This post is written for those who are already familiar with Dreams by Media Molecule. It is meant to give a bit of a new perspective on the potential of this game. But first a small preface.
The arts have developed in stages, morphing together in history. From the time of the anicent greeks, first came storytelling. Storytelling like the epics of Homer, which were really communally shared stories, shaped by Raphsodes. Then came decoration, which involved into painting and sculpture, and then proper stagecraft and music, which eventually combined to form the greek theatre with two actors and a chorus.
The arts then melded together in the seveneenth century to form the opera. Ah, the pinacle of art! A place where music and drama were melded into one. Over the next century a lively amateur scene in music and cherades would form, and they became participatory forms of art.
Then, photography, and stagecraft melded to become the movie. Which took into itself music, and sculpting too, when intricate world were formed. But only with the creation of video games did this evolution of the arts come to it's current pinacle.
Yes, games are the only medium which incorporates sculpture, painting, theatre, writing, film and music. And has besides this added the art of gameplay. But there has been a massive drawback. Games have not been participatory on the creation side. Unlike a paintbrush or a flute, the interface of the art of games has been technical and hidden behind a massive barrier. And because of this, outsider art has been very limited. But this is about to change.
Enter Dreams; the game that as much as possible removes the barriers to creation, and in such a revolutionary way, that I foresee an entirelly new future within games as an activity. Now let me write about what I think Dreams will usher in in gaming:
1. A storytelling revolution
With such easy access to scenery and puppets, I believe more authors will chose to tell their stories via interactive scenes that can be filmed and published to youtube or other such sharing platforms. These stories need not be grand or complicated, or concrete. They can even be poems acted out and performed as abstract lines, or as dolls performing.
2. A musicians tool.
Wether you record everything, and then import it into dreams, or you make the music in dreams. Dreams will afford a way of sharing your music, both in the game, but also as a creation tools with natural exporting possibilities.
3. A new way of sculpting
Digital sculpting is of course an important artistic form today, but it has rarely been recognized as it has only ever been presented as part of another medium. But now, with Dreams, there are posibilities for artists to create both the sculptures themselves in a free and intuitive manner, but also to build a context for those sculptures that will let us view them as art objects. An artist can build a custom gallery in dreams, and present the pieces as art objects. Via Ps Vr it will also lend an extra dimentionality to the peices. New more abstract forms of dynmaic and living scultures can also be made by a skilled artist.
4. An innovation platform for VR.
Though the current crop of VR games has been interesting, the whole field has been characterized by the fact that we are currently taking baby steps. We are lacking in the share volume of experiences needed to find what games work best for VR. With dreams, we are now about to get hundreds of thousands of potential game makers, that will all benefit from each other's experience. This will culturally be a huge boost for VR enthusiasts, because the costs of testing new experiences will go drastically down.
5. A graphics revolution.
We have for a long time poo pooed voxel engines for being bad with textures and animation. It is true that there is a lot of innovation yet to be done in voxel engines. But, when it comes to textures, I think the critique is somewhat misplaced. VR affords one to paint the models directly, which is a much more intuitive process than wrapping a model in 3d art. From there one can innovate to let artists get more freedom in their painting process.
Now I want to highlight something different; A view to how Dreams is different and similiar to Lego.
Why are lego bricks such a good creative tool? Because they are steady units of space, that combine in predictable ways. And they are sticky. Unlike kapla blocks, their application is easy and durable.
Now what are the drawbacks? They are good for architecture, but famously bad for organic forms. They are also limited in number. Now what happens if we remove this last limitation? We get Minecraft.
The blocks of Minecraft most resemble lego bricks, except to make more is practically free. And look what differences in creativity we can get from that fact alone. Instead of a limited set, we get large scale buildings and space ships. Then, when we ad the concept and reality of cooperation, we get large scale cities.
The creations in Minecraft are stunning, but, there is a huge problem. It is not possible to make compilations of objects, and group these into yet large object. It is like we have every letter, but as soon as anyone makes a word, one cannot share that as a unit.
In dreams, you can share and edit more than letters, you can share books. Let me tell you a story.
One person makes a leaf. Another takes the leaf and makes a branch. Another takes the branch and makes a tree. Another takes the tree and makes a forest. Another plants the forest on an island. Another makes an archipelago.
In a few steps, we have added and multiplied the elements to become a world of activity. A world where any amount of plays can go on, where any amount of gameplay can happen, where music can live. And everything can be copied in as a collaborative effort.
Another example. Let us say that we want a medieval city. The question we need to ask is; have a hundred people made medieval houses? The probable answer is yes. And what are these houses filled with? Probably furniture from a thousand different dreams. And do you need a landscape to place your houses? I bet it is there. And just through that compositional effort, you will get more variety in your medieval city than any game developer has ever had. And through the style tool, you will be able to make a unity through it. Now, imagine what you can do with a little help from your friends?