to the homepage of PortalZ, a map pack for Portal 1.
Its puzzles utilize mechanics beyond those in Portal, including ones from from other great Portal fanworks, off-the-wall crossovers, and completely original ones. Continuity-wise, PortalZ can be treated as an alternate universe in which GLaDOS is a bit more benevolent. If you enjoy thinking with portals, please give it a try!
This map pack no longer has a timeline for a full release, however you can still experience it in the following ways:
PortalZ: The 2020 Slice, a pack of all the 14 chambers completed as of summer 2020. This is the recommended way to experience PortalZ right now.
Sadly, I have too much else going on to continue working on PortalZ indefinitely, so I set myself the bar of getting as many chambers as possible finished by the end of October. Unfortunately, that meant some chambers that were left too incomplete in 2014 (or never made it from design sketches to playable maps) did not make the cut. However, I did not want to drop the project again and only leave behind standalone test chambers for power users to run from the developer console, so I am releasing PortalZ: The 2020 Slice. This pack includes 14 chambers that are completely polished and ready for release. Only five of them were not in The First Slice, however even several of those 2009 chambers have undergone significant overhauls. And while it sadly does not include chamber 19 to build up to it, it does include the finale chamber, giving this pack a proper start and ending. For the foreseeable future, The 2020 Slice will be the recommended way to experience PortalZ; as always, please feel free to give it a shot, share it around if you like it, and let me know what you think!
What Year Is It?
This has been a weird year for myriad reasons, and in the middle of my lockdown time this past summer, I found a sudden desire to revisit PortalZ and finish up some of the work that was never completed or released. I am trying not to reinvent entire test chambers, so at least some of my, er, maybe questionable 2009 design choices will remain, but I might make some improvements to the unfinished/unreleased chambers without upending their entire visions. I still have only so much time to dedicate to this, so I cannot promise this will end with the release of the complete map pack, but if anyone out there is still playing Portal 1, I hope you enjoy!
To give you a taste of what will be in the final version of PortalZ, I have uploaded several of the chambers that were originally in PortalZ: The First Slice. You can download them from the preview chambers page. As you can see, the chambers are much less buggy, look a lot better, and are overall more fun to play. Feel free to email me with any comments. I will try to get more PortalZ chambers finished as soon as possible [insert lame excuse about my job here]. The bright side is dedicating more time to designing and playtesting each chamber means they will be even more fun to play when they are finally finished.
Big Updates Soon
To quote GLaDOS, “It's been a long time.” I got pulled away from PortalZ by school, Google Wave, HTML5, inProd, and a variety of other things, which is why updates on this site sort of died. I did have some time to work on PortalZ over the past year and a half, but the map pack progressed slowly because of my other distractions. In March, the impending release of Portal 2 reminded me that I had not finished PortalZ, let alone Portal: Rat Man, so I went back to work. Now I am happy to report that more PortalZ are close to completion. I am aiming to release them by the end of this month, but they will definitely be out by the end of July at the latest.
Some comments about Portal 2: Portal 2 does not really affect PortalZ in any way. Most of the chambers were pretty much planned out already and just needed to be built. PortalZ will still be a map pack for Portal 1 since it incorporates almost no testing elements from Portal 2 (with the exception of a thermal discouragement beam area based on rumors from early 2010). On the other hand, because it is much further from completion, Portal: Rat Man will be moved to the Portal 2 engine. Yes, this means it will be even longer until it is released, but it had a long way to go anyway. On the bright side, this means I will be able to add in use of new elements like gels as well as all the beautiful new models and textures Valve created for the sequel.
So yeah, that is the current state of things. When it is finally finished, I hope you find PortalZ to be worth the wait. Happy testing!
I Am Back
I took a the summer off PortalZ, but now I am back! Actually I have been working on new test chambers (and fixing chambers that had problems in the demo) for over a month. In a minute I will upload my Peggle-based level. Note that it is not done yet and has several bugs (ex: the pegs on the left side break too soon), but you can try it out anyway.
Today is the release day. I have gotten no more bug reports since the 18th, so I think the demo is ready for release (except chamber 05 is still really hard, but that may change before the release of the full version). Regardless, please download from the Downloads page or one of the links at the top of the page.
Files updates again on this site, but not on other sites. The end on chamber 10 is better now (but not perfect). Other minor bugs have also been fixed.
If you have been watching the updates on the downloads page, you will probably have noticed the maps being updated quite a lot recently. I am almost ready to release PortalZ: The First Slice. I just need to fix test chamber 05 (and any other glitches I hear about between now and the release date (2009-06-20 at the latest)) and I will be done! Since the real chamber 08 is still too buggy (and not completely finished), the demo chamber 08 will be part of the final chamber 17 (17 because the WCC is awesome and I like that chamber). You can download the beta of the final demo at one of the sites below (it is too big for Google Sites).
EDIT: Map pack has been updated as of 2009-06-17 at 17:05. If you downloaded before then, I recommend you download the newer, less glitchy version from one of the updated links below.
EDIT 2: As of 22:30 on 2009-06-17, all maps on the Downloads page have been replaced with the final beta (oxymoronic, I know) maps. Note that these are called “z_demo_chamber_#” instead of “z_chamber_#”, so you must make that change if you launch the maps from the console. On the other hand, you can just download the updated BNS file and select “PortalZ: The First Slice” from your bonus maps list.
EDIT 3: On 2020-11-05, updated the links while making other updates surrounding the release of The 2020 Slice.
Some More Updates
I have made some slight modifications to some of the current test chambers. In addition, I have updated the “materials” folder with a couple new custom textures for PortalZ. Save it to the location specified on the Downloads page. Accept all overwrites as all textures are either the same or have been improved. Hopefully I will be able to release PortalZ: The First Slice on or before June 20th, 2009. Sorry for the delay; I recently updated my operating system (to Windows 7 RC) and had to reinstall my programs, including Steam.
Test Chamber 03 Added
I have uploaded test chamber 03. You can download it from the Downloads page. I have also added a folder with signage textures from the Portal: TFV Mappack (all credit for them goes to WCS) because some players may not have that mappack. Note that this is just some signage, not the entire mappack!
PortalZ: The First Slice Is Almost Ready For Release!
Once I complete some small modifications and finish debugging chambers 03, 05, 07, and 08, I will release PortalZ: The First Slice (a map pack with Z chambers 1-10). This should be released within the next month! Chambers 11-20 are not all done and will take a bit longer to complete. Check back for more information.
Also, I have updated the maps on the Downloads page. Note that chamber 11 is now chamber 09. Test chamber 04 has been added.
Additional signage textures, implementation reference for hard light walls and thermal discouragement walls: Hen Mazolski (We Create Stuff, Portal: The Flash Version Mappack)
Inspiration and implementation reference for altered gravity rooms and alternate methods of disabling cameras: Nicholas “NykO18” Grevet, Jérémy “Capitaine Mousse” Barbe, and Marc “moroes” Bidoul (Portal: Prelude)
Peggle (inspiration for a certain test chamber): PopCap games
I do not know originally created Cube Runner, Labyrinth, or Minesweeper but thanks to those games for inspiring certain chambers.
Beta testing: Alexandre Froio, Andrew Martin (especially Andrew), Derek Morris, Dylan Ladwig, Ethan Yaro, Jack Franzen, Jamie Fox-Canning, John Renner, Julia Sokolow, Mario Chuman, Skyler Lehmkuhl.
Special thanks to the Valve Developer Community, and to various other friends and people around the Internet who gave feedback.
And of course thanks to Valve and the Narbacular Drop team, without whose work I would never have gotten into Source development, let alone this map pack.