Thursday, October 9, 2008

About the difficulty

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Joe Schmo just sent me a very interesting question regarding the difficulty of Portal: Prelude, and I thought I'd have to make a clear and long answer to this, here's what he said:

My friends and I have done Portal time and time again (and many of the challenge rooms too) but we're seriously having alot of difficulty with this.

The nice thing about Portal was that you took the time to FIGURE OUT what to do, and it was a bit of a thinking puzzle. Sure, once you knew what to do you'd maybe have to retry it, but it wasn't that hard to complete.
Here in Portal Prelude, you KNOW exactly what you need to do and how to do it, but the problem comes in the execution. Alot of the puzzles, it seems, requires PINPOINT ACCURACY and leaves little room for mistakes.

I feel that alot more gametesting would've let you see that some things are too hard, and you would've tweaked them to make them more forgiving. For example, getting away from the 4 sentries at the beginning requires split second timing; if you don't shoot exactly where you need to go, you will die. Or flying across the gap in Room 03, or making it across the first electric field. I knew EXACTLY what I had to do, but because of the unforgiving nature of the puzzles, it amounted to this:

Quicksave before the jump
Do the jump, miss it
Quickload and try again
And this repeated at least 20 times.

I'll leave the option out there that maybe it isn't that hard, and I just suck at this game. But like I said earlier, my friends and I have done Portal and its challenge rooms many times with ease. After a few hours of playing we all got frustrated with the game, and stopped playing.

Here is my answer:

Hi Joe,

We always said this game was going to be difficult, but there's something you don't seem to understand. The game was tested, I talked about it a lot, and I already said that we tested the game with hardcore gamers, normal gamers and newbies to Portal. All of them found the game difficult and we lowered the difficulty a bit in some of the areas. At the end, everyone was finishing the game with ease, even the guys who played Portal once by curiosity and never played it again.

If we had to make more difficult logic instead of more difficult execution, it would have required way larger rooms and way more complex puzzles. It would have required 18 months, and not 9. It was just impossible for us to build something as good as Portal, we always said it. Now, I really don't understand the point of all these critics about the difficulty especially the "crouch debate". I personnally finished all of the test chambers with my crouch key unbinded to see if it was still possible. And it is.

Now, the public we're aiming at is definitely NOT the casual gamer, and not the Portal fans who played Portal once and never played it again. We're making this game for true Portal fans, who finished it several times, beat all of the challenges and even downloaded custom maps. We thought we repeated it enough for people to understand, but it doesn't seem to be clear for everyone. But really, at the end, even casual gamers managed to finish it. It's all about trial and error. If you're not fond of trial and error gameplay, then you should just forget about it. Back in the days, games were utterly more difficult, and no one was complaining about beeing almost obliged to cheat in order to finish it, people were just saying "I'm not skilled enough to do that", and not "that game is so retarded I'm going to insult their creators". And even in more recent games like Call of Duty 4 or Crysis, playing in the hardest mode is all about trial and error. You try a strategy and you get killed by a guy 100 meters away without even seeing him. That's exactly the same thing.

Also, a lot of people are complaining because it's too difficult without actually trying to think about what they're doing. I saw some of the people complaining about the difficulty and doing incredibly complex things to get out of the rooms just because they didn't thought about it. Often, the solution is REALLY simple, but people are locked in what they think they must do and don't try to imagine other solutions. Sometimes, they even say "that was f*cking hard, you should have explained it" although there is indeed an explaination on the ground they didn't even look at.

That's the problem with the first room for example. People say "I'm passing through the Portal and I'm getting killed instantly". Well, pretty normal... that's why there's glasses everywhere to see what's going on behind the Portal and find a solution BEFORE acting. People try to portal eveywhere, but sincerely, there's no need to portal anywhere to get past the turrets. When you get out of the blue portal, you just have to run left or right and that's it. No need to do utterly complex things. In Portal, the solutions were rather evident, and sometimes there was even arrows and dots showing you exactly what to do. That's not the case with Portal: Prelude, and almost each room has several solutions. We're not trying to do a clone of Portal here, we're extanding the gameplay to make it a lot more challenging.

That's my two cents.

89 comment(s)

Comments

 October 9, 2008 10:53 PM, Anonymous Manny_Lectro said :
Mouais, là Nicolas je suis desolé mais je ne suis absolument pas d'accord avec toi. Autant j'adore Portal Prelude et je considère que c'est l'un des plus grand mod, voir le plus grand mod auxquel j'ai pus jouer dans ma vie, autant je trouve qu'il est bien trop difficile à certains moment. Je me considère moi aussi comme très bon à Portal et pourtant je suis resté coincé plusieurs heures à certaines bouts du jeu en étant obligé de tricher (pas avec des codes mais avec un bug de portal que j'ai découverts) pour passer aux salles suivantes. C'est très frustrant. Il n'était pas question de passer plus de temps sur les maps, je ne vois pas en quoi d'ailleurs il aurait été plus long de les faire plus simple, c'est absurde. Ensuite pour l'argument des testeurs, il est bien évident que n'importe qui, même un newbie, peut refaire facilement un test qu'il aura eut du mal à faire la première fois, surtout s'il a été simplifié et toi il est normal que tu arrives à passer tes épreuves puisque tu en es le concepteur.

 October 9, 2008 11:02 PM, Anonymous Afrocat said :
I think one of the problems the Portal fans are having is that this is different to Portal. I struggled a lot with the first few Test Chambers but after that I started to adjust to the puzzle style of the game. If players are going in thinking it is an official Portal game they will struggle more than the players who just stop to think and work it out.

 October 9, 2008 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
this game is bullshit. It's called PORTAL PRELUDE. and now this asshole is trying to tell us he didnt mean to make it like portal?

stupid fucking developer. why dont you change the name of the game and change the portal gun and textures and FUCK OFF with your shitty difficult game.

 October 9, 2008 11:19 PM, Blogger acoustony said :
Here's my suggestion...disappear for a few days. Let people play it. Ignore people who don't like it. I've been following your blog since you announced the game, and ever since the release, you've made yourself look more and more like a jerk. I'm not saying you are, but a few more posts like these and it looks like YOU'RE whining. People will always find a reason to hate something. Be happy that you did a good job, and that people are excited and enjoying your game. Ignore the rest, and don't parade the 'tards in front of everyone.

 October 9, 2008 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anon said :
I really don't think this game is that difficult... I'm already on chamber 16. Some of you idiots should stop complaining about how hard this is and keep playing it! IMO the difficulty is a feature, not a bug.

 October 9, 2008 11:24 PM, Blogger Nicolas said :
@Manny_Lectro:
Tu n'as pas compris ce que j'ai dit, essaye de relire.

@acoustony:
You are 200% correct. But I'm not whining here, just point a few things out for people to understand why we did it that way, and why we're not going to change it. But indeed, you are right, I'm a bit stressed right now, and I'm just going to let it cool down a few days once I'll finish putting the mirrors on the site.

