The Puzzle Creator (also known as Puzzle Maker or Editor) is a part of the Perpetual Testing Initiative in Portal 2, a DLC released on May 8th, 2012 allowing the creation of single-player and Co-op test chambers within a simple in-game editor.
In order to create a Co-operative puzzle, the chamber must be marked as a "Co-operative puzzle" in the "File" menu of the Puzzle Creator.
The editor was first mentioned within The Final Hours of Portal 2, "[An in-game level browser won't be of much use unless] Valve figures out how to make designing Portal 2 maps an easier process. It has a plan there too, it comes in the form of a simplified level editor [...] a Photoshop for test chambers".
The "Puzzle Creator" does not appear to have a single official name; Valve published a blog post on the October 27, 2011 referring to the editor as the "Puzzle Creator", later referred to it on the blog post of April 27, 2012 as "Puzzle Maker" and simply calling it "Editor" in-game.
The Puzzle Creator features a stylised representation of the test chamber being worked on; featuring a simplified, bright, and flat color palette, and models and textures lack the level of detail that they would have in-game.
The initial view of the Puzzle Creator.
- Hovering the mouse over the left screen edge displays the item list.
- The top edge of the screen features four buttons: "Build and play puzzle", "Undo", "Redo", and "Switch to game view".
- Selecting and dragging the upper-right corner pans the camera view.
- Selecting and dragging the right edge controls the camera zoom.
- Selecting and dragging the lower-right corner controls the camera rotation.
- - Select a block or item.
- - On background: Pans camera view; On chamber: Context menu.
- - Click: Controls camera rotation; Scroll: Controls camera zoom (follows cursor).
- W+S - Zoom in/out.
- Q+E - Rotate left/right.
- W+S - Pan left/right.
- R+F - Rotate up/down.
- P - Toggle surface portalability.
- O - Invert surface portalability.
- ++- - Push/pull (extrude) surface.
- Delete/← Backspace - Delete selection.
- ⇧ Shift+ - Allows for batch selection of surfaces.
- c+ - Duplicates an item (does not duplicate any connections).
- alt+ - Places an item on the surface opposite to the one facing the camera.
- space+ - Pushes/pulls surface if selected.
- ctrl+N - New chamber
- ctrl+O - Open...
- ctrl+S - Save
- ctrl+⇧ Shift+S - Save as...
- Tab ⇆ - Switch to game view.
- F9 - Rebuild
- ctrl+Q - Exit editor
- ctrl+Z - Undo
- ctrl+Y - Redo
- ctrl+A - Select all
Initial non-repeating hints
- Click a chamber surface tile to select it.
- Click and drag across several surfaces to block-select.
- Right click selections to change surface portalability.
- Drag the boundary edge of a selection to move the highlighted surfaces.
- Press and drag the background to rotate your camera view.
- Move the mouse to the far left edge of the screen to open the puzzle item palette.
- Right click an item to change its properties or connect items together.
- The entry door, exit door, and large observation room are mandatory items. They can be moved, but they cannot be deleted or duplicated.
- Use the + and - keys to quickly modify selected chamber surfaces.
- Press P to change portalability of selected surfaces.
- Use the controls along the far right edge of the editor window to pan, zoom, and rotate your camera view.
- Rotate the camera view up to work on the ceiling.
- Rapidly duplicate puzzle items by holding down C while moving them.
- Use the mouse scroll wheel to zoom in and out.
- Some items need to occupy space behind the surface they are mounted to. Look for a dashed outline of the required volume while you move them.
- Some item placements are incompatible and will show an error indication until they are fixed.
- Use the adjustment gizmo that appears when you click an item to reposition it on its surface.
- Double click a surface to automatically expand the selection around all adjacent coplanar surfaces.
- Block-select surfaces on different planes to select a volume.
- Look for hotkey shortcuts along the right side of menus.
- The large mandatory observation room emits a bright light that casts shadows. Position it to enhance the visual effect of your chamber.
- Are your puzzles too dark? Use small observation room and light strip items to control the illumination level throughout your chamber.
- Press and drag the middle mouse wheel/button to rotate the camera view.
- The icons along the left side of a context menu are buttons that can be used repeatedly while the menu is open.
