Reader Alex went skydiving the other day, and aside from taking his good self, packed an inflatable Portal turret to go with him.
Both then proceeded to jump out of a perfectly good aircraft at 13,000 feet.
Alex says that, thanks to air pressure, the turret was actually really tough to keep hold of, and it was only when they got to around 7000 feet that it deflated enough for him to only have to worry about not dying, instead of not dying and losing a Portal turret at 13,000 feet.
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.
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.
British artist Pinali sets our hearts aflutter with this animated take on Portal's Chell (in her Portal 2 outfit).
I keep thinking, if I watch it long enough, the "camera" will pan across and just follow her as she starts shooting the place up.
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 Life-Size Inflatable Sentry Turret [ThinkGeek]
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…)
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.
The full list is celebrating after the jump.