Tunneling Chamber

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Project Description

A map for the game Portal, made for a mapping contest.

The map consists of primary sections that require the player to use a technique known as “portal tunneling” (the act of firing a portal towards a surface while the player is part way through an existing pair of portals and then moving into position before the fired portal hits its target).

Role

I created paper layouts of the map and a quick prototype in Hammer.

I then created the final level geometry, added props, lighting, cubemaps, GLaDOS speech triggers, detailing, level triggers and optimizations to the levels visleafs.

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Above: 3d wireframe view of the full level in Hammer.

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Above: In-editor view showing triggers, visleaf optimizations, cube maps and lighting.

Design Summary

The biggest challenge with this map was creating a map that allowed the player to use a technique that wasn’t required in Portal while at the same time not being an explicit tutorial.

I accomplished this goal by creating a safe environment (player cannot die) that requires the player to use two tunneling techniques in order to progress through two simple rooms before being met with a unique tunneling-assisted fling puzzle.

I also added an extra layer of visual polish (better lighting, more cubemaps, strict art placement rules) not seen in the original game to make my map stand out graphically.

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Above: The second puzzle uses a triggered lift in order to remove the floor from under the player.

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Above: The final puzzle with a bright, open aesthetic.