Wednesday, 18 May 2011

GLaDOS - Development History

Before development of GLaDOS had begun, Erik Wolpaw was writing the script for the video game Psychonauts, where they went around the office, finding people to provide voices to the words until they could add the final voices to the game. Once they ran out of people, however, he began using a text-to-speech program. According to Wolpaw, people found the lines funnier than they were worth. He commented that "no amount of writing is funnier than this text-to-speech thing reading it".He became bitter about that, stating that he would leverage this and use it to his advantage. The creation of GLaDOS began with a discussion between the Valve team and Wolpaw on the narrative restraints they had to deal with. When they were designing the game, they found that they did not have enough time or staffing to use human characters, due to the amount of animation work and scene choreography involved.

GLaDOS went through several redesigns before artists settled on the final anthropomorphic shape. Early concepts featured a floating brain and a spider-like appearance

GLaDOS - Plot in Portal 2

Portal 2

In Portal 2, GLaDOS initially resumes her role as test monitor. This time, she is more passive aggressive and makes no attempt to hide her contempt and hatred for Chell. However, a plot twist occurs when the bumbling personality core Wheatley convinces Chell to perform a core transfer, allowing him to forcibly take GLaDOS's place as head of the facility. At this point he almost immediately becomes power-mad and decides to test or kill Chell and GLaDOS, throwing the arch-enemies into the bowels of the facility. With no other choice, Chell and GLaDOS — now reduced to a simple core powered by a potato-battery, decide to team up to prevent Wheatley from completely destroying the facility in his incompetence. Chell and GLaDOS are successful in defeating Wheatley; Chell allows GLaDOS to retake her role as head of the facility and GLaDOS saves Chell's life. She then decides to let Chell leave the facility, determining it is too much effort to kill her, and throws out the Companion Cube Chell had from the first game as a parting gift. Portal 2 also reveals background information about GLaDOS. It is disclosed she was created from the personality of Caroline, an assistant to Aperture Science's CEO, Cave Johnson, who left her in charge of the facility via a mind-to-computer transfer after his death. After being dethroned by Wheatley, GLaDOS begins to regain some of her humanity and becomes kinder to Chell. However, at the end of the game GLaDOS apparently chooses to delete this aspect of her personality and return to her sociopathic persona.

GLaDOS - Plot in Portal


In Portal, she is the main character's (known as Chell) only link with the situation she is placed in; at the game's start, GLaDOS introduces Chell to the game's Enrichment Center and the physics of the portal gun. In later stages of the center, GLaDOS admits to having lied to Chell about her progress, as part of a supposed 'test protocol. GLaDOS slowly becomes more sinister, and Chell's trust in GLaDOS is tested when the AI directs Chell into a testing area populated with live-fire turrets, a course designed for military androids. The AI claims that the regular test chamber is unavailable due to "mandatory scheduled maintenance".GLaDOS uses the lure of cake and grief counseling to encourage Chell to continue, but at the final testing area, as Chell prepares to receive the supposed cake, GLaDOS attempts to incinerate Chell in a fire pit. Once Chell escapes, GLaDOS attempts to reconcile with Chell, claiming the pit was a final test.

Chell then travels through the bowels of the Enrichment Center, battling natural hazards and further

GLaDOS - Description

For much of Portal, GLaDOS is a voice that acts as a narrator and guide for players. Her voice is robotic, but distinctly female. Her personality has been described as passive-aggressive, witty, and sinister. She has a number of system personality cores installed into her, partly in order to prevent her from killing anyone. Eventually, once the player encounters her, she is revealed to be a complex computer, with robotic parts hanging from a larger device. Once the player removes the first personality core, the morality core, GLaDOS' voice becomes less robotic and more sensual. It is revealed in the later portions of the game that she was originally conceived as a means for Aperture Science to compete with their competitors, Black Mesa. She was created as a device to de-ice fuel lines. However, she also has a fully-functional disk operating system. The AI of GLaDOS is installed as the Enrichment Center's central control computer, mounted in a large, sealed chamber alongside control consoles and an incinerator.