 October 9, 2008 11:25 PM, Anonymous Pugrain said :
Honnêtement, je suis pas un très bon joueur de Portal. Y'a des défis que j'ai jamais réussi à faire mais sur Portal Prelude je suis arrivé sans problème jusqu'à la chambre 19 sans JAMAIS tricher. Et j'ai fait ça en 3 heures.
Oui c'est plus difficile, je suis d'accord mais c'était prévu, non?
Moi je trouve qu'il est accessible contrairement à certaines maps customs.
Ce que les gens n'ont pas apprécié je pense c'est que la difficulté soit dès le départ et qu'il n'y ait pas une monté en puissance comme sur Portal. Enfin bon, franchement, j'ai joué à Portal juste avant, ensuite à Portal Flash mappack et j'étais "entrainé". C'est une sorte de troisième étape pour moi :)
Bon là je fais une pause parce que la chambre 19 m'énerve! :D Mais je sais qu'avec un peu d'acharnement, je vais y arriver!
Merci à toi Nico car c'est vraiment très bon. J'ai moi même un scénario pour un mod Portal mais n'y connaissant absolument rien dans la création, j'ai laissé tomber (pour le moment) et j'avoue que je me suis bien éclaté pour l'instant sur ton mod! :)
Bon courage!

 October 9, 2008 11:26 PM, Anonymous Jon said :
I think the problem is that your game is widely available on places like fileplanet, without the disclaimer you're touting here. I, for example, picked it up off of fileplanet expecting the average ultra-complex portal puzzle challenge, and instead got something new and different - not necessarily bad - just new and different. Your disclaimer of "It's different" was only shared on YOUR website, not to the (as of now) over 17,000 people who have downloaded it off of Fileplanet. Inevitably, you're going to get this complaint because there's absolutely zero hint that this is going to be different from normal portal.

 October 9, 2008 11:26 PM, Anonymous Colin said :
It took some time to figure out the solutions in some of the chambers, but finally I managed to finish the mod just minutes ago.
Just wanted to congratulate you for the mod. It had a different touch then the original Portal, but that ain't bad at all.
Story, Scripts, Puzzles everything fits :)

Thanks

 October 9, 2008 11:31 PM, Blogger clint said :
Dude, did you pay for the damned mod? You certainly have a right to be displeased with it, but insults are just uncalled for. Witness the polite way to communicate with the world:

I only had the chance to play for about an hour yesterday and only got to Chamber 8, but so far I'd sadly have to agree with at least parts of what the emailer and Manny_Lectro said. Specifically, I spent a lot of time trying repeatedly on Chamber 4 to aim perfectly at the corner of the pit and move in the proper direction coming out of it, but the player movement in Portal was simply too clumsy to do this with ease.

I like playing Portal for the "by jove, I've got it!" moments when you finally realize, "oh snap, this is how you do it." For instances, when I realized what I had to do, in what order, at the end of Chamber 5, it was really rewarding even though I still had to try 3 or 4 times to nail the last jump.

Even if execution is difficult, it helps if the solution is nonobvious, as then there's a feeling of reward rather than of frustration.

 October 9, 2008 11:33 PM, Blogger clint said :
Clarification, the first statement of my previous comment was aimed at "Anonymous", post #3.

 October 9, 2008 11:43 PM, Blogger fire.esper said :
The problem is not the difficulty of execution - it's the frustration you go through when solving it.

With Portal, frustration comes at the beginning, when you look at the room and go, "What the fuck is this". But you can walk around, or sit down and think, and maybe try a thing or two.

In Prelude, frustration becomes anxiety when pitted against the clock, which makes you do mistakes, especially since it's rather hard to predict where will you come up, when will event X kill you, when do you crouch, jump, and which side of Portal is which. And after each mistake, you have to do it from the very beginning.

The difficulty curve is not a ladder here, it's an Everest. But if you were going for replayability instead of simple fun, that should about do it.

 October 9, 2008 11:50 PM, Blogger Nicolas said :
@fire.esper:
Portal: Prelude is not Portal. Stop comparing. Our vision of the game is more punitive than Valve's one. That's it. If you don't like it, there's nothing we can do about it. Really =)

 October 9, 2008 11:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
About you saying how people complain about difficulty when they miss the easy option, sometimes people miss the easy option because of bad level design, for example they try the correct way and fail because they didnt do it exactly right, so move on to other methods thinking theyre totally wrong

This happened with me.

 October 9, 2008 11:51 PM, OpenID bluestreak2 said :
Having already played through Portal the Flash Version, and having made it through all the test chambers here. I don't see what everyone is complaining about difficulty for. User made maps always seem harder than the original portal. And really that's why I'm downloading them.

If I wanted to play through something exactly like the original game I'd play through Portal. That's not what this is and I never expected it to be.

I personally think this has been a great mod. It's something that got me excited about Portal again. And while I don't get the same feeling of "that was awesome" as I did with Portal, I do feel a sense of amazement and pride when I pull of tricks here that I never would have thought possible in the original game.

Anyways, this has been a lot of fun. And I agree with acoustony, take your vacation and ignore the trolls, their just robbing themselves of some great gaming.

 October 9, 2008 11:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
Haha, yeah just leave it be, ignore the comments, emails, forums, people who like it will play it people who dont will be bitching. Thats how it is.

btw this game is frikn hard man wtf!?! :D

 October 10, 2008 12:08 AM, Blogger Zero1328 said :
"Joe Schmo" is a pretty bland pseudonym... and, well, 20 tries seems to be a bit of a hyperbole. It took me a few tries as well, but not 20. Or maybe I'm just better at adjusting my timing..?

Anyway, I didn't bother mentioning these problems since it already seemed to crop up in the forum, too. The margin of error felt pretty thin at some points.

For myself though, I attributed it to me not being able to respond quickly enough to stuff in Portal. My framerate was pretty low as it was in Portal, (<10 with both portals open, lower when passing through or near them) and I was already using the crouch jump there to make up for errors. Making crouch jumping a neccesity (or at least a percieved one) thins out the margin further.

In Prelude, with more complex portal techniques, it makes it nigh impossible for me to respond in time. I quit on Room 09, and I'm conflicted about cheating to continue on. If you're on near minimum specs, it can't be helped. Tough luck.

 October 10, 2008 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
You could have just said "We don't care, we're not changing anything." It would save a lot of words.

Don't discredit what most people are saying just because you had a few playtesters that didn't have the same problems. Much of this game is split second timing doing difficult moves 20 times over. If this is what you intended, then keep it this way.

 October 10, 2008 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
I'm currently working my way through it, and it's worth noting two particularly notable game design tenets that you've failed to address, that I think may be spurring this criticism of the difficulty.

First, "punitive" is not a word that should *ever* be used to describe the system of rewards and punishments throughout a game. You're hinging very closely on "I'm a better designer than you are a player" with that attitude, and it's not difficult to simply design things players can't beat. It's the major problem with a lot of so-called "uber-difficult hardcore" fan-made mods.

Second, from the comments you've made I'm not sure you quite understood the way testing works. Your comment from the post, about your testing pool:

"All of them found the game difficult and we lowered the difficulty a bit in some of the areas. At the end, each of them was finishing the game with ease, even the guy who played Portal once by curiosity and never played it again."

Any tester will finish a game with ease when they've tested it hundreds or thousands of times. You need to understand that your testing pool reflects a balanced game at "Hard" or "Expert" mode, not "Normal" or "Easy", no matter what the core difficulty setting you're going for is.

