Thursday, October 30, 2008

Portal: Prelude 1.1.0 released!

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

That's it! 145,000 downloads later, Portal: Prelude 1.1.0 is released!
This new version is shipped with more than 80 bug fixes and additions, along with slightly easier/less frustrating first levels. Warning! Savegames are NOT compatible. Your progress with chapters unlocking is saved, but not savegames.

Both the Portal: Prelude 1.1.0 complete installer and the 1.0.0 to 1.1.0 cumulative patch are released! Head up to the download page, and enjoy! For the moment, only a few mirrors are up to date. More of them will appear in the next days/weeks.

Download Portal: Prelude 1.1.0

Of course, the goal was not to rework whole parts of the game after the release, but we tweaked a lot of chambers, all of them in fact. Especially, the first levels to avoid immediate frustration (that was our primary goal). Then, we used all the criticisms we received to build a better game. All the levels/challenges were slightly modified, that's why the patch is so huge.

The complete change log can be found here:
http://www.portalprelude.com/2008/10/portal-prelude-110-change-log.php

45 comment(s)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Portal: Prelude 1.1.0 (Change Log)

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

The 1.1.0 update is coming this week.
We don't really know when yet, because it still needs a bit of work and we also need to contact each mirror to make them update the file. So, we can't really give you a definitive release date for the moment.

When everything will be compiled/ready, I'll make a list of changed files and see if it's a good idea to make a "1.0.0 to 1.1.0 patch". But obviously, if the patch is nearly as huge as the game itself, it would be useless. The only thing I can do for the moment, is to give you the complete change log (a few supplementary translations may be included before the update).

Portal: Prelude 1.1.0

    * Added: dutch translation (subtitles only)
    * Added: finnish translation (subtitles only)
    * Added: hungarian translation (subtitles only)
    * Added: italian translation (subtitles only)
    * Added: korean translation (subtitles only)
    * Added: portuguese translation (subtitles only)
    * Added: russian translation (subtitles only)
    * Added: spanish translation (subtitles only)
    * Fixed: portals not fizzled when you handed back your portalgun
    * Fixed: installer problems (mostly with Windows Vista)
    * Fixed: huge freezes and lags when GlaDOS is started
    * Fixed: morality core going through a grate in the last level
    * Added: a toggle mode to the BTS button in test chamber 19
    * Fixed: camera won't fall in test chamber 15
    * Fixed: ability to go inside observation rooms using an engine glitch
    * Fixed: finishing test chamber 6 could lead to Mike saying you failed
    * Fixed: Erik saying "euros" instead of "dollars"
    * Fixed: ability to go inside the box dispensers using an engine glitch
    * Fixed: advanced chambers/challenges still locked when finishing the game
    * Fixed: autosaves not correctly activated
    * Added: autosaves on challenge start
    * Added: autosaves after long speeches
    * Fixed: player could get stuck under elevators
    * Fixed: challenge 15 won't record scores
    * Fixed: challenge 17 won't record scores
    * Fixed: box dispensers can drop more than one cube
    * Fixed: typos in french subtitles
    * Fixed: typos in english subtitles
    * Fixed: portal fizzler in test chamber 17 gives a cube for a camera
    * Fixed: missing faces resulting in visible outside of the level
    * Fixed: non-solid door in test chamber 3
    * Fixed: non-solid door in test chamber 4
    * Fixed: cubes can get blocked in the dispensers tube
    * Added: an escape path in test chamber 9
    * Fixed: glass panel can be broken with a chair in the aperture laboratories
    * Fixed: cube can be lost in the orbs room in test chamber 19
    * Fixed: cube can be lost before the pit in test chamber 19
    * Added: a cube dispenser in test chamber 14
    * Added: an alternative path in test chamber 15 (for the challenges)
    * Added: a delay when turrets appear in test chamber 8
    * Fixed: bogus elevator in test chamber 10
    * Added: a distraction in the turrets room in test chamber 11
    * Fixed: radio song does not stop when the radio is destoyed
    * Fixed: moving a few autosaves and areaportals to prevent the game from crashing
    * Fixed: improving lipsyncing but it's still random as faceposer keeps corrupting our sounds
    * Fixed: ballcatchers can be activated with any thrown object
    * Fixed: scorpions' song replaced by four variations of still alive
    * Fixed: door won't open in the corridor at the beginning of test chamber 18
    * Added: hints at the end of test chamber 18
    * Added: a disclaimer when the game starts
    * Added: a ledge for the first jump in test chamber 2
    * Fixed: turrets fire too quickly in test chamber 1
    * Added: a ledge for the fling in test chamber 3
    * Fixed: lunch bag model sounds like metal
    * Added: english part to the commentary, to point out that there's subtitles
    * Added: new "directional sign" textures for test chamber 19 BTS area
    * Added: hints under the stairs in test chamber 19
    * Added: another path to get to the BTS area in test chamber 19
    * Fixed: particles and light color of disintegrators
    * Fixed: particles color of "only-portals" fizzlers
    * Fixed: rework a few textures for the BTS/maintenance areas to look less old
    * Fixed: clean and optimize level geometry
    * Added: missing challenge records for test chamber 15
    * Added: missing challenge records for test chamber 18
    * Added: missing challenge records for test chamber 19
    * Fixed: GlaDOS force field insta-kills too randomly and too often
    * Fixed: bogus NPC animations
    * Removed: alternative solution for test chamber 4
    * Added: space between "only-portal" fizzlers and disintegrators in test chamber 15
    * Fixed: snoozing man is not snoozing
    * Added: NPCs in some empty observation rooms
    * Fixed: fizzler in test chamber 15 is destroying the energy orb
    * Fixed: too many letal turrets in test chamber 15
    * Added: hints in the 4-turrets room in test chamber 17
    * Added: a glass panel to see the rotating wall in test chamber 17
    * Added: missing tubes in box dispensers
    * Added: crosses on wedge shaped platforms in test chamber 19
    * Fixed: GlaDOS stops attacking after her second attack in the second round
    * Added: restored stairs in the BTS/maintenance area in test chamber 15
    * Added: clipping in most of the stairs to avoid view shaking
    * Fixed: in a rare case, the cube isn't respawned in test chamber 17
    * Fixed: in a rare case, the cube isn't respawned in test chamber 18
    * Fixed: overlapping blocks in test chamber 19
    * Fixed: at the end, the new menu doesn't show up if the console if visible

