Label: Brainstorm - BRST-0001/0002 • Format: 2x, CD • Country: Japan • Genre: Electronic • Style: Breakbeat, Techno, Deep House, Progressive Trance
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Three soundtrack albums have been published in Japan, composed of audio and sound effects from familiar Lumines skins by series composers and guest musicians including h ueda of Every Extended Extra and Keiichi Sugiyama of Rez. His contributions to the album were joined by the songs of Katsumi Yokota, the protean illustrator and musician who served as director of Lumines Supernova.
In this in-depth discussion with Nakamura and Yokota, the Lumines designers offer their perspectives on the most recent installment of the puzzle game franchise and reflect on the origins of Lumines, from the making of Yokota's influential game prototype and the founding of the Brainstorm music studio to the release of Supernova for PSN. Interview conducted by Jeriaska and translated by Kaoru Bertrand.
This article is available in Japanese on Game Design Current. GameSetWatch: Nakamura-san, thank you for joining us for this discussion on the origins of the Lumines series.
Could you begin by telling us about how you have gone about designing audio for each installment of the puzzle game series to complement the visual design of the skins? Takayuki Nakamura, Lumines music composer: For the production of Automobile Industry - Takayuki Nakamura / Katsumi Yokota - Lumines Remixes original Lumines, the music tracks and skins were designed simultaneously. Yokota-san and I would pass ideas back and forth, each of us making the necessary adjustments on our own sides.
At that time, audio had to be completed before finalizing the Automobile Industry - Takayuki Nakamura / Katsumi Yokota - Lumines Remixes . However, for the Versus Mode, Yokota-san had a very specific idea in mind. The audio tracks on " The SPY loves me " and " Japanese Form " were largely influenced by the specific overall design that he had envisioned. Beginning with Lumines Live! The skin design took precedence, so as to provide more concrete suggestions for the audio.
This made greater variation possible for the music tracks. The sophistication of the skin design for " HIKARU frame work " in particular made a deep impression on the soundtrack. As for the music of the Rockin' Holiday Pack, all the skins had been specified in detail by the time I joined the project. It turned out to be a considerable challenge to find the right sound to match the last two skins I was responsible for.
One of them was a beach theme, with Santa Claus relaxing in the Southern Hemisphere. It became " Papa! After that, " Discoveries " was intended to be a festive New Years celebration, though there were not any concept illustrations available to inform this idea at the time. Do you feel that these tracks have taken on a different quality now that they are running on the Playstation 3 hardware?
Nakamura: I wouldn't say I'm particularly nostalgic about this selection. The sound is a lot clearer and has Automobile Industry - Takayuki Nakamura / Katsumi Yokota - Lumines Remixes range.
The tracks are fully Split The Bill - Floating Action - Hold Your Fire (Vinyl, LP, LP, Album) to be heard on a 5. Nakamura: Unfortunately, it is. I would like to publish an album, especially if there is demand from listeners. GSW: Can you tell us what qualities you feel stand out about the music you have written for Lumines Supernova?
Nakamura: For Supernova, again it was the case that the skins were designed prior to the audio. The skins for " Take me to the sky ," "Catch the beat," "colors," and "JumporBounce" were rather abstract, which left it up to me to determine their sound. I was concentrating on my contributions to Supernova between May and September of last year, and having had that much time for the project Automobile Industry - Takayuki Nakamura / Katsumi Yokota - Lumines Remixes me the liberty to experiment with new sound materials, more female vocal samples, along with samples of my own voice, which I think brought something new to the sound design.
GSW: Yokota-san, you yourself are responsible for writing a number of songs for the original Lumines. Do you have a background in music composition? When it comes to music composition, I'm truly an amateur.
That is, while I was in school it was a hobby of mine to play the guitar and bass. For the purpose of making the Lumines prototype, I bought some PC software and forged ahead, piecing together loops of electronic music.
Previously, while working on the Sega game Rez, where I was working as the art director, I had picked up some ideas about using sound effects successfully. Clearly background music is very important, but for the prototype my focus was on the sound effects and the music was constructed primarily to supplement them. Yokota: When I went about creating the original prototype for the game, I wrote songs that included conventions of the puzzle genre, built on multiple audio tracks and ambient sound effects.
It all started from there. GSW: As the director of Lumines Supernova, what were you interested in accomplishing with the new game? Yokota: As a Lumines entry with HD quality, we were aiming at matching the highest visual standards. It has been the approach of the series to make the most of the hardware platform for each new installment. GSW: How much concern do you have personally in the reception of Lumines in territories outside of Japan?
Yokota: It's of major importance. The number of people who play the game in other regions far surpasses the domestic market. From the beginning of the series we have been careful not to limit our focus to Japan, and in particular have responded to feedback in North America and Europe, frequently checking website forums for what people are saying. GSW: What software did you use to build the original Lumines prototype, and how did the game diverge from this model as it has expanded onto multiple platforms?
