Dreams under the Hood #2 with Alex Evans

Live streamed on Tuesday 26th November 2019

Tom is joined by Alex and John Beech to answer questions on Dreams

Video starts at 4:18

Alex starts with a disclaimer that this is not announcement stream for any new features that may or may not be coming to Dreams, and this video will be about what we have, not what we would like to see.

Here I have summarised what was said to clear succinct sentences. This is not a verbatim script.

Q. Why are Dreams fast to download?
A. All the contents of a Dream are bundled into one thing as you stamp them into your creation. When the game is accessed the PS4 recreates sculpts from the instructions it saved as you sculpted – so it repeats your actions of stamping, cutting, spraying etc. It can handle 100,000 sculpts in 1 second. The more flecks, the more thermo. It can only evaluate one sculpt at a time.So changing sculpts live in the game is currently not possible because it would cause serious delays in the game. If you use the same sculpts in each scene the download will be very fast because it has already downloaded the information once and will just reuse.

Q. What experiments did you do to set the thermo limits?
We just made the thermo limits the biggest we possibly could within the limitations of the hardware. We also use the same thermo limits to create in Dreams (campaign etc), and we had an issue with the multiple language sound recordings, so in a future patch we will be doubling the sound thermo limit because we need it ourselves.

Q. Do you use a dear im GUI for any player facing UI, if not is it a retained mode GUI?
A.No. It is imGUI style, none of it is retained. We call it a bokeh system.

Q. How does the fleck system work to create 3D graphics?
A. Each shape is based on a hull based on bricks and the flecks are placed on top. There are no polygons. You should never see the bricks.

Q. The Physics in Dreams is deterministic. What works for a 1600Hz monitor?
A. Deterministic Physics: If you press buttons at exactly the same time you get the same results. It works at 30 frames a second. But graphics can run at any frame rate. Dreams caps out at 60 frames a second. Too much logic and the game will slow down. But the graphics can remain at a high speed. So there are 2 framerates in Dreams. The option to unlink music from the framerate actually means that the timeline speed is adjusted to compensate for the framerate drop so the music does not slow down with the game physics.

Q. Would an offset tool be a thing? Allowing us to increase size of sculpts rather than just enlarging them.
A. You could add a soft blend sphere to get the effect. If we made it as a tool it would cause slow down of your level. The graphics draws an object close to the surface so an offset tool is not practical.
We discussed changing the maths gadget to incorporate trigonometry and this leads onto a more complex project. So we are working on your suggestions but sometimes they become bigger and take longer.

Q. How to make realistic waves? As seen on a previous stream.
A. Sorry we took it out.

John then demonstrated a method of animating a sculpt in one direction and moving the sculpt in another. Only works as an illusion close up.

Q. Volumetric point clouds? How did you come up with this technique?
A. Sorry it isnt a thing. I may have misspoke. Its point clouds. Fog is volumetric. The engine now is point clouds over a surface of a volumetric distance field which is raymarched over sphere tracing (Lex: note I have no idea what any of this means or if I have heard these phrases correctly).

Q. A question about biscuits.
A. Alex likes Bourbon biscuits.

Q. Has EA creations inspired your own creations?
A. Absolutely. We havent changed Art’s Dream but our future creations are definitely affected by seeing the EA creations.

Q. How does voxels affect the memory rather than normal methods?
A. It is slower for some polygon builds but faster for others. You can put texture on a shape much easier than if you were using limited numbers of polygons.




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