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A Casual, Cornered: MyDream is Much More than a Minecraft Wannabe

By Beau Hindman on February 03, 2015 | Columns | Comments

MyDream is Much More than a Minecraft Wannabe

Recently I was introduced to MyDream, a multiplayer game that immediately made me think of Minecraft. The developer of the title has no issue with describing her game as Minecraft-like, but that doesn’t mean MyDream is just an exact copy of the popular game that was originally created by the now famous (and rich) Notch.

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Created by mother of two, Allison Huynh, who wanted a safer, yet still equally fun and creative game for her kids, Allison brings an authentic and innovative perspective to the creative gaming community, particularly amid controversy surrounding women in gaming.

The game allows players to join up with groups of 20 to create, well, anything they want. And the game boasts default graphics that are better than the default ones you’ll find in Minecraft. It appears to me that the real selling point of MyDream is that it is easy to run, looks great, features quests and a tight community and gives players a little bit more of a linear direction to travel in. It’s perfect for families or any new gamer.

The game has undergone several updates that include improvements to the game. MyDream will be launching on Steam Early Access on February 15th!

I asked Allison, the creator of MyDream, a series of questions. You’ll find her answers below!

Beau: Why would a Minecraft fan want to play MyDream? Did you keep Minecraft in mind when making this game?

Allison: We think there are multiple reasons why a Minecraft player would want to play MyDream.  The most obvious reason at a glance would be graphical superiority.  For some players it's not something that's important but for us and many others it's a much more satisfying experience to manipulate a more realistic environment.  Along with this theme includes the terrain manipulation and the interesting landscapes you can produce with it.  Another reason Minecraft players would want to play our game is because of the connected community we've managed to achieve with how easy it is to access any world at any time and share experiences with other players.  Also, a lot of creative people love the idea of creating quests and adventures in MyDream. We definitely have kept Minecraft in mind while making MyDream, as well as the many other games that focus on User Generated Content.

Beau: How is Mydream an "alternative" to Minecraft? What makes MyDream different?

Allison: The biggest way we differentiate ourselves is through our focus on making a cohesive online experience.  Your activities, experiences, and accomplishments are not confined to any single MyDream world, but instead contribute to a perpetual game experience.  World ratings, friends list, activity feed, and the ease of accessing worlds also contributes to the community feel of our game and further distances us from our competition.

Beau: Why did you make the game in the first place? Would it have been easier to make something simpler?

Allison: My personal goal was to make a game I could enjoy with my kids and friends. It's all about sharing worlds and experiences with others and MyDream gives you the ability to really make your worlds come to life by making quests, hiding treasures, and creating stories. It is definitely a challenge to make a multi-user open world game with a small team and we certainly could have tried to do something a lot simpler, but I think we have shown that a small independent group is capable of lots of cool stuff.  We've made great strides with our engine to date and have been focusing a lot on gameplay.  You'll be able to see the fruits of our labor with the next release on Feb 1st.

Beau: How long have you been making games? Can you give us a brief history of your time in gaming?

Allison: I have a long history in the robotics and tech industries and some of that bleeds into the game industry.  I incubated and co-founded MyDream Interactive at the AI/robotic incubator, Willow Garage, where I was one of the owners.  I also helped to incubate and invest in the leading augmented reality, virtual reality and smart presence companies, most which also got their start at Willow Garage. My partner, Scott Hassan, and I are the original seed investors in Magic Leap which is an augmented reality company.  I'm also an investor in Suitable Technology, maker of the Beam, which was used by Ed Snowden to give the keynote speech at the TED conference virtually.  Additionally, I'm an investor in Secret Builders which is a company that makes a 2d virtual world for kids and 50 Cubes, who are the creators of some of the top Facebook games for women.

Beau: What is important in a game that is made with family in mind?

Allison: We think options are extremely important when you're attempting to make an experience that a family could enjoy together as well as providing an environment where creativity can flourish.  We're less likely to succeed if we dictate one type of experience and "force" our players to conform to it.  To this end, we do our best to provide as many play options as we possibly can and give our players the ability to create their own adventures and experiences.  Options can of course lead to undesirable situations so we'll be giving parents the ability to decide what is and isn't appropriate for their children.  However, we do have an interest in allowing users express their creativity in whatever way they desire, so our aim is to allow parents to dictate what their children can see/do while not constraining the average player.

Beau: 2014 made some people think that gaming is not a good arena for women. I tend to feel that gaming is one the BEST arenas for women and that women participate in gaming more than many people know. As someone who has produced a game, what advice would you give to a young woman who has thought about making games?

Allison: Women are the majority of the consumers who are purchasing games—albeit most of them mobile right now. But the number of women playing and purchasing core games like World of Warcraft is on the rise.  We're very much a large part of this industry and if you want to join the industry and make games then go for it and do not allow anyone to attempt to marginalize you!

Many thanks to Allison for taking the time to answer my questions. You can check out MyDream on the official homepage!

Beau Hindman / Beau is a writer, artist, PR/CM, game designer and pro moderator, and he's been blogging since 2002. He lives it up in Austin, Texas with his community manager wife. He's also the author of Anna the Powerful, a sci-fi book about the world's only superhero. Buy it here: http://my.bookbaby.com/book/anna-the-powerful