Monday, September 5, 2011

Wheat, Apples, Octavia's Cello, and Random Screenshots

To quote a favorite character of mine, "We Aten't Dead!" The mod is still moving along at about the same rate as it always has, which means updates shall probably continue to be sporadic. However, we do have several new items to share today that I have a feeling you're going to like. Let's just say that we haven't been sitting around twiddling our thumbs.

New models

Since the last time we updated, ActionScripter and VFX Kid have have recreated the shack from the ending of Portal 2 as well as various shapes and sizes of wheat! Excellent work y'all!

We'll be implementing these ingame very soon. They just need to finish the textures first.


Scale Map of the Sugarcube Corner Kitchen

We are waiting for the update on the architectural drawings on Equestria Daily. Since it never made it up there, I'm taking the liberty of showing it here first!

Scraticus from Thinking with Ponies (that Portal 2.5 Pony mod from a while back) has begun work on a full on architectural map of Sugar Cube corner, complete with pretty much every nook, cranny, and dimension of the place. The way this is done is by using several pieces of software which turns the 2D frame into 3D with 'depth' and using the ideal that a pony is 52 inches high, (40 inches or 10 hands to the shoulder) the frame can be scaled to match that measurement.

This is pretty difficult considering how often Pinkie Pie loves to accidentally shatter the boundaries of time and space, with her black hole stomach devouring everything, also the fact that a lot of the backgrounds are also scaled/not in the correct perspective.


SugarCube Corner Kitchen: (Now Complete!)

Plan (Top down View)
Elevation (Left/Right)
Elevation (Front/Back)
More to come soon!


Also, we have an answer to that age old debate: Is Octavia playing a cello or a double bass? Recently, somepony attempted to use the APPLE system to solve this problem. Unfortunately, they made a few critical errors in their calculations. The first of these is that they used an incorrect doppelganger apple system not created by Scrat... (Don't accept any substitutes for the real thing folks! It doesn't work.)

Secondly, while their idea of scaling Octavia's face until it was the same size as Applejack's was an excellent one, it missed the fact that Octavia is actually a smaller pony. There are two pieces of reasoning behind this fact.

First off, let's compare Octavia to the grand piano. Standing on her hind legs, she comes pretty much just even with the top of it, which places her somewhere around a height of 48" inches when she's on her back hooves.

Then we have this fun (and slightly inappropriate) little pic which proves that Pinkie Pie (with a height of 52" when she's on all four hooves) is definitely taller than Octavia's 48 inches on back hoof height.

A Scale different is pinkie standing next to the tuba player, shows also that she is taller than octavia when she is standing on her back legs. she is a smaller pony, in line with a filly's height

Scrat Update:

I wasn't going to post the pictures of my apple scale's actual lengths, but i know there will be a few neigh-sayers out there that will whine and moan about not seeing proof of concept.

So i've put a post in about this.

The Cello is around 60" in size, (64" in apple size, but it shrinks to 60" in 2 other shots with pinkie pie in them (as seen above)

The BOW octavia is using IS a cello length bow at 28". if it was a double bass it would be 25-26" in size. it matches 7 apples exactly, as you can see here.

Octavia, is a smaller pony at only 48" tall, which means she's either a filly or a teenager pony, because her height matches that of the piano, when standing (which is 4 feet tall).

The apple scale i use is based off the two shots with pinkie within them, (and the fact we know how tall a grand piano is). The Harp also is 58" tall, which could have been from the inspiration of this harp?

Octavia's height when standing on all 4 hooves: about 40" tall (20" to the shoulder) (about the same as the average filly and 10" shorter than Pinkie Pie)
The height of the instrument (without its stand): 60-64" (around 5 feet) tall
The height of the instrument (with the stand): 64-68" tall
Length of her bow: 28" long
Height of piano: 48" (4 feet)
Height of harp: 58"

Based on these numbers, we have no choice but to support the cello side of the debate. With any luck, this will hopefully end the "conflict".


Mod Screenshots

While we've been mostly concentrating on behind the scenes items, we have made a decent amount of progress in terms of actual mod items, particularly since most of us have minimal experience with Source.

First item of importance: Double Portals!

While they are both currently the same color scheme, the double portal system as a whole works well and feels completely natural when using it around a level. You're going to enjoy this folks!

Secondly, we are making actual levels right now. Valve has made a few changes to the engine that are slowing down our progress, but it's coming along nicely. Sadly, it is currently impossible to make new particle effects (which are mandatory for parts of the mod), but with any luck they'll fix the problem soon. For your viewing pleasure, here are a few screenshots of some of what we've completed so far.

The following is a simulation of something from the first chapter. We can't get the full sized particle effect quite yet (no particle creation tools...), but it's at least a sneak peak of what's to come!

