Portal 2 has finally hit the streets, and despite a somewhat rocky start with their controversial promotional ARG (previously), it looks to be a huge success. Interestingly for such a critically-acclaimed blockbuster, the title's core ideas steam from a pair of concept projects from student design school DigiPen: the original portal system from Narbacular Drop (video - download - previously) and the sequel's physics-altering gels from Tag: The Power of Paint (video - download - previously - previouslier). Combine these innovative ideas with some Lost-meets-Life After People level design, excellent voice acting, and top-notch writing, and it's easy to see why so many people called in sick this past week. But playing the game is just the beginning -- look inside for a collection of easter eggs, story theories, videos, and other goodies from the post-mortem. [more inside]
"Motherfucker, I just gave you the most important advice that anyone in the whole world has ever given you. You may not understand the profound importance of this advice. If you learn nothing else from reading this, you need to learn these two things. SHOWER EVERY FUCKING DAY, AND WEAR DEODORANT EVERY FUCKING DAY." The Digipen Survival Guide full of sage guidance. [more inside]
It's well-known at this point that Valve Software hired the team of Digipen students who made Narbacular Drop to turn their student project into Portal. But even people who drooled over the new mechanics in the Portal 2 E3 videos may not be aware that Valve has hired another team out of Digipen for that. If you're looking for a preview, you should probably download and play Tag, the game the new mechanics are based on, in which you explore a grey, cell-shaded world by spraying paint on it.
Student Projects from DigiPen, a computer game college. A few I've tried and approve include Narbacular Drop, which is very short, more of a tech demo, but contains the idea and some of the people behind Valve's upcoming Portal^, Orblitz, a get-the-ball-to-the-goal puzzle game with extremely calming graphics and music, and Bontãgo, a weird combination of RTS, Tetris, and Jenga.