Developing in our spare time, too

portal.jpg

If you read our “What we’re playing” blog posts that come out on Fridays, you’ve probably caught on that people at the office are in love with playing The Orange Box. There’s plenty of value, variety of gameplay, and yes, it even promises cake…so who wouldn’t love it.

While the Orange Box is probably most associated with Half-Life, many of folks here think the darling of the box is Portal. In fact, one of our Level Designers, Daryl Brigner, has created his very own level for the PC version of Portal, entitled Ren Test2.

To download the level for yourself, visit here, and then follow these instructions:

- Extract the zip contents to your
“Steam\steamapps\’username’\portal\portal\maps” folder.

-In Portal click on “Bonus Maps” and you should now have a new
category called “maps/RenTests”. This is where you’ll find all your
Ren_Test maps.

If you have any problems, we’ll be giving out Daryl’s home phone number soon. Response from folks so far seems to be that it’s really good, but definitely not for the meek. Word is, it’s pretty tough.

Reader Comments

  1. That’s funny, I had just finished playing that very level to find it mentioned here. I don’t want to spoil the fun of the level, but when I pressed that button I expect a door to open or something, so what happened instead really blew my mind. I absolutely loved this one.

  2. To Joney,

    The problem could be that you didn’t extract the files with the “retain file structure” (or something like that) check box checked. Here are how the files should be extracted.

    within your “username”/portal/portal/maps folder.

    -ren_test2_readme.txt
    -graphs (Folder)
    —RenTests (Folder)
    ——ren_test2.ain
    -RenTests (Folder)
    —ren_test2.bsp
    —ren_test2.bns

    Alternatively:
    -Make sure you have the console enabled by going to Options/Keyboard/Advanced, and check the “Enable Developer Console” checkbox.
    -Then hit the tilde key,”~”, and type “map ren_test2″ without the quotes, and hit enter. Then the map should load.

    Good Luck!

  3. Wow, this map is really good!
    Took me quite a while to figure out how to get the energyball to his destination and once I had my strategy down, I needed 3 or 4 attempts to execute it properly, but it feeled soo good afterwards :D

    One thing I couldnt figure out: When you rotate the room for the first time, theres a little box with a switch on the celling. What does it do exactly? I pressed it, after getting up there, but I didn’t really ‘get’ what it did.

  4. Just finished it and thought it was great, a nice mix of portal action with traditional puzzles. I did have a few issues with it though.

    The first is that it’s very difficult to tell which surfaces you could attach a portal to, they were very slightly lighter than the other surfaces, but the varied lighting made it difficult to spot. Second was that the voicework made it seem like the button you press to open the door doesn’t work, which meant I spent more time trying to work out how to open a door that was already unlocked than I spent in the whole rest of the level. Thirdly the timing on the energy ball puzzle is a bit tight, there can’t be more than two seconds to spare from the absolute optimum route which is a bit harsh. I’d say it would want slowing down by around 10%-20% so it can be managed without too much repetition once you’ve worked out what to do. Lastly the ball has a bad habit of falling through the floor (roof?), though this doesn’t really have a big impact on solving the puzzle.

    But overall it was great, these are minor setbacks to a really fun and well designed level. Go on, have some cake.

  5. Wow that was a pretty brilliant level. Took me a few tries to get it right! Very clever design. I hope we see some more maps from you guys.

  6. hey this is great, but i have not solved it yet. .
    because of the energy ball passing through the ‘wall’ with the energy receptacle (?) it then bounces around the room for an age.. b4 i can try again. for this reason i became frustrated. if this collision issue was fixed, i’d give it another crack.
    till then..

  7. really great level, well designed and with brilliant gameplay ideas !
    it had surely been not that easy to create, so yes it’s a f**king good work ! :D

  8. RenTest1 was great, and when I stumbled upon RenTest2 it literally blew me away. When the ‘impressive bit’ happened, I was forced to play the rest of the level with my gob hanging open in surprise.

    Do more levels Daryl!
    (and if you’re looking for REALLY hard Portal levels, search for Shmitz’s levels)

  9. My only complaint would be that this level breaks with the conventions of Portal level design.

    Specifically in terms of which textures will take a portal and which won’t.

    Other than that, great level and a new concept on top of the Valve levels to make you think again. :)

  10. Nice map, the energy ball was the hardest bit. Some thoughts:
    It’s really quite hard at the start to discern which surfaces you can use your portal on and which you can’t.
    When I first got started, I’m pressing buttons that I have no idea what they do.
    On the whole, good job though :)

  11. At first, sorry for my bad English pls^^
    At second.. =)
    Nice map! Very interesting idea, but… this map has some bags. Portals aren’t always opened on the place for they(this places has some points where portals cann’t be opened), and player can stick between floor and.. floor! :D this map need some revision ;-)

  12. HELP!!!
    I cant reach the highest switch.

    I don’t know why everyone had a hard time with the energy ball, I did it in one try. The ball lasts so long.
    The slanted platform just launches me directly up in the air. Am I missing something obvious? I have tried so many different ways to change the angle of my momentum and nothing gets me close to that platform.

    great level though, I love the rotating room.

