Any Portal In A Shitstorm

By John Walker on October 30th, 2007 at 2:35 pm.

One of the more notorious moments in Portal has to be the cube pipe puzzle, which saw people resorting to some rather inventive means of entering the square tube. (Quite why you can’t just pull yourself into it remains a mystery). While the “correct” solution was inventive use of portals to cause the rocket to break the tube, others (including me) used the rather more clumsy approach of stacking chairs from a nearby room to create something to clamber over.

But RPS chum Mike C has to have found the smoothest approach yet.

Read the full story over at PC Format.

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44 Comments »

  1. ran93r says:

    Clever monkey, I was stacking chairs until the internets told me I was doing it rong!

  2. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I must have spent at least 15 minutes pondering this one before chair stacking, in fact I think I even made abortive attempts at trying something similar to this method.

    What threw me off the ‘correct’ solution was that the tube would only break when hit from underneath. I tried hitting it from the side but it seemed indestructible, so I just assumed that the tube was purely a decorative feature.

  3. G says:

    I only needed one chair.

    I thought it was being clever, after an hour or two of using elaborate portals to do stuff, having a puzzle where you just had to jump on a chair, the most obvious way of getting a bit higher, suddenly isn’t obvious at all. Obviously, they weren’t being clever, it was just an example of poor design and me being a thicko.

  4. Lu-Tze says:

    I immediately broke the tube from the side using a rocket (it must have hit low enough down to trigger to break), and then scurried off with my cube into the vent.

    The sad part is I then spent the next 10 minutes working out how to get up into the shining white light, or trying to jam the fan with the cube to break it. It took me ages to remember quite how the whole game mechanic works ¬_¬

    I’m still liking the terminal velocity solution, where someone accelerated a miscellaneous object with a pair of portals, then used that to batter the tube open.

  5. Zephyrtron says:

    Cor. I mean… Cor!
    That is all.

  6. weego says:

    needed 2 chairs personally, and I was pretty happy with it as a ductape and string solution to something I guessed was supposed to be cleverer.

  7. Zephyrtron says:

    Actually, not all – I was perturbed by people saying that using chairs was ‘wrong’ or proof of ‘bad design’.
    If anything, isn’t the fact you could complete it in more than one way just proof of the solidity of Half-Life 2′s engine, *and* the brilliantly natural and intuitive design of Portal?
    That’s what I thought, as I leapt up a chair.

  8. Thelps says:

    I got it right straight away.

    I gloat supremely and mock your honesty.

  9. Jim Rossignol says:

    I got it before I saw the puzzle.

  10. Kieron Gillen says:

    I looked at the tube, thought “I could break that… but why would I? There’s nothing in it” before looking down again, presumably as a crate slide along the glass.

    I never looked up again.

    Chair 4 the win!

    KG

  11. Dave says:

    That’s pretty smooth, but I have to go with the terminal velocity solution Lu-Tze mentioned as the smoothest. It’s hard to overstate how impressed I am that that works.

  12. Cian says:

    I blew up the pipe accidentally whilst being chased by a rocket.
    For some reason however, no cube appeared so I resorted to other methods.

  13. Mal says:

    I spent ages trying to break the tube with a rocket from the side (ie. exit portal on the wall next to the pipe).

    In a bit of a failure of valve’s physics system this doesn’t work so it was ages before I tried breaking it from the bottom :(

  14. The_B says:

    I’m with Jim, but mainly because by this point I had gotten used to the way Valve think a player should think.

  15. Alec Meer says:

    There’s a hard to see metal bar along the side of the pipe, and the vaguaries of portal placement makes it hard to have the rocket dodge it. I had to resort to Googling, and was fairly narked when it turned out I had the right solution, but a dubious art decision and lack of splash damage was barring me from success.

  16. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    Ironically, that was one of the few puzzles i got pretty much instantly. The room a few minutes before that had me swearing the house down, but as I had only just used the rocket turret, I just assumed it would be needed there too.

  17. Thiefsie says:

    I spent a good few minutes trying to blow the turret up with it’s own rockets to no avail, to figure this puzzle out pretty well instantly. hmmm

  18. Electric Dragon says:

    Like Jim, I blew the pipe up before I spotted the vent. But I then spent a while going “what the hell do I do now?” (no cubes to be seen). Only after I went back into the rocket turret room did I realise what had happened: the rocket had gone through the portal and blown up the tube: but a cube had come out of the hole, dropped neatly back into the portal and sailed into the rocket turret room to land on the ledge of the broken window. Cue several attempts at picking the box up and carrying it out of the room without getting blown to smithereens.

  19. Kieron Gillen says:

    Like Thiefsie, I was disappointed that I couldn’t blow up the turret. I suspect what I’d have done was to have the turret blow up, then for a new one to slide into place. Give the the player the satisfaction – as in, well done, good thinking – but still kept the puzzle intact.

    That said, back-seat designing is always easy.

    KG

  20. Andrew says:

    Yeah, I also tried to blow up the turret. Somehow it didn’t register with me after the first 5 attempts that it was impossible so I kept doing it before finally smashing the glass by accident.

    I did the cube-in-pipe thing the way it was intended, though. Immediately.

  21. Ging says:

    I went the chair route – it was only after I went through again with the commentary on that I discovered the tube was breakable. I did however manage to hit it side on and get it to break when I gave it a go.

