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.
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.
Why would you ever want to play a video game in a language you don't understand? Once you hear Half-Life's G-Man, Metal Gear's Psycho Mantis, and Portal 2's Space Sphere speaking German you'll understand completely.
Our German-speaking audience might be scratching their heads right now, wondering what the big deal is. Well, the big deal is everything, video game or not, sounds much more intense in your language. The sinister sounds more sinister. The humorous sounds... well, more sinister, but in a funny way.
My birth father was born in Germany, so I feel a deep connection to the country. I planned on learning the language myself, though I'm afraid it would lose its magic if I suddenly understood what it meant.
I guess that's how German-speaking folks feel when watching this video. It's up to the rest of you to tell them how amazing their language is. I'm counting on you.
While NECA rolled out a bunch of impressive Valve-licensed stuff, I was still charmed by the Portal 2 offerings shown by ThinkGeek. Along a Companion Cube cookie jar and talking turrets, they also had Aperture Science cores that blurted out phrases from the Portal games. But the highlight had to be the Science Fair kit that you could plug into a potato, calling back to one of the best moments in Valve's teleportational sequel. (Potato not included but the poster backdrop is)
ThinkGeek also had Minecraft wares on display, too. Those wall-hangings should keep the Creepers away, no?
To commemorate the opening of Skyrim's fancy new Creation Kit on Valve's Steam service, Bethesda and the creators of Portal have teamed up to release an official mod. Which brings Portal 2's Space Core to Skyrim.
How? Well, it quite literally falls out of the sky.
To celebrate the opening of the Steam Workshop for Skyrim, Valve and Bethesda have teamed up to bring you the Portal 2 Space Core mod, which will let the aggressively space-centric little robot tag along on your adventures in Tamriel.
Also, since Skyrim was the only major release of 2011 without Nolan North in it, you should consider this mod a patch to fix that problem. You can now feel free to include Skyrim in the "Nolan North" section of your video game library, which is to say, your video game library.
Amazing. You can see a video of the Core falling to Earth Skyrim in the gallery above.
Portal 2's Cave Johnson rants about citrus fruit in this trailer for an "Electronic Combustible Lemon," which, when ignited, plays an ominous ticking countdown followed by what I presume is the sound of lemons exploding. Sadly, the lemon itself does not explode.
The lemon's case plays the Aperture Science founder's infamous rant from Portal 2, in which he explains to listeners exactly what to do when life gives them lemons.