43 comment(s)

Friday, October 24, 2008

A matter of music rights

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Some people asked us why we decided to use two commercial tracks in Portal: Prelude. They claimed it was a wrong idea and that was right, we missed a few opportunities because of this choice (mainly press coverage). Even if we tried to shorten them up and degrade their quality as bad as we could (Scorpions' extract is only 50 seconds long and degraded a lot) a few people still claimed it wasn't fair.

In the next release, we decided to replace the 4 occurences of Rock You Like a Hurricane by the Scorpions with 4 different variations of the Still Alive song (R'n'B, rock, techno and classical). We don't really know if it will change anything special but, well... At least we took care of one of the two commercial tracks.

During the last week, we searched for a replacement song for Believe by The Chemical Brothers (the song during the GlaDOS fight), but to be honest, nothing came out of this research. We are totally unable to find a free song that matches quite correctly the feeling of Believe. And as you may not know it already, we chose this song because of its rythm and also because of its video clip, as you can see:

Yesterday, I wondered if I could directly get in touch with their label, to try to get their permission to keep this 3 minutes degraded extract in our free project. But it could just bring us even more problems. So, if you know any free-of-use (free or creative commons licensed) track we could use to replace it, we'd be willing to know about it. It should be long enough and "repetitive" enough to be looped over and over without beeing annoying (Looks like we love to ask your help).

32 comment(s)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Portal: Prelude featured on MTV Germany

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

On our forums, eddy posted this:
Yeah your mod was really on MTV in the show called Gameone (in Germany).
Very nice job guys ! Its splitted up in 6 parts. The mod is shown at the 3rd part at 1:15, here's the link: http://www.mtv.de/videos/19785652 (on the right side are the other parts: teil 1, teil 2 and so on).

Now, the problem is that we can't see anything from France (apparently), the only thing we get is "Sorry, we're unable to retrieve this video.". So, if someone here is able to see it, we'd like him/her to rip the video using any sort of recording software (snagit for example) and send us a link. And if you can't provide us with a video, could you try to translate what they say in english/french?

Thanks in advance!
You can post it here in the comments or send us an email.

EDIT 24/10/08, 02:09:
Mr.Yeah took the time to record it AND translate it for us! Thank you Mr.Yeah, that's wonderful.
You can watch it on Youtube if you can't see it on mtv.de, and the translation is in the comments.