    I’d have to say it feels like a bit of bad design – you see those transport tubes everywhere, why would one suddenly be part of the puzzle and breakable?

  22. Matthew Gallant says:

    @Man Raised & Mal
    I remember blowing up the tube from the side, are you sure you didn’t have a bad angle somehow? That or it could be my faulty memory… this requires re-checking!

  23. Mori says:

    That’s exactly how I did it (the way in the video I mean). I was having a very dense day. Which was bad considering it was only a couple of hours into the day of release.

  24. Cargo Cult says:

    This puzzle? Easy.

    However, I managed to show dim-wittedness of the highest order earlier in the game, where I completely forgot how to pick up cubes and spent what felt like hours pushing ‘em around with my feet. Not good.

    (This was a proper playtest in June, with the Portal developers watching, silent but despairing, at my progress on a big screen. There was an almost audible sense of relief when I eventually remembered the ‘use’ key. Duh.)

    I think I need to write an article on precisely how Players Are Thick. Could be useful for anyone else designing puzzles for FPS games…

  25. Jives says:

    I go stuck on that bit… i ended up having to get help from the helpful people on the rps steam community.

  26. Andrew says:

    Can’t be many of them about.

  27. Jon says:

    I went with chairs, I didn’t even think about smashing that tube… I didn’t feel cheated though that I needed chairs, it seemed like a simple solution for a puzzle game.

  28. nickski says:

    I stacked up about 3 of the PCs lying around, the chair fell over so that failed me, I hope they wern’t new!? didn’t even cross my mind to use rockets, all that subliminal half life training coming into play.

  29. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I remember blowing up the tube from the side, are you sure you didn’t have a bad angle somehow? That or it could be my faulty memory… this requires re-checking!

    I distinctly remember the exit portal being pretty much level with the middle of the tube and I’m pretty sure I launched 2-3 rockets at it before giving up. Might find the save later and play around with it.

  30. Brog says:

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one who resorted to chairs.
    When I heard the ‘proper’ solution, I thought it would have been more satisfying to have been stuck there until I figured it out.
    Disappointing that that’s the only point in the game where that mechanic was used. Need to see more rocket turrets.

  31. Arathain says:

    I worked out pretty quickly that I needed to use a rocket from the floor. So I went off, set up my portal in the rocket turret room, triggered the rocket, dodged out of the room and wandered back to find a broken tube and no cube. Couldn’t work out what had happened, and no further cube had shown up. Very confusing. Took me quite some time and a reload to work out the cube had fallen out and straight through the portal in the floor, and was sitting near the turret. Doh.

  32. Silence says:

    That puzzle had me stumped for a long time, as I am hopeless at stacking chairs…
    Until now, I still thought that stacking was the way to go. :(

  33. Jeremy says:

    I think there should be a contest to see how many of the puzzles can be completed without using the “official” solution.

    And I think random-object stacking should be a valid solution.

  34. CrashT says:

    I just used a chair… never even consider it was the “wrong” solution.

  35. Chell says:

    Now that’s thinking with portals.

  36. Apoca1yps0 says:

    I solved the puzzle on the first play through then completely forgot how solve it on the second run.

    Oh how I have cursed myself.

  37. Icupnimpn2 says:

    One chair lying on its side
    + One duck-jump
    ——————————–
    Correct solution

  38. Billkwando says:

    I used chairs. On the advanced version of the companion cube map, I stacked a bunch of cameras up (that I found in the “cake is a lie” room) to climb up on to the 2nd button. No idea if that was intended or not.

    That wasn’t the only time I used cameras to climb on. I used them on the map that that has the turrts on high platforms and the moving plate that gos back and forth where you have to open the angled door and fling yourself over. (last regular board maybe?)

  39. T-B0N3 says:

    i also used chairs and i also used a camera on that advanced map :/

  40. weird portal glitch says:

    lol i know this is kind of off topic. I was playing that part [this is going to sound ridiculous but its true] and i had a portal under the pipe for some reason and the other side of the portal was in the turret room. I broke the pipe and the cube fell in the portal so i went to go and get it. I come back to the pipe room. The whole room is filling with cubes and i was like wtf?!?!?!??!!1 and the game kept getting slower and slower as more cubes filled the room till it finally crashed it. Gotta be the weirdest glitch ive ever seen lol.

  41. shwarts says:

    i wanted to see the developer’s comments in the last level so i played it again. i stacked a pc on a chair to hop up. took less than 5 minutes to figure out. i knew i was missing something but i knew i could do it with stuff in the previous room… so i focused on that, and it worked. if it didnt, i would have figured out the rocket thing. i thought there was something special about the rocket launcher because it was immune, making the electric missile thing.

    i would say the hardest test was in the ‘guts’ where you have to go over a couple of bridges and then jump onto a broken bridge to get up. instead i saw pipes that went up into a misty redness and i thought that was the way out. i tried and tried to get up, taking the cue from the blood exit guy arrow. little did i know the exit was right above me, not off to the side. waaay less complicated, but i felt really turned around. im stuck on the last advanced level… do you push the blocks out of the broken wall? you cant pick them up with the grav gun…

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  43. Lilo says:

    It took me ages to remember quite how the whole game mechanic work