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Dreamfall Chapters is the long-awaited sequel to acclaimed PC adventure games The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
Dreamfall Chapters is the long-awaited sequel to acclaimed PC adventure games The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
Dreamfall Chapters is the long-awaited sequel to acclaimed PC adventure games The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey
21,858 backers pledged $1,538,425 to help bring this project to life.

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Unity 5 beta for Windows now available on Steam


The Unity 5 beta of Dreamfall Chapters is now (finally!) available on Steam.

We're not able to distribute the beta anywhere else, unfortunately, but all backers should already have Steam keys: please let us know if you do not.

This beta is Windows 64-bit only. The Mac and Linux versions are not yet ready, due to bugs in Unity 5.2. We're working on it, but we don't expect these to be available until Book Four is released.

Click the following link for patch notes and instructions:

Please note that unless you're able and willing to play-test a beta and submit bug reports, you should probably not play the beta, because bugs. Bugs everywhere! We expect a final release within the next couple of weeks, fingers (as always) crossed.

Thanks for your patience and support! We really appreciate it and we hope at least some of you can play the beta and let us know how it goes!

Very tired but happy team RTG

A Unity 5 beta update


If you didn’t read last week’s production update from Ragnar Tørnquist, do so before reading this post. It’s pretty important.

Good news: we’re getting very close to having a beta-testable version of Dreamfall Chapters: The Fabled Unity 5.2 Version. For reasons of transparency, we’re going to share a list of the highest priority bugs the team's currently working on.

Warning: this is a straight copy/paste from our internal task list, and a lot of these bugs will appear completely cryptic to most of you. We won’t spend time explaining the details; we just wanted to give you a quick peek into what we’re currently working on.

(And if you just want to scroll right to the end to get a wrap-up, feel free to do so!)

We’re using the terms P1/P2/BLOCKER, and this is what they mean:

BLOCKERs must be fixed before we can go into a public beta. We’re taking care of these first.
P1 (priority 1) bugs must be fixed before we can release the Unity 5 version (3.2.0).
P2 bugs will be fixed in patch 3.2.1, which should be out about a week later.
P3 bugs will be fixed in time for v4.0 (Book Four).

  • Bloom is way too aggressive & needs to be tweaked (BLOCKER)
  • 64-bit build for Windows (BLOCKER) (Note: this should benefit the vast majority of our players who use a 64-bit version of Windows)
  • Martin fixes all of Martin’s sequences (BLOCKER) (Note: only Martin knows what this means)
  • Combining inventory items bug (BLOCKER)
  • Missing inventory items: items vanish when acquired a second time (BLOCKER)
  • Random crashes on scene load – memory related? (P1) (Note: in general, performance and memory usage should improve with the new version; however, we are experiencing some mysterious crashes that we have to investigate further)
  • Poor performance in certain scenes. Get FPS (frames-per-second) data from every scene & fix as necessary (P1)
  • Light maps – first iteration finished for all scenes, keep improving when/where we find bugs (P1) (Note: this has been one of the biggest hurdles for us, and it's taken a long time to fix the light maps in every single location in the game)
  • Disappearing backdrops in Europolis (only?) — test, find & fix (P1)
  • Faulty, buggy collision – should be fixed. EVERYONE needs to test (P1) (Note: collision’s handled differently now, and these changes broke…everything. The beta will probably still have some issues with collision, and we’re hoping our beta testers can help us weed out any remaining issues)
  • Character shaders need to be updated to work with Unity 5 deferred lighting (P1) (Note: another huge change, which requires us to go over every single character model in the game)
  • Multiple cut-scene issues: audio/loading lag and collision issues (placement of character/camera) (P1) (Note: …yeah. Cinematics are very broken right now. We're working on it)
  • Character lighting is broken. Test and make lists. Fixing ongoing (P1)
  • Exploding scenery — should be fixed. Test! (P1) (Note: Kotaku's favourite bug!)
  • Flat/missing/broken lighting in many locations. Testing/fixing ongoing (P1)
  • Occlusion testing – do we have proper occlusion now? (P2) (Note: this is more of a memo to remind testers to look for occlusion bugs; e.g. scenery that pops in/out & poor performance/frame rate)
  • Lens flares in Europolis are no longer working (P2) (Note: some of you will probably be happy to not have lens flares anymore — but they are coming back!)
  • Broken visual effects. Which effects? Need a list! (P2) (Note: effects and shaders have to be rewritten and replaced to work with Unity 5, and we're compiling a list of the ones we've missed)
  • Mac...everything. Mac version is broken due to Unity 5 bugs (P3) (Note: we will have the Mac/Linux versions ready for Book Four, but the Steam beta will be Windows only)

