Portal Stories: Mel

Portal Stories: Mel

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Agenta1999 Jul 2, 2015 @ 2:48pm
A couple questions for the developers (SPOILERS)
1: Who designed each test (the specific designer for some levels), and who voiced each character?
2: What is the fastest time the whole mod has been completed by a developer of the mod?
3: What is Virgil's motivations for "rescuing" Mel, and helping her escape Aperture?
4: What is AEGIS's motivations for significantly trying to kill Mel, while he practicially ignores Virgil except for mentioning him?
5:Why does AEGIS want to flood aperture and thus eliminate GLaDOS even though there is no scientist alive anymore?
6: When was AEGIS created in the lifespan of aperture, and if he is created early how was he created, since GLaDOS was the first true brain mapped AI?
7: Why does AEGIS not use neurotoxin to elimate Mel in the final fight, as wouldn't neurotoxin in killing Mel, instead of draining the oxygen?
8: What is Mel's motivation for assisting Virgil, and stopping AEGIS?
9: Why does Virgil have Wi-Fi when apparently no other core in the facility does?
10: How did Virgil fall into that floor of the office, when the management rail is on the upper floor, and how did he reach that location?
11: How long did it take to complete the mod, and im asking for total time, from beginning to end of developement.
12: What are the inspirations behind Virgil's character? AEGIS's? Mel's?
13: Approximately how much playtesting did it take to get each level as it is now?
14: Why are we not allowed to donate money to you all, as this mod is WONDERFUL?
15: Isn't aperture's internet on a secure network, and because of this, how is Virgil able to hack into the mainframe on the lower levels, and not the overgrown computer area?
Last edited by Agenta1999; Jul 2, 2015 @ 2:51pm
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Stoob Jul 2, 2015 @ 2:56pm 
Similarly but different, as this would probably answer those questions, did the team write a comprehensive storyboard/backstory that (if the team were so inclined) could be re-written into novel form, to answer these enigmas or even, create new ones? :) I'm aware some of the team could no doubt perform such a task but is it something they'd be interested in doing?
Harry101UK Jul 2, 2015 @ 4:27pm 
I can try to answer some of your questions; ;)

1 - All the characters were voiced by 2 people (as seen in the game's credits). Stig Sydtangen (DragonNOR) voiced Virgil, and I voiced Cave Johnson, AEGIS, and the Rainbow Core.

2 - I believe the fastest developer time so far was about 1 hour 20 minutes. We've never really tried to complete it very fast ourselves though, as it's mostly for testing and trying things out. The world-record speedrun right now is about 50 minutes though. =P

6 - AEGIS was supposed to have been created in the early 80's, as a really basic and non-sentient artificial intelligence. He has no personality when compared to GLaDOS, or the other, newer, Aperture AI's.

7 - AEGIS doesn't use neurotoxin because he has no access to it. He was constructed in the early 80's, before the neurotoxin was introduced.

10 - Virgil mentions that he fell down to the junkyards from the overgrown testing tracks; where the rails and chambers were falling apart. His management rail broke and sent him tumbling down to the junkyards. ;)

11 - It took about 4 years to finish the entire mod. Production started not long after Portal 2 released. The team was very different back then, and the people that started it are no longer on the team! Annemieke joined them and eventually became the lead of the mod, and slowly built up the team we have today!

13 - We did a LOT of playtesting. I believe we had playtesters for nearly 2 years before release, constantly trying out the new versions of the game's levels. Levels evolved a lot, all the way up to release. We did the testing to ensure that the game was easily completable without requiring any precise aim, or fast reflexes, to keep the gameplay fair and logic-based.

14 - Donations are a bit of a grey-area, due to licensing issues. There are also a lot of people on the team, both from the main production team and all the additional assets and assistance, which would make splitting the money from any donations very difficult. We're just glad to see people playing and enjoying the mod! It was a lot of fun to work on! =D