12 comment(s)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Skilled players wanted!

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Skilled players wanted!
We're looking for skilled players to get an idea on where to place bronze, silver and gold medals for the 15th, 18th and 19th challenges of Portal: Prelude that were not present in the first release. We are nowhere near enough skilled and we really don't have the time to work on it before the release of the patch, so we need to know your best scores, with a video proof if possible.

The best scores will be integrated into the game in the next update, along with your nickname/website, inside the description of the given challenge. Feel free to help us if you already did something good or if you have an hour or so to waste =)

Take a tour in the forums to discuss your scores:
http://www.portalprelude.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=2100

PS: As we already said in the forums regarding the difficulty change in the next update, we did this because in 80% of the email we received, it was (with voices) the only complaint people wanted to do. And we're not blind either, we saw how people reacted and felt about this terrific difficulty from the start. It won't get much easier, just less frustrating (at the beginning).

15 comment(s)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Some news regarding the upcoming update

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Ten days after the release, here are some news regarding the upcoming patch we're working on.
Here's what we did for the moment:

  • Upload sountrack artworks
  • Add ID3 Tags to the MP3
  • Reupload a compilation of all the MP3
  • Change the soundtrack page
  • Fix elevators when you can get stuck under
  • Upload the walkthrough to MetaCafe
  • Add a disclaimer when the game starts
  • Fix the uneven difficulty of the first levels
  • Find out why advanced and challenges stay locked sometimes
  • Add hints between the 18th and 19th test chambers
  • More than 50 various bugfixes
  • Recompile lunch bag model
  • Add an english part to the commentary, to point out that there's subtitles for non-french speakers
  • Make new "directional sign" textures for the 19th level
  • Fix the dialogues and subtitles
  • Change the particles color for disintegrators
  • Change the particles color for "only-portals" fizzlers
  • Rework a few textures for the BTS part to look less old
  • Clean the level geometry

In case you're not too fond of long text lists, here are some screenshots too.
We don't have any release date for the moment, as we're waiting for the translators to finish their translations.

Patch Overview 1Patch Overview 2Patch Overview 3 Patch Overview 4Patch Overview 5Patch Overview 6

24 comment(s)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Another skilled player, more than we are, really

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Another Portal master named Katz, heres's what he says:
Here's my first Portal: Prelude video, my least step record on the first chamber.
I spent many hours examinating this chamber, I'm sure it's possible to cut down a few more steps with nice tricks, but I don't belive it can be done under 20 steps, because you have to get the gun anyway. [...]
I'm pretty sure more videos will come, I really enjoy the new challenges from prelude.

Watch it here in high quality

I'm wondering if I should update the records accordingly for the next update? I think it could be a good idea, but well... that's right that no one will ever be able to do the same, apart maybe 1% of the gamers. So, it's more of a wrong idea I suppose.

8 comment(s)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A week passed in the blink of an eye...

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Here we are. It's been only one week since we released Portal: Prelude and still, a lot of things happened. I personally replied to 763 emails over the last week. Sorry if your didn't receive an answer, I couldn't reply to everyone and I'm the only one capable of writing in an "understandable english".

Anyway, since our server was shot down and since we had to close the forums for a while, things have definitely calmed down. Today, for the first week after the release, we took a quick tour at all of the download mirrors we could find, and after a short investigation, we were a bit shocked. I re-made another calculation, used a bit of statistics and, damn. I never thought we could get so much downloads in a such short amount of time. How much? Well... a lot. At this time, using 60 mirrors, we got around 115,000 downloads.

Now, I'm wondering how much it does. I never made a mod before, and I never followed the other mods to compare. The folks at ModDB.com said it was a lot, but again compared to what?

On another subject, as you may have already seen it, we uploaded another version of the walkthrough on MetaCafe.com, every video except the third and fourth test chamber. The MetaCafe review team decided we didn't have the copyright on these videos... Anyway, take a look at our walkthrough page if you're still stuck somewhere, and you can also search on Youtube, a lot of people released their own walkthroughs.

I also updated the soundtrack page with some artwork made by a fan named by Kohlstream. Take a look at the new page if you loved the soundtrack. And finally, I finished to reply to every email excepting the very detailed ones, that I'm delaying because they need a really long answer. We're now fully working on the upcoming 1.1.0 update, without knowing the release date for the moment. Stay tuned!