Completing the game with ease is a basic thing all testers should be able to do-- if that's not the case you've made a game that's functionally impossible, not "tuned to be difficult". That bar says only that you have made a completable game, not a well-balanced or well-tuned one. Your testers should be finishing the game with flair, beating record times, etc, and then you should analyze the game from start to finish with a tester (or series of testers) that has never seen the game before. There are always these people available-- you are on the Internet.

As a last little note: never, ever place respawn points just *before* lengthy non-interactive sections. This is a common, huge mistake and it's rampant in Prelude. There's no excuse for it, not even some kind of "punitive" system.

$0.02, from a professional game designer.

 October 10, 2008 12:23 AM, Blogger Nicolas said :
I'm not english, sorry if I can't explain correctly what I want to say. That's not very easy for me.

And sorry if I can't make things perfect, I'm not a "professional game designer" beeing paid 8 hours a day to work on a few aspects of a game. I'm a 22 years old IT student and employee who's bitching with Valve's tools on his spare time and having to work on EVERY aspect of the game, from storywriting to videomaking and webdesign. Looks pretty normal that I can't come up with perfect gameplay.

Also, we didn't asked our testers to playtest it several times, or at least not with huge modifications of the rooms.

 October 10, 2008 12:25 AM, Blogger Nicolas said :
I think you all forgot that this damn mod is AMATEUR. And should be compared to AMATEUR mods, and not Portal.
Anyway, I'm not going to comment more on this for the moment, I'm tired of all this.

 October 10, 2008 12:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
"I'm a 22 years old IT student and employee who's bitching with Valve's tools on his spare time and having to work on EVERY aspect of the game, from storywriting to videomaking and webdesign. Looks pretty normal that I can't come up with perfect gameplay."

No one's asking you to. What you've proven is that you're not receptive to criticism-- anything that isn't extremely well-worded and polite you decry as flames, and the (admittedly rare) one that is gets excuses in response (I'm not a professional, this is an amateur mod, the target audience for this is not you, etc).

You're certainly welcome to take this standpoint, but I offered my post above (about game design tenets) because someone with the wherewithal to put together something of this magnitude has at least the potential to be an extremely good designer. Most people don't get this far, and it would be a shame to see someone with that level of dedication not get as far as possible just because they hadn't taken game design tenets into account.

Unfortunately, I don't know much in the way of French-language game design books, but I can point you to a few that I think you may find valuable:

Rules of Play: http://www.amazon.com/Rules-Play-Game-Design-Fundamentals/dp/0262240459/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223591550&sr=8-1

The Game Design Reader: http://www.amazon.com/Game-Design-Reader-Rules-Anthology/dp/0262195364/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223591550&sr=8-2

On Game Design (as a counterpoint): http://www.amazon.com/Chris-Crawford-Design-Riders-Games/dp/0131460994/ref=pd_bbs_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223591550&sr=8-6

A Theory of Fun: http://www.amazon.com/Theory-Game-Design-Raph-Koster/dp/1932111972/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223591586&sr=8-3

These aren't books about level design necessarily, or how to animate, or how to program AI, they're extremely high-level game design concepts, and you'll see that every single one of them emphasizes gameplay over everything else.

Requoting, for emphasis:

"having to work on EVERY aspect of the game, from storywriting to videomaking and webdesign. Looks pretty normal that I can't come up with perfect gameplay."

Perfect gameplay comes *first*, everything else is secondary after that. You'll be excused for less-than-perfect storywriting, or questionable art assets, or not having great videos, if what you manage to *hit* is the gameplay.

I don't know if you're looking to improve for future projects. I don't know if you are in fact pursuing a career in game design. I can tell you what your designs look like from a professional standpoint, not judging things based on Portal, but judging it based on successful fan-made mods that I've seen (and even interviewed new designers as a result of).

Of course Portal: Prelude isn't as well-made as the original Portal was, although the fact that the original Portal started off as a project just like the one you've made here is worth noting. What it *is* is worthy to be judged on the order of other mods that aspire to be highly downloaded and well-loved, like Counterstrike, which was originally made by a team of two people, completely independently.

I'm not judging you on the same level as Portal, but I have no qualms about judging a project ambitious enough to call itself a prelude to Portal by the same standards I would judge Counter-Strike by.

 October 10, 2008 1:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
It's OK to make an astoundingly hard Portal mod. Just understand the the masses of 'hardcore' gamers who loved Portal only have a tiny subset of players that may be as 'hardcore' as your intended audience. The vast majority of players who are attracted to your mod will go away frustrated.

Also, if players that want to be fans, and come away aggravated and hit this forum for help, seeing the dev refer to them as 'whiners' is certain to doubly turn them off. I know it did for me.

 October 10, 2008 2:05 AM, Anonymous Monkfish said :
I've enjoyed the mod, but the first three levels let it down slightly, with their reliance on precision and slightly counter-intuitive solutions. It's probably these early levels that are responsible for most of the criticism you're receiving regarding the game's difficulty.

This is a great pity as many people won't play past them and reach the really great levels further in.

And the later levels really are so much better; inventive gravity, logic and timing puzzles that are very rewarding to play.

Anyway, thanks for all the time and effort you put into this mod, which celebrates the first anniversary of Portal's release nicely.

 October 10, 2008 2:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
It's crap. I don't play games to be frustrated and I'm old enough to have lost my 13 year old reflexes.

If the only people you had test this were close friends, then you clearly failed Quality Assurance 101. Likewise, based on your reactions to valid criticism (let alone the flames) you probably refused to use a tester who didn't kiss your ass.

Cry more, boo hoo.

 October 10, 2008 3:13 AM, Anonymous DR GRiM said :
I am going to post this in english instead of french (sorry for my poor english, just in case)

I fully agree with the comments regarding difficulty, unfortunately. I have never played anything that forced me to reload on the first minute or so (chamber 01) so many times. I played Portal and enjoyed it, but that was long ago. I expected to be baby-sitted for about 3 or 5 mins so I'd get used to the whole mechanics again and the feel. Chamber 02 is also a downer, having to crouch without any feedback from the screen or any indication but stating you must do so in Chamber 03 is kinda insulting. But to add some more, Chamber 03 requires some split second crouch-jumping precision. I don't know about you, Nicolas, but if I had put 9 months of efforts into a mod, I would want people to have fun with it and make sure the average gamer can see it through the end (and see my work, of course). If the hardcore or wannabe genius got lucky or enjoyed reloading plenty, I am certainly not one of them. So, in the end, you made a tremendous effort that only a few will see and appreciate? Think again.

If you intended to make the game so different from Portal by going another direction from the one Valve took, I'd suggest you to rename your mod and not use the original's assets (or add huge banners in the main menu of the game to explain what's ahead), you are indeed confusing people big time. You want the crowds to download a mod based on Portal's fame and positioning but think it's something completly different yet you include in your mod's title the name of the original? (it's called Portal: Prelude if I read it right). IMO, it defies logic in a very frustrating way.

I find the mod so counter-intuitive, I can't even find a way to uninstall it, to be honest.

I am more than willing to give it another try shall you decide to release another version where there are clear hints and where my sense of logic can help me through the game (that sense of logic, for the record, helped me through Portal in a very satisfying way despite some challenges in the later rooms).

It's a shame, it looked very interesting.

