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Left 4 Dead SDK Beta Released 75

Valve has released a beta version of their authoring tools for Left 4 Dead. The tools will allow you to "create your own campaign maps, character skins, 3D models, sound effects, and music and load them into the game." The kit includes a level editor and command-line compiling utilities, as well as example maps, props, infected, and explosives. It also brings plugins for a 3D modeling program called SketchUp. Valve has updated their development wiki to go along with the release.
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Left 4 Dead SDK Beta Released

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  • How depressing (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I knew I fucked up buying this game for the 360.

    • Re:How depressing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by caramelcarrot ( 778148 ) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @05:54AM (#27985561)
      Given that amount of post-release content that Valve releases, and that since Microsoft charges significant amounts to the developer for anything beyond a free initial patch they don't patch as often on PC - it's not that wise to get any Valve game that you could get for PC.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Please come back when you don't accidentally your sentences.

        I believe you meant to say:
        Given the amount of post-release content that Valve releases, and that Microsoft charges significant amounts to the developer for anything beyond a free initial patch to the 360 versions, they don't patch as often as on the PC - it's not that wise to get any Valve game on the 360 that you could get for PC.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          I don't know why this is modded flamebait - it's constructive criticism and trying to make sense of an incoherent assertion. Does the original poster think it's "not wise to get any Valve game" for the PC?

          On the other hand I sympathize with the parent. It's hard to write anything comprehensible in under a minute!

    • You fucked up by buying a console system in the first place.


  • can be the first to pre-order the long-awaited mod "Left 4 Dead: The Operating System Wars"!

    Now with new, long-awaited Tux avatar.

  • Bah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by NuclearError ( 1256172 ) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:26AM (#27984503)
    The only mod you need is replacing the tank music with Ride of the Valkyries!
  • Google SketchUp? (Score:5, Informative)

    by BikeHelmet ( 1437881 ) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:27AM (#27984507) Journal

    It also brings plugins for a 3D modeling program called SketchUp.

    You mean Google SketchUp []? That's that super easy 3D scene modeller, right? Not like the other "easy" 3D modelling software - it's literally drag'n'drop the objects around?

    Well... that seems like a plus.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The simple tools are deceptive. You can make a mansion out of little triangles, but it's a lot of work. That's where the dragging and dropping comes in.
    • Definitely sound good. I'm currently making a map and don't really look forward to learning Lightwave to model lots of fiddly bits rather than using brushwork in Hammer, and Sketchup sounds ideal for it.
  • Vavle's credit? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:29AM (#27984521)
    I don't know why I don't see Valve being supported more on Slashdot. They really have a great model: you can have complete access to everything from hammer editor to the map compiling toolchain to the command line tools, you can have access to and edit any texture or model anywhere in the game... if you just buy the cheap game. You could pirate it all but good luck finding someone who's packaged it because it's just better from Steam.

    And not only do they have a good model, they aren't evil. xbox.. the games are expensive and on top of that xboxlive got away with charging monthly fees for matchmaking (one p2 box in the closet) but valve sells their games cheap, and that's it for paying, it does free services for life.. matchmaking, downloading 100GB of games onto your new drive over the weekend, AUTO UPDATES
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bazald ( 886779 )


      1. Installers that don't need Steam.
      2. Games that don't need Steam for single player.
      3. Pro-rated bundles that don't make me feel like I'm wasting my money because a better bundle is coming if I wait a few months.

      Honestly, because of points 1 and 2, I've convinced myself that I'm paying for the privilege of playing on their servers, rather than actually buying games. Point 3 just means I only buy the games I really want to play, which ultimately makes them less money (from me).

    • Steam invades privacy and prevents you from exercising the First Sale rights that you have over a physical good by simply not providing one. The game I play the most is Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. I have a disc which was designed to be installed on Windows 95. I also just recently replaced the original Diablo (under Wine on Ubuntu Jaunty) which I installed from my old-ass disc that I think I bought in Texas (I live in California) and that disc actually says Windows 95 on it. Will I still be playing Half-Lif

  • by DreamsAreOkToo ( 1414963 ) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @01:31AM (#27984527)

    Maybe its just me, but I didn't find L4D's game mechanics compelling enough. A SDK won't fix that for me.

    I mean, it's a zombie game, and it doesn't even have a chainsaw or flamethrower. You just run around and kill zombies. Sometimes you die. A zombie scenario appeals to me in several ways.

    1) Finding safe places. (L4D is getting from point A to B)
    2) Compelling resource management (I can either go to the grocery store or the hospital.)
    3) Creative weaponry
    4) Scare factor
    5) The human factor (finding survivors, people turning unexpectedly)

    L4D did an OK job, but... well I guess it's a beef I have with many recent games. "It looks pretty, but is it FUN? How about after 10 hours?"

    • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @02:11AM (#27984695) Homepage Journal

      Part of what draws me in is L4D's simplicity. Some of the fun wore off about a month and a half after release, and I stopped playing it for a while, but since Survivor mode was included, it's opened up a whole new realm of strategies. What works to get a group to four minutes won't necessarily work to get them to seven or ten minutes. Even in those cases where we have gotten gold (I have three maps where I've exceeded 13 minutes, and some of my friends have exceeded 20 minutes on a couple of maps), it was fun throughout, because the pacing worked well.

      It's not a game for everyone. It's very much a pick-up game, and that needs simplicity. Depth in games is good -- it's what has me playing through the entire Half-Life series about twice a year -- but it's not always necessary. Within the couple of bones that make up the minimal skeleton of a storyline in L4D, the reason that there's little scare is that the survivors are expected to be fairly used to the situation, and even a little jaded, as shown in the opening cinematic. This just isn't enough for some people, and there's nothing wrong with that.

      To address your other issues, the current SDK doesn't seem to allow for new weapons yet, though I never was even casually into altering games myself so even though I've tried some of the programs, I may have missed something. I do appreciate the tutorial that they wrote for it, and it's kind of fun and interesting getting into the basics of design and understanding how some of the mechanics work. I think I know where there are some clipping issues, for example, because of explanations of what one should *not* do in level design, but which can creep in anyway.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Did you actually play it?

      The game is more fun than it might sound on paper. You seem to be mistaking complexity for fun.

    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @02:57AM (#27984913) Journal

      That is not what they made. Might as well complain that in Quake there was no interaction with the aliens, no factions, no character building.

      This is not the game genre you are looking for.

    • This is clearly not the zombie game you want. I enjoy it a lot. Not to say it doesn't have its problems. Valve has really mastered the typical multiplayer FPS, but Left 4 Dead isn't so typical and it really shows in the huge number of bugs, exploits, and poor design choices.

      The editor finally being released will at least give us more maps to play. Four wasn't enough.

    • by darpo ( 5213 )
      I've been playing Survival mode exclusively for the past couple weeks. In that vein:
      • 1: In survival maps, there are multiple areas you can hide out / make a stand, and usually one best area.
      • 2: number one above is partially determined by how close you are to ammo/health/bomb stashes
      • 3: this is definitely a weakness of L4D; I agree there are too few weapons
      • 4: you haven't played the game. :-) Witches are scary as hell. Tanks are nerve wracking.
      • 5: ??? The game is all about cooperative, human multiplayer
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They had a mode that was a non-linear map, but found too many people got confused. It got the axe. You sound like you really want a thinking man's FPS. I would suggest Dystopia, the Half life 2 mod, but the level design is so-so. Not from a lack of talent, but the gameplay itself lends to making maps for it so very hard. It does have a fantastic cyberdecking & hacking minigame to it and is awesomely polished. Worth checking out, it's on Steam.

      I must say though, I don't need or want any weapon but the M1

      • I have to say I rather like the 'limited' weapon selection in L4D - in most FPS games, I find the weapons mostly exist to provide progression, and an artificial 'you must swap to the .... because you're out of ammo' sort of thing. Occasionally you'll get secondary weapons which are good for different tasks, like shooting across a level or something, but whatever. In Doom, I went through with the shotgun mostly, and the BFG for boss fights.
        I have to say I think the selection of weapons in L4D is pretty goo
    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @05:11AM (#27985401)

      Sorry, wrong approach. By you or by Valve is up for discussion, but L4D is only secondary a "zombie shooter". It's primary feature is that there is a very heavy emphasis on teamwork, more so than in any other game out there. Zombies just lend themselves well to that cause.

      If you play it as a zombie survival shooter, you might be disapponted since, as you point out, a few key features of the zombie genre are completely missing. Like the fact that you can't fully rely on your mates, one of them could easily suddenly turn out to be infected and just not saying anything, knowing he'll be shot if the others notice. In L4D it's the exact opposite. You cannot distrust your teammates. You have to 100% rely on them. You can actually see this in a versus game, when you have a team of mediocre players against 4 FPS cracks essentially playing on their own without good teamwork. The mediocre team will win every single time.

      That's the appeal of L4D, at least for me. That you mow down zombies by the hundreds is just the icing on the cake. :)

      • by Spit ( 23158 )

        L4D is more akin to Gauntlet than a survival/horror zombie shooter, zombies are a good scenario but there is plenty of gaming abstraction.

    • Are you one of the few people who have only played L4D on single player? The fun of the game is trying to help each other through the levels.

