Portal 2: The Twist: Behind the Scenes! Custom elements explained.

Portal 2: The Twist: Behind the Scenes! Custom elements explained.


Hello, it’s Bisqwit here.
A while ago Warp and I created an awesome Portal 2 map called The Twist.
If you haven’t played it yet, go and play it before watching this video
or you will.regret.it. In this video I will walk through the custom
elements that I created for that map. When I make a button connection to the right
thing and to the fake exit you can see the difference in the names that
the editor provides. In the editor the fake exit appears just as
door. It requires a large empty room behind it
because of all the extra stuff it brings into the map.
The editor does not know of all this extra stuff,
so the puzzle author must estimate the exact amount needed.
In this video I show what happens when you make too much room. So here’s our fake exit door all isolated.
It contains nothing but the door, the tunnel, a broken bridge and a dummy exit elevator.
There is also a trigger that opens and closes doors
when you approach them, just like in the real thing.
Next to the dummy exit elevator there is a brush that prevents
you from accidentally falling into the pit. It also prevents you from reaching the elevator
even with fancy bunnyhopping tricks. You can still fall into the pit if you like.
There’s an instant death trigger there which I will not show now. The ceiling parts here come with the element,
but the side walls along with the lights were made
in Puzzlemaker and are responsibility of the puzzle designer. The next part is the behind-the-scenes tunnel.
It appears in the puzzlemaker as a laser emitter. As before, a large vacant space is reserved
for all the details brought in by the test element
that the puzzlemaker does not know about. When we look at the inserted element from
the outside, we see the blocky outline typical to instance
elements in Portal 2. These outside walls are required to prevent
leaks in Hammer elements. They also pad out the walls so that there
will be no unnecessary empty holes between the element and the Puzzlemaker
map walls when the element is inserted in the real map.
The map builder, vbsp, removes all those never-seen walls that you could never access.
Here they are seen, because you _can_ reach those outside walls. On the inside, this tunnel is pretty much
as you would expect from having played this map, with its own
lighting elements and so on. There is this panel banger, which attracts
attention towards the broken wall that leads to the
second puzzle in the map. However, what’s interesting is that the second
puzzle is actually in a completely different location in the
map, because of Puzzlemaker size limitations.
This is accomplished through the use of a linked portal door,
a rectangular portal without edge decorations. There are actually two copies of the panel
banger in the map, one next to both sides of the portal.
They move in unison. This is to make sure that the sound is
properly heard on both sides of the portal from the correct direction.
It probably was difficult to see in my video, because of the long distance,
without playing it in high-definition mode. Anyway, this pretty covers the underground
tunnel. The next extra element that I made specifically
for this map is absolutely huge.
If you have played this map, you can already guess what it is.
Because in the puzzlemaker it just shows up as a laser emitter.
This test element is an observation room with a couple of back doors.
As usual, the extra element is surrounded by a huge number of
square blocks for the reason that was explained earlier.
However, this time those bulky blocks are coated
by the “nodraw” texture instead of the backpanels_cheap texture,
handily preserving the surprise even to this moment,
making the interior mostly invisible when observed from the outside in this setting.
Let us explore the element from the inside. What is special is that this test element
contains a number of projected textures, i.e. lights
that cast very cool dynamic shadows. I learned this trick from The Stanley Parable,
which uses it extensively. What makes it difficult is that the Source
engine supports only one projected texture simultaneously. Your map can have multiple
of those, but just one can be active at the same time.
You need to design your maps so that triggers turn on the proper light
when you are about to see the next one. Normally, all [Portal 2] Puzzlemaker maps
have exactly two projected textures. One of them is in the large observation room,
[turned on with a loud noise when you enter the map,]
and the other one is either in the entry elevator room, or in the cooperative exit room, depending
whether the map is singleplayer or cooperative. The Twist has several more, and most of them
come from this test element. Anyway, here we are. In The Stanley Parable.
“Wait, what? How did that happen?” You may ask.
