Posts Tagged ‘Portal’

Valve On Why Games Could Very Well Fix Education

By Nathan Grayson on June 23rd, 2012.

The first time I ever played Portal was damn near magical. Each room I walked into held promise of some diabolical new assault on both my brain and the laws of physics, but I made them look like child’s play. At the time, I was certain it proved I was a genius with an IQ so huge that even my bulging genius brain couldn’t count that high. Of course, I soon came to find out that everyone experienced Portal that way. So I wasn’t a genius. But the puzzle designers at Valve were.

To this day, Portal stands as the most masterful example of invisibly intuitive teaching I’ve ever discovered. It slowly builds upon itself – sneaking new techniques into your repertoire until you’re snoozing through puzzles that would’ve short-circuited your synapses maybe 20 minutes earlier. Is it a fit for classrooms, though? My first inclination would be to think not. I mean, it’s not exactly a hyper-accurate physics simulation – even with science jokes making up the bulk of both Portal 1 and 2’s brilliantly witty dialogue. That, however, is precisely the point, according to Valve director of education Leslie Redd and designer Yasser Malaika. It’s how Valve games teach – not what they’re teaching – that could help save a rusty, way-behind-the-times education system.

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Bring Your Valve To School Day: Teach With Portals

By Nathan Grayson on June 21st, 2012.

A modern American school child learning modern American school things.

Year after year, many schools struggle to teach kids basic math and reading skills. Portal, on the other hand, taught my childlike, directionally-crippled brain a slew of hyper-complex spatial reasoning abilities. In about 30 minutes. So I guess maybe it could be a good fit for the classroom. And hey, what do you know (aside from a Portal-imbued slew of hyper-complex spatial reasoning abilities)? Valve seems to think so too. The resulting program’s been dubbed Teach With Portals, and it’s just the beginning of Valve’s new Steam For Schools initiative.

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Portal At The Pictures: Lab Ratt

By John Walker on May 30th, 2012.

There's a great attention to detail here.

Portal has been a surprisingly prolific source of inspiration for many high quality products, so a short fifteen minute film based on its universe isn’t that big of a deal any more. However, what I love about Synthetic Pictures‘ Aperture: Lab Ratt (as spotted by The Sixth Axis) is how, in making a film based on Valve’s Lab Rat comic, how successfully they portray the evil of GLaDOS.

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There Are Six Sides To Every: CUBE Mod

By Craig Pearson on March 14th, 2012.

The award for the funkiest Gravity Gun goes to...
The movie Cube, the TV show Lost and, Portal are all broken down and reassembled in CUBE, a Half-Life 2: Episode Two mod about self-assembling test chambers. Unsurprisingly, I spent a lot of time stuck, but in a good way. CUBE’s an odd one: accomplished and beautifully designed in most respects, but always on the cusp of crashing. Engine errors are as ubiquitous as new puzzles. I’m still working my way through it: there’s hours of content and multiple endings to complete, but it’s worth picking up and persevering if you miss Valve’s elaborately designed roomy puzzles.
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The Portal 2 That Could Have Been

By John Walker on March 8th, 2012.


Imagine a Portal 2 with no GLaDOS, Chell, nor portals. Set in the 1980s. With competitive multiplayer and quantum co-op. And multiple endings. At various points, those were all things that could have hapened, as revealed by Valve last night in San Francisco.

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Pop A Portal In Minecraft

By Craig Pearson on February 16th, 2012.

My mind, it is blown.
We’ll just have to come to terms with rule #89: if it exists, it’s in Minecraft. As proof RPS (RedstonePistonSpawner) readers, here’s a look at the newly updated Portal gun mod that, when combined with the Portal 2 gels mod, manages to drop some Aperture Science all over Blockland, or Blockworld. What the hell is the name of the world that Minecraft creates, anyway? I’m calling it Cubea (pronounced like Cuba) from now on. Amazing video and instructions herein.
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Moretal: Portal Mod Rexaura

By Craig Pearson on January 27th, 2012.