And just for the fun of it, here are a few bloopers. I'll let you figure out what they are. :D

In any case, that's all we have to show for now, or at least all we want to show for now. Check back in a couple weeks, and we'll probably have something else up here again. See y'all around!


  1. Yay, you aren't dead! :D /slow

  2. No working Particle Editor for Portal 2?
    Perhaps you should try using the Alien Swarm SDK for particles, as that game also uses version 7.5 of the .vtf format.

    It's not like if its .pcf's are incompatible with Portal 2 that it wouldn't be worthing trying, right? :P

  3. @Anonymous I'm not dead!

    I don't want to go on the cart! D:

  4. @NotAGoodUsername360 'ere, 'ee says 'ee's not dead!

    I can't take 'im like that.

  5. @FamusJamus
    There we go, see you on thursday.

  6. Good to see this project is still running ;)
    Awesome as always guys!

  7. DOUBLE PORTALS ALL THE WAY. #hadtobedone

  8. @Zarkith
    That is an excellent idea. Heck, before there was an official Portal 2 development tool kit, folks were forced to use the Alien Swarm editor to create Portal 2 levels, so it's definitely been done before. Assuming that Valve hasn't disabled the particle editor in Alien Swarm as well, this should work straight off the bat. Thanks a bunch for the idea!

  9. @Silent Machina

    You mean the things at the end of Portal 2 or the things we have? I can see why you'd think that for the former, but for the stuff we have, we just have different types of wheat, some of which isn't fully grown.

  10. Hope you guys remember to have that cube be burnt and whatnot when you get to finalizing the game.

  11. "the double portal system as a whole works well and feels completely natural when using it around a level"

    Okay, good. I was afraid I'd need to buy an 8-button mouse to operate all the hooves.

  12. So what exactly is the control mechanism for multiple portal guns? And, dual? Not quad like the story?

  13. Normal click = First portal pair
    Shift + normal click = Second portal pair
    As for why we're only using two pairs of portals, just take a moment and imagine yourself as a pony. Then try and aim your rear legs to fire two different portals quickly and accurately. Not particularly easy or fun... However, these rear guns will come in handy as, say, back-ups in case one of the primary portal boots fail? Or we could just have other plans for them that we're not going to tell you about quite yet. :D Don't worry, we're definitely wearing all four boots.

  14. Ah, okay. I was thinking the scroll wheel switching with the scroll wheel, but that makes more sense.

    Does working with a quadrupedal player as opposed to a bipedal one pose any interesting challenges for level design or the game mechanics?

  15. Also, the CAPTCHA for that last comment was "apple". I tried jumping and it didn't work.

  16. What are the colors of the portals? Orange/blue (c.f. the fic) and what?

  17. @Nulono

    Right now the second pair is also blue and orange. Still early in development and all that. I think we'll be nailing down an alternate color scheme once we find out how to change them. :P

  18. I think red/green would be the most logical choice for the other portals.

    Does working with a quadrupedal player as opposed to a bipedal one pose any interesting challenges for level design or the game mechanics?

  19. @Nulono

    Of course it does. :) But we'll figure it out. It's definitely possible.

  20. What are those problems specifically? I'm interested in game design, so it would be nice to learn. :)

  21. @Nulono

    Well, okay, if you really want to know... *inhale*

    The point of view is all wrong; the camera needs to be lowered to match pony height if there's to be any realism; the Aperture Science equipment has to accomodate ponies instead of humans; all the level signs need to be re-textured; the portal guns can't be carried by hand and need to be redesigned while maintaining plausible functionality; the default human armature is no longer useful to us; all the standard character animations have to be re-done for a pony armature; the walk cycle is twice as complicated; the inverse kinematics for adjusting the stand position on sloped surfaces need to be done over for four legs; and all the shortcuts for character design by using pre-made models are pretty much thrown out.

    But, you know... whatever you wanna do is fine. /fluttershy

  22. Is it possible to shoot a portal through another portal? That would open up so many... possibilities.

  23. Not possible by artistic decisions or technical limitations? If the latter, I'm gonna have to take that as a challenge.

    Yay, my own pet project!

  24. Technical limitations... but also, we don't really want to screw with the mechanics of the game, since most people are already used to the existing rules of Portal physics. :ponyshrug:

  25. @ActionScripter9109 Ah, okay, I guess you can always poke your portal gun through enough to shoot a portal.

  26. Scratch that; it looks like they fixed that in Portal 2.

  27. You haven't said anything in months! Did you make any progress, or is this project dead?

    1. We've most definitely made progress. We're trying to work out which parts to show before we post any updates. Stay tuned!

  28. If I find the file I can try to upload it for you.