These bugs illustrate just how much stuff broke in the transition from Unity 4.6 to 5.2 — and it doesn’t include all the bugs we’ve already fixed during the past ten weeks.

If all goes well, there should be a public beta later this week (fingers crossed, as usual! We’ll send out another update when that happens). After that, we’ll continue to fix blockers and priority 1 bugs until we feel confident enough to release a general patch.

And then we’ll get back to finishing Book Four: Revelations.

Our community has been absolutely awesome (and supportive, and patient!) in these dark days, and today we were visited by two of our bestest and most loyal fans, who dropped off a metric ton of cookies, chips, coffee and beer for our incredibly stressed and severely overworked team. THANK YOU, LOVELY COMMUNITY! WE <3 YOU HEAPS!

Two of our lovely community members, along with some of the snacks they brought us!
Two of our lovely community members, along with some of the snacks they brought us!

Along with this heartwarming note from 'A backer':

One last thing:

Our good friends at Funcom — who have generously allowed us to play around with their TLJ/Dreamfall universe these last few years — have just released their latest game, The Park. This first-person horror title is a spinoff of The Secret World, a game many of the Dreamfall Chapters team worked on before forming Red Thread Games. The Park is currently 23% off on Steam, so go grab it now, just in time for Halloween! And we wish Funcom the best of luck with their launch!

That’s it for now, but we’ll be back very soon with more on the Unity 5 beta. Until then!

Team RTG

Unity 5, Book Four & delays — an update from Ragnar


Hi guys,

Ragnar here with an important update.

For the past couple of months, the Dreamfall team has divided their time between two tasks: working on Book Four, and porting previous episodes from an older version of Unity (our game engine) to the newest version of Unity.

The port was necessary for a number of reasons, including performance and stability. We decided back in June to upgrade from Unity 4.6 to Unity 5 before releasing Book Four, and we were reasonably confident that this wouldn't cause any delays.

Our internal (and unannounced) release date for Book Four was yesterday, October 21st.

So what's going on?

Unity 5 has introduced a huge number of new bugs to the game and to our production pipeline, including, but not limited to:

  • 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!
  • (And many, many other issues — too numerous to get into here.)

We’ve spent a lot of time dealing with these fundamental engine changes, updating scripts, lighting and shaders, finding workarounds to editor and build bugs, testing and re-testing all previous episodes — along with wrapping up Book Four.

This situation has become unsustainable, so today I made the difficult decision to temporarily halt work on Book Four in order to focus completely on finishing the port.

The reason for this is simple: without the first three episodes and core game engine working with Unity 5.2, we can't release episode four. Our episodes don’t stand alone: they’re part of one growing and evolving game, sharing assets and code.

Switching engine versions is always risky, but our tests back in August were positive. We remained cautiously optimistic about our deadlines through September. Unfortunately, as of today, Unity 5.2.2 remains buggy and the expected fixes have not arrived, leading to our current predicament. Since we can’t wait for Unity to release version 5.3, we have to muddle through with what we currently have.

We hope to have a beta version of Books 1-3 on Steam within the next week — fingers crossed. As soon as that happens, we’ll post the information on our official forum and ask for volunteers to help us with field testing the updated engine. When we’ve weeded out and fixed all critical bugs, we'll publish the update and the team will return to Book Four.

