1. TRAINING MAP
You should make a training map, which would teach the player how to interact with the game in certain situations.
I personally went through the keybindings before starting my first game, but I completely forgot about the radial menu and didn’t know that there’s such a thing as a snow shelter until I’ve already played for tens of hours and lost many times to the frost. I’ve also seen other people around here forgetting about ’paper doll view’, which shows the state of clothes. Thankfully, I have used it well. And the training map I suggest to make, may be somewhat interactive.
For that snow shelter, for example, it may spawn the player outside, then tell him to go to a house and collect some, cloth, then go outside to the middle of the forest, collect enough sticks, start middle blizzard on his head and tell the player: ‘Pal! It’s going dark and you’re going to freeze! You have almost no chances to return, because your footsteps were buried with snow, so make a snow shelter, while you still have these 72% of condition!’
Teach him that he can make tinder for sticks, bands and fishing tackles WITHOUT the workbench and light.
2. HOT WATER
I don’t understand, why the hot water I did just boil, cannot be consumed as heated tea and provide me with warmth, so I could suffer less from the cold outside? That shouldn’t be hard to implement.
3. USE BED AND BEDROLL SIMULTANEOUSLY
In real life, I sometimes used them at the same time for warmth. Why can’t I do so in The Long Dark? It’s only logical to use them both in the very cold places, such as Forestry lookout in Mystery lake, where the temperature inside may fall below zero.
4. MAKE PLACING THE CAMPFIRE SIMPLE
I once wanted to start a campfire and almost froze to death seeing it always red, red and RED wherever I wanted to place it. I have lost 10% of my health (leaving me with only 20%), while trying to start a fire. I was in panic, but suddenly found out that I can only place it in the very close proximity from myself. THEN DAMN WHY I SEE THIS RED CAMPFIRE MODEL LIKE I CAN PLACE IT LITERALLY A MILE AWAY? I guess you should allow the player to start a campfire wherever it is actually possible, and if it’s not near him, then make the player go on autopilot to that place and start making the fire on the spot the player has selected.
5. MAKE THE WIND WORKING FOR THE PLAYER AND AGAINST HIM
If the wind blows from the player’s side to a deer or a wolf side, a deer or a wolf should spot the player more easily/quickly. If the player runs away from the wolves in the wind/blizzard, and the wind blows from the wolves’ side, they should give up on finding him quicker.
6. LET THE PLAYER MAKE A CLOAK TO HIDE HIS APPEARANCE
A coat and a hat made of moss/sticks should help the player to blend with nature when he leans to the trees, which in its turn should help him avoid being noticed by both predators and prey. Putting on and adjusting a clock should take a couple of minutes, so it would be stupid to put in on, when you’ve been spotted.
Of course, moss and sticks alone wouldn’t make a proper cloak, one would have to bind them somehow… There can be two kinds of cloak – a simple one would be tucking sticks and moss in the player’s current clothes (or let him make a separate outfit for the cloak?) and a better cloak that is worn separately and is made on a workbench.
7. GIVE THE PLAYER A MAP
My silly attempts to create a map of Mystery lake were so laughable that they were useless. Yes I connected some places, but creating a proper map requires weeks of stupid walking and still people with topographic idiocy like me wouldn’t be able to make a good map themselves. Everyone uses the maps from the wiki anyway, so adding a map in the game would change nothing in the gameplay. But for the game itself it would serve as a good characteristic: for today the player has to switch between the game window and his browser. Make the game better by removing this necessity! There’s nothing wrong in getting a map of Mystery lake at the Camp office, I’d say there should be a wall dedicated to the map. Oh, that’s a good idea too. Though a map on paper, that the player carries with him, is what I thought of initially.
8. LET THE PLAYER MAKE TARGETS TO PRACTISE THE BOW
I find the bow unusable at its current state. On Stalker and above I wouldn’t pick it against a wolf – it’s only raison d’etre, because you can’t hit a deer from far away. The accuracy at no master lever is awfully bad, which makes me think, that it’d be better to make targets and practise on them first – mastership doesn’t seem to bump without successful hits, and getting them is nearly impossible on Stalker. Excuse me, but I consider going against a wolf on Stalker imbecility just for the purpose of honing bowmanship. I would do that when having at least 70% hp to get meat or a hide, but not for the bowmanship. No. I can’t imagine how much times should I put my life at risk just to get one level in it this way. No.
9. CHANGE THE WAY PLAYER GETS TIME
I suppose that ’??? of day time left’ were introduced intentionally, because at dusk it’s hard to tell the time? That’s cool. But make it even better: force the player to get time by the use of certain devices using the sun (make a gnomon at his homestead and use his palm to check how much fingers above horizon is the sun). Also as a bonus add a rare item: mechanical watches with autowinding. Such watches may work for decades without service and are inexpensive in real life. But force the player calibrate the watches before he can use them by standing at noon at a sunny place while checking his own shadow (Noon is for GMT, for Canada probably lower).
I really enjoyed checking the level of oxygen on my watch in the game Metro 2033, so introduce watches without fear: it is a fantastic feeling only adding the experience. And certainly easier, than implementing getting time from the nature.
10. LET THE PLAYER HIDE HIS SMELL WITH PUTTING SNOW IN HIS MOUTH
I’m not sure whether it’s true, but I’ve seen it in some film, that hunters put snow in their mouth to hide the smell of a human from the animals.
11. USE GUN AND CROWBAR TO BREAK ICE
This one is just a wish. If I am so rich (or stupid) that I can shoot to break ice, I want to do so. In case of using the rifle, there should appear 6–10 marks around the ice-hole – player shoots them, then he must use something (hands may be used too, but with a small risk of breaking and heavy wearing on the gloves) to break the ice.
12. HARVESTING CORPSES BY PARTS AND TAKING THEM HOME
Allow the player to take rabbit corpses with him – they shouldn’t weigh so much, and dissecting them at home, in warmth, would safe time, that the player could spend outside. I mean that I can go outside, see that I’ve caught some rabbits, and take them with me instead of staying in the cold and losing condition. Chopping off a leg from a deer corpse would be fine, if it would take less time than dissecting. Would be useful to quickly harvest some meat before wolves spawned.