Thinking with Time Machine

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Alright, this next test may involve trace amounts of time travel. So, word of advice: If you meet yourself on the testing track, don't make eye contact. Lab boys tell me that'll wipe out time. Entirely. Forward and backward! So do both of yourselves a favor and just let that handsome devil go about his business.
Cave Johnson
Thinking with Time Machine
Thinking with Time Machine Header.jpg

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Basic Information



SignHead Studio


Source Engine


18 Apr 2014




First-person puzzle/platformer


Portal 2

Not to be confused with Portal: Reloaded, which involves the use of a time portal.

Thinking with Time Machine is a Portal 2 modification featuring a new gameplay element known as the "Time Machine" which allows the player to record and play back their actions in the game world.


The story continues from the end of Portal 2 where Chell successfully escapes the facility. However, a crow accidentally flies into the "sky", breaking the illusion of a wide open field created by giant screens. After Chell reawakens, she is revealed to be in the underground portion of the facility, where an elevator leads to new, futuristic-style test chambers.

After completing a tutorial, Chell runs across an unsolvable test, until you press a button and a record player falls out, followed by a Borealis hologram, which cracks a hole in the wall. Chell discovers the two co-op bots, P-Body and Atlas, saying that they shut down GLaDOS. They say they will keep tabs on Chell, and the new "Time Machine". GLaDOS tells Chell to go back in time, and the chamber opens.

She is then tasked with completing 9 highly challenging test chambers. After their completion, Chell reaches a white spherical room. It transports her back in time to Portal 2's ending, at which point GLaDOS tells her that she is 'free'.


Example gameplay of the mod, showing the Time Machine, the portal gun, the differently styled test chamber and a time-double.
Main article: Mechanics

Time Machine

Accurately recreates the player's actions. Activated by hitting the R (default) key, then the Q key to stop. The F key activates the mechanic and enable the Machine to start replicating the actions. Is a clipboard in Chell's left hand with a screen showing what the time-double sees, or an Aperture logo showing which mode the time machine is set to.

Anti-gravity buttons

These are first introduced in Test Chamber 5. They come in the form of regular buttons (Sphere, Cube, etc) on the ceiling. By letting go of a Cube or Sphere close to it it will slowly move towards it and finally activate the button. These only appear once and for people playing the game for the first time will have trouble with it due to lack of information on how the buttons work.

Extensive use of Laser Fields

Later test chambers involve complex Laser Field activation puzzles.

New textures for Cubes, Buttons

Cubes have a spinning Aperture Science logo in the center. Droppers assemble the cube from pieces inside the dropper. Exit doors are see-through and elevator rooms are differently made.


  • Frankenturret assembly glitch
A glitch occurs when making maps using TWTM's in-game PeTi. Because there is no model nor animation for assembling Frankenturrets, when a Frankenturret is assembled its model is replaced by an Edgeless Safety Cube and a Weighted Storage Cube. When the animation is complete the Frankenturret doesn't spawn.