Dreams Early Access PS4 PlayStation 4

Just as the headline states, we're getting our creative juices flowing with Dreams, Media Molecule's outrageously ambitious PlayStation 4 exclusive that opens the floodgates for user made content. Inspired by a commuter with an impressive appetite, our ongoing project is Snacks on a Train, the goal being a simple minigame about dipping tortilla chips in salsa. Sounds simple, right?


In the last instalment, we discussed changing the exterior of the scene to improve the effect of the train going through the countryside. In addition, we implemented a basic character into the scene and started building the integral parts of Snacks on a Train. Once we had a crisp and a jar of salsa, we began getting things moving with some animation. If you missed the last issue, click here to catch up.

So close, but no cigar (yet (we don't smoke))
So close, but no cigar (yet (we don't smoke))

Making our move

Or not. We were able to get the salsa jar moving smoothly from left to right, but making it move along that path somewhat randomly is proving more complicated than we anticipated. Attempting to figure this out has unfortunately slowed us down, hence the shorter update this week. It's difficult to explain the problem succinctly. Currently, we have it mostly working; a Timer counts down from a random time between zero and 10 seconds, and once it reaches the target time, it sends a signal to a Signal Manipulator. This gadget causes the animation timeline to go forwards and backwards, making the salsa jar move along the table with a degree of unpredictability.

The problem is that, if the Randomiser tells the Timer to count down to zero, the whole process comes to a standstill. This has left us scratching our heads. We've tried a few different approaches, and this gets us closest to how we want the jar to move, but this one issue spoils it, and there's no clear way of preventing it from happening. We've reached out to the wider Dreams community for advice, because we're out of ideas.

Eating crisps for work -- that's the real dream, and we're living it
Eating crisps for work -- that's the real dream, and we're living it

Make some noise

We take a break from animation and logic, as it's proving to be a tricky part of making things in Dreams. Instead, we focus on an aspect that's far more within our reach -- sound. It's a little early to be thinking about sound effects for our silly little game, but it's an important piece of the puzzle that we can easily implement.

Something we've spoken about a couple of times is ensuring that, when the character eats its chip, there needs to be a satisfying crunch. A good, solid chomp that provides the player with an audible cue that the crisp has successfully been consumed. As keen snackers, this falls into our area of expertise.

Fortunately, we have a PlayStation Camera hooked up and ready to record some top tier crisp crunching. A bag of Doritos in hand, we sit close to the microphone, stamp down a Sound Recorder, and, well, eat some chips. We record about half a dozen hearty bites, exaggerating the crunch far beyond what would be socially acceptable on a train. We also record ourselves taking a crisp out of the packet and shaking the bag, as we'll be needing those sounds too.

After cutting out the relevant clips, the result is six slightly different crunches that will play whenever the character shoves a salsa-covered crisp into its mouth. These effects aren't hooked up to anything just yet - again, this is very early in the day to be working on sound - but we're pretty happy with the results.

It's hard to convey sound in screenshots, but we're doing our best
It's hard to convey sound in screenshots, but we're doing our best

Next steps

We need to figure out this salsa jar movement thing. Once we have it working, the next step will be figuring out a number of fiddly things. We want to get the character's arms moving and controllable. We'll have to implement more logic to make the crisp appear when you reach into the bag, cover it in dip when you dunk it in the jar, and disappear when it's raised to the mouth. Even further down the line will be introducing scoring, a time limit, and other bits and pieces, but we don't want to look too far ahead.

A shorter entry this week, but we're hoping to bounce back next time with more progress made. How are you getting on with your own creations in Dreams? Grab yourselves a snack in the comments below.