Thinking back, I doubt that any of the stories about my uncle would make for a compelling game concept. There was the time he napped through Family Fortunes, but, unfortunately, that never resulted in a magical grappling-hook adventure through a surreal and colourful land of floating islands. Some nephews have all the luck, as this trailer for the upcoming first-person platfomer—being published by Sanctum/Goat Simulator developer Coffee Stain Studios—can attest.
first person puzzler
Fract hails itself as "a first-person musical exploration game inspired by synthesizers." I call it the neon-drenched offspring of a Brian Eno album and a trip inside a Daft Punk helmet. It's been on a lengthy development ride since 2011, but a free beta demo has helped things along. A new trailer released this week comes alongside an announcement of a full release in the next few months, so it won't be long before we can all delve into Fract's abstract world.
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.
Long after we’ve killed ourselves off with an antibiotic-resistant strain of hyper-flu, our robot friends will keep vacuuming empty floors and pouring drinks that no one will enjoy. In the slow-paced puzzle game Reset, you play as two service robots navigating your way through the clogged byways of an abandoned metropolis, trying to put the darn thing back together.
Upcoming puzzler FRACT OSC will receive backing from the Indie Fund as developer Phosfiend Systems works to complete the project, according to a recent announcement. FRACT OSC, a first-person adventure game built around the musical exploration of a world based on sound, is set to release on Steam later this year after a successful Greenlight campaign.
Initially, you'd be forgiven for noticing a whiff of Portal emanating from the trailer for first-person physics puzzler Magrunner: Dark Pulse. That smell quickly dissipates, as the tone shifts towards an extremely earnest brand of psychological horror. This is why you don't put Cthulhu in charge of scientific testing. Honestly, you thought GLaDOS was bad?
If your brain has recovered from Antichamber, you may want to subject it to the latest footage of Parallax, which turns the burgeoning 'first-person mind-f**k' genre on its head. This trailer shows off the game's unhinged definition of gravity, which doesn't so much obey the laws of physics as pull funny faces while they're trying to go about their business. Parallax is shaping up to be an unchained version of Antichamber, in other words, so there's every reason to be very excited about this upcoming release. Have your O, M and G keys to hand, as you'll need them after witnessing the following video.
The Portal 2 puzzle creator will let players make their own test chambers without having to dive into Valve's complex level creation tools. We got a chance to catch up with Chet Faliszeck and Erik Johnson at GDC for a chat about Valve's plans for the user friendly level editor. "I believe they’re beta testing it right now," said Erik Johnson. "When the puzzle maker comes out, you will have a lot of content, that’s for sure."
Valve announced their plans for the Puzzle Creator on the Portal 2 site last year, where they released the first couple of screenshots. It looks very similar to the animated diagrams of the first Portal trailers, released way back in 2007. Much, much friendlier than Valve's Hammer editor.
Not all of Valve's discarded ideas are great, the binned competitive multiplayer mode for Portal 2 is one such example, but some of them are. The video above is from a Valve talk at GDC in which they discussed many of the ideas that never made it into the full game. This scene was originally Portal 2's opening.
There were many more great ideas left on the drawing board. In fact, the whole game was set to pan out very differently. Eurogamer sat in on the conference, and describe out Wheatley was originally supposed to stay dead when Glados crushes him near the beginning. Rather than being a persistent companion, he was merely the first in a series of personality spheres you'd meet as you travelled through Aperture's labs. Other spheres included a paranoid AI and one that Valve's Eric Wolpaw calls "The Morgan Freeman sphere."
Quantum Conundrum is being developed by Portal creator Kim Swift. It's a first person puzzler in which you play a twelve your old boy lost in his mad scientist uncle's underground laboratory. It's full of safes, switches, lava and vast gaps with no bridges. This would be a serious problem but for the fact that you can switch between five dimensions, each of which affects matter differently. By switching between world on the fly, otherwise immovable objects like safes can be tossed, stacked and even surfed to make it past the mad machines and laserbeams that every mad scientist installs in their homes as standard. It's all demonstrated perfectly in the walkthrough video above from Gametrailers, spotted on RPS. It's out early this year, and looks rather good, don't you think?
A lovely bit of news from RPS this morning. If you don't already own it, you can download Portal for nothing on Steam. It's being made free to download until September 20. If you download it before then, you'll own it forever.
It's all part of Valve's Learn With Portals initiative, which aims to promote Portal's reality bending puzzles as an educational tool, and hopes to encourage the next generation to start building a new wave of even more dastardly test chambers. You can see our future tormentors learning the basics at Valve HQ in the video above. You can build your own levels with the free Portal authoring tools, which you'll find the "tools" section of your Steam library.