  13. Loved the map. Great concepts and alot of gameplay in such a small room.

    2 things that bothered me tho.
    1. Still a little buggy, myself and the energy ball would often fall through the floor/ceiling. In the case it was myself, I would get stuck and need to restart the map. (The sdk might help with this issue when it comes out)

    2. Lack of Portal-esque visual ques. I would suggest using the different textures for portal-able and nonportal-able walls. A better visual que for doors that are locked vs unlocked. And perhaps that dotted line that connects button to lock like we’ve seen all over Portal.

    Other than that the ideas in the map are already exceeding my high expectations for custom maps for Portal. Please keep contributing!

  14. A problem I had initially, and I suspect what may have happened with Joney, is I extracted the zip file to a directory called 4842 and then moved that directory into the maps directory. It will still show up as a map in-game, but nothing will happen when you click load. So, to perhaps clarify, just extract the contents of the zip file into the maps directory, not the whole thing. At least I think that’s right, it worked for me that way. (I had to replace the initially empty graphs directory.)

  15. This is a terrible map:
    a) Doesn’t adhere to the Portal style, for no reason. Very hard to tell where to put portals.
    b) Buggy map means you fall through the floor.
    c) Poor level design forces reptitive trial-and-error.
    I love your games, but stick to what you do best, repetitive RPGs, not puzzle games.

  16. Nice map, nicely done and some great ideas. The timing of the fling almost made me mad, and it took a while to find out what to do with the energy ball :)

    I found a small map glitch – when the floor comes up to form those small stairs, if you look at the grates below you see the bounding box of the map.

    Great work, thumbs up!

  17. Okay, I’m probably an idiot: I unzipped the files into the right place, but the only options for files I get in the bonus map screen in Portal is for a “.bmz” type file (bonus map zip). I can’t open or even see the bsp or .bns file in that interface.

  18. Great map! Just the right degree of difficulty for me (not terribly hard, but required a few tries for the energy ball). The similar textures for portal-enabled and non-portal-enabled surfaces were a little annoying at first but didn’t take me much time to get used to (I can see how you don’t want to darken the whole room with the default dark textures Portal uses).

    One question: After I opened the final door and entered the elevator, the AI voice congratulated me and the screen faded to dark. Nothing happened after that. Do I just need to quit manually?

  19. I really enjoyed that portal level. I agree with Rack that the timing of the energy ball puzzle is a little tight, but apart from that it was really well designed. I look forward to more custom maps like this one.

    Now as it’s my birthday today I’m going to go and eat some cake :D

  20. Wow, that was awesome level. Very creative and just plain cool.

    I’d have to agree on the lighting/tile color comments. It would have been better if the non portable surfaces were the dark ones in the game levels. While you do have the one, two, three, and four tiles, you don’t have the little trail of lights that show what switches go to what. There are switches that alter the environment and ones that open doors. It’s kind of confusing what switches do what. I kept pressing certain switches thinking I needed to do them in sequence (because of the numbers) before I realized I missed one the switches.

    Maybe it would have been better to have three visible doors in a glass hallway at the end instead of three switches for one door? And have the doors labeled 1-4.

    I also experienced some glitchness in alpha sorting so sometimes I couldn’t see the energy ball. The energy ball puzzle wasn’t so bad, especially since the ball lasted so long. Once I actually got the energy ball receptor to activate from hitting it from behind, which I don’t think is intended. And portals won’t open unless they are shot to the middle of the portable surface.

    I also had to use a “bullet time” mod to get part of the puzzle done. I guess that’s cheating though. But I’m playing for puzzle part, not to test my flinging-action skills.

    But as for puzzles, this one’s great. I really like the layout and idea. It’s so sweet. It took me a few tries to get it right. But still very cool.

  21. Really nice level!

    But I have to ask the question from YCC again:
    Is the black screen in the elevator the end? Do I just need to quit manually?

  22. Good stuff – nice revolving room! And I don’t care too much about using the correct textures etc – a little experimentation soon sorts that out.
    Need a clue for the orb though. How to get the orb in too the receptor rectangular room?

    Or is the comment above about hitting it from behind all I need to know? Doesn’t sound right…

  23. This was fantastic! Once I figured out I had to keep the ball in the non rotating room with me, it got easier. If you don’t the ball disappears. Again, this map is just fantastic.

  24. Actually you don’t even have to follow the long path for the energy ball. With a little practice the “eyeball” weight can be used to deflect the energy ball into, say, a portal.

  25. damn, after moving and finally being able to pull out my computer and attempt to download the level.. it’s already gone. That sucks…

  26. I gave up on it after like three minutes. I thought it was going to be an escher thing where the room would rotate some how or you could just walk the sides, but nothing happened. The ball kept randomly disappearing, couldn’t figure out what to do in the first room. Basically I don’t trust you to have bug tested it so I figured it might be broken and I could spend hours on a broken map.