Plants vs. Zombies piano versions #8: Rigor Mormist

September 28, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Posted in Plants vs. Zombies piano version series, Video Games | 8 Comments
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I was messing around on the piano earlier and decided to record a piano rendition of the music that plays during the pool-night level. Following my tradition of naming all of the PvZ songs using silly plays on words, I came up with the name “Rigor Mormist” because of Rigor Mortis (a term that I learned from the board game Taboo oddly enough) and well… because there’s more mist *cue the groaning noises*… oh! That was a pun too! (Cuz zombies groan?) >_< Sorry I'll stop. Anyways, here it is, hope you enjoy!

p.s. I know you guys really want me to do “Ultimate Battle” and I do plan to… I’m trying to figure out a way to make it sound cool despite the fact that there are more simultaneous parts than I have hands… but rest assured I am definitely planning on doing this one!

Plants vs. Zombies piano versions #7: Sheet Music!

September 3, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Posted in Plants vs. Zombies piano version series, Video Games | 102 Comments
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So as most of you know, I’ve been trying my best to post piano versions of the music from Plants vs. Zombies on youtube and I’ve been amazed at the response so far! I’m really happy to learn that there are so many people out there who can appreciate video game music, so thank-you all for the support and kind words. And if you haven’t gotten a chance, I hope you would subscribe to my channel ^_^

In the meantime, I’ve got something for you today: Since I’ve gotten literally thousands of requests for sheet music, some awesome folks have stepped up and transcribed sheet music for all of my piano videos 🙂 Thanks, you guys rock!

This set of transcriptions was done by Tobias Deussen from Germany. It has all 8 pieces: Brainiac Maniac (Dr. Zomboss), Cerebrawl, Choose Your Seeds, Grasswalk, Graze the Roof, Loonboon, Moongrains, and Watery Graves.
Pack of 8 pieces of sheet music in pdf

Ron Lester Crisostomo has also transcribed and uploaded a couple pieces of sheet music to if you’d prefer to see them online:
Graze the Roof
Brainiac Maniac (Dr. Zomboss)

And lastly… I’m working on setting up a music store at bandcamp. Currently it has my old album and the first part of the Melolune soundtrack, but later I’ll be using it for the Plants vs. Zombies soundtrack.

Girls in the Video Game Industry #4: Fryda Wolff

July 11, 2010 at 11:14 am | Posted in Girls in the Video Game Industry interview series | 7 Comments
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Hi everyone! Hope you’ve been enjoying the series so far… And if you got a chance to check out the M11 pre-release, hope you did better than I did. I had a weird and unexplained brain lapse that caused me to play the entire tournament as if my Fireball were a Blaze (both of those being cards I’m quite familiar with)… many board wipe opportunities were missed… onlookers facepalmed in disbelief…

Ahem… enough rambling, it’s time for the next interview… 🙂

Girls in the Video Game Industry #4: Fryda Wolff
Independent Sound Designer

People often ask me what they can do to become a video game musician or sound designer. Although there are a lot of steps you can take, being prepared to showcase your abilities at the right time and place will go a long way towards helping you meet your goal. Fryda’s story about breaking into the industry is a great example of this (and it was really fun to read). Currently working as an independent sound designer for Behemoth, Fryda has been active in the industry since 2001 when she landed a job at Sony Online working on such titles as Everquest II and Untold Legends. Her website can be found here.

1.) Can you tell us a bit about your job?

I’m a Sound Designer, a voice over actor and have recently become brave enough to compose music for games. I’m current working on The Behemoth’s BattleBlock Theater.

2.) How did you get into the video game industry?

