Post news RSS Media Showcase #4 25. August 2022

There's a lot of new content we've been working on. Have a peek!

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Media Showcase #4

Hi, Stefan again! I'm sorry for the long post; I didn't have time to write a shorter one.

It's been a long time, how have you all been? We've been very busy working on a lot of new content, overhauling old content and finishing up loose ends. So, let's get into it.

GAMEPLAY DEMO VIDEO ==> Youtu.be

Chapters vs Acts

This mod has grown. A lot. It has always and still is divided into 4 sections, which we used to refer to as chapters. The problem is that each of these "chapters" has grown to be an hour-long experience, if not longer, so there was a need to split up these "chapters" even more. So from now on we call these 4 sections acts instead of chapters. No content has changed, we just split it up to make it easier for players to jump into the game from the main-menu. Portal 2 did this too.

Story / writing overhaul

Writing is difficult and getting things right first time is almost impossible. We first recorded voice lines for act 1 back in 2020. Since then, we kept refining the story and characters more and more. Some major plot points shifted quite a lot, like character motivations and goals. However, we tried to be smart about these changes and tried not to change much in acts which have a lot of content already complete. But what does this all mean?

Act 1

The first act was completely re-written, re-recorded and re-animated to make player motivation clearer and to make the character interactions more interesting. Another benefit of this re-recording is that all the voice lines have less differences in audio mixing.

In total, we now have over 120 voice lines, over 40 of which have received full animation.

Act 3

The chambers didn't change one bit, but their order has been updated to improve progression of test elements and puzzle difficulty. However, the act's beginning has been pretty much remade from scratch. Previously, the beginning involved a large stretch of walking for about 3 maps straight. It was evident that this had to be changed, so we bit the bullet and remade the beginning. However, not all is lost as we could still reuse most areas and decorative work. Little is lost, but has been rearranged to be less of a boring walking stretch.

Act 2 & 4

Production has started after these story changes were implemented, so nothing was changed here.

The new overgrown

When we didn't polish completed acts to try and match our hyper-perfectionistic desires, which can never be fulfilled, we worked on production for act 2, which is set in overgrown environments close to the surface. We showed some overgrown before in our third gameplay demo video, but we have since refined improved the visual fidelity seen in these maps by using every trick in the book of source engine graphics.

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If you are interested in how we pulled off some of these graphics using the Source Engine, please tell us! If there is enough demand, we might make a dedicated blog post.

Map-changes to other acts

We also worked on the other acts. Here be stuff!

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Revamped assets

We remade or overhauled a lot of assets to adapt them to fit modern expectations. It is by no means our goal to completely recreate Portal 2's graphics or port them to a new rendering engine, like other projects are doing. Just a little improvement can do wonders already.

Shiny plants

Plants are reflective. Yes, they are. Nobody believed this when I first pitched making our plant props shiny.

We overhauled our plant props to use phong, which makes it possible to add cheap specular highlights to models using the closest two light sources. Here is the result:

phong

In addition to adding phong, we also added a lightwarp texture to add a certain minimum brightness to certain leaves which would otherwise get black lighting.

In addition to plants, we've worked on adding and improving phong on many other props like chamber platforms, lamps, fizzlers, cubes and other chamber elements.

Re-created clean white test chamber tiles

We collaborated with texture-artist November to create these beautifully high-resolution textures to replace Portal 2's texture palette.

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Better bump

Source's ssbump feature allows for surfaces to use self-shadowing bump maps. These can cast shadows onto the surface itself, which leads to really good looking shadows. We overhauled a bunch of surfaces, which lacked well-defined bump, to use this feature. (The white chamber tiles use this as-well)

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The future

We announced a long time ago that we plan to release by December 2022. It is now evident, that we will not be able to hit that goal and I'm really sorry for that. I know a lot of people were excited for a mod release this year, but this delay has been a long time coming. That release date was set as pretty arbitrarily purely because I didn't know how long I could keep working on the mod after graduating, so I set it to be at the end of my graduation year.

In September it finally happened. I graduated and am happy to say that I will be able to keep working on the mod until at least July 2023.

What does this mean for the release date now?

WHEN WILL IT RELEASE?

In 2023. I can't delay it any further and actually, I don't have to. This mod is coming along really well. We will probably only miss the December goal by a very small margin. So whether it's going to be February or July, I have no idea. I don't want to make a too specific promise, but you won't have to wait for more than a year.

What we work on next

Act 1, 2 and 3 have all the puzzles they will ever have and are only awaiting finishing touches in terms of sound, music and characters. The next big thing we're working on is going to be production for act 4, which is a very exciting one! I'm not going to spoil much, so here is a little sneak peak ;)

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Alright, thanks for sticking with us. All the support and good words are truly inspiring and the reason we keep pushing forward! Whenever I feel demotivated to work on the mod and think nobody gives a crap, I just have to remind myself who we're making this for.

See you all next time. Goodbye!

- Stefan

Comments
Fiffle__Sniffle
Fiffle__Sniffle - - 18 comments

These look amazing as always! A bit sad about the delay, but I understand why it was needed. Keep up the good work!

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Guest
Guest - - 693,296 comments

I feel like both this mod and Aperture Salt Mines will be very similar in terms of amazing gameplay when released.

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Guest
Guest - - 693,296 comments

Same here. If it gets released at around an early time next year, I'll still be just as happy.

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RocketSurgery
RocketSurgery - - 182 comments

Lookin good~

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AverageDuckie
AverageDuckie - - 5 comments

very exciting, keep up the work

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Trempler
Trempler - - 662 comments

this will bring me back to portal :)

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Guest
Guest - - 693,296 comments

I am extremely excited about this mod! It went from a normal puzzle mod to a hyped up special. As much as the delay disappoints me, I at least know that it will release next year. Good luck with the game development, Tewan.

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Guest
Guest - - 693,296 comments

Hello Tewan, amazing and very impressive game development, especially since it took around 5-6 years to reach up to this point. I hope you release this mod at around January, February or March next year. If you see my comment, please reply when you think you will be done. Good luck :)

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Mesos
Mesos - - 3 comments

How are things looking now? Still think you're going to miss the December deadline by "a small margin"?

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stefanheinz Author
stefanheinz - - 33 comments

Small margin means less than a year to me. I hope we can release next summer but only time will tell. Still lots to do, but it feels like we're exiting mid-developmet hell and I start to see everything coming together.

I intentionally didn't specify when we plan to release next year because that's just not knowable now.

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arthurpanema
arthurpanema - - 13 comments

I Have a question about the specs, On the steam page it says it needs Nvidia Geforce, yet it also says it only needs the same specs as the og P2(Which doesn't need Nvidia Geforce) so which one is it?

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