A little talk with Aaron Lemke, the creator of Lunadroid 237


Only for Oculus Rift Italia, we had a little talk with Aaron Lemke, a composer and also the game designer of Lunadroid 237 and Eden River. Here you can read the first part of this interview.

How was your creative process influenced and changed by Oculus Rift?

I think VR makes people pay a lot more attention to their environment, which is why it’s easier to get away with telling a story with very few characters (which is nice because my character animation skills are pretty shabby). Also thinking about the Rift as a controller is what inspired Eden River. You don’t need a game pad or even a keyboard to play. The Rift itself is the only input.

Being a composer, can you explain the making of the sound design of Eden River and Lunadroid 237?

Sound is super important for immersion in VR, because if the game is silent and you hear a sound around you out in the physical world it totally takes you out of the experience. This posed a problem with Lunadroid because it takes place in space and technically there is no sound in space because there is no air through which sound waves can propagate. My solution was to have music playing pretty much throughout the entire game. The sound in Eden River was supposed to be non-obtrusive and relaxing. I worked on the wind sound for a long time. It actually changes when you steer left or right to give the player a bit of feedback when they steer. The music was similar, just needed to be subtle and calm but provide feedback to the player. Every time you collect a flower, a new layer is added to the music, so by the end if you get every flower a full band is playing. As far as how I make it. I use Logic Pro and Reason, along with electric and acoustic guitars. I also have a pedal steel guitar which  is featured prominently in Eden River.

Which feelings did you try to convey to the players when creating the mysterious Lunadroid 237?

Well as you picked up on, mystery was a big one.  I wanted to do something different than the hoards of Oculus Rift horror games out there. Horror is super compelling in VR but I want to explore what else is possible. I was aiming for feelings like wonder, mystery and awe. One trick I learned is that looking up automatically sort of puts people in a place of awe. So in Lunadroid when you encounter some of the larger set pieces they are up in the sky so the player has to tilt their head up to see them fully.

Which narrative and gaming techniques did you use to create a sense of immersion in the user?

Sound is big, but it’s also important to have a consistent environment and art style. If the world isn’t believable then immersion fails.

To be continued…