PS: I made yet another cool interview with the folks at Blank Pixel yesterday, and they published it. You may want to read it for the "Can you layout the process involved in designing a test chamber?" part, and such.

11 comment(s)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hilarious bug

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

An hilarious bug which is already fixed in the next update!
Credits goes to menjaludni for this video.

14 comment(s)

Some players are crazy

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Seeing that a lot of players are able to do incredible things in the game, I was wondering if I'd make a "Crazy Stuff" page on the website, with all of those awesome videos. What do you think about it?

15 comment(s)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bugfixes, Mirrors and Walkthrough

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

After a weekend spent recording, encoding and uploading the walkthrough on a website that isn't even accessible in a whole bunch of countries of the world, I spent my first day fixing bugs. Today, I fixed 50 minor, major and pointless bugs. The problem now is that all of the levels were fixed in a way or another. Which means we'll have to redistribute all of them with the update. 350 MB of compressed levels... well... this is going to be a hell of a patch. We'll release a whole new version and a patch from 1.0.0 to 1.1.0.

On another subject, we lost our first mirror today. Please congratulate the guys at UK Web Builders. They gave us 684 GB of brandwidth over a single 6 hours period after the launch. They even had to pay for the extra brandwidth they used. I'm sorry about this and I hope they won't get too much in trouble! Thanks guys anyway, and if any of our other mirrors is experiencing the same kind of problem, please let us know and we'll delete your link from our list as fast as we can!

I also started to upload another version of our walkthrough on MetaCafe.com, so, don't bother uploading it yourself anywhere. It will only take us a few hours as the videos are already uploaded on Veoh, and MetaCafe can leech them. Thanks to Lucas Picoli from Brazil, who told us about this website!

I'm also still 80 emails late, I don't even have the time to answer to some emails sent to us on October 11th. I feel so sorry, but I need to concentrate on the bugfixes before anything else. I'm reading all of them, I'm going to reply, but for the moment, I need a break.

17 comment(s)

Monday, October 13, 2008

About pirating and stuff

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Seriously guys, stop sending us emails because you can't install the game, because you can't launch the game, or because you have weird errors everywhere. We're not going to help you make the mod work on pirated versions of Portal or without Steam. This mod needs an original and legit Portal because it also uses some of the content of Half-Life 2 that extends Portal. Of course, this content doesn't seem to be included in the pirated version of Portal.

So, please. Stop sending us emails if you you don't own a legit copy of Portal.
We're not going to answer anymore.

43 comment(s)

Official Walkthrough

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Our "official" walkthrough of Portal: Prelude is now finished. Why bother making our own walkthrough? Because we found that a lot of "unoffical" ones are using way too difficult and unnatural solutions and doing a lot of unnecessarilly complex things. Not that it can't work, but it gives the impression that one can only beat this mod with tricks and stuff... There is no need for tricks and we'll prove it in this walkthrough.

We decided to use veoh.com because of three reasons. It allows the creation of channels where you can play all the videos in a row. It has a somewhat good quality, somewhere between the crappy Youtube and the "too-much" Vimeo. And it will allow us to let people do their own walkthrough on Youtube without interfering. If you know another website that can allow people to upload videos from an URL, feed free to tell us. We won't upload 1.63 GB of videos from our own private connexions, it would take days.

Watch our Veoh channel

PS: Yes, I know, there's the same text on the walkthrough page, I'm lazy. Also, I'm uploading a ZIP version for those who have problems with the installer.

41 comment(s)

DDoS Attack

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Our server is currently beeing DDoS attacked (midnight GMT+02).
Not that we care so much, we don't need this website up and running to work on the mod (we only need the server), but that's freaking hilarious to see that someone has been so frustrated by what we did that he decided to shut down our website by attacking us.

Basically, that's just thousands of trojan-contamined zombie computers from around the world that are flooding the server with random HTTP requests. No big deal, and there's not much we can do. I don't have the time to search for a solution, so it may stay in this situation until the attacker decides to stop... if he ever decides to stop. There's already a firewall running and I just setup a random protection. I don't know if it does something useful but it's better than nothing.

On a side note, we finished the walkthrough for the 19 test chambers and will put it online tomorrow if this attack is finished.

Edit 9:00 AM: looks like that attack is now finished? I don't really know, I don't have any access to the server right now, but it seems accessible again.

