The Long Dark - hinterland_community
Hello everyone,

Since the last time I updated you in February, the team’s been working hard on a variety of things.

Some have been more “housekeeping” related, like dealing with Unity updates, general performance improvements (as the game continues to get bigger and bigger and our scenes more complex, we have to continuously optimize to make sure performance remains above an acceptable threshold), integrating new tools and features into our development pipeline, and adding new people to our growing development team.

This is all part of our commitment to continue building on the foundation of The Long Dark’s Survival Mode, while also working on new features and content for our Episode One and Two “Redux” (which I first discussed here: http://www.thelongdark.com/news/dev-diary-february-2018/) which is solidifying the foundation for Episode Three and onward.

Let me cherry-pick a few things to share with you at this point. Keep in mind that each of these entries is at a different stage of development and while some of these things will end up in our next Survival Mode update, some will need further polish and tuning before they are ready.

New Region: “River Valley” (placeholder name)



New waterfall effects in action.



New approach to landscape layout and tree density helps keep visual interest while forcing players to keep close eye on the horizon.



River Valley features new rock formations with much steeper verticals.



Ice caves with bioluminescent moss.

Our goal with this new region is to create an environment that doesn’t have a single human-made shelter on it -- so, even more rugged and isolated than Timberwolf Mountain with its lonely Mountaineer’s Hut. This new region has also been a test-bed of sorts, for a new approach to how we create our environments, including new rocks and more varied tree density. We’ve also added a new type of cave system, redone our waterfalls, and have focused on having the entire region be more of an “environmental” puzzle for you to solve. We’re also experimenting with varying elevations and a range of climbing (or caving) options to find your way around.

New Gameplay: Manual Cooking



Cooking around the campfire.



Different cooking implements offer different benefits.

This is something we’ve been discussing for a long time and our most recent prototypes have proven fruitful to the extent that I feel comfortable sharing them with you. We’ve overhauled the cooking system so that it doesn’t occur in a simple menu interface anymore. Now you have to place food items -- either in cooking vessels like pots or cans, or on their own -- on hot cooking surfaces like stovetops or rocks around a campfire. Each type of cooking source -- whether it be a single-burner stove, a campfire, or a large “cooker” like the one you see in the Pleasant Valley farmhouse, has a number of available “cooking slots”. The cooking times have been tuned (still in progress!) to account for the fact they happen in real-time in the game now -- i.e. not during an accelerated progress bar. We’re still working through a variety of user interface issues with this system but we feel it’s pretty promising. This work has also opened up the possibility of placing items in the world directly from the radial menu, which feels natural and is a much quicker way to manipulate things in the world, vs. having to first drop them from your Pack and manipulate them in placement mode. We’re still working on this but the initial tests are promising!

New Content: Buffer Memories



The aurora may reveal old mysteries through the words of long-forgotten (or long-frozen?) residents of Great Bear.

I discussed these in my last update, and we have the first series of Buffer Memories in the game. These are basically “lore drops” that will live in Survival Mode, but are only available on certain screens and then only when the Aurora is active. Our first pass on these will be focused on adding some background history to the world, presented as the words of Great Bear residents from days, weeks, or years before the events of The Long Dark. Future Buffer Memory “drops” may also link up to gameplay events or supply caches. Active terminals can be interacted with to read the content, which will then be added to your Survival Journal. We plan to expand this with different display types and even devices.

Redux: Mission Overhaul

We’ve completed our overhaul of the mission structures in our current Episodes One and Two, as part of the “Redux” work. The result is that the mission structure that was almost entirely linear at launch, is now almost entirely open. There are still “critical path” narrative missions that need to be completed before you can move on to the next episode, but many missions can now be completed in any order, and several are completely optional. We’re also adding a new opening to the game, and adding some new “side missions”.

New System: Dynamic Conversation Interface



Now that the mission structure has been opened up, we can’t use linear cinematics to present our story anymore. We’ve moved everything into first-person dialogues between Mackenzie and the NPCs, like Grey Mother, and Jeremiah. We’ve also integrated all the Trust unlocks into the main dialogue flow.