In a fascinating interview with Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson over on Gamasutra, Newell reveals that Portal 2 "did better" on PC than it did on consoles. A surprising fact given the massive multimedia marketing campaign, the addition of cross platform support and the inclusion of Steam for Playstation 3. "We can never predict" says Newell. "We just try to build good games and then we tend to be surprised."
"Left 4 Dead did better on the consoles than it did on the PC" he went on to add. Perhaps an even bigger surprise given the fact that the regular updates and additional maps we PC gamers got for free took an age to reach the Xbox 360, and came with a price tag.
One month ago we mentioned the start of the Thinkingwithportals.com Portal 2 mapping contest, a Valve-endorsed competition to find the best new community made maps for Portal 2. After 140 hours of judging, the 13 judges have decided on the winners.
First prize was taken by Patent Pending by ebola. Second place was won by, Infinifling by MrTwoVideoCards, and Edifice by Omnicoder took a close third place.
The winners were announced on the Portal 2 site, along with instructions on how to download and play the maps. You'll find more runners-up maps listed on thinkingwithportals.com. The fan-made test chambers should tide us over nicely until Valve release their first chunk of Portal 2 DLC, which is set to add new test chambers, leaderboards and challenge modes to the game later this summer.
Fract is a first-person puzzle game with that looks like a cross between Darwinia and a Daft Punk video. The puzzles are pretty simple - twisting knobs or pushing buttons to match patterns - but it looks stunning and the world responds in ways that makes solving those puzzles extremely rewarding.
The game isn't finished yet, but you can download a beta for Windows or Mac from the Fract site. Or skip below for more screenshots.
Community site thinkingwithportals.com have launched a new Portal 2 mapping contest. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to create the best singe player or co-op test chamber you can think of, and submit it to the Thinking With Portals download database before 11:59pm EDT on June 6. Entries submitted at midnight will be incinerated in the nearest Aperture Cleansing Oven.
The best two mapers will receive an Ultimate Portal 2 Gift Pack signed by the Portal 2 developers and both maps will be featured by Valve on The Portal 2 site. Read on for the rules of entry.
Co-creator of The Office, Stephen Merchant, has been talking to MTV about his role as Wheatley in Portal 2. Merchat said that the role was one of the most exhausting he's ever done, but would be interested in coming back for a sequel after seeing fans' reactions to the game.
Late last year Valve announced the "shortest delay in Valve’s proud history of delays" for Portal 2. An interview with the Portal 2 team has explained some of the reasons behind the delay, and revealed that Valve chief Gabe Newell was the biggest supporter for the eight week slip.
Valve announce that Portal 2 level creation tools are now available to all. The latest version of the Source Development Kit is in beta, but can still be used to create new single player and co-op maps, character skins, 3D models, sound effects and music for Portal 2. You'll find the free download in the "Tools" section of Steam.
If you're new to mapping, and haven't used Valve's mod tools before, you'll find a ton of useful information on the Valve Developer Community wiki. Valve also recommend that budding mappers join two mailing lists to keep abreast of all the latest information on updates to the Source Development Kit, one for general mapping, and one for Portal 2. Good luck!
We've played Portal 2, we reckon it's pretty great. Would you like to play Portal 2, too? We've got ten codes to give away on Facebook right now. If you live in Europe, and fancy a chance of winning a code, simply answer the querstion on the PC Gamer Facebook Page. Good luck!
Update: The winners have been chosen! Congratulations to Franco Baccarini, Michael Price, Josha Munnik, John Briggs, Jonathan Armer, Chris Heaslop, Ross Lloyd, Mykolas Sindeikis, Adrian Lunatitc, Janos Victor Morrisseyh. If you haven't received a code through Facebook, please drop an email to email@example.com to claim your prize. Thanks for entering and sorry for the long wait. We'll be much quicker with future competitions.
Players booting up Portal 2 for the first time may have noticed an unexpected addition to the start-up menu. The Robot Enrichment option at the bottom of the screen leads to an in-game item store. The items allow you to customise the co-op bots Atlas and P-body with a number of different paint jobs, emote gestures, and, of course, hats! There's also a trading window which will become active in the next few days.
It looks as though certain objects can be unlocked by completing achievements, too. the one achievement item in my backpack so far, though, is marked as being un-tradeable. It seems unlikely that players will trade items that they've paid for. Perhaps there are other ways to get hold of the new items? Unlike Team Fortress 2,there's no crafting option. Yet. After the recent ARG, who knows what Valve will do next?