There's A Hole in the Sky

Posted by Gamer_152 (14113 posts) -

I guess we finally have Giant Bomb back up and running again. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and I think that’s certainly applied for the lack of Giant Bomb over the last few days, but Amazon’s technical difficulties did indicate how one little thing going wrong in the large web of technology we use can really mess a lot of things up. Slightly surprisingly for me, I was more distracted from my work over the past few days without Giant Bomb there than if it had been there. With Giant Bomb online I may have been checking the forums and my inbox now and then, but with it offline I often found myself repeatedly dashing back to the site to jab the F5 button to see if by some miracle the servers had all become sentient and repaired themselves. We’re back to business as usual now though (thanks to the Amazon and Whiskey Media engineers for that) so that seems as good an excuse as any for me to rattle out another blog.


Portal 2 ARG

 For those of you still wondering what potatoes had to do with Portal 2.
I talked a little about how much I was enjoying the recent Portal 2 ARG last week but it wasn’t until sometime after I posted that blog that I discovered some truly remarkable events in the ARG that I feel compelled to share. The cryptic puzzles, the Portal updates to the indie games and the general community effort required towards the ARG were amazing but the truly unique and unexpected event I’m talking about occurred rather near the end of the game. We’d seen characters within the ARG behaving oddly, players acting out their own self-crafted personas and even Dejobaan claiming they were under some kind of attack, but on April 13th something even more curious happened.

Within the space of a very small number of minutes several of the most well-known contributors to the ARG (who were in the IRC channel being used by the ARG players) simply posted “There’s a hole in the sky... through which I can fly” before immediately disconnecting. After this the players disappeared entirely and started exhibiting behaviour such as editing in their wiki and Steam profiles in an unusual manner, making nonsensical edits to the wiki and posting cryptic messages. In the few instances where people attempted to contact them they simply spouted gibberish and quickly backed out of the conversation. To have one or two players disappear could be passed off as a hoax, but seeing a whole handful of the ARGs most prominent players go missing was downright bizarre. Two days later three more players went missing, two of them previously having been mentioned by GLaDOS herself. One of the supposedly infected players had remained in contact with us but he was frequently misleading and considered by many a troll.

Shortly before the launch of Portal 2 aperturescience.com stated that there were currently nine active test subjects and a little later the official Portal 2 Facebook page posted an image of someone playing Portal 2. As the game reached its climax a few of the players came back into contact with the “infected” individuals and all was revealed. Some time ago Valve had identified the most active players of the ARG, contacted them, told them how they wanted the ARG to play out and instructed them all to disappear within 24 hours. Apart from our one slightly overactive individual, the rest obliged and so Valve started playing a few games with us using their accounts. When the ARG reached its end the prize of the nine who disappeared was to go to Valve, meet some of the devs behind Portal and the potato sack games, and be the first members of the public to play Portal 2. To some this may not sound like a particularly remarkable story but for me this was another mind-blowing move on the part of Valve.


Portal 2

 Don't be afraid to share the science.
I’ve yet to dive into Portal 2’s single-player mode which I strongly suspect to be the best part of the experience but I have spent this week playing through the co-operative section of the game. Through the combination of two person gameplay, the new mechanics, a different story and the new environments, the co-op experience didn’t really even feel like Portal, but I don’t mean that in a negative manner at all. It was a unique experience where the puzzles genuinely felt gauged at just the right difficulty to make you feel intelligent when you complete a puzzle, but not make the task of completing them feel too far out of reach. I must say I didn’t find GLaDOS quite as funny in the co-op for Portal 2 as I did in the original Portal, but this was somewhat understandable considering that the co-op story was less involved.

While Valve do a good job of providing you with a set of tools to organise your tactics with your partner, finding a good second player is essential to getting the most out of the experience. Whoever you do play with though, providing you are reasonably successful as a team, the game forges a great sense of friendship between you and your chosen secondary participant. At the end of the Portal 2 co-op I was once again refreshed with a sense of appreciation for the way games can bring people together. The large majority of entertainment mediums are story-based and so can often be very good at making you feel an attachment to the fictional characters within their worlds, but whether through solving puzzles, strategising against an enemy or creating new in-game content, games are an entertainment medium with a unique knack for bringing people together.


Duder, It’s Over

Thanks to you duders for reading and thanks to the people who have recently been giving me a whole lot more feedback on the How to Become a Game Designer blogs. Good luck, have editorial.

