My new game, Rakuen

October 16, 2013 at 12:27 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments
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Hi everyone!! I thought it was about time I filled you guys in on what I’ve been doing lately. I think some of you know that while spent most of my career as an indie video game composer/sound engineer, I was actually at EA for about 2 years as an Audio Director. I met a lot of wonderful new folks there (like the Pixelberry team for example). But after most of the original Plants vs. Zombies team was laid off, I ended up leaving the company, too.

Now that I was indie again, my goal was to finally finish up Melolune. However, after 2 years of not working on a 20 hour rpg (yes, I actually had 20 hours of playable content at that point), it was quite overwhelming picking up where I left off! I had promised myself that I wasn’t going to start anything new until Melolune was finished, but I realized that working on a smaller scale project (that I was very inspired to do) would be a great way to get back into game development. So I’m really excited to announce that for the past year, I’ve been working on a new game called Rakuen. I’m doing the programming, design, audio, and in-game pixel character art. My friend Emmy Toyonaga (an incredibly talented artist, and also a former EA employee turned indie) is creating the concept art.

Rakuen is a story-based adventure game about a little Boy who becomes bored with living in a hospital, and eventually asks his mother if she’ll escort him to the fantasy world from his favorite storybook. Throughout the game, the Boy begins to learn more about the patients who live around him. They each have their own secrets and struggles that are mysteriously tied to the strange hospital. In helping those around him, the Boy deals with questions about empathy, hope, and what it means to leave behind a legacy by coming to terms with his own story.

In terms of gameplay, Rakuen functions like a mix between Maniac Mansion, To the Moon, and The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past (though without battles or fighting). The story and character design is influenced by Japanese mythology and children’s culture, as well as films like Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.

We’re hoping to release the game early 2014 for PC initially (with possible ports afterwards). But for now, you can learn more about the game and follow its progress at the official website. The soundtrack is also available for Pre-Order at Bandcamp (you can also just listen to the tracks there for free if you’d like). I really hope you enjoy the music and art we have to share so far! And if you’d like to help us spread the news, please feel free to tell folks about Rakuen, we really appreciate your support ^_^/

p.s. There will be Leebles ^o^

Lament of the Highborne

July 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Hi everyone, long time no see ^_^/

I’ve been sitting on some big news for quite a while now… A friend and I have been working on a special little game-related side project (it’s not Melolune, however it is set in the same universe). I’m hoping to be able to talk about it soon, once all the major details are set in stone. Because I’ve been spending the majority of my free time devoted to this (in addition to tackling random things that have come up in life), I’ve been a bit less frequent with my youtube uploads (and by “a bit less” I mean I haven’t posted anything in 5 months ~_~)… So I must apologize for this and say thank-you for all of the kind messages you folks have sent me via youtube and twitter asking if I was okay ^__^

Happily, I was able to complete a new video this week! It is a vocal-only cover of “Lament of the Highborne,” a hauntingly beautiful song composed by Russell Brower for World of Warcraft. I was a bit hesitant to arrange this song because the original is already so perfect (and there are so many other lovely covers out there). I thought, “what could I possibly contribute to this?” But I had fun experimenting with harmonies, and revisiting a classical singing style that I haven’t done in years. I really hope you’ll enjoy^^

Melolune Facesets: Andy’s Animation Test

March 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Andy! The stoic blue-haired scoundral who hangs around Izaya in search of someone to accompany him to Debonet…

New Forum Online!

February 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you guys know that thanks to my friend Kan, we finally have an awesome new forum for the website! It’s completely new, there are barely any footprints on it yet… So I want to invite all of you to come hang out and help get things rolling. Please feel free to post, share creative works of your own (art, music, photography, etc.), start up a dev log for a game or creative project you’re working on, or just chat about random things… In the future I’d also like to do some forum games (like mafia!), and for those who are interested in Melolune beta testing (or just want to know where to post feedback on the current build), there’s a whole section for that too ^_^

Updates and Requests

January 27, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Posted in Melolune, Music Album, Plants vs. Zombies piano version series | 22 Comments
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Hi everyone, I just have a few quick music updates for you today!

