And Then We Posted: Portal In Ten Minutes

By Jim Rossignol on December 10th, 2010 at 4:12 pm.

The candle is the best bit, but no one ever eats it.
The other day I was thinking about games in which you would occasionally fall out of the bottom of the map. San Francisco Rush was good for that, on the console toys. You could spill out of the map and race around in infinite pale green. “I remember when games used to be full of glitches,” I thought to myself. And then I saw Portal completed in ten minutes and realised that they still are. You just need to find them.

In other news: Why would you find them? Unless you were playing Söldner! or something, where that was the point of playing it. Ten minutes of your life below. Imagine what that means in minutes of his life.

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86 Comments »

  1. Harley Turan says:

    If you’ve got time, check out the commentary videos, he does a great job of explaining everything.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Highly recommended, he’s a way better talker than a singer. Might have benefitted from mild editing, though.

  2. Navagon says:

    Well if any game was going to suffer wallhax then it’s going to be Portal.

  3. Sander Bos says:

    That was awesome.

    There should be more games were completion of levels depend on where you save and load. I should be good at such a game, being as crappy a gamer as I am I am very good at saving and especially loading saved games.

    Valve probably meant all these glitches (like the glitch worlds in super meat boy), they must be happy that somebody is finally playing Portal like they always intended it to be played.

  4. fearian says:

    Jesus Christ. He should QA Portal 2.

  5. Evil Otto says:

    more games should feature Accelerated Back Hopping.

  6. Nick says:

    I hate to be that guy, but image spoilers?

  7. Kell says:

    So he spent ages working out the technical exploits of the engine, but hasn’t spent enough time learning how to spell “destruction.” Fail.

    • SquareWheel says:

      Yeah, he loses all credibility due to a misspelling.

      LOL FAIL

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Fail troll is fail.

    • DemonStrate says:

      Fixed. Sorry, I was 2 hours late for work because I was going through the insane amount of comments. I decided to add the annotations this morning, but I was in a hectic rush to get them done. I obviously know how to spell Destruction. I played Diablo 2′s expansion back in the day. Sorry about the error.

    • Thants says:

      “So he spent ages working out the technical exploits of the engine, but hasn’t spent enough time learning how to spell “destruction.” Fail.”

      You know, I hate the Internet sometimes.

  8. Jake says:

    So let me get this straight: you walk in through one of these ‘portals’ and you come out of another?

    And San Francisco Rush was a hell of a game.

    • djbriandamage says:

      Whoa whoa whoa, spoilers!! Pretty soon you’ll be telling us what Gordon’s last name is!

  9. kovy36 says:

    by the gods, he walks backwards but moves forward, he is a machine.

  10. Fergus says:

    I never got the point of speedruns which use glitches. I should just edit the game so there’s a portal straight from the opening to the end chamber, complete it in 15 seconds, post it on YouTube saying “NEW WORLD RECORD”, and when he complains that I cheated, point out the obvious glaring flaw in his logic.

    I’m impressed by people playing well, not cheating well.

    • Lunaran says:

      Bugs and glitches are valid for speedruns. Vital to getting times as low as this is finding ways to break the intended flow of a level, be it as simple as rocket or grenade jumping to circumvent parts of the map, or exploiting ways to hit or skip various triggers, or whatever else. The Deus Ex speedrun is basically a tour of all the scripting loopholes in the game plus four leg upgrades – if the guy didn’t exploit any of those loopholes, or glitch his way through any windows, or do anything else you’re ruling “illegal” it’d just be a really long “let’s play” video where he runs everywhere.

    • Jake says:

      He is playing really well though, to be able to do all that perfectly must take many, many hours of practice.

    • opel says:

      Glitches are unintended mechanics of the game. Whether or not the developers want those unintended mechanics in the game is determined by patches. Not using a mechanic of a game in a speedrun that vastly improves speed would require a committee to determine what mechanic is to be considered cheating and what is not. And then you or someone else would be commenting about how silly it is that some mechanics aren’t allowed and others are.

