Dreamweaving Principles

DreamEd IconDo you want to make a successful Dream that people come back to? Here are some ways you can make your Dream better. These principles are focused specifically on Dreams which can handle large groups in order to further help you with your group, private, and contest Dreams.

Good Dreamweaving includes everything from making sure that your patch has colors that mix well together, to having a purpose for each area in the Dream. You can think of Dreams as being a series of scenes. These include things like chat areas, games, and roleplay areas depending on what you want to have.

It is important for visitors to be able to easily navigate throughout your Dream, find fun things to do, hear everyone in the same scene, and have the information about your Dream at hand, so that players who visit your Dream will stay! There is also another section about different measures you can take for De-trolling your Dream.

Table of Contents

Dream Design

Planning the Purpose of your Dream

All good things start with an idea! Dreams are no exception to this. Working with a team of other players gives you different vantages and helps you narrow down what you want out of your Dream. You can have a brainstorming session to discuss what the Dream should be about and what features should be included.Furrabian Nights Starting Design

A good starting point is asking: What needs do you want your Dream to meet? Most Dreams need chat areas, or social spaces for players to talk. You might also want things like classrooms, staff areas, large meeting spots, roleplay scenes, games, rides, quests, upload areas, stages, and who knows what else!

Designing the Layout

It's smart to plan before you start Dreamweaving so your Dream has good traffic flow. For example, cities that grow too quickly without prior planning often have confusing layouts. A pre-planned design will help players navigate your Dream easily and reduce the time you spend making structural adjustments later on.

If you include too much of your Dream's story in the beginning, you will end up with too much to do and large areas that are mostly unpopulated. A new Dream should probably be no more than 100x100 tiles in the walkable areas.

Players like having other people around, as we are all inherently social creatures. If your visitors wander around in an empty Dream, it doesn't matter how nice it looks or how interesting it is, they won't stick around. Keep it small and make it very easy for them to find the main hangout spot!

You can always expand your Dream later as it becomes more populated and there is a need for it. With that in mind, you can make a maximum sized map from the beginning but only build in the center of the Dream. This gives you growing room on all sides.

FurN Hanging Gardens, with and without lighting

Things to Include

The main things you need in a beginning Dream are a chat area or two, possibly a large meeting area for events, and a few activities. Although chatting is the most common activity in Furcadia, your Dream will need something else for players to do or else they may not stay for long. Roleplay, sparring, games, events, rides, home building, story telling, etc. The list is endless. Incorporate both multiplayer and singleplayer activities so players can enjoy themselves even if you are not present!

You are telling a story with each scene in the map you build. Every scene should be about the size of the Furcadia screen and set the mood. This includes what you want people to do there and how you want them to present themselves. You are essentially setting the stage, except that the audience is onstage with you. That's why it's important to make sure there's room for the audience too. Everyone should be able to see everyone else.

You can also think of players who visit your Dream as being your customers. While you may need to have an area or two where only staff can go, keep it unobtrusive. After all, how often do you see restricted areas at Disneyland?

Blueprints are a great starting point to help you plan where walkways go and overall traffic flow through the map. However blueprints are just the beginning; you can always change things as you go!

Pineapple Lake Resort, from basic layout to final layout

Making Smooth Traffic Flow

To ensure traffic doesn't clog in your Dream, main pathways, doorways, teleports, and other entries should be three squares wide. Don't forget to edge pathways with walkable objects so players can get around.

Many players won't follow your paths and will just walk in straight lines around the Dream. Unless you need rivers and landmarks to block areas off, make your objects walkable for easier navigation.

This same idea applies to enclosed rooms: give plenty of moving places between furniture. Players will sit anywhere that is walkable, unintentionally blocking areas, so make it easy to get around them. Even better, you can make rooms a bit more open-sided so players can sit along the edges, if needed.

Managing Crowds

Landing spots are where players land when they enter your Dream. On main maps these come in three flavors: Moving landing spots, multiple landing spots, and single landing spots with flash crowd DS.

If you want everyone starting in one spot, you will need to add in crowd dispersing DS in case a crowd enters your Dream all at once. Normally, players land at the crossroads and can read signs and move on from there. However, when a news announcement goes out and suddenly 100 players are all trying to enter the same spot, you have chaos and many will just leave.

On some main maps this is handled with a command that is turned on just before an announcement. This DS makes the designated start area much larger and spreads the players out enough that they can move along. You are only likely to need this if you've asked for a news announcement!

If you have a Dream layout that works for it, you can just choose several spots for players to land. Be careful that the players don't get stuck someplace they will be lost!

Other things to keep in mind about landing spots include making them large enough, central to what's going on, and well labeled. Big event Dreams should have players land in the center with ways to go exploring clearly marked. If you have a quest or roleplay Dream you may want to start them at one end and let them explore through.

Helping Players Navigate Your Dream

Now that they are landed, they will need to know where to go, what to do, and how to get there easily. Entry text is invaluable for this!

Entry text tells your visitors what the Dream is about, why they want to stay there, what to do next, how to get there, and any URLs that give further information. The nice thing about entry text is that it can be changed on the fly. So if there's a special event going on, specific instructions can be given right away.

