Time Warp was a pre-lockdown instigation, which could not come to a full grown due to the nature of the project: mostly a hobby project born out of a love for dreams and text-based-games and to create something with the then Unity HDRP render pipeline, it got drowned when other projects took the front line. However, it is a project I still hold dear, even though it never finished.
If you are a vivid dreamer, you might know the feeling of wandering endlessly in lives which aren't [quite] yours, taking snippets of memories and feelings and crafting them into inexplicable stories and riddles: when you wake up, you are left with a slight feeling of dread: who are you, and who were you just now? Sometimes you dream multiple dreams which connect to each other, and the more you dream, the more it weaves into your reality.
Time Warp is based on one of those experiences. I woke up out of a vivid dream, one of many: I embarked on a thrilling journey to find my mother, who had been taken by the army of a country of which we do not speak the name. My path was painted with scenes of gloomy, but breathtaking beauty, an ever-changing backdrop to my quest. "Time Warp" is both an ode to this dream and an exploration beyond its boundaries.
This isn’t really meant to be a game—it should be a labyrinthine puzzle, pulling players into its depths, asking them to piece together clues, much like a detective. But it is also much like a dream: often, players will be propelled forward, not by clear objectives, but by the whims of one's brain. You'd grapple with familiar dream-like questions: "How did I come to be here?" or "What am I meant to do next?"
My ambition in bringing "Time Warp" to life was not just to reproduce the dream but to allow others a window into the idiosyncratic narratives our minds craft in slumber. Through this game, I hope to capture the ethereal essence of a dream, and all of its endless possibilities we could craft out of them - enabling players to immerse themselves, breathe its air, and play pivotal roles in a world that once existed solely in the corners of my subconscious.
The Dream in question
Fair warning: this story is mostly unedited dreamed material. Read at your own risk.
There was a large lake with something in it, something dangerous. Around the lake were pine trees. It could've been beautiful if it wasn't for the situation. We were looking for someone, or multiple people. It was twilight and getting darker by the moment. My mother and I were exploring four "poles" (camps named north, east, south, and west), which had campfires, creepy small buildings, and blood trails on the floor. Camp north was the worst, and the campfire was lit. Someone, or possibly several people, were missing. My mother and I soon discovered that we could use certain teleportation points to travel between the poles. The lake was large, misty, had some swampy grass leading into it, and whenever I touched the water, I would panic.
*Puzzle: Go to each pole and collect trinkets (a picture of a girl, an address in Switzerland, a communication device).*
Then, a flashback. From another dream I had a while ago: I was pulled through some buildings in a slightly medieval street, two of which I had visited. One of the shop owners was Dutch, I was sure of it. The others were German, and I spoke German with all of them. His pharmacy was small, with an old-fashioned counter and two pillars on the right side. The blue floor was dusty and had some debris. On the other side of the wall, there was a cabinet with bottles and trinkets. On the bottom left, there was a small bowl with a box that said "vermeer." I asked the man in Dutch, "......" (forgot). He warily looked at me and pulled out a watch-like instrument from his son's pocket (who was very tall, large, and a little chubby, wearing a blue vest). The watch was strange, made of brass, with a large lens-like window in front that displayed some numbers, but they were not arranged like a clock. It was some other measuring device. I said, "tausendvierhundert für diesen." The man nodded. His son protested that it was worth much more, but it was all I had in my wallet. The flashback ends. Another flashback begins. A girl faints in a room before she can reach her own. She is now outside curfew. The lights go off, and a Roomba-like robot comes by, whips out a green grid scanner, and makes some high-pitched sounds. Flashback. I am on a U-boat when suddenly an alarm goes off. One of our capsules is giving an error. One of the clones we need to deliver is unwell (what we do not know is that it is a bug in the system; the girl that fainted is unwell, not the one in the tube). I am a man, and my comrades all wear black combat clothes and helmets. I quickly push some buttons, and a metal pipe opens up from the water. Inside, there's a red rubber layer that I pull out. I am very strong because I pick up the cocoon with the girl as if she weighs only 5 kg. I unroll the layer. The flashback ends.
I am myself again. I am now in a church that is partly newly built. I can see that from the ornaments on the ceiling, which are missing in the end. It is very bright and airy, and the church has air slits just under the roof that show some green, as if it stands in the middle of a forest. I am with my uncle, my mom, and perhaps some other family members. A lady calls out, "Mass is starting! Please take a seat, everyone!" I dislike churches; honestly, I was just visiting for tourism. We sit. Mass starts with talking, but the longer it goes on, the crazier it becomes. It ends with people singing, dancing, and shouting. The lady directs the group and speaks to another person: "No, doing sports is not allowed, but dancing is! Join us!" I grab a needle and thread and start reconnecting an aqua-colored drape on what seems to be a confession booth. I kind of hide behind it so I do not have to join in this ridiculous mass. The lady sees it and nods. Apparently, sewing is okay. However, my needle breaks. Well, that's unfortunate. Then, my uncle lays a hand on my shoulder. Very randomly, he says wearily: "Weet je nog die schoenen die ik vroeger altijd aanhad? Die roze?" I have a memory of this: "Sportschoenen?" He nods. Then he falls silent. Another flashback. I am in a lobby, waiting for an airplane. It is rather empty, as if there are simply not many humans on this planet. Me, Geert, and some others have booked a flight. We are being fetched by a lady from KLM. The plane inside is almost square. We take off, and the plane seems to kind of defy gravity and float like a saucer. We are loud and misbehave a little. The flight attendant, a woman with blonde hair in a ponytail and a pretty face, is very bored. We are about six and the only people on the plane. The flashback ends.
Crying. Whispering. I am in a house, a very newly built, modern-looking house. A woman (whom I recognize from a TV series) is holding an iPad with options, each priced accordingly. She seems to be some kind of high-tech lawyer or something. The option "lie" costs 25. I react: "Ehh, sorry, how is he going to just believe a lie?" She looks at me with scalding eyes. "Well, like this." She walks up to the man around the corner, who was just talking to a woman that I cannot see. He is standing in a very light doorway, his body is a silhouette. The lady speaks: "The airplane crashed; she is dead. A new one will be sent to you soon." He hugs her awkwardly. She returns. "See? Now you have to kill the other one (clone). Good luck."
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