Portal

Portal and Left 4 Dead writer Chet Faliszek and Riot Games senior technical designer Kimberly Voll have launched a new studio called Stray Bombay Company that will focus on the development of AI-driven "collaborative gaming experiences." 

"As Kim and I talked over the years about the kind of games we want to make, we realized we want to create games that give players a place to breathe and live in the moment," Faliszek wrote at straybombay.com. "Games that tell stories knowing you are going to come back again and again, that change each time you play them without feeling completely random, and that help you feel like a real team that supports each other... not a bunch of folks in each other’s way. And where AI drives not just the enemies but helps drive the entire experience." 

Faliszek is likely the better known of the two among gamers, but Voll has an impressive list of credits too. She's worked on numerous indie games over the years including the 2016 VR release Fantastic Contraption, a must-have for HTC Vive owners, and last year she gave a GDC presentation about how Riot was able to revamp League of Legend's honor system. 

"We think now is the time to change the culture of game development. Make everyone equals, not just in their impact on the project but in how we divide the loot of our success. Relax strict PTO policies because we trust each other to take the time you need. We want to build games that reflect our culture," Voll said. 

"We are supported by like-minded, patient investors with Kevin at Upfront Ventures as our lead, who has known us for years, working with Chet on a gaming startup board, as well as Riot Games. They love and understand games but more importantly, have time and again backed founder-led and employee-owned tech startups from the beginning towards long-term, independent success." 

With the studio announced, the plan now is to "go dark for a little bit as we start laying the foundation of our new world." It sounds like there's already been some decent amount of progress in that direction, though, as Faliszek told PC Games Insider that he had a prototype running in Unity and Unreal before partnering with Voll to launch the studio.   

"We know the direction we're going. As people join the team, that'll help find the game more clearly. We're very iterative, everyone is a designer, everyone participates in the process," he said. "Everyone joining [the studio] will have a big impact on the project. Obviously, we have a plan, there's a framework that we can hang it all off, but everyone will be able to express themselves and have an impact." 

Faliszek also confirmed that he is no longer with Bossa Studios, the Worlds Adrift developer he joined up with in 2017. In fact, it sounds as though that might be a big part of what led to the launch of Stray Bombay. 

"I just don't think it was quite the right match. Bossa is great; I love them. It was the most cordial breakup of making sure that everybody was okay and helping each other the best we could ... I take a lot of notes, I track progress and see where things are so I can have a good perspective on it and I brought some stuff up and we talked it through and it just wasn't good for either side. We decided to break-up."   

Faliszek said that it was up to Bossa to comment on the state of that project following his departure, so I've reached out to ask and will update if I receive a reply. To keep up with happenings on the new project, you can add your name to the mailing list at straybombay.com

Portal

Speedrunner Can't Even has smashed their own Portal world record, completing Valve's puzzler in a mere 7:07.

It's an out-of-bounds run, which means they're constantly glitching through walls and empty space. I like that, occasionally, you'll catch a glimpse of part of the game you recognise, and then suddenly it's gone, and you're somewhere else entirely. The level of precision is properly impressive.

Can't Even reckons they can shave two seconds off the run, but it still easily beats their own previous world record of 7:12. The leaderboard at speedrun.com hasn't been updated yet, but you can see that Can't Even is well ahead of the competition—the next best runner is now a full 14 seconds slower.

They're also in the top 25 for in-bounds runs, which take roughly three-and-a-half minutes longer.

If you're a speedrunning fan, don't forget to mark January 6, a week today, in your calendar—it's the start of the annual Awesome Games Done Quick event. The schedule is live here.

Thanks, Kotaku.

Portal

CS:GO went three to play and got a battle royale mode last week - but the surprises didn't end there, as players discovered a cryptic message which some speculated was an ARG to tease Portal 3. Despite the best efforts of CS:GO sleuths, however, Valve has since confirmed this is actually just an Easter egg - although it's still a pretty neat discovery.

The fun and games began when YouTube user snaileny posted a video of a "strange broadcast" they'd found on the new battle royale map dz_blacksite. According to snaileny, to hear this you have to stand in Room 3 for over two minutes before the (slightly creepy) message begins to play.

Players figured out the beginning of the list is in the NATO phonetic alphabet, and translates to PGPW50 SMS757 - the first half of which refers to the PGP word list (an extended biometric word list designed to prevent wiretapping). The transmission, when converted into the PGP word list, gives you 50 pairs of numbers and letters. Reddit user GetSomeGyros then figured out that the "SMS7" part of the message, meanwhile, refers to GSM 7-bit encoding: and when you put PGP pairings into this, you get the following message:

Read more…

Oct 31, 2018
Portal
An update has been released for Portal 2 - Fixed possible remote code execution exploits. - Fixed potential buffer overflow in closed captions. Reported via HackerOne.
Portal - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Moondust

It strikes me as very silly that anyone is trying to declare VR a failure or a success, given that we’re still working out the most basic of control systems for it. Valve’s latest VR project is a new alternate controller for the HTC Vive called Knuckles, and by all accounts it’s a big step in the right direction, allowing complex finger motions to be tracked, on top of offering analogue sticks and buttons. To demo the new hardware, Valve put together Moondust, a Portal-themed minigame collection designed to put the new hardware through its paces.

(more…)

Jun 5, 2018
Portal
An update has been released for Portal 2. - Fix for a potential remote code execution exploit. Thanks to HackerOne for the report.
May 21, 2018
Portal
An update has been released for Portal 2 - Added HUD hint support for Steam Input types other than the Steam Controller.
Portal - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brock Wilbur)

WWars-pic-2

Not every game needs to reinvent the wheel. Or even involve themselves in this business of wheels. Sometimes you need only grab a few universally beloved things and jam them together. If you had an arena multiplayer shooter that combined the best levels of Halo with the constant world-bending of Portal and added a dash of the best parts of Overwatch, well, that’s what Wormhole Wars looks like it wants to be. And that’s what I want it to be too.

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Mar 5, 2018
Portal
An update has been released for Portal 2. - Fixed crashes on multi-core and multi-CPU systems that can allocate more than 32 threads.
Portal - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alyse Stanley)

chell1

The Orange Box turned 10 years old this year, and by extension Portal celebrated its anniversary too. Sitting alongside continuations of well-loved games, the short puzzle adventure could have been quickly forgotten. Tacked on to bulk up the box. It was, however, a surprise hit, winning over players with its smart spatial puzzles and writing that fans continue to quote. And while I can list lines off with the best of them (don t even get me started on that cake), this classic s hold on my heart comes from a person who never speaks one.

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