The Chinese Room's Robert Briscoe explains in a recent blog post
that the developer is porting its two-year-old game Dear Esther
-- originally conceived as a Half-Life 2
mod and later built as a standalone game on Valve's aging Source Engine -- to Unity.
Briscoe, who worked as artist and lead designer on Dear Esther
, claims that the move to Unity was inspired in part by a number of problems The Chinese Room encountered in the course of porting a Source Engine game to multiple platforms.
The porting process involved outsourcing work to developers with experience in multiplatform Source Engine development and was hindered by delays, unexpected costs, and lack of support from Valve, which suffered layoffs
last year that impacted The Chinese Room's ability to get timely support with the Source Engine.
By taking the time to port Dear Esther
to Unity, Briscoe hopes to create a version of the game that will play better across multiple platforms and be more easily maintained without having to rely on Source Engine support.
"We...got the underlying impression that official engine support was not long for this world, making me all the more anxious, not just about the possibility of further ports, but about the future of Dear Esther
in the years to come," wrote Briscoe. "I couldn’t help but feel responsible for our situation by the fact I’d decided to take a lesser role in the game’s development after its initial release, and that in order to tidy the mess and secure Dear Esther
’s future I needed to roll up my sleeves and get involved again."
Briscoe's also claims that having access to ready-made Unity plugins like Playmaker and Shader Forge empowered him to surmount programming problems that had previously stymied some of his attempts to prototype new games.
More details about the Dear Esther
port process, and the decisions that led Briscoe to start working in Unity, can be found on his blog