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Left 4 Dead DLC, SDK Announced 66

Today Valve announced plans for Left 4 Dead's first DLC, called The L4D Survival Pack. It will include a new game mode and two campaigns for Versus mode. The new content is coming to both the PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game (a PS3 port to the base game still seems unlikely). The press release goes on to say, "In addition, for PC gamers and aspiring developers, the first Left 4 Dead release for the Source Software Development Kit (Source SDK) will allow the creation of custom Left 4 Dead campaigns that will be discoverable via L4D's matchmaking system. The SDK update is also due for release this spring, and is free of charge to all owners of L4D on the PC." The Opposable Thumbs blog also reports on a way to play Left 4 Dead in 3D.
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Left 4 Dead DLC, SDK Announced

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  • Wondered how long it was going to take them to release the new content.
    Although you can just copy and paste and rename the 2 coop campaigns that are not in VS from their coop campaign equivalents, all the config files for the mission cycles and listings are there. The copied maps are missing stuff, they don't have all the zombie ladders they should and the AI doesn't have the best paths but it gives some more variety than the current 2 VS campaign sets.
    Looking forwards to the new survival mode, more choice
  • Cost?? (Score:1, Redundant)

    by spire3661 ( 1038968 )
    I was under the impression that L4D was going to get the same treatment as TF2, free updates. If I have to PAY for updates to a very short game, my loyalty to Valve will fade. L4D was VERY short, and to expect to pay for DLC on top of that is an insult.
    • FTFSummary: "The SDK update is also due for release this spring, and is free of charge to all owners of L4D on the PC." That does seem imply that it won't be free for 360 players. I wonder what they think an appropriate cost would be.
      • Re:Pay for update? (Score:4, Informative)

        by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @01:49AM (#26748631) Journal
        What that line you quoted means is that 360 owners wont receive the SDK, as the Xbox 360 is not a platform you can develop levels on.
      • Re:Pay for update? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Fallingcow ( 213461 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @03:34AM (#26749099) Homepage

        I am very disturbed that it doesn't mention whether the "new" levels (really existing levels with slight modifications to improve play in Versus mode) and new play mode will be free for PC users. The way they specifically say that the SDK will be has me worried.

        I'm pretty sure everyone who bought the game at release was counting on major FREE updates, like those that Team Fortress 2 has received. It certainly isn't worth $45 ($50 if you didn't pre-order) in its present state, but people paid that much so they could play the existing content now and enjoy new free content later. That's definitely what I did.

        Valve is one of a handful of gaming companies that (many) players respect, and that respect drove early sales of this game. I'd hate to see them abuse it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Swordsmanus ( 921213 )
          Now why would PC gamers pay for levels when they can get free, player made levels using the free SDK? What would stop players from making slight modifications to the soon-to-be released Versus campaign levels and releasing them for free? Would stopping players from doing so be worth the cost to Valve?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Indeed. L4D is a great game but it has far too little content. It clearly didn't cost them nearly as much to make, but they sold it at the same price of HL2. They shouldn't be charging for new levels.
      • Re:Cost?? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Grym ( 725290 ) * on Friday February 06, 2009 @03:01AM (#26748969)

        It's even worse than that. The two "new" versus campaigns they're selling are not new at all. They're two of the co-op only campaigns that they very slightly changed to run versus. There are seriously modified servers running right now that allow almost the exact same thing--for free. And let's not forget that the SDK they're mentioning as an upgrade was supposed to be released months ago...

        Can you imagine the tone of this article and subsequent discussion if EA had done this?


        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Fallingcow ( 213461 )

          They better damn well not try to charge for this stuff, or they're going to have some very pissed-off users.

          Hell, quite a few people are already pissed off that it's taking them so long to get enough content out to make this full-price game actually be worth more than $20, and they're all assuming it'll be free. The funny thing is, by the time it's worth $50, it'll probably be selling for $20.

          • Wow. So, give you free stuff, or you'll be pissed, eh? It amazes me how much entitlement some pc gamers have. As a pc gamer myself, I FULLY recognize that pc gaming revenue has been dropping steadily over the last decade. The appeal of PC game development has been waning. Most pc gamers choose not to recognize this fact. Valve is one of the few companies that is still focused on PC development firt, but even they have been forced by the rough PC market to cater somewhat to the console crowd. If Valve
            • You act like they owe you something. But their success was of their own making. They don't owe you anything.

              Uh, well I do give them money for these games, so certainly they owe me something.

              That success you mention comes from a history of good relations with gamers and giving them a great value for their money. I'm saying that if they fail to live up to the expectations created by their past actions--expectations that almost certainly drove a large chunk of the sales for this game--then I'll be disappointe

              • "Uh, well I do give them money for these games, so certainly they owe me something."

                See, that's where you fail. You paid them money for a game. They supplied you the game. There should be no expectations beyond that. But you've turned their generous nature into an obligation. That's unreasonable. If you want to be disappointed, I suppose that's a natural response. But to chastise them so quickly and so vehemently simply because they may have chosen, in this instance, to act in a way that is not unlik

                • Their generous nature is the main reason people buy a lot of their games. It most certainly is an obligation if they want to keep loyal customers.