We don’t have a new release date yet, but it will be in November. Luckily, Book Four was produced from the get-go using Unity 5, so there'll be fewer surprises going forward. We don’t foresee any additional delays finishing up the final two episodes. Fingers crossed.

My sincerest apologies for the delay. There’s not a lot we can do about third-party engine bugs, but the responsibility for our game, our deadlines and our customers lies with us, and we don’t like letting anyone down — least of all our backers. We’ll keep you updated on how things are progressing, and I hope and trust the update (and upgrade) will be worth the wait.

Key learnings? If you can avoid it, never do major upgrades of your game engine in the middle of production. We didn’t have much choice, but we’re certainly going to refrain from further updates in the future.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. I can safely say that Book Four (Revelations! All the Revelations!) is my favourite episode so far, and, when the new engine is working, we’re seeing improved performance and shinier graphics across the board. We'll post some evidence soon. In the meantime, here's your first look at the new key art:

We’ve started a new forum thread to allow you guys to post comments and ask questions, and we’ll do our very best to answer — when we’re not busy working on the game!

Thanks for reading.


An update on Book Four and Unity 5


Hi gang,

Red Thread here, with a new backer update. But first, a quick summary of things you may have missed from the last couple of months:

  • Back in August, Ragnar posted the first entry in our new dev blog. You can read it here.
  • A couple of weeks ago, Quintin posted a second entry.
  • (We're trying to keep this dev blog regularly updated, so bookmark it to keep up with future posts.)
  • We released some mysterious new art from the upcoming Book Four to Twitter and Facebook — and revealed the title of our next episode: Revelations.
  • We also released an overview of Zoë's visual evolution through the first three episodes of the game.
  • (As always, in order to get the very latest updates, remember to follow our Twitter and/or Facebook accounts. We will continue to post occasional Kickstarter updates, but only when there are major news.)
  • (And, as always part two, if you want to remain completely spoiler free, don't click on any of those links and stay away from all updates: there will always be some 'spoilers', even though we try never to reveal anything that would negatively affect anyone's enjoyment of upcoming episodes.)

With all of that out of the way, here's a brief update on what's going on in production.

As of this week, Book Four is slightly delayed. The reason for this is our long-gestating port of the game from Unity 4.6 to Unity 5.x (we're currently using version 5.2).

This upcoming port is important for several reasons:

  • To improve frame-rate and overall performance.
  • To reduce memory-related crashes.
  • To improve our internal workflow with Unity's new 64-bit editor.¹
  • To open up for ongoing and future improvements to lighting, shaders and effects, and further performance and stability fixes.
  • To facilitate for ports to new platforms, including PlayStation 4.²

Although switching engines mid-production is a risky thing to do, during our initial investigation into the engine switch we were quite optimistic about the timeline. The game appeared to run well in Unity 5 and there were no massive issues with our own tools or third-party plugins. In addition, this felt like the perfect time to switch and move the production over to an improved pipeline before wrapping up the final two episodes.

Doing the actual port has proved more time-consuming and challenging than expected, however — and of course this is the case, because it always is. Still, we did not anticipate this work to delay the release of Book Four.

Why a delay? Due to the way our game is constructed, we've had to port everything. We couldn't just start with the fourth episode and patch the rest later: the whole game needs to run in the new engine. This has resulted in a ton of work for the artists, along with plenty of bug-testing and -fixing. Things like collision, lighting, plugins, shaders work differently — and with every major engine upgrade, there are new bugs, some of which we can't fix on our own.

Will the port be worth the wait? We believe so! This was a necessary switch, something we had to do sooner or later, both for obvious performance reasons (we're very aware of the issues some players have had) and to allow porting to consoles and other platforms. How much a performance boost players will see depends, of course, on their specific hardware and OS version. Hopefully it will make a significant difference, particularly to those of you who have struggled running the game.

