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?


So, it's been a while. Apologies; a combination of review duties and E3 2019 meant we had to put this project on ice for a few weeks. However, we now feel like we've made enough progress to share another small update on our silly Dreams game. In the last update, we threw in some delicious crisp-crunching sound effects, and wrestled with getting the salsa jar moving the way we wanted it to. If you missed the last issue, click here.

We figured it out just in time to totally change how the jar moves
We figured it out just in time to totally change how the jar moves

Back to the drawing board

So, to cut a long story short, we finally did figure out how to get the salsa jar moving randomly along its path. It was unpredictable, and looking pretty good. The above logic ensured it was working correctly, and we should thank members of the Dreams community for their help on this.

When it came to providing control to the right arm - the one that'll be doing the dipping - we just couldn't figure out a way to get it running smoothly. At least, not with the left stick. After lots of fiddling around, we managed to get the arm to move nicely between three points -- the far left, the far right, and the "middle". We use inverted commas because the middle of the path isn't actually the middle, but we're too far along now to fix it.

Anyway, this is using the D-pad rather than the stick. You hold left and the arm hovers over the far left, and likewise for the right. When you let go, it defaults to the middle. It hit us during this process that trying to line up the arm with the ever-moving salsa jar might not be that much fun to play, and so we went back to the salsa and threw out the old animations.

The jar moves between these three points on the table. Yes, we know it's on a slant
The jar moves between these three points on the table. Yes, we know it's on a slant

Doing the salsa (again)

Instead of moving along its path with no real restrictions, we decided to have the salsa jar move randomly between the same three points that the arm moves to. We highlighted these points by spray painting markers on the table, and recording new key frames for the jar moving from the middle to the right, the left to the right, etc.

Our salsa now has more logical components than ingredients
Our salsa now has more logical components than ingredients

We'll do our best to explain the logic to you, but as you can see, it's fairly complicated. The salsa triggers are Trigger Zones mapped to each of the three points on the table. These detect when the jar occupies each space. The three parts that have plug socket symbols on them are AND Gates. Basically, they send out a signal when two properties are true. Taking the top one as an example, if the jar is on the left, the Trigger Zone tells the AND Gate, and when the timer reaches its target time, the AND Gate sends power to a Randomiser, which then chooses between two animations. If the jar is on the left, it can either to go the middle, or the right, but you won't know which. The same applies to the jar when it's in the middle or on the right.

This might not be the most efficient way of doing things, but we figured it out ourselves and it works perfectly, so there.

Next steps

We've already started work on figuring out how to get the hand to dip down into the salsa jar at each point. It's not quite working yet, but hopefully we'll have that done for the next issue. We'll also need to make it so the chip gets covered in salsa when you dip it, and do the animation for when you eat it. We still have some way to go, but we're enjoying the process of making something relatively complex.

How are you getting on in Dreams? Have you been busy making stuff like us? Have a packet of crisps in the comments below.