I guess that playing your mod for such a short while made me understand even more how important difficulty can be in game design. For this, Valve, I love you, very, very much.

 October 10, 2008 3:56 AM, Blogger Eric said :
I found the game to be very hard, but still fun... and extremely different from Portal. But, I loved every second of it. The only thing that bugged me was the computer generated voices. Maybe someone can record new optional voices for the game and send them to you guys. If you like them you can upload them as an optional patch, no need for you to have super high-quality computers if people send you fan made voice recording. :D

THANKYOU FOR THE AWESOME MOD!!!

 October 10, 2008 4:08 AM, Blogger Ben said :
All right, let's see. First thing's first: Get the hell off the Internet and go relax. You've put a lot of time and effort into this mod. That's clear just playing it. I'm not a 'mod person'; even when they're critically acclaimed, I just can't get into them. That even being the case, I can see myself playing through Prelude multiple times in the future, unless there's some stuff later on that really just ruins it for me (Like, for instance, if there are a lot of chambers like Chamber 9, which I noclipped through after half an hour of mind-melting frustration).

Anyway, back to my first point. You need to get away from the Internet for a while. A month or two, at least. Forget you ever made this. The reason you have to do this is because right now, legitimate criticism is offending you way more than it should, and it shows. If you just let your own feelings about your game settle down in your mind, when you come back, you'll be able to logically and reasonably handle anything this place can throw at you.

For instance, the script is solid, and the voices have their moments, but there are just some things that distract from the experience in those areas. Right now, this criticism might prompt a response angrily pointing out what you had to work with. But after a month or two of just chilling out, you'll see your own missteps more clearly, and will perhaps organize small online groups to improve on those areas. I know that I, for one, would love to contribute to such an effort.

Secondly, now that you've taken some time off, it's time for the truth.

Your game is too hard.

There. That's it. That's the fact. Your game is too hard, and it's subtracting hugely from its potential. It's too hard, and it's unbalanced, and those issues detract from the moments of sheer brilliance.

But it's still very good, even if it could be better with just a little bit more work, and it'll always have a place on my Games list in Steam.

 October 10, 2008 4:56 AM, Anonymous 2Crazy4U said :
I completely agree with acoustony: "disappear for a few days. Let people play it. Ignore people who don't like it."

You can never please everyone all the time, so listen to the positive and ignore the negative. Feel good that you did something all of the complainers could not do themselves. and go play *your* game.

That's what I'll be doing when I can find 2 hours to dedicate to starting this difficult game.

Cheers,
2C

 October 10, 2008 6:39 AM, Anonymous Piotr said :
Its true. Don't listen too much to the people who are making you furious. Especially don't listen to those that tell you its too hard. Its obvious that you've made it clear that the game was meant to be a new kind of hard - we've all seen the front page post about some of the chambers going into near "impossibility" and that the mod was directed at people that are godly with this game.

That said I enjoyed it, and I am by far not an avid or really good player. I got past level 1 after a few deaths (which I understood as to mean the game would be frustratingly and yet fun but difficult) and I got past level 2 and 3 really easily as well. I'm not sure where people get problems from these levels as you don't need to crouch for 2 and 3 just takes some good old fashioned physics.

I did cheat on some of the chambers, but that was because I found that some of the save points were oddly placed, or that the precision was too great. The only place I cheated heavily in was probably the end game, since I didn't feel like dying all the time. But really even with that there is challenge, and I like it. Please, don't take harsh words too much into your heart - you've made an amazing mod and it has an amazing difficulty. But I know many people had fun =D

 October 10, 2008 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anders said :
What I don't understand is why people are submitting critique at all. As far as I know, the Portal: Prelude team hasn't asked for it. The only explanation I have is that people are assholes.

Of course the mod isn't perfect. It's a bloody amateur mod!! I have reacted to some things as well, for example that autosaves are being made before long voice dialogues that pauses the progress of the game. But I would never point it out unless the developers specifically asked for opinions. Why? Because I have only played it for less than half an hour and still have got a lot of entertainment out of it. And considering that I didn't pay anything for it (or even more, that the developers didn't get paid) just makes it better. I can live with the glitches.

This is comparable to when you are browsing for music on MySpace. Most bands are really crappy, but you still don't write to each and every one of them and say, "Hey, your drummer sucks! And you should go to a REAL studio to record, you fuckin bastards!!!". Because there would be no point in doing so. It wouldn't be constructive to anyone.

But I guess lots of the people complaining in here really are spoiled 12-year olds.

 October 10, 2008 7:20 AM, Anonymous KarrdeKNR said :
Listen to me, here. I've been around the mod scene for quite some time (prolly since 1999) and the online gaming scene for longer. I'm one of the head beta testers for Earth's Special Forces, a half life mod that's been in active development for about 8 years or so. The simple fact of the matter is that you're always gonna have complainers and insulters. They're getting this for free and they're gonna hammer you for it not living up to their exact expectations. In the end, you need to make the mod how you want to since it's your work. So Fuck 'em. They don't have to play what they're getting FOR FREE and that which you made in YOUR SPARE TIME for NO PAY.

 October 10, 2008 8:35 AM, Blogger Wolfe said :
I do think these puzzles are crazy hard, and i go get upset at them, so i save the game, throw my hands up in the air, do something else, and come back to it. I love the fact its community made, but personally for me this game blows my skill away. I liked that you had people talking although, that adds a lot to the feel of the game.

 October 10, 2008 10:29 AM, Anonymous Dvor said :
I've never heard more whining about a free product in my life. Nobody is forcing anyone to play. If it's too hard go do something else. Personally I'm only on Chamber 8 or so but I'm having a lot of fun. I appreciate the different style of play this mod brings to the table, the challenge, and the storytelling. Do people really want their hands held like they're 2 years old again? I applaud the developers for all the hard work - they should be proud.

 October 10, 2008 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
I think the problem was that they reused their playtesters, thats why their maps stayed untested

 October 10, 2008 12:15 PM, Blogger Nat said :
Constructive criticism =/= whinging.

 October 10, 2008 12:29 PM, Anonymous Silent_Slayer said :
Well, I personally think it's really good. I do not understand why people say it sucked. IT IS AN AMATUER MOD, NOT AN OFFICIAL VALVE GAME. He said it was going to be a hard game, so you either like it or you don't. You're not the ones who took a chunk out of your time to make a mod for a community of seven year olds. I think you deserve to take that long break now Nic. :D

 October 10, 2008 12:29 PM, Anonymous Bruno said :
Anders they did asked for opinions. They have a topic on the forums for feedback and criticisms. http://www.portalprelude.com/forum/viewforum.php?id=3
Don't talk about you don't know.

 October 10, 2008 12:32 PM, Anonymous Bruno said :
...about what you don't know. sorry forgot about the what xD

 October 10, 2008 1:50 PM, Anonymous Shane said :
Have to agree with it being far too hard.
I mean I wouldn't have a problem with it if maybe I'd been eased into it. But going straight into a chamber with turrets was just wack.

Also until I came here I was under the impression it was an official valve release. People who liked the first game but don't follow it religiously are going to get confused and wonder why its so hard out of the box.

I really want to get into it but the frustration I've had so far just isn't worth it.

 October 10, 2008 2:37 PM, Anonymous Valerie said :
Why can't you people just be interested in all the e-mails he's getting?

