Feeling in Lumini: How the Flow of a Swarm Creates Experiences

On January 22, Lumini will launch on Xbox One. Lumini is a relaxing flow-adventure game that we initially released back in 2015 for PC. It is a game where you experience friendship, loss, sacrifice and joy in a journey where it is your responsibility to help a swarm of previously extinct alien creatures survive, while navigating a journey to save their home planet.

“That
sounds exciting and dangerous,” I hear you thinking. “Why are you calling it a
relaxing flow-adventure game?”

We
developed Lumini with the goal to make you forget you are playing a
game. It was meant to make you forget your problems for some time while you
lose yourself in the entrancing visuals, soothing music and make a connection
with these tiny digital creatures. While there are challenges ahead and you’ll
find plenty of danger, a lot of the time you’ll be sucked into the colorful
places you’ll visit, drawn in further by the dreamy tunes and fluid movements
of your swarm.

Lumini

The
World

An alien
planet with a long history. It used to be a bountiful place full of energy, but
when all the energy got harvested by the dominant civilization, it gradually
degraded and became a hostile barren place with predators that only know one
way to survive. The Lumini were once the catalysts for the energy of the world.
They can absorb it and convert it back. With the disappearance of the energy,
so disappeared the Lumini. Now they are back on a quest to rejuvenate the
planet that is not as friendly as it used to be. 

The
Story

Lumini tells you a story about what happened and what your
journey is about. However, it doesn’t do this in a traditional way. To prevent
any distractions we shied away from using any text or voice-over that wouldn’t
fit in the world and would only serve to remind you that you are playing a
game. So, we opted to tell everything through environmental storytelling. If
you pay close attention while you travel, you can find lots of details that
puzzle together what happened and why you’re here. So, when you’re playing, pay
close attention to the background and put on your detective hat.

Lumini

The
Music 

You
wouldn’t be half as relaxed while playing Lumini if it wasn’t for the
music. It’s a core aspect of setting the tone for the game, while also being
designed in such a way that it warns you what is and will be happening. The
music is fully adaptive to your actions and the sound design works in unison so
that it becomes one composition of sound that draws you in deeper and deeper
and at times gets your heart racing. The architect of everything sound in Lumini
is Gijs Driesenaar. Who got several accolades for the game’s music.

Split
Up

Along the
way you’ll find obstacles that need to be solved for your swarm to progress.
These are not always possible to confront with your entire swarm and you’ll
find that you must split up into multiple groups in order to do the things
necessary to get the obstacle out of the way. You can’t be in two places at the
same time, except when you’re a swarm. Now it might be tricky at first to
control two different swarms simultaneously, but don’t get frustrated if it
doesn’t work out immediately. We know you can do it! You can even get some
practice while trying to find the secrets that the world has hidden for
you. 

A
Parting Word 

Ultimately, Lumini is about experiencing an adventure and forgetting yourself. We had a blast developing it and while our studio (Speelbaars) might no longer be active, many of us have branched out and have done different things. The development of the game was as much a journey to us as the game hopefully is to you. Is this all there is to Lumini? Of course not, but it wouldn’t be fun if I spoiled everything, now would it?

There are
things to discover about the swarm itself that you’ll only manage if you take
control over these cute creatures that await your help. We hope you’ll take up
the mantle and save them and their planet!




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