To support this, we’ve come up with a new dialogue system. Rather than using the standard cardinal points menu for selecting topics, we’re putting all the topics directly into the world. How topics are presented will tell you something about their relative importance to you, and to the NPC survivors. You’ll quickly be able to pick out the topics that link up to mission content, vs. the ones that are more about providing backstory. Topics that depend on you having sufficient Trust with an NPC will hide in the “background”, and as Trust is gained, they will resolve to become clearer to you, so that eventually they will be selectable.

This is our way of tying the dialogue in the game more closely to the survivor’s state of mind, and making it feel more like a living, breathing aspect of the story and the characters you meet as you explore. Because of this new system, all dialogue in the game will now be fully voiced.

We’re still working on this but we feel it’s a promising direction, and most importantly it supports a lot of flexibility in terms of when and how we unlock access to content, which means the game will be more dynamic for the player.

New Gameplay: Bear Spear



This is pretty self-explanatory. The feature is at an early stage so consider this a “tease”.

Episode Three

Not to sound like a broken record, but I’ll share more specific news about Episode Three when I think the time is right. The time is not yet right.

Xbox One X & PS4 Pro Enhancements

Lots of people have been asking us about this. We have a first pass on higher quality visual settings for Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. We’re also working on HDR-support for both. 4k support works on Xbox One X but we’re not sure we’ll be able to get it working on PS4 Pro, due to performance. We’re still working on optimizations and we’ll see where we end up!

In order to support these enhancements we’ve had to implement an entirely new post-effects pipeline in the game, the side benefit being that we’ll be able to get an improved anti-aliasing and HDR-lighting solution in the game for all our PC players as well!

When Will We Get All This Goodness?

We’re working on a new update to Survival Mode, with a tentative release planned for late May or early June, depending on how testing and finaling goes. Of the above list, you should expect to see the New Region, Manual Cooking, and Buffer Memories. Anything beyond that will come down to testing, optimization, bug-fixing, and finaling progress. As always, our aim is to launch all major updates simultaneously for Steam, Xbox One, and PS4, with GoG and WeGame following shortly thereafter.

So hopefully the next time you hear something official from me regarding progress, it’ll be to tell you that the new Survival Mode update is ready!

Stay warm out there.

- Raphael

To keep up to date on the latest news, be sure to sign up to our official mailing list!





The Long Dark - hinterland_community
Hello community,

We’ve just hotfixed The Long Dark to v1.30 (35412), which includes the following fix for a rare crash:

Version 1.30 (35412) Release Notes

* [Gameplay] - Fixed rare crash that could occur when lighting a torch from a fire.

###END OF CHANGELIST###
The Long Dark - hinterland_community
Hello community,

We’ve just hotfixed The Long Dark to v1.29 (35212), which includes the following fixes:

Version 1.29 (35212) Release Notes

*Numerous Environment fixes
*General optimizations to improve performance
*Fixed several rare crashes

Gameplay & User Interface
*[Both] Update to allow Player to save their Journal from the Skills screen
*[Both] Players are now prevented from deleting in-use saves
*[Wintermute] Unlocked Chapters data now stored in backup location in case of data loss

General
*[Custom] Fixed issue that allowed progress towards feats disabled in Custom Mode
*[Both] Fixed issue with Flare shells being re-usable in certain scenarios
*[Both] Fixed issue where animals would disappear under certain conditions

###END OF CHANGELIST###
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

As the Steam Charts slowly attempt to reassemble themselves after last week’s complete collapse under the weight of Far Cry 5, think of this week’s compilation as the moment the thought-destroyed terrifying monster is halfway through its grotesque reforming. Witness as its undulating viscera twists through recongealing flesh, a bleak but ghoulish moan emanating from deep within its darkest soul. (more…)

The Long Dark - Valve
Save 75% on The Long Dark as part of this week's Weekend Deal*!

The Long Dark is a thoughtful, exploration-survival experience that challenges solo players to think for themselves as they explore an expansive frozen wilderness in the aftermath of a geomagnetic disaster. There are no zombies -- only you, the cold, and all the threats Mother Nature can muster. Welcome to the Quiet Apocalypse.

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time
The Long Dark - Hinterland_Studio


Hello community,

This is primarily a note for our console players, but we're excited to share the news that we're partnering with Skybound -- creators of The Walking Dead -- to bring The Long Dark to retail stores on Xbox and PS4. This is also the beginning of what we hope will be a long-term collaboration, to bring The Long Dark to new platforms and even new mediums!

