A beginner's guide to Dreams
Ready to play, create and share in the latest game from LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule? Check out these expert tips to help get you started.
The essentials: Your main menu
Dreams isn't just a bold new game creation tool, it's a way to unleash your imagination, share it with others and let them share theirs with you. These are the main game modes:
This is your portal into the dreams of others – a huge playlist showcasing unique creations from all over the world that you can jump into, play for as long as you like and rate them when you're done. The dreams you create can be shared here too.
This is your workshop, where you can bring to life your own dreams, creating characters and environments, scripting events, writing music and testing what you've created. Everything you need to create a full game is right here.
This is a feature-length, story-driven adventure created by Media Molecule entirely in Dreams, using the same tools you'll be using to build yours. Spanning multiple genres, styles and game types, it's a great way to see exactly what is possible.
Introductions: Meet your dream team
Not merely a colourful cursor, your imp is at the very heart of everything you do in Dreams, assisting you in DreamShaping and DreamSurfing, and even imbuing your in-game creations with life (no, really!).
The imp does, however, move like a mouse cursor. Depending on the control method you pick, you'll guide it around the screen by tilting your controller, or by using the left stick.
The Dream Queen
The Dream Queen presides over the Dreamiverse, helping you get started in your Homespace and introducing the various areas of the game. You will automatically follow the Dream Queen account when you start Dreams and use it to find collections of community content and creations from the Media Molecule team.
Architect & Designer
The Architect and the Designer are the venerable experts of the Dreamiverse and are there to help you start creating in Dreams. You'll meet them as you embark on Dreams' in-built tutorials offering guidance and assistance as you get to grips with each feature.
Finding your feet: Where to start?
Get a proper introduction
There are no hard and fast rules of course - you can honestly start wherever you like - but we'd suggest beginning with Art's Dream.
It's a relatively short, self-contained experience that gives you an idea of what Dreams has to offer. It's also a great way to get some inspiration for the kinds of games you might like to make.
Browse around a little
From there, why not jump into DreamSurfing and see what other budding creators have already built?
It'll give you an idea of how to turn basic ideas into functioning games and, again, might give you a few ideas of what you want to create.
Get down to business
Once you've got a feel for Dreams' attitude and philosophy, it's time to tackle DreamShaping.
Now, full disclosure, there's a lot to do here and you can lose hours playing around with the range of creation tools. We'd suggest starting simple, working through the tutorials and not trying to do too much too fast.
We'll go into this more below!
Quick tip: How to navigate content while DreamSurfing. You'll find lots to explore in DreamSurfing – an easy way to start is to browse Mm Picks, where you'll find a host of content curated by Dreams' development team. You can also see the newest content made.
Shaping up: starting to create
Creating your own games can take a little time and commitment, but don't let that discourage you. Getting to grips with Dreams' tools is a bit like learning a musical instrument – the curve can be steep, but the pay-off is hugely rewarding.
Let the experts be your guide
The team at Media Molecule has carefully crafted every feature in Dreams to be as intuitive as possible.
To make sure no one is left behind, the studio has put together dozens of tutorials to help you master with every feature in your DreamShaping toolset.
These videos are curated in a logical order, so start with these and let your imp walk you through the basics.
Tackle one thing at a time
Games are multi-faceted things: environments, animation, music, game logic and more all come together to create the final experience.
Dreams gives you the tools to do it all, from sculpting your first coloured block to composing a bone-tingling boss theme, but trying to tackle everything at once might be a little… well, overwhelming.
Pick a starting point and focus on that. Dreams' central ethos is universal, so by doing one thing, you'll naturally develop an intuition for how others work, so that each new thing you tackle is a bit less daunting.
Get involved with the community
Dreams is a community – and it's a community dedicated to sharing - so don't worry if you find you're not as confident in one area as you are in another.
You can collaborate with other creators within the Dreamiverse, remix other people's creations or borrow items or environment they've already created.
Maybe you'll wind up being a killer sculptor or gifted composer, so play around and don't get discouraged if you're not a natural in every field - the community is ready to chip in.
Quick tip: Moving in 3D space. Get to grips with the grabcam. It's the most accurate and efficient way to move and look around in 3D space, so it's a good idea to get comfortable with it. Use your imp to grab anywhere with R1 and, while holding R1, use the left stick Left stick to move toward that point, and the right stick Right stick to move around it.
Getting together: Community Jams
If you're looking for inspiration, check out the Community Jam section. Every two weeks there is a new subject to work on, like "pirates" or "sci-fi". You can enter your favourite creation, participate as a judge, or browse the Hall of Fame to see the most popular entries.
Running start: Five beginner's tips from Media Molecule
Who better to get you on your way than the developers who've spent the last five years making Dreams a reality? Here are Media Molecule's top five tips for new players:
- Start small! You might want to create an epic RPG, but you'll find that easier if you create some basic things first. How about a tree? A mossy rock? Or use community creations to collage together the medieval tavern of your dreams.
- Search the Dreamiverse! There's a good chance someone else has made something in Dreams that can help you out. You can remix someone else's creation to fit your vision or to discover how they've created something!
- Join the community! The Dreams community is active, collaborative and very helpful. From Reddit to Discord to Twitter to YouTube, Dreams players have lots of helpful tutorials and advice. Not sure where to go first? Join the Media Molecule weekly streams on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5.00pm GMT for advice straight from the developer.
- Stick to it. It might sound cliché, but all the Dreamiverse creators started from scratch! Don't let the learning curve get you down and don't be afraid to experiment. There are often lots of ways to do something in Dreams.
- Decorate your Homespace! The Homespace is great for getting a handle on placing things in 3D space. It has helpful guides like surface snap turned on, to make it an easy place to start collaging.
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.