Good Portential: The Portal 2 Modkit Is Out

I didn't make this! I *couldn't* make this

It’s out! It’s here! If you a) loved Portal 2 and want more and b) were one of the lunatics who claimed it was only five minutes long or c) felt it didn’t get as hardcore as it might have done, you may in one or all of those cases be very pleased to hear that the official modkit has been released – a flurry of fan-made extra game content hopefully awaits.

It’s a beta version of the tool for now, but it’s open to all. This means you’re free to invent your own levels, for both singleplayer and co-op. Character models and sound effects and whatnot are in there too, so presumably you can also create whatever horrific Chell/Wheatley slashfic you’ve been dreaming sick fantasies of for the last month.

Also included are updated versions of long-term Valvian design toys the Hammer editor and Faceposer. More details here, but you’ll find the Portal 2 Authoring Tools hiding and waiting in the Tools section of Steam nownownow. Do share your creations in comments or on the forum, obviously.


  1. Bodminzer says:

    Is this a simpler to use version of the regular SDK just for Portal 2 mapping? Because if so that’s a great thing! The greatest thing! THE great thing!

    • Alexander Norris says:


      The Portal 2 Authoring Tools include versions of the same tools we used to make Portal 2. They’ll allow you to create your own singleplayer and co-op maps, new character skins, 3D models, sound effects, and music.

      Here’s what’s included:
      – Updated version of Hammer, the Source level editor
      – Updated Faceposer
      – Example maps and instances to help build new maps
      – Updated suite of command-line compiling utilities

      It’s just Hammer updated to let you use Source 2011 assets and containing some tools for use specifically with Portal 2.

    • Bodminzer says:

      Oh, that’s a shame.

    • Mistercake says:

      There are plugins for Google SketchUp distributed with the SDK so it seems there might be an easier way of making custom maps.

    • Generico says:

      It is unfortunate. If Valve gave people a set of tools comparable to UnrealEd or the CryEngine tools there would be TONS of 3rd party Portal 2 content. But instead they dish out the garbage that is Hammer. I say that it’s garbage because it is quite literally a heavily modified monstrosity written on the foundation of a program that was made to edit Quake engine games in 1996 (15 years ago!). It’s almost as though the Portal 2 single-player levels are an allegory for the state of Valve’s development toolset.

      As much as I appreciate the quality of the games Valve makes; when you compare their toolset with UE3 or CryEngine3 it’s as though other companies have moved on to building games using super intelligent robots with lasers on their heads and plasma cutters for hands, while Valve is still building games with…by banging rocks together (see how I dodged the obvious hammer pun right there).

    • alice says:

      But at least they know how to make a quantum space hole?

    • Joe W-A says:

      Well, Epic and Crytek are in the engine licensing business. Valve are mostly in the makin’ vidjagames business. They only add the features they need for their projects, so until everyone at Valve is pissed off with their tools, they probably aren’t going to get a significant update.

      Also, Google Sketchup is a pretty bad way to make levels for a number of reasons. Might as well learn Hammer.

  2. jon_hill987 says:

    Mainly C. It could have been a bit longer, and I wish they dropped the co-op for more single player, but C was my biggest issue.

    • SpinalJack says:

      No way! Coop was the best thing ever

    • Carr0t says:

      Is that because you’ve not tried it, or because you tried it and didn’t like it? Having played through the complete single player campaign and then moved on to co-op with the missus while work keeps her away from home, I can honestly say it’s the most fun i’ve had in as long as I can remember (at least, when she’s not there). I wish more developers would do co-op like this. I’d much rather the multiplayer component of a game was an interesting plot-led co-op campaign I could play with a few friends than another boring deathmatch equivalent.

      My favourite games to multiplayer? System Shock 2 (when they released the co-op patch), then I didn’t play anything for ages really, then I got Borderlands and loved it. Now it’s Portal 2. Humour and co-op play, it’s the way to go.

    • passingstranger says:

      The co-op is where the flat out, unapologetic, go-whine-to-somebody-else-because-you-bought-this-game, delicious puzzling is hiding. I had an amazing time figuring it out with a friend.

  3. airtekh says:

    I loved Portal 2, but I’m too untalented/lazy to make my own levels.

    I shall await other people’s efforts.

