Hello, everybody! This is our first post-release article. In case you don't know, that means it's the first article to be published AFTER the mod was released. This is good because now we can talk... Mostly openly about the mod. First of all, we would like to think everyone for the constant feed back and for voting Blue Portals for Mod of the Year 2010. As a thank you, we'll be publicly releasing the Blue Portals Official Soundtrack (because at the moment it's only available if you find the super secret room of secrets).
Shortly after the release, one tiny little bug decided to not show itself until the projects release. This made the mod 'unfinishable' in some areas. Thankfully, this issue was easily fixed and now players can continue. Any future bug fixes will be in our puplic Zilefile folder as we believe that some bug fixes will be too small to upload on ModDB. Files will be dated, and they will require a manual install. After a handful of bug fixes, we will apply them to the full mod package and future users can download the mod without downloading any updates.
Since the release of Blue Portals we've received a lot of feedback from the three groups of players. The people who are very skilled in the art of Portal manipulating, people who are the average Portal player, and then the group that does not understand what the fork is going on. Allow me to set the record straight; back in the first article, we said that the mod was targeting more towards the above average to advanced Portal player:
Article wrote: You can expect that this series is for people wanting to get more out of Valve's Portal. We recommend you start playing Portal a lot before attempting Blue Portals, as quite a bit of thinking, skill, and speed will be needed.
I know what you're thinking. "That was back in February and you expect us to dig that up to find out how hard the mod was?" Well, honestly, no. We had a clear vision on who we wanted to target, as the people who were still playing Portal were most likely highly skilled. That changed in March evening when Portal 2 was announced. Suddenly, Gabe Newell walked over to Portal and revived it with a jolt from his defibrillators of hope and new Portal players came flooding in. So we felt that we had to do something because we knew that anyone who owns Portal will want to download the mod. After that, for the later chambers, we made it a priority to remove as many flings as possible and started to focus more on the new gameplay elements. We kept the puzzles of the first five chambers, but made them slightly easier (light extending the time on one button from 9 to 11 seconds). If we took them out, the worry of "Did we train the player to do this fling?" would often come a lot more and we would have had to redo Blue Portals for a third time. And now that Portal 2 was hanging over us, we knew there was no time to just start over the original chambers. So I guess you could say Portal 2 kind of backfired.
Our highly skilled players, as we saw, like the game and pace so far and found the mod quite enjoyable. Sure every person is different, but our higher score reviews are coming from that group of people, who we were originally targeting. However, the group of people that we tried to assist still found it hard and confusing. This is why modding for Portal is harder to do in some aspects as every player thinks different. Beta testing is also very limited as we would like to have every playtester play in front of us, watch every move and record every thought they had, rather then reporting it in a small paragraph that's filled with small nit-picks. So to conclude our response to the feedback, we feel that we succeeded with our original goal while we also failed to please the majority of the player base that shifted and changed over the course of development. We can only fix so much, but what we learned this week will impact everything else we will do from now on. We are currently thinking of making the chambers more explainable and increasing every timer by a few seconds. But you will have to wait further in the future, although not very long as you might think. Speaking of future, Colossal:
So, you may have noticed recently that the title of the mod was changed to Blue Portals: UP. And the banner in the description now has "UP Coming soon..." on it. Well, if you remember back, we made a small promise to everyone about Blue Portals. After the release, we planned on creating small expansions to keep the mod alive. Blue Portals: Understanding Portals (or UP) is the first official expansion for Blue Portals. But here's the catch:
Reepblue's not making it with me. But I'm still not alone. Instead I am working with ANOTHER very talented mapper and a very good friend of mine, WinstonSmith (from Portal: Stay Inside). Blue Portals: UP still takes place in the Blue Portal Development Center, just... A different center. It will feature a slightly new style inspired by a big-named game being developed. In a few weeks or so, there will be new screenshots and concept art UP on the Blue Portals page. So keep track of that.
And lastly, next week we will be shipping out the configurations for the Source SDK so that it works for Blue Portals mapping. We would like to share, encourage and support community mappers who would like to play around with the gameplay elements or other things. We might even add in your maps officially if they're really good (with permission of course)! The SDK file contains edits to not only make the tools more user friendly, but also port some features from the newer editors, such as the Left 4 Dead 2 Authoring Tools. Useful plans were made with these tools, so even though you might not ever actually map for Blue Portals nor see a reason too, you might wanna take a look at how some of the things were done.