ASCIIpOrtal: Soooon…

As mentioned on the podcast (what you don’t know about that podcast is Kieron and I fought to the death afterwards. He killed me. These are in fact the words of Kieron wearing Alec’s skin as a hat), we’re not entirely sure why we haven’t mentioned the surprisingly elaborate ASCII re/demake of Portal on the site as yet. Let’s correct that. Did you know there’s an ASCII re/demake of Portal in the works? And that it’s surprisingly elaborate?

Specifically, check out its portal-view effect. It may only be symbols and coloured blocks, but it’s as thrillingly disorientating as Portal-proper’s space/time rift effect. Imagine playing this on your BBC Micro…

Sure, there’s a part of me that wishes creator Cymon was spending his evident talent on creating his own, brand-new games rather than yet another tribute to a two-year-old zeitgeist, but it does very much seem as though he’s going some place all of his own with it. His clear enthusiasm in this video is hugely infectious, too.


  1. Lorc says:

    I wonder at what point back in the day this kind of thing was technically possible. Whether it’s like tower defence games and telescopes – the technology knocking around for ages and nothing but chance that the design never came about until it did.

  2. teo says:

    I like it

  3. leederkrenon says:

    “Imagine playing this on your BBC Micro…” as if anyone who owned a BBC Micro was ever allowed to play games on it. the only people who owned Beebs were the children of lunatic parents who thought that computers were going to teach people stuff.

  4. says:

    I’d rather see an 8-bit version, personally. That being said, seeing disorientating rotation and looking through portals (with a proper FOV) done with simple 2D ‘graphics’ amazes me- not even P:TFV managed that.

    This on a ‘Beeb’ would be epic.

  5. says:

    @leederkrenon: my highschool had ‘Beebs’ (BBC micro model B) and we played games on it all the time when the teacher wasn’t looking. Mind you that was somewhat hard given that we had to type the code in manually.

  6. MacBeth says:

    Tsk. My brothers and I played LOADS of games on our good old Beeb… I’m sure our parents intended us to do educational things on it but I learned about piloting a Cobra MkIII instead…

  7. Caiman says:

    We had an after-school computer club which was basically an excuse to play lots of games on the BBC Micros. This was before Elite came along, but I remember someone playing Revs, another playing Blagger, and another printing a load of dodgy space invader sprites on the screen and wondering why it didn’t play properly (!).

    But I remember Starship Command. What I’d give for a modern, proper 2D remake of this game complete with the unpredictable vectorized destruction.

    Oh sorry, were you talking about something else?

  8. Peaches says:

    Anything ‘ASCII’ gets my vote.

    And it’s so true about the Beeb kids. My friend’s came out on a trolley had a dust-cover too and even then we had to wash our hands before touching the plastic. Not like my poo covered, floor dwelling Vic-20 and joystick with bite marks all down it.

    Mind you, that said, guess who has a sensible job now and guess who sits at home playing with themselves all day. Damn straight.

    Anyway, must dash – work in the morning.

  9. madhaha says:

    Had my eye on this for a while but was greedily holding back for a bit so I could put in some level design time.

  10. Erlam says:

    Man, that looks awesome – there’s a lot of great creativity and skill in that.

  11. mrrobsa says:

    As mindblowing as Portal was. Can’t wait!

  12. Nimic says:

    ASCII for the sake of ASCII is not something I’m particularly fond of.

  13. bitkari says:

    Uh oh. Stand by for a Slashdotting.

  14. Anon says:

    It would have been seriously cool to have played this on the Beeb but I wonder whether that spinning effect would have been possible at that kind of speed on the technology of the day. At any rate I don’t know anyone who owned a BBC who didn’t play games on it at some point (and I don’t just mean educational games).

  15. Rei Onryou says:

    I’d like to see the portal gun implemented into Dwarf Fortress. Yes, I went there.

  16. sam says:

    Doesn’t look like ASCII to me. Most glyphs are from CP437, except the large red rectangle that I’m unable to figure out.

  17. Catid says:

    ^ Previous poster never got to play games on his Beeb.

  18. KingFlathead says:

    By Odin I swear, if the source code is even remotely portable I will make it run on IRIX over a serial connection…

  19. King Bidgood says:

    Looks like ANSI graphics to me.

  20. Alanmusician says:

    Reminds me of ZZT. Man, I spent so many hours on that, SuperZZT, and a clone that had a French name, but I can’t remember it.

  21. Jay says:

    Just because it’s ASCII doesn’t mean it could be easily done on an 8-bit machine.

    There’s some serious math going on to get those effects going. It’s trivial today, but doing that sort of math in real-time back in the day would’ve been pretty slow.

  22. Cymon says:

    It’s me. The creator of that game. No really.

    Wow, thanks for the response. It’s been overwhelming, really. I’ve done a ton of silly little games before ASCIIpOrtal and when it started that’s all ASCIIpOrtal was, just a silly little game. However, like with everything I do, I probably put a little more into this than I should have. But once I set my mind to making this happen it was like a bug in my brain and I’ve got to get it out.

    The math involved in this isn’t really that difficult. Linear algebra really. Find the slope, make a linear equation, if greater than, draw, if less than, no draw. I suspect this could actually run on the hardware of “back in the day”. I don’t know if it’ll go as far back as a BBC Micro or C64, but maybe a 386 could have handled this. Then again, what seems trivial now…

    And, yes, it’s not technically ASCII, it’s ANSI, but that just wasn’t as catchy.

    I may or may not be back here, I don’t frequent RPS, but I’ll defiantly be on the forums on my site and the comments too.

  23. Chris McCall says:

    Every single game should be prototyped in ASCII before a single byte of content is produced in DirectX.

    Cymon, do you plan on releasing an ASCII sidescroller SDK, so that we can make our own ASCII games?

  24. rocky says:

    Needs 100% more GLaDOS.

  25. dicknose says:

    The BBC Micro could easily handle it Cymon. Also, look up some of the recent demos by Booze Design on YouTube to see what the C64 can really do.

  26. Arreis says:

    Two words: Epic Masterpiece.
    You are a master, man. Really.

  27. samwyse says:

    Give us the options to use the Nethack characters! @ for the player, -+| for the walls, etc.

  28. Lamont Cranston says:

    “samwyse says:Give us the options to use the Nethack characters! @ for the player, -+| for the walls, etc.” That would be EPIC! I look forward to new ASCII games! Please Please Please use the “vi” controls like NetHack – that way I can say that it is educational……

  29. Chris Ronk says:

    seriously cool. Geeky, but cool.

  30. Tei says:

    Hello slashdot guys!.