So you want cake do you? Well you’ll have your chance again when Portal 2 hits shelves next week. And before you start trying to wrap your mind around the physics lets give you a good starting point about what is going on in Portal 2.
Portal 2 is the sequel to Portal (duh not that basic). First hinted in the update made to Portal in March 2010 as part of the Portal ARG, it was announced on March 5, 2010 to be released in fall 2010, but was later announced on June 9, 2010 as delayed until an unspecified date in 2011, until it was said to be released on February 9, 2011. This date was again delayed to April 19. The release date for Australia and Europe is set for the 21st of April, 2011 so it could be worse.
Game informer did a pretty lengthy cover story on Portal 2 where they revealed some plot details and new gameplay features. It has also been confirmed that GLaDOS is indeed still alive, and is slated to return as the main antagonist. In addition, we will also see a whole separate co-op campaign. The co-op campaign will have its separate credits, and takes place after the singleplayer story. Valve was also scheduled to unveil the Portal 2 World Premiere on June 14, at their E3 2010 press conference, but later canceled the showing of Portal 2 on the 14th through a humorous e-mail, to be replaced with a “surprise”. The game was shown in the form of a demo at Valve’s own booth instead, and on June 15, the first Portal 2 trailer was shown during the Sony press conference, with the “surprise” apparently being its release on the PlayStation 3 console and the inclusion of Steam on the PS3.
As of now confirmed characters in Portal 2 include Cave Johnson, Chell, ATLAS and P-body, GLaDOS, and Wheatley. Confirmed Enemies include GLaDOS and the Atlas Science Sentry Turret.
ATLAS and P-body, or as GLaDOS refers to them, Blue and Orange, are a pair of bipedal robots who are the main characters in Portal 2’s co-operative campaign. They have been created by GLaDOS to complete the most complex tests in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center, uncompleted by any human.
ATLAS and P-body were created by GLaDOS for the “Cooperative Testing Initiative” project after the events of Portal, where she had gained a mistrust for humans. However she determined that the act of experimenting on and observing the results of robots performing various tests, as a robot herself, was fundamentally flawed, which is likened to the famous thought experiment of Schrödinger’s cat. In other words, she determined that for the tests to actually mean anything, it needed a human observer. To add that human element then, she needed to find a way for the robots to become more human-like to the point where they were human enough so that results could be driven from the tests.
Co-operatives tests were then set up in a total of 35 Test Chambers. They involve the standard teleportation/puzzle tests, and sending the robots to the ruined parts of the Aperture Laboratories in search of human relics to puzzle together, so that they can learn to become more human, and even learn how to love.
As the experiment moves forward, the robots are expected to start developing more human attitudes and personalities of their own, going far beyond the ability to complete the standard teleportation/puzzle tests. It is unknown so far to what this humanization will lead, and if the results will be as expected by GLaDOS.
The robots were designed from scraps. ATLAS design was based on a Personality Core, while P-body was based on a Sentry Gun. To facilitate their humanization, they were given their own personalities, and clearly anthropomorphic designs and behaviors. For instance, gender-related personalities have been applied to them, with ATLAS being male, and P-body female.
Each robot has its own Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device that bears the color of its user (blue for ATLAS, orange for P-body), as two lines running along the barrel. They also have the capacity to transport through the portals created by the other, and respawn through Vital Apparatus Vents each time they are destroyed. Duplicate robots are constantly rebuilt in automatic machines, apparently keeping the memories and behavior of their fallen counterparts.
The robots were designed with anthropomorphic personalities to facilitate their humanization. These personalities are expected to develop during the course of the game.
Examples of anthropomorphism go from simple to complex behaviors. For instance, they make gestures to each other to indicate the other what to do or where to go, use some form of speech embodied by an apparently unintelligible robotic chatter (ATLAS having a masculine voice, P-body a feminine), use portals for fun and not only for testing, use some form of laughter, play rock-paper-scissors, or hug each other. Co-operative work also requires them to trust each other, and they also undergo tests for that purpose, and eventually will tend to develop a tendency to betray each other like humans would do, and in the end trust each other only 6 seconds longer than humans.
The skills and personality are obviously influenced by the players’ behavior toward each other. Tests or achievements require being as much as being selfless as being selfish.
“Oh, it’s you… It’s been a long time. How have you been? I’ve been really busy being dead. You know…after you murdered me? Okay look, we both said a lot of things that you are going to regret. But I think we should put our differences behind us. For science. You monster.”
GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) is the sentient computer system managing the Aperture Laboratories, the guide of the Aperture Science computer-aided Enrichment Center, and the main antagonist of Portal and Portal 2.
In 1986, while Aperture Science was working on the ‘Portal’ project, one of Cave Johnson’s dying wishes, they learned of Black Mesa’s work on a similar portal technology. In response to this, construction of the first Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System (GLaDOS) began in the Aperture Laboratories with the aim of accelerating the ‘Portal’ project, and beat their rival company. In 1996, after a decade spent bringing the Disk Operating System parts to a state of more or less basic functionality, work began on the Genetic Lifeform component. During that time, the Aperture Science Red Phone plan was implemented in case GLaDOS appeared to become sentient and godlike, requiring an employee to sit by a red phone on a desk in GLaDOS chamber’s entrance hall. In 1997, GLaDOS’s version was 3.11.
Prior to May 200-, GLaDOS was activated several times by the Aperture technicians, but was rapidly turned off again, due to attempting to kill them in a sixteenth of a picosecond after activation.