29 comment(s)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

World War Three

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

This is a really weird situation. There's a lot of people who didn't like the game at the point to insult us and there's at least the same amount of people who liked it more than Portal. There must be a problem somewhere, because there is also hardcore gamers saying that the game is impossible, and in the meantime there are casual gamers saying that they had little to no problem to finish it. I believe we have some sort of illogic situation here.

For the moment, the forums are temporarily down because of two reasons:
* First, because there is too many flamewars and insults between people who liked the game and people who don't. We don't have the time to moderate everyone, it's useless and it leads us to the second reason...
* Second, because our server won't take it much longer, that's way too many posts and users for this little board and database to handle. Not than PunBB can't take it, but because the server has limited capacities.
I don't like this idea, but I need to shut it down for a while, we need the processing power of the server to work on the mod. The poor thing had to serve 233,470 pages during the last 36 hours, and this is only for the website, not the forum.

Also, we're currently working on an "official" walkthough of the game, because we found that a lot of "unoffical" ones are using way too difficult and unnatural solutions and doing a lot of unnecessarilly complex things. Not that it can't work, but it gives the impression that one can only beat this mod with tricks and stuff... there is no need for tricks and we'll prove it in this walkthrough.

Also, I'd like to apologize again to everyone I could have offended during the last days. I think I never apologized so much than during these last two days. I have a hard time talking and writing in a foreign language for 90% of the day and at some point, I'm starting to be unable to explain correctly what I mean and it looks like I'm basically saying "go f*ck youself" at every post... that was not my intention of course.

Anyway, the mod has been downloaded a little more than what we initially though... Oh, just a little ten times more than the best result we though we could achieve... even the guys at FilePlanet.com are keeping us on their front page although the exclusivity ended two days ago. We never made this game to fit a such huge number of gamers and I'd like to personally apologize if we wasted your time. We made a stupid mistake by forgetting to add a disclaimer in the description of the mod, or when people start it. We'll work on an update this week and try to fix the uneven difficulty as good as we can (especially for the first 3 levels)

I'd also like to thank the hundreds of people who sent us very long, detailled, efficient and clear emails with their thoughts on the game. Beeing good or not, as long as it's not insults or just "your game sucks" things, I try to answer to everyone (10 hours writing emails today, my hands hurt).

PS: Please, don't be silly in the comments.

92 comment(s)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Definitive Release!

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Here we are, I unveiled the mirror list in the download page. I think it should pretty much do the trick. I'm still amazed at how much mirrors people provided us. I even had to deny a few because it was way too much.

Head up to the Download Page, and enjoy!
Portal: Prelude Banner

For a while, I'll stop answering and posting new materials and just let people play alone and enjoy or insult the game alone. If you need help, don't forget the forums.

53 comment(s)

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)

Mirrors are coming

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Ok, now that the storm has somewhat cooled down, I must say that I'm now way more tired than during the week we started the hype machine, a month ago. I didn't slept for the whole last 24 hours, trying to follow everything and to answer every message in order to avoid an inbox congestion. But that was not enough, I can't follow my own forum messages anymore and I start to get stressed and susceptible because of the lack of sleep :D

Anyway, let's take a break. Our little server is suffering (it's serving more than 6 MB/s at every moment), and still... we're not hosting anything else than this website. In 2 hours, I'll provide at least 25 download links from around the world. There's a lot of big websites, a lot of medium-sized ones and a few local mirrors for country specific needs. There's also two BitTorrent mirrors coming along.

Server Graph

For the moment, we're not going to comment on the success and flaws of the game, because it's still a bit too early for this kind of considerations. I also have to coordinate all of our translators and send them a guide on what they have to do. There's still a lot of work coming though. I'm depressed... :D

21 comment(s)

Rage!

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

EDIT: No, I'm not going to delete this entry. I said it, I was angry, but it's not because we're on the Internet that you can just delete things out and act like nothing happened. That was a gross mistake, I admit it. But I'm tired, I'm stressed, I was kept under pressure for a very long time and this was the most important day of my life... I think I deserved the right to make a few mistakes.

That's also my way of thinking, I always try to make everyone happy, and answer to everyone. I now know that I should just ignore this kind of message. Sorry about that, but I don't think I'll delete the article, people will then complain that I used my administator privileges to make everything disappear. I just closed the comments because it was mostly a flamewar and not a debate.

We're all learning from our mistakes.
I apologize for this and hope you can understand how and why we got there.

