Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

FACES.

Say, remember when Robert Yang interviewed a load of neat-o level designers while collaborating on a Portal 2 level with them as a sort of playable journalism? I enjoyed the Level With Me series back when I only read RPS, and now I’m here I’m glad I get to post about it.

The first Level With Me creation, made with folks including Brendon Chung, Dan Pinchbeck, Davey Wreden, and Ed Key, had been brokenby a Portal 2 update. Oh no! But this week, Yang released an updated version you can find over here. It’s a fine opportunity to revisit a classic RPS feature.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Industrious internet users at Reddit have dug up brief footage of Valve’s Portal 2 VR demo, the one which was playable at GDC last week and which made me so giddy.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Reddit has dug up some brief footage of the Portal environment Valve used to demo the Vive headset to GDC attendees recently. It's taken from a talk by Valve's Alex Vlachos on advanced VR techniques, which he used to boast about the fidelity the development team were able to achieve using high-poly models in a small environment.

The demo has you repairing Atlas, one of the co-stars of Portal 2's co-op mode. He explodes into his component parts and you have to fix him using the Vive's motion-tracked controllers. Maximum PC caught some of Vlachos' commentary during the footage.

"Because you're in this tracked space with this guy and you can walk up and he has all these moving parts. The moving parts alone are like 600,000 triangles or more. I forget the exact number, but there's a lot of triangles there which means you can get incredibly close to this guy and all these parts and see the shape and the details."

Valve programmer later Tweeted confirmation that the demo was built in the Source 2 engine. Valve also announced that Source 2 will be free, but users will have to sell their game through Steam (though are free to sell the game in additional ways if they wish).

We've tried the VR demo. Here's what it's like to play.

PC Gamer

At GDC today, Valve has been showing off a demo of HTC's new virtual reality headset. We're going to see the demo tomorrow morning, but we already know a lot about it from our colleagues' reports: it looks a lot like a new Portal. It is not a new Portal.

I reached out to Valve and asked for a comment on how the demo is being interpreted: CNet, for instance, said it "sounds like" Portal 3, while Tom Parsons of Stuff claimed that he had actually played a Portal 3 demo during his Vive hands-on. I told Valve that I was skeptical that they'd soft-announced Portal 3. Valve director of marketing Doug Lombardi responded, "We have not."

I followed up to be absolutely clear, asking, "The demo being shown does not represent a prototype or indicate any plan for a new Portal?" Lombardi replied, "Correct. Just a demo." So no, this isn't Portal 3. It's just a tech demo until we know more—and I suspect Valve is just having fun with some existing art.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Shaun Green)

GLaDOS, GLaDOS, oh so monstrous,How does your garden grow?> With portable cells and many dead Chells,And propulsion gel all in a row.>

The original Portal’s Test Chamber 17 is notoriously the level in which the Weighted Companion Cube made its first appearance… and met its fiery doom. Though not before it became the cube with a face that launched a thousand memes.

Thanks to an enterprising level designer, laakkone, that Chamber can now be played in Portal 2. … [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

The above trailer is the work of Portal 2 machinima-maker 'Harry101UK'. The mod powering it is Portal Stories: Mel. It's a new story, based in the Portal 2 universe, about new protagonist Mel and the new personality core that she's travelling with.

The mod boasts custom textures and animations, and over 20 new maps. It's also been Greenlit—meaning it will be made available directly through Steam. And, unlike last year's Aperture Tag, it will be entirely free.

For more, head over to the mod's Steam page. Portal Stories: Mel is due out early-2015.

Announcement - Valve
Save 75% on Portal 2 during this week's Midweek Madness*!

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time

PC Gamer

If you search Steam for nothing and then sort nothing by user reviews you'll get a neat list of the most popular games on Steam among user reviewers, based on the percentage of positive reviews on the system. Portal 2 wins. Of 35,550 reviewers, 99% like the game. Make more games please, Valve.

If you prefer raw numbers, Dota 2 (94% of 280k users like it) and Team Fortress 2 (97% of 200k like it) come out ahead. Skyrim also does well. 98% of 78,842 users like Skyrim.

One Finger Death Punch, Crypt of the Necrodancer and Nuclear Throne have 99% positive ratings too, which is good, because those games are totally ace. In fact, the whole list is a brilliant resource if you're looking for ways to spend your spare Steam wallet pennies in the Steam sale.

Here's a shot of the top ten. What do you think?

PC Gamer
MOD OF THE WEEK

In Mod of the Week, Chris LIvingston scours the world of user-created adventure for worthy downloads. This week, a Portal 2 mod that fuels our dreams of an above-ground Aperture City.

Apart from a guard booth and a small shed in a field, most of what we've seen of Aperture Science has been carefully hidden underground. Perhaps if things hadn't gone so horribly wrong in their massive subterranean lab, Aperture eventually might have built a proper above-ground campus, like Google or Microsoft.

That's the premise of Above Aperture. You're on an excursion to Aperture City, a large above-ground compound littered with buildings and devious test-chambers. 

Yes, you're still as trapped as Chell ever was, but the open-air nature of most of the chambers and the little outdoor strolls you take between the challenges give it a different feel than the subterranean labyrinth we're used to. Aperture City, naturally, is abandoned and crumbling, and armed with only your wits (and a cool handheld device), you're trying to find your way out, or at least your way through

Above Aperture features some custom models and art, as well as a really nice piece of custom music. Not only are the maps lovely to look at, but they're pretty challenging as well. I spent a good deal of time in the very first level wondering just what the heck I was supposed to do. I could clearly see the spots I needed to get to, and I knew I had the tools to get there: my portal gun, a light bridge, and a faith plate. There were even clues in a few spots, little arrows painted on the concrete... anyway, it was a challenge, a nice twist on the standard game-play, and quite satisfying when I finally figured it out.

Light bridges are a big part of most of the puzzles, but there are other familiar elements: laser-beams and mirror cubes, a bit of gel, a few turrets here and there. The chambers are nice and big, and for me, they're the best kind: where you sort of wander around for a bit before you even try anything, peering at the walls and ceiling, trying to put the solution together in your head before you actually start firing the gun.

I really do like being above-ground, too. I know, it's just a skybox, and the maps may as well be underground anyway because you're trapped in them either way, but it still feels a bit more freeing being able to see the sky (though no moon, of course). It's also one step closer to my ultimate Portal dream: a huge GTA-style metropolis I can fling portals around in.

If you spot a radio during your travels, make sure to take it with you: there's a cool custom song hidden somewhere in the maps, and you won't want to miss it. (I definitely missed it my first time through.)

Above Aperture is in three parts which you can subscribe to here. I certainly hope there will be more of this adventure to come: the puzzles are pretty fiendish and the maps are very well designed, not just in how the puzzles function but in the overall atmosphere as well.

You can also check out more of the modder's Portal 2 workshop items here.

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