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Portal has been a surprisingly prolific source of inspiration for many high quality products, so a short fifteen minute film based on its universe isn’t that big of a deal any more. However, what I love about Synthetic Pictures‘ Aperture: Lab Ratt (as spotted by The Sixth Axis) is how, in making a film based on Valve’s Lab Rat comic, how successfully they portray the evil of GLaDOS.
The rumors of Black Mesa‘s death have been greatly exaggerated. It has, however, been over three years since Gordon Freeman went for an all-too-brief jog in his shiny new hazard suit. No, gaming’s favorite man of zero words and 1000 crowbar swings per minute hasn’t suddenly affixed a chainsaw to his gun or moved his adventures to an unnamed wartorn Middle Eastern setting, but a lot’s changed.
Once upon a time, this was Valve’s firstborn with a fresh coat of paint. Now, though, the Black Mesa team’s pouring its own blood, sweat, and tears into one of gaming’s most sacred holy grails – for better or worse. Only time will tell. But how much time? One more year? Two? Half-Life 2: Episode 3 (aka, a billion)? And what state is the remake in now? I spoke with project lead Carlos Montero about all of that and more.
The universe has a weird fondness for improbable coincidences. Name your franchise Half-Life, and it takes half a lifetime to come out. Create a robust mod based around a game in that franchise, and its development mirrors that of its crowbar-wielding, hazard-suit chic father series nearly one-to-one. The lofty promises, the incredibly lengthy periods of radio silence, the incessant cries of “vaporware” and “it’ll probably be a huge letdown” – all of it.
Maybe, though, that part’s not such a coincidence. To hear project lead Carlos Montero tell it, Black Mesa‘s an obsessively redesigned, rebuilt-from-the-ground-up love letter to Valve’s opus. The goal, then, is to improve> on something already considered by many to be perfect. And that, as it’s turned out, has been a lot harder than Montero and his constantly fluctuating team first assumed. So, first up, we’re delving into what exactly has taken so long – especially in light of 2008′s rather stunning trailer that promised a release date of, er, three years ago.
The appearance of Valve’s Gabe Newell on the inaugral Seven Day Cooldown podcast seems to have generated all the headlines in the world. Apple’s new boss didn’t really visit Valve, DOTA2 will use a brand new kind of free-to-play and, now, why ‘Ricochet 2′ has been so long coming. There is, I’m afraid, absolutely no way that ‘Ricochet 2′ is a veiled term for another game rather than a sequel to weirdo Tron-like jumpy multiplayer mod Ricochet. And doubly-definitely not a game that might have a ‘Half’ in the title. No sirree. (more…)
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…)
Remember the bit in Fight Club where Ed Norton is sitting on a plane and he explains to the guy sitting next to him his theory of “single-serving friends”? Well, something similar is true in multiplayer games. > (more…)
After looking at the cost of Guild Wars 2 and feeling a muscle in my eyeball involuntarily spasm, I started considering my spending habits. I’m currently splitting my money in three ways: indie games, Steam, and funding in Kickstarter. I don’t have any MMO subs, as I’m mainly action focused, and obviously my Steam account is already crammed with games. But none of this made me twitch. Instead it’s because as PC gamer I’ve never > had to spend much on games, and in this odd, new free-to-pay future, in my eyes the cost of games feels like it’s getting cheaper. At least that’s what I thought. The one consistent expenditure I have is when I want to buy something in Team Fortress 2′s store, which saves every transaction. Going over my purchases I realise it’s not cheaper at all, and, in comparison, £50 on Guild Wars isn’t that bad. (more…)
The movie Cube, the TV show Lost and, Portal are all broken down and reassembled in CUBE, a Half-Life 2: Episode Two mod about self-assembling test chambers. Unsurprisingly, I spent a lot of time stuck, but in a good way. CUBE’s an odd one: accomplished and beautifully designed in most respects, but always on the cusp of crashing. Engine errors are as ubiquitous as new puzzles. I’m still working my way through it: there’s hours of content and multiple endings to complete, but it’s worth picking up and persevering if you miss Valve’s elaborately designed roomy puzzles. (more…)
Imagine a Portal 2 with no GLaDOS, Chell, nor portals. Set in the 1980s. With competitive multiplayer and quantum co-op. And multiple endings. At various points, those were all things that could have hapened, as revealed by Valve last night in San Francisco.>
We’ll just have to come to terms with rule #89: if it exists, it’s in Minecraft. As proof RPS (RedstonePistonSpawner) readers, here’s a look at the newly updated Portal gun mod that, when combined with the Portal 2 gels mod, manages to drop some Aperture Science all over Blockland, or Blockworld. What the hell is the name of the world that Minecraft creates, anyway? I’m calling it Cubea (pronounced like Cuba) from now on. Amazing video and instructions herein. (more…)