Posts Tagged ‘Portal 2’

Happy Mechsgiving, And A Merry Portalmas To All

Clearly, he is acting in the spirit of Mechsgiving. Whatever that actually means.

I don’t think it’s possible to have any misgivings over an update officially titled “Mechsgiving.” As for Portalmas, well, that one’s a bit more up for debate, seeing as it’s just a word I made up. But generosity’s officially in the air, and both Piranha and Valve are doling out fairly significant updates to their breadwinners, MechWarrior Online and Portal 2. Unfortunately, neither involves gigantic mechanized turkeys, but I suppose beggars in the midst of celebrating a decadent holiday of feasting and lethargy can’t be choosers. Still though, that’s far from a reason to mope. So let’s look under the ol’ turkey tree and see what we got.

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Gaming Made Me: Jonathan Coulton

Interrupted while coiling his precious cables, the sound guy glowers at me. “Scarface? What?” Now, the way you can tell games journalists aren’t like other journalists is our shame. We’re shy, we lack the killer instinct, mostly, that enables tabloid hacks to doorstep grieving families and hack murdered children’s phones. I’m a case in point – 6′ 1″, 13 stone – and I’m being intimidated by a diminutive roadie. “His assistant is called Scarface,” I repeat. The roadie shrugs. As he shuffles away, he’s obviously assigned me to the same aberrant category as everyone else still hanging around at the Jonathan Coulton gig – No 1 Fans, all of them.

After the gig, from the gallery of Union Chapel, I look down on the accretion disc of fandom. They’re loitering but not mingling, in the hope of catching another sight of their hero. With its non-conformist heritage, this old Gothic church is a strangely perfect venue for Jonathan Coulton, whose music is packed full of liberality, anti-authoritarianism, irony and inclusiveness – and for his reverential fans. While he’s best known in gaming circles for endlessly singable Portal ditty Still Alive, Coulton is the high priest of geek music. This former programmer’s songs about geek culture are so well known he was made ‘Contributing Troubador’ at Popular Science magazine.
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Lab In The Dark: Portal 2 – Designed For Danger

Until this weekend, I hadn’t revisited Portal 2 since the release of the Perpetual Testing Initiative. I vaguely assumed that user-built test chambers would fall, broadly speaking, into two types: so easy that they made me appreciate the complex genius of the originals, or so difficult that they made me appreciate the simple genius of the originals. Replaying Portal 2 at the end of 2011 also made me realise that the puzzles were the bits in between the prattling robots and the archaeological ascent through Aperture. I spent more time smiling than thinking with furrowed brow. Naturally, then, a set of user-made levels that form a story appeal more than standalone levels. Designed for Danger is such a thing and, from the little I’ve played of the eight levels, it’s high quality stuff.

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Story Time With Valve’s Erik Wolpaw, Pt 2

Yesterday, you probably read the first part of my chat with Valve’s Erik Wolpaw and Double Fine’s Anna Kipnis. If not, it’s right here– but FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY. By which I mean until the Internet ceases to exist, which, you know, could happen someday. Anyway, in today’s installment, we branch out a bit from yesterday’s story-centric beat. Valve’s newfound love of wearable computing, virtual reality, heaps behind-the-scenes info on Portal, crowd-sourcing, and more are all on the docket. OK, there wasn’t actually any sort of docket involved. I’m not entirely sure why I said that.

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Story Time With Valve’s Erik Wolpaw, Pt 1

By Ernest Hemingway.

It all began one sunny, seemingly inauspicious afternoon in a Starbucks. It also ended there – but, you know, later. Ragged and bone-weary from three days of wading through PAX’s diseased hordes, Valve’s Erik Wolpaw, Double Fine’s Anna Kipnis, and I huddled around one last vestige of civilized humanity: a table. Then we spent nearly an hour talking about this year’s sudden upsurge in crazy-interesting videogame stories, because it seemed like the thing to do at the time. It isn’t anymore, but – if you’ll believe it – it was considered cool back then. Those were the days. Anyway, here’s part one. If you behave yourself, you might get part two tomorrow. And maybe a cookie. But probably not.

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Space P-Body: Portal Goes To The ISS

Next month, the Adventure Core goes to Peru

Does P-Body sound at all like ‘oddity’? I don’t think it does, does it? That’s why I’m torturously explaining my lame gag here. That’s why they pay me the almost adequate bucks. Not to mention that the gag, if it can indeed be called a gag, is entirely redundant as this story doesn’t involve Portal 2’s co-op robo-chum P-Body in the slightest. Rather, it’s solely to do with the Space Core, who’s found himself – or at least his image – on a trip to the International Space Station courtesy of an anonymous fan at NASA.
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Box News: Portal Legos, Limbo Special Edition

Welcome to RPS’ first (and probably only) edition of Box News, an attempt at providing fair and balanced coverage of that most marginalized of objects in this digital age – the box – on the first day to conveniently feature more than one box-based news item in 437 years. On today’s show, we’ll be bringing you up-to-the-minute analysis of the developing Portal Lego set situation and having Limbo’s lavish new Special Edition box set live in the studio. So then, let’s dive right in.

