The Gravity Gun Is The Best Thing From Two Months Ago

By John Walker on November 9th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

I’m not sure how I missed this back in August, but it’s splendid enough to warrant a belated post on a Saturday. The two men of Corridor Digital have been creating extraordinary movie shorts for years (one of my all-time favourites being The Glitch), primarily based on videogames, featuring extraordinary special effects that rival those of big budget Hollywood studios. Certainly their profile is a lot larger in recent times, and their work is now very often paid for by the publishers of the games they’re recreating. (This live action video of Rayman Legends (no, really) being one of the most bizarre.) However, they still create projects for their own entertainment, and their origin story for the Gravity Gun is absolutely stellar.

Created for YouTube’s Geek Week, this is a short film showing how Alyx first built the Gravity Gun. And, well, it’s epic:

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38 Comments »

  1. CookPassBabtridge says:

    CGI Eli was creeeepy

  2. lowprices says:

    That wasn’t half bad. Between this and Cara’s Half-Life video I think it’s definitely time to re-install the games.

  3. RaoulDuke says:

    Getting bored with these. Every time I see one of these live-action game promotional/homage videos I just think how it was a lot cooler when I did those things in-the-game, and that I did it thousands of times in different situations. It doesn’t matter how much money they throw at it or how long they spend on the visual effects, it just never looks as good or gives the feel of the game.

    If anything these videos need to have ten [10] times many “set-pieces” and eschew the silly will-the-gravity-gun-work-while-the-cops-are-hot-on-their-tail tension as it has no place in the media its a homage to, except maybe CoD. All the reversed gravity stuff at the end would have been a QTE in a game.

    To me this video is to the game as a poster is to a film. It sort of indicates its themes but can’t come remotely close to conveying the feeling of the ‘playing’ the game. Spend the money on making PC games/ports better!

    I so grumpy today, its cos I haven’t performed my morning ablutions yet.

    • RaveTurned says:

      So in fewer words you’re saying you prefer playing games to watching films, and that you think the people who like games and want to make films about them should just make games instead, because that’s what you like.

    • 12inchPlasticToy says:

      Given that they’re not a big production studio, I’d say the result is REALLY impressive.
      The fidelity of their live-action videos (from costumes to props) to the games is actually better than what you see in most (if not all) AAA productions of game films.

    • stoner says:

      I understand and can see what you’re saying. On the flip-side, videos games are an art form (finally being recognized by the art community). Art inspires art. In this case, the games inspire the film maker to create new art in another medium.

    • Focksbot says:

      Kind of agree with this actually. These things are fun to watch in a ‘Wow, I can’t believe a small team managed that’ kind of way, but they don’t add much to what we know of the game and its world.

      And come on, let’s be honest with ourselves – if this were the trailer to an actual Half-Life 2 movie, we’d be slagging it off as a soulless effects-fest. All the appeal lies in our awareness of the production team’s financial/technical limitations and how they’ve surmounted them.

      Also, I’d like to think I’m a big supporter of home-grown art, but there’s a general trend for the online masses to flock around incredibly tame pastiches and homages with nothing to say, probably because they’re so easy to gawp at before moving on and forgetting. I like to think art is something that needles you a bit more and makes you stop and think for a moment.

  4. Dowr says:

    I prefer to call it the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator.

  5. dE says:

    I love these little films. Goes to show that games can inspire people. For all the bad we keep piling on games and for all the bad others keep piling on games, it’s easy to forget that games are something truely magical.

  6. Turkey says:

    Nice production values. The John Woo stuff at the end didn’t really fit tonally, tho.

  7. 12inchPlasticToy says:

    The gravity gun: a device intended for telekinetic manipulation of physical objects.
    The Gravity gun: a device that shoots Sandra Bullocks caliber.

  8. Cinek says:

    looks awesome. :)

  9. ahmedabdo says:

    Still, to me nothing beats this one.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4drucg1A6Xk

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Ohhh yes :) Starts annoyingly with the whole press-ups, ‘make mahself STRONGS’ resistance bit ripped from Terminator, but once she gets going with the portal gun, its awesome. Obviously GlaDOS was waiting to see how long it would take her to realise there was one hidden in the wall.

      Gameplay against human foes with the portal device? That sounds like fun.

    • Contrafibularity says:

      I still think this is the best effort so far, if only it didn’t have that song from LOST, but “Portal: No Escape” comes close;

      What’s in the box?