-Gamer_152

#1 Posted by Gamer_152 (14113 posts) -

I guess we finally have Giant Bomb back up and running again. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and I think that’s certainly applied for the lack of Giant Bomb over the last few days, but Amazon’s technical difficulties did indicate how one little thing going wrong in the large web of technology we use can really mess a lot of things up. Slightly surprisingly for me, I was more distracted from my work over the past few days without Giant Bomb there than if it had been there. With Giant Bomb online I may have been checking the forums and my inbox now and then, but with it offline I often found myself repeatedly dashing back to the site to jab the F5 button to see if by some miracle the servers had all become sentient and repaired themselves. We’re back to business as usual now though (thanks to the Amazon and Whiskey Media engineers for that) so that seems as good an excuse as any for me to rattle out another blog.


Portal 2 ARG

 For those of you still wondering what potatoes had to do with Portal 2.
I talked a little about how much I was enjoying the recent Portal 2 ARG last week but it wasn’t until sometime after I posted that blog that I discovered some truly remarkable events in the ARG that I feel compelled to share. The cryptic puzzles, the Portal updates to the indie games and the general community effort required towards the ARG were amazing but the truly unique and unexpected event I’m talking about occurred rather near the end of the game. We’d seen characters within the ARG behaving oddly, players acting out their own self-crafted personas and even Dejobaan claiming they were under some kind of attack, but on April 13th something even more curious happened.

Within the space of a very small number of minutes several of the most well-known contributors to the ARG (who were in the IRC channel being used by the ARG players) simply posted “There’s a hole in the sky... through which I can fly” before immediately disconnecting. After this the players disappeared entirely and started exhibiting behaviour such as editing in their wiki and Steam profiles in an unusual manner, making nonsensical edits to the wiki and posting cryptic messages. In the few instances where people attempted to contact them they simply spouted gibberish and quickly backed out of the conversation. To have one or two players disappear could be passed off as a hoax, but seeing a whole handful of the ARGs most prominent players go missing was downright bizarre. Two days later three more players went missing, two of them previously having been mentioned by GLaDOS herself. One of the supposedly infected players had remained in contact with us but he was frequently misleading and considered by many a troll.

Shortly before the launch of Portal 2 aperturescience.com stated that there were currently nine active test subjects and a little later the official Portal 2 Facebook page posted an image of someone playing Portal 2. As the game reached its climax a few of the players came back into contact with the “infected” individuals and all was revealed. Some time ago Valve had identified the most active players of the ARG, contacted them, told them how they wanted the ARG to play out and instructed them all to disappear within 24 hours. Apart from our one slightly overactive individual, the rest obliged and so Valve started playing a few games with us using their accounts. When the ARG reached its end the prize of the nine who disappeared was to go to Valve, meet some of the devs behind Portal and the potato sack games, and be the first members of the public to play Portal 2. To some this may not sound like a particularly remarkable story but for me this was another mind-blowing move on the part of Valve.


Portal 2

 Don't be afraid to share the science.
I’ve yet to dive into Portal 2’s single-player mode which I strongly suspect to be the best part of the experience but I have spent this week playing through the co-operative section of the game. Through the combination of two person gameplay, the new mechanics, a different story and the new environments, the co-op experience didn’t really even feel like Portal, but I don’t mean that in a negative manner at all. It was a unique experience where the puzzles genuinely felt gauged at just the right difficulty to make you feel intelligent when you complete a puzzle, but not make the task of completing them feel too far out of reach. I must say I didn’t find GLaDOS quite as funny in the co-op for Portal 2 as I did in the original Portal, but this was somewhat understandable considering that the co-op story was less involved.

While Valve do a good job of providing you with a set of tools to organise your tactics with your partner, finding a good second player is essential to getting the most out of the experience. Whoever you do play with though, providing you are reasonably successful as a team, the game forges a great sense of friendship between you and your chosen secondary participant. At the end of the Portal 2 co-op I was once again refreshed with a sense of appreciation for the way games can bring people together. The large majority of entertainment mediums are story-based and so can often be very good at making you feel an attachment to the fictional characters within their worlds, but whether through solving puzzles, strategising against an enemy or creating new in-game content, games are an entertainment medium with a unique knack for bringing people together.


Duder, It’s Over

Thanks to you duders for reading and thanks to the people who have recently been giving me a whole lot more feedback on the How to Become a Game Designer blogs. Good luck, have editorial.

-Gamer_152

#2 Posted by X19 (2306 posts) -

Interesting stuff I'm hoping for some free challenge maps (Did Portal 1 get those after release?). Hopefully they will add them later to make me feel less shit about spending £40 on this game. Also I'm still curious what the perk of having steam support for PS3 is apart from setting up the free PC copy.

