Remember Marco? He usually works with instructor Clint as part of Game-U’s New York Accelerate program, but recently, he and instructor Mike M. got together to practice level design and problem-solving in Portal 2’s PeTI Editor!
Portal 2, the game, presents a series of strategy puzzles for gamers to solve. Its accompanying editor (PeTI) also allows gamers to exercise design skills by building and sharing Portal puzzles of their own. Instructor Mike used the editor to help Marco learn the principles behind good level design, particularly where the balance between “too easy” and “too hard” is concerned. Marco worked with cubes, connections, and portals to provide his players with fun mechanics that require skill to overcome.
In Marco’s puzzle, the player enters the level (the test chamber) and figures out how to escape it as quickly as possible. Since the exit door can only be unlocked by retrieving a cube and placing it on a receiver, near the entrance, the player needs to make it all the way across the level to pick up the cube, and then all the way back to the starting point to activate the receiver. Marco’s customized floor plan makes this impossible without portals (which allow the player to create “shortcuts” through another dimension) because the architecture cannot be navigated by walking or even jumping. Instead, the player must choose the best places to portal through obstacles. Dark wall tiles add an additional layer of complexity by being portal-resistant!
Cool puzzle, Marco! You did a great job assembling this level and learning how to use mechanics to make a game challenging as well as fun. Stay in touch to let us know what project you take on next!