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One of the things really worth mentioning [...] is the environmental details. It is truly captivating, the solitary lanterns and the fireflies combined with the ambient sounds give it a unique beyond-realistic atmosphere. —The_Garden (

Could someone fix Left 4 Dead please?

Posted by Nicolas in Development, Lamentation, Media

Tags: , , , , , ,

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.


25 Responses to “Could someone fix Left 4 Dead please?”

  1. stocker says:

    cool pix! cant wait for the campaign to come out!!!

  2. James Freeman says:

    I seriously can't wait for this, it looks like it's going to be so kick ass.

    And I have to agree with you, you have literally just listed the tip of the iceberg of bugs (There's a thread on the steam forums with over 200 bugs listed) yet they are releasing L4D2.

  3. Corion says:

    I completely agree. The current state of L4D's support of custom content is rather abysmal.

    For me the biggest disappointment is our inability to customize elements affecting the game play rather than aesthetics. L4D2 promises a few options to do this, but L4D1 probably won't have them so L4D2 can have more unique bullet points on the Steam Store page.

    Examples? More unique crescendo events (gauntlets, car alarm gauntlets, etc.); daytime maps; gauntlet finales; Level route alteration; and, to a lesser extent, dynamic weather.

  4. Zecomm says:

    Maybe it was planned all along? Make a game, promising new dlc soon, only to bring us a lighthouse. Only to push us on to a new full priced game that was labeled as a sequel which is essentially and expansion.

  5. stocker says:

    its goig on 7 months i bet this is going to be kick ass!

  6. Mr.Yeah says:

    Let's take the muckrakes and torches and go to Valve.

  7. Ydna says:

    Man, I wanted to buy L4D just to play I Hate Mountains. I knew it was a nice game since it was released, but I'm not so much of a fan of so violent games.

    And back in the E3 times, when I got to know about L4D2 (the day it was announced) at first I didn't care much, but I was surprised. I was into the L4D universe enough to know that the first was still poorly suported, and an entire new game just one year after the first sounded weird.

    Then, some time after, I read this post here talking about how L4D2 was awful, and I began to think about it. And I ended upset with Valve, and that was the first time I was disappointed with it.

    I joined L4D2 boycott, and hoped for some changes in Valve's attitude. Besides the Crash Course, L4D2 is still just an expansion that costs $ 49.99, while the original is a half-finished game.

    The ORANGE BOX, which comes with 5 full excellent games costs $ 20 LESS than that.

    That's enough for me to forget about L4D. Even the second, as it is even more violent :P .

    However, I'm upset with Valve not just because of L4D2. They showed how they're getting evil when they did the "Incoming!" update in TF2. They punished with no previous warning people that had no idea that what they were doing was wrong. And they punished everyone that had ALREADY done it, before the announcement.

    And in the end, was it even wrong? How would they get any unfair advantages by using the Fake Idler? Valve called 5% of their TF2 gamers cheaters because they used a nice program that allowed them to do the same thing they were (and still are) doing in TF2, while being able to do another things, like using the web.

    I'm personally really sad with the new evil Valve, not just because I was punished with no previous warning for something that was not wrong, because they split their community between the Halos and the DIs, because of all L4D related stuff, but also because they offended me by calling me a cheater who did not choose the "moral highroad".

    And for those who defend Valve: even if they have the right to do something, does it mean they should? I can give all my money to people that doesn't need, but does it mean I should?

  8. Christian(Web) says:

    arRR blogger ate my comment..
    so in short:

    to say the Orange Box was 5 full games whereas L4D was not even one is just not true.

    People have a distorted view on L4D after the greatness that was the Orange Box.

    Definitely Valve still hasn't fixed the Lobby system and the addition of really custom content, but the game itself was way worth it's money.
    I can't count the hours i spent playing L4D with friends&strangers; and having a good time meanwhile.

    Obviously Valve got out on a limb with the new Lobby system and Versus mode, that wasn't even thought to be in the game for some of its development time.

