I'm delighted you've stopped by to read over the first update for the mod Portal: Stay Inside. In this post, I'll try to introduce the mod as well as I can and give a bit of background info about myself.
So... Who are you again?
Glad you asked. I'm WinstonSmith. That's not actually my name, of course, but it's the smallest tribute I could make to the protagonist of George Orwell's brilliant novel 1984. I first stumbled upon the Source scene a little over a year and a half ago, when I purchased Portal. I've never really been attracted to the genre of video games that tend to flood the market--you know, Halo, Call of Duty, Modern Warfare, etc--; I instead tend to migrate toward more innovative, typically indie games. Thus, Portal was an instant hit with me. My joy only increased when I discovered that an SDK was available for not only Portal, but the entire Source engine. I fiddled around a bit with making my own maps and playing maps from other developers for a few months. In summer 2008, however, an idea for a full-scale mod took root, and I began sketching ideas. Originally called Portal 2.0 (rather ambitious name, in retrospect), my mapping skills at the time were far inferior to what they are now. I joined the Valve Developer Community and two Portal forums--Thinking With Portals and myAperture Labs--, though, and started learning all I could about mapping. Since I enjoy it so much, I've taken up a hefty chunk of info in the past year, and I'm hoping to learn more as I work on this mod.
What's the history of P:SI?
As I mentioned, it originally started out as a mappack entitled Portal 2.0. I started taking down ideas (of which I now have many and am still coming up with more) and making maps. The maps weren't exactly quality work; they were rather rudimentary, unoptimized, and didn't quite fit the Portal theme. Those files were soon scratched, and I began to work on a bigger, more cohesive mod. Though some of the chambers have been redone and redone and redone and redone, those new files are the basis of what I'm working with today.
I soon decided that the original name, implying a sequel to Portal, was a bit far-reaching and predictable. I spent several months going through possible names, and I finally settled on Portal: Stay Inside. The name comes from the line in the famous credits song, and I thought it was sufficiently ominous and foreboding to fit the style of the game.
As of right now, I currently have nearly four testchambers up and running. They aren't final, but the way I work, they probably won't be final until roughly forty-two minutes before the mod is released. I've got a lot of community-contributed content, like reepblue's Warm Portal textures and The Hamster Alliance's music. However, I'm also putting a fair amount of my own stuff in there--textures, particles, etc...
What are your goals for the mod?
One of my main goals is to construct a backstory. I want to do it in the style of the original Portal, by giving subtle hints and clues to the player without just telling the story to him/her. I want to, if possible, work the story around the Portal timeline so that it doesn't contradict any major theories that are out there.
I'd also like to focus more on architecture within the game. I realize, that, because of the general style of Aperture Labs, this doesn't exactly present many opportunities, but I want to show off what the Source engine can do. I think there will be many chances to elaborate on the structure of the testchambers without veering too far off from the general theme of the environment. As I say in the mod summary, I want to design levels that are not only fun to play but fun to look at and explore as well.
A final note to those who are still reading...
I'd like to thank you for your time in checking out this page and reading this introductory post. I hope that you'll stick with this mod, and I value any and all feedback. I've been keeping the mod under wraps for a while, simply because I didn't want to throw it out there prematurely and risk it falling apart before it got off the ground. I think it's about time that I put it out there for all to see, though. Thanks for reading, and once again, I appreciate all your feedback!