Portals & The Teleporter

Okay here it is, for the one person on the Internet who wants to see some more Portal HL2:

I found this link last night: Half Life 2: Portal at Primotech They use the exact same method I used, and they have a nice movie hosted on the page. That’s not where I got the idea from, but the FAQ that did give me the idea may have borrowed the method from the Primotech guys. I’m not quite tech-savvy enough to put a movie up so we’ll have to make do with more screenshots.

As for my experiments, first, I need to post some screens from normal vanilla HL2 for context. Because most of my readers are people I know from Real Life who don’t even know what FPS stands for other than possibly Frames Per Second.

So here we are in Isaac Kleiner’s Lab. The good guys want to send Alyx and Gordon (“you”) through the newly finished teleporter.

We never do find out exactly what happened to that cat. Probably best not to think too hard about that.

And here, right before we get our HEV suit, we’re introduced to Dr. Kleiner’s pet headcrab, Lamarr. Now, for those who haven’t played the game: headcrabs like to jump on peoples’ heads, eat their brains and turn them into zombies. Kleiner has one as a pet. Just in case the bit about the cat didn’t make you worry.

Moving on, the good guys are sending Alyx though to Black Mesa East via teleportation. I love the pseudo-science that Kleiner mentions here. This ain’t a magical teleporter, oh no, this is proper Weird Science!

Ah, best not to think about that, Alyx.

And here there’s another nice light show…

…and she’s off!

Oh, Barney, you wisecracker! Obviously, he’s a little jealous that he hasn’t been given an official HL2 spin-off game of his own yet. (He originally starred in Half Life: Blue Shift.)

Now it’s Gordon’s turn!

Lamarr!?! This is going to end badly…

Lamarr obviously has a very small attention span. And a thing for crows.

Whoop! We’re back in the lab. I didn’t notice the crow the first couple times I played this (the pretty light show was distracting me). I love how the crow seems to bewildered to fly around and just sits there disoriented.

Back over in Black Mesa East again…

I suspect some of the Valve guys may be Dr. Who fans. Or maybe they just like this particular effect.

“Unexpected Interference” should be the name of one of the chapters in either Episode 3 or HL3.

The first and only face-to-face meeting with Dr. Breen until the climactic finale. Actually, Gordon Freeman and Dr. Breen knew each other in the back-story of Half Life, but they only actually meet a couple times in-game.

This is actually out of sequence, but I thought I’d put the two shots together. I love this part. The way Breen says “Gordon Freeman” so dramatically as if he’s already beginning to see that Gordon might be the fly in his ointment.

That thing on the screen is later revealed in Episode 1 and 2 to be an “Advisor”, the alien race that is presumed to be in charge of the Combine or at least pretty high up on the food chain. (Literally.) (Yeah. “ewwww” is right.)

On the next to last stop on the teleporting tour we get to see a cameo appearance by a Ichthyosaur. You were able to fight Ichthyosaurs several times in Half Life 1, but this is the only time you get to see one in HL2. Possibly all the other Ichthyosaur were eaten by the carnivorous leeches that infest the beach areas of HL2 and (bizarrely) Day of Defeat: Source.

Oh, those kidders at Valve. Alyx gets to take a shortcut to Good Guy HQ, but we end up teleporting allllll the way over to the outside of the window.

Then the good guys shut up the lab to avoid attracting attention and we’re on our own, more or less. (Let me fly, far away from here… fun, fun, fun, in the sun, sun, sun… But I digress.)

And here Barney meets up and tosses Gordon the first weapon: the good old crowbar. The good guys haven’t abandoned Gordon, but I love how in HL2 they keep on splitting up. The Real Life reason for this is because Valve hadn’t developed the AI for the good guys enough to have them stick around through the whole game at this point. You do team up briefly with Alyx in Nova Prospekt, but she does need a certain amount of “babysitting” to keep the bad guys from killing her. Later on, in Episode 1 & 2, Alyx is a constant companion and the best sidekick character ever in a videogame.

But right now, it’s time to get back on subject: how to use the Portal Gun to exploit this part of the game!

First, let’s visit the area you were supposed to teleport to. The good guys are not at all surprised to see that you got here unharmed. In fact, they have no reaction whatsoever! This spot isn’t particularly interesting, except that it is neat to see an alternative version of an area you do get to properly visit later on. (Although I didn’t show it in this screenshot, I did legitimately portal to this spot.)

Quick side note: if you look closely, you’ll notice that the Vortigaunt model there is not the same one from the earlier screenshot even though it’s the same map. When you load a HL2 map in Portal, it actually substitutes a vortigaunt model from Episode 2 instead of the original vort models. I didn’t notice this immediately because I originally played all the way through HL2, Episode 1 and Episode 2 and then went on to do Portal HL2. It wasn’t until I started HL2 over again using the actual HL2 version of Source that I realized that there were different vort models in the same levels.

Technically, I cheated to position this particular blue-side portal. You only have a very brief window of opportunity to open a portal in Breen’s office, and the first two times I tried without cheating* I had to sit through the whole sequence and ended up with the portal in an inconvenient position. This is actually a screen from my third attempt which I used NoClip to fly though the level to the office and position the blue-side in a spot that would make a good screenshot because I was tired of going through the sequence each time. Then I saved the game so I could use lots of different weapons on Breen without having to do it all over again.

*Other than using the Portal Gun, of course.

The secondary fire on the Combine Rifle disintegrates Breen nicely, but I didn’t get a good shot of the disintegration part because he falls behind the desk.

Hey I wonder if Breen blows up good?

Yep! He done blowed up real good!

This is actually from my second attempt where I didn’t cheat. The portal is positioned behind the monitors and you can’t kill him with most of the weapons.

But you can shoot him with a pistol!

Look out, Dr. Breen! I dropped a grenade to your right!

Man, they never listen.

These shots of the Breen model flying sideways from an explosion are brought to you by Mashing The F5 Button Productions.

I originally tried and failed to place a portal in the Ichthyosaur area three times because it’s really hard to tell which surfaces will take a portal when you’re aiming at a stone hillside and you have less than a second to pull the trigger. So, yeah, I cheated to place the blueside portal again.

When the teleporter is shut down and you are stranded on the window ledge, two picture-taking “fishies” come over to take your picture. I decided they’d be happier over in the nice beach area.

I swam and swam and swam around trying to find the Ichthyosaur and I couldn’t find it at first. But a little later on…

Hey wait a minute! Now this is very cool. My fishies have found the Ichthyosaur! Apparently they find the Ichthyosaur more interesting than anything else so they’re hovering way over there taking it’s picture. I find this really neat, because it’s a kind of emergent behavior you would never normally see.

The HL2 Ichthyosaur! Unfortunately if you go around to it’s front side the game instantly transports you back to the ledge. Also, it seems they never made any other animations for the Ichthyosaur because it just sits there. So it’s not all that exciting, but kind of neat to look at.

Sorry it took so long to get these last screenshots up. See my post for Wednesday the 23rd for more on this.

FINAL FINAL EDIT: Actually, I just realized I have still more screens about this to upload. I’ll do it on Wednesday after class in a new post. This is long enough as it is.

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