Media Molecule, the game developers rich on player creation and imagination released Dreams earlier this year (2020).
A collection of pre-built, player built and your own game wotlds to explore, customise and submerssive yourself within.
A game in a game in a game in a world of games.
Dreams is soon to have a PSVR update – which elevates the imagination and creativity experince a thousand fold as you embrace Dreams in an all-encompassing 3D environment.
With the major update to the game to be released soon shane had a distant chat with Mark Healey, co-founder of Media Molecule and creative director of LittleBigPlanet and LittleBigPlanet 2.
Shane: Hi Mark, thanks so much for chatting with STG. You started your video gaming development career back in the days of Commodore 64, did you ever think that games would be what they are now?
Mark: Ah yes, my first commercial video game was built for the Commodore 64 (KGB Super Spy for Codemasters) and the beauty of the Commodore was that anyone could program on it.
I am not surprised that video games have gotten to where they are now and the level of detail and play, so yeah, it doesn’t really occur to me that I would be putting so much of my effort into making something like Dreams in the future. I always dreamed of having something like that myself when I was younger, so I think in a way this is me kind of serving my younger self or anyone that’s like me, that was desperate to be able to do those things but didn’t necessarily have the knowledge or the or the resources to do it. Maybe this is my spiritual mission in life or something.
Shane: Fast forward to early this year – Dreams – what was the lead up to this game, as the massive endeavour (and game) that it is.
Mark: So we did LittleBigPlanet.
Then in many ways Dreams sort of like felt like the next logical step, really. Although, when we took that step I don’t think we actually really sat down and thought about how ridiculously ambitious it was, so um, but you know, once you’re in it, you’re like well we’ve started so we need to finish now. We just carried on.
I’m very, very proud and happy that we did do that actually, I see some of the things that people have been making with it I think it’s fantastic. I think we’ve still got some way to go to make it easier or for the more casual side of play. The tools we’ve got, they have got quite a hard learning curve, but the people that persevere make amazing stuff and now the mission for us is going to be about, okay, let’s reduce those barriers, but obviously VR, is one step towards that.
As in, when it comes to sculpture and working in a 3D space, being in VR is just so much more intuitive, you don’t need to go through some abstract kind of interface to work out how to put something over there, you just put it over there with all the skills that you’ve learned since you were a child.
Usually DualShock and VR sculpting is suddenly taken to a whole new level because of camera tracking where you can get all the angles in there as long as you keep the light bar visible.
So it’s, um, I’m really excited to see what people are gonna do with it because, you know, putting that kind of power and technology in ordinary people’s hands. There’s not many people that can sit down and decide they want to make a VR experience at the moment. You’d have to download some quite complicated engine and work out how to get the gear all set up, blah blah blah. It’s a nightmare. Whereas now, you’ve got a PlayStation and PSVR to plug in and sit on your sofa and being up in a virtual world. I think it’s really exciting, because I think the kinds of ideas that you get from people that aren’t necessarily in the games industry could be really fresh and exciting.
It’s gonna be really interesting to see where it goes. Yeah. Almost it’s like crowd-sourcing VR experiences in a way because you know obviously there’s a finite catalogue, on the PlayStation and, in my mind, still a relatively new medium not really pushed to the boundaries of what a VR experience can be so it’s, you know, let’s throw thousands of people at it and see what happens.
Shane: Media Molecule have already made a game (Dreams) so expansive, why throw VR in to the mix?
Mark: Because we want it to be a complete and holistic tool. I mean the thing that I would love to see in the future is that it almost comes pre-installed on the PlayStation or something and I mean obviously that’s just me, saying that but um, you know, go back to the Commodore 64 that you brought up the thing I still love and I adore about it is that it came with the ability to make things on it. It’s true.
Did you know that, in my mind, that is why the games industry exists in the first place. You know, so you know when the when the consoles first came out, I loved them obviously it was like well, arcade play in my hands, but how to make something for it? Suddenly I felt suddenly felt a bit shut off you know so, in my mind, these things should come with a development system on them as well. It’s not just about consuming things but you can create on it as well. It’s got the power to do it so why not.
It’s pretty much driven by that kind of love of the old 8BIT computers and the fact that people could make stuff on them. I realize people can do stuff now, you can download Unity and all of that, of course, and that’s brilliant but that’s still quite a technical jump for a lot of people. So, yeah, very much driven by that really.
Shane: What can Dreams players expect from going from a 2D world to 3D in VR?
Mark: Well I mean anyone that’s used VR will probably talk about you know the sense of scale and things that you get when you’re in VR. You really do get the sense that if a space is big, it feels really big.
So it’s just it’s a whole new level of immersion.
I mean that’s just talking about VR in general, in terms of Dreams, ,we’ve tried to, not to put in too many barriers, like, there’s no extra limits in terms of what you can put into a level for example compared to what there was before. As a creative, you know you need to be more concerned about the framework because the framework has to be above a certain threshold for it to work in VR.
But yeah, in terms of player, I mean you can have just a never ending stream of virtual reality madness I suppose you know this.
The other thing will just be a fun, fun place to go and explore and I’m hoping that someone will come up with an amazing new VR experience that almost feels like a new genre or something that’s always what’s been my hope for Dreams in general – that someone makes things that are just that, you know, just expand the palette of what the games industry is as much as I love it, there’s always room for more ideas I think it’s quite easy for big developers to get channeled into being safe for obvious reasons. So, yeah, I love bringing the madness.
Shane: Fantastic, thanks Mark we are all looking forward to the Dreams PSVR update real soon and appreciate yourself talking to us today.
Dreams’ PSVR update is scheduled to release on July 23rd 2020.
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