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I couldn't say how much inspiration the mod took from L4D2 but it has a hybrid feeling of both games. It certainly feels ahead of the original L4D1 campaigns in terms of detail and game mechanics... —Glenn (www.halflife2.net)

Archive for the ‘Development’ Category

May18

It’s gonna be legen— wait for it —dary!

Posted by Marc in Development, Progress

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I do think it is time to give more frequent news about what’s going on and react to what people say to us via Twitter and the commentaries on the website. Here are some insights at what’s going on:

  • First of all, yes the campaign is finished. We just need to sort out a bug that appears on the fourth level and then it will be fully okay. But again, this is not mandatory, we just want to avoid any potential problem in the future related to this issue, it could quickly become worse.
  • Then, we’re not working on a Left 4 Dead 2 version anymore for the moment. We want to release the Left 4 Dead 1 version first, gather some feedback and then try to port it to Left 4 Dead 2 if it’s possible.
  • Also, we’re building a little bonus section on the website to show you a bit of behind-the-scene materials. We really missed doing this after Portal: Prelude because we didn’t keep anything during the development. Basically, it’s a lot of screenshots of the evolution of the levels though the months, reference pictures and sounds, music drafts, graphs, statistics, studies and such. I takes some time to gather and build the pages, but so far so good, it’s almost done (it should be by Friday). We hope you’ll find the credentials to open it in the campaign (it’s not hidden very well), but our ultimate goal is not to piss people off, you will probably find the password on the Internet a few hours or days after the campaign is released.
  • After the campaign is released, we’ll open a little forum on this website to allow players to talk about the campaign and report feedback to us. It’s already ready, it should be fast.
  • Finally, we do have a bit more work to do on a video trailer but it’s basically finished too. It will go live at the end of the week or at the beginning of the next one. Don’t freak out though, it will be very simple and rushed, we don’t have more than a few days to waste on a trailer. When it will go live, it will necessarily mean that everything is done and that we’re ready to take one week away from the project before we release to think about things we could have missed and take a break.

Aside from this, some people don’t seem to understand that releasing something as important as I Hate Mountains is not quite a piece of cake and seems easier done than said. Believe me, this is not the way it works. We put more than one year of work into this, and it’s not the moment to rush things out. One little wrong move could led us to flood the network with a flawed version and believe me, it happened once with Portal: Prelude and this is definitely not something we want to experiment again. Files on the Internet tend to replicate themselves at an alarming rate.

More than any of you, we know it’s been a very long time this campaign is being delayed. It may piss everyone off, but at this point we really don’t want to do any mistake. Stay tuned for the video trailer and we hope you’ll talk about it around you once it’s released!

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.

May16

Left 4 Dead Authoring Tools

Posted by Nicolas in Development, Lamentation

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All right, you can stop sending us e-mails to say that the Left 4 Dead SDK was released yesterday, we already know it. We’re actively following what’s going on in Valve’s universe day after day and downloaded it as soon as it came out.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t add anything useful to us for the moment, simply because we made our own SDK during this 6 month wait and because the Left 4 Dead Authoring Tools doesn’t provide anything more for the moment. Basically, it’s just a renamed Source SDK. For the moment, we didn’t investigate much, but it looks like all the changes are more or less to make the old tools compatible with the new Left 4 Dead Source engine, to release the same old particle editor and to copy/paste the Valve Developer Community’s tutorials into the Left 4 Dead folder.

We’ll see how it goes, but as far as I can tell, we’ll only use one file from the Left 4 Dead Authoring Tools, the editor’s official entity list configuration file: left4dead.fgd. The Sketchup plugin looks cool too, but we’d really prefer a plugin that would allow us to export Sketchup models directly into Source models using a GUI, because Sketchup always allowed us to export in a random format (well, the professional version does it) and then convert it into an SMD file using XSI Mod Tools.

Anyway, there is no revolution for the moment. We are more eager for them to update the matchmaking system and I bet this release won’t change much for us. At least until the SDK is fully finished and polished. Then we may see tools like the ones everyone thought they would add. But I’m getting a bit bitchy there :D