For artists, there’s nothing scarier than a blank sheet of paper. We’re not talking literally - although personally, we can’t set foot in a stationery supply store without doing a little scream - but figuratively. What happens when you’re itching to create, but you’re all out of ideas?
The solution: make something think of them for you. Presenting… our brand-new Idea Generator, made in Dreams by us at Media Molecule in collaboration with BAFTA Young Game Designers(opens in new tab)!
Inspired by BAFTA YGD, superstar Dreams Specialist Martin Nebelong has made a handy virtual concept dispenser that spits out game jam prompts with wild abandon. From the genre to the goal, through to the environment your adventure is set in and the rules the player must obey - even a “wildcard” that can throw in an unexpected twist on top of it all - inspiration is only a button press away.
“Dreams is a big tool: there are so many options, and people can easily get analysis paralysis,” explains our Business Development Manager, Sarah Brin. An idea generator, she figured, could be a great way of challenging creators to think differently. It’s a concept that’s been around for yonks - she points to Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies card deck as one example of a similar tool used to prompt creatives. “So I wrote up a brief, and Martin started to build the Idea Generator.”
The BAFTA Young Game Designers connection was all too natural. “We’re in touch with BAFTA all the time,” Sarah says, praising the resources they offer for teachers of young game developers - the Idea Generator card deck(opens in new tab) being one of them. “And we thought, wait, BAFTA has this incredible card deck. What if we collaborated on our Idea Generator with BAFTA Young Game Designers?”
Dreams creations are eligible to be entered in the annual BAFTA YGD competition; our very own Mystical_Vortex_, creator of The Little Ninja, was a finalist in the 2021 contest. It’s no secret that Dreams is full of the kind of creative brilliance that BAFTA YGD just loves to celebrate. It made all kinds of sense, then, for us to partner up and make something designed to keep the bright ideas flowing.
“BAFTA YGD is all about giving young people the tools, encouragement and confidence to create and design for themselves,” says Lisa Prime, Head of Children & Young People’s Programme at BAFTA. “We’ve been fortunate to work with Mm on a few large-scale live events with young people, and have had a lot of fun collaborating on game creation in Dreams. It’s so exciting to see imaginations being sparked. We all share the belief in the power of creativity and encouraging young people to express themselves through their own games and concepts.”
“We hope this simple tool can help spark and focus young people on their creative games journey,” Prime continues. “It can be overwhelming knowing where to start so here’s an effective way to get you thinking about different aspects of your game. If the first spin doesn’t excite you, just spin again and see if the next suggestions help you think differently.
“BAFTA was thrilled to see its first Dreams finalist in 2021 with Mystical_Vortex’s The Little Ninja, and we hope many more young people will share their games and concepts with us so we can support them in their next steps, potentially into working in games.”
Who knows? Maybe our fancy new Idea Generator could turn even more talented young Dreamers into award-nominated legends.
Why not give it a spin yourself and see? And if you’re curious about how exactly Martin managed to build the Idea Generator using Dreams, then you’re in luck. Today at 5pm GMT over on our Twitch channel(opens in new tab), we’ll be chatting to Martin, Sarah and Lisa from BAFTA YGD all about the inner workings of this tombola of artistic delights.
The Dreams User Guide is a work-in-progress. Keep an eye out for updates as we add more learning resources and articles over time.