After our last patch, in which we upgraded to using Unity 5.4, a handful of people have been stuck in a world painted in mostly pink and black. At first we thought it was something that we did to cause this. We were wrong and there's nothing that we can do about it.
As Artix pointed out in his earlier Design Notes about this issue, when you see pink like this it's because something is happening in the game that your GPU (graphics processing unit) can't handle. It goes into full on freak out, muppet arms panic mode and just displays solid pink.
"WTF IS GOING ON?!" - Your Computer
The reason that this is happening is because your hardware is very, very, very old and outdated (in computer terms). It simply cant run most modern games... even CPU and GPU light games like AQ3D.
WE TRIED EVERYTHING
We didn't want this to be the case. For the past week AQ3D Lead Programmer Zhoom has been working with the rest of the programming team and AQ3D player Penolia over skype trying everything he could think of to make this work. If there was a solution, they would have found it. Sadly, this issue goes well beyond Artix Entertainment. We didn't even know it was coming. It was only mentioned ONCE on one of Unity's blog posts from a year ago. There's literally nothing that we can do about it.
Unity is the engine in which we have built AQ3D and our other mobile games. It's a solid game engine but, like any program, it has bugs. In order to fix those bugs the Unity development team rolls out upgraded versions of the program and tools regularly that fix previously existing bugs and we HAVE to keep AQ3D as up-to-date as possible with Unity's latest engine builds because it fixes a lot of issues. For example, 5.4 fixed issues with flickering caused by light probes, an dangerous hardware overheating issue and several other issues that were plaguing AQ3D.
Unfortunately they also completely dropped support for 3rd generation graphics cards and chipsets in this update. If you're seeing pink, it's because you have one of these ancient GPUs.
NOTE: After the last patch, we had some people saying that the INTRO MAPS ONLY were pink for them, but only those maps (pictured below. You can still see the characters and NPCs but not the map). That WAS our fault. Those maps were left out of the recent update so their shaders were broken, however we have uploaded a fix and, after clearing your cache (using the Options button in the Login screen), the intro maps will appear as normal. This was unrelated to the issue detailed in the rest of this Design Notes post.
Every time there is an advancement in commonly available graphics tech, we enter a new generation of GPUs.
Hardware manufacturers stopped producing 3rd Gen graphics cards and chips around 2006 and the current GPU's are 9th generation. Basically, if you have one of these decade old GPUs then your computer is carved out of stone and it's a technological miracle that you can still turn it on and connect to the internet.
There is a limit to what kind of hardware they can make their product run on successfully so, as technology progresses, it's pretty common for software manufacturers to stop supporting vastly outdated hardware and there is nothing that other game developers (like US) can do about it.
On, our end? Nothing can be done. This is completely out of our hands and we have tried everything we could it fix it for you.
But, on your end... there are options.
FIRST, don't forget that the Android version of the game is slated to launch into closed beta testing this Wednesday! So if you have an adroid device, you will still be able to play. The iOS version still won't be available until the OPEN Beta but if you have an iPhone or iPad, you should be able to play it then.
SECOND, you can do a little research and get an upgraded graphics card. The good news here is that since all you need is 4th gen and up, the graphics cards are AMAZINGLY cheap, like $4 USD. The bad news is that you have a VERY old motherboard and that motherboard can only handle certain graphics cards. Also, It will be nearly impossible to find a place online that sells antique graphics cards. Also, if you have a laptop, you can't really swap put the integrated graphics chip so you're boned.
You sitting at your trusty desktop, trying to play AQ3D.
I understand that if you have one of these outdated machines, it's probably because you can't afford anything better right now but It's just time to get a new system. There's nothing else for it. If you go to Amazon and search for "refurbished computer" you can find desktops and even laptops in the $60-$80 range that are modern enough to run AQ3D
Right now there is even an Dell 755 Optiplex Desktop Computer selling for $48. That has a Nvidia Quadro NVS 440 standard, which came out in 2009 and can still probably run AQ3D. But for that price, you could have a decent Android smartphone or tablet that could also probably run AQ3D.
Even though we did everything we could to try and fix this and it's not actually our fault, we still feel awful that you were playing one day and suddenly, without warning, you can't the very next day. We know that there aren't many of you but it's a crappy situation and we sincerely hope that you find a way to join us in AQ3D again.