Posts Tagged ‘Portal 2’

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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If Wheatley Had Won: Portal 2 VGA Vid

Well done, Wheatley, you mad idiot.

Earlier this month, Valve made a video of Wheatley talking about his nomination in the ‘Best Character’ category of the VGAs. The Joker actually took the award, which seemed disappointing at first, since he’s a decades old character who even in this incarnation is appearing in a sequel, while Wheatley is quite the original. Then I noticed that the other two entrants were Nathan Drake and Marcus Fenix, appearing in the third games of their respective trilogies. The awards mean diddly squat, but I was a little disappointed about Wheatley missing out because it meant we all missed out an an acceptance speech. No more! Here’s what he would have said.

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Valve VGA Vid Appears To Offer HL3 Clues

Or they just add random shit and wait to see how people interpret it.

Who fancies a mystery? Valve prepared what must have been an incredibly expensive video for the VGAs’ best character category, starring Wheatley, complete with Stephen Merchant’s voice, floating in space and begging for help getting home. So, that’s nice and fun, if lacking in the big laughs. (He didn’t win.) But of course Valve being Valve, they’ve filled it with more details. Not many, but there’s Russian text, star constellations in the background and weird numbers, which of course means those with a mind for such things are tearing it to pieces. Of course, it might have just been filler to make the image more interesting. But Valve MUST know by now that anything they add is going to be analysed to pieces, and they’re clearly the sorts to troll their community in every imaginable way. What do you make of it?

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The Games Of Christmas ’11: Day Ten


“Feed the world. Let them know it’s Christmas time.” But I’ve only got six dining room chairs, Bob. “I don’t care. I’m too busy thanking God it’s them instead of my friend.” I hate you, Bob.

Ah, the Christmas classics. Not talking of which, what’s the tenth game in our NOT IN ANY ORDER list of the best games of spaceyear 2011?

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Level with Me, Magnar Jenssen

Level with Me” is a series of conversations about level design between modder Robert Yang and a level designer of a first person game. At the end of each interview, they collaborate on a Portal 2 level shared across all the sessions – and at the very end of the series, you’ll get to download and play this “roundtable level.” This is Part 3 of 7.

Of everyone I spoke to, Magnar Jenssen is the only one still actively working in the game industry as a level designer at Avalanche Studios. Before, he also worked on Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 (GRAW2) and Bionic Commando at GRIN, up until the studio’s demise. When he isn’t raking in all that sweet map-stamp money from arena_offblast for Team Fortress 2, he tinkers with some less profitable but absurdly polished single player Half-Life 2 mods.

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Testing, Testing: Portal 2 Puzzle Creator

If GlaDOS isn't the tooltip helper I'm going to be upset

See that screen there? The screencap of one of Valve’s cute little cartoon instructional videos for Portal 2? Yeah, that’s not a frame from one of those adverts, that’s actually what the new Portal 2 level designer will look like. At least, according to the latest blog post on the Portal 2 website, which also brings news of simplified sharing and community tools, all designed to let users create, share and play new test chambers with relative ease.

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Byte vs Brick: Week Ending Oct 7

Again! Again! It’s our theoretically regular comparison of Steam’s top ten best-selling games over the last week with the same at UK retail. Will Rage have stormed its way to the top despite the outrage and buck-passing surrounding its technically-troubled PC launch? Or will foot-to-ball have conclusively proven that an Englishman’s national sport is more important to him than pretending to be a time-lost survivor of a planet-wide apocalypse? And will retail be a mess of Sims games while Steam is a confusing muddle of pre-orders, deeply discounted returning titles and new entries? Take my hand. Where we’re going, there be tables.
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Why Don’t You Review Portal 2: Peer Review?

I bet that works ok on ATI cards grumble grumble

Aha! In rather happier news from the land of big-name gaming, the Peer Review DLC pack for Portal 2 landed on Steam earlier today. Its cost? £0. $0. €0.

Your game should already have updated with it, if all is well. I uninstalled the game but two days ago to make room for Rage, because I’m a bloody idiot, but have any of you lot given the new adventures of Peabody and Atlas a spin?

Is the price right, or would you have paid real money for it?

Portal 2’s Free DLC Arrives October 4th


Valve send word that their free DLC for Portal 2 will arrive on October 4th. Man, I totally already said all that in the headline! Here’s what I didn’t say, which was what Valve said: “In “Peer Review”, you and a friend will continue the story of loyal bots P-Body and Atlas as you puzzle your way through a mysterious new co-op test track and once again match wits with GLaDOS. The DLC also features a single player and co-op Challenge Mode, and leaderboards to compare Challenge Mode scores with friends and the Portal community.”