Boring old non-companion cube.
You, there! Does your t-shirt say ‘I Love Portal, Especially Mods’? And is that a giant foam handheld Portal device? Say, aren’t you the chap who runs pleasemakemoreportalsmodes.com? Didn’t you name your twin sons ‘Blue’ and ‘Orange’? Is that a map to Erik Wolpaw’s house in your back pocket? Nope? I was wrong on all counts. Well this is horribly awkward. You’ve never even heard of Portal, and you’re now calling the police. Fine: I’ll just have to find someone else to talk to about this marvellous Portal mod I’ve been playing. The mod is Rexaura, and it’s more Portal in the best possible way.
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Mega Man Thinks With Portals

By John Walker on October 17th, 2011.

This is how reality should have been.

As science has proven, everything is better with portals. And that, it seems, includes Mega Man. Which we can totally justify posting a Dorkly video of below, because it’s got portals in it, and they’re from PC. OKAY?

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Now You’re Thinking With Screenshots

By Alec Meer on September 20th, 2011.

It's so hard to convey time travel with a lone, static screenshot. FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS

Indie dev Arthur ‘Mr. Pondukian’ Lee was so wrapped up in mashing together Portal and Snapshot for this physics- and time-warping tech demo that he forgot to even give it a name! Silly boy. That’s breaking one of the golden rules of self-promotion. In every other respect, Lee is very clearly not silly: this is a flat-out astonishing proof of concept. What if… instead of simply opening a doorway to another area, entering a portal you created also rewound time to the point where you created its exit, which was itself done by taking a screenshot of your desired destination point/time? Ack, my clumsy words plum don’t sum this up at all satisfactorily. I’m going to have to ask you to watch this video. It’s worth it, trust me.
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Glad Tidings: Portal Free Until Sep 20th

By Alec Meer on September 16th, 2011.

Free cake for everyone

Goodness, that happened with absolutely no fanfare. The original Portal, if you somehow don’t already own it, can now be installed and played for free via Steam. I’ve just checked it on a spare Steam account and it works just dandy. This is true of both the PC and the Mac version, by the way. If you’re determined to pay money for it, you can still cough up for The Orange Box or the Portal 1+2 package, but just Portal itself now defiantly costs no-pennies. Grab it from here.

Update: transpires that this is only available until September 20th, as part of a games and learning initiative from Valve. So get your skates on, yes? As long as you install the game before the expiry date, it’s yours to keep forever.

You can see more on Valve’s “Learn With Portals” program, wherein they’re encouraging kids to create Portal levels themselves, in the rather charming video below.
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Thinking With Fluff: Quantum Conundrum

By Adam Smith on August 25th, 2011.

WTF

When one of the original designers of Portal reveals a new game, it’s time to pay attention. Kim Swift, now of Airtight Games, has been chatting to Gamespot about her new project, Quantum Conundrum. Even the title should tell you that science remains high on the agenda. The game has you searching for your mad scientist uncle whose home, a gigantic mansion, has been converted into a series of perplexing science experiments. I don’t think there will be any neurotoxins this time around, though I have been wrong before when it comes to neurotoxins. It didn’t end well. Launch trailer and video with commentary by Kim below.

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Portal: No Escape Is A Short Film

By Jim Rossignol on August 24th, 2011.


It’s a pretty fantastic short film. You can watch it below. The film was apparently directed by Dan Trachtenberg, and stars Danielle Rayne. It was first shown at SDCC earlier this summer.
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Grand Nationals: Portal 2 Video Winners

By Alec Meer on August 12th, 2011.

I likez cartoonz the mostest

Well, looky-here. Valve’s put out the winners for its Portal 2/The National make-a-video contest – which is a bit of a relief, as people kept mailing us with their videos like we had some sort of judiciary power. We don’t! We only have that over the life and/or death of every sentient being on the planet. We cannot, repeat cannot, decide the winners of other people’s competitions.

So, here are the two victors, which I shall refer to as Sad Puppet and Cut-Up Lab Rat. Warning: watching them will require you to listen to a maudlin piano song that may affect your mood for the worse.
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