Dream Vs. Dream was a community-developed fighting fangame based on the 2004 cult classic exploration game Yume Nikki and several of its more popular fan-made spinoffs. Of the large and ambitious planned roster, only Nikki protagonist Madotsuki and .flow’s Sabitsuki were released as playable characters before the project disbanded circa 2013, due to a lack of experienced sprite artists and management disputes.
Alongside Arcade Child, indiePLASTIC/PsychoTR2, Ellamew, and Apple, I was one of the composers for the project. We were given a list of stages to be included, each of which was based on a location from the original games. Each needed a backing track which was handled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Yume Nikki and its assorted fangames have fairly ambient soundtracks with sparse, low-quality instrumentation. Most background music consists of very short loops that range from “atmospheric” to “musical terrorism” in terms of harmonic quality (LCD DEM’s soundtrack being the notable exception).
Converting the original songs into high-energy fighting themes required some creative thinking. Here’s a version of the main(?) antagonist’s theme from .flow:
Now see if you can detect the original melody starting at 0:10 in this concept I wrote for a story mode character theme. (Around 0:32 it segues into Heart Monitor Pathway.)
You can hear the Smile motif used again at 2:35 in the song I wrote for the Sugar Hole stage.
The level of creative freedom, combined with a passion for the franchise and very low expectations from the team (basically anything you contributed was good because we were all something like 14 years old 🤪) made it easy to pump one of these out every day, usually spending about an hour on each.
This put the audio team massively ahead of schedule compared to the character and stage artists, who had much more stringent standards in terms of quality and matching the source material. It gave me enough free time to work on extraneous stuff, like writing conceptual pieces, workshopping the GUI, drafting screenplays for story mode, designing sound effects, and experimenting with character voices. Some of the GUI elements you see in DvD gameplay videos are my work. I also did the voice acting for Madotsuki and her bastardized, Cheddar Bunnies-loving April Fools’ Day clone, Maddysucky.
Download the OSTs
The original Dream Vs Dream website and forums were taken down years ago, but you can still download volumes 1 and 2 of the soundtrack (released alongside the Madotsuki and Sabitsuki patches, respectively) on Pinkuboa’s Tumblr.
You can find even more unreleased themes by dumpster diving down my old Soundcloud account (warning: incoming yikes), mostly based on scenes from Yume 2kki and Yume Nisshi, which were next in the pipeline. These tracks date back to 2012, when I was first adjusting to Mixcraft 5. It really shows!