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Old 02-22-2012, 02:38 AM   #1
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Question Dear Esther developers Q+A

Hi all,
First up, amazing threads going on here, great to see the game has struck a chord with so many of you. We're hard at work at the first translation patch and fixing up bugs and tweaks, but in the meantime, wanted to give you the chance to talk to us direct.

So this thread is for questions directly for us. We'll leave it open until Friday, then I'll come back to it and try and answer as many of those as I can. Please post questions here. Couple of rules:

1. Please check previous questions to make sure your question hasn't already been asked. I won't answer the same question multiple times.

2. Don't respond to questions, just to keep the thread clean. If you want to discuss or debate questions, start a new thread.

3. Any trolling will be ignored. That doesn't mean you can't ask tough or difficult questions or we don't value criticism and honest debate. But we're not going to respond to aggressive posts.

4. Try and keep your questions short and to the point - it's hard to respond to long and rambling posts.

It will be me answering mainly as Rob is snowed under with getting those technical fixes in, so I'll do my best with more technical questions but keep that in mind.

Cheers- thanks again for all your support and faith in the project, and I'll get some answers to you Friday/Saturday


Last edited by brisck1: 02-24-2012 at 07:03 AM.
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:56 AM   #2
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/hugs alound, I lost my log in to Robs Devblog and the site & Last week Real life got a bit too much, so I haven't got around to summing up my feelings with one word;


You guys did an amazing job - an Amazing job, I was dumbfounded and Awestruck. As one magazine review said, Rob's (& Jack's) work in source puts valve to shame, - I'll be grabbing Jessica's soundtrack from iTunes at my first opourtunity.

Looking forward to Everyones gone to the rapture.

So my first question is - when are we going to see Dear Esther 2 - when we return with a squad of soldiers to find out what happened on the island, and we got to make our way to the beacon where there is a hidden self destruct button for the whole island and we have to square off with the narrator from DE-1

Actually a serious question, one I posted on the blog a long time ago.
Mac support and "steam-play".
You guys stated as long as the launch went well, you'd look into getting some macs to test with and start optimising.

How is that looking with regards to the post launch schedule with fixes, patches, optimisation and language packs.

Last edited by Boff: 02-22-2012 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:17 AM   #3
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Great to see you here Dan - it goes without saying that Dear Esther is excellent, so I won't launch into a paragraph of praise.

Some questions:

a) I've seen you mention that there are 'contradictions' within the game narrative - are ALL of the contradictions deliberate, or are any accidental?

b) Regarding the translation patch, will the translations ONLY be for the subtitles, or do you plan on bringing in foreign language actors at all to replace Nigel's superb narration? (unless you have plans to teach Nigel how to speak German, French, Spanish ......... )? I must say that finding suitable foreign language speakers of Nigel's calibre will probably be difficult!

c) Have you watched any of the walkthroughs (with commentary) on YouTube?

d) If you are allowed to say, how many copies have been sold to date? Selling 16,000 in 5.5 hours on the first day implies that it's sold a lot more since then. Maybe 50 to 100,000 ?

Last edited by Irongiant666: 02-22-2012 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:34 AM   #4
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Well this is awesome. I definitely have a couple of questions. Although one isn't directly related to Dear Esther.

1: Will the Dear Esther soundtrack be released on Steam? I could buy it on Amazon easily enough, but would prefer to use Steam if that'll be a possibility.

2: Would you ever consider returning to Korsakovia? It seems that source updates have killed the mod. It would be a shame to let the amazing content and concept of that game die off. I'd definitely buy a remake.

These probably aren't the kind of questions you intended on. So, sorry about that. There's really nothing I have to say or ask about Dear Esther directly. It was an interesting and beautiful game.

Last edited by Nickq2007: 02-22-2012 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:33 AM   #5
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1) Do you envisage any future DLC's for Dear Esther? - ie: Expanding the islands areas/story to explore?
2) What are your (other) future plans? - ie: Another similar (grander?) sort of project? Or something completely different?
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:46 AM   #6
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Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you guys on a great piece of work.

