Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.
I’d like to pretend I’m all nonchalant about Portal, because we’ve all played its predecessor Narbacular Drop to death, and knew a Source version was coming. Or that the trailer was old hat, since Graham procured it from Valve a few days before release. Instead, I’m still watching this thing an average of five times a day. The bit I love, apart from every line of the gorgeously wonky synthetic voice-over, is the trick the player pulls in the fast montage of whacked-out nutsoness, just before the plummet through the infinite loop before the end. And it took me a long time to work out what he was doing.
“At the enrichment centre, we believe a highly motivated test subject can carry out rather complex tasks while enduring the most intense pain.”
Dabs: He has to take that route (or any similarly complicated alternative). You can't create portals against those metal walls.
Tom Francis: I don't see a visual difference between the metal walls at O, which he casts a portal in, and the metal walls just to the left and right of X, before the brown ones start.
I also don't see why he can't turn around at the start, cast a portal behind him, then cast one in the same place as 2 as he falls. His downward velocity must be the same in both cases - the topsy-turvy turret earlier in the trailer demonstrates that principle fairly clearly.
Dabs: You're right actually, the walls at 0 look the same. In which case, I can't explain how he cast a portal there - when I played, those metal walls were portal-immune. As for the second scenario, I can only imagine the reason why not being that you'd still lack enough forward momentum to make it to the other side. I don't remember that bit though, to be honest, probably because I didn't get that far or maybe my memory's showing wear and tear.
The_B: I blame me. For the last comment, thus creating this blog post. And for what's about to happen since I read the above post.
Dabs: Sorry Tom, you're right, I just re-read your post and see what you're saying now. You're right, it wouldn't have made any difference had he "cast a portal behind him, then cast one in the same place as 2 as he falls". Like you originally suggested, I think it was just complexity for complexity's sake, showing how you can fiddle around/experiment with portal placement for fun in the game.
The_B: *Stump where head used to be explodes*
Tom Francis: I've been wondering if there's a way to modify this space so that the player's solution is necessary. If I'm visualising it correctly I think you could just move the starting platform further from the destination, and put a barrier hanging from the ceiling such that you couldn't see X from the start. You'd then have to use portals to shoot yourself under and up to the other side of the barrier, whereupon you could cast a portal into the side of it facing your destination, and fall back down to be catapaulted through it. They should do this. Or I should. Making custom maps for this is going to be genius. One of the main reasons I love games is that I get to use chunks of my brain that usually have nothing to do.
Dabs: Now you're thinking with Portals.
bob_arctor: It sounds like it will make people be sick, being faster and spinnier than ND, especially when showing off.
I hope it is like AVP as the alien, the expert player will be a mentalist whirlwind, spinning round, flipping, zapping, flailing. Yeah.
/cries for the lack of //real// sequel to AVP.
Tom Francis: Wait, you wouldn't even need to move the starting position back - the barrier would prevent a lateral launch from 0 anyway. I'm going to love this.