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THE LONG DARK is a first-person post-disaster survival experience set in the Northern wilderness. How far will you go to survive?
THE LONG DARK is a first-person post-disaster survival experience set in the Northern wilderness. How far will you go to survive?
6,966 backers pledged CA$ 256,217 to help bring this project to life.

UPDATE 16 -- The Majestic Aurorae

Posted by Hinterland (Creator)

Hello Hinterlanders,

Yesterday, we shared with you some specifics of how we set up the world of The Long Dark. We discussed some of the geo-political ramifications of the "collapse event", and suggested what these things might mean for people living on the fringes of society, where The Long Dark takes place.

Today, we're going to talk about the presence and impact of the aurorae. 

But first, a quick update on our progress to $100K and unlocking the Oculus Rift goal. We're currently at just under $97K! We only need $3K more to hit the goal. Let's see if we can hit it before tomorrow!

The Majestic Aurorae

As you explore the world of The Long Dark, you'll notice aurora are often present in the sky, appearing and disappearing according to some unknown set of natural rules. Besides acting as a hauntingly beautiful reminder of what has transpired, the Aurorae also have an effect on the world around you.

The natural world is highly disrupted. Weather patterns are affected, in many cases become more extreme -- so cold places become even colder, etc. Weather is prone to sudden dramatic shifts. Wildlife behaviour is also affected. The presence of heightened electromagnetic energy disrupts migration patterns, and interferes with group dynamics. We see major migrations go horribly awry, with resulting mass die-offs. Between this, and the abundance of “easy prey”, predator populations like wolves, wild dogs, bears, etc. thrive. 

During flare-ups of Aurora activity, there can be so much electromagnetic energy that some electrical devices within a localized area might become powered. This manifests as streetlights suddenly flaring up or pulsing with light. Record players or radios suddenly begin playing music, or static, or emergency broadcast messages. Television screens might become lit up, even if they can only broadcast test patterns. Light bulbs are especially susceptible to this since they simply require an electrical charge, so entire streets or town blocks can become illuminated in an unpredictable fashion. 

This can make exploration more rewarding, but also potentially more risky. Locations like hospitals, police stations, banks, that use electronic security systems and vaults, might suddenly become accessible again in the presence of an active Aurora, vs. inanimate bricks you have no chance of disturbing. These places can also become traps for the unwary, or unlucky. Sudden flare-ups can trigger unexpected fires that can catch you by surprise. Or you may find yourself plunged into darkness, scrambling for a light source.

Shortwave radio communication might work, but only during periods of relatively little atmospheric activity. It might be possible to make contact with more distant locations, but such communication would be highly unpredictable. Incoming electromagnetic interference, or spikes in the amount of interference, could get picked up on a basic handheld radio. Spikes in static would suggest an incoming “flare”. Seeing static man-made light sources in the distance would also typically be a sign of heightened electromagnetic activity. 

A night-time sky filled with highly active Aurora would be bright enough to navigate by without requiring additional light sources. It might also interfere with compasses, or hide the night-time stars to the degree that familiar constellations or navigation markers like the North Star are no longer visible. 

With such wide-reaching effects on the natural and man-made environments of The Long Dark, will the aurorae have an impact on survivors as well?

  • Image 336096 original.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Emily, João Varandas, and 1 more person like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Jabberwok on

      Love the idea of electronics randomly turning on. Initially, I was thinking of this mostly as a wilderness setting, but it would also be cool to explore small towns or buildings that have been abandoned. I can definitely imagine a city block coming to life in the middle of the night as an excitingly eerie experience.

    2. Missing avatar

      Doobeh on

      Just an quick audio idea (that would be especially nice with the Oculus Rift)-- it would be interesting if the wind had a real presence and you could feel that out, and would help while exploring. For example, if you defined the wind as blowing from the north, and the player walked north, the sound of the wind would increase (as it buffeted the players face), so subconsciously you would get a feel for direction, at least until the wind changed again.

    3. Hinterland Creator on

      @Asmon: We didn't say you couldn't burn away the snow... ;)

      @Aaron: We do have crafting in the game but we're still figuring out the correct scope for it. Gear maintenance/repair and improvising things from the environment is definitely part of our philosophy around crafting in the game.

    4. Aaron Schultz on

      These updates just get better and better! :)
      Question: Will there be any sort of building/crafting system involved? eg. will I be able to improve my shelters and create makeshift tools/weapons?

    5. Asmon Lacroix on

      @Hinterland: And here I was hoping I could burn away the snow. ;)

    6. Hinterland Creator on

      @Asmon: I think you can tell from the tone of how we talk about the game, that it won't be mutations or X-MEN type stuff!

    7. Asmon Lacroix on

      "[...] will the aurorae have an impact on survivors as well?"
      Oooohhh!....What type of impact are we talking about here? Horrible mutations? X-Men? Or something more subtle? Like having a deeper connection with nature.

    8. Carl Wakeling on

      My god this project has to be successful! Sounds amazing :)

    9. Hinterland Creator on

      @Ian: Trust us, we're our own worst critics. We won't give you anything we're not happy with ourselves.

      @Tan: Yes! We will hit it. We just need to keep doing what we are doing, getting the word out, and recruiting new backers. We'll get there! Survival isn't easy. :)

    10. Tan Aik Sam on

      there is only 14 more days left... really hope this project would hit $200k soon ... another $103k more

    11. Ian Boudreaux on

      FREAKING GENIUS. Now implementation is key... I BELIEVE IN YOU HINTERLANDS!