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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!
It doesn’t take a lot for me to get obsessed. I’d managed to pull away from Team Fortress 2, but then Valve introduced the Strange category of weapons, stat-tracking guns and melee weapons that report how many kills each has, and I got into it all over again. I’m almost embarrassed by how easy it was to hook me back into the mainframe. Worryingly Valve have just added a new category of unlocks to augment the Strange weapons counting abilities: Strange Parts.
Only found in crates, Strange Parts will help you study specific aspects of your performance in battle by letting you customize your favorite Strange weapon. Now you’re free to track the number of enemies you gib, projectiles you reflect, heads you’ve shot, and more.
They’ve also dropped three new hats into the game, and that number is a more descriptive than you realise: there are only three in the entire game, and to get one you’ll most likely need to spend a significant amount of money. (more…)
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.
Aperture: Lab Ratt is a fan film based on the Portal universe. And, as you'll see five seconds into this trailer, it's looking very professional.
Proper music, proper outfits, an expensive camera, good lighting...yes, it's looking lovely.
If it helps sell you on the quality behind this flick, it's being made by the same crew who put together last year's charming Aperture Science documentary.
This one, though, looks a lot more serious.
Oh, and bonus: the site of the production team also sells Aperture Science ID cards.