  4. Dominic White says:

    “Character models and sound effects and whatnot are in there too, so presumably you can also create whatever horrific Chell/Wheatley slashfic you’ve been dreaming sick fantasies of for the last month.”

    You mean like… this?

    • McCool says:

      Bloody hell. The internet is like some unstoppable perverted behemoth isn’t it? I don’t know why we even try to resist. (Surprisingly well made though wasn’t it?)

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s Stephen Merchant overlaid over Stephen Merchant. Not exactly hard to make it fit.

      (Ooerr missus, I think that was at least a triple entendre)

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Triple Entendre Pun bonus! 10,000 points!

  5. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    This is excellent news. I wasn’t expecting the official SDK for a while yet. I’ve been using a hacked-up Alien Swarm SDK to make Portal 2 levels for the last couple of weeks, so it’s great to get the official support now.

    • Donjonson says:

      makestuffmakestuffmakestuffmakestuff I want more Portal 2 :) CAn’t wait to see what people get up to!

  6. DanPryce says:

    I’ve always had this idea of an alternative universe game where Portal guns got commercially released and a bloke uses one on his commute to work.

    • 3lbFlax says:

      It’d make a good sitcom. You get a portal gun and think all your problems are solved, but in reality you just have more. You go to Paris and set up your orange portal there so you can just nip back and forth between that and the blue portal in your kitchen whenever you like, but then you decide it’d really make more sense to have a portal between your office and home, because you’d use that every day. In theory the portal can hook you up to anywhere in the world, but you’ve got to travel there first to set the portal, and you just can’t be bothered. So it just stays in place at work, with the result that your home becomes little more than an extension of your office, and you grow to hate the portal gun a little more each day until eventually you fire blue at the top of a skyscraper and then blast orange at the pavement beneath you. Laugh a minute.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      You’d end up with a kitchen full of clochards!

  7. SkiDesignS says:

    Boo, the Authoring tool won’t start up for me :(

  8. WASD says:

    TAG: Source please modders.

  9. itsallcrap says:

    Well, I bought it on XBox.


    • Moonracer says:

      yeah, I’ll get my PC copy just as soon as the Playstation Network gets back up… any time now.

      I can think of some entertaining ideas I might try. Hopefully we’ll get some good coop playground maps (Like DM_killbox maps only for portal2). Lots of open space, 45 degree angles, gels, light bridges, the works!

  10. wsmieszek says:

    Pity that it farts at Mac users.

  11. bitkari says:

    The Source Engine tools are certainly way overdue a proper update.

    I know it would cost a lot, but if they were to re-design their tools with the same approach as they design their games, they’d be able to output something pretty amazing.

    • The Dark One says:

      I think this is where Valve’s famous “work on what you want to” ethos becomes a bit of a drag. If you’re passionate about video games, I’m sure there are lots of projects you could find in the studio to work on that would be more interesting than content creation tools.

    • evilbobthebob says:

      I think the most telling thing is how the copyright message in Hammer still reads 1996-2006. It just seems that Valve don’t care much about the tools they use. If I was one of the level designers at Valve, I think I would have complained at the programmers until they made new tools. Hammer’s archaic interface and working environment can’t do much to increase productivity.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Good news, evilbob! A month or two ago, Gabe Newell said that currently Valve is focusing the majority of their effort on making newer, better tools. I think it was in a steamcast interview, but don’t quote me on that.

  12. Untitled says:

    I didn’t think these would be released until the DLC. BEEEEEEEEAUTIFUL

  13. Sinnorfin says:

    I hoped for an easy-to-use tool.. With the idea of the panel system and all that…i could’ve imaged i could set up a room with x-y number of panels, set some to be protudred or tilted, spill some fluids around, set heights and let it all go…

    • Hideous says:

      We regret to inform you that videogames are not magic. We’re sorry if we have not met your unrealistic expectations.

      (FYI, almost nothing in the levels are actually ‘panels’, and most things that are are just visually that, their collisions never move)

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Hideous: I’m not sure what you mean when you say “their collisions never move”–the animated panels that you see rearranging the room and moving into place certainly do have moving hitboxes. Have a look at the props_livingwall\armliving64x64 in the model viewer in the SDK.

  14. thedeadface says:

    pick me to test your levels!