Portal, room 15: did I cheat?

To be clear: it’s not 2008. I’m a late PS3 adaptor, and I’ve just now bought the Orange Box. I’m at room 16 and I’m having a lot of (infuriating) fun.

Here’s the situation: halfway through room 15 there’s a sort of winding corridor flooded with acidic water. There are (I’m about to find out) three platforms that come out of the corner, travel along a straight line, and then disappear into the wall again. It seems pretty clear what I have to do: shoot a blue portal where the first platform reaches the wall, jump through the portal onto the platform, shoot an orange portal where the other platform ends up, jump back into the blue portal and out the orange portal onto the next platform, repeat until I reach the other side or have slowly become colourblind. The problem is I can’t get the timing right: jumping onto the platform, shooting the orange portal, and jumping back into the blue portal before the platform has moved too far away (and the other platform is no longer in the desired place) proves to be too much for my 31-year-old fingers.

So after n times of trying (n being an embarassingly high number) I discover that if you venture into the entry portal just far enough, you can sort of poke your gun out of the exit portal without actually stepping into the next room, shooting a new exit portal: that way, if you just retreat afterwards, you end up there instead of where you came from. I had shot a portal through another portal in a few rooms, but only straight ahead, without actually peeking through the portal. So I figure: okay, so I can get onto the second platform without ever having touched the first one. Try that a few times: same timing issues going from the second to the third platform. Then I think: if I can do it going from 1 to 2, surely I can do it going from 2 to 3? And what do you know: it works. Peaking through the 2-to-3 portal, I find out I can make a hole in a wall over solid ground and complete the corridor without ever using the platforms (and, technically, without stepping through the intervening portals).

So, I made it through, but without using the platforms: I find it hard to believe that they’re there for no reason, and the whole “carefully leaning into the next room in the nothingness between portals” thing doesn’t seem very elegant to me. So, what do you think: did I do it the “right” way, or did I exploit a glitch in the game? Did you use the platforms, or not?

Man, I can’t wait to get my hands on that cake…

The cake is a LIE!

And yes, it sounds like a bug. I played on the PC, and I recall that level. Hard. Don’t remember if I tried your cheat though. Did valve abandon portal on the consoles like it did TF2?

I’m pretty sure on some level or another (on the PC) I tried poking my head and arm through a portal and shooting another portal, and it didn’t work.

See, that’s exactly what I did: it works on the PS3. It sure felt like a bug.

Yeah, TF2 was pretty underwhelming on the 360. I haven’t played it on the PC, though.

And to address the original problem, the timing isn’t tricky if you do it right. Put your exit portal in the most convenient place, without regard for where the platforms happen to be at the moment. Wait for the platform to come along to the right place for that exit portal. When the platform’s in the right place, then place your entrance portal and go through it. Note that, if you want, your entrance portals can all be in the room before that with stable footing, so you don’t have to put it in the corridor next to the moving platform you’re on: Just ride the platform back to your starting point, and then make your entrance.

Also, you’ve probably already figured this out, but watch the target platform through your portal, not through the corridor.

I’ll go give it a try again today and see if I can do it.

The cake is not a lie.

I wouldn’t call it cheating, I did the same thing when escaping the last test chamber. For some reason I forgot you could “fling” yourself using portals so I used the method you described (on a PC no less) to get to the far off ledge. It’s probably not the INTENDED way, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheating. There’s breaking the game, and then there’s breaking the game. Now if you found a way to bug yourself outside of the game geometry and just walk to the top I may call it cheating, but if you just found a small design oversight like that I’m liable to just call it the “creative thinking” sort of breaking the game.