It's pretty entertaining seeing what kinda e-mails developers get after a game or mod has been released.

It isn't whining, yo. WTF is wrong with letting the public know all the feedback he gets?

Whoever suggess for Nic to disappear should go eat his or her own ass. Remember what he said? He's not a kid anymore. Jeez, can't you guys just accept that you got owned? :)

 October 10, 2008 3:55 PM, Blogger KinuGrove said :
I think everyone is forgetting something very important here. This is a FREE MOD. We didn't pay a thing for this so show some respect they spent a lot of time and effort on this.

For the record I suck at portal but still managed to finish Portal. I'm not sure if I will ever finish portal prelude but I will keep trying. I have found it very hard so far and I'm only on test chamber 4.

This mod is for the hard core portal player only. I must say that years a go when I started to play computer games back in the 80's games where much harder. I spent days stuck on some puzzle in adventure games and this was normal. There was no internet to go look up a solution on.

Final comment to all the people that are being rude. Try making a mod or building a game before you post any more comments and then you will see how hard this really is. Even if I find this mod hard I think it is excellent. Great work guys. I wish you all success in the future.

 October 10, 2008 4:16 PM, Anonymous Roughy said :
imo the 18-19 cube/hidden-path thing was kind of mean :3, but other than that I felt the difficulty was perfect. Hell, the advanced chambers could've been a bit more difficult, so the game as a whole most definitely wasn't too difficult.

Great job o/

 October 10, 2008 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
And i'm fucking tired of 5000 people always saying the same thing. We all know it's a free mod. Always the same fucking argument. You know, when i see people here complaining about the game they actually say what they don't like and shit. When you want to defend Nicolas you always say the same thing that he already did. Find some new argument PLEASE.
And i liked the game, hated the difficulty on that 9th chamber, and i hate Nicolas for being such a kid. He can't take any criticism, gets depressed or whatever. Let's look at some stuff the guy said right here on his website. A guy is stuck in a chamber and says "Too bad there wasn't any hints on this, as I was completely confused on what to do" and Nicolas with all his irony says "Too bad you didn't look carefully at the signs." What the hell, that's not how a designer talks to a fan playing the game he made.
And in the "faq" section he says he doesn't even tested what is needed to play the mod because he doesn't want to uninstall every source game of his computer to test it:
"In fact, I'm not really sure you need anything else than Portal, so I advise you to try and see, because there's no way I'm going to uninstall every Source game of my computer until it doesn't work anymore. Steam will notify you if something goes wrong...".
WOW great testing this game has had. So if something else is needed to play the game that someone don't have, he/she downloads 700/800MB and it doesn't work. Great fucking dedication you have there Nicolas!
And of course posting that hate email and the guys email so everyone can spam him. That's was the best!
I advise everyone post comments as anonynous so he doesn't give your email to everybody else

 October 10, 2008 5:05 PM, Blogger Ben said :
I'm not complaining about Prelude. I love Prelude. I appreciate the immense amount of work and effort that went into making what I believe to be one of the best mods ever.

I'm just suggesting that he take some time off. Have you ever made anything big and then released it to the public? You build up expectations of what the feedback will be, and if those expectations don't match the reality, you get frustrated and act rashly and in ways that could harm what might become one of the greatest reputations in the community.

I'm not complaining about Prelude. I'm just trying to give some constructive advice, and I'm trying to make it so that Nicolas can accept that advice for just what it is.

 October 10, 2008 5:17 PM, Anonymous TaraTaqa said :
I have to agree with the "whiners". HAHA

I came into this from Fileplanet thinking this was a Prequel-mod from a PROFESSIONAL team.

Not a weak "I can split-second-crouch-jump 20x better than u, n00b!" mod.

My love for Portal and its additional levels is why I downloaded this in the first place.

But Nicolas doesn't care about the users and now I don't care that he wasted 9mo on this, since I only wasted about an hour. (I know he won't even bother to read any more of these comments)

It could have been great...I'll wait for a WORTHWHILE mod instead.

Great job alienating people! Put "doesn't work well with others" under skills on your resume!

 October 10, 2008 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
ur a faget

 October 10, 2008 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
I'm terrible at this game. Doesn't mean it wasn't cool, but I found the autosave-thing a problem.

Let's just say I noclipped to see the ending. Yes, I'm a cheat. Yes, I'm absolutely terrible at it and only completed seven test chambers on my own.
Whatever.
Good job, the mod's fantastic.

 October 10, 2008 7:45 PM, Anonymous Athel said :
I came to this site as I, too, found the levels beyond difficult. Instead of finding useful information, I found your attitude to be worse than the execution of the game. While I've been looking forward to this, your blatant disregard of critism while touting a hugely over inflated ego has me uninstalling the game.

I'll wait for Valve to put out their next game. Meanwhile, you should learn listen to people. Yeah, ingore the ones that say "Fuck you". Don't ignore a recurring topics of "overly difficult, esp in the beginning" and "Poorly executed chambers".

 October 10, 2008 8:37 PM, Anonymous Kireas said :
Yeah, this mod is hard. I mean, I've quit for the night having got stuck...although I suspect that's just because I haven't quite figured the level out yet.

So you didn't get the difficulty set quite right for a mod on this scale - that appears to be the general opinion among the apparent whiners. So what? I'd like to see them make a mod on this scale at all! A really good effort on this, and I applaud the hype you managed to get going - definitely got the mod out there!

Although, if you ever update? Tone down the difficulty of the levels 1 and 3. XD Damn them both.

P.S. I WILL get through this game even if it kills me.

 October 10, 2008 10:02 PM, Anonymous Joe said :
Yeah it was hard but was it impossible, no?
Be a friggin' hardcore gamer and stop getting your panties in a bunch and whining because you can't complete something on the first try. Have some pride in accomplishing what very few can.
Completed Game in 6 hrs with two, 1 hr breaks.
So it's feasible.

 October 10, 2008 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
I think this game should be the ultimate IQ test. You finish the game in 4 hours, your IQ is 100, you never finish it, your IQ is 0.

 October 10, 2008 10:38 PM, Blogger McKlain said :
If you are making a mod for "portal ninjas" let us know before we have to download a 775MB file to find out for ourselves. And don't use such a pompous name for the mod.

Thanks for the effort anyways.

 October 10, 2008 11:24 PM, Anonymous Sarda [CP] said :
Okay, prepare for a long rant about idiots of the internet...

1. Yes, this game is hard. However, it's not UNEXPECTEDLY hard.

2. Crouch jumping. I have seen him say he's finished it with his crouch key unbinded like about 17 times.

3. "I expeted beter tan htis!!1!" and "They're an amateur team." I don't think either side of that argument is right. 'Amateur' to me sounds like an insult, but yes, they weren't professional game developers. I would more use the word 'freelancers' to describe the makers, as it suggests they did it because they wanted to.

4. "Don't use Portal in the name if it's nothing like Portal." This game is almost everything like Portal if it had an Expert mode, plus the Prequel in the title is referring to the storyline more than the gameplay. If you still want to insult them, you can think that the Prequel means it's preceeding Portal in quality.

