Choosing Theme

I have always had vivid and long dreams, which I was able to remember, those dreams inspired my stories and D&D parties, my conversations with friends and strangers. It is a popular topic, presented in movies, TV-series, comics and research studies.
And when I wrote down a list of topics that inspire me, I saw this Dream topic as an opportunity. It is both personal and popular, and it is a good topic for discussion and a game. It also fits my mechanic of Angel and Demon. So in the end, it was my decision to take it and work with it.

So, as I had this topic, I need to research more into mythology, the science of dreams, the experience of people and my own memories.

Dream and Reality in Popular Culture

A dream is a popular plot device in literature, comics and films, it can serve as a full world for a character to dive into or just a small sign about reality. It has been used by H.P.Lovecraft, L.Tolstoy, L.Carroll, W.McCay, N.Gaiman, C.Nolan etc. All those authors used this plot device differently, creating their variations of dreams and possibilities within dreams. 
As I am mostly interested in defining Reality from a Dream and visual representations of both, I am going to focus on those.

Doctor Who: Amy’s Choice (ep.7 s.5)
written by Simon Nye
Trapped in two worlds, unable to distinguish which is reality and which is a dream, Doctor, Amy and Rory have to find out what is real and wake up before they die. At the end of the episode, both realities are revealed to be a dream.
In both realities, they meet Dream Lord, who from the very beginning is dressed similar to the current Doctor. And is, as appears at the end, creation of a heated up TARDIS.
I really like the idea of the protagonist and the antagonist looking similar to each other, resembling each other in a way. Of course, in the game, it won’t be visible, and it won’t influence the gameplay, but I think it can just be a beautiful detail.

Sandman (Neil Gaiman)
Sandman, Morpheus or Dream has many names and is a personification of dreams in The Sandman comic series.

The Matrix (The Wachowskis, 1999)
Although Matrix is far from the personification of dreams, it is a film that shows the drastic difference between the world of Matrix and Reality. The way physics is broken inside the Matrix world might influence the visuals I create for the game later. There is an effective system of signs, references and allusions, and I can adopt some of them for the needs of my game.
Inception ( C. Nolan, 2010)
Dreams inside dreams inside dreams. A film that is hard to explain, but everyone just knows about it. The most valuable for me in this film is the concept of distinguishing the dream and reality between each other, the totem the dreamers use for this purpose. And the “architecture of dream” term. That is a film that defines the concept of being lost between the dream and reality quite vividly. And I think it might help me to set my own mood for the project.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (ep.5 s.1)
Sabrina and her family are challenged by Batibat, a demon, which creates nightmares. This demon tortures Spellmans in their dreams, deriving their worst fears. It is quite a creepy personification of nightmares, but it served as an excellent way to expose the characters through their hidden desires and fears.

Dream in Myths and Legends

Hypnos/Somnus (Greek/Roman)
A son of Night and Darkness, a brother of Death, Hypnos is a calm God, who likes humans, helps them and owns half of their life.
Phobetor, Morpheus and Phantasos (probably Ovidian inventions)
Sons of Somnus, they appear in dreams in different forms:
Phobetor as animals (he is also portrayed as a bringer of nightmares), Morpheus as human (and a dream messager) and Phantasos as objects.
Baku (Japanese)
A deity who devours dreams and nightmares. He is a chimaera, mix of different animals. He is a shy deity, who, in one of the versions, comes to children to eat their bad dreams and let them sleep peacefully.
The Nightmare, by Henry Fuseli, 1781
Mare (German, Norse, Slavic)
A creature, that sits on your chest while you sleep and brings nightmares. It was a creature that explained dream paralysis.
Worry Dolls (Guatemala)
Children take a doll and tell it all of their worries before going to sleep, while they sleep, Doll takes care of those worries.
Past Future Present
Aboriginal people of Australia believe that in dreams Past, Present and Future coexist.
Dream Catchers
Asibikaashi, the Spider Woman, a goddess of a Native American tribe Ojibwe, protects her people from nightmares through these dreamcatchers.
He sprinkles sand in the eyes of sleeping kids, so they dream.
Multiple Aspects
In Norse mythology dream served several purposes: they could foretell future, help to contact other beings or to bring hidden knowledge.

Collecting Dreams

One of my next steps in developing the game was creating visuals. However, that required more research on absurd and surreal dreams and imagery from those dreams. So, I’ve asked people in my social networks, about their dreams. And the results were great.
I couldn’t imagine that people dream that surreal. Dreams of different recursions, unbelievable characters and situation that I can’t understand where all in the results of my questionnaire.
Based on what people sent me, I’ve made a small list of the visual aspects, that suit purposes of my game. Most of them are just bits and pieces of the original dream, not the full picture.
Marble room
This one is from my own dreams, a room of a hexagon shape where walls are made of marble. It is a cold place with a high ceiling and two doors to get out. There is only one round table, two green cups with coffee and two old armchairs.

A character enters the room of a small house and sees that there are lots and lots of wrappers of a different kind of food. The room is literally flooded with those wrappers, and all the packages are empty, nothing of the food is left.

Soft Train
There was a train with soft seats like in old train compartments, made of velvet, they were just like metro sets, but much more luxurious and pleasant to sit on.

Blue steak
A dream about eating a neon blue steak.

Seeing the same person at the same time doing two different things: ice skating and skiing

In one of the dreams an elevator fell on its right-hand side and continued moving to the right direction with two characters inside. A bit of Charlie and Chocolate factory mood.

There were multiple recursions in people’s dreams: recursive situations and object are widespread.

A character was given a lot of pairs of sunglasses, and they disappeared when people came to claim it back. This reminded me of my real-life situation, a joke where one of my friends was wearing around 10 pairs of sunglasses at the same time, trying to hold them all on her face.

Meeting bears
A character meets real bears in an airport, walking around the place like if they were human.

Tall person
Seeing a very huge, very tall, figure of a person in a dream. Approximate height of a building.

Small room full of cameras, all watching the main character.

On a small kitchen, hands with knives appear from the back of the cooker.
I think I will add more to the list as I progress in the project. But even these stories are enough to start developing visuals for the game.