I’m Matt, a 23 year old motion designer and aspiring game developer with ambitious ideas. Dreams Central is a passion project of mine which is a culmination of everything I love about games in general. This project has been in the works for almost 2 years now and I’ve mostly been working solo with a little help from other Dreams creators along the way.
WHAT IS DREAMS CENTRAL?
Dreams Central is a community-focused interactive social entertainment hub featuring minigames, theme park attractions, various public spaces and personal apartments, giving players an immersive world to experience many different games and environments as well as having a virtual space to relax in.
The idea is to build an interconnected world which showcases the best content the Dreams community has to offer. Initially, there will be 3 main ‘dynamic’ community spaces which will be constantly evolving with new creations from the community:
- The Community Arcade will feature games (thanks Pixels jam),
- The Cinema will showcase animations,
- The Gallery will showcase art & characters.
Overtime, Dreams Central will expand with new official spaces as well as community-based promotional spaces which will allow creators to showcase their games within the resort and potentially gain a following. Here’s an example of what that might look like.
INSPIRATION & DIRECTION
The game that has influenced Dreams Central more than anything is PlayStation Home. Home was a 3D social network on the PS3 with stunning realistic environments and a really interesting concept behind it. Home had a vision that was ahead of its time which I believe stemmed from The Oasis from Ready Player One.
The initial vision for Home was to build an immersive and connected virtual world that would give players a place to relax and socialise between playing games. After Phil Harrison left Sony, they lost the initial direction and it turned into a bit of a microtransaction nightmare.
During the era of PlayStation Home, both players and technology weren’t ready for such a grand concept based on The Oasis but I’m convinced that the world is ready for an experience like that which is why I’ve dedicated my life to building my own version. Dreams Central shares the same concept as Home, as well as the art direction. I’m a huge fan of modern architecture so I decided to have a contemporary theme throughout the resort.
Games like ThrillVille and Planet Coaster have also had a huge influence on the direction of the project. Both of these games are theme park management simulators but ThrillVille actually let you explore the park and go on all of the rides. Most of the rides were converted into minigames which is what I intend to do with the second phase of Dreams Central.
Building a theme park from scratch with fully interactive rides & attractions is a huge undertaking which is why I hope to work with committed creators and receive financial support to help bring this vision to reality and allow it to reach it’s full potential.
Planet Coaster is an incredible game with good vibes all around. The soundtrack, sound design, art direction and UI design really are top tier and at the level I’m aiming for with Dreams Central.
When you enter Dreams Central, you’ll be taken to the Appearance Editor where you’ll be able to change your gender, head type, skin colour, hairstyle, eye colour, etc. You’ll also be given a selection of starter clothing to choose from.
Once you’ve created your avatar you’ll enter the resort’s Transit Station via monorail. The Transit Station will ultimately be the access point to other worlds that get added to Dreams Central in the future. Players will walk up to the monorail and choose the world they wish to visit before travelling there. The station features various stores such as furniture, clothing, hair and apartment stores. Players will be able to earn credits by playing minigames and exploring different areas within the resort and then spend them in the Transit Station shopping mall.
Apartments are the personal spaces in the resort and often will have a contemporary design. Players can purchase apartments with their credits either at the store or directly outside the apartment itself. These spaces will be customisable with furniture that can be earned from minigames and/or purchased at the mall.
Throughout the resort there are various spaces that feature minigames that people can earn credits from. For example, the Arcade Lounge hosts pool, bowling and air hockey whilst the Sports Arena will feature a basketball shootout minigame and Spaceball. There’s also a turf wars minigame in Bounce Nightclub called BattleBall where players use space hoppers and bounce on tiles to light them up to their team’s colour.
A big focus after Dreams Central releases will be to expand on these activities giving players more to do. The more minigames we have the better since they’re at the core of the game and they allow players to gain access to new areas and personal apartments with the credits they earn.
THE DEMAND – FILLING A VOID
Since the closure of PlayStation Home in 2015, the idea of a social entertainment hub has been attempted but never really filled the void that Home left. The concept has frequently been mentioned over the past 5 years and is clearly something people want. Here’s a few comments from gamers on the topic of a social hub relating to Dreams.
There’s a lot of potential around this idea and I want to fulfil that. I am more than happy to work with Media Molecule on Dreams Central because I believe that it could do a lot for the community and working with Mm will only improve the experience. Whether it’s creating minigames, theme park attractions, personal apartments or completely new ideas, I think it would be great to partner up and make something revolutionary.
FUTURE PLANS & POSSIBILITIES
As mentioned before, phase two of Dreams Central is to build a theme park. This will be post-release and will feature many rides and attractions initially within 4 themes: candy, space/futuristic, tiki/tropical and magical forest (Avatar inspired).
Aside from the park, my goal is to expand Dreams Central with more minigames, public spaces and personal apartments. I aim to keep Dreams Central active for as long as possible without straying from the core concept. In the future we’ll be able to involve the community a lot more by hosting competitions for in-game rewards, adding more community-made games/creations and hosting events.
An example would be to build on the DreamsCom idea by getting a hand-selected group of the best Dreams games of each year and featuring them in a professional arena similar to E3. By limiting booths to the best creations, it will ensure quality and although it leaves creators out it will give new creators something to strive for as well as adding value and pride to the booth. I created a virtual E3 space in a game called Tower Unite a couple years back & I’d love to improve on the design.
There are lots of possibilities with a project that’s so expansive and I can’t wait to see what Dreams Central looks like a few years from now.