Okay, you got me, I admit it, I am addicted to Chime.
So try and guess my excitement when we were given the news that PC fans would finally be able to play Chime and that they would get a new grid and a new song to go with it.
Then we found out that the grid and song were themed around Valves classic game, Portal …… and that I would be working on realising it through art and design.
I was very happy to say the least.
I, like so many others around me are long time fans of Valve and Portal. The fit just seems so right.
I’ve played through Portal many, many times and highly value its stylistic choices, both in visual and design.
Initial discussions were about making the grid shaped like an iconic element from the Portal universe. We experimented with ‘Portal men’, cake, companion cubes and lots more grid shapes.
Early Chime grid investigation
These were fun to see but they were far too difficult. Chime really is a balancing act between fun and challenge. We needed a new angle.
I quickly returned to my initial thoughts of subtly as a key direction and designed a grid that was more of a traditional Chime affair. This grid still needed to retain Portal aspects though, so I started to think more laterally. What makes a Portal test chamber and where could I bring that over to a Chime grid?
In the final Chime grid design you can imagine the stage as a top down level map, with different sections that would need different tactics to traverse. You can also imagine the voids as the notorious bottomless pits that add to the challenge. Initially it looks simple but as you play you find hidden challenges and some that you create yourself. It’s this learning element that I wanted to capture and feel that both Chime and Portal share.
The grid is also accompanied with its own background video and supporting effects which were handed over to our video guru Ross Shepherd to put into motion. For the background video I studied a lot of reference and after some further experiments I focused on the original Portal box art. Fans can recognise this; it has the iconography from all the test chambers and again seems to fit really nicely. Anything more detailed could be too distracting from the game play.
Plus it just looks great.
I really enjoyed working on this tribute from one great game to another.
I hope you have as much fun playing as I did making.
I’m making a note here, huge success.
Rob Parker – Graphic Artist