History of the Time Project – Chapter One: Time-Travel Treasure Hunt

*The dusty tome opens*

In the beginning…

When I write, I like to thrash out a rough draft as soon as possible. The writing is always terrible (really terrible) but it creates some outlines of characters, settings and usually gives me an idea of the overall core of the story. 

So, I was really interested to learn that this team does the same thing when they’re making games. They thrash out a rough prototype to see how it’s feeling and working. 

Seems like a pretty universal concept. Test early, fail fast because that’s how to make your creative project better!

The Time Project has been a concept the Voxel Agents have been working on since around 2011. Different teams have produced different concepts and I find it cool to see how the project has evolved. So let’s take a look, eh Watson?

Henrik worked with some of the other Voxels on a prototype that took three days to knock together (which kind of blows my mind). Henrik tells me he made a few diorama inspired games in uni and was/is in love with Super Mario 3 for being one big stage play. When he showed me this, it blew my mind (I haven’t played this game since I was a kid so I didn’t realise just how obvious this concept was!).

And thus, Time-Travel Treasure Hunt was born!


It looks like a fairy tale pop-up book!

Time-Travel Treasure Hunt is a hidden-object game where you have to find stars hidden in the scene (keeping with our references to theatre). These scenes change over time and show a simple story that the player can reverse and fast-forward through at any time.

One of the things they learned was that giving the player the power to move time worked perfectly with the idea of looking for objects. Not only because it’s so pretty to look at and encouraged exploration but because it allowed for a pleasant surprise when things in the environment aligned ‘just so’ to reveal something new. 

I feel fiction works in a similar way. I’m looking for ways to arrange elements in the story that leads to a surprise. But surprise doesn’t necessarily mean a ‘plot twist’. Maybe it’s a character decision or much like Time-Travel, a change to the environment that challenges the characters to act. 

This surprise cannot be cheap. 

They must feel somehow inevitable and attainable (believable) for the reader. It is the same for games like Time-Travel Treasure Hunt, the puzzles must be believable, attainable and, at their best, fun!

See what you think: Time-Travel Treasure Hunt is available online to play. 

There a total of 10 stars. See if you can find them all. Time-Travel Treasure Hunt [35 MB]  It’s a bit of a wait time on the download (sorry!).

Henrik talks more about the game over on the Voxel Agents blog and I should probably link to that, so here we go!

That’s the first phase. Stay tuned for more ancient history very soon 😀

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