Hi everyone. As I said when we started this blog, sometimes we might just show you cool and exciting stuff. Well, today is one of those days. I’m super pumped about this, as it relates to our recurrent theme on no-coding platforms, but also because it simply looks fun and amazing. I’m talking, of course, about the Dreams game, for PS4, which recently got a release date for 2020 🤞. This, lets get it right off the bat, is very similar to what No-Code tools do for websites and apps, but in a video game.
Some of you might know what I’m talking about (yeah, I saw your smirk...it’s fine), and some probably not, so I’m going to be a decent person and try to contextualize the people that are not familiar with the game and its fascinating history.
Dreams is a game developed (or in development? We’ll get back to that in a moment) by Media Molecule —the company behind the Little Big Planet franchise— and its basic premise is to be a video game design platform. Yes Kyle, I know is much more than that, but in a nutshell, I think we can describe it as such.
So, why is it exciting? Why are we writing about it in our sacred space, entirely dedicated to software development? Because, first of all, video game design is a type of software development, and also, because it works very similarly to the way No-Code tools work for web or app building.
I’m already seeing you in the back, raising your hand to say that Dreams is not the first game to allow that, and that we should check out, for instance, the level building options in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, on the OG PlayStation (it is pretty amazing). And you are right, Dreams is not the first game to allow level creation and customization, but is perhaps one of the firsts centered around it (apart from Super Mario Maker, maybe?) and most ambitious about it.
Think of it as with the No-Code platforms and tools. Webflow or Bubble are not by any means the firsts to try to change the software development game. Perhaps the Tony Hawks of this turf are platforms like WordPress, Wix, or Shopify. It goes without saying that they did (and still do) an amazing job at democratizing the possibilities to have websites without any coding knowledge and without the need to hire a professional.
But at a certain point those tools started feeling limited, similar to the way most level editors might have felt in the video game side of things (I’d like if my skate park wasn’t ALWAYS in a warehouse, you know?). We started to notice how every website looked the same and that was basically it, unless you could afford a developer.
And things got stale for a while on both fronts (video game and web design) until, curiously, around 2013. This was an interesting year of developments as, from one side, Webflow was founded, and from the other, the first tease for Dreams was revealed at the PlayStation Meeting. People were ecstatic about the game and it wasn’t until 2015 that it was officially announced. On 2019 the game got an early release and some people got to play it. Finally on February 2020, the game will have its mainstream commercial release.
Dreams was (is?/is going to be?... I don’t know) a game changer. True, it was not the first of its kind to do what it does, but it is the most powerful, ambitious and professional looking there is. It is actually the closest we can get as users to create actual video games, either in a 3D environment or in old school 2D fashion. You are able, not only to add some ramps and rails to your skatepark, but you can actually choose to get off your skateboard and make Tony Hawk solve a murder mystery.
Dreams allows you a level of creation that I’ve never seen before. You can create your world, your characters, their actions, their styles, and even the soundtrack. IT HAS A FREAKING MUSIC EDITOR! And it also thrives on community interaction. Not only can you create your video game —your ‘dream’—, but you can also play other users games and, if they allow it, you can even edit and improve them.
So it is very similar to what happened to the so-called No-Code movement. Over the last few years, thanks to tools like Webflow and Bubble, the No-Code possibilities are have taken over lots of users and companies. This is because, just like Dreams, the capabilities that these new platforms allow are unimaginably powerful and diverse, making it possible for non technical users to create complex and beautiful websites, mobile apps, CMSs and a whole lot more.
If you’re still not sure how No-Code tools work, check out Dreams, heck, play it if you have the chance! It’s full of dragging and dropping, of logic based decisions, but mostly, of creative display.