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DREAMS: The video game that created itself

Dreams is a game that gives players tools to create their own video games. But did you know the tools in the game, was made by the game itself? KeenGamer got to speak with some of the team at Media Molecule at EGX Rezzed 2019, and found out how exactly a game can make itself. Could Dreams mark a turning point in video game development as we know it?

DREAMS: The video game that created itself
EGX Rezzed 2019 is an indie game convention in London, UK. Patrons had the chance to visit the PlayStation space – a packed out room with PlayStation 4s lining the walls, a crazy number of bean bag chairs and taking center stage, Media Molecule’s Dreams. Throughout the convention, Media Molecule were presenting live demos of Dreams, exhibiting its various land masses, audio editors, character creators etc. It was during this I was able to speak with Abbie, a Communications Manager at Media Molecule, and David, an animator working on Dreams. They were able to offer some insights into how Dreams came to be.

Abbie:
Dreams really builds on what Media Molecule started with Little Big Planet; that you could build your own levels, could make your own games. But rather than being limited to 2D and the art style of Little Big Planet, the limit is really your imagination, and your own art style, and the way you want games to look at play.

 

David:
I’d certainly say, it’s almost like a natural evolution of the ideas from LBP, but Dreams is very much its own thing. Everything that is in Dreams was made in Dreams itself. It’s very much built from the ground up as its own beast if you will.

DREAMS: The video game that created itself - The PlayStation space
David mentioned how “everything that is in Dreams was made in Dreams”. If that doesn’t immediately conjure Inception fantasies of Leonardo DiCaprio yelling about “going deeper”, you have a better attention span than I, or you haven’t seen enough films. How can a game, make itself? Is M.C. Escher drawing a pair of hands behind the scenes? Is there an assembly line of Terminators or Ultron robots we need to know about? Abbie would elaborate.

Abbie:
What makes development on Dreams really different is that rather than just working on content in the story together, our team is also working on the tools that they need to make that kind of content. So it has challenged a lot of people to think about, okay if you were gonna design a tool but also a tool that is accessible for other people to use, but does all the things that you need it to make AAA game content, how do you do that? So you’re building the game alongside content for the game, y’know what I mean? It’s really tricky but it also forces people to think about development in a very different way.

The developers create toolsets and put those into a build of the game. They then use those to create MORE toolsets that go into further builds of the game. All being creating with the idea that these tools should be easy and intuitive to use for anyone. Supporting the community is a focus for Media Molecule. Dreams lives or dies by the content other people will be creating and sharing. So one of Media Molecule’s strategies is to support the game post-launch, as Abbie explains.

Abbie:
This our core tool-set, where everything is super polished, works really well, the bugs are out and now we can focus on what is the next future that we can move in to help our community. So we could say, okay it looks like a whole of people are trying to do this thing, how can we make that easier for them, what tools can we now build to help them make the kind of games they want to make, to make the stories, the content they want to do.

The nice thing is it allows us to make content, we can continue to make games in dreams. We have a community that’s interested in doing those kind of things…Any game that is primarily built on the foundation of community means that we have to be listening to community and figuring out what they need and where they want to grow and how we can develop with them. They’re on that journey with us.


In speaking to the team at Media Molecule, it’s clear that they’re open to taking Dreams in the direction that best serves its people using it. And that journey begins on April 16th as Dreams commences Early Access exclusively on PlayStation 4 for purchase.

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