Dream Vs. Dream (2013-2014)

Dream Vs. Dream was an upcoming free-to-play fighting game, based on Yume Nikki and its fangames, which died a long and drawn-out death circa 2013 due to lack of sprite artists and management disputes. I was one of several composers for this project, along with Arcade Child, indiePLASTIC/PsychoTR2, Ellamew, and Apple. The composers had a list of the stages to be included, each of which needed a theme, and scooping them up was kind of first come, first serve.

This was a pretty interesting creative process, as Yume Nikki and its assorted fangames have very minimalist soundtracks. Most background music consists of very short loops with one or two instruments, and they often aren’t very musically coherent (LCD DEM is the notable exception here). For example, here’s a version of the main(?) antagonist’s theme from .flow:

.flow OST – School

To convert this ambient loop into a high-energy theme suitable for a fighting game, I had to get pretty liberal in my interpretation. See if you can detect the original melody starting at 0:10 in this concept I wrote for a story mode character theme:

An arrangement of Smile’s theme starts at 0:10, which around 0:32 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).

Even in the event the original music was too slow and uneventful to be made into a fighting game (since Yume Nikki et al. are mostly ambient horror), you could use a hint of the melody as a starting point and then go completely off the rails, or just disregard the source material entirely. This 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 circa-14-year-olds) made it easy to pump one of these out every day, usually spending about an hour. This put us 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, improving the GUI, drafting screenplays for story mode, designing sound effects, and experimenting with character voices.

Download

Local RPG Maker archivist Pinkuboa did the work of compiling the two finished soundtracks for download after the Dream Vs Dream site went down a few years back. You can download the albums on her blog.

Most of the .flow arrangements and any Yume Nikki tracks I bothered to touch up represent the newest (read: least terrible) material, most of which are included in the download above or on my Soundcloud. The unused tracks (mostly Yume 2kki and Yume Nisshi remixes) date back to 2012, when I was first adjusting to Mixcraft 5. It really shows. You can dumpster dive for them on my old Soundcloud account (warning: incoming yikes).

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