In May 200-, the untested AI of GLaDOS was finally completed and was activated for the first time as one of the planned activities on Aperture’s first annual bring-your-daughter-to-work day. Within one picosecond of activation, GLaDOS became self-aware, and two picoseconds later, she locked down the entire facility, trapping all inside, and began a permanent testing cycle, aiming to beat Black Mesa in the race for the portal technology. She effectively loses this race however, as the Black Mesa Incident occurs mere days later, which in turn diverted all attention from rescuing the trapped Aperture employees.
In order to quell the rebelling scientists, GLaDOS flooded the Enrichment Center with a deadly neurotoxin. Survivors of this attack subsequently fitted GLaDOS with a Morality Core, which lessened her murderous intentions and prevented her from releasing more neurotoxins. GLaDOS’s testing continued through the years, and the number of surviving employees dwindled.
Some time after her takeover of Aperture Laboratories and shortly after the Combine invasion of Earth, she awakens Chell from a stasis pod in a Relaxation Vault, speaking to her as if she is just a mandatory Test Subject. Chell is released from the vault through a portal, and begins to progress through a series of Test Chambers, utilizing the completed Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device, with GLaDOS constantly monitoring her progress with security cameras. The chambers show signs of decay and neglect, and GLaDOS shows signs of instability. Throughout the tests, GLaDOS continues to act like everything is perfectly mandatory, giving apparently scripted responses. Despite this, she lets slip several phrases to suggest otherwise, and sometimes malfunctions in the middle of sentences (also showing that she is programmed to speak in other languages, such as Spanish, using machinery translation). She also continuously promises that cake and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the test.
When Chell eventually makes it to Test Chamber 16, GLaDOS informs her that the appropriate chamber has been replaced with a live fire course designed for Military Androids, simply wishing Chell the best of luck and letting her into the chamber, where she encounters Aperture Science Sentry Turrets for the first time. It is in this chamber that Chell discovers a hidden alcove in the wall, where desperate messages were scribbled on the walls by former Aperture employee Doug Rattmann, who seemed to have gone slightly mad while being trapped in the facility. The most prominent message, “the cake is a lie”, is written several times. Chell then proceeds to the next chamber, where GLaDOS introduces her to the Companion Cube, which Chell must carry through the chamber. She once again finds messages from Rattmann, who seems to have become insanely attached to his Companion Cube, and grieved over its “death”, and was outlandish towards GLaDOS’s comments about it. At the end of the Chamber, Chell’s Cube meets the same fate when she is forced to incinerate it in an Aperture Science Emergency Intelligence Incinerator in order to proceed. According to GLaDOS, Chell “euthanized” her Cube more quickly than any other Test Subject, something GLaDOS feels calls for congratulations.
At the end of the test, Chell travels on an Aperture Science Unstationary Scaffold away from the final Test Chamber. But instead of the constantly promised cake, the young woman is met with an incinerator, which GLaDOS calmly states will not damage the ASHPD. Using the weapon, she narrowly escapes certain death. It is here that GLaDOS reveals her true nature, stuttering on the word “I”, before trying to convince Chell that this was all part of the test. Chell ignores her, and journeys through the maintenance areas. Throughout the decaying and neglected maintenance areas, Chell is constantly trying to be convinced by GLaDOS to return to the testing area, through the use of the Aperture Science Speaker System. With hints and scribblings by Rattmann guiding her along the right path, after constant admonishment from GLaDOS, as well as a massive Sentry Gun ambush, Chell finally finds herself in GLaDOS’s main control room, where the A.I. has been sitting alone for over twenty years. GLaDOS then attempts to deploy a “surprise” to eliminate Chell, but ends up accidentally detaching her Morality Core, which Chell promptly incinerates.
With no sense of morality to hold her back, GLaDOS begins to flood the Enrichment Center with neurotoxins as she did before. She notes that the Morality Core must have had some ancillary responsibilities, and that she cannot shut off the Rocket Sentry in her control room. Chell uses this to her advantage, and uses portals to redirect the rockets back at GLaDOS, detaching and incinerating her Personality Cores one by one. As the battle continues, GLaDOS mocks Chell and tries to make her feel bad about herself. She also makes a comment apparently regarding the Combine invasion, stating that she was “the only one standing between us and them”, which implies that she was keeping the Combine from entering the facility. Before the neurotoxins can kill her, Chell destroys GLaDOS who is apparently sucked through a portal to the outside with parts of her generator. Chell is also dragged with her, and she ends up among GLaDOS’s remains on the parking lot in front of the Aperture labs entrance, only to be taken back inside into stasis by the Party Escort Bot.
Despite GLaDOS’s apparent destruction however, only a part of her is destroyed. She reactivates a room full of Personality Cores and re-captures Aperture Laboratories, filing a letter to Chell, telling her that she is still alive and “not even angry” at her, but not before extinguishing a candle on the cake, which was not a lie after all.
During the centuries after Chell is put back into stasis by the Party Associate, GLaDOS and her Personality Cores take control of the Enrichment Center once more, which is heavily damaged after the explosion created by GLaDOS’s partial destruction.
When Chell is finally awakened by Wheatley, the two make their way across the facility in an attempt to escape. GLaDOS does not reveal herself at first however, and waits until the two are on an elevator, before overriding the controls, causing them to descend. Chell and Wheatley are forced into the remains of GLaDOS’s control room, where they come across the A.I. once more. GLaDOS is extremely bitter towards Chell for “murdering” her, but wants to repair their “relationship” for the good of science. GLaDOS then forces Chell to complete more tests through the Enrichment Center, but is also trying to keep the damaged building stable at the same time, often reluctantly allowing Chell to navigate through the maintenance areas to proceed.
So there you go, all you need to know to start jumping through portal and show GLaDOS what’s up.