The Flame in the Flood

The Flame in the Flood

View Stats:
Stuckbug  [developer] Sep 25, 2015 @ 6:51am
Note from the designer on Difficulty
Hi everyone,

First of all, thanks so much for checking out the game! We really appreciate all the feedback, notes, and bug reports you all are providing.

I wanted to just make a quick post about one of the key issues that is coming up over and over: difficulty. We hear you loud & clear: the game is too frustrating right now. We've been balancing it based on our own experience, and a pretty bleeding edge group of players in our beta group. I think the game as it stands right now feels pretty good... but only once you've fully learned all the systems and the way things work.

The question now is what we are going to do about it. I want to assure you all that we're doing something, but the specifics are something we'll need to figure out. As the designer, I have two major goals in mind:

1) Allow new players or people looking for an experience focused on exploration to have an enjoyable time.

2) Maintain a brutal hardcore experience for players that want the level of challenge currently represented in the game.

Additionally, I want to make sure that any sort of on ramp experience doesn't interfere with the enjoyment that a more experienced player can derive from being thrown into the deep end immediately.

We've got a bunch of ideas for how we do this, and I'm not ready to talk about anything yet until we've had a chance to meet and figure out specifics, but this is definitely my highest priority issue at the moment (along with a few common UI bugs), and we'll be keeping you posted as plans finalize.

Thanks so much!

-Forrest
< >
Showing 1-15 of 98 comments
Skidrow Sep 25, 2015 @ 7:16am 
I don't think that the major problem right now is the "Difficulty" itselfe. I think it's the (not existing) "Learning Curve":

You reach the first island (after the starting island), meet two wolves -> Death
Start new game.
You reach the first island, meet two wolves -> Death
Start new game.
You reach the first island, meet two wolves -> Death
Start new game.
You bypass the first island and get to the second one, meet a wolve and a boar -> Death
Start new game...................

What can you do against them? No one tells you. Maybe a torch? Theres one in the crafting book. But what do you need for it? The book dont tells you till you find the materials (than I dont need to know any more).
Last edited by Skidrow; Sep 25, 2015 @ 7:16am
Stuckbug  [developer] Sep 25, 2015 @ 7:33am 
Yes, definitely. We're throwing people into the deep end. As I indicated, I think it's fun once you know how everything works, but we're not doing enough to help people get to that point.
Gamer Raichu Sep 25, 2015 @ 8:01am 
This seems like a tough problem to face. It'd be a nice luxury to be able to learn and play this game without having to look up a wiki, like so many other modern games nowadays. Perhaps a 'learning curve' can be implemented somewhere like... The first five islands or so spawn with slightly extra supplies, and animals like wolves and boars don't actually begin attacking/killing you til you reach a certain island?

Otherwise, if the game is playable once you know how to play, ingame tutorial islands sound like one solution. Instead of having the player stare at a book and wonder if this will work, why not give the instructions to set up whatever defenses and let the player observe and work out how this will work? The basic rule of show, don't tell. Though I'm not the designer so I'm not sure if tutorial islands will be too clunky or something...

It seems I might be one of those players that would appreciate a 'casual' mode, preferrably without taking anything away from the hardcore players.
Carbon Ruiner Sep 25, 2015 @ 8:02am 
It is very frustrating when you're starving and you are unable to search for nothing because a wolf appears in every island... and I still think that increased thirst or hunger is too fast, extremely exaggerated ... eat on an island and before reach the next be starving again... that's not hardcore is just frustrating and unrealistic I think. And well, what kind of person dies of exhaustion standing around the fire and eating something?
Stuckbug  [developer] Sep 25, 2015 @ 8:05am 
We're testing a couple balance changes right now. We're hoping to push out a quick balance fix later today. It definitely won't *fix* everyone's frustrations, but hopefully it'll feel a little more humane.
Olaf von Riva Sep 25, 2015 @ 9:36am 
Originally posted by Skidrow:
I don't think that the major problem right now is the "Difficulty" itselfe. I think it's the (not existing) "Learning Curve":

You reach the first island (after the starting island), meet two wolves -> Death
Start new game.
You reach the first island, meet two wolves -> Death
Start new game.
You reach the first island, meet two wolves -> Death
Start new game.
You bypass the first island and get to the second one, meet a wolve and a boar -> Death
Start new game...................

What can you do against them? No one tells you. Maybe a torch? Theres one in the crafting book. But what do you need for it? The book dont tells you till you find the materials (than I dont need to know any more).

But even if you know what you're gonna need for the torch, you still have to be lucky, to get the materials. Same goes for the traps, the poisened bait etc.

I mean of course, if you're lucky to find some good materials at the start, you can keep on rolling from that point. There are a lot of different ways to deal with the wolves and boars then, but still you have to get the right items. And that can be pretty, pretty hard if you have bad luck with the few materials you find, before a wolve or a boar attacks you.