Now to my question which may contain spoilers.

The M5 crash scene depicts 2 cars that look from the 70s or so. Is this the case for the setting of the story or is it because you are using standard models from the HL2 library? I only ask as it's known that some of the models of the "ghosts" have been taken from HL2, i.e. the "Esther" ghosts at the bottom of the aerial which seems to be a female City 17 person.

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Old 02-22-2012, 06:12 AM   #7
Billy Stinkwate
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First of all, I'd like to thank the developers for creating such a great experience!

I'm a big fan of the soundtrack Jessica Curry contributed. It's very emotional and it fits each scene so perfectly.
How close did you work together? Did you make suggestions which she converted or did she come up with ideas of her own?
Are there any plans to cooperate again for future projects?
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:35 AM   #8
Nova Prospekt
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Great to know you guys came to answer our questions.Dear Esther is a wonderful experience, and you guys have managed to tell story in the most amazing way.Congratulations!

1.What can you disclose about Everybody's gone to the rapture?I'm not talking about the 2 lines that you have on your website - i was wondering if you could tell us stufff like what engine it is on, gameplay type?

2.Who is the narrator in the story, and why does he mix up the names? "I will look to my left and see Esther Donnelly flying besides me, to my right Paul Jacobson"(Not exact quote)

3.Were you pleased with the source engine?If you could, would you choose any other engine over to do Dear Esther?

4.Is Dear Esther influenced by any books/pieces of literature?(Jonathon Livingston's Seagull)

5.What made you decide against standard options of jumping,sprinting and crouching for the player?

6.Would you call DE a game?I've seen so many threads for both views,but i'd like to know what the guys who made it think.

7.Did you have any option to remove the 2d plants that turn away, or was that a Source Engine problem?

Last edited by Nova Prospekt: 02-22-2012 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:13 AM   #9
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Another one from me:

In some cases we see a spelling of Jacobson, in others it's Jakobson - which is correct? Or are they supposed to be different?
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:28 AM   #10
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Dear Dan,
As I said before I believe that DE is a masterpiece and made me an instant fan. I hereby pre-order every product that will come from TheChineseRoom in the next coming 10 years because you have assembled an absolute dreamteam. (writer, designer, composer & technicians)

How did you all come in contact with eachother?
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:35 AM   #11
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Is the name of the studio a deliberate choice?
are the players of Dear Esther the Chineseman in this case?
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:15 AM   #12
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My questions is somewhat similar to the one asking about DLC but in a different form of DLC, one that enriches and embellishes the story a little bit more. I've seen many pieces of paper with pictures on them and books throughout Dear Esther and was wondering if the developers of Dear Esther would add DLC that could make them readable by pressing a button on them like "E", or do you think this would interfere too much with the pace of the game or break immersion? While this does set the remake apart from the original mod, I feel it would add some form of interaction and more incentive to explore the island on top of discovering hidden monologues. You could even scatter some books around the island, hiding them providing more sense to explore the island. If these books/notes do not hinder the story's progression, I feel it may add another layer to an already glorious game.

Here's what I am talking about:

Last edited by BillSmauz: 02-22-2012 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:28 AM   #13
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1) Wouldn't Dear Esther be a infinitely better experience if instead of "random lines of speech" being played every now and then we had the story adapting to the players actions/paths?
- If, for example, the player stays too much in the same places, looking at objects and trying to read things... Shouldn't the story be a little more "obsessive" for this player?
- If, on the other hand, the players runs at the first sight of a ghost, trying to find it, shouldn't the story be more focused on "the horror of the situation"?
And so on?

2) Is there any plans to switch the 2D Mushroom Sprites for 3D models? Isn't Source Engine LOD System robust enough to allow this, since the models only break when they are very close?

3) There are some dark areas in the game were the character doesn't turn on his flashlight. Was this done on purpose or it was a bug?
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:50 PM   #14
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Where do you see first-person games five years from now?
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Old 02-22-2012, 07:04 PM   #15
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Is the flashing light actual Morse Code?
I don't want to know what it stands for, I just want to know whether it is or not.
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