Portal is awesome. Everything that looked cool in the trailer, is cool in the game. The gameplay is imaginative, without turning (much) into 3D-platformer-twitch-fest, and the setting and voice-over are inspired. I’ve felt more empathy for the sentry guns that say ‘I can see you’ when they open fire and ‘I don’t mind’ when you knock them down, than many legions of Black Mesa operatives. (Maybe they were just doing a job, but I still don’t feel for them).

Everything on the rendering side of the technology was doable in CrystalSpace back in 1999 (if not earlier), and was visible in the first version of Unreal, but it’s the combination of the rendering tech with a decent physics engine that really creates most of the gameplay. The rather high level of polish from the Source engine certainly doesn’t go amiss, though the default video settings make my 7300GT a little unhappy, especially in ‘challenging’ (i.e deep) portal configurations. This is partly Apple’s fault for charging stupendous amounts of money for video cards in the MacPros – aren’t they using the same actual boards / firmware as regular PCs now?

Mmmmm, cake.

Posted Thursday, November 1st, 2007 under 3d, code, gaming.

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