Author Topic: L4D Custom Maps  (Read 24475 times)

Offline Fanghawk

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L4D Custom Maps
« on: May 23, 2009, 10:58:36 PM »
For anyone interested in trying out some custom L4D content, a good place to check is Left 4 Dead Maps. The site contains several maps and campaigns at various stages of completion. There are many completed and playable beta Survival maps, and several co-op and versus campaigns partially completed, allowing you to play the first few levels. The maps appear to get regular updates and fixes, and include screenshots.

The only catch is, these maps will not automatically upload themselves into the menus, so they must be loaded through the console. This means that until Valve adds stronger third-party support (or you personally go into the multiple configuration files to add lines and lines of text), the lobbies and character/team options are inaccessible for custom maps.

That said, it is possible to play the maps with friends. Josh and I used this method to try out some custom survival maps today, and it worked fine. As it stands, all players are required to have the maps downloaded to play them. It also helps to have everyone on your Steam friends list.

Starting a custom game without using the Main Menu
1) Unzip the bsp and nav files to the Maps folder. Any third-party textures, etc go into their repective folders.
2) Figure out which player will act as the host.
3) The host opens up the console and enters "mp_gamemode [coop, versus, survival]". Not doing so will still load the map, but potentially without certain gameplay aspects functioning properly (ie no point for survival to start up the hoard).
4) The host enters "map [mapname]" into the console to load up the map.
5) Once the host has loaded the map, all users open Steam's Friends list through the In-Game Community and open the pull-down menu for the host player. Select "Join Game" to connect and start playing.

To choose a character or pick a team in versus, use the following console commands
Choose Random Survivor: team_desired survivor
Choose Bill: team_desired survivor b
Choose Francis: team_desired survivor f
Choose Louis: team_desired survivor l
Choose Zoey: team_desired survivor z
Choose Infected: team_desired infected

To switch Survival maps while playing, the host can open the console and enter "changelevel [mapname]". Campaign maps should load sequentially as finished.

Here's a couple of quick thoughts about the maps that Josh and I tried out:

Quick Map Reviews

God Dam
Completed Survival Map
L4D Maps User Rating - 4.20/5
A simple, yet atmospheric map inspired by Death Toll. The Survivors are on top of a long dam with ammo caches located on each end. Propane and gas tanks are also stored near each end with a few scattered along the top. Zombies climb over fences at each end. Players attract the zombies by hitting a switch of the far end of the dam. The length of the map and small number of zombie spawns makes it easy to contain the zombies (Josh and I got Silver our first try, gold the second), but the weapon/health placement mixed with the long trek from one end of the dam to the other still makes the map challenging as the horde increases.

Dead Zone
Completed Survival Map
L4D Maps User Rating - 4.32/5
This map is a Survival version of the sole map from the creator's unfinished co-op campaign. The area consists of a warehouse/office surrounded by trees with a small parking lot out front. Bring in the zombies by blowing up the gas cans around the far side of the building. Molotovs are located on the roof, health packs are located on the top floor of the  building. Not much else to say: just a short, sweet, well-made map.

Shipping Co
Completed Survival Map
L4D Maps User Rating - 4.52/5
An initially confusing survival map, yet still fun. You fight the zombies from a shipping dock surrounded by water. The starting event is difficult to find: the description says to "Refuel the boat" and that there are arrows pointing to it. Molotovs and Pipe bombs appear to be located solely in the starting location.

Maps I'd Like to Try
Now I'd also be very happy to get into some campaign games with anyone from the Foxhole (maybe even versus if it's functional and there's enough people), so here's a few Campaigns that are mostly if not completely finished that seem to stick out from the rest.

Death Aboard
Playable Beta, 4/5 Maps completed
User Rating - 4.10/5
"In Death Aboard you start out in a prison and work your way out to the nearest docks area. From here, you board a stranded ship and finally to a peninsula or island where there will be a lighthouse as a finale."

