Shacknews - Steve Watts

Portal 2

Valve has announced the winners of its Portal 2 Summer Mapping Initiative contest. The company says that they received 280 entries in all, and the 13 lucky judges took 140 hours to complete them all. Play Portal 2 for hours and hours -- what a terrible fate, right?

Patent Pending, an intermediate difficulty map, won the contest. Pit-heavy Infinifling took second place, and Edifice won an honorable mention. Those levels have been given a Valve stamp of approval, so they're probably worth trying out. The instructions for installing the packs are at Valve's winners page.

The winning creators will each receive Portal 2-themed t-shirts, posters, and swag from Jinx, Think Geek, Glitch, and Valve. The company also reminded users of the music video contest currently running through July 15. You can win a guitar autographed by The National along with some Portal goodies, so get started if you have any video editing skills.

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Valve's Gabe Newell casually mentioned sales of Portal 2 during a talk at Games for Change in New York City. Three million is the number he told the audience, as captured by Joystiq.

While Newell didn't offer any detail about retail and Steam sales, that is an incredible accomplishment given the game's April release and full retail price point. By the time of Portal 2's launch, the original game had sold four million retail copies. At this rate, it seems likely that the sequel will match the sales of the original. And with the money made from Portal 2, Valve will finally be able to complete development of Half-Life 2: Episode 3. That's how it works, right?

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Portal 2

Portal 2 has gotten its first bit of downloadable content -- for those who bought an expensive controller, at least. Rock Paper Shotgun reports that those who bought a Razer Hydra motion controller built for the game can now get 10 levels of motion-centered Portal 2 DLC.

The motion pack, developed by Sixense Studios, involves rotating portals and scaling the mass of objects like cubes to solve puzzles. Unfortunately, the Razer Hydra is roughly $140, so getting this DLC isn't exactly cheap.

Keep in mind, this isn't the free DLC promised for the game, as that will be coming for all platforms and include other features like leaderboards and multiplayer challenge rooms. But, this pricey DLC did give us an opportunity to ask Valve about the free pack, and whether this motion pack is planned for release elsewhere. We'll update as more information becomes available.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

In the greatest music/game tie-in since Marky Mark asked you to make his video, Valve has announced a music video contest for The National's song "Exile Vilify" (featured in Portal 2). Though the song was written for Chell's second trek through the Aperture testing facility, your music video doesn't have to be machinima -- Valve says creators can use "whatever visuals they choose."

The deadline is July 15. Once you've pieced together your masterpiece, you can post it to YouTube using the tag "PORTAL2NATIONALEXILE" to mark it for the contest. The announcement promises that Valve, The National, and the community will select a winner, implying that there may be a voting aspect to the proceedings.

The winner will get a guitar autographed by The National and some Portal 2 merchandise. Valve is a little vague on what exactly that merchandise will be, but the company store has no shortage of items that could be included in the prize.

Shacknews - Xav de Matos

Valve has announced that the once iPad-exclusive, interactive story "The Final Hours of Portal 2" is now available for purchase on Steam.

Released in late April alongside the game, "Portal 2: The Final Hours" attempts to tell some of the story behind the development of Valve Software's most recent release: Portal 2. The app, turned interactive PC thing was developed by GT.TV host Geoff Keighley. Like the app, the PC version of the interactive story is priced at $1.99.

When we first reported on the product, comments indicated a desire to jump deeper into the story behind the game's development; however, some complained of the iPad exclusivity. Though the product isn't as timely in this release, it's now available to a wider audience.

We asked how willing people were to pay for the content when it launched on the iPad. With a PC release weeks later, we wonder again how the interactive experiment will fare in the marketplace. Is it too late to read about the development of a game most have already mastered? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More information on the app can be had on The Final Hours of Portal 2 official site.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The NPD Group released its retail-only sales data for April 2011 last night, and it shows some positives signs for the industry. Physical software sales grew in both units and dollars for the first time since November.

Portal 2, SOCOM 4

Mortal Kombat took the top spot with 900,000 units, edging out Portal 2. It's worth noting, of course, that Portal 2 probably saw more than a few purchases through Steam, which isn't tracked by NPD and may never be.

Though NPD hasn't brought back detailed sales numbers, it points out that five games sold more than 250,000 units this April, as opposed to only two last April. Finally, NPD claims that if the Move accessory bundle for SOCOM 4 had been counted in its software sales, the game would have ranked in the top ten. The Full Deployment Bundle, which included the Sharpshooter, Move, and game, was the top new accessory for the month.

The Xbox 360 was again the top-selling hardware in terms of unit sales, followed by the Nintendo DS. Sales of hardware were up over last year, but only by 3%. NPD didn't share the sales spot for the 3DS, so we're left to wonder how interest has waxed or waned after its launch month.

    Top 10 US physical retail games - April 3 to April 30, 2011

      1. Mortal Kombat 2011 (PS3, 360)

      2. Portal 2 (360, PS3, PC)

      3. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Wii, NDS, 360, 3DS, PS3, PC)

      4. Call of Duty: Black Ops (360, PS3, NDS, Wii, PC)

      5. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters (360, PS3, Wii)

      6. Crysis 2 (360, PS3, PC)

      7. Just Dance 2 (Wii)

      8. Michael Jackson The Experience (360, Wii, PS3, NDS, PSP)

      9. Pokemon White Version (NDS)

      10. NBA 2K11 (360, PS3, Wii, PSP, PS2, PC)

Shacknews - Alice O'Connor

If you fancy making your own maps, models, skins, or other exciting new things for Portal 2, you can now get cracking as Valve has released a beta version of the first-person puzzler's PC mod tools.

Valve explains that the Portal 2 Authoring Tools include "versions of the same tools we used to make Portal 2." They'll let you create single-player and co-op maps, character skins, 3D models, sound effects, and music. PC Portaleers can find the Authoring Tools to download in, aptly, the 'Tools' section of their Steam library.

Here's what you'll find in the mod tools, if you want to get technical:

  • Updated version of Hammer, the Source level editor

  • Updated Faceposer

  • Example maps and instances to help build new maps

  • Updated suite of command-line compiling utilities

Would-be map-makers are advised to sign up for P2Mapper and hlmappers mailing lists for advice, bug reports and the like.

Shacknews - Steve Watts
Valve has announced the first DLC pack for Portal 2, which will include new test chambers, leaderboards, and a challenge mode -- all free on all platforms.
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
Valve's pleasing puzzler is to get some manner of downloadable content this summer, which will be unveiled next week.
Apr 26, 2011
Shacknews - Jeff Mattas
We take a look to see if a return trip to Aperture Science is worth your time in our Portal 2 review.