When I started writing Simple Bits for this website, I envisioned providing very simple and limited tutorials to help absolute beginners. Not only Dreams beginners, but beginners unfamiliar with PlayStation as well.
That intention is no longer justified. There are now so many really good tutorials out there, most of them linked to from this website, that there’s scant need for me to add to them.
Especially given the sterling tutorials of LadylexUK, the creator of this website. Her clear, uncomplicated Dreams tutorials are, in my opinion, the best of breed. She picks exercises that focus on a simple challenge and creates useful assets to illustrate solutions.
She slowly and deliberately shows each step you need to take to reach the goal. She assumes no knowledge on your part, so nothing is overlooked. She takes enough time so you can follow along.
In utilizing all these approaches, she follows the basic precepts of good teaching.
So if you’re new to Dreams, here’s my advice for an effective learning strategy:
- First, go through all the Media Molecule (Mm) tutorials that come packaged with Dreams. They are a bit cutesy-corny, but from a pedagogical standpoint they are highly effective and moderately entertaining. These are the only Dreams tutorials that follow a logical sequence that consolidates information as you go along. Consider these lessons fundamental and mandatory.
- Next, go to LadylexUK’s channel on YouTube and subscribe. Go through all of her tutorials, and please do recreate everything exactly as she does. You may think doing that might be too easy or redundant, but you’d be wrong. You don’t learn piano by watching someone else play. If you’re like me, you’ll find it surprisingly difficult to recreate what you just saw Ladylex do in a tutorial. In my case, it was just getting the PlayStation controller, the DualShock, to behave. Navigating 3d space with any fluidity is still a bugaboo for me; but with practice I’m getting better.
- The next resource literally at your fingertips are the embedded tooltips for each Dreams gadget. Hover your imp long enough over any gadget, and up pops a box that not only explains what the gadget does, but there’s also usually a quick tutorial on how you can see the gadget work in an example. Try several of these. They are easy and provide instant gratification and insight.
- For getting a more comprehensive overview of what many of the Dreams gadgets do, utilizing short, simple videos, check out JimmyJules153’s offerings, either via this website or YouTube. He uses good examples for each gadget, though you may have to view his videos more than once, because he does move fast. On occasion he skips over steps, assuming you know what he’s doing and why, so be prepared for that. But each video is concise.
- For advanced topic videos, NeonTheCoder’s are long and often ambitious and convoluted. But they bristle with creativity and clever approaches. But be prepared for a rollercoaster ride, especially towards the end of streams when he feels pressed for time. In one video he zoomed so fast through so many gadgets and connections that no amount of replays helped to figure it out. Also, looping in the background in his videos is a highly annoying beep-boop sound track that is useless background filler. It’s a measure of how good his stuff is that I put up with that sonic torture. His work can also be found here and on YouTube.
- Media Molecule Jams. From the creators of Dreams, you are treated to hour-long (or more) sessions in which their most talented people demonstrate how they would go about doing something challenging. Content is varied and consistently interesting. It could be a sculpting session, or composing music, or designing and executing an entire level. These sessions are all archived on YouTube. But I suggest saving these videos for last as you progress, for two reasons. First, these Mm people have lived for years with Dreams, so they zip through most of what they’re demonstrating, apparently assuming you must be as adept at Dreams as they are. Only after 10 weeks of concentrated learning am I only now able to keep up with them. Second, these videos if seen too soon could, ironically, discourage you from learning Dreams. Precisely because these Mm folks assume all the complex stuff they do so deftly is so simple, so, hey, anybody can do this. Not so. To master Dreams, you’re going to need lots of study and practice. It has many parts, and combining them effectively and creatively is seldom obvious.
Anyway, the foregoing are just suggestions. There are several other creators of tutorials who are very good. I happened to pick some favorites, and you’ll no doubt have yours.
Dreams is a good name for what is a great game of games. Like language and music, it is another expressive tool to help send your voice out into the world. How you get there will be as unique as you.