5. Posting the e-mail address of the flamer. I believe this was the exactly right thing to do. He sends you an e-mail with mostly untrue criticism very thickly veiled in swears and 10 yr-old thinking, so the least you can do is give him a reward. It's not like his parents can't just tell their e-mail program that the spam they get is spam. However, if it is like that, then I would wish to know how he found out about PP in the first place.

6. "Nicolas is being just as bad as the flamers!" I will submit that I only agree partly on this. He has every right to be angry, as he's explained numerous times before and I'm sure numerous times in the blog right after this one. If you're going to disrespect Nicolas, expect disrespect every bit as much back. Deal with it.

7. People getting directed straight to the downloads don't know what they're getting into. This is perfectly true, and therefore I believe you should have put the disclaimer "If you have not already done so, go to www.portalprelude.com and read up on this project, or else you will not understand it." on the description of all the downloads you created. However, the downloads you didn't create are not your fault and therefore you shouldn't need to care about the people who went to those. And, if you already did this, I am sorry but I did not go and look at any of them as I got it the first day (I LOVESES IT :D)

8. Being receptive to criticism. I do not agree with anything anyone has said here on this subject for one big huge obvious reason: There has been about 10 cases of 1000 of actual criticism here. If it has a ratio of swears:total words of more than 1:12, it's not criticism. If it gives no suggestions as to how to fix the problem, it's not criticism. And finally, if there is even a hint of an insult, IT'S NOT CRITICISM!!!!!!!!!! Before you post some criticism, think beforehand as to whether it's necessary, and word it so that it comes across as actual criticism.

There, I'm done. I will also be sending you guys an e-mail just in case you aren't reading the comments on the older posts.

 October 10, 2008 11:55 PM, Blogger Nicolas said :
Please don't insult each others. You can discuss the game, but try to stay polite (I'm not aiming anyone here).

@McKlain:
We said it, and we repeated it numerous times before the launch on this website and on 4 or 5 interviews we did on various websites.

 October 11, 2008 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
I had been waiting for this game with great anticipation for weeks; I adored the preview and thought the idea was great. Very hard is one thing; requiring hardware greater than the system reqs for the original game would probably have been a useful disclaimer. I spent literally 10 hours downloading this game, only to discover that my just-adequate-for-Portal graphics card isn't up to the challenge of split-second crouch jumping. I admire your ambition and skill in putting together something of this quality, but a little more warning would not have been remiss.

 October 11, 2008 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
I beat the game 3 times already, the second time I listened to the commentary and still passed with flying colors, I'm a novice at Portal, but I beat it 3 times already, the third time I wanted to see how many times the G-Man kept appearing, and it was 6, you did a great job with this mod and surely this will be another side-story in the Portal & Half-Life universe, this is like Opposing Force or Blue Shift, this will be remembered. Great Job, I applaud you, this game was perfect in almost every way, plot, characters & GlaDOS.

 October 11, 2008 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
"And finally, if there is even a hint of an insult, IT'S NOT CRITICISM!!!!!!!!!!"

Firstly, that's far too many !s.

Secondly, this isn't true. You should see what I've seen in Academic criticism. Yeesh.

 October 11, 2008 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
Honestly, this mod is really...different compared to the official portal game and I'm not willing to play it again right now. I managed 1 or 2 chambers now, I'm stuck, where you get the 2nd portal gun (I have it, and got back to the Elevator room, but then I'm stuck at the moment).

Somehow this mod is really hard in my opinion.

 October 11, 2008 2:37 PM, Blogger Nicolas said :
@October 11, 2008 6:35 AM, Anonymous:
It's written in the FAQ, since the day this website appeared.

 October 11, 2008 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
ok, I think this game is hard. and i shouldnt be complaining because i read what you said about the people who played portal a billion times. Im not good and ive been waiting for a portal 2, i was excited when my friend said this was here, and this was free... I start playing it on the first level and i already needed to look on youtube, im like, wait, i can do this. I try it alone, with no hints and said oh, the creator just wanted to make a challenge. But on some levels, i cant even execute the portals correctly, or get over ledges, ect. even with the knoledge what to do. Oh yeah, and I think you over did chamber 15 a bit. But im not complaining, im just saying what I think. :D

 October 11, 2008 6:14 PM, Blogger Samantha said :
I'm sure you worked hard on this game but you won't get anywhere with just work.
I don't understand why you slapped the name Portal on it. If you hadn't done that, I'd have no problems with this mod.
You chose to link this to one of the best and well-thought out games in history though, and now you act surprised that people call you out on it.
Portal was good because of some simple, basic terms in game design; user guidance, learning curves and positive player experiences. Valve swears by these terms.
Your mod offers none of these. It's like throwing a bird in water and telling it to fly in there.
Completely unlogical.
You give players a gun, in a room where they don't need it. That's unlogical and badly designed.
You say 'oh, just run off to the side' but the turrets are equally distributed on all sides. Changes of a player making this run are so slim I'm surprised this actually made it into the game. One mis-step and you die.
This kind of player punishment is harsh, unnecessary and will be completely unforseen by the player.
It's clear you're a complete novice at game-making, read a few books before attempting to do anything like this again ok?
I know I'm just complaining about a free mod here but if you stamp Portal on your game then you should be able to live up to its good name. It just saddens me that the basic concept of fun isn't even a goal for you in the making of this game.

 October 11, 2008 6:31 PM, Blogger Nicolas said :
@Samantha:
Sorry for you that you didn't like it. But it's not because you don't like this kind of gameplay that no one should ever do a game with it. And it's not because it's unlogical that it's badly designed. Sometimes, unlogical is the exact thing we try to achieve.

Also, naming this mod without the word "Portal" in it would have been completely retarded. And no, you're not complaining, you're saying that the game is bad because you didn't like it. Guess where's the problem.

Anyway, where's the problem with these turrets? It doesn't care if you go right or left, in both cases you're safe...

 October 11, 2008 6:42 PM, Blogger Nicolas said :
Also, we're not Valve, and we're not remaking Portal. Stop comparing things that can't be compared. If you want Portal gameplay with Valve vision of gameplay, with don't you just go play Portal? It's annoying to see that people still don't understand we had the right to choose another gameplay than Valve's one. We didn't liked Portal because it was too easy, why would we do another one? Damn... you can't flame us just because we choose to do something different. I mean, you can, but that's not a reason to say we're morons at game design.

 October 11, 2008 6:45 PM, Anonymous zeOLiTH said :
I have to say Portal: Prelude is sure difficult. But that some people are complaining and flaming like hell is just bullsh*t. The developers did this stuff in their free time and we can download it for free, so why are you like "fuck you all" bla bla bla.

This mod is truly awesome, I love everything about it. I think It's very professional. The level design, the synchronisation, just everything.

Thank you for sharing Portal: Prelude with us, even when I can't manage to beat it (atleast till now, I will try again :P)

And sorry for my bad english, it's not my native language.

 October 11, 2008 6:55 PM, Blogger Nicolas said :
Don't make me say things I never said. We're not professionals, we can't make things perfect and we deserve most of the critism we get. I'm just saying that, because you don't like this kind of gameplay doesn't mean that it's bad designed or unlogical. It's up to people to like or not what we did. You can't decide for everyone else.

 October 11, 2008 7:16 PM, Anonymous exen- said :
The 2nd level.. or the first? Im not sure... basically right after you get past the 4 sentries (which was stupid) ... there's a momentum type of puzzle where you have to jump across a gap.