Portal 2 'Design'

Johnson stated that Valve's aim was not to make Portal 2 more difficult than its predecessor, but instead wanted to keep the same idea of a game "where you think your way through particular parts of the level, and feel really smart when you solve it." Portal 2 was designed to give the player incremental steps in understanding portals and their use within the game.This approach led to two basic types of chambers. The first type, which Valve calls "checklisting", provides a relatively safe environment for the player to experiment with a fundamental aspect of a new gameplay concept. The second type of chamber is one that combines these elements in new ways to make the player think laterally, giving the player a rewarding experience for completing the chamber.Chambers were first developed through whiteboard via isometric drawings, with the developers performing a sanity check on the chamber, before being created into simple levels through the Hammer level editor. Extensive playtesting was used to make sure the solutions to each chamber were neither overtly obvious nor difficult to see, and to observe alternative solutions discovered by playtesters; based on their input, the design team would keep these alternate solutions viable within the level, or would work around and block the alternate solutions if they were too easy. Once a chamber was considered ready to proceed, the Valve artists then would add elements such as detailed texturing, dynamic lighting, and vegetation, using an advanced version of the Source engine.  These versions would then be sent back for further playtesting to verify the new elements did not prevent players from finding proper solutions, with further iterations between artists and playtesters until such issues were resolved.

Several early chambers the player experiences in Portal 2 were created by reusing the Portal test chambers, and applying decay, collapse, and overgrowth on them. As an initial goal in the sequel, this was done to give players a sense of nostalgia from the first game and a feeling for how much time has passed. It also allowed the team to avoid the use of the less-resolved textures from the first game, replacing them with higher-resolution dirty and worn-out textures that the newer engine could support. Many of the mid-game puzzles take place in much larger and open areas of the old Aperture Science facilities to make the space "feel epic", according to programmer Jeep Barnett. In these levels, the developers had to ensure that players would hear the dialog lines and could not simply use portals to cross the chamber by making most of the surface unable to accept portals.In the final part of the game, where Wheatley had taken control of Aperture Science, "the level designers just had a blast" in creating the deranged chambers, according to Pinkerton. The level designers recognized that players would become mentally tired of completing a number of similar chambers in a row, and introduced "experiences" for the player every three or so chambers to give the players' mind a rest while expanding on details of the game's story.

P-Body and Atlas
The co-operative gameplay came about from requests from players as well from anecdotes of players working together on the same computer or console to solve the game's puzzles, likened by Wolpaw to players working together on the same computer to solve point-and-click adventure games. The co-operative campaign was also inspired by Valve's Left 4 Dead co-operative games, where players would find enjoyment after playing the game, discussing their personal experiences with the game. While the single player campaign in Portal 2 is designed to avoid frustrating the player, the co-operative levels are more focused on coordination and communication, and are recognized by Valve as being much more difficult than the single-player puzzles. Valve had avoided including timed puzzles into the single player experience in both Portal and Portal 2, but found that the inclusion of these into the co-operative mode was effective, giving players a positive feeling after being able to plan and execute difficult maneuvers. 

Other puzzle elements, such as the light bridges, are further inspirations from Left 4 Dead. Each puzzle chamber in the co-operative mode was assured of requiring four portals to solve as to prevent puzzles being solved by only the actions of one player; as soon as someone discovered a way to complete a puzzle with one set of portals, the level was sent back to the drawing board to correct this. Except in few cases, the chambers were designed where neither player would remain out of sight of the other in order to promote communication and cooperation. Some of the puzzle chambers were designed as asymmetric chambers, where one player would manipulate portals and controls to allow the other player to cross the room, helping to emphasize that the two characters, while working together, are also separate entities. The ability to tag surfaces with instructional icons for one's partner was soon realized as a necessary element, as it was found to be much more effective for cooperation than through simple verbal instruction.

Portal 2 'Design'

Work on Portal 2 began almost immediately after the release of Portal in The Orange Box. The intent to work on a sequel came from both the game's critical reception, as well as internally at Valve, as other teams within the company who were working on other games in The Orange Box finally had the opportunity to play Portal and expressed desires to help create its sequel. Internal ideas for the sequel were put together by a small team of about four using minimal art assets, and then passed to an "Overwatch" team, made up of previous team leaders and marketing executives, who would comment on the prototypes, allowing the developers to refocus their ideas. Once the core ideas were in place, full development with the larger team continued alongside the Left 4 Dead games; at times, some of Portal 2's developers would assist the Left 4 Dead team to meet milestones, while once Left 4 Dead 2 was completed, several of its team members joined to help complete Portal 2.