Here's a subtle message we just received:
Wow, what a train wreck that piece of shit is. Did you test any of this? On anyone besides yourselves? Portal took the time to have something called gameplay. Something your game seriously lacks. You can't just throw together some interesting looking rooms and pretend that's a mod. Portal teaches the player techniques and then shows the player how to combine them and use them to create new techniques. You didn't have to teach the player the same ones, but "crouch in mid air?" Go fuck yourself. Have you ever played a video game before? Gameplay is about a learning process. Here's an idea, next time you want to make a shitty mod go make another overly stylized webpage instead. Seems like you guys put more time into that than the game. Fuck you! - Griff

In fact, that's the first insulting email we received on the 700 messages we read so far. That's the kind of things that make me go mad and stop working on making things right with this mod... I mostly lost nine month of my life, for free, for you, and now I'm getting insulted. That's unbelievable.

You can have your own opinion on what we did, but for Christ sake, stop fucking insulting us! We love critisism, we received a lot during the last two days, and I received a lot too since I'm making content for the Source Engine. Some where really hard, but still, it allows you to go further. But when people say "FUCK YOU", I don't really call it "criticism".

If you'd like to express your opinion to that guy and tell him what is wrong and disrespectful in what he said, feel free to do it here in the comments (I'm not asking anyone to attack this guy, it's just that he won't listen to us).

Helping you help us help you all

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Just a few things I wanted to point out since many players are actually asking repeated questions about some aspects of the game.

I don't understand your developer commentaries, it's in french!
Just turn on captions/subtitles in the sound options tab of the game.

I'm stuck at level <insert level number here>!
There's a section of the forum dedicated to help you if you're stuck somewhere in the game, take a look here :
http://www.portalprelude.com/forum/viewforum.php?id=5

That 19th test chamber is bugged out! I didn't take the cube!
Maybe you didn't take the cube, but you surely didn't look and listen carefully at the hints. The 18th and 19th levels are closely linked, just look around and search for a hidden path. There's no need to cheat or reload a saved game.

I spotted a bug somewhere in the game!
There's a section of the forum dedicated to bug reports, take a look here :
http://www.portalprelude.com/forum/viewforum.php?id=6

18 comment(s)

Day Twenty Five: The Release!

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

That's it!
Portal: Prelude is released!

Thanks to FilePlanet and Planet Half-Life, you can now download the game one day before the official release date!

You will find their review here (it's worth the reading, we love their style):
http://planethalflife.gamespy.com/View.php?view=Reviews.Detail&id=65
And you can download the game from our download page right now!

Head up to the Download Page, and enjoy!
Portal: Prelude Banner

PS: There's a little misunderstanding regarding this 24h exclusivity. We're not earning any money of this. It's just one more step to world domination! =)

116 comment(s)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Day Twenty Four: Surprise? Yeah, twice!

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

We know it's not our usual time for posting, but we've got two highly exciting news for you that couldn't wait any longer.

First, I'm pretty sure you all thought there really was a game behind our project? Ahaha, and you know what? Just kidding, you were right =D You were right, but you didn't thought it could came this early, because... well... in fact the game will be available tomorrow and not the day after tomorrow.

Since the beginning, we worked together with John Phillips, Site Director of Planet Half-Life/FilePlanet to organize a surprise pre-launch on October 9th. So, basically, you won't have to wait until the 10th to enjoy the game =) The game will be available exclusively on Planet Half-Life during this day (if our deal is still ok at this time).

Second, the folks at ModDB.com reviewed the game, and oh boy! This is far more positive than we ever though it could be. I, never though it could be this positive. I totally agree with everything they say about the voices, that's really our weak point. The rest is bloody brilliant, I can't say how much I'm happy to read this from such a "veteran website" of the mod universe. Dude, that pretty much made my day.

ModDB's Portal: Prelude Preview:
"Make no mistake, after all the hype this mod is no lie."
Please digg us if you want to support us!

Edit: thank you Spolodaface, I totally forgot we made another inteview with GameOnYou UK, my mistake. I've got so much to take care of lately that I begin to forget the most important things!

Stay awake, the release has never been nearer!

39 comment(s)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Day Twenty Three: Mirrors

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Yesterday, I began to notify every mirror owner that the release was approaching and I collected all the informations I need to build our mirror list. Right now, we have at least twenty mirrors available around the world, and this number is still growing. That should do the trick!

