PvZ Soundtrack Release Date: Monday, November 22nd!!

November 18, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Posted in Video Games | 40 Comments
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Hi everyone! I hope you’ve been doing well… this past month has been very busy, but I wanted to let you guys know of some exciting news… After 1.5 years of waiting (and many many emails to PopCap), I’ve finally been given permission to release a Plants vs. Zombies soundtrack! I’m so excited about it, and so thankful that folks have been supportive and patient. I’ve decided to release it this coming Monday (November the 22nd) on my bandcamp page, and it will include all of the original music as well as the music you hear in-game. Additionally, George Fan will be drawing some awesome cover art! So if you can, please help us spread the word!

For those who don’t know, prior to implementing the music into the game, I composed MIDI tracks that were mixed with higher quality samples and instruments… but due to both space limitations and the need to make the music dynamic, my original midis were modded and lower quality samples were used. In the original tracks, the calm and intense versions are blended seamlessly because those versions were meant to be standalone musical pieces as opposed to blocks for dynamic usage (with the exception of Watery Graves, which has both a slow and a fast version). I really wanted to share these original tracks because this was how they were meant to sound, but I also wanted folks to be able to get the in-game music.

So… this week I’ve been trying my best to prepare! Over the past 1.5 years I’ve gotten thousands of inquiries about a soundtrack and I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to contact everyone. Gmail doesn’t let you send emails with a BCC field of over 50 recipients, and there is a limit to how many BCCs you can send per day. I’ve also noticed that even if you’re using a mail client that allows for unlimited BCCs, the most common mail services will either spam or reject emails with large BCC fields. So folks have been telling me I should use a mailing list service… Someone also recommended Google Groups. Unfortunately, Google Groups has the same limitations, so I was only able to add about 80 people out of thousands. I tried sending out invitations once my “direct add” capacity was filled, but I’m not sure if they all got through. Shortly after sending out all these invites, Derek Yu told me (via Matt Wegner) about this mailing list service which seems really affordable and solid. So I might end up using it as my mailing list from here on out… it’s about time I got around to doing this!

There’s so much more to talk about, but this entry is already pretty lengthy so I’ll save those things for a future post. Again, thank-you guys for all your support, I’m so glad I’ll finally be able to release this soundtrack! And if you can help me let folks know that the soundtrack is coming out on November 22nd (this coming Monday), I would really appreciate it ^_^

Lavos is a Giant Durian

October 22, 2010 at 12:13 am | Posted in Video Games | 17 Comments
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I’ve always thought that Lavos looked like a giant Durian…

vs.

Yeah?

Dota 2

October 13, 2010 at 11:39 am | Posted in Video Games | 8 Comments
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Oh my gosh, this totally just made my day!! Valve is making a DoTA 2!!

Dota 2 Morphling

I was really kind of sad that DoTA has been slowly dying ever since League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth came out. Don’t get me wrong, LoL and HoN are both great games (and League of Legends in particular has an outstanding community system)… but for me, DoTA is still my favorite in terms of gameplay and art style. I always thought it was a pity that it never got any community support. Despite people’s efforts to make banlists and listcheckers and all that, it was still so easy to just log off and make yourself a new character… resulting in a ton of leavers and excessively virulent players.

And now that they have pub games that try to utilize stats, it’s becoming even more impossible to start games with friends (and when you do get one started), your opponents are usually the worst possible leavers in the community since they aren’t trying to maintain their pub game record.

So needless to say, I am very very happy about this news. I think Valve is a great company, and they apparently hired IceFrog to help create the game, so I have really high hopes about DoTA 2. There’s still a small part of me though that’s sad Blizzard wasn’t involved (but only because I will miss playing as the Beast Master… I mean, I know there will still be a character who plays exactly like him, but he won’t be “Rexxar” anymore ;_;).

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!

Jim Raynor in the House!!

September 21, 2010 at 1:32 am | Posted in Video Games | 23 Comments
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As promised, here is a video showcasing the giant 3D Jim Raynor cardboard standee that the awesome folks at Best Buy were kind enough to gift us on the night of the Starcraft 2 release ^_^ I also talk a tiny bit about the “singing sunflower pet” in World of Warcraft.

Singing Sunflower Pet

September 20, 2010 at 1:45 am | Posted in Video Games | 40 Comments
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This post is for the World of Warcraft players out there: TotalHalibut (a youtube member who has been keeping the public up-to-date with the Cataclysm beta) just posted a video previewing the Plants vs. Zombies quest that you’ll be able to play once the expansion comes out. Besides being fun and kind of novel if you’re into PvZ, you get a pretty cool reward for finishing the quest: a “singing sunflower” pet! I actually had no idea this information was public until Hashimoto linked me to TotalHalibut’s video earlier tonight… incidentally, I was right in the middle of recording the sunflower’s voice when I watched it ^_^ I am so excited about voicing a WoW-pet because what can I say… I’m a big nerd 😛

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 scribd.com 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.

Indie Crunch Mode and Forums!

August 24, 2010 at 10:50 am | Posted in Melolune | 45 Comments
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Hi everyone, after seeing keito’s comment I thought I should post something really quick so you don’t think I’ve fallen off the face of the earth or anything ^_^

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to update in a while, I’ve actually been in sort of a crunch mode with Melolune for the past couple weeks. For those who don’t know, Melolune is an indie-rpg I’ve been working on for the past 2.5 years and I’m almost finished with it… in terms of content, I’m about 90% done. But the thing that’s taking up the most time is balancing the darn thing! I redid the database a while back (enemy stats, equipment prices, gold and experience, character skills, etc.) and now I’m playing through the game over and over again to try and make sure the battles feel balanced and the cutscenes feel sincere. This takes an amazing amount of time… but I think it’s worth it.