In other Portal news there’s more Songs TO Test by over here, and I’ve posted quite a special Portal fan video below. Thanks, Jeep!
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Now You’re Thinking With Screenshots

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

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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Digital Swap Shop: Steam Trading

A man signs into his Steam account, this morning
A few weeks ago, Valve started beta testing its Steam Trading feature and people have swapped over a million items since then. Were the majority of them hats? I don’t have those figures, but the entrails in this animal say “yes”. The trading feature is now officially live and you can trade all sorts of gubbins with one another. Clarification: “all sorts of gubbins” means Team Fortress 2, Portal 2 and Spiral Knights items so not a great deal has actually changed. Perhaps more interesting than item swapping is the ability to trade unredeemed games, although do note the qualifier ‘unredeemed’. Steam is not letting you swap grubby used goods. There’s a FAQ here. The fact that every public profile now comes with an inventory means that Steam is officially an RPG in which buying cheap games is the grind. The plan is to bring more developers on board in the coming months, so one day you may be able to trade the Incas for a pair of cowboy boots. Truly, we live in exciting times.

Bang The Drum: Portal 2 Did Best On PC

It did best on PC because console gamers are tooooo stoooooopid loooooooool. That is my reasoned argument.

So says Gabe Newell, as part of a long and fascinating interview at Gamasutra about Valve’s current state of play. Of their recent games’ commercial success he claims that “We can never predict; I mean we just try to build good games and then we tend to be surprised. Portal 2 did better on the PC than it did on the consoles; Left 4 Dead did better on the consoles than it did on the PC.”
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Very Decent Proposal: Portal Brings The Love

All I did was make a nice picnic. I'm rubbish!

Oh now this is special. Properly special. Extraordinarily talented map creator Douglas “TopHATTwaffle” Hoogland was commissioned by one Gary Hudston to create a very particular series of Portal 2 levels. Working with Rachel “Miss Stabby” van der Meer, he set about creating some truly spectacular Portal 2 puzzles that lead up to, well, something of a proposal.

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Grand Nationals: Portal 2 Video Winners

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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Games For Hats: Valve Trials Steam Trades

Can I trade stuff for beer? That'd be incredibly useful.

Valve’s in-game TF2 item store is about to become an out-of-game item store. They’re trialling something called Steam Trading, which primarily involves swapping your TF2 unlocks (i.e. those damnable hats, mostly) for other games.

It’s an old-fashioned barter system in new-fangled clothes. What happens is you invite someone on your Steam friends list or who you’re in a group chat with to trade, and can offer up your various TF2 items to the other guy. In return, he or she can offer you other TF2 items – or to gift a game to you. You can’t do this with any old game in your Steam library – only games you’ve purchased from the store as a gift, or received as an Extra Copy.
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Tree-Killers: The Valve Comic Collection

An ape will die on every page

Over the last few years, Valve have been quietly honing the fine art of viral marketing in an online age, and comics have been a big part of that. A cartel of in-house writers and the excellent pencils of Michael Avon Oeming (and others) have created some rather splendid words’n’pictures. Of course, they were merely digital. HOW DARE YOU INSULT OUR EYEBALLS WITH YOUR CRUMMY JPEGS? Why, that’s for philistines and people too damned lazy to turn paper pages. This horrendous oversight and offence to everything that some angry guy somewhere probably holds dear is about to be corrected, thanks to a hardback compilation of Valve’s various Portal, Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2 comics due from august comic publisher Dark Horse later this year.
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Second Symphony: Portal 2 Soundtrack 2

Look, I've only had three hours sleep. I'm not going to write you a funny caption this time. Sorry.

First there was one free official soundtrack collection for Portal 2, and now there are two. That’s eighteen more tracks of exciting bleeping, on top of the 22 we’ve already had. There’s a third one yet to come – but will it include The National’s ode to abject misery and Jonathon Coulton’s latest Portal creation? We will probably find out at some point in the near future: that is my official statement on the matter. Yes, you may quote me on it.

Meantime, get over here to grab Music To Test By Volume 2, or just have a peer at the reliably entertaining list of track titles below. SPOILER ALERT: one of the titles is on the spoiley side if you’ve not played the game.
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Potato Salad For Two: Portal 2 Compo Co-op

Good job all these tests are still completable with so much of them missing
A couple of days ago we reported on the Portal 2 Summer Mapping Initiative, a competition held in honour of the frankly frightening creativity of the Valve fan base. If you enjoyed Portal 2, and who didn’t, you might want to give them a go. The official winners and runners up created a big chunk of content, dumping easily a typical single-player game’s campaign worth of playtime into your lap, for no pennies. I’ve been playing the top-rated co-op maps, because the stark terror of being trapped in a testing facility that mostly wants to kill you is best experienced with company. Let me tell you about it!

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