    • Fergus says:

      Well, that’s a bit of a difference of opinion, really. If I’m going to watch a speedrun, I’d rather see someone playing the game awesomely fast instead of putting me through a borefest of watching him exploit every incomprehensible loophole and glitch he’s wasted his life figuring out how to exploit.

      A speedrun should be how fast you can complete the game. Not how well you can break it. It’s like if somebody posted a video of themselves playing Counterstrike and racking up a hugely impressive score; I’ll be impressed seeing them play with mad skills that I recognise as being superior to mine, but if I see them just using wallhacks and aimbots, it’s just like … so what? You used an exploit to get that score. Just like this guy’s used exploits to get this time.

      Can’t help but feel that they’ve missed the point.

    • briktal says:

      But using the glitches is the fastest way to complete the game. Unless you want to add some arbitrary list of objectives/checkpoints that have to be reached in order for it to count as “complete.” Even then you run into the simpler glitches/exploits/unintended things. Suppose you have a room in a game and you need to extend a bridge to get to the other side. To extend the bridge you have to go down some side corridor and another room or two, a typical FPS obstacle. What if it’s possible to get to the other side without extending the bridge by a grenade jump or with a bunnyhop speed boost. For a “real” speedrun, would you require them to extend the bridge?

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      Despite being absolutely stunned and amazed by this guy, I kinda see what Fergus is saying. On the first commentary tape he explains how he has a script for that ABH thing (which is so reminiscent of Quake Three it hurts to realise that it’s backwards and not in Quake Three). The script was only a ‘turbo’ button for jump so it’s always being pressed and he doesn’t have to time the key presses but still.

      Some of the sections of that video should have been in half time. And why doesn’t anyone put a clock in the corner when they do speed runs?

    • snorlison says:

      I imagine it’s much like Lego. You’re given a set of components, and sometimes you’re given explicit instructions of how to use those components. Some people decide to go off plan, and make something unique with these components and the various ways they can combine them.

      If you were a lego maker, you might even look down on someone who glued the pieces together. It doesn’t respect the structure someone was given, but perhaps that wasn’t their goal in the first place. After all, they ditched the plans in the first place. The line that is drawn is real, clear, but still arbitrary.

      These sorts of videos are interesting to people because they represent nontrivial deviations of the source material. They’re a fundamental “remixing” of the ludological ideas the players are given by the game developers. They’re a subversion of expectation, and an invitation to creativity.

      These sorts of discussions that start with “But that’s cheating” tend to get bogged down by forgetting the way each person defines “cheating” for themselves. It’s a sliding scale of taste and interest rather then any sort of objective behaviors, and ultimately the point where you draw the line is, as mentioned, arbitrary and personal.

      There also tends to be confusion between single player and multiple player experience. What does “cheating” even mean in the context of a single player game? It is sympathetic to see someone become frustrated at cheating in a multiplayer environment, because their fun is dependent on other people to respect certain conventions and systems. That’s why you came to the table, and it inflames people wasting your time and engagement to essentially steal your game and replace it with their own.

      It is a little more understandable to see cheating in the context of a single player game as long as the product is interesting. When you change the rules of any game by cheating, you just end up playing a different game. Everyone decides for themselves whether that new game is interesting or not.

    • Koozer says:

      You what I despise? People cutting bits out of paper, folding it into some abominable object, maybe even glueing it together, and calling it Origami. That’s cheating for god’s sake!

    • battles_atlas says:

      Have those questioning the validity of this watched any of the commentary videos?

      for example:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aNs1cmCe3k&feature=related

      No only is it skillful, its also batshit genius. This is real brains and brawn stuff. Kinda seems to me its you missing the point. I find this far more interesting than simply rushing the levels. Thats just doing the game quick. This is pretty much remaking the game, within it.

    • circadianwolf says:

      The difference between editing the game or Counterstrike aimbots is that he hasn’t modified the game in any way. He hasn’t added anything to it besides his own playing. This purely personal skill, even if we don’t consider it playing the game the “right way”. Exploits have a much greater legitimacy than artificial hacks due to their nature as being a real part of the game (at least until they get fixed).