In the build I`ve played 2 Months ago, I had the feeling it was a little easier to find your way into the game. You start, then you get used to the raft, you get to the first isles, find some materials, craft a few items, you learn how to deal with hunger, thirst, sickness and the weather and then suddenly, this big threatening wolf stand right in front of you. That was atleast some kind of a learning curve.

In this build I´ve managed to get over the critical wolf/boar phase, they`re still a threat, like hunger and thirst are still a threat too, but I got a way to deal with them, maybe not every single one, but I´m definitely not completely defenseless. And at that point, this game makes so much fun, its exciting what you're gonna find next, what threats are still out there and how you deal with them.

Besides from the balancing at the beginning, there's not much to complain about, and I´m sure you find the right way to make this great experience even more exciting.

Greetings
docStrangluv Sep 25, 2015 @ 10:54am 
Thanks for the amazing game. I have played a good bit so far and have resisted looking anything up. I have made it to the 7th day 9.9 miles. My biggest issue was never finding enough flint to make a knife, which is a main component to many recipes. And that goes for most of my runs, not just that one. Otherwise, I think the little hints in the crafting notes help a lot.
Bomoo Sep 25, 2015 @ 1:19pm 
Originally posted by Stuckbug:
Yes, definitely. We're throwing people into the deep end. As I indicated, I think it's fun once you know how everything works, but we're not doing enough to help people get to that point.

Really I think the problem is that these inland locations are spawning hostile wildlife too early. What would fix that is not starting to spawn wildlife until maybe 1 or 2 days in, allowing the player to build up a small cache of resources before throwing wolves and boars at them. I don't think this has anything to do with difficulty settings, but instead with the extremely rough starts you can have by being unlucky on wolf spawns in your first few locations.

In fact, The Long Dark solves this by not spawning hostile wildlife in the first ~24h of a new game. It'd be almost the exact same problem if 3/4 of all new games you started you were killed by wolves the moment you stepped out from your starting location.
Last edited by Bomoo; Sep 25, 2015 @ 1:21pm
Nassegris Sep 25, 2015 @ 2:39pm 
I hope that in the future, there might be some individual difficulty sliders. I do not mind the wolves and boars, for instance, but I can't handle the rivers. I think perhaps the rivers are more manageable if you use a controller and you use it well - but I hate controllers.

I'm getting a bit frustrated by how often I drown. The rest of the survival is a delightful scramble for resources, but the whole game can be lost with a single collision in the river that sends me spinning into a second collision, and then suddenly I'm drowned. Less damage/collision and less spinning out of control would be hugely helpful. Maybe even easier to mend the raft.
Carbon Ruiner Sep 25, 2015 @ 3:05pm 
Very hydrated (70% or so), I look around the stage, after that I spend some time on the inventory (all in the same stage, about 4 minutes?)... and then I died from dehydration... seriously, those times aren't logical or funny.
Stuckbug  [developer] Sep 25, 2015 @ 3:20pm 
Did you have any afflictions? Those can cause stats to bleed out WAY faster. We're still testing a new build that should alleviate that to more reasonable levels.
Lunnabella Sep 25, 2015 @ 4:21pm 
I like the way it is, yeah, its hard, but its still got its own charm. maybe for the people that dont like how hard it is to give them a difficulty setting? its away i know of to keep everyone happy.
rivet™(>.<) Sep 25, 2015 @ 4:53pm 
Love the game lots of fun. I played this at my friends place and the only complaint I really had is i made it almost 10km without finding but 1 flint. They seemed very vital to crafting alot of stuff and they just would not spawn. I stopped at every island i could and i found loads of crates with dupe stuff in it like to light gloves etc... It would also be nice if we could break down unusable gear, maybe you can since ive only played it for a couple hours. Anyways keep up the good work i'm picking this up next payday for sure :)
Olaf von Riva Sep 25, 2015 @ 5:00pm 
Originally posted by Lunnabella:
I like the way it is, yeah, its hard, but its still got its own charm. maybe for the people that dont like how hard it is to give them a difficulty setting? its away i know of to keep everyone happy.

Its not about the difficulty itself, its about the beginning, nothing more.
Carbon Ruiner Sep 25, 2015 @ 6:01pm 
Alright, with the last update the game feel very well, awesome. Still very hard (that's a good thing, its as it should be) but now feel more logical and realistic about the times needed to starving and thirsty. I still think that would be great some difficulty options, not only easy, hard, realistic... something more specific, like activate or deactivate certain aspects of the survival, would be great for some people I think. But after the update I really feel the game more enjoyable, great. Thanks you guys.
Last edited by Carbon Ruiner; Sep 25, 2015 @ 6:08pm
< >
Showing 1-15 of 98 comments
Per page: 15 30 50

Date Posted: Sep 25, 2015 @ 6:51am
Posts: 98