There Was a Dream begins with the player, Claire, exploring her dream world and helping the community in whatever way she can. After some time, the world will turn dark, and Claire will begin having nightmares which changes everything from the environment to what the player is allowed to do in-game.
This game is a unique passion project turned exploration and survival game. Started over two years ago by a couple, known as studio Keydare Project, this world is both beautiful and bizarre. I had the opportunity to talk with one of the developers, Fabrizio, and learn more about how this vibrant game came to be and what future development plans are in motion.
What was your inspiration for the game?
It all started with some character drawings my girlfriend had done. One day we joked and said to each other, “They’re cute, why not use them for a video game?” So with those few ideas we started to build something with Construct2. We realized that for the game we had in mind, we needed a more powerful engine so after about 1 year, we switched to Unity. We started from scratch and it took us about another 2 years to get the early access release.
What was your biggest challenge?
Definitely trying to make an open-world game as our first PC experience. There are so many aspects to take into account that they have to fit into a puzzle that have given us not a few sleepless nights.
The world is beautiful and vibrant. Are all the assets made by Keydare?
Yes, almost all the assets are of our own production, except for some technical tricks such as clouds and volumetric light. We wanted to give all the objects of the game “soft” shapes with very few edges, so as to make it much more attractive. And to do that we had to model 90% of the game with our own hands to keep the design coherent.
Proudest achievement of the game so far?
During game development, we looked for tutorials, talked to a lot of developers, and saw a lot of interesting concepts. But, 90% of these games have never seen the light of day. We’re proud to have arrived at the publication, because it seems obvious. Starting to develop a game is within everyone’s reach. It’s a challenge you have to face every day. There are design, code, and conceptual problems that need to be solved all the time. And the more you go on, the more these issues add up until you think only to quit, especially when you’re a two person team.
Next big milestone?
We always wanted to put a little story mode into the game, with cutscene, dialogues and a path to follow. If it keeps going well, maybe we could include it. It would be about Claire (our main character) and why she ended up in this situation. We have all the history written in detail, the greatest work to do is to be able to implement it exactly as we thought.
From reading the comments on the Itch.io page, I see people really want multiplayer. Is that something you’re working on?
We thought about it a lot and even started to prototype this idea a bit. The biggest challenge in making a born single player game a multi-player game is simply to be conscious that you have to support two games in one. A multiplayer game requires different missions, challenges and objectives than a single player. But never say never.
When do you think you’ll hit version 1.0?
It all depends on how the players react to the next updates. We have a lot of ideas to put into the game and if you like them we’ll start closing the circle to version 1.0.
I have to ask, but how was the decision for the plunger to be included as a tool/weapon for the player?
The idea was to be able to give Claire weapons that she could “imagine” easily, being within a dream. So we said that common objects were definitely funnier to see and use as weapons. Inside the flying train there is a shop, where you can buy new weapons. For example, Claire can beat up enemies with a skateboard, fork, golf club, road cone, traffic light, parking meter and even a toilet brush (our favorite). We’ve put in a lot of them and they’re all very funny to see.
There Was a Dream is currently on a 75% off sale at $5.49 and is well worth the purchase for any fan of community simulators and survival games. The aesthetic in the game brings Claire’s dreams to life, and I look forward to watching the progress that Keydare Project will make in the coming months.