I can see what you have to do.. I've tried.. I've come close... I've failed.

I don't CARE who you're aiming this at, that's stupidly difficult and NOT enjoyable. FUN is what I look for in a game. Portal was amazing.. sometimes challenging, yet NEVER annoying. Playing it through for the 2nd time, I completed it with great ease. YOUR GAME however is practically impossible.

Please please reconsider whatever you think about it and FIX IT. Don't be stubborn in thinking "oh.. tough gamers will manage"..

If the first 2 levels are so hard, any further into the game will either be literally impossible or DISAPPOINTING.

SORT IT OUT!

SORT.... IT.... OUT!!

Listen to exen =]
mama knows child.

 October 11, 2008 7:20 PM, Anonymous exen- said :
Hey hey.. it's exen again.. sorry I just read Samantha's post and your reply and I couldn't help but post again.

She's completely right. And for god's sake.. can't you see that it's not just a minority of people not liking the game. Very few people do. I was SOOOO looking forward to this.. more portal maps?!?! wooow!!
I was well enthusiastic about it.. and please believe me, I've been giving it a chance and after I post this I WILL try that stupid level again until maybe I can manage it.

BUT COME ON... people feedback for a reason. Listen to your fans, dont patronise us.

=]

please fix.

 October 11, 2008 7:33 PM, Anonymous exen- said :
Hiiiiiii there... it's exen yet again.

^_^

I hope you're enjoying my messages.

As I said in the last one, I went and played that level again right after posting. WELL.. I got past the little section I was stuck on.

=/

...

Yeah.. that's it. Just letting you know.

Not feeling very satisfied though..

nope... not a bit.

^_^
I'll post more as I continue to play...

Bye for now ;-D

 October 11, 2008 7:38 PM, Blogger Nicolas said :
@exen-:
Hmm, lol. You really didn't understand anything about what I said. Minorities? Whatever, it's a game for minorities, that damn normal that a majority feels frustrated, just like when games are made for majorities of dumb people and minorities of "hardcore gamers" are left behind.

 October 11, 2008 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
Nicolas

You crack me up. Can you put your ego to the side for a second and listen to the people?

Just once I'd like to see you respond with "ok, I understand" when someone says the overall feel of the game is beyond frustrating.

You chose to add to the story that Valve did. Maybe the story was there, but the gameplay was not.

You act like people by the hoards should be sucking your dick over this, and you're upset that we aren't. You asked for critisism, but you're not listening. Instead you flame back to them saying they just suck at the game. Because there is no way what so ever you could suck as a game designer.

I'm pretty sure if you went through and read all of these comments, you would get 5-6 items that you could go back and fix.

I, too, agree that you shouldn't have tied this so closely to Portal. This isn't an extention of portal.

 October 11, 2008 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
Meh, easier than I Wanna Be the Guy. What's so hard about it? Don't complain until the game gives you 1,000+ deaths and three months of time for completion.

 October 11, 2008 9:01 PM, Anonymous Martin said :
Common people, this mod is easier than half the map packs i have played.

The story is definitely related to portal (you'll know if you play it to the end) and guess what, it's a prelude so how nicolas should have called it ?

BTW, you can noclip whenever you want (i do it twice)and still suceed most of the room (I try a 100 time room 9 and suceed some after in 2 minutes).

 October 11, 2008 9:39 PM, Anonymous Andre said :
Ok i think all people should calm down, including Nikolas.

The fact is that the game has good ideas and creativity.
But, the game has a fatal flaw.

Which is the lack of concern in frustration.

Chamber 2 and Chamber 9.

Expecially Chamber 9 are a flaw, because it
don´t matter if you know how to solve the puzzle, still you can´t solve it because the execution of the solution is almost impossible to do, if you don´t do it milimetrically the way it was designed to.
Or you could have luck in doing it, but then
what is the point of knowing the solution if
your knowing don´t will, unless you have luck.


This is good game, with fantastic ideais and

yes, fantastic pluzzes.

But it has a fatal blow, that is the those chambers were you know what to do but you can´t do it.
And that is flaw of playability tests.

It´s a fantastic game, but it has a flaw that anger people for not being able to play it.

Nicolas, that is the thrut, if wasn´t for chamber two and nine, of what i have played until now, people would
be cheerishing your great achievement.

And you did it, you achieve a great game, but it has a grave flaw that need to be fixed or not.

I fixed it by using cheat codes so that i could play the rest of the game that isn´t flawed like

chambers 2 and nine 9.
Sorry to tell you that.

 October 11, 2008 10:26 PM, Anonymous murgo said :
Well, nicolas, thanks for the mod, though I gave up on level 9 (I was stuck in first jump of level 2 in addition to that) and probably won't go back, which is kinda sad because of the wasted potential...

One odd thing I noticed on many positive reviews and comments in here and elsewhere are remarks like this:
"I have to admit though; I did mostly ?noclip? through some challenges to get to the end. I just wanted to know what was going to happen in the end!

So the game play, while tricky is pretty good."
(http://www.custompc.co.uk/blogs/adampiper/2008/10/11/portalprelude-review/)

That just made me laugh.

 October 11, 2008 11:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
Very nice mod. Fix the jump for level 2 (it is buggy nicolas, I was in noclip mode for a split second when I did it) and you have yourself a brilliant map pack.

Level 9 is nothing like level 2. It's a very clever level unique to the ones from the original game. Use your brains people :D

 October 12, 2008 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
First the positive: This is a really polished single-player mod. You all (the devs) did an amazing job for eight months worth of work. I won't be surprised if you had professional job offers soon from this effort.

With that being said, here's the negative: The game is too hard. A number of times I used cheats to continue my way through the game. A big strength of Valve games is their ability to hit the right balance on difficulty. I fully agree with the earlier comments made by Ben and Anonymous (professional game developer), people are going to be turned away from a great experience because it's too hard. That's a shame because you have something special and rare in the mod community. You should lower the bar on difficulty to get a larger pool of players.

Second, from my experience as a professional game developer, you should take all criticism (however rude) without lashing out as you have done previously. I have known a dev or two that have ruined their careers from not being able to not take criticism personally. Yes, you worked hard. Yes, it was meant for hardcore gamers. But don't attack people for giving you honest feedback. You created a very compelling product and all types of gamers are drawn to it.

My suggestion: 1) Continue to rectify the dialogue with the community. 2)Make adjustments to the test chambers to reduce the difficulty. 3) Test it with a more diverse playtest group. 4) Rerelease the mod as an updated version.

Again, great job on the work. But always remember to be as professional in your dialogue with the mod community as your work.

 October 12, 2008 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
I know you intended for it to be a challenge but it's challenging in a bad way. The level design is very poor and boils down to having to try the same jump a million times to get it perfect or trying an incorrect method because you did the correct method wrong.

I also want to add that when people play a game once, then they're going to know exactly how to complete it the second time they've tested it so your method of beta testing is flawed.

 October 12, 2008 7:51 PM, Blogger Samantha said :
"@Samantha:
Sorry for you that you didn't like it. But it's not because you don't like this kind of gameplay that no one should ever do a game with it. And it's not because it's unlogical that it's badly designed. Sometimes, unlogical is the exact thing we try to achieve.

