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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to GLaDOS drops some science in new educational video from NASA">GLaDOS: science educator







Let's face it: learning science is always fun. You can build dioramas of the solar system with friends, study biology with a science teacher, or combine compounds in a lab with a partner. If we're being honest, though, the best way to learn any science is almost always with an evil artificial intelligence, bent on subjugating the world through its malfeasance, for science. That makes GLaDOS the best teacher ever, as demonstrated in a new NASA video.







In a new educational outreach video released by NASA s Spitzer Space Telescope, GLaDOS educates a couple of computer techs about the difference between nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. Both have to do with Helium and Hydrogen atoms slamming around, and both will eventually lead to GLaDOS taking over the world and exterminating all humanity. The finer distinctions are patiently explained by GLaDOS like it s Take Your Daughter To Work Day. Well, not that Take Your Daughter To Work Day. Some different one.







Check out the NASA Spitzer YouTube channel for more science videos, though this is so far the only one featuring power-hungry computer program.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Cryptozoic is making a Portal board game">portal



Image via ICV2.com

Board game publisher Cryptozoic announced that it is making a board game based on Portal. The tentatively titled Portal: Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game is set for a release in the third quarter of 2014. Its suggested retail price is currently set around $50. A portal gun that defies the laws of physics is not included.

Cryptozoic has experience translating different franchises into board games. Earlier this month it announced Assassin s Creed: Arena. At the American International Toy Fair, it revealed it s making a DC Comics card game and a dice game based on The Walking Dead television show.

That s where Cryptozoic also revealed the Portal game, but it s still unclear how the game will play. In addition to the tentative release date and price, all Cryptozoic said is that it s designed by the creators of Portal, that it will deliver a rich, smart, and utterly unique narrative experience, and that it will be for 2-4 players.

Playing pieces will include test subject, sentry turret, weighted companion cube, and delicious cake.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Portal: Alive and Kicking is a free mod that plans to recreate Portal in Portal 2">Portal 2







For those, like me, who only need the merest reason to play Portal again, keep an eye on Portal: Alive and Kicking. It's "a full remake and re-imagining" of Portal 1 in Portal 2's fancier iteration of Source. The free mod that's been passed through the latest batch of Greenlight approvals, and has the confident endorsement of Jeep Barnett, Valve designer and co-creator of the proto-Portal student project, Narbacular Drop. "Every tile on every panel has been revisited with loving detail," he writes. "Not only have the visuals been updated to match Portal 2, but the weaker puzzle cues have been improved."



The mod also includes a new set of advanced maps based on Portal chambers 13-18, but with "all new puzzles and set in the "Old Aperture" visual theme seen in Portal 2." The adaptive soundtrack has been expanded and Portal's original advanced maps have been recreated in the Portal 2's ruined Aperture aesthetic. It looks a bit like this.







"WEEEEEEEEEEE."



I was a bit skeptical about fan-make remakes of old games until I played Black Mesa: Source. The act of recreation through the lens of intense fandom added dozens of loving touches that enhanced Valve's original vision for Half-Life. See also, The Dark Mod, which did a great job of capturing the magic of Thief. Hopefully Alive and Kicking will do the same for Glados et al.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to First-person puzzle game Scale aims to shrink the moon, deliver it via Kickstarter">Scale







Scale, a new first-person puzzle game created by developer Steve Swink, features a young girl armed with a potent power: the ability to scale anything up or down almost infinitely. Currently raising funds on Kickstarter, Scale looks a lot like a Portal-alike, with its female protagonist and sci-fi Game Mechanic gun, but it’s a comparison that Swink categorically rejects.







“Yeah, we’re busy redesigning to the gun to be less Portal-like as I speak," he tells PC Gamer. "It got chucked in there quickly before PAX. It’s the obvious comparison to make, totally understandable, but the game is about exploring and discovery… rather than a linear series of puzzles that show how much I’ve explored the mechanic and how clever I am as a designer.”



Set around 40 years in the future, Scale follows the protagonist, Penny, a brilliant young physicist. While working to study elementary particles, Penny loses patience with the hit-or-miss world of supercolliders and settles on a different plan: a device that can enlarge anything so she can just zap an electron, make it as big as a minivan, and take a look. Naturally, she destroys the entire east coast of the United States.







Though Penny has a story she’s following, the exploration and puzzles are self-directed. In a gameplay video, Swink shows one where the player needs to cross some water to an island. Penny hops on a landlocked sailboat and then enlarges the moon, causing the seas to rise. I ask him how else it could be done. Penny could also stand on a flower and scale it until she just steps onto the other island, or just scale the boat itself until it’s big enough to be a bridge.



It seems that every new game with an experimental mechanic has to follow the Portal formula, so it’s nice to see a game with the ambition to set players free. Scale has a few days left on Kickstarter before it continues development for a planned December 2014 release.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

I don't have kids, but I do have a house full of kid's books.

Consider this your daily dose of nice. Artist Joey Spiotto, aka Joebot, draws films and videogames as the covers of children’s books. His game work includes imagined covers for Half-Life 2 (above, in part), Skyrim, BioShock, Portal, Mass Effect and more. (more…)

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

Words by Hamish Todd.>

Portal has the best-designed first-person puzzles I’ve ever seen. They’re surprising, focused, and concise. They are also designed very perceptively, and we can learn a lot from looking at this perceptiveness. Read on for an analysis of Portal’s level design, and some lessons about what learning from it can do to improve game design.

BE WARNED: This article uses multiple animated .gif images on the same page, and might be tough to load on slower connections. (more…)

Sep 17, 2013
Community Announcements - alfred
We have released a Beta update for Portal.
Changes in this update are:

  • Fixed bug with threads getting lower priority than expected causing performance issues on OSX and Linux
Jul 31, 2013
Community Announcements - alfred
We have started a new Beta for Portal.

To access this beta go to the Properties page for Portal and use the Beta tab to opt-in. To opt-out use the same tab.

Changes in this update are:

  • Fixed slow game movement when sv_alternateticks is enabled
  • Fixed bad damage indicators if you changed resolution while playing
  • Assorted SDK tool fixes
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Source SDK 2013 update gives modders “support for virtual reality via the Oculus Rift”">Portal 2 Rift







A Steam news note announces the arrival of an updated version of Valve's software development kit, which grants "support for Mac OS X and Linux to mod developers" and adds "the ability for virtual reality support in your mod." Yes, expect to see a wealth of Oculus Rift mods heading to a Source game near you. Ricochet with Oculus Rift support! The dream lives.



There have been other alterations, too. The source code is now up on github and a tweak to the license agreement allows users to share modified versions of the kit for free. If you're interested in making mods, the Valve Developer Community wiki is a good place to learn.



VR is the talk of the town at the moment, with the Rift's impressive showings at Eve Fanfest and E3. You can keep up with the latest VR news here.
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