Welcome to Game Development
I have delved into the world of Media Molecule’s magnum opus, Dreams for the PS4. Where the company’s previous games, Little Big Planet and Tearaway, hinted at their ambitions of giving the player total creative freedom, Dreams seems to achieve this.
Trust me, it really is something. It is hard to explain without trying it out yourself.
Building Dreams a Smudge at a Time
The game comes with many comprehensive tutorials and helpful tool-tips, but there is nothing like getting stuck in and learning from your failures.
I’m quite proud of my stupid chameleon – even though he has a hint of xenomorph in him. At least I figured out how to stop his head exploding after every blink (collisions, guys, collisions…).
Logic is somewhat of a challenge for me, but so far so fine. As an artist, the sculpting and painting tools are a dream! There is so much freedom, flexibility, freedom, and control (once you get to grips with the motion controls, that is)! This is the kind of thing you would expect from professional assets like ZBrush.
What also attracts me to Dreams is it’s potential as a storytelling tool. You can create short films, point-and-click adventures, you name it. Your imagination truly is the limit.
Dreams ain’t Easy
The biggest lesson from Dreams is that game design is hard. We all know this on some level, but you only truly understand this when your lovingly sculpted F1 car’s wheels won’t turn. Luckily, Dreams is a community-based game, which means that if there’s something you can’t make yourself, you can use someone else’s. The game neatly adds the creator of said borrowed asset to the credits of your creation.
It is beautiful and friendly – words that sum up the game quite nicely.
As with most things, the more you stick with it, the better you get. Also, if there isn’t a tutorial covering what you want to do, there is likely a YouTuber who can help you out. Personally, I find NeonTheCoder and LadylexUK‘s videos to be most helpful (please give me a shout-out if you watch their stuff).
While I have created many rough (and I do mean rough) drafts for games and scenes, I have managed to squeeze out something that you might – if coerced – call a game.
I made a planting game. All you have to do is buy a seed from the Pig of Wisdom, plant it, water it, and pluck the flower before it explodes. There’s money and a scoring system and several ways to cheat if you stick with it.
It’s not perfect, but I sure am proud of it (particularly the Pig). The experience of building this thing has engendered a deeper respect for something like Stardew Valley, for example (it was built by one guy).
What about your Dreams?
Now, over to you. Have you played Dreams? What do you think of it? Have you discovered or made something amazing? Please share below.
You can follow me on Dreams itself, here, and you can send me your stuff to try and comment on. Perhaps we could even collaborate on something…