How long of a delay are we looking at? No more than a couple of weeks — based on our own internal release date for Book Four (which was unannounced but imminent). We do need to release the Unity 5 port of the existing episodes first, to iron out all possible technical issues, before releasing a whole new episode filled with lots of new content. Doing both at the same time would be risky — our testing pipeline is already strained — and would potentially have a negative effect on the player reception of Book Four.

So when will the Unity 5 port of Dreamfall Chapters be released? It won't be long. We're testing right now, and fixing issues as they pop up. As soon as we're confident about quality and stability, we'll release a version to the Steam beta branch. Once we've had some eyes on the new code for a few days, and the community gives us the thumbs up, we'll publish that to the main branch — including GOG and the Humble Store — and all of our players.

Making a major switch like this mid-release cycle is not something we'd recommend to anyone, though the team has handled the transition admirably. We feel it was necessary and that we've made the right decision, though delays are never fun. The team's already busy wrapping up Book Four, and this has increased the strain, stress and workload — but we hope the changes will be noticeable and the improvements tangible, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Unity 5 beta version.

We'll have lots more about Book Four in the coming weeks, leading up to launch — and the wait will definitely be worth the REVELATIONS.

Team RTG

P.S. Oh, and one last thing! Dreamfall Chapters (and Red Thread) was recently nominated for a prestigious TIGA Award for both best action/adventure game, and for best game with a purpose! The ceremony's in November, so fingers crossed for that.

¹ Working on locations such as Europolis and Marcuria using the 32-bit editor has been an exercise in frustration. Our artists and designers experienced regular crashes and extremely slow performance. The move to Unity 5 has massively improved our workflow.

² A lot of you have been waiting for the PS4 port, and this is not something that was possible with v4.x of Unity. The game is currently running well on our PS4 dev kits, though we don't yet have a concrete release date in mind. We're prioritising Book Four and PC/Mac/Linux first — but PS4 is next in line!

Summer update


Hey gang,

As that great bard of the 20th Century known as 'The Fresh Prince' once crooned

Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind

Summer's the season for beaches, barbecues and ice-cold beers (or popsicles) — but playing games is also an accepted summer activity. We'll allow it. So we hope you've all had a chance to play Book Three over the summer. If not, there's still time, so get to it. Go on! We'll wait here.

(Are they gone? Good. We're not waiting.)

With the holidays behind us (at last!) and the team back working on Book Four (hurray!), we figured it was time for another brief update.

Book Three: Realms launched a month and a half ago, and we're very happy with the reception and feedback so far. From what we've read — in your emails, forum posts, tweets and blog posts — most of you enjoyed our third episode, and with an 8.5 from Polygon, an 8.0 from GameSpot and a positive Kotaku review (amongst others), most critics appear to agree. Phew!

There were a couple of ugly bugs in Book Three, and unfortunately we experienced lengthy delays with the French and German localisations (the German voice overs were only patched out yesterday). We hope to do better with Book Four, and we'll have more on those bugs and the localisation issues in an upcoming dev blog.

On that note: in order to improve our communication and your insight into the development process, we're launching a dev blog. We'll still send out email updates to our backers (Kickstarter and PayPal) when necessary, but for more regular development updates make sure to bookmark the new blog:

We'll have some cool posts in the weeks and months to come, and you'll hopefully get to hear from various people on the team — and not just this disembodied, anonymous, corporate voice.

So what's next for Dreamfall Chapters? It’s still too early to talk about Book Four, but if you liked the direction the story took in the last episode, you’ll love where it's heading next: the stakes are higher, the drama's intensifying and our protagonists are striking out on new journeys into unknown territories…along with one or two familiar locations.

Such as this one:

(We won't spoil the surprise, but we're SUPER EXCITED about this place and what's about to happen there!)

That's it for now. Until next time! And please bookmark our dev blog — the first post arrives next week! (Hopefully!)

Your friends at Red Thread Games