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May 21

May 21

Anybody Can Make a Game in Dreams… No, Really

Our hands-on session with Media Molecule's impossibly ambitious new project only barely scratched the surface of what it's capable of.

Justin Massongill's Avatar Posted by Social Media Manager, SIEA

Dreams, the mysterious new project from LittleBigPlanet creators Media Molecule, has been the subject of much speculation and head-scratching since it made its nebulous, untitled first appearance at the PS4 reveal event way back in 2013. What the heck is this thing? Is it a game? Is it a creative tool? How flexible is it, really? How do you play it? What the heck is this thing?

We play Dreams with creative director Mark Healey

After an all-too-brief 45-minute demo with creative director Mark Healey, I finally understand. The answer: Dreams is a fully featured game creation engine that anybody with a PS4 and a copy of the game will be able to dive straight into, no game dev experience required.

I say all-too-brief, because it turns out 45 minutes just isn’t enough time to really even scratch the surface of what Media Molecule’s ambitious, incredible new experience is capable of.

Often, when something is said to be “accessible,” that can mean “limited in some way.” What Media Molecule has done here is truly impressive — just about every aspect of game creation is included in the creative toolkit at the core of Dreams, and rather than saying “Oh, it’s just a more limited version of game engines that are on the market today,” what they’ve done is approach the creative process from a different perspective altogether.

In Dreams, navigating your canvas (which is really just a huge open space) is a breeze. Thanks to the motion sensors inside DualShock 4, I used the controller as a sort of laser pointer, moving my Imp (the customizable fuzzy little critters who act as your cursor) around the screen to grab objects with the R2 trigger. Holding R1 anchors your viewpoint to an object, letting you then move your controller to swing your viewpoint around whatever you’re latched onto. Hold L1 (nicknamed the “shift key” by Healey) and move an item to duplicate it, rotate your controller to rotate the object, or change its size using the D-pad. It’s all very intuitive.

Dreams supports PlayStation VR as well, so existing or aspiring creators can work inside a truly three-dimensional canvas. We haven’t seen that in person yet, but it boasts enormous promise.

Media Molecule has always been a studio whose goal is to empower creators, and Dreams fulfills that idea in a way nothing before it has ever even attempted. “That was always the plan,” explains studio director Siobhan Reddy when asked about Dreams’ full-fledged story campaign — which Media Molecule built completely within the game itself, using the exact same tools players will have access to when Dreams ships. “In order to make a games-making tool, you need to make a game.”

Listen to our interview with Media Molecule’s studio director, Siobhan Reddy

One of the many “whoa, this game can do that?” moments during my time with Dreams was seeing just how much work has gone into its music creation suite. The options available here are truly staggering: musicians of any experience level (including zero) can choose from a library of instruments and record a performance in a live environment, then blow it out into a full timeline view that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever used a music creation application. Not content with the musical tools other Dreamers have created and made available? Make your own by recording any sound with PlayStation Camera’s built-in microphone, or import sounds via an upcoming web app, then apply any number of effects or filters to create your own custom instrument.

We knew Media Molecule was swinging for the fences with Dreams, but it wasn’t until I sat down to see it in person that I truly realized what they’ve achieved here. They’ve created an honest-to-goodness game development engine that anybody with a PS4 can dive into. One where every aspect of game creation comes together seamlessly in a single creative palette — no backing out to the main menu to go into music mode or anything like that; it’s all right there with a tap of the Square button.

If you’re more of a player than a creator, there will be plenty here for you, too. In addition to the full campaign mentioned earlier, players can also go “Dream Surfing,” which queues up a playlist of experiences from creators all over the world for you to play in sequence (think about how streaming video services can auto-play new episodes and videos without you having to seek them out).

“We’re really just expanding the team,” Healey noted when discussing the eventual release of Dreams. Media Molecule has already created a bevy of wildly imaginative experiences within the game, but once the world at large gets their hands on this thing, we’ll see what it’s really capable of.

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No word on a release date just yet, but Mm has confirmed there will be a beta for Dreams happening later this year. Stay tuned for more updates as we’re ready to share them. In the meantime, feel free to start sketching out your debut game ideas.

Add Your Own

BearAntlers said:

May 21st, 6:22 am

It can’t arrive soon enough.

sekaniy said:

May 21st, 6:30 am

I thought this was going to big one of the big 4 for Sony at E3. Since it come out this year, and we know a lot about Spiderman already.
Actually really excited about this one. May be I can make my own PJM2 or Portal3!!!

dkarlowicz10 said:

May 21st, 6:46 am

So, I have to make my own game? What if I am lazy and don’t want to create one. Is there a premade story campaign for people like me?

    GaMeR_bOi_83 said:

    May 21st, 6:56 am

    Someone didn’t read the article.

    dkarlowicz10 said:

    May 21st, 10:50 am

    My bad, I skimmed through it too fast.

Potter13579 said:

May 21st, 7:23 am

If this is truly coming out in 2018, I get the feeling it may release right around Kingdom Hearts III’s potential November release date if that’s happening too, but we’ll have to wait and see.

kitler53 said:

May 21st, 7:31 am

i really want to love this game but too much of the marketing focus is on the “creation” and not the playing. most people don’t want to create and most creators make content that is not fun.

MM needs to prove to me there is a memorable campaign. playing user generated content in LBP is only fun for like 30 minutes a month. digging any deeper in to user generated content is just frustratingly not fun and not worth buying the game for.

    TJ_Solo said:

    May 21st, 7:47 pm

    The creation and playing are one in the same. If you strictly mean pre-made games then, yes, MM will have one of theirs included at launch and we will be able to play games that other people publish as time rolls by. With the bulk of Dreams being a tool for creation it only makes sense to cover that rather than a MM’s pre-made story. The latter is not the point.

zingakun said:

May 21st, 10:36 am

I’m both excited and worried about Dreams. It has the potential to be revolutionary or a big failure. I’m hoping for the first option <3

My worries is that people won't understand it pretty well and give up without even trying it first.

    TJ_Solo said:

    May 21st, 7:50 pm

    What’s to understand? It’s a game engine that is more robust than RPG maker and Doom’s SnapMap. If you really understand watch Unreal 4 or Unity is then you’d understand what Dreams is.

Squadren_64 said:

May 21st, 11:34 am

So sick of waiting for this game…

Tony_Films said:

May 21st, 6:05 pm

Pretty darn excited for this game. The concept is amazing. and I look forward to playing around with the various tools and functions.

CollaredCougar said:

May 22nd, 3:30 pm

No longer do I ask “What can I do with Dreams”. I now ask “How much is this going to cost?” No way is this going to be $60.

Apoc47 said:

May 23rd, 4:35 pm

Can’t wait! So glad we have VR support. Gonna make the best VR games!

paulogy said:

May 23rd, 7:08 pm

Great preview! Been really looking forward to this, so I hope the beta is soon (announced at E3 perhaps? :-)

Subtenko said:

May 24th, 6:59 am

Media Molecule and PlayStation is doing something reaalllllly unique and special here. I already have ideas and projects Im porting over to Dreams. Cant wait to continue them :D

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