Naniwa City
Complete Beta Campaign
User Rating - 3.28/5
"Taking place in Japan during the holidays; You will travel through a shopping mall, arcade, highway and subway until you end up at the Naniwa Tower."

Escape from Toronto
"Complete" Beta Campaign, Alternative Finale Map in production
User Rating - 3.97/5
"Attempt to go south from Toronto to Niagara Falls then into the U.S.A Rumor has it the U.S. Special Forces are held up and in need of reinforcements, however they don't seem very friendly..."[/quote]

Powerstation
Complete Campaign
User Rating - 3.55/5
"This campaign is for those looking for a challenge. Filled with tons of traps and thinking! This makes it a challenge and a little frustrating as the average play time is 2 hours!"


So who's up for this?  :smoking:
« Last Edit: May 27, 2009, 11:36:00 PM by Little Bugger »

Offline bobdog

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2009, 12:32:33 AM »
I'm definitely up for some fresh blood, so thanks for doing the homework!  :onethumb:

Pick one to start with, and I'd be glad to give it a shot. The Campaigns sound cool.

Offline Fanghawk

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2009, 10:10:46 AM »
Escape From Toronto Update: A week or so I was testing out the Escape From Toronto campaign and got stuck at the second map (CN Tower) since its wide open size made it hard for me to find where to proceed. The map also lagged a very high amount whenever you looked at the Tower, even with the zombies all cleared out. The campaign has been updated twice since then, but now the files don't seem to unzip properly: I keep getting a failed CRC check error and the unzipped files all come out at about 1 meg each, instead of closer to say, 90. Not sure how that happens.

As for my choice, although Powerstation is tempting, I'm not up for the intense difficulty just yet. (The comments make specific mention of something called "Instant Death Lasers".)

I like the Prison idea of "Death Aboard", so how about that? Backup choice of "Naniwa City" if we'd prefer a completed beta.

I'll be around tonight on Steam, if that works for anyone interested. Looking forward to this! ;D

Offline Fanghawk

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2009, 11:39:11 AM »
A couple more things I found out after installing/fiddling with maps:

Some custom maps will include edited versions of L4D files such as mission manifests, menu settings, and such. I'm not entirely sure why, because as far as I can tell most of them don't work, because I still get default objective settings from No Mercy for all of them and they won't show up in the menus. You may want to back up and potentially overwritten files to be on the safe side. I had one point where a map released before the Survival pack added some menu settings that changed the text "Play Survival Mode" into the computer code menu header. That's the only problem I had mind you, but just to be sure. On the bright side, some of these edited files include things like new loading posters, some of which are actually pretty cool.

I also dug up the console commands for picking characters. This also applies to choosing the infected team for versus mode.

Choose Random Survivor: team_desired survivor
Choose Bill: team_desired = survivor b
Choose Francis: team_desired = survivor f
Choose Louis: team_desired = survivor l
Choose Zoey: team_desired = survivor z
Choose Infected: team_desired infected

EDIT Console terms corrected!
« Last Edit: May 27, 2009, 11:22:12 PM by Little Bugger »

Offline bobdog

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2009, 12:37:14 AM »
Just played through Naniwa City with LB -- level design is not as detailed as Death Aboard, but level sizes are humongous. Good fun, and a very tough finale moment. Look forward to playing it with two additional "real" players.

Offline Fanghawk

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2009, 11:50:01 AM »
Indeed. Death Aboard is quality, while Naniwa is quantity. Once the finale map is finished, all it needs is a wee bit of spit polish in the first level and it would be at the standards of the original campaigns.

Naniwa at moments reminds me of some of the third-party Duke Nukem 3D city maps: the quality isn't quite up to par with the cities of the original, but since the engine allows for halfway decent cities, it's pretty easy to throw together utterly massive city environments and still come up with something fun to play.

Escape From Toronto has been updated! And in a finished form! I'm downloading now and then I'll run a test install and then recommend it for the next to play if it works.