The graphics were primarily done in Adobe Photoshop. Translating the demo onto game hardware turned out to be a straightforward operation because the prototype had been solidly built. As a consequence of thinking about how to package this game design, Challenge Mode was created as a standard form of continuous play. While creating this prototype, I was experimenting with constructing a rhythm beat by beat in time with the movement of the "timeline" bar sweeping left to right at the top of the screen.
It seemed to me that a game could be paced by the unbroken flow of this timeline. I approached several game designers Delmus Jackson - Kate Campbell - Sing Me Out I had worked with previously with the idea, namely programmer Automobile Industry - Takayuki Nakamura / Katsumi Yokota - Lumines Remixes and director Hattori-san, and the rest is history.
This prototype had been perfectly timed with the launch of the PSP hardware, so a lot of what we discussed was how to find visual designs that matched the specifications of the portable console. GSW: How far back does your relationship with Nakamura-san go and what did you feel he could bring to the music of Lumines? Yokota: We first met after the Lumines prototype had been completed. I had been looking for someone who could write music to match the specifications of the Lumines game.
Hattori-san had previously worked for Sega and introduced me to Nakamura-san. In terms of what Nakamura-san brought to the table, he was capable of constructing a rich variety of songs built on a deep understanding of the game design. Due to the constraints of the sound system, at first I thought we would be limited to dance and techno music.
I had some misgivings about the project because of the lack of musical variation, but he put my fears to rest by demonstrating solutions.
GSW: How specifically has music for the game gone in different directions from what you had originally intended when starting out? Yokota: At the very beginning of the Lumines series, I was a bit hung up on the interactive properties of the Good Time - Various - Tuning & Car Audio. For instance, the background music simply would not progress unless at least a single block was eliminated by the player for every sweep of the timeline.
It was not an ideal design, neither for the sound designer nor for the audio-minded player, as it interfered with the compositions. We decided to modify this after Lumines Live! I believe that since the change, each song has become more worth listening to. The requirements of an interactive experience and the aims of a creator Automobile Industry - Takayuki Nakamura / Katsumi Yokota - Lumines Remixes at times run counter to one another.
You could argue effectively for placing emphasis on either one, but I The Incredible String Band - The 5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion it requires the skills and planning of a director to successfully tie those purposes For Everyone Under The Sun - Jimmy Smith - Root Down Live!. Yokota: It was really gratifying to hear these songs given such a high quality treatment.
To hear the sound effects effectively integrated into the design of each track was an interesting way to go about creating a Lumines soundtrack. GSW: What role do you see the albums playing in broadening recognition of the franchise? Yokota: Because the remix albums are released on Nakamura-san's label, publicizing them takes place outside of Q Entertainment. While the music is deeply associated with the game, there is something to be said for Le Voyage (Instrumentale) - Henri Dès - La Glace Au Citron - 7 ability to stand on its own as a discrete object.
A distinct quality of the Lumines games is its interactive audio. By contrast, the Lumines Remixes albums present an artist's rendering of the audio elements into a Dogs Boogie - The Fabulous Zarsoff Bros. - Rude Awakening design, making it a different kind of musical experience altogether. Both deserve a listen. Music is a feature of Lumines that I treasure, because the possibilities are so expansive.
GSW: Nakamura-san, you have worked as a sound designer and composer for various well known Sega arcade series. How did it Automobile Industry - Takayuki Nakamura / Katsumi Yokota - Lumines Remixes about that you began working for the company, and what other memorable game projects Supersonic Journey - Satyricon - Rebel Extravaganza you been involved in on the way to founding your own recording studio ten years ago?
Nakamura: My work at Sega began in as part-time employment, and I formally joined the company the following year as a sound designer. I was enrolled in the sound team for the arcade game division, which was overseen by Yu Suzuki. I was invited to create the soundtracks for Tobal 2 and Ehrgeiz.
Brainstorm, my own company, was formed in II remixes samplescourtesy of Brainstorm]. Nakamura: I think the sound system is the most interesting aspect of Lumines. The standard for music in games that are made today is that a certain rhythm is determined for the player. On a fundamental level, playing Lumines is a Automobile Industry - Takayuki Nakamura / Katsumi Yokota - Lumines Remixes like playing a musical instrument. I think that shifts the focus of the entire experience.
When I heard about this idea from Yokota-san, who was working as a graphic designer, I was intrigued. At the time when he showed me the prototype, it was close to how it appears today, up to and including the presence of his song " My generation. The concept of having a player's activities synchronized with the music appealed to me as well.
Even now Yokota-san and I still have discussions on this subject, asking "What other methods can we explore to write music that is in synch with the game system? Nakamura: From among 40 pieces found in Lumines II, I chose only eleven of my favorites for the album. There was also a single track, " Inheritance ," included from Lumines Live! It might have been preferable to see more tracks included in the album, but there was only so much time free for the project. Nakamura: If there were requests from listeners and I could find the time for it, I would be interested in creating a remix album for the remaining tracks.