As a Las Vegas native, I was super excited to hear the very first EverQuest fan convention, or Fan Faire, would be held in my hometown. As it turns out, the 2 day event hadn’t been gauged for the gamer turnout. While over a thousand people had registered, the first night’s event was held on the second floor of the Planet Hollywood in Caesar’s Palace, which could only hold about 200 people. Seeing this as an inconvenience for everyone who had already booked their travel and stay and would have nothing to do on the first night of the convention, I rallied on the Fan Faire forums for those who couldn’t make it to the first night’s event to hang out across the street at the megaplex arcade Gameworks. I made it my mission to let everyone at Planet Hollywood know to hop across the street whenever they wished to meet their guildmates and the rest of the fans that had made it out for the event. Word got to the Sony Online Staff, and the head of the Customer Service department located me and asked “Are you the one that got on the forums and asked people to come over here?” “Yep, that’s me!” “Do you want a job?”

I was hired as a Customer Service Representative, or Game Master, for Sony Online Entertainment in 2001. I spent 2 and a half years as a Game Master and 1 year as an Administrative Assistant. By that time, EverQuest II was in full swing development. It was a very ambitious project, and some 100,000 lines of dialogue from AAA actors were being recorded and implemented for the game. An Audio Department was created for the first time at Sony Online in San Diego because the audio requirements for the game were so demanding. The Audio team realized they needed help implementing the incoming voice over lines, and opened a position. As someone who wanted to become a Sound Engineer in high school (but gave up the dream because colleges required upper level credits of math and chemistry in order to receive the degree), I immediately went for it. I got the job and spent the rest of EverQuest II’s development implementing dialogue, eager to do more whenever I could.

After EverQuest II shipped, there was little for me to do, and I became very nervous. I asked one of the Lead Sound Designers to give me a chance and allow me to learn how to create audio. He graciously agreed, and because of him I was able to cut my teeth on several projects and received my first Sound Designer credits on Untold Legends, a PSP series of games, as well as Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, a PS3 launch game. I’ve been a Sound Designer for 6 years now, and in the video games industry for 9 years.

3.) What are some of your favorite games?

Warcraft II and III, Diablo I and II, World of Warcraft, Peggle, Plants vs Zombies, Castle Crashers, Left 4 Dead 1 and 2, Deadspace, Bioshock. Left 4 Dead and Deadspace are particularly good to take note of to see value of audio in gameplay when one can’t exist without the other. Both are beautifully executed games via sound!

4.) What were some of your favorite projects to work on and why?

I love anything that challenges me, particularly when it’s something I’ve never worked on before even when it makes me uncomfortable. Once you force yourself to do something new, with practice it always gets easier. There’s no scientific formula to creating audio, it’s a matter of taste and one particular animation could work well with any hundreds sounds. It’s even better when I’m presented with the challenge of creating audio for something that doesn’t exist, like fantasy or sci-fi games. Spell effects are play time and the hardest thing is knowing when to stop. You can turn a sound to mush if you tweak it enough, the way perfecting a haircut will result in a bald spot. Giant mechanical monsters is another love of mine because there are no rules to what they should sound like. Compare films like the Terminator, Matrix or Transformers series and you’ll notice sound designers went nuts with their personal interpretations. That’s beauty of audio, there’s no wrong answer. Only great sound design! (And when it’s bad, everyone will tell you so, so don’t worry.)

5.) What are your thoughts on being a female in the video game industry?

The only challenge I’ve had to face is the same as everyone else: Doing the best that I can and proving that I’m capable of whatever I set out to do. Women are outnumbered, but not outranked. Portal’s Kim Swift for example is a Cinderella story proving that any female with the right talent and work ethic can be noticed for being great and now the world is her oyster. Stick to your guns, and present yourself the way you feel women should be represented in games. Sometimes men don’t understand that women want to play basketball because they love basketball, not because the ball is pink. So bringing a female perspective to the table is sometimes awkward but helpful and I think necessary if game studios really wish to close the gender gap and attract all potential gamers, new or old school, male or female.

