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Hands-On: Dreams is Sony’s Wildly Ambitious Game Maker


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https://www.geek.com/games/hands-on-dreams-is-sonys-wildly-ambitious-game-maker-1746644/

 

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I remember a decade ago when Media Molecule first hit the scene with LittleBigPlanet. Folks were blown away with the tools the game provided you for building your own video game levels. It had the potential to make game design itself a far more democratic process, a huge win for art and education in our medium. LittleBigPlanet definitely became a strong franchise, with follow-ups and spin-offs starring Sackboy in the gang. But I feel the eventual consensus was that its promise was undercut by less-than-stellar core platforming gameplay and creation tools that had their admirable ambition undone by their overwhelming complexity.

Well Dreams is LittleBigPlanet on steroids. Actually, considering the game’s love of hazy blissed-out gentle surrealism it’s probably on a different drug. But Media Molecule’s next game for PlayStation 4 takes LBP’s game-making philosophy and wildly expands it out until it’s essentially a piece of advanced art software. What we played was a much stronger, more varied game, but also an even more potentially overwhelming tool.

 

 

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Before even attempting to make your own game in Dreams you should try playing the included story mode. Using the DualShock 4’s motion sensor you glide a little imp around the screen like a cursor interacting with various objects in whimsical ways. Manually unlock doors. Pick up and pour oil cans to loosen up rusty robots. One gothic section had us leading a man away from skeletons like a casual point-and-click adventure. You can also possess certain characters like a cube with legs or a little fox with an eyepatch and projectile attack for sections that play more like traditional 3D platformers, with physics that felt much snappier than LittleBigPlanet ever did.

 

The real purpose of the story mode in Dreams though is to show just what is possible with the game’s comically robust creation tools. Granted, it’s made by professional game developers deeply familiar with their own engine but everything from the levels to the puzzles to the assets to even the cutscenes and music can be made within the game itself.

 

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Pick different MIDI sounds like smooth synth pipes, lay down a tune with buttons, edit on the track to get the timing and rhythm right. It’s just like FL Studio or something, it’s wild. And to top things off, we adjusted the resolution of the visuals to complete the faux-PlayStation 1 platformer look.

 

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Fortunately, the robust sharing system sounds like it’ll make it easier for creators to communally share knowledge. You won’t be burdened with making your games entirely from scratch. You can earn new items from the story mode as well as remix individual levels or packaged groups of levels from other users. The original user always gets credits for their source material but you’ll get credit for your remix, too.

 

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  • 9 months later...

That's very impressive. I could see my high school self spending tons of hours building something hopelessly unplayable.

 

I'm less convinced that it's going to be something that I want to put lots of hours into playing, but I'd be happy to see this catch on and become something big.

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I bought the early access and just barely scraped the surface last night. Then I watched the most recent Dreams video on Giantbomb and watching 2 of the developers play around with it was amazing. The rate at which he created things with 2 move controllers was crazy to watch. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/2/2019 at 11:47 AM, TwinIon said:

That's very impressive. I could see my high school self spending tons of hours building something hopelessly unplayable.

 

I'm less convinced that it's going to be something that I want to put lots of hours into playing, but I'd be happy to see this catch on and become something big.

 

On 5/2/2019 at 12:40 PM, DarkStar189 said:

I bought the early access and just barely scraped the surface last night. Then I watched the most recent Dreams video on Giantbomb and watching 2 of the developers play around with it was amazing. The rate at which he created things with 2 move controllers was crazy to watch. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Paperclyp said:

Very skeptical it will really have much of an influence on the industry, but it seems very cool.

 

I'm not sure it will inspire many similar games or anything like that.  But Dreams' UI is so accessible compared to everything else and I think with that barrier of entry being much lower it's possible it will significantly help nurture talent of aspiring game developers and get them get noticed and possibly hired by studios! 

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52 minutes ago, fuckle85 said:

 

I'm not sure it will inspire many similar games or anything like that.  But Dreams' UI is so accessible compared to everything else and I think with that barrier of entry being much lower it's possible it will significantly help nurture talent of aspiring game developers and get them get noticed and possibly hired by studios! 

 

That’s possible and I hope it works out like that. I think there are a lot of ways people can kind of do that now though, and in some cases do get hired after making ambitious mods or patches to games. 

 

Nevertheless, it was beyond me what people did with Little big planet alone. In fact it was almost depressing to me because I couldn’t even grasp how one would even begin to do what people did in that game. 

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