Chasing Portal

I was having a chat the other day, talking about the IGF winners of previous years. Talked about Braid and Alien Hominid, and eventually Narbacular Drop came up. When the question, “What’s that?” came whizzing back my way I replied with, “It was put together by some students. They were all in turn hired by Valve and polished their game up. You’d know it as Portal.”
The shock on their face almost said it all, their words said the rest, “You have to beat Portal?””Well, I guess.” I replied. “Or at least, I would have 3 years ago.”
But that’s really not the point though. I’m not chasing Portal and I never was. I’m making a game that could have been on the SNES. I’m chasing the games I remember playing once, with all of the polish and gloss that nostalgia has added over the intervening years. The game that I’m out to make, the game that I’m on my way to finishing, is a game that invokes all of that. It’s something that takes on the challenge of perception, the way games were in the never-were Before Times. The way they were in the good old days that are only remembered and were never lived, a relic of a time that should have been.If only instead I had the luxury of simply trying to beat Portal.

– For the actual game, I’m 50% of the way through installing all the traps. It’s taking just about the right amount of time. The simplicity of the code itself is in harsh contrast to the highly technical and iterative nature of making the damn things work right. In effect, it takes 10 seconds to put a trap in the game and 5 minutes to make it interesting, fair, and if there is more than 1 in the screen, synch up. I’m getting quicker though, and now I get to copy and paste code to my heart’s deepest content. I should have this cranked out later today and get myself on to The Tower.

By the way, before I forget, these are going to be the Chapter Titles present in the game itself. A perceptive reader (hmm, riiight…) will notice that I’ve repurposed some Development Diary entries for names, since they’re specific and almost always slightly sarcastic. The parenthesised words are obviously there for reference, and the little a-holes show that I’ve built them already. Odds are that Chapter 6 may be cut, but here’s what they could be.

Chapter 1 : The Great Escape (The Prison*)
Chapter 2 : Guards! Guards! (The Warehouse*)
Chapter 3 : Buried Alive (The Cavern*)
Chapter 4 : Crypt Raider (The Crypt*)
Chapter 5 : Unsteady Ground (The Cliffs*)
Chapter 6 : A Hole in The Wall (The Walls)
Chapter 7 : Castle Crasher (The Castle – duh*)
Chapter 8 : Chasing the Sun (The Tower)
Chapter 9 : A Rose By Another Name (The Royal Chambers)

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