      You don’t have to like it (I often don’t enjoy it either, although the ending here makes it worthwhile I think), but it is very qualitatively different from your examples.

    • Fumarole says:

      [...]a borefest of watching him exploit every incomprehensible loophole and glitch he’s wasted his life figuring out how to exploit.

      As opposed to wasting his life being a grumpy curmudgeon? I for one am glad people like this guy are out there, testing the boundaries of our favorite games.

    • kavika says:

      This is an ancient debate, guys.

      Not that this is a tool assisted run (tho I haven’t read the commentary), but this mentions some standard rationale:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tool-assisted_speedrun#Degree_of_glitch_abuse

      Part of the rationale that looks applicable:
      “This may in part be because the majority of glitches are very difficult to exploit without frame-precision and re-recording”

  11. opel says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a 10 minute speedrun of Portal without the use of most of these glitches. They may have shaved off about 30 seconds with them, which always counts in a speedrun, but a 10 minute speedrun is possible with only the backwards jumping physic glitch and portal bumping glitch.

  12. toby says:

    A lot of what just happened in that video confused and depressed me.

  13. RagingLion says:

    C-razy. Especially actually having the cube actually sitting in place of the cake at the end.

    Terrible singing, but I’ll allow him that.

  14. Premium User Badge Rinox says:

    God I hope he never tries singing again. But cool vid!

    • Johnny Law says:

      It takes some talent to sing that poorly.

      I’m serious… there’s no way that was an actual attempt to sing well.

  15. fallingmagpie says:

    He was moving too fast for me to even understand what he was doing. Well done though, his hand eye coordination is right up there with the twitchiest of twitch FPS players.

  16. cjlr says:

    He could have just dropped an octave and probably sounded fine.

    Ah well. Pro skills.

  17. Nogo says:

    That video was 1/10th confusing and 9/10ths boring.

  18. Dominic White says:

    I look forward to when you can do proper control inputs/playbacks in Source-engine games. That’ll open things up to Tool-Assisted speedruns, where you basically create a frame-by-frame input string. You’re still limited by whatever the game will allow, but no longer shackled by human reflex times and accuracy.

    This can result in some seriously surreal/amazing runs. Behold – Mario 64 in 5 minutes: http://tasvideos.org/1689M.html

    • Koozer says:

      You see, all the best games end in cake.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Isn’t the source demo format hackable? But then again, that only registers “what is happening” in the game, including engine responses and does not actually simulate the input.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, a fundamental requirement of Tool-Assisted speeduns is that you’t not allowed to do anything that would, theoretically, be beyond a human player. The only thing you can provide is the input.

      It’s amazing what you can do just through controller inputs, though. This TAS is particularly amazing:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5pz6waED0w

      Megaman 3, 4, 5 & 6 all speedrun together via a SINGLE INPUT. Equivalent to having one controller wired up to four NES consoles.

  19. Basilicus says:

    Good lord, that’s the most incomprehensible speedrun I’ve ever seen. Not that I watch many, mind you, but still…

  20. djbriandamage says:

    There’s kind of a bell curve of hilarity when it comes to game bugs. I laugh at bugs in near-perfect games (like GTA4) because of the stark dichotomy of polish and craziness, and I laugh at bugs in awful games in that it’s-so-bad-it’s-funny kind of way. However, if a game is merely good then I have limited tolerance for bugs.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Well, GTA4 has an absolutely huge amount of bugs, so I wouldn’t call it near perfect or particularly polished. Just walk into a random npc and don’t stop, I’m sure you will witness dozens of bugs pretty quickly that just involve npcs. Not that it’s bad at all, that’s just the nature of open world games.

  21. Moonracer says:

    I think there needs to be a list of most interesting/entertaining speed run videos. My personal favorite is one for Maniac Mansion.

