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About Otternaut

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  1. How is Hinterland doing as a company? Are you guys expanding? Are you planning future games? Will there be continued development of TLD after Episode 3? I ask because I think you guys made something really amazing and I hope that development of TLD and the Hinterland brand continues well into the future. As a nature lover, I have my own personal preferences for the future of the game; ideally, I'd like it if you guys had enough cash-flow to hire an animal behaviorist, a few cutting edge AI specialists, and many more coders. I notice with many indie games that after ALPHA release, development either slows down significantly or it stops completely with all development being picked up entirely by a mod community (like it did with KSP). This hasn't been the case with you busy guys over at Hinterland (thank you) but the industry is the industry and I worry about the future. I'll just say this, I've grown to admire the system the devs have over at Paradox Interactive. When City-Skylines came out, it was a pretty basic sandbox for it's genre. But Paradox has been pumping out fantastic, high quality, single-purchase DLCs regularly since its release and has built a very respectable reputation among their community willing to pay for their products. As far as I can tell, it's the best system for long-time-line development post ALPHA for sandbox games that produces the happiest community. I speak for myself when I say I would be fine if you guys adopted a similar payment model in the future post Episode 3 (so shut up and take my money, Raph.) Jokes aside, thanks for reading my questions/rant. The Mailbag was a great idea btw.
  2. I'm actually on board with the mountain goat idea. A few years ago I visited Olympia Nation Park with some friends on a road trip. I had twisted my ankle in Glacier NP a few days before that, so I paired up with one of my friends who had asthma for the hike up the mountain trail. On our way up, we took this quieter, twisting wooded trail we figured would be a softer incline. Well as we reached the top we turned a corner at this switchback, and there he was, this enormous buck mountain goat. This thing was a BEAST. First of all it was tall, so tall. I only learned later that they're actually more closely related to antelope than other goats. And it was monstrous. It had shoulders like a gorilla. This thing could really mess us up in no time if it wanted to. And I learned that they have in the past - in 2010 a guy was gored to death in Olympic by a rather aggressive mountain goat that stood over his body to make sure no one helped him as the man bled to death. Anyways, lucky for us this was not that kind of mountain goat. He was so chill. We slowly backed away while facing him, but he could've cared less about us. Later we ran into him again. He came out of the woods into this grassy clearing where we were sitting down eating PB&Js. We sat there eating our sandwiches while he and some lady friends that were following him were eating some choice grass about twenty feet away. It was so zen. Yeah, I think a few mountain goats on top of Timberwolf Mountain would be great. If you leave them alone, they'll hang out with you. If you throw a rock at them, they'll knock you off a cliff. I think it would be great. Also, apparently there's a precedent for mountain goats on islands. Mountain goats were introduced to Kodiak Island in the 50s in Alaska where they incorporated themselves pretty seamlessly into the alpine ecology, and now they number in the thousands. Mountain Goats on Great Bear Island makes sense.
  3. First of all, this my first post to the forum. Big shout out to the devs. I think part of the magic of this game stems from how a meaningful, personal, complex narrative can emerge organically bottom-up from functional mechanics and pure necessity. Visual aesthetics aside, I think the harmony between narrative form and mechanical function makes this game beautiful. It's beautiful on a very deep level. I know artistic endeavors can be as unforgiving as they are rewarding. Thanks for all that you do. You made something amazing that I believe will influence the genre forever. I wish to share some of my suggestions for the game, some of which I think are fresh, and a few have been discussed before but I want to expand on them. I. A Suggestion for a New Hunger Mechanic It's been said before on this forum and other places that the amount of food the player consumes is not realistic. It's not. But of course we all know that the reason for this is because the game would be pretty boring if a single deer kill could last us weeks. And this makes sense. I have another idea that would make the game more realistic while keeping things interesting: What if the character's constant high demand for food is not because of an insatiable out of proportion appetite but because animals big and small are liable to steal the food you try to store? For anyone who's been camping, you know this is a very real problem. Playing in the game, I shouldn't be able to keep frozen meat on the porch of a cabin, go to sleep, and expect it to be there in the morning. I don't think that's realistic. Furthermore, indoors, rodents like mice, voles, and rats should be liable to nibble at anything not in a can or a fortified container - things in your backpack not excluded. Outside, if I sleep in a cave, I should assume the risk of waking up in the middle of the night to see my the items in my inventory scattered everywhere, half my food gone, and a fox darting into the woods with a candy bar in its teeth. Or a wolverine not too quick to run and not too eager to share. The constant threat of scavenging animals would add another dimension of realistic problems for the character to solve, which transitions into my next suggestion. II. Deeper Animal Interactions What? More animals? I know, what an original idea. I'll just say this, more animals is good, but deeper, more complex, more layered animal interactions is even better. In terms of the previous suggestion, scavenging animals provides a whole new set of problems. One solution could be traps. Another solution could be searching for better containers. Another solution could be a pet that keeps the scavengers at bay. Now I know everyone has an opinion about pets, but I think the choice to take care of say, the abandoned Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest cat or the Malamute or Newfoundland you stumble upon in the kitchen of a farmhouse next to torn bag of half empty pet food may be logistically beneficial if said animal was independent enough and tough enough to be more endearing than annoying. If anything, deciding whether or not to adopt/abandon/eat the Bernese Mountain Dog would present the character with a meaningful ethical choice in the game. Even if there are no domesticated animals that make it into the game, I have one big message to the devs: investing in animal AI will pay dividends. Always. You can't make the animals too smart. You can't make them too deep. Give the wild animals personalities. Give them traits. Make them individuals. Treat them as characters. Make each animal remember the player. The player will remember them. I was very impressed with the THE FOREST and just how dynamic its NPC behavior is. The player is not alone. The player is one actor among many on stage in a drama of life and death. The game should feel that way. Here are some links that inspire me:
  4. Seal lions could be really good. Harvesting a seal could be very fruitful if you managed to sneak up on one. The fatty meat would be very nutritious. The blubber would provide a lot of lamp oil. Breaching whales on the horizon could be very pretty. On that note, I think crashing waves in the ocean washing over the ice would be amazing. More than that, I think the game would benefit from more small animals. Foxes. Raccoons. Otters. Marmots. Stoats. Owls. Even if these animals only play an aesthetic role, like crows, I think that watching these animals interact with the player and with each other would makes the environment that much more immersive.