Level With Me, vol. 1
A downloadable portal 2 mod for Windows and macOS
by Robert Yang (www.debacle.us, @radiatoryang)
a collaborative playable games journalism / criticism / interview project for Rock Paper Shotgun, culminating in an experimental Portal 2 mod about authorship originally released in December 2011, patched in March 2015; requires Portal 2 on Steam to play.
- PRICE: $0 (FREE), no payment allowed.
- AVERAGE RUNTIME: 1-2 hours. Feel free to stop playing Chapter 1 ("The Meat Pack") if you get stuck at any point, especially at the overly difficult last puzzle, you'll know it when you see it.
- COLLABORATORS / INTERVIEWEES WERE:
- Dan Pinchbeck (The Chinese Room) 25 Oct 2011
- Jack Monahan (Stellar Jockeys) 1 November 2011
- Magnar Jenssen (Avalanche Studios / Valve) 7 November 2011
- Brendon Chung (Blendo Games) 15 November 2011
- Davey Wreden (Galactic Cafe) 22 November 2011
- Ed Key (Twisted Tree Games) 29 November 2011
- Richard Perrin (Locked Door Puzzle) 23 December 2011
I'm not really sure who "Level With Me" is for. I suspect that means I've made it for no one. Yes, there are some genuine puzzles. Also, there are some purely conceptual puzzles. And then there's one section where the only thing you really do is open a door. (It's a pretty cool door though.)
The original plan was just to release the Portal 2 map, largely as it was, and then promptly wash my hands of it. I was reluctant to take authorship. Unfortunately, my conscience -- in the form of Davey Wreden's sonorous, pleading voice -- intervened and made me postpone the mod for 2 weeks, to complete it to a personal standard. That standard demanded two additional levels, wholly built by me, that bookend the original map and hopefully contextualize the process of its construction.
If you've been reading the series from the beginning, you may recognize certain ideas we discussed, now given some sort of life. If not, read the interviews after you play and trace their origins. It's kinda like a game?... Ugh.
--R, 20 December 2011
In the years since this mod's original release, it strikes me that 6 of 7 interview subjects were white men. They were very lovely and articulate white men -- but my goal was to achieve an "honest" overview of practice across level design, and non-diverse panels can never give "honest" overviews of a field. Future installments are, and will be, more diverse, especially along gender / race lines.
--R, 22 March 2015
- Download the .ZIP file, and unzip (with entire directory structure intact) to \Steam\SteamApps\SourceMods\
- Restart Steam.
- Double-click on "Level With Me"
This mod should technically work with Portal 2 on Mac OSX with some fiddling, but OSX is not officially supported. (On OSX, put it in ~\Library\Application Support\Steam\SteamApps\SourceMods\ )