Perhaps the writers and level designers could fill in the other questions! I've been on the team for just over a year, and was mostly in charge of the game's music, voices, cinematics and audio. =)
Last edited by Harry101UK; Jul 2, 2015 @ 5:28pm
🍪Anna  [developer] Jul 2, 2015 @ 4:59pm 
OH boy, that's a long list!
1. That's quite a tricky question; most levels are collaborations, or combinations of various people. I'll list the main developer on the levels:
- sp_a1_tramride: Tmast98
- sp_a1_mel_intro: Lpfreaky90/Tmast98
- sp_a1_lift: Lonewolf2056
- sp_a1_garden: Lpfreaky90/Lonewolf2056
- sp_a2_garden_de: Lpfreaky90/Lonewolf2056
- sp_a2_underbounce: Lpfreaky90
- sp_a2_once_upon: Lpfreaky90/Lonewolf2056
- sp_a2_past_power: Lpfreaky90
- sp_a2_ramp: Lpfreaky90
- sp_a2_firestorm: LoneWolf2056
- sp_a3_junkyard: Tmast98/Lpfreaky90/Lonewolf2056
- sp_a3_concepts: Lpfreaky90
- sp_a3_paint_fling: Lpfreaky90/Tmast98
- sp_a3_faithplate: Lpfreaky90/Lonewolf2056/Tmast98
- sp_a3_transition: Lpfreaky90/iWork925
- sp_a4_overgrown: Lonewolf2056/Lpfreaky90
- sp_a4_tb_over_goo: Tmast98 Lpfreaky90/Lonewolf2056
- sp_a4_two_of_a_kind: LoneWolf2056
- sp_a4_destroyed: Lpfreaky90/iWork925
- sp_a4_factory: Tmast98/Lpfreaky90/LoneWolf2056
- sp_a4_core_access: Lonewolf2056/Lpfreaky90/Tmast98
- sp_a4_finale: Lonewolf2056/Lpfreaky90
That's only the design of the chambers/puzzles. The detailing, optimization etc hasn't been taken in account here.

2. We haven't often played the mod from a-z, most of the testing has been done on a level-by-level basis, but I'd say we can easily complete it in ~90 minutes.

3. Virgil is just a nice guy! Oh, and he also doesn't like it on the floor in the junkyard offices so he needs someone to get him back on his rail. He also kinda needs your help or he would drown in goo.

4. AEGIS is trying to destroy whoever killed the scientists and he isnt exactly smart. You are however found during a scan, together with Virgil, and you pose a threat to AEGIS as you were unregistered unlike Chell who would have been registered, thus you should be taken care of. AEGIS is a fairly simple AI, it can only execute certain protocols. So the termination program is the most suiting for the situation. Virgil is helping the organic target which makes him a target as well, the facility is very dangerous for killing humans so its a lot easier for him to directly attack you compared to Virgil.

5. AEGIS's job was to keep the employees safe. An AI that kills everyone isn't safe for the employees, and thus should be destroyed!

6. AEGIS was built in the 70s/80s. He's just a complex program that runs various sub-routines made before brain mapping attempts, this was an attempt at AI... that didnt really work. All his intelligence is stored on big tape decks. During the time of Portal 1 it was probably very easy for GLaDOS to just deactive him to keep him out of the way as AEGIS doesnt really have much intelligence, just reactions to events.

7. He doesn't have access to the neurotoxin.

8. Virgil can guide Mel out of the facility, which he does until they meet up, besides she doesnt have anyone else to talk to and she would be lost in the facility without him! She also can't access the emergency escape elevator unless she shuts down AEGIS!

9. Who says the other cores don't have Wi-Fi? Virgil is just the only one who explicity tells you he does.

Originally posted by virgil:
This reminds me of the day I ended up falling down into those junkyard offices. Dark room, no lights, hit the end of a management rail and down I went.
If you look above Virgil you will see the hole he fell from and smashed through the roof

11. It took us about 4 years. With some members joining at different times. I can't give you exact hours, since we all did this in our spare time. ;)

12. I know that HAL from 2001-a space odyssey has been an inspiration for AEGIS. Other that that I should ask Dr.Doozer, as he's the lead writer on the mod.

13. We started bigger scale playtesting late August last year. Before that we've been testing the levels a lot ourselfs and asking friends for feedback. When we started the beta, some levels were in better shape than others, and thanks to the playtesters we've been able to improve the mod a lot!

14. Licensing.

15. The overgrown part of the facility got cut off after it was abandoned! That's why he can't connect from outside the overgrown part.

@stoob; we have more background story written, mostly for character development and to understand how various characters would interact with each other. We don't plan on writing something else out of that though
Tmast98 Jul 2, 2015 @ 5:10pm 
To elaborate on Lp's answer for question 12, AEGIS was designed to look like a spider hanging upside-down. He was also inspired by Mother from Alien.
Agenta1999 Jul 2, 2015 @ 5:32pm 
Thank you for answers! I didn't expect to get an answer for these questions this quickly. I will be adding more questions in posts to this thread as i make them, but i will try to add them in bulk.
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Date Posted: Jul 2, 2015 @ 2:48pm
Posts: 5