There Was A Dream is a unique passion project turned community simulator. Started over two years ago by a couple, known as Keydare Project, this game 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
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 has given us a few sleepless nights.
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, but 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 yours is a two-person team.
The Itch.io page for the game says it is made by a couple. How is the balance of life/work for you both?
That was the real challenge for us. I do an office job as a graphic designer, my girlfriend works as a freelancer always in the same field. We spent all our free time in the last two years to get to the publication. There are positive and negative sides, which are very, very “human”. On the one hand, there is the harmony and a vision (almost) always common; on the other hand, there was a claim by both to improve many aspects, even in the days when fatigue was felt. Discussions and misunderstandings have arisen, but we have always overcome these moments.
Length of development so far?
Two years and one month on Unity! We don’t consider the prototype year on Construct 2 because now it’s completely another game.
Next big milestone?
We always wanted to put a little story mode into the game, with cutscenes, 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.
Released on PC only?
At the moment we have no plans to publish on consoles. But it would be very nice, it’s been our dream all along.
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.
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.
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.
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