  22. Premium User Badge Sagan says:

    In my opinion, speed runs get less interesting to watch the more bugs they use. Meaning this was, well very uninteresting. I fail to be amazed by the amazing speed at which he travels outside of levels. And I fail to be amazed at how he beat that level so quickly by just teleporting himself through a set of solid walls. Everyone can beat the game quickly if you are allowed to just go through walls, or shoot a portal straight to the end. If you believe that the rules of the game are kind of important in defining the game, then he is playing a completely different game, that just happens to share a couple art assets with Portal.

    • Ozzie says:

      well, he needed 2 years for this, so I don’t think that’s true…

    • RandomEngy says:

      “Everyone” can beat the game quickly? Did you watch the commentary videos? There’s a lot of really skilled moves pulled off even inside of the test chambers. And you have to know exactly what you’re doing in order to get outside the level and come back in at the right point without getting stuck or killed. Then there’s actually figuring out that doing so is possible, then HOW to do that stuff, then the practice to do it quickly.

      Perhaps you believe that there is some hidden mouse button that lets you make a portal to the end of the level, but that is not the case. I’d be willing to bet a large amount of money that you could never replicate this run.

  23. Kevin says:

    This is freaking awesome.-

  24. Bungle says:

    I wonder if these glitches have anything to do with Portal 2′s release getting pushed back a couple months. Adding multiplayer with portals suddenly looks like a can of worms.

  25. DK says:

    Yeah this is hardly impressive. Oh look I can exploit modified saves and literally ignore level geometry. That’s not a speedrun that’s just boring.

  26. Tei says:

    Valve need two engines. One where all this glitches are preserved so the people that like then have then, and one where these glitches are considered bugs and are fixed.

  27. Azazel says:

    I used to be able to do e2m1 in 9 seconds. True story.

  28. Ozzie says:

    Now that I watched it, I think it’s amazing. And taking the extra effort and putting a companion cube on top of the cake shows some humor on the part of the speedrunner.

    I suspect that many people are bored by this speedrun because they feel mostly confused while watching it. I was confused too, but at the same time amazed by the tricks he pulled.
    And like many people mentioned before, every speedrun depends on exploits. Rocketjumping wasn’t intended by the Quake designers either, but no speedrun of Quake works without it.

    • sidereal says:

      Despite the apparent desire for a clean boundary between what makes a ‘legal’ speedrun and what’s ‘illegal’, it’s going to be messy. Surely something has to be disallowed. Otherwise, you could just run a homebrew patch that hacked the binary and let you instantly finish the game. Winner!

      Personally, I think going outside the level geometry is out of bounds. Rocket jumps are an example of an unexpected or unintended use of physics that are intentionally coded into the game. Going outside the level geometry is never intended behavior (in general). Putting a portal right under a door so you can get across it is an unintended use of game physics. Carrying a turret with you to shoot GladOS is flat out awesome. So there are many things in that speedrun that are very praiseworthy. But savegame hacking is clearly not intended physics. Leaving the level geometry is not intended physics. Scripting a relentless backwards jump is kind of cheaty but it’s still intended physics.

    • Starky says:

      The boundary is pretty simple actually – No external tools (trainers, memory hacks etc) anything possible in a totally vanilla game (patched or not) is legal, glitches, bugs and all.

      Anything else is a “tool-assisted” speed run – and they are just not as impressive.

    • snorlison says:

      The biggest problem seems to be that there exist multiple boundaries. Each boundary is clear, but people disagree about which boundary is better. Some people view out of bound glitches as violating the spirit of a speedrun, other say any glitch accessible through the interface of the game itself is all right. Do you have to solve the puzzles the way they were meant to be solved, or are some of the ninja solutions applicable? Does skill come from completing the designated tasks in an expected and proscribed manner, however exceptionally stylishly and measured they may be accomplished? Or does skill come from clever subversions of expectation?

    • Starky says:

      In the end I don’t think those specifics matter, so long as it clearly takes skill and dedication to achieve, any idiot can no-clip through a level, or complete a level in sonic in an emulator at 1/10th speed that will look amazing when played at normal speed.
      Those are more interesting for showing the maximum possible speed, not the maximum possible speed a human could do it.
      It’s the difference between a robot controlled rig showing how accurate a rifle can be, and a human marksman in a competition.

