So, uh -- this Portal thing is kind of a big deal, I hear. I guess that explains the huge, huge goddamn crowd outside the Portal post-mortem at the final day of the Game Developers Conference, everyone giddy like kids on the first day of summer vacation.
Portal project lead Kim Swift and writer Erik Wolpaw were on hand to dig through the development of one of the year's greatest games. It's not unexpected that there was a lot of hero worship in the room, and high expectations as to new insights into the development of the title. Hit the jump for the run-down.
Holy god, talk about packed -- the line for this goddamn lecture stretched outside the hall, out to the main portion of Moscone West and snaking from one end of the hall to the other. Kim Swift and Erik Wolpaw were on hand to talk about the development of Portal, and it was the hottest ticket on GDC's final day. Thankfully, your favorite Linde knows how to queue. Or hold still. I'm good at both.
Even the incorporation of the year's runaway culturebomb "Still Alive" was created due to the lack of resources. Without the time and money to develop a massive ending loaded down with special effects, they wanted simply to leave the player with a sense of happiness. And what better way to do that than with a song? Y'know, especially that song.
The developers noted several times throughout the engagement that constraints played a huge role in the development of Portal. Though they weren't exactly broke, the limited amount of resources and the shot-in-the-dark development process actually helped them devise new, creative solutions to otherwise complex problems and create one of the finest games we've seen all year. In closing, Swift and Wolpaw suggested to the audience that developers should embrace restraints as fuel for creativity.
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