First of all, Davixus and Q Flat Major (rad nickname!) realized that a lot of folks were asking for the “Zombies on Your Lawn” sheet music, so they kindly put together an arrangement that’s available for download here. Thanks guys! Also, several people have asked me to update the lyrics section of my website to include “Traces” and “The best it can be,” so I’ve added those in case anyone still wants them ^_^

Last but not least, one of my New Year’s goals is to come up with a good and consistent way to record piano and singing. Sadly, my webcam can’t handle either of these, so the audio is always incredibly distorted. A lot of folks have recommended recording the audio and video separately, which would be great except for the fact that my audio setup (which I use for work) is placed in such a way that it’s nearly impossible to record video (the Korg is right up against a wall and moving it would be difficult since it’s connected rather tightly to the Behringer and computer by a bunch of wires). I was about to rearrange my whole setup when I happened to read that most camcorders (even older ones) actually have pretty good audio (good enough to record piano supposedly)… so now I’m onto plan B: Find my old camcorder, charge it, and put it to the test!

Provided that it works, does anyone have any requests?

Melolune Facesets: Dolby’s Animation Test

January 14, 2011 at 1:04 am | Posted in Melolune | 14 Comments
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Got another one for ya! Here is the brave and enigmatic Dolby of the Mountain Melon Farms:

Melolune Dolby Animation Test

In other news… is anyone going to GDC this year? I’ll be giving a couple talks there. One is a panel on audio in casual games, and the other is a panel given by the Plants vs. Zombies team. I’ve got to work on slides for those this week; I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do for them yet but hopefully I’ll figure something out :P

I always encourage people to attend to GDC if they’re interested in getting into the video game industry because it’s a great opportunity to learn and meet folks (and some of the talks are really interesting). Satoru Iwata (the president of Nintendo) is going to be the keynote speaker this year. The conference is pretty expensive, but if you apply early enough you can go for free as a volunteer, which I’ve been told is a fun and rewarding experience (you still get to attend a lot of talks and there’s plenty of free time to talk to people and browse the showroom floor).

Melolune Facesets: Achaius’ Animation Test

January 12, 2011 at 1:07 am | Posted in Melolune | 20 Comments
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Melolune Faces

A couple years ago, my friend Hima asked if I’d write an ending theme song for “U.S.G. ~A New Beginning,” so I wrote “Starshine” in exchange for help with the faceset art in Melolune. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I received them a few weeks ago! I still have to send him my sketches for Sophie and Liele, but besides that, the faces are pretty much finished! Piti (his artist) did such a great job; he was able to improve them so much, but still somehow maintain the original style of my sketches.

Since they all have a number of different expressions, I decided to play around in Photoshop tonight. Here is Achaius’ animation test:

Melolune Achaius Animation Test

I’ll probably post some more animation tests later… especially once I get Sophie and Liele in the mix. I can’t tell you how fun and rewarding it is to finally see my characters come to life like this ^_^

Indiegames Interview

October 12, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Posted in Melolune, Video Games | 10 Comments
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Hi everyone ^_^ Jeriaska from indiegames.com was kind enough to interview me about the Melolune soundtrack. Here is a link to the interview if anyone is at all interested in checking it out (it was just posted today):

Melolune soundtrack interview at Indiegames.com

Also… stay tuned for a song and music video about a certain race/class combination in WoW that I’ve been advocating for a while now, hehe…

Melolune piano version series #1

September 29, 2010 at 12:57 am | Posted in Melolune piano version series, Video Games | 7 Comments
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Hi everyone! I guess I was in sort of a musical mood tonight or something, because after I finished Rigor Mormist I felt like recording some stuff from Melolune. And that led to me thinking I should start a Melolune piano version series as well, since there’s so much music from it that I want to share with you guys ^_^ So… for #1 I’ll start with these:

Although I’m sure a lot of you have heard it already, the original version of “Carya de Mio” actually has lyrics… it’s a lullaby that one of the main characters’ mothers used to sing to him when he was a child. You hear it during a scene when he’s reflecting on all of the good things she did during her lifetime. His last memory of her was when she asks him to recall the lullaby right before she passes away… she explains that the lullaby is “sung during dark times to help us remember that even when things are looking dim, we try to be full of light… that perhaps some of our light, would help to make someone else’s world a little brighter.” She hopes that she shined enough light onto him that he would lead a good life as well.

I put it up the original song on my bandcamp page (the player is below), but you can download it for free as well using this link. I hope you enjoy it ^_^

Traces Cover

September 1, 2010 at 11:21 am | Posted in Melolune, Video Games | 19 Comments
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Hi everyone… I wanted to share something today that made me happy. My friend Kan did a cover of my song “Traces” that I thought was very beautiful. For those who don’t know, “Traces” is one of the few vocal songs from Melolune. It’s the theme song for Liele, a character you meet late in the game… Anyways, hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Oh, and here’s a link to the original song for those who haven’t heard it yet:
“Traces” (Liele’s theme) from Melolune

And here is Kan’s cover via youtube:

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