Here's a personal note from Raphael to the community, outlining more details: http://www.thelongdark.com/news/the-long-dark-hinterland-and-skybound-games/

We'll share more news about the fruits of this collaboration as they take shape! Also feel free to sign up for our mailing list if you prefer to be notified of news about The Long Dark that way.

Thanks, from the team at Hinterland!


The Long Dark - hinterland_community
Hello community,

We're thrilled to see The Long Dark receive five nominations in this year's Webby Awards!

A celebration of the "Best of the Internet," this is the first year the Webbys have been open to games. The People's Voice Award voting is now open and we'd love your support.

To vote, and for more details on the Award Categories, start here: https://vote.webbyawards.com/PublicVoting#/2018/games/features/best-game-design



Thank you!

- Hinterland Team
The Long Dark - hinterland_community
Hello community,

We’ve just hotfixed The Long Dark to v1.27 [34908]. This includes the Unity game engine update that we discussed in our most-recent Dev Diary, as well as numerous other fixes you will see detailed below.

NOTE: The Unity upgrade included in this hotfix has changed the location of the Debug Log for Windows users:

Debug Log Location in Windows (new!):
⦁ In Windows, open File Explorer
⦁ At the top of the window, switch to the View tab
⦁ Go to the Show/Hide section and check the Hidden Items box
⦁ On the left side, Scroll down to This PC and click on the C drive
⦁ Navigate to the following folder:
C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\LocalLow\Hinterland\TheLongDark
(Note that your Windows username will be the name 3rd folder you click through)
⦁ Inside TheLongDark folder you will find a file named output_log.txt . This is your game debug log.


The Long Dark v1.27 [34908] Changelist

*Numerous Art optimizations to improve performance
*Numerous Environment optimizations
*General optimizations
*Update to Rewired Controller API for improved compatibility using gamepad/controllers on PC/Mac
* Fixed several rare crashes
* Disabled crash reporting for Modded games (to reduce the amount of non-relevant crash report data)

Art

*[Both] Moose sign scratches now appear with the correct color and texture across all Regions.

*[Both] Fixed issue where player could become trapped when walking while crouched behind chair in Milton Credit Union office.

*[Both] Added Charging Station sign to the Orca Gas Station in Milton.

*[Both] Starfield no longer visible through light snow in Milton.

*[Both] Fixed issue causing a snowy hillside to appear inside a Broken Railroad Region Cave.

*[Both] Fixed scaling issue with toilets in Carter Dam.

*[Both] Blood Decals now appear correctly when Harvesting or Quartering.

*[Both] Fixed issue with some Rose Hip bushes appearing to float above the ground in Mountain Town Region.

*[Both] Fixed issue causing footsteps to sometimes look distorted in the snow.

*[Both] Fixed a gap in the terrain in Mountain Town Region, near the entrance to Mystery Lake.

*[Both] Fixed issue with inconsistent appearance of arms during Wolf Struggles.

*[Both] Fixed issue with terrain near the Collapsed Tunnel in Mountain Town Region that was impeding player movement.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where Ambient Occlusion improvements weren't visible on a bridge in Desolation Point.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue with incorrect snowy terrain appearing in a Forlorn Muskeg Cave.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where exiting buildings could result in a black screen.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where the Tractor near Quonset Garage was incorrectly illuminated.

*[Survival Mode] Improved presentation of thumbnail images in the Survival Mode loading menu.

*[Survival Mode] Improved road and bridge textures in Desolation Point

*[Wintermute] Items in the Hunter's Blind near Alan's Cave in Mystery Lake Region now have the correct texture.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where chimney smoke would incorrectly appear coming from homes in Milton.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where a gap could be seen in Jeremiah's neck during Episode Two cinematics.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issues with incorrect Rifle movement in Episode Two cinematics.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue with incorrect item texture on Lake Cabin Key #2.


Gameplay & User Interface

*[Both] Added Clothing UI Icons and tooltips when pressing R3 on gamepads.

*[Both] Removed reticle when aiming the Survival Bow (as intended)

*[Both] First Aid icon no longer disappears from the screen when Cooking or Boiling Water.

*[Both] Fixed issue causing awkward First Person arm movements when accessing inventory with Flashlight equipped.

*[Both] Fixed issue where Slope information would incorrectly appear when climbing up and down ropes.

