are attacking people, you have a better chance of getting the information you are looking for. I'll give you an example: "I notice it's been a few weeks since the last hotfix and the depot on Steam hasn't been updated -- just wondering if you'll be releasing more fixes for the game before the next major update. In particular I'm curious about [bug X]. Thanks!' Feel free to use that as a template in the future. ***** Question from @melcantspell: Yes, it is. And this is something we'll be pushing more in the future. ***** Question from @Cairngormless: It's a cool idea for Survival Mode. For Story, the notes are built around the story itself so we wouldn't add sets there. ***** Question from @Faithful Cartographer: Thanks! Hard to believe it's been a whole year since we started this!! E3 was...loud. And flashy. As E3 is. Walking the floor was pretty overwhelming, but keep in mind it's been 4 yrs since I've been (last time was when we demo'd The Long Dark in the Xbox booth at E3 2015) so I've been re-sensitized. I saw some cool stuff but mostly games that have already been announced or are expansions/seasons/DLC/etc for existing games. It felt like the E3 before the E3 where major new hardware is announced/shown. It's also very clear that E3 doesn't really represent the majority of what the industry has become, and to be honest feels like a bit of a relic of the "old industry". The business has changed so much since E3 started and having the big expensive flashy venue to show off your game isn't as important as it used to be. I think the smaller consumer-centric shows like PAX, or the developer-focused conferences like GDC, are a lot more relevant, but that's just my opinion! A lot of people still love E3 and I think if it's your first or second time at the show it can be really exciting and make you feel like part of a bigger thing. For me...it just made me feel tired, to be honest. ***** That's all the time for Mailbag this week. Thanks for the questions. As always, if I missed yours it might have been because it was something I've already responded to 100 times, or maybe you wrote it in a way that felt snarky or rude, or like you're trying to score points by showing how clever you are at our expense, which I don't have time for. Remember that the Mailbag is something I take time out of my work-day to do, it's something I do to show appreciation to the fans. It's not your punching bag for me or the dev team. Be considerate, or go post somewhere else where rudeness is more accepted. (Better yet, don't post anywhere, because the internet doesn't need more assholes.) Have a good weekend. - Raph
  14. WINTERMUTE doesn't mean any of these things.
  15. The game has always been developed using Unity. We did some significant modifications to the post-FX stack in our December REDUX launch, though. Best way to get help is to submit a request to our Support team, with as much information as you have: www.hinterlandgames.com/support In general we fix all the bugs we find, although we do prioritize, which means bugs that are most serious and affect most players tend to get fixed first.