Portal 2, lost Yah, potatoes and Ludum Dare

Wed 04 May 2011 in Mixed. Tags: Programming, School, Videogames, Portal 2, Ludum Dare, Hat. By mrwonko.

I seem to not have written a blog post for a while. That's probably because I started tweeting small updates I don't deem worthy of a blog post, thus preventing them from accumulating so they're eventually worth one.

So here's what happened recently:

Exactly 4 weeks ago I left my hat in the train, a lovely Stetson I got last birthday, I believe it's the "Yah" model. Since that happens rather frequently you can report losses online and hope the train people come back to you. But they didn't. And after 4 weeks they stop looking. So all hope is gone. I will miss you, my beloved hat. (If you happen to have found my hat and read this, please contact me. Ah, who am I kidding?)


So I'd like to have a new hat. They're useful against the sun, rain and bad looks. Might just get the same model again since I liked it. It's somewhat expensive though, 70€, so the sun may need to bother me a bit more before I bring myself to buy one.

On the other hand I did get some games for free recently, so I should have some money, right? Preceding the release of Portal 2 was an Alternate Reality Game, the Potato ARG. You can read about it in more depth on its wiki, but here's the short version:

Starting on April 1st 13 indie games got a "PotatoFoolsDay" update which in most cases added potatoes to the games in some way or another. Those 13 games were then discounted and sold in a bundle, the "Potato Sack". It also turned out that there were hidden clues/riddles in the games, with later updates adding more, in some cases eventually even adding new Portal 2-related levels. By solving the riddles and accomplishing tasks, players could earn potatoes for their steam profile, 36 in total.

Once the riddling was on I got interested and wanted to have a look - and it contained many nice games like Amnesia and Killing Floor (which I already played when it was still a mod) - so I bought the Potato Sack. And I started collecting potatoes. All 36.

Eventually the best ARG solvers were invited to visit Valve, play Portal 2 early and take part in the launch event, and Portal 2 was released a couple of hours early as the result of the ARG being solved. Have I mentioned that I love Valve? I love Valve. That was not of particular interest to me though because I was still waiting for further information on the Razer Hydra/Portal 2 bundle (which by now has been released - the information that is, the bundle is due in June or something), not wanting to buy Portal 2 without the bundle if it should indeed contain the full version of Portal 2. (It will!)

Another ARG related thing has had far more impact on me: Valve gave Valve Complete Packs to everybody who earned all 36 potatoes. That's every Valve game there is! Including Portal 2! So that's how I got Portal 2. (And CS, DoD(S) and some others I'm not very interested in. I had pretty much every released Valve game of interest to me already.)

So what do I think about Portal 2? I think Notch pretty much nailed it in his review when he wrote: "Play it."

I also finally coded some more. Last weekend was Ludum Dare 20, a make-a-game-in-48h competition, and I made a game. This time the theme was "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!", and this is my entry. I'm not going to win anything with that, especially since there are over 200 entries - some most likely better than mine, though I haven't played any so far - and no prizes, but it's nice to be able to add another game to my portfolio. A somewhat buggy game though, it has terrible memory leaks. I'll have to fix those one day. Soon, preferably. Especially since only some of them are in the game code, while at least one is in my framework/engine, which is to be used on many more games to come, so it better be flawless.

Well, I think that's about it for now.

So long,



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