*[Both] Clothing items no longer display incorrect damage textures at low Condition.

*[Both] Improved positioning for various Scrub Brush placements in the environment.

*[Both] Fixed issue where double-inputs were occurring with the Steam Controller when accessing inventory.

*[Both] Fix for being able to climb up steep objects the player should not be able to climb.

*[Both] Fixed issue causing players to get Cabin Fever in Wintermute. Cabin Fever is now disabled in all three Wintermute Experience Modes.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issues keeping Faithful Cartographer achievement from triggering.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where the Stone Church icon was not displaying correctly after being mapped.

*[Survival Mode] Removed fall death triggers on cliff wall above Milton Basin.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue that prevented players from Harvesting certain Tree Limbs in the game.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where the Moose Hide Satchel was not showing the correct bonus when the game was set to display Imperial Units.

*[Survival Mode] Improved ease of mapping the Cinder Hills Coal Mine entrances in Coastal Highway and Pleasant Valley.

*[Survival Mode] When selecting a Region in a new Survival Mode game, it will now always default to the last Region the player loaded.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where no on-screen message would appear when approaching transition between Mountain Town and Forlorn Muskeg Regions.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where the Harvesting UI could sometimes default to “Take All.”

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where the Paradise Meadows Farmhouse could appear unlocked by default.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue causing various tools to spawn incorrectly in Interloper and Custom Experience Modes.

*[Survival Mode] Players can no longer continue Crafting after a single Match burns out.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where subtitles remain on-screen after character voice over ends.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where crows would circle locations with no corpses present.

*[Wintermute] Fixed various issues blocking progress during the opening survival missions in Episode One.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where voice over subtitles were missing after sustaining a fall injury.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where Water in inventory was incorrectly counted, preventing Coffee and Tea brewing.

*[Wintermute] Grey Mother's Soup no longer remains hot for too long when added to player inventory.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue causing Fatigue to apply incorrectly when Rope Climbing.

*[Wintermute] Players can no longer Inspect Jeremiah’s Coat in Episode Two.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where text could flicker during Trust interactions with Jeremiah in Episode Two.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where smoke would not appear from the Trapper’s Cabin chimney, even though a fire is burning inside.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue in Episode Two Lake Gunshots Mission where the mission marker was not resolving correctly upon completion.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where error message "Failed to Restore the Game From a Previous Save” could appear incorrectly in Episode One, causing the player to return to the Main Menu.

*[Wintermute] Improved UI feedback when attempting to access empty sections of the Journal.

[Wintermute] Players can now transfer stacked items to Grey Mother during a Trust interaction.

*[Wintermute] Changed location of First Aid Kit at the beginning of Episode One to make it more noticeable to players.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where Methuselah would appear at the wrong time in Episode Two.

*[Wintermute] Added container for player gear in Grey Mother's House and Jeremiah's Cabin. Using these containers will not affect Trust levels with either character.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where mission objectives from previous save games could appear at the beginning of Episode One.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where the incorrect UI label was displayed when players attempted to create a new save game.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue with Rifle sometimes not responding during Episode Two mission "Jeremiah's Folly."

*[Wintermute] Improved first-person camera motion to make it easier to interact with Metal Shard at the beginning of Episode One.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where Breaking Down catwalk planks in the Upper Dam could keep players from finishing Episode Two.


Audio

*[Both] Fixed issue with audio that was sometimes causing too much reverb effect when exploring outdoors.

*[Both] Firing a Rifle indoors no longer affects pitch and speed of voice over audio.

*[Both] Fixed issue where outdoor audio reverb could be heard inside the Hunting Lodge in Broken Railroad Region.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where character voice over reverb could be heard in caves, even when voice-over audio was turned off.

*[Survival Mode] Walking on the frozen river outside Milton now produces the correct footstep audio effects.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue causing incorrect audio to play when Crafting Tinder from paper items.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where fall injuries could lead to voice over audio that was out of sync.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where exploration music cues were not playing as intended.

*[Wintermute] Improved Fire audio during Grey Mother cinematics in Episode One.


Cinematics

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue with cinematic freezing at the end of Episode One, which prevented the game from continuing.

*[Wintermute] Improved Mathis character position during Episode Two cinematic.