Here's a couple of other campaigns that got my attention:

Orange
Version 2.0
User Rating 3.5/5
One of the first completed campaigns on the site, the map design is about as basic as you can get while adding only a modicum of variety. There are no cities, no woods, not even any proper buildings. All you get is a progression through rooms and outdoor environments painted entirely orange. At first, it's interesting because you get a unique look that's different from the original, and there is almost no lag even as the horde swarms you. But on co-op, it does get old REALLY fast. What redeems this map pack is that it's one of the few campaigns to fully implement versus support, adding multiple climbing points for the infected team to quickly get around the map before the survivors get there. So even if you start getting sick of the visuals, the gameplay gets a boost. Of course, until third-party content is better supported by Valve and servers, you'll still have to find seven friends to truly take advantage of that. Until then, it's good for a single playthrough.

Collaboration
Beta 1.0
User Rating 3.64/5
L4DMaps has a lot more survival maps than completed campaigns for an obvious reason: it's much easier to churn out a good survival map than it is to make five halfway decent co-op maps. To workaround this problem, 5 different mappers (including DioDio, the creator of Naniwa City) came together to speed along the effort of quickly finishing five halfway decent maps for a complete campaign. A project like this allows the creators to be a little more experimental, like the maps of Project Quantum Leap for the original Half-Life. For example, I took a peek at the first level, which appears to be nothing more than a giant non-lit maze that the survivors must have their flashlights on for the entire way through if they hope to escape. The walls of the maze are also low enough that the zombies can climb over them to reach you easier, while you have to navigate your way through like a sucker. Didn't finish it or look at the other ones, but they appear interesting enough. Worth a playthrough when a couple of you are ready.

Hmm. Escape is still downloading but I'm getting low on battery. I'll be back with a status update a little later.

BREAKING UPDATE

Escape From Toronto installs properly, in large part because it comes as an installable exe file. It will overwrite your missions/missionmanifest.txt, resource/left4dead_english.txt, and resource/l4d360ui_english.txt, so if you're installing multiple campaigns and don't want to overwrite the mostly useless text options from other campaigns, you may want to back those up. It's pretty safe to ignore that though.

Download the latest Escape From Toronto from here.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2009, 12:20:24 PM by Little Bugger »

Offline bobdog

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2009, 07:09:55 PM »
I just attempted Powerstation solo, and got my *** handed to me ... twice. Didn't even make it to the first door. But plenty of scary atmosphere, as you have to rely mostly on your flashlight for light sources. Every time you get ammo, you're absolutely blind. Fun fun.

UPDATE:
Upon further playthrough with real people instead of bots, we made it halfway through the 4th map. Overall impressions is that it is definitely ultra-challenging and for Expert gameplay. Lots of traps that are not necessarily intuitive. Level design is okay, but would hit a 5 out of 10 compared to the regualr maps. Some bugs that killed people off. Still, worth at least one play-through if you've got a patient group of folks.

Looking forward to playing Escape from Toronto!
« Last Edit: May 26, 2009, 10:46:56 PM by bobdog »

Offline Fanghawk

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2009, 10:11:27 AM »
Agreed on Powerstation. But never before have buggy deaths been so hilarious. At one point three of us were killed by happening to stand too close to a fire. Not IN the fire, health just drops off if you stand anywhere near it! Later on I suddenly died when I stood too close too a sparking electrical panel. Shortly after that Josh climbed over something and plummeted through the floor to his death. There are some good traps in here (especially the floor drop where we finally decided to give up) but there's a few fatal bugs that keep this pack in an unfinished/first map status instead of the "cleverly frustrating" concept the developer was hoping for.

Oooh, EFT next. I'd like to play this tonight, although I may not be available until later in the evening once I've taken care of a few things. If you're both kind and patient enough to wait for me (no obligations!  ;D), here's a couple of new Survival maps for the meantime!

