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Portal 2 gets co-op improvements and Vulkan support in a new update

Portal 2
(Image credit: Valve)
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Valve's puzzle-platformer-teleportationer Portal 2 was released to great acclaim on April 19, 2011. It was a tremendous success, and remains popular to this day. According to SteamCharts, there are at this very moment more than 3100 people playing it—not bad at all for a decade-old puzzle game.

It's not just gamers who keep playing with it: So is Valve, which dropped a new update yesterday that, among other things, adds support for Vulkan rendering, improves advanced video setting descriptions, makes default video settings "smarter," and speeds up the compile time for user-made Perpetual Testing Initiative puzzles.

Here's the full rundown of what's changed:

  • Implemented a Vulkan render backend (currently accessible through the -vulkan command line parameter).
  • Improved compile time for Perpetual Training Initiative puzzles.
  • Improved advanced video settings descriptions.
  • Made the game Hi-DPI aware.
  • Smarter default video settings.
  • Improved resolution of player avatars throughout the game.
  • Players can now be invited to play co-op on controller.
  • Button text contrast and padding has been improved when using a controller.
  • Implemented a 360° Spin action.
  • The portalgun is now correctly affected by dynamic lights (projected textures) in the scene.
  • Improved client-side prediction for coop play.
  • Added the ability for workshop levels to pack particles into their map with a particles/map_manifest.txt
  • Misc. rendering optimizations.
  • Added an icon to the game on Linux.
  • Removed the "Trading Coming Soon" button.

And there are a bunch of bug fixes as well:

  • Fixed a crash on startup that could happen on Linux.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur in some community test chambers using BEEMod on Linux.
  • Fixed the credits being corrupted on Linux.
  • Fixed the intro videos for acts 2 and 3 not playing on Linux.
  • Fixed the game starting in the top left corner of the screen on Linux.
  • Fixed a crash in the PeTI if you placed a light strip above a laser catcher on the floor and linked it to a fizzler.
  • Fixed the fizzler not playing the retract animation when turned off in new PeTI maps.
  • Fixed being able to copy 'uncopyable' items in the PeTI leading to invalid/broken levels.
  • Fixed some items in PeTI not maintaining their portalability state when expanding the chamber boundaries.
  • Fixed a crash if PeTI avatars could not be retrieved.
  • Fixed Cave Johnson's lines not progressing when playing queued workshop levels.
  • Fixed a memory leak that could occur when changing levels.
  • Fixed a bug where you could no longer ping/taunt via mouse/keyboard if you have ever used a controller.
  • Fixed the ping menu being visible when quick pinging on controller.
  • Fixed the game instructor not respecting input types for respective players in split-screen mode.
  • Fixed rumble not being respected for respective players in split-screen mode.
  • Fixed the wrong avatar being used if playing coop after playing a workshop level.
  • Fixed the OnFiredPortal2 output not firing.
  • Fixed some text being duplicated on the screen multiple times.

It's not clear why Valve is still patching Portal 2—I respect the dedication, but it is a 10-year-old game—but this isn't actually as out-of-nowhere as it might seem. Valve has been slowly, but fairly steadily, releasing Portal 2 patches since mid-2017, the last one a smaller scale fixer-upper that landed in July 2020.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.