You can create your own games, illustrations and creative items on PlayStation 4 with Dreams. This creative playground accessible by the creators of Little big planet allows anyone to try it, regardless of skill level.
What are “dreams”?
Dreams is a game you can buy PlayStation Store ($ 40, at the time of writing), but it’s much more than that. From British developer Media Molecule (known for games like Little big planet and Snatch), Dreams is actually a set of creative tools for PlayStation 4. The concept may have been better summed up by John Beech, the main game designer, “YouTube, but for all digital entertainment”.
The project was designed from the ground up to give aspiring game developers, artists and curious creatives the tools they need to bring their ideas – or dreams – to life on a console. Sony has been quietly funding the project for much of the decade. The game was officially announced on stage during the presentation of the PlayStation E3 2015.
But Dreams is more than just doing things. It is also a social network where you can discover the raw creativity of a passionate community. You can bounce from creation to creation and get lost in the rabbit holes of endless content, which makes YouTube comparison so appropriate.
Unlike YouTube, however, you are not limited to one form of media. People can use Dreams to create and experience complete games, interactive illustrations, paintings, 3D models, sets, animations, music, drawings, completely abstract and everything in between.
To quote Jamie Breeze, a community content creator from Media Molecule, “C’est tout”.
# DreamsPS4 is out now, and we couldn’t be more proud.
– Media molecule (@mediamolecule) February 14, 2020
While there are more advanced PC and Mac tools for creative expression and game development, none are as accessible as Dreams. The project rewrites the playbook in terms of simplicity and simplicity to create environments, animate characters, sculpt objects and express yourself on a global scale.
DreamSurfing: Browse the Dreamiverse
There are two sides to the Dreams experience. “DreamSurfing” experiences the creations of everyone else, and “Dreamscaping” creates something that belongs to you.
Dreams makes it easy for you to find what you’re looking for through a well-organized library of community content. You can switch to “DreamSurfing” mode in the main menu to see the trendy content and the hand-selected showcases of Media Molecule. Immerse yourself in the search tool with its multitude of tags and categories if you want to find something more specific.
If you find something you like, you can give it a boost and follow the creation to watch it evolve over time. You can also consult the author to see his other creations or follow him to follow future projects. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also reach out and suggest collaboration.
To mark the game’s official release on February 14, 2020, Media Molecule released their most ambitious Dreams project to date, called Art’s Dream. The approximately two hour experience is designed to inspire creativity and showcase the many types of games and projects you can bring to life in Dreams.
Even though the official release of the game was so recent, the community has grown since mid-2019, when the early access program was opened. This is why there is already so much content available to display, remix or use in other projects.
Dreamscaping: do what you want
When you’re ready to try out the tools for yourself, it’s time to start creating in Dreamscaping. Before starting, you are asked if you want to create a “scene”, an “element”, a “dream” or a “collection”.
Scenes and elements can be environments, objects, props, characters, music, art, etc. Dreams are a series of interconnected scenes as you would see in a finished game or movie. Collections are items that have been gathered from all over the Dreamiverse.
The idea of creating your own scene from scratch can be daunting. Fortunately, you can use whatever is published in Dreamiverse to fill your scene.
Imagine you are preparing a bedroom scene. You designed the wallpaper and carved a desk from scratch, but now you want a desk lamp. You can type “lamp” in the search tool to find the one you like, select it, and then drop it into your scene. Not happy with the color? You can aim at the object and repaint it, define a different finish or modify the sculpture according to your vision.
When you publish your creation on Dreamiverse, you will be credited with your work, just like that of the creations you have used. You can view the full “genealogy” of any Dreams creation, which shows how well certain elements are used and remixed by the community.
This central concept of creation and sharing is fundamental to the Dreams experience.
A Toybox of awesome tools
It’s best to start small when you start creating scenes or elements in Dreams. Creative tools are divided into modes, such as “Sculpt”, which allow you to create objects with primitive shapes, such as squares, spheres, cones, etc.
Sculpting in dreams requires precision, skill and patience. It can be frustrating at first, but if you stick with it, you will learn how to best use the tools and aids. There are also guides to help you do things like create the perfect mirror image, properly align the shapes, or position the elements.
Then there is the blend, which allows you to mix two shapes to create something completely new. With a gentle mixture, you can quickly create rolling hills with an organic appearance, a jagged rock wall or dense trees by placing a few primitive shapes on top of each other. You can then clone your rocks or hills to build your scene quickly.
All elements of Dreams consist of spots, which are like brushstrokes. The “tighter” the brushstrokes, the more flat and geometric your shapes will be. You can loosen the spots to get a softer rounded appearance. You can also choose loose spots that look like blades of grass, make them “stand up” with the “Impasto” tool, then apply a waving effect to simulate the grass in a breeze.
You can do all of this in seconds once you know where the tools are. You can use different spots and effects to get different results, like waves in the water, puffing fumes, or textured clouds. Want to give your scene a hand-drawn look? Move the hand-drawn cursor over an item and watch it come to life.
You can use keyframes or the action recorder to animate your scene. If you drop the recorder in your scene, it records everything you do, from moving the camera or using the Glow slider to simulating a flashing light.
There are too many tools and aids to cover them all. We recommend that you focus on a few at a time. The only thing that ties everything together, however, is how intuitive everything is when you use it.
It is probably the most accessible creative toolbox ever created.
How do you control dreams?
You can use your DualShock 4 controller to play games and create items in Dreams. The default control scheme uses a combination of motion controls and analog sticks, and it works surprisingly well. Motion controls provide a good sense of precision when creating, but you can turn them off if you wish.
You can also use Sony’s Motion Controllers (formerly Move) to play Dreams. For this configuration, however, you need two of the controllers and a PlayStation 4 camera, like the one supplied with the PSVR.
Motion controllers offer a much higher level of precision when you sculpt objects or place elements in your scene. You can create detailed sculptures in Dreams with a DualShock 4, but motion controllers can speed up the process considerably.
Dreams was created with the DualShock 4 in mind, so you won’t want to miss it if you don’t have motion controllers. To get a set and a camera, however, it will cost around $ 200. If you want to become a master sculptor or artist, the investment is worth it.
However, we recommend that you play with the DualShock 4 before making such an expensive purchase.
How to start creating with Dreams
The best way to get started with Dreams is to follow the tutorials in “Dreamscaping” mode. These introduce you to the basic concepts one at a time. You will also learn how to control and place objects in a scene, how to sculpt new objects from scratch, and how to use more advanced subjects, such as applying logic to the elements of your games.
There are master classes that show you how the creators of talented Dreams take advantage of the tools. You can also find many sculpting tutorials and time slots on YouTube that will teach you all kinds of tricks.
Travel the Dreamiverse and get inspired. Use the content of other dreamers in your own scenes and dismantle the elements to understand what makes them vibrate. There is also a Reddit community where you can showcase your creations or ask for help.
Above all, do not give up after your first attempts. Some people are naturally gifted, while others have training in 3D modeling or digital art.
But Dreams was created for everyone. You don’t need to be naturally gifted or have formal software or design training to get started. Your skills will improve the more you play!