Also, naming this mod without the word "Portal" in it would have been completely retarded. And no, you're not complaining, you're saying that the game is bad because you didn't like it. Guess where's the problem.

Anyway, where's the problem with these turrets? It doesn't care if you go right or left, in both cases you're safe..."

Ooh, zing, guess you showed me there eh?

Think again. I never complained because I don't like your game. Wether I like it or not doesn't make any difference whatsoever in this.
What you failed to understand is that psychologically speaking your game would make no sense to people who have played Portal.
Your design choices are bad, that is all. They are bad because you didn't consider some of the basics that NEED to be considered in game design.
Claiming you WANT to be illogical is actually are reasonable statement here; if you want to you should. But don't expect people to like it.
I'm not flaming you here, the story was well done and graphically the game looks fine.
But you ignored the essence of Portal itself, while still claiming this is a Portal game.

I'm just saying you should have tested more (only counted 7 testers in the credits, 4 of which were INVOLVED in the game; deadly mistak e commonly made) and that if you had stayed true-er to the original this game would be better.

Claiming I'm just saying I don't like it is a pretty low blow there.

Also, you failed to credit Valve in the end-game credits. For the entire design of Portal, the voice actress of GLADoS and the Portal music you used.
(And you put your own 3D designer above Valve's name, not exactly respectful.)

 October 12, 2008 10:50 PM, Anonymous Turbo9000 said :
Your game is quite good, I enjoyed it so far. I was hoping for something a little more challenging than the original game, and this does that... and then some.

That being said, it is quite frustrating. I don't fault you for starting the game off difficult... after all, learning the basics is more the job of the ORIGINAL game. HOWEVER... there are a couple challenges that are cruel to a fault.

If there is one I could absolutely hate, it would be the pixel-perfect flinging required in chamber 19. The whole 'miss one portal placement and start all over while trying to hit a perfect angle' is quite aggravating. I probably sat here for a half-hour to an hour trying to hit that perfectly, and it's just not the kind of thing that makes a game fun to be stuck like that. There were a few challenges leading up to it that I must admit, I got quite lucky I was able to overcome as well. I'm not sure how any 'casual playtesters' ever completed it to be honest.

It's clear a lot of people are angry about the difficulty, but I hope you listen to the finer points people are bringing up. One of the hardest things about game design is not taking criticism personally and trying to learn from what they tell you. Trust me, as a game designer, I've been there.

 October 12, 2008 11:16 PM, Anonymous turbo9000 said :
The story is quite good though, I'm considering going back and no-clipping past this challenge just for the sake of seeing the conclusion... but it feels like a shame to do so, being someone who doesn't take cheating in a game lightly. And I felt so clever getting this far on my own.

 October 16, 2008 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
It's a sad sad day when people start complaining about something FREE!!! Let alone a FREE GAME!!! WAKE UP!! IT'S FREE GODDAMIT!!!
Some people put a lot of time and effort to OFFER a FREE GAME and some got the nerves to insult them... You don't like it? Fine! Just don't play it, it's not like you've spent money for the damn thing! Sure you can criticize and help them see maybe some things that could have been done another way, but to insult them???....

 October 18, 2008 10:39 PM, Anonymous Dylan R said :
Nice job with this game. Everything is great the puzzles, story and DIFFICULTY. It's got a cool style like Portal but different in a good way. Nice to play a portal game with different kinds of puzzles it makes the game feel new and not just a mod of portal or new maps. Kudos!

 October 19, 2008 1:41 PM, Anonymous *phlebiac* said :
haha, i love it ... both portal prelude and all the whining about it

what's the point in making a new game or mod as easy as the original game the new game or mod is based on ... where is the challenge ?

right: there would be no challenge and almost no point in playing it

so keep the difficulty as it is and to hell with all those suckers who can't beat portal prelude

 October 20, 2008 5:41 AM, Anonymous A-NOM-ynous said :
The biggest problem here is that people feel that they are ENTITLED to be listened to. This is, as you have admitted, a sort of hobby, so you're free to do what you want. People don't see it that way, unfortunately (I know this from plenty of experience). Instead, they assume that your goal is to make a mod that caters to the measses. After all, that's generally what professional game designers to, since they have to in order to sell. They completely look over the fact that they really have no say whatsoever; what you say goes. If you want the game a certain way and 99% of players don't, well then that's they're problem.

Of course, I personally agree that the game is too hard, but that's just me and I'm not going to force my opinion on anyone. Instead, I'll acknowledge that the game simply isn't targeted towards me and go on my way.

What bothered me the most, though, was not necessarily how hard it was, but how quickly some criticisms excalated into flame wars. Really, there needs to be some enforced standards of civility when allowing people to express dislike, otherwise you get fanatical supporters jumping all over anyone who disagrees.

 March 27, 2009 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
Prelude was to Portal what Phantom Menace was to The Empire Strikes Back. I don't know what version you were playing, but the problem with the one I had wasn't so much that it was hard...it really wasn't. The first room I just bolted like a madman in a straight line and got through no problem. When I got to the second chamber, I found major problems with the physics of it all - it just doesn't work the way it should. I did successfully complete the level by doing the same goddamned thing over and over and over (because there is no other real choice), after failure after failure I decided maybe I was doing it wrong - looked up several videos of the chamber online and I was doing it the exact same way they were, but it wasn't working. I guess rather than logic and skill that was required for Portal, all that Prelude requires is the perserverence to do the same maneuvre over and over and over again until the game finally glitches you through - allowing the same method that failed your previous 2 dozen attempts to miraculously work for no reason at all. The levels were cool and all, but man...what the fuck did you do to the physics engine? I actually stopped playing after the second chamber, lest the shitty programming disguised as the sequel to one of the greatest games ever made lead me to hate the masterpiece that is Portal. Would it have absolutely broken the bank to actually play test this? Seriously, there's no way in fuck that you did.

 March 28, 2009 2:48 AM, Blogger Nicolas said :
This is Portal's engine, nothing was changed, it's just not possible because Valve didn't even released any source code of the engine.

 April 24, 2009 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
OK, I'm playing 1.0.0, the hardest version. And most of the "action" you're talking about can be either easened up to the point of near automatic, or bypassed entirely. Just take the time to think over it.

Yes, chamber 2 is a bit silly, BUT everything else so far is fantastic. I'm all the way up to chamber 19, and I only played Portal once.

Just one example, near the end of level 13 there's that frustrating jump across the acid. I must have failed more than 20 times before I noticed a ledge sticking out of the wall and used it. After I did that, I suddenly started laughing because I realised I could just bring a cube with me, and use it to jump over the acid very easily.

Either you do insane 0.05 second maneuvers and portal shots, or you take the time to think it through and enjoy the puzzle. That choice is a perfect summary of Portal: Prelude.

 January 23, 2010 2:21 AM, Anonymous Kid said :
October 9, 2008 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said :
this game is bullshit. It's called PORTAL PRELUDE. and now this asshole is trying to tell us he didnt mean to make it like portal?

stupid fucking developer. why dont you change the name of the game and change the portal gun and textures and FUCK OFF with your shitty difficult game.

*shudder*

Don't feed the troll..
Go back to playing.. -insert stupidly easy game for kiddies here-

Don't post on this site if you don't like the game, ass.

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