Roadwarrior
L4DMaps User Rating - 4.14/5
Beta 1.0
Hey look! The first ever DAYTIME MAP. The Survivors (aka Roadwarriors) have escaped the city by car but run out of gas near an abandoned military outpost. But since it's daytime, the zombies will have laid low instead of following you, right? Right?......

Mess Hall[
L4DMaps User Rating - 4.2/5
Complete 0.1 (?)
A small, but decent looking mess hall. Contains a dining area, kitchen, and outdoor area. The dining area contains several tables that are all tank launchable. How can this be a bad thing? ::)

Bedroom Survival
L4DMaps User Rating - 4.16/5
Beta 1
You'll usually see a few bedroom maps for any engine, but this one seems to be getting people's attention for the amusement factor. You are a tiny person in a large bedroom facing the threat of tiny zombies from under the bed. Yay!

Have fun with these and EFT! Hopefully I'll be able to meet with you guys tonight!

Offline bobdog

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2009, 09:30:27 PM »
This looks to be a full campaign of 3 maps called Blood Hospital, ranked 3.5 out of 5.

Dead City has the first 3 of 5 maps complete, ranked about 4 out of 5.

Offline Fanghawk

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2009, 11:34:36 PM »
FINALLY figured out the proper character console commands!  :madatwall:

Enter one of these into the console before starting a game to play as any of the following:

Choose Random Survivor: team_desired survivor
Choose Bill: team_desired survivor b
Choose Francis: team_desired survivor f
Choose Louis: team_desired survivor l
Choose Zoey: team_desired survivor z
Choose Infected: team_desired infected

Pretty straightforward, but I've updated them above for those who need them.

Offline Doc_Brown

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2009, 02:12:11 AM »
On a somewhat related tangent, I'd recommend watching any of kilplix's Left 4 Dead videos.  They start on page 4, which is why I linked where I did in his YouTube channel, and go through page 1.  He and his friends have done a handful of custom map playthroughs, which might be of use to you guys, though to be honest most of his videos are just for laughs. 
Roads?  Where we're going we don't need roads.

Offline bobdog

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2009, 06:46:15 AM »
Thanks Doc. When we gonna get you on the hook? Still having comp problems? Between Josh, LB and I, we're whooping up some zombie kills!  ;D

Escape from Toronto
Josh, LB and I tried out this 5-map campaign, which has you going through the subway, then the city, up in some tower with see-through floors and down the other side, through the docks, into Niagara City, and a finale with a boat arrival. Level design is okay, but not as high a quality as Death Aboard, nor as large of maps. Lots of missing textures and decals as you get into the last three maps. Overall, not bad, but there are a few better campaigns than this.

Dead City
LB and I tried out the 3 maps currently available for Dead City. This is mapping well done indeed! Great intertwining layout through a city's streets, lots of hordes, multiple infected (one map had like 4 witches on it, two of which were positioned exactly where you needed to pass). The third map ends with a large drawbridge coming down -- cool effect. Very high quality, on par with the original L4D maps, and supposedly the finale maps are coming along nicely.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 06:53:23 AM by bobdog »

Offline Doc_Brown

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2009, 12:09:30 PM »
Well, we've reached the stage where I'm probably going to take the computer--or at least the video card--into a repair shop and see what the deal is.  I've pretty much exhausted all other options at this point.
Roads?  Where we're going we don't need roads.

Offline bobdog

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2009, 05:09:56 PM »
... I've pretty much exhausted all other options at this point.

Oh, I don't think so -- there is still child sacrifice, after all!  :evil1:   And you haven't even invoked the Brides of Silver!?! Shame on you.... I thought you were a better man than that....

 :lol:

Offline bobdog

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Re: L4D Custom Maps
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2009, 10:36:26 PM »
Dead City, which both Little Bugger and I have co-op'ed and found to be of extremely high quality, has just added the fourth of its 5 maps, available from FileFront. The version housed on L4DMaps is still only for the first 3 maps, even though it references the addition of the new level.

 

everything