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.