#3 Posted by Yanngc33 (4461 posts) -

Well potatoes do kind of have a place in portal 2

#4 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -

great read. didnt know about those 9 guys and their fabricated disappearance shindig, so thanks for the info

#5 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -

One of the ARG players, MOOMANiBE, actually posted a bunch of videos of the abducted players visiting Valve for the Portal 2 launch.

  
  
#6 Posted by EuanDewar (5107 posts) -

I was in there for most of it and shit got crazy intense. There was even a point where a war broke out between those in the steam chat and those in the IRC. Really hope valve does one of these approaching the time of whatever Half Life Ep3 turns out to be, fun was had by all.

#7 Posted by JJWeatherman (14573 posts) -

I had no idea all of that crazy stuff was going on with the ARG. Sounds fun.


And yes, the site being down probably ended up taking more of my time as well. Funny how that worked out.
#8 Posted by Kyreo (4602 posts) -

Dude.... that POrTAl TwO thing BLEW MY MIND!

#9 Posted by JJWeatherman (14573 posts) -
@Kyreo said:
" Dude.... that POrTAl TwO thing BLEW MY MIND! "
Dude, that post blew my mind.
#10 Posted by Kyreo (4602 posts) -
@JJWeatherman said:
" @Kyreo said:
" Dude.... that POrTAl TwO thing BLEW MY MIND! "
Dude, that post blew my mind. "
Your Mind BLEW my POST!
#11 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -
@Kyreo said:

" @JJWeatherman said:

" @Kyreo said:
" Dude.... that POrTAl TwO thing BLEW MY MIND! "
Dude, that post blew my mind. "
Your Mind BLEW my POST! "
#12 Posted by Kyreo (4602 posts) -
@Ahmad_Metallic said:
" @Kyreo said:

" @JJWeatherman said:

" @Kyreo said:
" Dude.... that POrTAl TwO thing BLEW MY MIND! "
Dude, that post blew my mind. "
Your Mind BLEW my POST! "
"

#13 Posted by Gamer_152 (14113 posts) -
@Kyreo: @JJWeatherman: @Ahmad_Metallic: I approve of this comments section.

@X19: Yep, the PC version of Portal got free challenge maps post-release and the same is gonna happen for the PC version of Portal 2. I imagine for at very least the 360 version, if not also the PS3 version, you'll have to pay for the maps though. I do believe that apart from the free PC copy of the game aren't you supposed to be able to use the PS3 copy to play with PC players?

@Yanngc33: Yeah, it was cool to see that stuff carried over in more than just name.

@LordXavierBritish: I hadn't seen that video before. Thanks for showing me.

@EuanDewar: Another one of these ARGs would be crazy-awesome, but yeah, there were moments where arguments in the IRC seemed to get kind of crazy. The thing that there did seem to be much less of in this Portal ARG than the last one though, was people logging into the IRC simply asking "What happened while I was gone?" over and over. I suppose that was because more people knew about the wiki.
#14 Posted by X19 (2306 posts) -
@Gamer_152: Did you reply to me first in your comment as I've been wondering if it's only the first person a user replies to that gets a PM.

PS3 version has got to have free DLC just like the PC. Why would Valve stop the PS3 steam support for DLC and leave it for PSN to take control of again?

Yes you can play with PC players which have a seperate copy of Portal 2.
#15 Posted by Tebbit (4486 posts) -
@Kyreo said:
" @Ahmad_Metallic said:
" @Kyreo said:

" @JJWeatherman said:

" @Kyreo said:
" Dude.... that POrTAl TwO thing BLEW MY MIND! "
Dude, that post blew my mind. "
Your Mind BLEW my POST! "
"

"
The greatest.

I loved watching all that insane ARG stuff from a safe distance. Sure, I collected some potatoes, and potentially caused some kind of early launch (or not, depending on the various internet rumours) but I prefer to sit out, letting those with far greater capacity than me sort it out.
#16 Posted by Gamer_152 (14113 posts) -
@X19: Actually, yeah, honestly I'm expecting that Valve will keep up their better support for PS3 this time around. Yours was the fourth name I clicked the reply button for though.
#17 Posted by X19 (2306 posts) -
@Gamer_152: So they did fix the reply thing then.

Yeah I swear Gabe said Sony is just letting Valve do what they want with the PS3 version of Portal 2 when it came to updates etc.
#18 Posted by Gamer_152 (14113 posts) -
@X19: That's awesome if true. I wish Microsoft would do the same.

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