The Portal games have been beautiful, haven't they? The first one presented a simple, clean aesthetic that worked as a great backdrop to the clever gameplay and snarky humor of Chell's battle of wits against GLaDOS. Then, last year, Portal 2 took Aperture Science's glistening white test chambers and destroyed them, letting players roam through the innards of Cave Johnson's company. And lo, it was glorious.
Now, everyone can see how Valve executed this big visual shift in Dark Horse's upcoming The Art of Portal 2. Announced tonight at the Emerald City Comic-Con, the 184-page hardcover book will feature concept art and completed vision, along with character sketches and commentary from writers, artists and other developers.
It's out on October 31st and no price has been announced yet. But, based on the scintillating art above—click the Expand button to enlarge—I'm going to say that The Art of Portal 2 will be worth whatever the price tag is. It's got pictures of space. Spaaaace!
Late last night one David Grossman shared with me a different sort of laser singing. Instead of using the pitch of the laser to replicate sound the way DePrisco did with the fiber laser, Grossman transformed his 250 watt CO2 laser into a working speaker.
David explains: "In essence, the laser is firing at a fixed repetition rate - there's around 30k pulses hitting the material every second. Each of those pulses disrupts the material, and has an associated flash of light and plume of ejected material, which pushes air outwards, making a sound.
"The circuit that's driving the laser pulsing is using the audio signal to vary the energy of each of those pulses.
As such, each plume is ejecting a different amount of material, which is also pushing air differently, causing different sounds."
To put it simply, the music is being played by tiny explosions.
As I prepared to write up Grossman's video, I got another email, this time from the original laser Portal engineer.
Chris DePrisco was dropping me a line to let me know he had followed up on the :Still Alive" video with a two-track fiber laser version of "Want You Gone". Using his single laser he recorded two tracks and spliced them together into one slightly-off but still incredible impressive video.
I couldn't decide which to post, so I posted them both. That I live in a world where such decisions are necessary pleases me to no end.
Damn society, always trying to put the safety of the many above the enjoyment of a few. That's why we can't have real Portal 2 turrets scattered about our homes, monitoring and usually protecting our valuables and loved ones. Thanks the amazing things retailer ThinkGeek we can now at least own an inflatable facsimile.
Revealed during ThinkGeek's 2012 CES spectacular, the Inflatable Portal 2 Sentry Turret has all the great features of the real thing, except it doesn't talk, light up, sing, or fire off a ridiculous number of bullets. It will, however, float in a swimming pool, so take that, realism!
From the official product description:
Drastic times call for drastic measures, friends of Science. Aperture Science had to make some cutbacks to the production line when OSHA shut down the main plant. Something about air quality or lead paint in the water pipes. Silly, really. That's what waivers are for. Anyhoo, we can't get you any real, bullet-firing turrets, but we did manage to hijack a pool float factory long enough to make a bunch of these inflatable ones
Now how much would you pay? $24.99? I sure hope so, because that's how much it costs. I'm sure ThinkGeek will let you pay more if your heart is set on it.
Portal 2 is this week's Midweek Madness! Celebrate the winner of three British Academy video game awards, including Best Game, by taking 50% off now through Thursday at 4pm Pacific Time!
Portal 2 draws from the award-winning formula of innovative gameplay, story, and music that earned the original Portal over 70 industry accolades and includes an extensive single player campaign as well as the unique two-person co-op experience with it's own dedicated storyline.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - email@example.com (Craig Pearson)
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. (more…)
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - firstname.lastname@example.org (Andrew Smee)
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.
Valve's Portal 2 was easily one of the most musically enjoyable games of 2011. Not just for its soundtrack, but for the awesome ways that it implemented music into the background of its levels.
Youthful electronic musician BonJob agrees, putting together a very cool techno joint that incorporates sound effects from Portal 2 over a pulsing beat. I know there must be a whole crap-ton of Portal-inspired music out there, but I really dug this one. Check it out:
I love the intro in particular; in fact, I'd be really into music that was created entirely from samples taken from the game's audio. It'd be in line with the way the game already works, after all!
BonJob can also found on Facebook. We first discovered his track on reddit.
The Portal 2 puzzle creator will let players make their own test chambers without having to dive into Valve's complex level creation tools. We got a chance to catch up with Chet Faliszeck and Erik Johnson at GDC for a chat about Valve's plans for the user friendly level editor. "I believe they’re beta testing it right now," said Erik Johnson. "When the puzzle maker comes out, you will have a lot of content, that’s for sure."
Valve announced their plans for the Puzzle Creator on the Portal 2 site last year, where they released the first couple of screenshots. It looks very similar to the animated diagrams of the first Portal trailers, released way back in 2007. Much, much friendlier than Valve's Hammer editor.
Valve are expecting a rush of new maps when the new tools are released. October's Portal 2 post mentioned that Valve were also planning "a community site to host all of these player-created puzzles." The recently released Steam Workshop can do just that, presumably players will be able to use the Workshop to show off their levels and vote on their favourites.
"Correct," said Erik. We can expect to see Steam Workshop support appearing in other Valve games, too. "You’ll see the Steam Workshop coming from there, then to Left 4 Dead and then we’re going to keep using it," Chet Faliszeck added. "It’s not just for the modders, it’s for the players. It’s a super easy way to consume the creations of other people that are just really hard to do otherwise."
There's no release date for the new tools yet, but if it's in beta testing, it can't be too far off.