Girls in the Video Game Industry #1: Tammy Tsuyuki

July 6, 2010 at 6:34 am | Posted in Girls in the Video Game Industry interview series | 14 Comments
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As promised, this week I’m going to be posting a short interview series on girls who work in the video game industry… it was fun interviewing these awesome ladies, and I’m happy to be able to share their responses with you.  I also want to say a big “thank-you” to everyone who checked out the live version of “Zombies on Your Lawn.”  I was absolutely amazed at the response (it’s up to 150,000 views now!), and I really appreciate everyone who subscribed, favorited it, or spread the word somehow.  You guys are great! Anyways, without further ado, here is the first interview:


Girls in the Video Game Industry#1: Tammy Tsuyuki
Music Producer at Sony Playstation

If you’ve played Uncharted 2 and enjoyed its wonderful soundtrack, then you’re already familiar with some of Tammy’s contributions to the industry. A member of Sony Playstation since 1999, Tammy works as a Music Producer to help coordinate soundtrack distribution and manage projects. Besides organizing killer game soundtracks, she also works as a personal style consultant.

1.) Can you tell us a bit about your job?

I’m a Music Producer for Sony PlayStation. I handle coordination and distribution of our soundtracks. What that means is that I help pull together the production, artwork, marketing support, and schedules for our game soundtracks that are released on the PSN, in stores and on iTunes. I also work closely with the Music team as a project manager on our products helping to support the team with budgets, risk, and project tracking.

2.) How did you get into the video game industry?

My good friend actually submitted my resume for an opening position in the Audio Department. My first job was in 1999, I learned so much about the industry from the ground up. I was fortunate to witness the launch of the PS2, PSP, PS3, and the PSPgo and be part of that great experience of building a brand.

3.) What are some of your favorite games?

My favorite games are those that I can play with my daughter. Like LBP, can’t wait till the sequel hits the shelves soon. We also like playing SingStar, Buzz and LocoRoco.

4.) What were some of your favorite projects to work on and why?

I loved working on Uncharted 2 because Greg Edmonson is such a class act and the score was brilliant. Getting to witness how Amy Hennig worked and how her robust story line fused together with the music was phenomenal. When the awards started coming in for Uncharted 2 this past year, I was really proud to have been associated with that game.

5.) What are your thoughts on being a female in the video game industry?

I think that the game has changed a lot in the last ten years. I see women leading companies, driving innovation, and in greater leadership positions. I enjoy that as a younger industry, the rules were written a bit differently for us luckily. I think that we’re more open-minded than some more established ones and it’s worked in women’s favor. The women that I’ve met and known throughout the years are inspirational and supportive. I feel like as a woman in this industry, it would be something I would like to pay forward.

Plants vs Zombies piano versions #6: Zombies on Your Lawn!

June 23, 2010 at 6:56 am | Posted in Plants vs. Zombies piano version series | 63 Comments
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Yup… I finally got around to this one 😛 But I didn’t do it alone! I had help from zombie-George…

How to stop youtube from changing the resolution of your iPhone videos | Final Fantasy VI Piano Music

June 19, 2010 at 2:18 am | Posted in Video Games | 23 Comments
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Earlier today I decided to record a video of some piano improv for the opera theme from Final Fantasy VI (I love that music… the one where Celes is pretending to be Maria, where the vocals are done by this wonderfully cheesy SNES synth).

But then after I uploaded it to youtube, I noticed that the top and bottom part got cut off… for some reason youtube was changing the resolution. I deleted it and reuploaded it a bunch of times, and tried to search for a way to fix it, but I couldn’t really find anything. The weird thing is that I never had that problem with any of my other iPhone videos, so I think youtube made that change just today. So for anyone out there who is experiencing this: if you upload the video directly from your iPhone then it will solve the problem.