    But IMHO the resulting problems are acceptable, as long as Valve releases new games with great gameplay elements, and not just the next rail-shooter #217!

  9. herve says:

    And is it possible without being embedded in a VPK? VPKs are basically a way to simplify custom campaigns deployment. I usually only install custom campaigns from VPKs, but I'm prepared to do a lot more than that to be able to play this one ;)

  10. Nicolas says:

    Unfortunately, no.

  11. DEFme says:

    The sound system is ruined and plays random sounds at random events, like an alarm sound when you set zombies on fire and such…

    LOL, yeah that one's annoying and kinda funny at the same time. On Death Aboard, as an example, its either the fork lift raising up sound from a Death Toll 4 crescendo event, or the Gas Station explosion sound from No Mercy 3.
    Goddamnit Valve, they pulled the same bullshit with HL2DM.
    Screens look great. As always, thank you and keep up the great work guys.

  12. Engineer123 says:

    Nicolas, I partly see your reasoning.

    But at this point I just have to say: If you have the campaign done, just release it!

    If all the mappers would hesitate so much, we would have no custom campaigns at all.

    For example: Suicide Blitz. If the mapper polishes his campaign a little bit Valve could easily integrate as an official. Because it is OUT.
    While you keep your campaign in the closet the released ones get the credits, the popularity, the feedback and a chance to be released as an official.

  13. Geoffroy says:


    Interesting.. but who has said that our campaign is finished?
    It's close to release, not READY to be to

  14. Nicolas says:

    First, as Geoffroy said, the campaign isn't finished yet. Second, we're not running after celebrity, we don't care if others get the fame while we're holding our campaign. There's people who don't care about releasing rushed materials, but we do. We won't release it until we know it's perfect.

  15. Engineer123 says:

    To make it clearer:

    All the custom mappers have your described difficulties with the L4D code.
    Infact they already delt or deal with it. So, big deal. Some released their campaigns, some not.

    Therefore, that you don't have your campaign out is not originally caused just by a difficult L4D code.

  16. Valentin says:

    I think it to the authors to decide when they will release their campaign, isn't it?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Deathaboard has a custon soundtrack that works.

  18. ErroR says:

    this is so awesome! i can cry :') it looks to be even BETTER than valve's original campaigns, especially the caves

  19. Nicolas says:

    You should really read the article again. It's written black on beige that we know how we could deal with these problems but that it's not a solution. We don't want our campaign to weight 600 MB by using dirty hacks.

  20. Mr.Yeah says:

    "We won't release it until we know it's perfect."

    Yeah! That's quality à la mode de Nicolas Grevet. :D Keep it up!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Great ideas and impressive work !!!

    Hope to see this campaign alive some day, will check up often. Valve doesn't deserve using the zombies' concept they are so irrespectful.

    Well, bon courage les gars !..

  22. Anonymous says:

    In these days where cost-cutting is getting more and more important, leading to developers rushing things out only to release a heap of patches afterwards to get rid of bugs that are pure showstoppers for many users, it's nice to see that you have the will and ability to wait until you're certain that it's really "good to go". I'm looking forward to playing your campaign, it looks really promising. Take care.

  23. Anonymous says:

    About the whole rebuilding of the sound cache. Are you sure it's necessary? I did a bit of searching around and found this website:

    On here it mentions a tip to include sounds in your vpk without needing all downloaders to rebuild their audio cache. I've put the tip below for reference:

    Tip:Once you rebuild the sound cache, you may include your _master.cache and custom sounds within your VPK (pakratting the cache into the bsp may be more reliable), which will allow your campaigns custom sounds to work without them being bspzip'd or having clients run snd_rebuildaudi ocache.

    Wouldn't this solve this issue for you I Hate Mountains vpk in regards to custom sounds?

  24. Stormy says:

    Hey! My trailer! That's awesome that people are using it. I'm so happy about that, thanks. Anything I can do to the trailer to help just ask on the forums!