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Valve On Why Games Could Very Well Fix Education

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

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

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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Perpetually Testing Portal 2’s Perpetual Testing Initiative

Valve love levels like this.

We looked at Portal 2’s puzzle creating Perpetual Testing Initiative, a streamlined, user-friendly application for making your own Portal 2 rooms, and then cried. So instead we got Craig “Fearless” Pearson to take a look, because we knew without a doubt that no one else can create a box with some boxes in it like him.

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(Entire) Life Science: Portal 2 Perpetual Test Initiative Out

Valve credits 'Miss Stabby' for this image, so I will too. Then I'll firmly reprimand her for LEAVING OFF GABE'S BEARD HOW COULD YOU.

Finding your true calling is tough. Perhaps, for instance, you have the diabolical, mustachioed mind of a puzzle designer, but some horrific mutation has left you with the largely unhelpful hands of a pirate, ghost, or lobster. And also, you’re kind of lazy. Well, so much for coding your dreams into virtual reality. Guess you’ll have to settle for a life of convenience store tedium or awesome high-seas swashbuckling. Fortunately, you’re exactly who Valve had in mind when it created the exceedingly easy-to-use Perpetual Testing Initiative mapmaker.
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Portal 2 Map Creator Trailer Is Wonderful, Has Squids

I think we've all had days where we feel like this.
Once Valve gets around to releasing its magical future goggles, I’m hoping it’ll just start constantly beaming clever trailers for its games straight to my eyeballs. Between TF2’s “Meet The ___” series and Portal’s cavalcade of comedic excellence, I could spend all the rest of my days awkwardly cackling to myself on buses, in restaurants, and while committing the most unforgivable crime of them all: wearing sunglasses at night. Everyone will hate me and take tremendous pleasure every time I stumble blindly into low-hanging signs or taller-than-ordinary children. Which brings us to Valve’s latest bit of advertorial brilliance: the story justification for the Perpetual Testing Initiative, as narrated by Aperture founder Cave Johnson.

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Portal 2’s Perpetual Testing Initiative Initiates Next Month

See, you can manufacture your own puzzles. It's a visual metaphor. I am tired.

As hinted at March at GDC, Valve have now announced the imminent release of a puzzle creator for Portal 2. It’s going to be called the Portal 2 Perpetual Testing Initiative, it’s going to be out on the 8th May, and most of all, it’s going to be free.

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The Not So Secret World: 30 Mins From GDC

Are you John Walker?
I’ve been waiting for a John Walker simulator to arrive, and this is the closest I’ll probably ever get. It’s the Secret World’s GDC presentation, showing off Ragnar-Tørnquist’s increasingly-interesting (to me) MMO. You can pretend you’re in the room being John Walker, who can be seen here following Ragnar. Toss some water at the screen to simulate the tears that usually flow when John experiences a game by Ragnar. Or you can just watch the most complete look at the upcoming MMO yet. It includes a scene that suggests oral sex is being performed, so I’d not risk it at work or at a funeral. They really go down… look down… LOOK DOWN on that sort of thing.
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BAFTAs 2012: Portal 2 Takes The Prize

Man, that is one creepy little gold face.

The British Academy Video Game Awards took place on Friday night and Portal 2 was awarded highest honours, taking home little gold faces not only for Best Game, but also for Story and Design. Congratulations to Valve, who by this point must be making plans to put up some new shelves of award-bearing load strength. The popular vote went to Battlefield 3, which also won awards for Online Multiplayer and Audio Achievement.

The full list is celebrating after the jump.

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The Portal 2 That Could Have Been


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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Now You’re Thinking With Mari0rtals

Server... fixed
My admirable, handsome, humble, delightful paymaster Mr. Walker already mentioned the remarkable looking Mari0 in October, but it wasn’t out then. Truth be told, it’s not quite out yet – but at about 10 tomorrow evening, this amazing mash-up of Super Mario and Portal 2 will downloadable. I point out it’s Portal 2 to make a clear distinction: it has the gel and it will eventually have online co-op (currently it has local) in addition to the Portal gun. It also has Super Mario Bros, but let’s not hold that against it. Even more moving imagery of it exists through this portal. Come… 0

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Valve’s Skyrim Mod: Finding Spaaaaaaaace Man

Be very afraid, Space Core.
Alongside the Skyrim Creation Kit and the HD Texture Pack that was officially released last night, Valve added their own little addition to Skyrim: Fall of The Space Corp, Vol. 1 adds Portal 2’s jittery little Space Core to the Nord world, voiced by the man that holds the patent on all gaming voiceovers, Nolan North. It’s both proof that clicking things in Skyrim’s Steam Workshop works just like they said it would, and that Valve’s punmasters are missed a trick by not calling him Nolan Nord. When you add the mod to the game, you need to find him. Here’s a video I made that shows you how.
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Level With Me, Level With Me.


Level With Me was a series of conversations with level designers like Dan Pinchbeck, Jack Monahan, Magnar Jenssen, Brendon Chung, Davey Wreden, Ed Key, and Richard Perrin. At the end, we all collaborated on a Portal 2 mod. You can download that mod here. Liner notes, installation notes, and screenshots are after the jump.
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