Anyways… here is the video: Aria di Mezzo Carattere from Final Fantasy VI 🙂

Plants vs. Zombies piano versions #5

June 17, 2010 at 1:42 am | Posted in Plants vs. Zombies piano version series | 23 Comments
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For some reason, I had a sudden burst of energy today and decided to record some more piano videos ^_^ For the 5th installment of the series I finally got around to recording “Grasswalk” (the music that plays during the first part of the game):

This next one is called “Cerebrawl”… you can hear it during the more serious mini-games like Vasebreaker. Get it? It’s called Cerebrawl because you have to think more, and you’re having a brawl with the zombies? Ohohoho… I know, it’s so lame. On a side note, if you play as a Hunter in World of Warcraft, you can learn a move called “feign death.” When you cast it, you fall over and groan. I love this move because it’s the best way to respond to dorky jokes. So feel free to feign death in response to all the punniful names I’ve been giving to the PvZ music tracks 🙂

And this last one is actually not from PvZ… I felt like playing Aerith’s theme, which is one of my favorite pieces from Final Fantasy VII. It’s just an improvisation, so it doesn’t sound exactly like the Piano Collections version. I fell in love with the music from Final Fantasy VII even before I got to play the game… I used to make Winamp playlists of the soundtrack so that I could listen to it when falling asleep.

Girl Gamers, E3, and a Video Game Composer Chat

June 16, 2010 at 1:48 am | Posted in Video Games | 17 Comments
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Hi everyone! Hope you’re all having a great week ^_^ I haven’t had too much time lately to blog because things have been pretty busy for me at work, but today I finally got a chance to sit down and write. First of all… I wanted to let you know that I’m going to be doing a short interview series this month on my blog about girls who work in the video game industry. I interviewed some awesome ladies and I’m looking forward to sharing their responses with you. So make sure to check it out!

I can’t believe I had almost forgotten that E3 was this week! It wasn’t until my manager texted me saying he’d be flying down to LA that it finally hit me… it’s already the middle of June! This morning we watched Nintendo’s talk on the new Zelda for Wii. By far my favorite part was when Shigeru busted out from behind the backdrop. I’m not really sure what to think of the game yet, because the trailer didn’t show that much. I also felt bad for the presenters because they were obviously experiencing some interference that prevented them from showcasing what seemed to be Shigeru’s main platform: its more “natural” control scheme. But that’s alright, I’m still looking forward to playing… after all, I’ve been waiting for a new Wii Zelda since the day we finished Twilight Princess. So what about you guys… were there any E3 announcements that you were particularly excited about? For me it was all about Zelda: Skyward Sword, the 3DS, and Portal 2.

Last but not least… for anyone who is interested in video game music or indie composers, I’d love for you to check out our video game composer chat from GDC over at the Indiegames blog. (Thank-you Atreus for reminding me about this!) Basically, Jeriaska and Yoshi Miyamoto from Gamasutra rounded up Alec Holowka (Aquaria), DannyB (Super Meat Boy), Baiyon (Pixel Junk Eden), and me, to just talk about music for an hour 🙂

Ah, I have to run now so I’ll save my news about the Plants vs. Zombies soundtrack til next time…

Random free song download: Starshine

May 16, 2010 at 2:59 am | Posted in Music Album | 9 Comments
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A few people were asking me to post this song, so I thought I’d throw it on the blog in case any of you guys want a free Shigi-mp3. I actually made this song for my friend Hima; he needed an ending credits song for his indie game, U.S.G. ~ A New Beginning. It’s a space themed shoot ’em up game with some lovely character art. The best part is that he managed to build the entire game in rpg maker.

Anyways… here is the song. It’s an up-tempo video game song with vocals. Feel free to download it, but please make sure to credit me/link back to this website if it’s reposted anywhere ^_^


Plants vs. Zombies piano versions #4

May 2, 2010 at 12:40 am | Posted in Plants vs. Zombies piano version series | 38 Comments
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Hi everyone! So… I know a lot of you guys have been requesting a piano version of Dr. Zomboss’ theme from Plants vs. Zombies (otherwise known as “Brainiac Maniac”), so I wanted to make sure to record that for you. As I mentioned earlier, this was a particularly interesting challenge for me since the original arrangement has so much going on and I only have two hands 😛 But hopefully you’ll like it (it took me about 20 tries to do this without messing up even though I’ve been practicing all week, haha):

P.S. Could anyone recommend a reasonably priced webcam that isn’t too laggy or choppy? I have a little one that I got several years ago, but as you can tell from the Yoshi Slippers video, it’s quite laggy.

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