Unity's Latest Engine Is Making Stuff Explode In Dreamfall Chapters

Usually upgrading to the latest version of an engine, while laborious, opens doors and creates a lot of opportunities for developers.

But that hasn't been the case for Red Thread Games, who have been struggling with Unity 5 so much that it's quite literally causing things in-game to explode. No, really.

The curious bug was outlined in a lengthy update to backers recently, where Red Thread's Ragnar Tørnquist announced that all work on Book 4 had been halted temporarily to focus on porting previous chapters to Unity 5.2.

It's essential that the entire game runs on the same engine, given its episodic nature. But the porting process has been an entire nightmare, with the upgraded build of Unity resulting in some truly bizarre problems. Here's some of the quirkier issues yet to be resolved:

Missing and faulty lighting and shadows. (The lighting system has also seen fundamental changes. This will eventually make things look better, but it’s not working as intended yet.) Missing and faulty collision. (Due to fundamental changes to the collision system, Propast pavements have become insurmountable obstacles, while walls often offer no resistance whatsoever.) Random game logic hiccups. (We're testing and trying to figure out what's broken.) Random crashes on load. (We're trying to figure this one out as well.) Crazy, exploding scenery!

The scenery is literally exploding in internal builds of Dreamfall Chapters because of Unity.

It's difficult not to find the humour in this, although it's also fairly gutting if, like me, you've been waiting a long, long time for the game to be released. I learnt from The Wolf Among Us not to jump on board with point-and-click adventures until the whole set has been released. It's too much of an investment to jump in and jump out of story-driven games like these: I want to binge the experience, like a good TV series.

Dreamfall Chapters is certainly living up to its sub-title — the first episode was released on October 21, last year. There are still two books due out for Zoe's crowdfunded adventure through Arcadia and Earth, but at this rate we probably won't see the end of the series until the middle, if not the end, of 2016.


    I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with Dreamfall Chapters. Absolutely love The Longest Journey and Dreamfall, but feel they've made some not great decisions here.

      DON'T SAY THAT :'( I'm waiting until the end and I really, really want it to be good.

        It's not awful or any thing. When it's good, it's really good. :)

        I might have had unrealistic fanboy hype too. I'm just adjusting expectations. :P

    It seems many titles that made the switch from Unity 4.x to 5.x have had major issues with the physics etc.

    For example, Planet Explorer's has taken approx 1 year to update from 4.x to 5.x due to all their game systems that broke after the update (they had some trouble with outsourced animations as well, but they were mostly in parallel with the switch to unity 5).

    I've seen a few devs now going away from Unity over to UE4. Interesting to find out exactly why. Cost prohibitive maybe? Development may be easier on UE4?

      I think it's due to UE4 becoming free lately, taking on a similar business model to Unity, only pay when you're earning X amount of money annually etc.

      It's not easier at all, the scripting language isn't my cup of tea, I prefer C#. But the results look amazing in UE4 if you're making a 3D based game.

      Unity is still the best for 2D IMO.

    Wow, it's good to know I'm not the only one having problems after the update. I switched from Unity 4 to 5 and now my simple 2D rotation code isn't working anymore.

    I really hope they fix these bugs soon, its killing me.

    When it's good, it's really good.

    I don't even know if that's true, though. It's not easy for me to say this given how much I loved Dreamfall and wanted this game to be great, but Chapters isn't a patch on the last one in my opinion. Not in terms of story, character development, atmosphere, music, setting or pretty much any other meaningful measure of quality. I understand that both Zoe and Kian are meant to have grown as people since the last time we saw them but they barely feel like the same people we played as in Dreamfall, which is sad because they were a big part of why I fell in love with the series.

    My biggest disappointment is over their decision to move very far aware from resolving any of the plot issues left at the end of Dreamfall. I'm still hoping that it's going to surprise me by getting back on track before it's too late but that seems unlikely now that there are only two books left, unless it's all going to come together in the final moments. But anyway, it's being heaped with praise, so what do I know? Nothing, apparently.

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