      • LionsPhil says:

        Hunh, didn’t know that one had been “finished”, which seems to mean “have stuck a few seconds on the front that don’t really add anything and remove a little mystery”.

      • dE says:

        I love how this spawned a Half-Life hypetrain. Back when it was first shown, people thought it was one of those ARG Thingies Valve likes to do. They were digging deep, to find those Half-Life clues and since the creator added a few homages here and there, they found lots. Only… it had nothing to say about Half-Life 3.

  10. Ninja Dodo says:

    Nice. That gravity move at the end was pretty sweet. Actually kind of makes me excited about the possibility of HL3 again… was thinking recently that apart from wrapping up the story I’m kind of over HL gameplay-wise, but then I remembered Aperture and the Borealis. If they expanded the possibilities of the gravity gun a bit and made environmental interaction more robust (think Shadow of the Colossus style complex animated platforms)… Inception-esque gravity defying hijinks + portals + icy water could be rather interesting.

  11. LionsPhil says:

    I still think the best of theirs is Clock Stoppers, which is sort-of live action Frozen Synapse meets one of those single-player co-op games.

    Shock Troopers, Art of the Instakill, Max Payne: Bloodbath, There’s An Alien On Your Head!, Bark Ops, Far Cry Happy Hour, and First Person vs Third Person are all pretty great too. (I suspect if I try to link them all the spamfilter will just hate me.)

    Just don’t waste your time on that Sync series they did. The first episode is a neat trick and it then goes almost nowhere with it, and the plot is garbage. :/

  12. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    Nice video but damn I forgot how silly Alyx’s midriff showing is in the pretty grounded setting next to all the human characters.

    Still, no exposed ankles are visible so I won’t be writing YouTube an angry letter, this time at least.

  13. frightlever says:

    That was brilliant. I’ve subscribed the crap out of that channel.

  14. daneel says:

    I always liked this Portal one.

  15. Jackablade says:

    The piratey short for Assassins Creed 4 that those Corridor Digital guys did recently was rather neat too.

  16. spaced says:

    Uhh…is no one going to mention Michael Cera being in this?

  17. tnzk says:

    As a filmmaker (in the now nigh-dead industry of Auckland, New Zealand), I’m really intrigued when someone says an indie effort has effects to rival big-budget Hollywood studios. But I’m always, *always* disappointed. Honestly, those effects are stuff any one of you guys can learn in about three years of study. Here’s a short film by last year’s fresh graduates of Media Design School in New Zealand. So hey, there’s something: stop playing video games for three years and study VFX. You could go somewhere with it!

    Anyway, just a personal sentiment, but people should stop short-changing the professionals of cinema. Their skill levels are insane. Davey Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, or example, couldn’t have been done without the superlative knowledge and wisdom of John Knoll. Ditto for almost all the Hollywood VFX studios. Apart from the second-to-none talent of American cinematographers, American visual effects gurus are keeping the industry strong. It’s the writers/directors that could do with a kick in the pants.

    TL;DR version: saying these videos have as good FX as Hollywood blockbusters is like a console peasant saying they can’t see the difference between 720p and 1080p. Except it’s worse.

    • bill says:

      I see what you’re saying, and I agree that some f the recent VFX work has been pretty stunning (Man of Steel, Pacific RIm, Elysium, etc..), but the list of people in the credits who worked on those VFX is epic. These days big budget movies can have close to a thousand people working on their 3D effects. With a massive budget.

      If this is 2-3 guys with zero budget, then that’s pretty impressive – and imagine what they could do with all the benefits of a huge budget and massive team. A good example is Neil Blomkamp (sic?) who was discovered for his ‘as good as a big hollywood movie’ robo-shorts, and then went on to make really good hollywood scale VFX in his bigger budget movies.

      Also, despite many big movies having almost seamless VFX these days, that clearly doesn’t apply to all movies. There are a fair number of lower budget hollywood movies that have VFX on a level with this.
      Chronicle, for example, had a pretty small budget by movie standards ($12M), and it’s effects weren’t bad. But they were still obviously effects.

      These guys are pretty much on the level of big hollywood movies from a few years back, or smaller hollywood movies now. And that’s impressive for a very small company.

      tl;dr: I wish i studied VFX… :-(

  18. Longtime Listener says:

    “Epic.”
    A word that has truly lost all meaning in the internet age.

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