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A Week of Lucidity: Night Six (Games) January 10, 2010

Posted by Andor Saga in Game Design, Lucid Dreaming.
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The last few days I’ve been practicing lucid dreaming. This is something I practiced a few years ago and I wanted to get back to it. I haven’t had any success in becoming aware of my dream state this week, but I have made progress in recording my dreams, which is a key component of mastering the skill. You can check out my past few blogs here:

To try and attain lucidity, I have been recording my dreams in my dream journal, doing reality checks often and writing blogs. Blogging may seen like an odd way to practice, but anything which involves thinking about lucid dreaming can help. To further immerse myself, I decided to start re-reading Stephen LaBerge’s Lucid Dreaming book. This is a great introductory book on the subject. It explains the subject, the sleep cycle, some techniques and many other useful facts. The book mentions how dreams inspired and helped famous individuals in their work. For example, Robert Stevenson credits much of his work on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to his dreams. And it was Friedrich August Kekule who had a day-dream of an ouroboros, at which point he realized the chemical structure of benzene. There many other cases, but they aren’t that surprising. Sleep relaxes and helps us make interesting neural connections. Dreams present us with sensory imagery which we can interpret and use to create innovative ideas.

Lucid Game Design

While reading the list of famous stories credited to dreams, I remembered I read something similar in one of my Game Developer issues. It was an article about a DS original IP titled Scribblenauts. In the game, the user controls a cute avatar and provides it with objects to solve puzzles. Objects are created by writing down their proper names such as “pencil”, “book”, “bazooka”. Whatever the user writes is spawned in the game and reacts appropriately. Jeremiah Slaczka is the director and cofounder of 5th Cell, the developer of the game. How is this a related story? Well, the game started with a dream of course. Jeremiah was trapped in a room and was required to escape to the next room by using the objects at hand. He later played with the idea of rooms and words and came up with the concept. Again, this is only one case, I’m certain many other games have similar stories.

Games are an interactive, graphical and story-based media. They are therefore an excellent subject in which to import interesting concepts retained upon waking from dreams. But what if these dreams are lucid? The walls of creative content melt away. Imagine what a game designer and master oneironaut could create. They could place themselves in a world and feel what it would be like to actually be within their game. What ideas would work, what mechanics would be neat, what characters would be interesting to interact with. An extremely useful form of game prototyping!

Whether you’re a biochemical student trying to figure out an assignment or a marketing director looking for a fresh new idea, dreams are a source of great ideas and answers which you can tap into. Going lucid is the obvious next step where the possibilities are endless and benefits are only limited to your own imagination.

Keep Dreaming