Along with the entry text, signs are useful in informing players what is down which path. Label all of the main areas in your Dream so it will assist in telling the story. Think of clever names for buildings and areas so they will feel like real places and increase the odds of players coming back.

You can also use colored squares across the path, NPCs, or other obvious objects such as signs. However, if it is really important information, have the DS emit it to them no matter where they walk. Not every player will bump a sign.

Teleports can also be used to get players around the map fast. You can use an iconic item such as a boat, portal, or booth for transportation. You can also give a list of teleport commands, which can give more information but are more difficult for the players. DragonSpeak buttons are also often used as teleports around your Dream, but remember to use the tooltips on them, too!

No matter where you send players, they are going to want to get back to where they started from if they get lost. The time honored F3 spots come in handy for this. Pressing F3 or control-U with nothing in your paws will take you back to the main starting spot of most main maps. Pressing multiple times will take you to various places of interest and popularity around the Dreams. This is also a handy teleport system! You could use DS buttons for this as well.

Making Interesting Chat AreasEventer's Enclave in Naia Green

Each Chat area is a little social scene where players can have conversations or roleplay sessions with each other. Remember from earlier how to set scenes and create a stage where everyone can hear everyone else? Well, when dealing with Chat Areas, this is extremely important!

As the Dreamweaver, your job is to facilitate this flow of talk. Whatever your area is; a bar, livingroom, campfire, water hole, etc., be sure to create a cozy, comfortable spot with the props needed to encourage the behaviors you want for the area. It is conducive to chatting if you have something for players to focus on, such as greenery, water, or fire in view of the Chat Area.

Despite the fact that the Dream editor can expand to full screen, the Furcadia view screen has not changed. Use the transparent rectangle viewport in the Dream Editor to set the size of each scene appropriately. You can check this by moving the cursor over each seat and seeing if all other seats in the area are within the rectangle. (Make sure you have the "Furcadia Field of View" turned on in DreamEd.)

While everyone needs to be able to hear everyone else on the screen, you also need to make sure that players don't hear other Chat Areas. Use buffer zones between each chat area so that one area can't hear half of the conversation from another. Measure these out and keep them in mind when making your blueprint. You can see how the chat areas, denoted by red pillows, are separated in this image.

Pineapple Lake Resort's chat areas are separated from each other

These buffers don't have to be black zones, either. Trees, paths, rivers, hallways, etc. work well as a buffer!

A stage, meeting room, or auditorium only needs those giving the presentation to be seen by everyone watching, so these areas can be bigger than a normal Chat area.

Going back a bit to landing spots, also keep in mind that players don't like to move far from where they land in a Dream. You can increase your Dream population if you have a friendly group of players in a Chat Area near the beginning of the Dream, who welcome players in and make conversation.

Those who visit your Dream are your customers, so help them have a comfortable and positive experience. Having a good layout, well designed scenes, interesting activities, and the information players need to enjoy themselves readily available to them, will help you increase the number of players who visit your Dream. And creating a good story and entertaining these players will make them love the Dream enough to make it their home.


De-trolling is our pet name for all that DS that prevents curious, bored, and annoying players from making your Dream less fun for others. Well over half of the DS on main maps is actually de-trolling DS! Visitors to your Dream are a lot like cats, and cats follow a set of basic rules.

The Cat Rules

  • Anything not nailed down is a cat toy,
  • Anything the cat can pry up with a crowbar is not nailed down,
  • Anything that is nailed down is a scratching post,
  • And anything edible is food.

You can apply this to your own Dream with the following thoughts in mind:

  • If it's a walkable square, they will walk there, even if you don't want them to.
  • If you don't have DS to say otherwise, players will sit/lay/chat wherever they please, even in doorways, narrow corridors, and in front of the watercooler.

However, this isn't because players want to cause problems. But how can you protect your Dream and have it running the way you want? Well, there's a few common areas that need attention in any busy Dream, and some specific types of DS that can be applied to busy Dreams in general to make them flow more smoothly. Once these have been covered, there will also be a few tips on managing Staff-only areas of your Dream.

Moving players out of Busy Areas

There are several high traffic areas of your Dream that players block which make travel difficult for other visitors around them. The most common of these are footways, major roads, and landing areas (start areas and teleports).

Doorways are obvious choke points in any Dream. They don't have to be an actual door: the bottom (or top) of a stairway, bridges, a narrow archway or gate in a wall, and a narrow alley between two buildings act much the same when it comes to the flow of traffic.

In general, doorways cause problems because they provide a spot where just a few players can impede the movement of everyone else traveling through that area (whether intentionally or unintentionally). Although this can be alleviated by making your doorways at least 3 spaces wide, this only goes so far.

No-Idle Zones

The space directly in front of a door, and sometimes the spaces on each side of it, should be reserved as a no-idling zone. Something as simple as moving everyone out of that area every minute or two (be nice, move them someplace within sight) can keep traffic flowing in your Dream with little to no attention from your staff.

