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I think if you don't have a console to play Alan Wake this is more than a fine replacement heh. —EpicTroll (forum.level.ro)

Posts Tagged ‘source sdk’

Dec24

Clarification, campaign overview, screenshots and merry Christmas!

Posted by Nicolas in Lamentation, Media, Progress

Tags: , , , , , ,

Okay, I don’t know for you and your country, but in France, we just entered Christmas Eve day. For a few days (probably more than two weeks), we’ll keep silent and take a break with family. But before we leave, we wanted to say a few last things about the campaign.

We know it’s taking a bit longer than expected to get this campaign done. In fact, this is taking way longer than expected. At first, we thought we could have a release for the end of the summer, eventually it didn’t happen. Then, we thought we could do it for November, and we worked at a fairly sustained pace to keep up, but eventually it didn’t happen either. Finally, we thought we could finally have a release for Christmas (that would have been awesome), but you guess it, it still won’t happen for a number of reasons.

There was the great debacle of the Left 4 Dead Authoring Tools, that didn’t helped us as soon and as much as expected since most (if not all) of the components Valve initially promised never really showed up. But that’s OK, we didn’t really care anyway. Then, each one of us got back to work or school after summer, and as we’re all at the beginning of our professional life or at the end of our scholar life, it consumes a lot of our time. But that’s OK, we could bare with it. Finally, there was the big disappointment and excitation around the release of Left 4 Dead 2, which sucked up a lot of our time and motivation and brings us to the second point.

To be honest, at that point, we really thought it was time for us to give up. Until a week ago, as a leader I wasn’t really sure if we were still headed somewhere at all. We saw the numbers, we saw Left 4 Dead 1 leaking players faster than ever, we saw it fall behind Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, the Garry’s Mod, and even regularly Day of Defeat: Source, which hasn’t even been supported for years (July 2008). Even us weren’t playing Left 4 Dead 1 anymore, that really frightened us to hell to think that our project was already obsolete before its completion. Valve really didn’t left us enough time to build something serious.

For your information, on the official Left 4 Dead Mailing List a few beta-testers are talking about the upcoming Left 4 Dead 2 SDK. Let’s be honest, for the moment it looks particularly promising, but then again, if we really want to be honest, the SDK of the first one looked promising too and nothing happened. For a while, we considered switching to Left 4 Dead 2, finish our campaign and wait for the SDK to be released (OK damn, the SDK was released while I was writing this news, so… everything might change again, except the following statement). Don’t freak out though, because we made our decision. I Hate Mountains will be released on Left 4 Dead 1 or won’t be.

Okay, now that things are getting clearer, here’s a bit of information about our progress. Basically, it’s finished. Now, when I say “it’s finished” I mean that the whole campaign is complete and playable. That doesn’t mean the campaign is ready to be released, it means that we’re entering the polishing stage. We have this huge folder full of bugshots (screenshots of bugs) to fix, we need to tweak the navigation of bots and infected, we need to throw a few animations here and there, and more importantly, we need to test it full-scale. We know for sure that the gameplay works quite well, but it won’t hurt anyone.

Wooo, that was quite a long news. Now that you’re all bored, you may need some new materials to cheer you up. So here’s one overview and 20 new action screenshots of the last two maps, taken from of our last playtest.

I Hate Mountains Complete Campaign Overview (spoilers ahead, 875 KB). Now you can see how much work has gone into building different paths and ensure good re-playability.
Complete Campaign Overview

20 brand new action screenshots taken from the Lumberyard and Lakeside level during our last playtest (no spoilers here, don’t worry).



















Until next time, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the I Hate Mountains Team!

Nov23

Lies and concerns

Posted by Nicolas in Lamentation

Tags: , , ,

Since the release of Left 4 Dead 2 a week ago, we received a few emails asking us if it was going to have any consequences on our I Hate Mountains campaign. I thought it could be good to clear up the situation for everyone at the same time. So here’s our thoughts on the current situation.

  • First, there’s still no SDK for Left 4 Dead 2 and something tells us that we might not see it before a long time. So we can’t port our campaign to Left 4 Dead 2 if we wanted to.
  • Second, even if we could, we won’t be able to port our campaign to Left 4 Dead 2 because Valve kind of changed their mind about their so-called interoperability between Left 4 Dead 1 and 2. There is no such thing and all the content we used from the first game (textures, models, sounds, etc.) isn’t available in the second for the moment. Let’s hope they’ll remedy this situation later.
  • Left 4 Dead 1 is still crippled with bugs and it’s still rather impossible to create a serious campaign using custom everything (models, particles, music, sounds, etc.) that doesn’t rely on dirty and risky hacks. We might finally use these, but we’d really like to avoid it.
  • Most people are starting to move on from Left 4 Dead 1 to Left 4 Dead 2 and even us are seeing Left 4 Dead 1 as a serious regression over Left 4 Dead 2. It frighten us a bit because, now that the community is splitted, we don’t really know were our potential players are.

Finally, I guess nothing really changed for the moment. We’re still working on the campaign, but we’ve been quite depressed by the quality and the originality of the new Left 4 Dead 2 campaigns. It’s really hard to focus on your own campaign when you perfectly know you’ll never be able to reach this kind of result, damn you Valve<:em> and your clever ideas! But still… we’re working on it.

Oct22

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.