        • Re:Cost?? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Workaphobia ( 931620 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @03:19AM (#26749041) Journal

          Left 4 Dead is an amazingly fun game to play but Valve really screwed us over on the details. It's clear from their history of handling this game in the beta and afterwards that they focused on sales with a perpetual we'll-fix-it-later attitude. We were already supposed to have DLC and the SDK.

          More importantly, the network system for the game is lousy and they don't seem to want to improve it. Instead of the tried and true simplicity of seeing a list of available game servers and choosing one to play on, they tried to get all fancy and game console-y and remove even this basic feature (unless you go through the command console, but even then it's clunky). We're slaves to their matchmaking system, unable to choose who we play with unless we do so through their social networking system. Often times there are not enough servers available (how can they possibly fail to provide enough resources for their customers? Is it really that expensive, incrementally, to run a few more servers?), and poorly configured servers pollute everyone's game experience by adding a lot to the overhead of finding a playable match.

          Sometimes you'll have to go back and forth between game lobby and gameplay because you keep getting assigned to a crap server. Sometimes you'll be having the match of your life, then everyone gets disconnected and scattered to different corners of the system because the server shut down.

          I'll say it again, L4D is fun as hell, but that's only when you're actually playing. In-between campaigns it's just thousands of collective manhours of overhead.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Canazza ( 1428553 )
            Apart from the fact that valve run very few of the actual servers out there (they're mainly hosted by other companies, like jolt)
            Yes, using the console is clunkier, but frankly it's worth it just to get a lag free game (you can use the browser to sort from local games)
            granted, you can't START games this way, but you can always join a game in progress.
            for anyone wondering how to do it, you have to activate the developer console from options->keyboard->advanced then pressing '`' (to the left of the n
            • I do that sometimes when I repeatedly get stuck on laggy servers, but I almost exclusively play versus mode and there are only a dozen or so servers configured for it.

          • Re:Cost?? (Score:5, Informative)

            by colonslashslash ( 762464 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @07:54AM (#26750201) Homepage
            I love L4D, I agree that it's light on content and there are quite a few problems, but I've gotten about 300 hours out of a game that cost me $40ish. That's a bargain in my book, regardless of the issues.

            A bunch of my friends and I set up a Steam group and got the dedicated server package installed on one of our Linux servers over Christmas.

            If you play L4D a lot, this really is worth doing IMO (you can rent an 8 slot L4D game server for $10-15 a month, between a few people this is nothing) - we have a server geographically close to the majority of us on a decent tube, and we generally get around 30-40ms pings with 60ms spikes. It's very smooth, and is not difficult to setup (took me about 10-15 minutes one Sunday).

            The best way we have found to connect to this server via the lobby system consistently is to set steam_group_exclusive in the cfg to our group only. This stops people not in your group from starting a lobby on it. Then when we want to play, we bring up the developer console after starting a lobby and use "sv_cheats 1; ms_force_dedicated_server IP:port". This then connects the lobby to our server every time when we click the Search menu item.

            I agree Valve need to do something with this mess and it's a bit annoying to have to work around it like this, but this works nicely. You can of course alias the sv_cheats / ms_force_dedicated_server command to make this even easier.

            You can apparently achieve similar results with setting an sv_search_key in the cfg and your group's clients, but this has given us problems so we use the above workaround instead. There is also the openserverbrowser command that gives you a browser window of available / recent / favourite L4D servers to connect to, similar to TF2, CS etc.

            Given that a) you post on slashdot so I assume you're technically competent enough to install hlds and edit a config file, b) you obviously enjoy the game and c) your enjoyment is only being ruined by bad servers, I highly recommend you look into picking up your own server, sharing the cost with a few people if necessary. I can gaurentee you it will make the game a lot more enjoyable.
            • Correct me if I'm wrong though, but doesn't that mean everyone joining your game can use cheats, and do massively irritating things?
              • by iho ( 160453 )

                No, sv_cheats 1 enables cheats on the client only allowing the modification of cheat protection variables locally. When you connect to a server with sv_cheats 0 every variable protected with the cheat flag will be reset.

                • Yes exactly, I should have clarified that it's just a local client setting in my post. Quite why ms_force_dedicated_server is classed as an sv_cheat cvar is beyond me... but hey, it works fine, so roll with it.
            • by Chabo ( 880571 )

              Can't you just connect to your server by searching for Steam Group servers? I was pretty sure this was possible without console commands.

            • Thanks for the guide and info. I'm not likely to go to that extreme at the moment, especially because my current residence has an atrocious network (my university believes 300ms ping between the dorms and academic departments is perfectly reasonable). But it's good to know that I can get a server for just a few bucks a month to play with friends.

        • They're two of the co-op only campaigns that they very slightly changed to run versus.

          Heh, they'll require major overhauls to be properly playable on versus (hence their original exclusion). Those maps have far too many open / barren corridors and the finales for both offer little protection for the infected in many of the easily defendable locations (on a rock in the water in Blood Toll or one of the corners in Dead Air being the prime examples).

