Valve has hosted Portal 2 map contests in the past, but those tools are more advanced and best suited to the modding community. Now the company is reportedly experimenting with an easier tool set that will be more inviting to aspiring level creators.
An update to Geoff Keighley's The Final Hours of Portal 2 (via Kotaku) explains the tools, described as "Photoshop for levels." The new kit would be more user-friendly, and include a level browser to boot. The browser could even make it to consoles, letting PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 players benefit from the work of creators.
Also intriguing is the idea of adding personality to the level editor. "Imagine what it would be like to have GLaDOS berate you every time you spell something incorrectly in Microsoft Word and you'll have a sense of where this can go," Keighley writes.
Now for the bad news. The report is unclear on whether this is a definitive, planned update, or just some idle tinkering from Valve. The nebulousness of the plan means that if we do get these tools and browser, it may well be on Valve Time.
Steve Watts posted a new article, New Portal 2 level creator being considered by Valve.
Valve is reportedly working on an easier level creator tool set and level browser for Portal 2, but it's unclear if the company is planning to release it.
If this comes to fruition it is likely a thin front-end with simplified graphics--perhaps not unlike the original animated portal trailers--that will send .vmf files off to a valve server cluster for compiling; that or compiles will be restricted to fast mode.
sounds like the track editor for track mania.. I could see this working well for the linear goals in portal.
They are definitely doing something. I'm a frequent player of custom portal 2 maps, and since the DLC a few weeks ago they have made a change where you can no longer load .vpk files from the console in game (one of the ways you could load a custom map).
Now you have to extract the contents of these containers to their respective material folders, and it would seem that moving forward modders are being encouraged to make full on mini clients that would run from steam itself (with their own folder structure in the steam directory) to be able to run custom maps. This would have the added benefit of allowing custom menus and title screens etc.
Still, some of us would rather have the standard method of loading a .bsp into the maps folder and loading from the main game as that would be quicker.
Something like this really makes sense for how Portal 2 is designed. The level architecture itself is simple enough in terms of design that it can be reduced to prefabs and such. I'd love to see some community features built right into the game for downloading and rating custom levels. And if console players can get in on the fun, then it's all for the better.
If this is going to consoles, my guess is a Forge-like program from Halo, just for Portal.