      Both are cool in their own way, but playing the game at the speed intended is clearly more skilled.

      Just look at this Portal guys commentary, where he shows you him doing some of those tricks real-time – he’s incredibly skilful – blows me away, and I’m one of the 0.4% with the All gold achievement in portal – and was briefly a world record holder on some of the challenge maps.

  29. kyynis says:

    There was this shareware snowboarding game back in the beginning of 00′s that featured a lot of terrain outside of the main course. And infinity of falling after that.

  30. Decimae says:

    Finally a subject I know more about then the average RPS visitor. Unfortunatley, I’m not nearly half as good. I finish portal in 20-30 minutes.

    Looks impressive but I think it’s possible to do this without OOB(out of bounds) glitches. Better speedruns can be found on youtube.

  31. Inglourious Badger says:

    I’d just like to be the thousandth person to say: Yes! San Francisco Rush was amazing!

  32. Dozer says:

    The end song makes it AWESOME.

  33. Jakkar says:

    Really. Spoilers. Not everyone uses the internet regularly who -will yet- become an avid gamer.

    • Starky says:

      Tough tbh, as penny arcade says (link above) Spoilers have a shelf-life of about 3 months if you are lucky, beyond which anything is fair game.

  34. Railick says:

    I got Red Steel 2 for the Wii and was rather shocked when I promptly fell through the ground and continued to fall into white space forever. There was no way to get back no auto reset after you reached a certain negative z level or anything .I guess they believed it was impossible to fall through the level so didn’t bother :P Also recall falling through the level in Daggerfall when going to meat the Wurm King, I fell through the entire dungeon and straight into his throneroom, made it MUCH easier to find him ;)

  35. wintermute says:

    Nothing like a bunch of nerds ragging on the greater nerd because he outnerds them. Nerd-jelaousy is a terrible thing :(

  36. Shadowcat says:

    What the… SPOILERS… since when did you get dragged away at the end of the game?! I’m sure that didn’t happen when I played it.

    • mlaskus says:

      It was added to the game via an update when Portal 2 was revealed to be in development.

  37. 1745 says:

    totally not:

    skill
    art
    speedrun
    playing

    meybe next time enter sv_cheats 1 and noclip….

  38. Flatfingers says:

    It’s Jim’s concluding comment — “Ten minutes of your life below. Imagine what that means in minutes of his life.” — that I find most interesting.

    I play games at slightly less than normal speed. (I’m 107 hours into Fallout: New Vegas and I still haven’t met Mr. House yet.) I like to think this isn’t because I’m a bit thick, but rather because I’m a hardcore Explorer type who loves to savor all the lore-based content a game has to offer.

    So what to make of someone who naturally enjoys and is good at blurring through an entire game at warp speed? I look at speedruns and wonder, what must it be like to think and act so rapidly and precisely that most of one’s life is spent waiting for some arbitrary timer to expire so that the next move can be input?

    Look at the parts of this Portal run where progress is blocked. The player beats a broken cup against the wall like a prisoner gone stir-crazy, and spends every elevator ride bouncing up and down or running in circles just to be doing something. How incredibly frustrating it must be to play most games — or deal with other people — whose clocks run so much slower.

    So to what extent should the typical game be designed to be playable in some kind of “speedrun mode” so that these folks have a way to play them that’s fun for them as well as for those of us who play at a more deliberate pace?

  39. 1745 says:

    meh i dont have so mutch time. to explore portal “glich world”…however if he now turn on portal and after 10 min he pass it like in this video, then i’ll admin that he is genius. But since he takes hundred times same lvl till he beats it correctly. SAVE GAME – and if you fail just reapeat that part. And when he edit this you think that he took just 10 min to solve this ?

  40. ChickenLittleOverdrive says:

    I got it to skip from the first elevator to the final scene with load/save exploit. Get to skip all stuff in between. Takes no time. Win!