Two quick Valve-related happenings for you info-starved masses. And, for once, to do with actual games, rather than about some guy laser-etching a Weighted Companion Cube into his pelvis.
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Valve have recently (yesterday) made available a soundtrack for The Orange Box, available from their online store.
The 19 track CD contains tunes from Episodes One and Two, Team Fortress 2, and of course Portal. That naturally includes Still Alive, but there’s also a bonus version of the song sung by its co-writer Jonathan Coulton.
The question is, don’t we already have those songs on our computer? All the tunes bar one already exist on your machine, albeit in an encoded format. The trouble is, we all know how to get at those songs and have them as playable mp3s.
A very strange trailer for The Orange Box has appeared on HalfLife2.net. It looks like this:
It’s an odd beast. According to HalfLife2.net it was sent to them by Valve, and it’s clearly made with a wedge of money. But it doesn’t really seem to say or do anything. What’s the message? The Orange Box is from outerspace? It will break your property? Presumably, “It’s here” is the message we’re supposed to take. But since it contains five of the best PC games there are, maybe that should be the focus of its promotion? Who knows.
Perhaps, like us, after the sheer joy of the Orange Box, you were left with a twinge of disappointment at the lack of the promised song via the Steam version. Well fear not, as it’s already on your hard drive. You just have to know where to look.
Instructions after the word-portal, for those who don’t want spoilers. (RSS readers: run away now).
Concept: A gun that shoots holes in the fabric of reality. Fire once to create an ‘in’ hole, and again to create an ‘out’ hole, enter one, and exit the other.
Application: A puzzle game, obviously. Elaborate obstacle courses only traversed via this dimensional manipulation.
Hello? Can I Help You?
The fairytale story of how Portal came into being has all but entered into legend. A plucky group of Digipen paupers created a final year project, Narbacular Drop, that was shown at the annual Digipen event for visiting developers. The handsome princes at Valve saw it, and liked it. Valve invited the team to visit their castle and demo their concept. Before they were halfway through their presentation, they’d all been offered jobs by the king. And then a couple of years later, a beautiful baby Portal was born. And we all lived happily ever after.
If you’ve pre-ordered the Orange Box, you may have noticed that your pre-load info now shows a countdown clock, numbering in but a few hours. The biggest event in PC gaming since the last big event in PC gaming is almost upon us, and the tension is making it hard to move. So, in our unhelpful manner, here’s another exclusive Portal screenshot to make the aching worse.
The countdown does just as good a job of telling you how long there is to wait for our verdicts on both Episode Two and Portal, to appear here at 8:01am UK time (12:01am Pacific time) Wednesday morning.
P.S. An Appeal
This is a Rock, Paper, Shotgun Appeal. With your copy of The Orange Box, and presumably with your download, you will receive a song. Please don’t listen to it before you’ve played Episode Two and Portal. Please. We’re really hoping Valve have thought of this too, but it contains some serious spoilers that will rob you of a wonderful moment.
Wednesday (to be renamed “Orangeboxday”) is approaching with a crazed inevitability, and we’re all out of control. So here’s something to make it worse, whetting your appetite while wetting your pants. Another exclusive screenshot of Episode Two.
Click pic for embiggenment.
Don’t forget that at 8:01am UK time, and 12:01am Pacific time Wednesday, as The Orange Box begins unlocking on your Steam account, Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s verdicts of both Episode Two and Portal go live. You’ll want something to do while Steam awakens and the final blob of downloading completes, so what better than our (completely spoiler-free) detailed opinion on both games.
Valve have just announced that The Orange Box is to have one more disc inside. A single, written by the excellent geek-turned-geek-singer, Jonathan Coulton, and members of the Valve writing staff, is to accompany the five games already bulging its cardboardy edges. (Presumably those ordering through Steam will be given a download).
Maddeningly (for both you and me), I know what the song is, and I will be murdered if I say. And I also know that I thought only yesterday, “Valve really ought to release that song as a single.” So clearly my thoughts control Valve’s actions. Know this: it’s incredibly good.
I’m just off to think about Valve giving me a well-paid job on their writing staff now.
We’re chuffed to declare that RPS will have reviews of Half-Life 2: Episode Two and Portal at the moment the Orange Box goes live on October 10th. Nowhere else on the net will be publishing reviews before this date, so frankly, check us out and our fancy new haircut.
Today was spent in Valve HQ playing the latest chapter in the Half-Life story, and tomorrow morning I’ll be leaping through Portals, before interviewing anyone I can nail to a chair. Expect to see interviews here in the next couple of weeks before release.
More details later this week.