- Press and drag the middle mouse wheel/button while holding down ⇧ Shift to pan the camera view.
- With a volume selected, the + and - keys will fill or carve.
- Press and drag the right mouse button to rotate the camera view.
- Drag the boundary of a volume selection set to move a portion of your chamber along any 3D axis.
- Connect multiple buttons to a receiving item: This requires all to be pressed simultaneously for activation.
- Hold down the spacebar and drag anywhere to quickly move selected surfaces and volumes.
- Use Home key to reset the camera view.
- Press F9 to rebuild and run your puzzle.
- Use W, A, S, D keys to move the camera view.
- Use the Q E and R F keys to rotate the camera view.
- Press the O key to invert the portalability of selected surfaces
- Connect items together quickly by selecting one and using the K key.
- Hold down Alt while moving items to keep them on surfaces facing away from the camera view.
- Hold down ⇧ Shift while rotating turrets and dropper-less cubes to snap their orientation to 45 degree increments.
- When previewing your puzzle in first-person mode, use the 'noclip' console command to quickly navigate the chamber.
- Place up to 4 light strips on a surface by using their adjustment gizmo.
- Change glass to grating by right clicking and changing the barrier type.
- Drag a trajectory target back onto its faith plate to create a vertical launch.
- Create a pre-placed gel splat by deleting or disabling the associated dropper.
As the puzzle creator is designed for ease of use, certain limitations apply. These limitations can be overcome by exporting the map to Hammer in the Portal 2 Authoring Tools (see Related Commands).
- The entity limit is set to 1750; the actual number of items placeable by the user is much lower than this.
- The editor is block based, so complex geometry such as curves and angles smaller or greater than 90 degrees cannot be achieved.
- Chambers are isolated, so sequences of chambers cannot be published as one map using the Puzzle Creator alone.
- Certain item placements are "invalid", and the chamber cannot be built or exported to Hammer while invalid item placements exist within it. Invalid placements will show an error indication until fixed.
procedural_generator_solve_it - Solve the procedural puzzle generator.
procedural_generator_test - Test the procedural puzzle generator.
puzzlemaker_autosave_dev - autosaves the current puzzle as 'autosave.p2c'
puzzlemaker_drawselectionmeshes 0/1 - draw wireframe item selection meshes in red
puzzlemaker_export <name> - export the current puzzle as 'name.vmf' (maps are saved to common\portal 2\sdk_content\maps\)
puzzlemaker_load_dev - load the puzzle called 'name.p2c'
puzzlemaker_play_sounds 0/1 - sets if the puzzlemaker can play sounds or not
puzzlemaker_publish_dev - compile the current puzzle and publish it to the Steam workshop
puzzlemaker_save_dev <name> save the current puzzle as 'name.p2c'
puzzlemaker_shadows 0/1 - Enable shadows in the Portal 2 Puzzle Maker
puzzlemaker_show 0/1 - 1 shows the puzzle maker, 0 hides it
puzzlemaker_zoom_to_mouse 0/1/2 - 0-zoom to center of screen, 1-zoom to mouse cursor (smart), 2-zoom to mouse cursor
The following have been found in the game files:
Modifications are addons that add custom content to the PeTI Puzzle Maker and/or styles.
"Ben's Extended Editor 2", or BEE2, is a well-known modification for the PeTI which allows you to change the items available in the editor, as well as the style of chambers. It is the better version of the BEEMOD, a much more limited version of the BEE2. It can be downloaded at http://portal2backstock.com/bee2/, along with TeamSpen210's Addons. As of May 22nd, 2015, BEE2.4 is available on GitHub at https://github.com/BenVlodgi/BEE2.4. This is currently the only supported version, any bugs in the old BEE2 will not be fixed.
An example of a simple test chamber.
A bug in the Puzzle Creator which allows observation rooms to be placed on floors.
An observation room in an invalid state.
The message that appears when attempting to build a chamber containing errors.
Announcement screenshot #1
Announcement screenshot #2
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 ShackNews article Portal 2 in-game map editor confirmed accessed 22 October 2011
- ↑ Portal 2 - The Final Hours, page 10 of chapter "Unlikely Architects".
- ↑ Portal 2 Puzzle Creator Sneak Peek
- ↑ The Perpetual Testing Initiative