Portals with Personalities

28th July 2010

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

I have no idea if this idea has been proposed before but it came to me in a dream. It was between the “Trapped between two broken staircases” and “giant bees and giant cameras fighting”!

With the advent of Portal 2 people have been thinking about new gameplay mechanics for Portal, and that’s pretty cool, but has anybody suggested changing the way the portals work?

In my dream the portals were different shapes; each shape telling the player what they did. So, a rectangular portal, like in my crappy Photoshop image, would send you out at twice the speed, a square one would slow you down, a triangular one, with the point facing left would curve you to the left, a hexagonal would slow time down for a second or so and so on.

Of course, the maps would be designed to require different types of portals, which brings us onto the new point; we would need a new portal gun, or at least a new way of using it. I propose using the weapon select concept, so that players select the type of portal they want then use it.

I had one idea where as the player passed through the portal they became blind for a few seconds but any doors that required buttons pressed to open, were opened automatically.

I’d love to hear readers’ idea for what other effects the portals could have.

In my dream, as I passed through a portal it actually spoke to me and that’s why I used “personalities” in the title. Each one was like Mister Men, but with a slightly darker side. The personality and voice would be matched with the Portal effect.

As a side note there are some pretty nice skins that you can use with Portal. Check them out on FPS Banana.


  1. Luke L

    I think changing the colour (maybe green for time dilation, red for speed boost etc) would be more effective when quickly changing perspectives. Cool idea though.

    1. Yes, good point, but what about colour blind people? Perhaps a combination of shape and colour/effect might work. I didn’t mention this but with more option it might be feasible to have more than two portals open at once too.

      1. Pyro

        It is. Some maps have already done it.

        …Including ones you’ve posted here.

  2. It’s a neat concept, but I think that implementing any of this would be over-complicating something that is enjoyable primarily due to its basic simplicity, and how that simple mechanic can then be applied in complex ways.

    1. That’s another good point. Perhaps the mapper could select which portal styles to allow. perhaps a double click on a portal would create the second type. Might be fun the play around with though.

  3. MikeS

    I think this is a great idea. I’d love to collect Portal guns of different colours or cartridges that fit into the existing Portal gun (like weapon upgrades) so the player could choose which type of Portal they wanted. The mapper could control how the player uses them by “feeding” the required upgrade just when it is needed.

    I’d like a Portal that slows me down on the other side so I have more time to place the next one!

  4. Cyo

    Hmm, I suppose it could be possible, with having the Portal gun having different modes, one being the standard two portals, another being the speedup/slowdown one, and a last one adding a left/right curved trajectory.

    However, this is adding a little too much to a system that is already complex, yet simple and easy to understand.

  5. I once wanted to make a Portal mod, in which the player comes along different Portal gun prototypes, presumably created during testing. So one would be very weak and be very small. Once would have different Portal sizes, so anything going through one Portal would have a different size when exiting the other one!

    There are wicked things you can do with portals. Basically, when you fiddle aroudn with them or Portals intersect though…

    … major time space continuum f^*k up!

  6. hey, I just made a comment but it never showed up 🙁

    1. It was in the moderation queue because it contained the word “f^*k”.

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