Canceled Prequel to Portal? Video Series Takes a Look at the Code for Aperture Camera

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The first episode in a video series set to explore the code for the cancelled prequel to Portal by Valve released last month, showcasing Valve’s attempt at a spin on the puzzle solving mechanics that made the first two titles so popular.

The series, called Exposure, is a documentary-type archaeological journal, according to creator LunchHouse Software:

“The mechanics are not based on speculation or heresay,” LunchHouse writes on the official Exposure website. “Instead, Exposure uses the original, official code from Valve’s own F-STOP, or as it was properly named, Aperture Camera. We look forward to sharing more in the near future.

In The Final Hours of Portal 2, an interactive book published in 2011 by game journalist Geoff Keighley that chronicles the creation of the game by Valve, the game known as F-Stop is discussed, but the look at the engine with LunchHouse is the first look at the how the world is built and interacted with.

“We’ve reached out to Valve, who’ve given us explicit permission to continue with our project using their original code,” LunchHouse said in the description of the video on YouTube.

In the short 1 minute, 34 second long video, the player is running through a hallway in first person, holding a camera.

The player opens a door and walks up to a pile of boxes and snaps a quick picture. After pulling out the Polaroid (no shaking required), the item that was photographed appeared in an empty space and vacating its previous location. The player then manipulated the physical size and location of the cube before confirming its placement.

The player continued to photograph and move the cubes in varying sizes and locations to showcase the mechanic before endeavoring to photograph and move the two balloons penned up with the now-moved boxes.

Add a second balloon and it is clear the this code was built with the intention of challenging players with the physics-infused puzzle solving that stole our hearts with Portal and Portal 2.

The video goes further to showcase how the camera is used to manipulate the environment around the player to travel through the world before fading to black.

The video is the first in a series that seeks to showcase how the state of the code that Valve created and left it when the game was canceled.

Additionally, LunchHouse software is creating a game titled PUNT that will utilize the source engine showcased in the series, according to the company’s website.

PUNT is a first-person physics-based puzzle game built on Valve’s Source Engine,” the projects page of the website says. “It serves as the first release of LunchHouse Software and is slated for release in early 2020.”

The official LunchHouse projects website includes a link to a Half-Life 2 mod that shares the same name.
“PUNT is a revival of rHetorical’s original PUNT, a first person environmental puzzle game using the Source Engine,” the moddb.com description for PUNT reads. “Equipped with the Punt gun, which can activate and deactivate the manipulation of physics for certain objects, players must navigate and solve numerous puzzles. PUNT has been greenlit, and will release on Steam upon completion.”

Follow the Exposure video series here.

Valve announced at the end of last year that the VR-only Half-Life: Alyx is slated to launch in March 2020.