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I LOVE this campaign - great atmosphere, great pacing, awesome panic events. 10/10! —Sumojedi (www.moddb.com)

Archive for October, 2009

Oct23

Best. Trailer. Ever.

Posted by Nicolas in General

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Our last news got a bit buried under this new Left 4 Dead 2 trailer, don’t forget to check it out too and understand why it takes us so long to release something good.

By the way, don’t expect our trailer to be this awesome…

Oct22

Could someone fix Left 4 Dead please?

Posted by Nicolas in Development, Lamentation, Media

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As you may already know it, we’re almost done with the big stuff (ie: level-design and gameplay). What’s left is mostly bugfixes, sound effects and little details here and there, which will still take some time. But I’d like to point a few things I’m not really happy with recently and that most people don’t understand when they contact us.

I’m not gonna make a pamphlet about Valve, but the situation around Left 4 Dead custom campaigns is seriously fucked up. Sorry for the harsh words but, it’s been nearly one year since the game was released and six months since the SDK was added to the game, and still… half of the features are still bugged out or simply not supported. That’s something people heavily discuss on the Left 4 Dead Mailing List, but nothing seems to move on Valve’s side. What’s still impossible to do, you ask?

  • You can’t embed custom music in your campaign VPK.
  • You can’t embed custom sounds in your campaign VPK at all because players would have to rebuild the whole Left 4 Dead sound cache each time they install a new campaign, and when it doesn’t simply mess up everything, it takes almost 10 minutes to complete.
  • Custom models are crashing the game randomly when embedded in the campaign VPK.
  • You still can’t embed custom particle effects, in the maps or in the VPK.
  • The sound system is ruined and plays random sounds at random events, like an alarm sound when you set zombies on fire and such…
  • We can’t make custom game instructor messages and as we can’t record survivor voices ourselves, there’s mostly nothing we can to to help players understand what to do.

And believe me, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Basically, what I’m saying is that more than 11 months after the release of the game, we still can’t make elaborated custom campaigns. Should we see a deliberate method of pushing players and modders to Left 4 Dead 2, I don’t think so ; but there’s something seriously wrong in there. So, if you’re waiting for our campaign, you might as well wait for the next bugfixes. Until then, here’s a few widescreen action screenshots of the first three maps!




















Sorry for the quality of the darkest ones, the JPEG format doesn’t like big dark areas. And by the way, what I said in this article is my own opinion, and not the team’s one (even if I know they agree with my opinion) and I know there’s some campaign out there that do have custom sound/music/models, but it mostly relies on hacks and exponentially increase the campaign size. And our campaign contains a hell of a lot of custom content.

Oct4

Fresh news from the front

Posted by Geoffroy in Media, Progress

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It’s been a while since we last gave you some real news about the content of the campaign itself and most of you had been pretty patient until now. We never stopped working on the campaign, but we’re not working on it full-time either, so it takes some time. You already know that the first, second and third maps are finished ; it still need a few tweaks here and there, but nothing really hard to do. Lately, there was some huge progress on the fourth and fifth levels too.

For the moment Geoffroy and Marc are working hard on these fourth and fifth levels while Nicolas is waiting for them to finish in order to create the navigation meshes and link everything together. These last two maps are almost finished, we’re probably somewhere around 85 or 90% of completion. In this article, we’ll focus a bit more on the Lumberyard level, right after Underground, where survivors are back to fresh air. We could also talk about the final Lakeside level but… we kinda want to keep some mystery around this one in order to avoid spoiling too much.

As we said in previous articles, we try to care a lot about details and background while building the campaign. It gives a better credibility and allows a better immersion in the apocalyptic Left 4 Dead universe (that’s probably why it takes time to build). Until now, Lumberyard‘s pictures showed a massive exodus, a mountain road and… contaminated people finding their way through the exodus and starting a panic event. Where were these people headed ? That was the mistery. They were trying to reach a lumberyard, transformed in a heavily defended, mobile, state-of-the-art evacuation and decontamination center by the military.

When survivors finally reach the lumberyard, everyone’s already gone through the backyard’s road and all is left are the remaining people that thought they could find their salute here too… but were a bit too late. Geoffroy tried to give all these building a realistic touch, trying to build what could look like a real lumberyard. Honestly, we don’t really know how a lumberyard is supposed to work, probably like 95% of our future players, but still. We think it’s important to add some credibility.

This map is also a huge optimisation challenge, since it’s completely open and offers a lot of paths to the end. For the moment, everything’s still going fine and we can finally see the end of the tunnel. So, stay tuned for more developer stuff until the release that we hope will occur before Left 4 Dead 2. If that’s not the case, we don’t know what we’ll do and it will only depend on how much of that promised inter-operability Valve managed to built in before the launch.