Paths and landing spots themselves sometimes need to be cleared so that players wishing to travel quickly from place to place don't trip over them. But be careful about moving idle players in popular chat areas because they may get upset about being moved. Many players enjoy "sleeping" next to their friends and reading back over chat logs so they don't feel like they missed anything.

Walkthrough DS

Another common, but slightly more complex way of dealing with players 'in the way' is by equipping areas of your Dream with 'walkthrough DS'. This handy type of DS allows players bumping into others to teleport through people in the way.

A word of caution however: only certain areas of your Dream should have walkthrough DS, as carelessly scripted walkthrough DS can lead to players breaking quests, getting to areas they should not be, and generally being more of a nuisance than they were just standing around.

Automatic Queues

So what do you do with players that you want to have to standing around? Lines and queues are a vital nuisance when it comes to rides and other related activities, but an inattentive player at the wrong time can lead to players' tempers flaring.

These situations can be alleviated or avoided altogether by designing DS that moves players in line up automatically when the person at the front of the line gets to the front.

Silence DS

Another important area of any public or large Dream is speaking areas. Furcadia is a forum for open debate, chatting, and generally a place where many players talk to each other simultaneously. Auditoriums, stages, and other similar spots which have just one or a few players talking to a larger audience often invite unwanted comments from the onlookers. Proper use of the Silence DS with Regions can solve this problem, but it is a powerful tool that must be used carefully.

There are a few things to keep in mind with Silence DS:

  • Silence DS affects everyone on that region, even you are the Dream owner.
  • If you use a verbal command to turn off your silence DS it won't work if you're currently in a silenced area!
  • Make sure your stage/podium/throne is not in the silence zone so those presenting can speak.
  • Being able to turn off the silence zone to allow for applause, questions, or comments can make the audience feel more involved and less like captives.

Teleport DS

What do you do with a teleport that you don't want people to be able to block, but it's too important of a landing position to leave open to the 'or someplace nearby' triggers?

The best thing to do is stack several 'move them to this position unless there's someone nearby' triggers. If done properly the player will end up in one of a small number of 'approved' landing positions, but the multiple positions means it's harder to overwhelm them all. Just remember to clear this sort of landing area frequently!

Gettable Objects

Another important topic to deal with in public Dreams is the subject of gettable objects.Pillow Generator + Bored Furres = Pillow Carpet Any object that can be picked up can also be placed somewhere else in your Dream, or just held in someone's paws for days at a time. Keep this in mind when looking over your patches and placing objects, although you can change the objects' properties to make them ungettable in the Fox Editor. If you still want the objects to be gettable in some cases, you can either make a copy of it which is gettable or use a region to prevent people from moving the item.

There are also DS lines which can take the object right out of someone's paws if you don't want them to have it any longer. Consider periodically sweeping quest items out of players paws who are not currently in quest areas, and make dropped quest items outside of designated areas instantly disappear to foil cheaters.

This should be combined with general cleanup DS to keep your Dream tidy. Beware object generators, which is essentially DS that can make endless streams of objects that bored players can carpet your Dream with. These can be halted by cleaning up excess objects every few minutes, or using regions which don't allow players to drop objects except where they're meant to be dropped.

Resetting Quests

Similar to object cleanups, make sure that quests or puzzles in your Dream have a way to reset without having to reupload the Dream. Especially in contest Dreams, they need to be able to reset without you even being there!

Some very awesome contest Dreams have lost points because by the time the judge got there, someone else had finished the quest, lost the key item, or broken something unintentionally and ruined the Dream! A good quest not only works the first time, but also the 12th time, 24th time, and the 60th time. This requires a lot of testing.

Any square that contains both a walkable object and a walkable floor tile will be walked on unless you make those unwalkable or use an unwalkable region. Don't assume just because it's behind a wall, or protected by DS, or far in the back of your Dream that it's safe. Regions are your friend here!

Protecting Restricted Areas

So what about the back areas that are walkable, but that you want to protect, like staff areas? These are best served by specialized DS. Unfortunately, too many Dreams put a password or 'key item' lock on the main teleport to the staff area and leave it at that, or worse yet, only allow shared players into staff areas. This means that every single staff has to have share! Yikes!

An entry code lock does everything a share lock can do, plus more! Depending on your entry code, you can allow certain players into certain areas, allow some players to eject but not others, and all sorts of other levels and divisions.

The most secure type of lock is the name lock. It's next to impossible to circumvent, because only the person with that name can satisfy the lock's requirements. However, this can only be changed on Dream upload, and might require a lot of redundant DS code for all the different named players.


So how many actual trouble players should you be worried about, as opposed to random bored players accidentally or unintentionally messing up things in your Dream? For all the time and effort that goes into a well designed public map, the number of malicious characters you're likely to encounter is small, usually never more than 1-3 at a time.

So why secure your Dream at all? Well, the satisfaction and lack of stress when your Dream takes care of a problem itself instead of costing you and your staff valuable attention is worth every line of DS it takes. You can use these principles of Dreamweaving and De-trolling to ensure a positive experience for every visitor to your Dream!

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