Since the story is the heart of the game, it’s really important to me that the players feel moved when they get to the important cutscenes… and at this point, one of the most important scenes/turning points in the game (that happens right after the last demo) just isn’t there yet. There’s also a lot of music that I still need to compose for locations in the game! Since I’m hoping to get Melolune completely wrapped up this year, I’ve really got to dig my heels in and finish this last part (without over-taxing my wrists of course, hehe)… Anyways, please wish me luck! I’m summoning all my will power to get this done 🙂

Let’s see… besides that, I’ve been writing new songs in the evenings. One of which I hope to share with you guys soon in video form (provided that I can get my World of Warcraft account up and running again in order to capture a few scenes to fit the lyrics, hehe ;)). I was also inspired to set up a forum for us; both for the purpose of giving Melolune-testers a place to post feedback, and also to give folks a place to talk (after seeing the dialogue that emerged in the comments section of the “Favorite Video Games” entry I thought it would be really cool). Since it’s still kind of under-construction (it’s just a free forum, but I’m steadily adding content) I’ll let you guys know about it when it’s ready!

Anyways, I hope you’re all doing well!

Plants vs Zombies XBLA Release Party!

August 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Video Games | 36 Comments
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So for those of you who were wondering what the August 2nd “save the date” was all about, PopCap held a Plants vs Zombies XBLA Release Party in San Francisco on that day and it was a blast! I tried to take as many pictures as I could (I’ll post some here, but if you want to see the entire batch, you can find them here). George and I also performed “Zombies on Your Lawn,” which you can watch here. I was a little nervous at first, but I hope it’s still alright!

There were 3 areas at the venue: The main courtyard had a makeshift stage and a delicious buffet-style dinner.


All the cooks there were wearing PvZ aprons, and unfortuntely for the plants they were serving Cornpults

They also had one of those giant pictures where people could put there heads through it in order to look like Bobsled Zombies. What are these called anyway? I see them all the time at carnivals and amusement parks, but I have no idea what their actual name is.

George Fan

laura shigihara
Laura Shigihara dances with zombies

Indoors they set up a gaming station with several large monitors and Xbox consoles so that people could come and try out the new game (some people were glued to their consoles for literally 2.5 hours)… there were benches and folks could hang out here to warm up (since it was really cold outside).


People test out versus mode for the first time


Lindsey Kurz, Tod Semple, Rich Werner, George Fan

laura shigihara in game room
Laura Shigihara in the game room

The last area was a small covered space between the courtyard and game station… there was a bar here where you could order PvZ-themed drinks like “Fermented Plant Matter” or Crazy Dave’s special “Zombie” drink. The PvZ artist (Rich Werner) also had a table set up where he drew personalized plants and zombies for people.


Infamous Brain Ooze


Some of Rich Werner’s sketches


Drink menu

laura shigihara, crazy dave, george fan
Laura Shigihara, the “real” Crazy Dave, and George Fan pose outside the game room

As for the game itself, I really think they did a great job with the conversion. At first I had no idea how the control scheme would work; going from the mouse to the iPhone or iPad was a simple transition, but I figured mapping controls to an Xbox controller would be a much bigger challenge. Basically, the player uses the analog stick to move the cursor around. Rather than clicking on sun, you roll the cursor over the sun in order to pick it up. Pressing the R-trigger will magnetize the sunshine allowing it to be automatically collected. You can use the right and left bumpers in order to scroll through the seed packets, and you press A to select them. It’s surprisingly intuitive and easy to pick up.

By far my favorite part of this version is the “versus mode.” You can play as either the plants or the zombies. The zombies’ goal is the same as in the original game: you want to break through the plant defenses and get to the house. The plants’ goal is to destroy a certain number of gravestone targets, while battling the onslaught of undead that the zombie player sends towards you. While it was still in development, I spent several hours playtesting this mode with George. Despite the fact that the game wasn’t even balanced yet, I could not stop playing because it was so addictive. There’s something incredibly fun about being able to place zombies… especially large ones like the Gargantuar.

The co-op mode is also worth checking out; especially if you’re trying to get less competitive friends or family members to join in. Players can help each other out by “buttering” zombies in order to hold them in place. This mode also encourages players to talk with one another in order to come up with strategies for the more difficult levels. And of course, there is no shortage of fun mini-games in addition to the original adventure mode… so even though this isn’t a sequel, it has so much new material that it kind of feels like one 😛

Anyways, thanks to Popcap for putting on such a fun event! We had a great time 🙂

Starcraft 2: Completed!

July 31, 2010 at 9:59 pm | Posted in Video Games | 14 Comments
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I’m probably going to do a video on this (if anything, because I have to share my lifesize 3D cardboard Jim Raynor standee that the wonderful employees at Best Buy let me take)… but I just had to say that after completing the campaigns, I’ve decided that Starcraft 2 is now one of my new favorite games. I was so incredibly happy with how they handled the story. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I’ll just say that it was everything I’d hoped it would be. I was moved to tears during two of the cutscenes (the Kerrigan flashback and the very last cinematic), but this could have been because I’ve always been so into the story.

Ahhh… I just can’t believe how good it was… ;_; I LOVE THIS GAME SO MUCH!!!

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