*[Wintermute] Improved Jeremiah's character position and audio syncing during Episode Two cinematic.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue causing the camera to incorrectly rotate during cinematics.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where audio and visual effects were out of sync when Will trips and falls during the Episode Two cinematic in Broken Railroad.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue causing Will and Jeremiah character models to vanish from the first cinematic when loading Episode Two and skipping the introduction.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where a chair would appear incorrectly during a Grey Mother cinematic.


Lighting

*[Both] Fixed issue where interior lighting could create unintended shadows.


Collision Fixes

*[Both] Fixed issue causing players to get stuck on a fence in Mountain Town Region.

*[Both] Fixed collision issues with bridge leading to Paradise Meadows Farm.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where Bears could be stuck on broken ice in Desolation Point.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issues with player/terrain collision when walking around Hibernia Processing and on approach to the Lonely Lighthouse in Desolation point.

*[Wintermute] Fixed collision issue that allowed Will to partially walk through Grey Mother's rocking chair.


General Fixes

*[Both] Crows will no longer sometimes fly too low and into the ground as the weather changes.

*[Both] Crouching close to Bears no longer lets players move inside the carcass.

*[Both] Fixed issue where blood splatter effect could appear too bright against the snow.

*[Both] Fixed issue where Region and Location details were incorrectly displayed in the loading menu.

*[Both] Fixed issue where Region and Location details were incorrectly displayed in the loading menu.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where Wolves would sometimes be out of position when feeding on carcasses.

*[Survival Mode] Added no-spawn areas to the docks at the FIshing Camp in Coastal Highway, to keep Wolves from getting trapped there.

*[Survival Mode] Adjusted Soda Can location in Mountain Town Region to make it accessible.

*[Survival Mode] Fixed issue where various doors were incorrectly showing a locked icon when Inspected.

*[Survival Mode] Improved camera position and framing of Moose carcass during Harvesting.

*[Survival Mode] Closed off an unintended exit from the Milton Basin area in Mountain Town Region.

*[Survival Mode] Fix for Wolves appearing on the Quonset Garage roof.

*[Custom Mode] General Resource Availability setting in the Custom Toolbox now more accurately reflects the corresponding Resource level in each Experience Mode, i.e. if it is set to "Low," no Hunting Knives will spawn, as in Interloper.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where players could walk through the tree at the crouch tutorial location in Episode One.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue with Wolf feeding animation at Paradise Meadows Farm in Episode One.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where Region information was appearing at incorrect times when transitioning from interior to exterior locations.

*[Wintermute] Fixed several issues that could block progression during Grey Mother missions in Episode One.

*[Wintermute] Improved camera position when interacting with Astrid's Case at the beginning of Episode One.

*[Wintermute] Added a decimal point to Deer Meat amount in player's inventory for Episode Two, adding clarity to the completion of the "Survival School" missions.

*[Wintermute] Removed feeding Wolf from Forlorn Muskeg Region that would appear unaffected by the Aurora.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where an error message could appear after progressing to Day 5 in opening Survival Bowl section of Episode One.

*[Wintermute] Players can no longer place a Storm Lantern on Grey Mother's head.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where inventory items could be lost after cancelling out of a Trust interaction with Grey Mother.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue with icons sometimes not appearing on map in Episode One.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue where player would sometimes be standing on a chair after finishing dialogue with Grey Mother.

*[Wintermute] Fixed issue with mouse inputs instantly loading manual save files in the Story save menu.

*[Wintermute] Added fade to black transition at the end of Episode Two cinematic in Jeremiah's Cabin, to avoid potential gameplay interruption.


###END OF CHANGELIST###
The Long Dark - hinterland_community
Hotfix 2 for our current Test Branch is now live on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

This brings the Test Branch version of the game to v1.26 34825T.

For a full list of fixes, please refer to the Test Branch forums found here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/305620/discussions/8/

(Reminder: You need to be logged in to Steam and own the game to access the Test Branch discussion forums.)

Thank you!

- The Hinterland Team
The Long Dark - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

rps-podcast-35

The blizzards of Siberia have gone on holiday to the United Kingdom this week. But the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, doesn t do snow days. The pod squad have trekked hard through the whiteout (from their bedrooms to their computers) to gather on their respective microphones. To what end? Well, to talk about the weather. Blizzards, thunderclouds, sandstorms and, er, night-time? In videogames, it all counts.

(more…)

...

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