      I play every weekend with 3 of my other friends all using ingame chat and its best fun we've had online in the very long time
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Are you one of the few people who have only played L4D on single player? The fun of the game is trying to help each other through the levels.

        I play every weekend with 3 of my other friends all using ingame chat and its best fun we've had online in the very long time

        Hey man, you're talking about the co-op campaigns right? Not versus?

        Did you get Killing Floor by any chance? If you and your friends like playing co-op L4D you might like Killing Floor. Co-op with up to 6 players. Multiple waves of zombies with brief breaks between to resupply at a trader with cash earned from kills (like CS start of round equipment selection.) Last wave is a tough boss, think tank but with cloak, rockets, and chaingun.

        I'm having a blast playing it in the couple of days since it came o

    • by Mex ( 191941 )

      I mean, it's a zombie game, and it doesn't even have a chainsaw or flamethrower. You just run around and kill zombies. Sometimes you die.

      Wow, I think you completely missed the point of L4D. You clearly want another game. =)

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday May 17, 2009 @05:15AM (#27985409)

    Namely, a "human director". I.e. the ability to play the "director" that dictates when and where zombies appear. Sure, you can play versus, but then you need four "adversaries". Who in turn intend to win the game. What I'd envision is a campaign mode with a player sending the zombie waves and positions the special zombies as well as goodies for the players.

    Yes, that can easily be abused by a director that wants to "win". What I have in mind is something like a good ol' RPG GM.

    Won't work for PUGs, since a lot of people would try to "win" as the director, but it could mean lovely games with a group of 4 and a GM.

    • You may want to try a little HL2 mod called Zombie Master [].

      However, in that game the "director" is essentially against the players. You have a god's eye view of the level, and you drop zombies wherever you want. You can also set traps and generally be an ass, if you like.

      Last time I played was before L4D came out. It had a lot of problems: AI prediction, exploits, long wait times after you die, etc. But it was still good fun.

  • by Scrab ( 573004 )
    I've been thinking about this for ages, and it strikes me that a great mod for L4D would make it possible to choose characters from Tem Fortress 2 to run it instead of the four you have.
    Perhaps have a limited selection, so the Heavy, the Soldier, the Engineer and something short range like the Pyro. I'm not entirely certain how the weapon damages line up, but it would certainly be fun to watch a heavy go to work on a swarm of infected...
    • I'm certainly not going to diss any level designer that puts in hard work to create levels for free for the rest of us to enjoy but L4D captures the classic zombie movie perfectly with the four misfit characters you're given already, I'm not sure TF2 characters would work - though I'm prepared to be proved wrong.

      Personally, I'd like to see a mod where the four characters are thrown back to the Victorian era or 1920s (with relatively accurate historic weaponry and clothing) and thrown into a Lovecraftian wor

    • I like the idea, and sounds interesting. Obviously the infected would need to be harder. Although this is like how they invented the game in the first place (played counter-strike with knife only bots). But adding the different weapons is what appeals most.

      The TF2 characters would only be the cartoony humor icing for the cake, since I find only small bits of humor in L4D opposed to TF2. Granted, L4D hasn't been out nearly as long, and could have some humor improvements that TF2 has been having (like the sc
  • Just in time for the Left 4 Dead SDK beta release, a new L4D community site has been launched: []. All members receive 500MB of free storage space and unlimited bandwidth to share their custom Left 4 Dead maps, mods, skins, campaigns, etc. with the gaming community. This is an exciting time for Left 4 Dead, and I think we will see a tidal wave of interesting and creative user-generated content to enhance and expand the playability and appeal of L4D. yay!
  • I only read the first article, but the big deal with L4D's AI was that there was this "Director" dealing out zombies depending on the situation, etc. Do we get any control over it with this?

  • I expect from high profile game companies (like Valve) to give map making tools of the box for FPS games
    Also automatic downloading of a map in case you don't have it should be a must have

    P.S. I am an Unreal Tournament player (UT99 and Ut2004). I am used to NOT having to download anything when connecting to a server that has the craziest mutator on the strangest map ever :-)
  • As a long time valve player that keeps up with mods, and even make maps everyone once in a while, I have been chomping at the bit for this. Having used the tutorials included to get familar with the required L4D entities, I would say this is the biggest step forward for valve, but mostly for hammer that I have seen. The reason is simple, hammer is not easy (easy compared to maya and softimage) but not easy to design a level within, by allowing me to do most of the design in sketchup I can reduce the time sp
  • I have it, I love it, now I want to Mod it!!! I love Left 4 Dead, it's fun. My main gripe was the number of Maps. Perhaps some editing will bring even more hours of fun to this already great game!

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