Restructure Dreams into communities like Reddit: Dreams ≠ Youtube of gaming
Marcos Healey at Mm famously said that Dreams could be the "youtube of gaming". I think he is wrong for two key reasons:
The vast majority of consumers on youtube do not engage in making videos themselves.
Video games require larger teams or more time than youtube videos.
These differences mean that structuring dreams like youtube – browsing games with creators to follow – does not suit what is otherwise a great tool for creating and sharing games, music and art. Point by point, the issues are:
There is no easy way to collaborate with like-minded creators on Dreams. On youtube, this isn't necessary since most people don't make videos. By contrast, as discussed on this sub, most people playing dreams at the moment are actively engaged in the creation side, rather than the play side.
It isn't practical to just play games made by specifically chosen creators. People regularly watching youtube customise their own feed by subscribing to specific youtubers. However, because making games takes much longer and is more unpredictable, it would require following hundreds of creators to be sure that there was a game to play each day. The time for each creator to make a quality game is much longer than the 1/2 days it takes many youtubers.
The first issue of difficulty collaborating has lead many creators to come to places like reddit/twitter, but many are likely left behind on Dreams working alone until they are discouraged. The second issue of following creators has lead to players relying on the "trending" and "MM picks" sections, which rarely show the best creations Dreams has to offer, until those players are bored. On top of this, the two groups are completely disconnected – you go either dreamsurfing or dreamshaping – with creators rarely playing and players getting bored and not creating (or appreciating the work that goes in to making something). These issues pose a big problem for the long term success of the platform.
I've followed Dreams since before the beta (I remember when this video was less than a year old https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWgqm04c8Os lol), and I really want it to be the best it can be. My opinion is that it needs to be restructured into communities/hubs like on reddit. In this sense Marcos Healey was almost right:
Dreams = reddit of gaming
On reddit, people will only look at communities they are interested in. They will upvote good content relevant to that community, help people out, and collaborate in an area they are interested in. We need this exact thing in Dreams itself. There would be different hubs e.g. hub/RPG, hub/Nature, hub/Meme, hub/Architecture etc. In each, creators/players can post text with embedded dreams/scenes/elements/photos, and dreamers joined to that hub can upvote and comment. Comments could also have embedded content i.e. someone can post something remixable, and other dreamers can reply with their own remixes.
This would be a game changer for both creators and players. Creators would have dedicated hubs to be able to work with other people interested in particular genres, and ask for specific assets/feedback/collaborators/play-testers. Players could create e.g. hub/Speedrun , hub/Glitch and post games they've found for speedrunning with their scores or pictures of funny glitches. The things that users could do would be organic and unpredictable, but here are some examples of what it might look like:
> Someone who likes making nature scenes could post a little showcase of a forest in hub/Nature. Someone else comments saying, 'ah it'd be nice to put animations on the trees, can you add me as a creator/make it remixable'? That person could then comment underneath their version of that scene, so anyone following the thread could see the progression instantly.
> Asset requests. If you are creating an RPG game in a particular art style, you could post a collection of previously made assets (e.g. swords) to demonstrate the style, then request another specific asset (e.g scimitar). People could comment underneath their takes on this request, and the person making the RPG game could just choose which one was best. Even better, other people in hub/RPG could vote on their favourite if the creator is struggling to choose. Anything not used is still in the dreamiverse for everyone else to use, so unused assets aren't necessarily forgotten/ignored.
Provided every post in a particular hub was tagged (asset request/game/showcase/element etc.) then players/creators could filter posts to whatever interests them at that time. Good quality original RPG games would quickly rise to the top of hub/RPG, because everyone else in that community is interested in these. Players could then search filtering for games to see some great creations. Even better, they may scroll through some cool asset posts of greatswords and think about having a go at making something like that, or at least remixing it and seeing how it was made. The player–creator gap would be bridged by bringing together everyone interested in a particular genre, regardless if they were making or playing, just like how users of r/PS4Dreams may be creators posting something cool they've made or someone just enjoying looking.
Of course, commenting/posting with the dualshock would be slow, so the ability to use indreams.me for commenting would be key. That said, I genuinely think that this is a small, achievable change that would make a huge difference to everyone's experience of Dreams.
Please let me know if you completely disagree, somewhat agree or have your own suggestions!
Now that the original post on reddit has mostly died down with 110 points, 98% upvoted, I thought I'd collect some of the thoughts raised there by the community:
1. Issues with Reddit: A few users voiced concerns with using reddit as a template, since it often has poor quality of posting, requires moderation, can encourage posts to just be popular and so affect original ideas.
2. Homespaces for each hub: One comment suggested homespaces controlled by the moderators for each hub. It was also discussed that different related hubs could then be connected by level links.
3. Separating the community: One user commented that this could lead to a prevention of good cross-pollination of ideas.
Overall I would say the communityw feedback was overwhelmingly positive for hubs where users could work together under specific genres/themes, but whether reddit was the best model for this, as I suggested above, is not so clear.
I would also mention that although I called for a full restructuring, just adding a hubs area as an alternative place to post ideas/assets in addition to dreamsurfing/shaping would likely be the least disruptive and useful way to implement this.
To copy what I said on Reddit
"Honestly if anyone over a certian level could make communitys and they were player moderated like subreddits it could be really interesting (also you could call them like bubbles or something)"
This needs to happen. Hopefully Mm sees this post.
In total agreement with this idea, and the moderation point is okay because MM should be relying on us to help them, just like this feedback forums could be in better shape if they had some community admins to help merge duplicate/overlapping ideas.
But back to the main idea, this would really help Dreamers to shine by having a better way to interact with connect via hubs in Dreams.
This was copied from an original post on r/PS4Dreams - https://www.reddit.com/r/PS4Dreams/comments/h8wypd/restructure_dreams_into_communities_like_reddit/
One point raised here was the necessity for good moderation to prevent irrelevant posts. This could be an issue with this suggestion i.e. good moderators may be required to make it work.