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Posts with tag PopCap

15 Minutes of Fame: Laura Shigihara, voice of WoW's Singing Sunflower

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

If you haven't yet lost hours (days? a week? ... more?) inside the zany fun of PopCap Games' mind-blowingly addictive Plants vs. Zombies, you owe it to yourself to click over right this minute (we'll wait here, promise) and take a whiff of those zombies on the lawn for free on the web. Wait, another game? Why should a WoW player like you care? Because the irresistible game with the irresistible theme song (above) is coming to Hillsbrad come Cataclysm in a new quest line celebrating the PopCap hit, and the adorable voice of songstress Laura Shigihara follows close behind in a commemorative Singing Sunflower pet.

Shigihara, herself a longtime gamer and WoW player, has won the hearts of the WoW Insider staff with her impishly sweet songs -- the latest, last month's light-hearted Blood Elf Druids. My little fourth-grade daughter adores Shigihara; my big, burly coworkers sigh over Shigihara; and I, uh, seem to edit more than my fair share of posts to the beat of an endless zombie march across the lawn.

Join us after the break for an exclusive chat with Shigihara herself about World of Warcraft, Plants vs. Zombies, singing sunflowers and more.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Sunflower sings about blood elf druids

It's no secret that we love Laura Shigihara, the composer for Pop Cap's amazing Plants vs. Zombies and now the voice of Cataclysm's singing sunflower pet. Shigihara has stepped into the WoW machinima world with her own original song and video, Blood Elf Druids, an adorable song making a plea to Blizzard for the inclusion of blood elf druids. Shout-outs to Tooga the turtle are pretty obscure, which makes it even more fun.

It's adorable, catchy and a great first shot at machinima. There's even a behind-the-scenes video posted here. If this is the quality of song we're getting for the first video, I cannot wait to see what's coming next. An orc ballad, perhaps? I can only hope.

Filed under: Machinima

Singing Sunflower companion pet voiced by Laura Shigihara


If you're a Plants vs. Zombies fan, you are quite familiar with Laura Shigihara, the composer for the PopCap Games plant-a-thon. She is also the voice behind the Plants vs. Zombies theme song.

On her blog today, Shigihara confirmed that her voice will be used for the companion pet, the Singing Sunflower, which players receive after completing the Peacebloom versus Ghouls minigame in Hillsbrad. How awesome is that?
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.
Peacebloom versus Ghouls is a minigame/quest in Hillsbrad that puts the player in charge of Brazie the Botanist's garden of ghoul-destroying plants. If you've played Plants vs. Zombies, you'll feel right at home. Defeat wave after wave of ghouls and you will claim your very own Singing Sunflower companion.

These new facts continue to illustrate the intimate and awesome relationship between Blizzard and PopCap, bringing good tidings to gamers who are fans of both excellent companies. Hopefully, more collaborations like this are in store for the future.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Peggle: WoW Edition released as a standalone download

There's Peggle the original PC game, Peggle the XBLA game, Peggle the iPhone game, Peggle: Steam edition, and Peggle the WoW addon, and so when I heard rumblings of "Peggle: WoW edition," I just figured people were talking about one of the many, many already-released versions of PopCap's popular Plinko-inspired pasttime. But no -- the folks at PopCap have released another version of Peggle: Peggle World of Warcraft edition is a standalone, free (PC-only) download that allows you to play a WoW-related version completely outside of World of Warcraft.

All that make sense? It sounds like PopCap realized that there was a call for a brand new version of Peggle (including new stages, WoW-related backgrounds, and even a secret easter egg between Arthas and Bjorn the unicorn) that was different enough to stand as its own PC game, so they worked their coding magic and put it all together into a downloadable standalone. And much to the lament of Mac gamers everywhere, it's PC-only.

But then again, it's free, it's Peggle, and so if you haven't gotten your Peggle fix through any of the aforementioned channels yet, here's the hit you've been waiting for. If you do the math (and chart the number of Peggle versions over time), we're pretty sure that, soon, all games will be Peggle. And strangely enough, we're kind of OK with that. Peggle is really fun.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends

Popcap's addons updated

Popcap kindly sent us a note to say that both of their free addons (Bejeweled and Peggle) for World of Warcraft have seen updates lately, so if you're still playing the versions you downloaded when they first came out, better give them a refresh. Bejeweled, the classic gem matching game, is now up to 1.1, and features a completely updated score system (you'll be asked to convert it the first time you load) that tracks all kinds of new features. In addition, the Achievements now have their own screen, so they're all easier to track as well. And a bunch of bug fixes have gone in, to make the game smoother and faster.

And Peggle has reached 1.02, with some new code to try and keep users with different versions from having compatibility problems, as well as a few options to keep the chatspam down to a minimum. If your guild is angry that you keep accidentally hitting "Publish" and getting your score in their guild chat, get this new version, as it allows you to control where that goes, as well as change the name from "Publish" to "Brag," to more accurately describe what it is.

Both versions can be downloaded right over on Popcap's WoW site, or from the usual suspects at your favorite addon databases. It's great that they're still updating these (still for free!), but, completely selfishly, we still kind of want Zuma next.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Add-Ons

Confirmed: Kotaku reporting that Blizzard has hired PopCap VP

Rumours abound from the Australian arm of Kotaku (and our own Joystiq) that PopCap's CEO Greg Canessa is joining Blizzard. Given the success of their WoW addons for Peggle and (my personal favourite) Bejweled, the hiring of the man who helped launch Xbox Live Arcade is quite exciting.

Kotaku reports Canessa will be joining the teams responsible for Diablo and World of Warcraft. However they don't actually cite a source and Blizzard apparently didn't respond for a comment 'immediately', which is quite an odd way to phrase it.

