Portal 2’s Perpetual Testing Initiative arrives May 8th

Valve's master plan to turn America's children into sadistic murder machines launches next month. FOR SCIENCE!

Update: Valve have released a trailer narrated by the inimitable J.K. Simmons as everybody’s favourite shower-curtain salesman Cave Johnson. I’ve crowbarred it in down at the bottom.

We last heard about Valve’s easy-to-use level editing program for Portal 2 last month when it had just gone into internal beta. I half expected to hear nothing else until shortly before the Mayan apocalypse, since this is Valve we’re talking about after all. I say that with love of course because Valve like to take their time for quality reasons, and while that can be quite infuriating (insert your own Richochet 2 joke here) the results are usually worth the wait. Thankfully we won’t have to wait much longer because Valve’s Perpetual Testing Initiative for Portal 2 is coming out on May 8th.

A free download for PC and Mac users, The Perpetual Testing Initiative is a “simplified” puzzle maker allowing players to build their own fiendish test chambers. Once you’ve put the finishing touches to your rigorous scientific testing apparatus you’ll be able to publish it straight to the Steam Workshop for other players to download and go mad, die horribly, or go mad and then die horribly in. As with all things science-related your work can and will be subject to peer review, as your willing volunteers will also be able to rate your maps. Will your works advance the cause of science and win the acclaim of your peers, or will you languish in obscurity on the fringes as a peddler of shoddy ill-constructed pseudo science?

Portal 2 was a great game in many ways but it’s replayability, particularly in multiplayer, was practically zero. Once you’d bested the most devious traps GLaDOS could throw at you the only incentive to go back and play through them all again was the great dialogue. You can relive most of that on YouTube. If you really wanted more test chambers you could play community maps created using Hammer but they’re not the easiest things to install for most people. The time that goes into making them is completely out of proportion to how long it takes to beat them too, so after you’ve burned through them all you’re back at square one again waiting for another batch.

A map editor simple enough for a child to use could be a massive shot in the arm for Portal 2, at least if the amount of mods available for Skyrim on the Steam Workshop is any indicator. A couple of hours after the Skyrim Creation Kit came out there were already twelve whole pages worth of mods for it on the Steam Workshop, and that number has long since increased to crazy-go-nuts, you’ll-never-live-long-enough-to-play-them-all levels. If the Perpetual Testing Initiative facilitates even a fraction of Skyrim’s user-created content we’ll be eyeballs-deep in science for a long time to come, and that’s bloody fantastic. Even if 90% of the maps that come out after May 8th are complete and utter wank we should still have plenty of quality tests to run through.

I wonder if Valve still plan to run that map-making competition for American schoolkids they announced last year as part of the US Government’s Digital Promise initiative. That’s a whole bunch of new content right there, and what better lesson to teach the next generation than the importance of extremely rigorous scientific testing?

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Source: Giant Bomb


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Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind bitscreed.com and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.