PS4 Exclusive Dreams: Media Molecule Gives New Info on Engine, Tech, Frame Rate, Music and Creativity
During the Q&A Session at the end of a livestream focusing on Tearaway Unfolded, Media Molecule Creative Director Mark Healey gave more information on the upcoming and still rather mysterious Dreams.
Below you can read a summary of what he shared:
- Haley realized that it was time to move on from LittleBigPlanet and to a new project jusut after LittleBigPlanet 2, but Dreams is like the spiritual successor of LBP; and embraces a lot of the same key ideas.
- The “main character” used by the player is referred to internally as “imp.” It’s going to be customizable, of course.
- The engine is incredibly versatile. The obvious and strong visual it can offer is the “kind of loose and impressionistic” style, but you can also do an “incredibly tight and crisp” style. You also have control over shiny or metallic materials, glow effect, and recently they added a subsurface scattering shader that allows you to make things waxy and really lush [Editor’s note: subsurface scattering is normally used for translucency effects, especially on human skin].
- The ambition with the engine is to let you create your own art style, even if there’s still a visual thumbprint, as you’re still using the same engine.
- Media Molecule is trying to makethe game very non-technical, so everyone can pick it up easily and understand it. You don’t need to be an artist to use it, but it has a lot of depth and it can allow you to use and improve your skills. As an analogy, a child can use a pen, but if you practice and use different techniques you can do amazing things with it.
- You will be able to create music in Dreams. One of the key guiding philosophies of Dreams is embracing the idea of a “performance.” The puppeteering scene from the PlayStation 4 debut conference is an example of how this idea applies to animation. It’s not about editing curves and moving keyframes. It’s about performing with the virtual puppets. That means that you can do it very quickly, but also that you can put a lot of emotion into it while you capture your performance.
- Music is a very obvious element to apply this idea of performance to. The developer in charge has come up with “genius ideas” so that anyone can do amazing things with the game.
- Media Molecule is going to make some initial content, that can be played out of the box, using exactly the same tools that will be available to everyone.
- Asked whether other Sony first party studios provided some helpful tips on development, Healey confirmed, and mentioned that at GDC there’s a “Creative Director therapy session” he goes to, where they sit in a room and moan about the pain of being a Creative Director.
- Asked whether the studio is aiming for 60 frames per second, he mentioned that it’s user created content, so they can’t stop people from making games that run slow, as it depends on what you put into your level. At the moment the creations they have been working on are “looking more like 30 frames per second,” but engine always get optimized towards the end, so they’re going to make it as efficient as possible.
- Healey agrees that the game is perfect for VR, and the idea of having a virtual dream that you can explore seems like the ultimate Grail, but for now the studio is focusing on the standard PS4 experience, but it’s “a no brainer” that they will explore VR afterwards.
According to previous mentions, we’re going to learn a lot more about Dreams at Paris Games Week. We’re getting close, and personally I can’t wait to see more of what Media Molecule is cooking up for us.