We're also awaiting the preview of ModDB.com, Ryan Anderson (Executive Editor) was testing the game a few hours ago, I hope he liked what he saw. I think his preview should go live in a few hours. We'll see...

On a totally different subject, I finally had a little time to test two of the mods that are showcased on Steam since a few days. Marc and me played Synergy and D.I.P.R.I.P. I must say that our playtest of Synergy was somewhat crappy. I don't know what they did with this mod, but when it didn't crashed, it was just pointless because the custom maps are really bland. We'll give it another try later on.

Anyway, D.I.P.R.I.P. is REALLY good. At first Marc and I thought that was not for us, but this is definitely a must-have. The feeling is good, the gameplay is nervous and efficient, an honorable successor to the good old Vigilante 8. All it needs now is a special attack for each vehicle. Try it!

15 comment(s)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day Twenty Two: Finished!

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

I'm tired, I'm exhausted, I need sleep, so I'll make it short. We just sent a very few preview versions to some very influent websites of the modding and Half-Life universes. Now, we're eagerly awaiting previews that could make or destroy our game =)

  1. Compile a final version of the game
  2. Do the last tests and checks
  3. Clean the mod folder
  4. Build everything and finish details
  5. Build an automatic installer
  6. Upload it somewhere safe
  7. Send it to a few people, magazines and websites
  8. Send a reminder to every Portal: Prelude Mirror Owner
  9. Make it available two days before the release
  10. Put a BitTorrent mirror online
  11. Release everything
  12. Take vacations (hurry up!)

28 comment(s)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day Twenty One: Wait, what?

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

Three days ago, I was whining because the game files had grown from 750 MB to 1 GB, and people advised us to use the LZMA (7zip) compression instead of the default ZIP compression. I initially thought it was a bad idea because I also thought the LZMA compression format was specifically linked to 7zip. But I was wrong, and I managed to build an installer with LZMA compression. And believe me or not but... the installer is back to 790 MB.

Dude... wait, what?

It means the game was compressed at a ratio of 52%, I never thought LZMA could be this powerful. Anyway, this is done. The last tests are complete, the game is ready to ship.

PS: Look at what people expect the most from the countdown timer website. Glad to see people expect Portal: Prelude more than the end of the world =D

  1. Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince Movie
  2. Portal: Prelude
  3. The end of time
  4. Grand Theft Auto IV
  5. Grand Theft Auto IV for PC

19 comment(s)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day Twenty: Popularity

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

A few people around this blog are reporting that we were broadcasted on Channel 4 and published in a newspaper in Sweden. I know (from a few sources) that there is other things like that around the world, that we don't know about. And honestly, we'd like to. So, if you encounter something like an interview/article/press item somewhere (in real life), we urge you to talk about it here and even provide a link/picture if you can!

It's so strange to know that we're beeing published by a newspaper in Sweden. You know, it's like 1500 km away from our current location. We're somewhat curious about that.

Also, in our forums, jojo asked this:
I guess it's always a bit mixed, but will there be lots of timed puzzles? (like in the testchamber with the two buttons in two rooms) or will it be more like "WTF? How am I gonna solve this..." so when you know the solution you would be able to "run" through the games.
Also, will the rooms be more dangerous for your health (with sludge, plasma balls, plasma beams, being crushed and getting set on fire, etc.) or will it be more like if you fail, you just have to portal your way back up to the point where you fell off the platform?

Here's my answer if you want to know:
To answer your question, it's a mix. There's easy chambers, medium chambers, hard chambers and impossible chambers (they're not really impossible of course, but if you don't look carefully at the room, you may never understand what to do).
Some of them are timed, some are not. Some are really easy to execute, but not to find out and some are really easy to find out, but not to execute. And yes, the death is a bit more present than in Portal and failure is often synonym of dying. But we spread a lot of autosaves everywhere to avoid frustration.

21 comment(s)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day Nineteen: Expensive? Not really

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

I don't know what's going on with all those donation propositions, but really, it starts to get boring. Even my own familly advised me to put a donation link on the website. Of course we could, of course that would be legal and of course we would enjoy it. But there's a few things we don't want to.