Update: Blizzard spokesperson Shon Damron got back to us confirming that Greg Canessa has indeed been hired by the company:

"Yes, we can confirm that Greg Canessa has taken a position at Blizzard Entertainment as project director for Battle.net. He will report to our vice president of online technologies and work closely with the executive team to help fine-tune the next version of Battle.net, currently in development."

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Add-Ons

PopCap's addons are obfuscated, Blizzard is OK with that

We've posted about both the Bejeweled and the Peggle addons here lots -- we're big fans of PopCap releasing free versions of their games for us to play in Azeroth. But all might not be well in addon land -- a few authors have come to us to point out that PopCap's addons actually contain obfuscated code in them. Obfuscation is a little hard to define -- it's a coding technique that makes code difficult to be read by other programmers, either for purposes of compression or to deliberately hide the code's function or purpose from anyone reading it. Obfuscation is strictly prohibited by Blizzard's addon policy, and so when addon authors dived into PopCap's code and found it obfuscated, they were concerned that PopCap is dodging Blizzard's rules.

We spoke with PopCap about the issue, and they told us that yes, they run a program called luasrcdiet on their code to shrink it down and keep the memory footprint to a minimum. While working on their addons, they were in contact with Blizzard (and showed them the original, non-obfuscated code), and they tell us that Blizzard decided that since the purpose of the obfuscation rule in the policy was to allow the community to police their own addons for bad code (and since Blizzard trusted PopCap, there were no concerns there), then Blizzard was OK with PopCap releasing obfuscated addon code.

So. Has PopCap broken the rules? In the strictest sense, yes -- the rules say no obfuscated code, and PopCap's addons do make things hard to read. But Blizzard, who wrote the rules to begin with, has no problem with making an exception for PopCap, and in doing so, their reasoning seems pretty sound. It doesn't seem fair to make an exception in any case, but we admit, if you're going to make an exception for anyone, you can't go wrong with PopCap. What do you think?

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

WoW Insider exclusive: PopCap releases Peggle for WoW


Yes, when PopCap released their Bejeweled addon a while back, the first question on everyone's minds was: when are we getting Peggle? And here you go: as of this morning, you can download the brand new Peggle for WoW addon from PopCap's site.

WoW Insider got a chance to play with the addon from its early beta on, and it's extremely impressive -- not only will you find the usual addictive peg-hitting gameplay that we've come to know from Peggle, but PopCap and creator Michael Fromwiller (whom we interviewed about Bejeweled, and who we're told is actually being hired on full-time at PopCap as soon as he finishes school this spring) have really added a new level to the game by tying it right into World of Warcraft. The game rewards you with "Talent points" that can change the gameplay itself, and you can challenge other players within World of Warcraft to duels and score battles. There's even a "Peggle loot" setting, which, when used as Master Looter, will let your guildies and friends with the addon actually take Peggle shots against each other to determine who gets loot drops.

It's really wild. Read on for our early impressions of the addon, check out the gallery below for exactly what it looks like, and then go head on over to PopCap's site to download it for free yourself.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Screenshots

Bejeweled 1.02 is out

The most important addon of all has been updated to version 1.02 for compatibility with patch 3.0.2: PopCap's Bejeweled has a new version ready for download on their site that will work just great with the new patch. And there's a new feature, too: PopCap says so many people asked for a little minimap relief that they've added an option to either turn the minimap icon off completely, or move it around the minimap wherever you like.

Unfortunately, the endgame got nerfed so much that odds are you won't die in raids until Wrath, so that part of the addon probably won't get used much. But my flight paths have felt empty without the gems to match since Tuesday -- the new version of Bejeweled is the most welcome addition to my addon folder.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Leveling, Achievements

WoW Insider Interview: PopCap's T. Carl Kwoh and Moongaze, maker of the Bejeweled addon

PopCap's Bejeweled addon for World of Warcraft is coming out today (we did an in-depth preview of it earlier this week, in case you missed it), and to celebrate, we sat down with the addon's creators to see how it came about, and why this addon release (officially endorsed by another well-known gaming company) is so important.

Michael Fromwiller is a student at San Jose University, but in the WoW community he's better known as Moongaze, creator of the popular Lunarsphere addon. He also created another addon called Besharded a while back, which was an unofficial clone of PopCap's Bejeweled, a game he'd played a lot on his cell phone. PopCap heard about the addon, and when word got around to T. Carl Kwoh, a senior producer at the company, they decided, rather than shutting down the unofficial version, to try and hire Moongaze to make it official.

Our interview with both of them, which starts after the break, covers how the game came together, how Moongaze took influences from both PopCap and WoW to fit one game inside another, and why inserting another game into World of Warcraft doesn't exactly mean there are holes in Blizzard's game.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, Add-Ons, Interviews

WoW Insider's preview of PopCap Games' Bejeweled addon


As anyone who's ever stayed up late for a raiding or grinding session will tell you, World of Warcraft is already an addictive game. About the only thing you could do to make it more addictive is have a game company like PopCap Games (they make some of the most popular casual games around, from Bejeweled to Bookworm to Peggle) stick one of their time-wasters in an addon. And so when PopCap came to WoW Insider earlier this week to tell us that they're planning to do just that, our minds understandably exploded.

They sent us a beta version, and for the past few days, we've wasted as much time in Azeroth as in real-life. That's not exactly true -- I've been leveling up my fishing and cooking lately, and the addon has been really helpful with all of the downtime and flight time (even if I do miss catching a cast every once in a while because I'm on a big streak). After the break, read more about just how the free Bejeweled addon (to be released later this week from PopCap) will devastate all of your formerly empty downtime in Azeroth, and check out our gallery to see the beta version of Bejeweled being played on the live realms.

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Add-Ons, Screenshots, Galleries, Achievements

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