Simple Bits #4: Movies/Cut Scenes in Dreams


Calling Dreams a game is clearly a misnomer. You didn’t buy Dreams to play one specific game, did you? Or even a collection of games?

Nor is Dreams just a game engine, though I suspect that’s how it’s used by a current majority of users.

Rather, Dreams is a suite of creativity tools, some of which would be standalone PlayStation hits if they offered nothing more. The set of sound and music creation capabilities, for example, is as robust as Garageband or Logic Pro (once direct OSC midi input from an external instrument is reinstated*). And the results from Dreams’ sculpting and painting tools top those of SculptrVR, their only rival on PlayStation that I’m aware of.

The reason I bought a PlayStation console in order to “play” Dreams was not to make games. It’s to make movies. Well, movies is a bit pretentious — short animated cartoons, let’s say.

In this I am not alone. Storytelling is coming into its own on Dreams. My favorite Dream is the amazing House of Bevis, recently updated with more ingenious levels of wondrous playfulness. House of Bevis is in effect an interactive movie: you are invited to explore and dawdle as much as you like, setting various things in motion as you move about; but all the content is preset in the creator’s Dream container. There’s no shoot-‘em-up twitchiness involved, chasing or escaping things, no top score to beat, no dead puppets in need of revival after slipping into the abyss or getting killed by an enemy.**

Fortunately for storytellers, the world of gamers has fostered its own special kind of animation: the cut scene. Cut scenes are animated vignettes that stitch together shoot-‘em-ups into a story line. They give a game coherence and context.

In Unity and Unreal Engine, this gamers’ niche genre has exploded into Hollywood-quality cinematic creations. But given the complexities of those game engines and their dependence on pipelines of 3d modeling and post-production applications, they require teams working in professional studios to get the stunning results. As a complete toolset, Dreams short-circuits so much of that work with the result that individual creators can do big things all by themselves.

Thus, there will be in future Simple Bits an emphasis on tips and tricks useful to designing and crafting stories. Game logic will be explored and presented from that point of view. An ambitious goal is eventually to make a full-blown movie production lot available for you to insert your story. It will come with what you expect from a movie studio. We can work on building that together.

I understand Media Molecule is saving for the final Dreams release a set of features to be subsumed under Storytelling. That could be something astonishing. Meanwhile, I will be looking at ways you can simplify and streamline the animation process through the use of some Dreams’ gadgets. The video examples will be simple to the point of silly, but I won’t care if that means you learn something.

And look how much easier it will be for you to make something better!

P.S. FYI, here’s a video of one person’s experience of the House of Bevis; this walk-through comes with a lot of jerky user joystick movements which can be avoided by smooth camera animations, but all of what you see here was created 100% in Dreams:


* Confirmed by Media Molecule (in the Community Creations #8 stream) to be coming in the next Dreams update.

** Sony and Mm have yet to exploit in their PR a positive marketing advantage they have in the games world: the overwhelming amount of Dreams content is so refreshingly nonviolent and calmative. Parents in droves should be gifting Dreams to their children.


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