The month of pain

So. Things have been quiet. The reason for this is that a massive technical issue has arisen, which we have been struggling with for weeks now.

The save/load system relies on what is termed "serialization". While saving and loading can be done in different ways, and different games don't necessarily use serialization, we chose to go with this approach. Essentially it's just a way to take everything related to a given object in the game (in this case the whole game-world) and turn it into a form which can be written to disk. This was chosen as it's a very common and easy thing in most general-purpose languages that we classically use (Python, Java...). In those languages, you can just take anything and save it to disk with a couple of lines of code, then load it just as easily. 

Unity, sadly, does not support this at all, it turns out. Its serialization capabilities are frankly awful. The computer knows the state of the world, but can't get that information into a savable file. So we turn to third party plugins which do the same thing. FullSerializer (which we used for the last version) and Odin Serializer. Turns out, neither of these work, and neither gave sufficient messages to tell us WHY they weren't working. For full serializer the Unity editor would just crash, with no message. It didn't even crash at the same point, it would just randomly crash during save/loading. It seemed possibly related to the complexity of the game, but we couldn't diagnose it at all.

Ultimately the problem has defeated us. We can't get a save/load system working on Unity 2019. We have been forced to go back to Unity 5.6, the last version which we were able to get the system working on. This means that all the UI needs to be re-done from scratch, which we are currently in the process of doing.

As a result, progress has been agonizingly slow. However, the good news is that we can save and load the game from disk reliably. When version 2 arrives, we will have at the very least a single-slot save/load system, allowing you to quicksave/quickload. Possibly even something more complex.

Version 2 will arrive, it's just taking its time. Hopefully there won't be any more major technical hurdles of this magnitude for the rest of the project.

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What a shame, one reason to stay far, far away from Unity :(

Seriously, did you try to explain your problem on some reddit channel about unity ? Maybe they help!

Damn! Well I'll be rooting out for you and patiently waiting for the next update.

Happy holidays :)


Long live the save.