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The Leak Drama

Portal Beta files have been tossed by the community a lot. On June 21st someone leaked a previously unreleased restoration mod of the original Portal beta on the Facepunch forums; http://archive.is/PHBSE The leaked beta contained the whole 2006 Portal Campaign (All test chambers and escape battle) and one map from 2005 which was lab_lvl3a.

'Project Beta Group', members of Facepunch's Half-Life/Source modding community, had been given beta and development assets from both Valve and ex-employees in good faith to create a restoration mod showcasing the origins and evolution of the earliest stages of Portal. The assets were loose, partial, or otherwise unfinished, requiring considerable time and effort by the mod team to reconstruct and compile a working, though still raw, build of the mod. That the leak was not simply sharing files already shared by Valve, some of which were never intended to go public, but also negated the unfinished work of a dedicated mod team who had spent years on the project had a predictable outcome on the forums; http://archive.is/Ek1lJ

Here is where the allegations begin.

Valve News Network, a Patreon-funded Valve news/gossip YouTube channel was given an early build of the mod for use in a 2 hour documentary-style video titled 'The Evolution of Portal'. It's alleged that VNN then traded the files without the mod team's permission for similar development assets from early versions of Left 4 Dead to use in a future video.

On June 22nd an established member of the Facepunch community claims to have received a statement from Valve, essentially an email reprimand that said:

Hi -removed-

Sharing beta content in an uncontrolled fashion, such as with the recent portal content fiasco, is wholly detrimental to the community at large. When such content is shared privately or with mod developers it is usually done in a way that the content can be shared after it has been adjusted for the retail version of the game.

Sharing the development files is usually not allowed without expressed written permission, however it is fine to share mod builds that use imported versions of these art assets. When these community conflicts happen from archives shared in good faith it looks bad for both parties and could be detrimental to the future cooperation between us and the community.

causing many to believe serious harm has been done to the modding communities' relationship with Valve, a company not exactly known for its openness; http://archive.is/ke8Zr#selection-5891.0-5891.8 . Later the modding community managed to reconstruct the broken leaked 2006 maps and made a few 2005 maps based on the lab_lvl3a which contained: Relaxation Vault, Chamber 13, Chamber 18 (lab_lvl4, partially). Other maps (Test Chamber 4 and Test Chamber 8) were based on the vgui .vtf pictures found in the game files of the leaked beta. Project-Beta used those maps to create 2005 campaign which was missing a lot of chambers based on the leaked pictures of the official test chamber design.

The general consensus on Facepunch is that VNN harmed the community to further his channel.

That the leaked files did originate from VNN doesn't appear to be in contention. In his only response so far VNN claims that his motives were only to archive files and information that would have otherwise remained unavailable in the collections of "beta enthusiasts," and that the leak was done by someone with access to his archive upset with this fact; http://archive.is/EEtfC#selection-2021.0-2021.9


A playable build with this content was given to ValveNewsNetwork to make a video about the history of Portal's development. In June 2006 VNN, without prior permission of the Project-Beta team shared the assets given to him with other users in the leak community, ultimately resulting in the content being leaked on Facepunch Studios and the killing off of development of Portal Project-Beta.

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