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CMU Electronic Media Studio II, Fall 2011, Section D » Looking Outwards 3: Portal Edition

Looking Outwards 3: Portal Edition

Looking Outwards — JOLYN.SANDFORD @ 4:07 am

I decided to make my next Looking Outwards Portal themed! SPOILERS BELOW if you haven’t played Portal 2. If you don’t plan on it, go ahead and look, there’s some really cool sculpting and programming stuff here!

POTaDOS

  • So there are some pretty dedicated replica prop-makers, especially for the Portal series by VALVe!  In Portal 2, there’s a moment when an AI is removed from the computer systems and attached to a potato battery, which you pick up and cart around as it snarks at you. Pictured here is a piece by a very thorough prop-maker who goes by Volpin. The potato GLaDOS lights up, speaks, and fits onto the end of the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device, to which it is connected for power. To make it, he actually made a rubber mold of an actual potato, created a hollow cast of it, and created a board of LED lights that allowed the “eye” and other lights to turn on. It’s really amazing how accurate he made it to the game, and the only thing I wish could happen would be for potato to be removable from the portal gun. To be honest, I really want to learn enough Arduino to make a simpler version of POTaDOS.

Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device

  • And now for the ASHPD itself! To date, Volpin has only made 3 of these – one for his girlfriend (now wife), one for a charity auction, and another commissioned by VALVe. Each portal gun is “operational,” which is to say it lights up, changes colours from orange to blue with a sound, plays the portal-shooting sound when fired, and also plays “power-up” and “power-down” sounds when turned on or off. All of this is made possible with a small perfboard and some ribbon cable, with a pre-programmed chip to allow for sound. Similar to POTaDOS, the ASHPD is created through casting and molding pieces that Volpin created from scratch. These props are mind-blowing in his attention to detail and the sheer finish of them. I’d love to see them in person!

Sentry Turret

  • Now this one is a real showcase of what something like Arduino can do – within the turret is motion-activated laser and sound. Created by Ryan Palser in accordance to the first Portal game, it is accurate down to the engraved text around the “eye.” A breadboard is used for the motion sensor, which trips the voice clips and the laser sight. The entire thing is able to be turned on in the back using a switch, and it can also play the Portal theme (which disables the motion sensor).  There are 4 LEDs in the eye, and it has both batteries and a wall adapter for power. It’s really stunning how well this is crafted – again, the individual pieces were molded and cast, and the electronics were apparently bought cheap from reused items. If I could learn to do this with Arduino, I would consider my learning a success.

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