Portal 2 isn’t the biggest game around – it has a length of 6-8 hours, which some fans were initially disappointed by (compare it to HL2′s length of 10-15 hours). But by and large, P2 is a pretty huge game, considering its puzzle game heritage, and especially when it is compared to its 2007 predecessor, which barely clocked in at 4 hours.
And it has such an intricate game structure, that the average player is likely to miss many aspects, and perhaps hidden details of the experience, on… well, just about every playthrough he embarks upon.
But as it turns out, there is a way to see exactly what makes Portal 2 tick. Read on!
Piotr Bugno is an interface designer at Wizamin, and a teacher at SUPSI. He has created this absolutely wonderful infographic chart depicting the “timelines” of Portal 2′s in-game sequential progression, across: character development; evolution in setting; and game mechanic flow.
The charts are structured as follows: the left axis displays a certain data type, such as the name of a character or a game mechanic. The right (and the largest) axis illustrates all the occurences of a data type, i.e. how many times a character appears in the game. Lastly, the bottom axis displays level/map numbers, which are used as units for the chart. The maps’ respective chapter titles are also displayed.
Without further ado, I present… the big picture (har har), in all its splendor… just be sure to click it:
Here’s some added context on this thing, straight from Piotr himself:
- total number of mechanics: 28
- total number of mechanics and their variations: 40
- maximum number of mechanics in one level: 11, on level 19
- minimum number of mechanics in one level: 0, on level 34
- average number of mechanics per level: 6.74 (411/61)
- mechanics and variations are introduced every: 1.5 levels (61/40) on average
- most mechanics and variations are introduced at the beginning of the game
- the three most used mechanics are: Portals (on 58 levels), Grills (on 52 levels) and Grab (on 43 levels)
It’s all really insightful, and really interesting, and I’d like to see more of these, perhaps even for other Valve titles apart from the Portal series. As hard as it can be to see the underlying lattice that brings a game’s mechanics together – it is there, and with enough patience and observation, it can be brought to light.