          It'll be interesting to see how they change them, but I doubt it'll be "very slightly".

          • Aside from the finale, Death Toll seems like a much more natural choice for the versus mode than Blood Harvest. I suspect that once it's out and the dust settles, it'll be the most popular official versus campaign.

            I'm not sure about Dead Air; it'll probably be damn tough on the survivors. Then again, in the commentary they said that they wanted it to be rare for the survivors to make it to the safe room in versus, though they've clearly changed their minds on that based on some of the things they've modif

    • I just want more vs maps. The two they have are wearing pretty damned thin and I've had the game for less than a month.
  • Awesome. (Score:3, Informative)

    by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Friday February 06, 2009 @02:12AM (#26748729) Journal

    Great game.
    I purchased it on steam in a 4 pack for about 35$ US - I felt 50$ US was too pricey but at 35$ this is excellent value and incredible fun in co-op.
    I really hope it breathes new life in to the game with the SDK

    • by borizz ( 1023175 )
      44,99 euros. That's what it costs in Europe. I'm sorry, I'm not going to pay 45 euros for 5 hours of content.

      It used to be cheaper, but Valve have recently denied european customers to pay in dollars. I bought my Orange Box of Steam in Dollars and it was very good value for money. This isn't. I can get the retail thing in the box with the manual for less delivered on my doorstep. Why should I pay more for less?
      • In 1 month I got over 100 hours of play and I don't normally even like online multiplayer games.
        This is co-op as it was meant to be, just how we envisioned it as kids before we even knew Doom could hook up via a serial cable.

      • I also mentioned this in a post earlier in the thread, but I have had over 300 hours out of L4D so far.

        More content is needed, I don't disagree there (and indeed, it is on the way as promised)... but what is there currently is extremely fun and replayable, especially if you have a few friends / people on your Steam list to play with.

        It's been 3 months since I bought the game and I'm still playing it almost every night. The last game I bought before this was Fallout 3, which was a very solid title with
        • Well, actually finishing 'Death Toll' and 'Dead Air' for multiplayer (it's _almost_ there) would be nice. I mean, you can play them already, but don't tend to because they're not on the 'standard list' and you have to arse about to get them to work - which is far too much like effort when firing off random games.
        • by borizz ( 1023175 )
          I got more than that out of TF2 which was in the Orange Box. Maybe I'm just pissed at Valve for ripping EU people off, because the game is a lot cheaper in the USA and in the UK. In the UK it costs 30 euros. At that price I'd buy it but 45 is too much. Would you have paid US$60 for it? It's 50% more expensive for no reason. Fuck that.
  • I expect to be heinously raped in price by Microsoft for each and every piece of "DLC" that comes out for this game. Someone page me when it's $20.
  • by Saija ( 1114681 )
    wtf is a 'DLC' ?, tfa or the summary(yeah yeah who reads tfa or even the summary) but still...
  • by 88NoSoup4U88 ( 721233 ) on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:05AM (#26751029)
    I think it's quite a shame that Valve also starts doing micro-content.
    Don't get me wrong: I own all the games by Valve (because I -know- they will be/are quality), but I guess that they also can't resist of milking their customers a bit more.

    With all their previous (multiplayer) games we've seen them release loads of maps/content for free to the community: See it as a reward for their loyal fanbase.
    But now that they see that each and every developer can get away with charging money for extra content, they shamefully also go that way.

    Some might say: "They released patches for free!" , but that's their obligation, ifnot in their own interest because otherwise bad publicity about an unbalanced/unplayable game would get out, thus tarnishing Valve's reputation.

    So yes, I'm quite pissed off that they immedeately go for extra content which you have to buy...

    P.S. As a sidenote, the release of the SDK is very cool, but people should realise that even without it, there is already a thriving custom-map community at the moment. [shameless plug]Have a look at my own (beta) version of a shopping mall map: Download it from here []. Keep in mind it's very much a beta, and that for now only one small part of the mall is actually done (pathway-wise). Comments are welcome though.[/shameless plug]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Joseph T ( 1470971 )
      For the PC everything is/will be free, just like the TF2 updates. The 360 is different because Microsoft wants them to charge for their DLC, which is why they've waited a bloody long time to release it.

      Gabe interview: []

      PS If you haven't already, go to with your map. Hell of a community that will give you all grades of feedback.
      • I surely hope you're right.

        Totally forgot about the excellent constructive criticism community on, so thanks for the heads-up.
  • What is a DLC?

  • It would be nice if they'd update the orangebox SDK, hopefully L4D SDK includes this.
  • Whats really funny to me is that I actually grabbed a pair of those super bowl glasses just to compare them to my e-dimensional set-up. Overall, I find them to be a very good experience. That article's technique is almost exactly what I'm using, although he fails to mention that you need to change the RGB values for the glasses to (255,255,0) for the left eye and (0,0,255) for the right eye. The color is much much better than Red/Blue glasses. If you have an nvidia card you have to try that out. Note that a

May all your PUSHes be POPped.