Quite simply, I just copypasted. This is still Portal 2, but since it is also
Source engine, and more to the point, The Stanley Parable
was built upon this very same version of the Source engine, even going
as far as reusing many of the assets of Portal 2, it is very
compatible with Portal 2. There were only a few models and textures
here and there that needed to be packed into the map file,
about 15 megabytes in total. Like the real The Stanley Parable, this map
section uses linked portal doors all over the place.
Even without the iconic narrator, I tried hard to capture at least
some of the feeling of the original game in this easter egg section of this map.
But it does require quite a huge room, and because of limits in the dimensions of
a Puzzlemaker map, adding this map section made it necessary
for me to move the second puzzle to a different physical
location in the map. Next on list, we have a few item droppers.
This time in the map editor, absolutely nothing looks out of ordinary.
It is a normal map in every regard. Or IS IT? Let’s find out! So. We have here two cube dispensers… And
a turret dispenser. The cube dispensers work like you would expect.
A button fizzles the cube, and a new one pops out.
A new one also pops out if you fizzle the cube by some other means.
Likewise, a new turret can be dispensed by pressing the associated button.
Now if you know me, you know nothing is as it first appears.
All three of these droppers have a trick to them. Once you have brought a cube past a certain
section of the map, simulated by a console command I just entered,
if you accidentally fizzle the cube, the turret dropper will give you a new one! This secret mechanism was introduced
to reduce the player’s potential frustrating backtracking
they would need to do, if they accidentally fizzled the cube. Regardless of which cube you fizzle, the turret
dropper will always drop you a brand new companion cube. Even after dropping cubes, the turret dropper
still maintains its normal function of acting as a turret dropper. Basically the extra cube
dropping mechanism is a mercy feature. The in-universe reason for the turret dropper
is that it is a broken cube dropper. The “normal” looking droppers are actually
called mercy-droppers. There’s exactly two of them, and they are rigged to work in communication
with the turret dropper. Because the mercy-dropper still drops the
actual cube when the turret dropper also drops a cube, the map designer is responsible of
making sure that the player cannot backtrack to the mercy-dropper once they receive their
first cube from the turret dropper. This was such involving work for such a comparatively
miniscule feature in the map. The next point of interest is this weird contraption
on top of test chamber two. It includes this element that appears as a
“trigger multiple” element, but which really is a cube detector.
It activates for seven seconds when it detects a cube.
And this is how it works: This button here is going to simulate the
act of arriving into this chamber the first time.
It generates a cube over there. The cube falls, gets detected, and that in turn causes the
second cube dropper to activate. Neither cube dropper drops automatically the
first cube. The second cube dropper is the real thing.
When a cube drops from that dropper, this detects that the cube was generated, and it
activates these two tractor beams, or excursion funnels, for exactly seven seconds. It also
opens up this angled panel. These two funnels together take care of gently
letting the cube down onto that button on the floor.
Exactly seven seconds after the cube was detected, this shuts down, this shuts down and this
shuts down. This OR-gate, from BEE mod, makes it possible
that the cube is generated when the secret compartment first generates a cube, or when
the pedestal button in the corner is pushed. If I connected the arriving-signal directly
into the OR-gate, the pedestal button would never work, because the arriving-signal never
stops being signalled. The OR gate fires whenever either input fires, and if the arriving-signal
was one of its inputs, the OR-gate would never stop pushing out a signal, and therefore the
cube dropper would never see the off-on edge in its input that it needs to generate a new
cube. So, entering the test chamber we can see that
the initial cube was spawned and is sitting safely on the button. If the cube just fell
from the ceiling at this distance, it would bounce randomly to some direction and not
sit safely on the button. When I kill the cube, you can how this respawn
mechanism works. And you can also count exactly seven seconds from when the ceiling opened
to when the funnel cuts. And here’s to show that the explicit cube-respawn
button also does its intended thing. The only customized element here was the seven-second
cube detection trigger block. The final special element created just for
this map was the broken ceiling. In the editor it appears as a large observation
room window. The ceiling accepts one input, which switches
on the projected light that casts dynamic shadows. Here we can see the ceiling in action. When
I click the button… the light gets cast. That’s pretty much all she wrote. Thank you for watching! See you in the next
video. And to those observing the upcoming Pesach,
I bid you also: Chag sameach.