When you go to the main page on Dreams you are faced with two options – Dream Surfing and Dream Shaping. Now it is not unreasonable to believe that to search the community creations you go to Dream Surfing and to make something you go to Dream Shaping. Now while that is certainly true, what is not clear to new users is that Dream Surfing only shows “Dreams”. So what you never get when you do a search or get a feed in Dream Surfing are those creations that have not been packaged up into a Dream – which includes Music creations, Character models, Artwork, Sculptures, Prop creations and Game assets. “Dream Surfing” itself only shows Dreams and nothing else. In order to see those things you have to go to Browse and Create in Dream Shaping. In there you get everything – Dreams, Elements and everything else. However not everyone knows this.
Update 0.9 that launched on 2nd October further compounded on this by making a lot more feed options – so now the Dream Surfing section is a riot of options with many feeds offering you selections and recommendations and a lot more besides. However, the emphasis is completely on Dreams levels.
So what are Dreams levels? Essentially they are the games. They are the level linked creations. They are intended to be the completed games for people to play. But are they?
Some creators have worked out that in order to get their creations seen they have to package them up as Dreams. The problem with this is that you end up with 3 creations instead of one. For example, if I make a character model and I want to put it into a Dream I cannot do it directly, I have to make a scene to put the character in, and then make a Dream of the scene. So instead of creating 1 thing, I have to make 3. And when you launch that Dream it tells you that you need to launch all the component parts. So the feeds are being filled with the same creation 3 times. Is this a good thing? I am not sure it is. I am having constant messages that my local drive is full, and I hate deleting things because it keeps giving me troubling messages that I am affecting other creations which is really off-putting. Now, I have to make 3 times the amount of creations than I want to, just to make my artwork visible. So, I dont.
Now, for those who choose not to package up their creations in Dreams what sort of activity can they expect on their creations? Well, very little. Dreams get by far the most plays and likes. None of the top 100 is anything but a Dream. The top 10 creations for the past 10 weeks have only included one non Dream (and that was a gamejam entry). Music gets very little attention and does not get thumbs up. Assets get used by many people but are not thumbed up either – presumably because they searched within the game they were creating and never really got a chance to thumb up the creation they had stamped.
I have the highest thumbed up element – because it was the winner of a gamejam. It does not feature on any of the Dream Surfing feeds – not even the Gamejam one. It is effectively invisible now. Unlike other entries in the Most thumbed up feed it does not receive any further activity because it does not feature in Dream Surfing.
I am not a gamemaker. I am an asset creator, I make paintings. I make music elements. My assets get used a lot, and that is great, but I am not going to appearing on any most liked lists. I am now considering packaging up my creations as Dreams just for the visibility. Others may also do this, and may choose to just have the Dream and not make the assets within it public – because you can do that with a Dream and not with an element. I feel it may mean that less items will be remixable and usuable in the future.