  • We don't want to earn money before the game is released. It wouldn't be fair, what if people disliked it in the first place?
  • We never thought about it during the first eight months, and now that it gained popularity, why should we abuse your sympathy even if we don't need anything?
  • We didn't lost a lot of money compared to the amount of work that have been done :
    • A dedicated server for development and hosting: 35.87€/month
    • A domain name: 6.99€/year
    • Three Portal: Prelude tee-shirts: 61.87€
    • Three tickets for the Festival du Jeu-Vidéo in Paris: 27.00€
    • Efforts, skills and time: 0.00€
  • I wouldn't know how to share it between the members of the team, what if someone (me) had made 90% of the work?
  • etc.

Really, it isn't a big deal compared to the amount of joy (and fatigue) this experience is bringing to us. We're newsed everywhere around the world, people are heavily enthusiastic, we're going to be published in magazines around the world (maybe) and it's a pretty solid thing to add to our resumes. This, plus the fact that we learnt a lot of things.

For me, it's already a great reward.
I'm not saying we're not considering putting a donation link ever, but for the moment, it's not the right moment.

PS: The release date is set on October 9, 2008 at 23:59 (GMT+02).

13 comment(s)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day Eighteen: It's a Big Baby

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

This message is a bit late because I'm currently finishing building the automatic installer, to know how much this baby will weight. I can already say that it's a bit bigger than we initially thought because fully compiled maps are a bit heavier than I thought. The uncompressed game files are 1.5 GB in size. I'm actually compressing it inside the installer to see how much weight we could gain...

... and the result is really far heavier than we initially thought. Two months ago, the game weighted 750 MB, one month ago it was 850 MB, and it's now 1 GB compressed. I can't believe it's so heavy for this amount of content, it's heavier than Portal itself. Levels take 750 MB alone (fortunately, it's an heavily compressible format, 50% or more). Anyway, I think I'll have to have a little discussion with all of our mirrors' owners, because I announced between 750 and 850 MB a few weeks ago. I really hope it will still be OK for the majority of them.

A Big Baby

We also took your ideas in consideration, and I think we're going to use gameupdates.org to host a BitTorrent mirror for the game. It will allow people to download it faster during the first days. Of course, we'll also try to have as much regular mirrors as possible. I think we can at least count on the big ones like Planet Half-Life, ModDB, Vossey, GameArena, Internode, Total Gaming Network, etc.

Anyway, to summarize what's left to do:

  1. Compile a final version of the game
  2. Do the last tests and checks
  3. Clean the mod folder
  4. Build everything and finish details
  5. Build an automatic installer
  6. Upload it somewhere safe
  7. Send it to a few people, magazines and websites
  8. Make it available one day before the release to every mirror owner via a server to server transfert
  9. Put a BitTorrent mirror online
  10. Release everything
  11. Take vacations (hurry up!)

Let's get back to work (again)!

32 comment(s)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day Seventeen: Preparation

Posted by Nicolas (permalink)

A lot of people are currently asking us that kind of questions:
Given Valve's recent announcement about hosting fan created mods on Steam, is the Portal: Prelude team going to request permission to do the same for its planned Oct 10th release?

And of course not. This kind of decision should not be taken too lightly. We would need a lot more than a week to integrate with Steamworks. Plus, if you take a look at this page, they clearly say :
It is appropriate for use in broad release commercial games, but we don't think it and our support infrastructure is ready for Mods or games [...]

They started giving it out for mods in secret, it started only a month ago and these mods aren't even released yet (with Steam support). It's up to Valve to take that kind of decision, and if I were them, I'd wait to see the game, before making any move. Don't you think?

On another subject, preparing an international launch is really not something easy. We must finish, build and clean the game, build a final version, make sure that everything is OK and that nothing is missing. We must also build an executable installer and upload it somewhere. We must make sure that every mirror owner that purposed its services know about this installer soon enough to make a copy, but we also have to make sure that no one of these people will try to release the game before the given date. So it must not be too early nor too late...

For the moment, the release date is still planned for october 10th, but we can't exclude any surprise =) We'll probably send a few demo versions to every important websites and magazines that supported us during this "marketing campaign". But it won't be before the 6th or 7th for sure.

Anyway, to summarize what's left to do:

  1. Compile a final version of the game
  2. Do the last tests and checks
  3. Clean the mod folder
  4. Build everything and finish details
  5. Build an automatic installer
  6. Upload it somewhere safe
  7. Send it to a few people, magazines and websites
  8. Make it available one day before the release to every mirror owner via a server to server transfert
  9. Release everything
  10. Take vacations

Let's get back to work!

38 comment(s)

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