Left 4 Dead 2 is great fun, but there are only so many maps that actually come with the game. And until Valve releases any additional map packs, community-created maps are your best bet for fresh content. But why not learn how to make your own custom maps? With Valve's Hammer World Editor and Google's free SketchUp program, it's actually much easier than you think.
Valve's Hammer is the game map editor that comes with the Left 4 Dead Software Development Kit (SDK). Google SketchUp is a free 3D design application that has myriad uses. Using both tools, you can design and make custom shapes and objects that would be impossible to generate with Hammer alone.
We're going to show you, step-by-step, how to use these tools to make a single Survival map for Left 4 Dead. We'll cover the basics of Hammer, the art of designing a building from a reference photo, and crafting simple objects to use in-game. The techniques we introduce apply to both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. They'll also help you make maps for other Source engine games, like Counter-Strike, Half-Life 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2.
Grab and seat and dive in. Making a Left 4 Dead map is a perfect D-I-Y project for the Holiday weekend
Zombie hunting season is officially open, and Valve has another hit on its ESRB-compliant hands. After little more than two weeks on shelves, Left 4 Dead 2’s retail tally has slashed through the two million mark like a katana through brittle undead flesh.
“Left 4 Dead 2 is off to a great start with strong support at retail and great reviews from the press,” said Doug Lombardi, VP of marketing at Valve. “Meanwhile the title has already been played by over 1 million Xbox LIVE Gold account holders, and news regarding L4D2 DLC 1 is coming very soon.”
Valve also added that “sales to date are more than double the original title.”
As for the real zombie apocalypse, well, we're guessing that’s probably on hold. Odds are, its brain-munching participants are cemented to their screens at the moment, completely addicted to Left 4 Dead 2 just like the rest of us.
Today may be Thanksgiving, but over in Steamsville, it’s already Christmas. So, what’s under the tree? Damn near everything. For the next five days, Steam will be discounting different selections of games every 24 hours. So maybe the whole thing’s actually more like Hanukah, but we digress…
These aren’t just dusty old re-gifted games either. They’re fresh off the virtual shelf. For instance, right now, Batman: Arkham Asylum’s going for $25, and a whole mess of THQ games – including Red Faction: Guerrilla, Saints Row 2, and Dawn of War II – have been bundled together for only $49.99! But wait, there’s more! Dragon Age, Champions Online, Grid, Far Cry 2, and a LucasArts bundle have all dropped into impulse purchase territory, and with that kind of Death Star-sized tractor beam tugging at your wallet, how can you refuse?
You can’t – because even shop-lifting rarely produces prices this low. Penny-pinchers, it’s finally time to give your fingers a break. On the menu are your dreams, and it’s Steam’s treat.
Just a warning, though, Gabe Newell. You’re not the first somewhat rotund man to be extremely generous around December. Not that we’re complaining, but you’re stepping into Santa territory, and we hear jolly old Saint Nick has quite the legal team.
Everyone wants a piece of the direct-download pie. With apologies to our gaming columnist for inching onto his beat just a tad, I think that some intrepid gamer - or, better, an intrepid gamer-businessman - needs to put his finger in the swelling dike of direct download services before it bursts all over the Web and ruins us all.
Dramatic? Perhaps. The description is no less dramatic than my growing frustration at the inability to manage my downloads, multiplayer experience, and cash across the many platforms that exist on the modern-day "Gamer's Internet." In a perfect world, the various game publishers would band together and come up with a common solution-a universal iTunes, if you will-by which all could contribute core content, extras, add-ons, and share the costs of bandwidth, UI development, and communal matchmaking.
Team Fortress 2 is pretty great, but you know what would make it even better? Did you say “one or more zombies”? Yeah, us too. But instead, you’re getting a hat.
“For the first time in history, two separate Valve universes collide. That's right: it's a Left 4 Dead/Team Fortress crossover! This is not fan fiction! This is not a dream sequence! The characters from Team Fortress 2 will team-up with Bill's hat from Left 4 Dead 1!” reads a post on the TF2 Blog.
There’s a catch, though: Bill’s ridiculously regal Head Enhancement Item is only available to those who have preordered Left 4 Dead 2.
Honestly, though, to make such a strong fashion statement – nay, a fashion exclamation – we would’ve shelled out the full fifty smackeroos even if Left 4 Dead 2 weren’t involved at all.
It’s Halloween, and you know what that means: It’s Halloween… in your favorite videogames! Valve’s updated Team Fortress 2 in accordance with the vaguely pagan rites and rituals of Halloween, resulting in exploding pumpkins, new hats, and 666 new achievements. Ok, actually, there are only five new achievements, but we couldn’t resist.
In addition, Valve’s taken a king of the hill community map called “Harvest” and made a few changes. A few ghostly changes. They’ve added a ghost.
“That’s right! The restless spirit of Zepheniah Mann will scare senseless any player unlucky enough to cross his spectral path, rendering them temporarily helpless with fear!” reads the TF2 blog.
The update’s already live, so go ahead and knock on Steam’s desktop icon and say “trick or treat!” Or, if that sounds stupid, embarrassing, and pointless, you can also click on it, we guess. Enjoy!
It’s Tuesday! Woohoo! Oh, you’re wondering why we’re donning our party hats on this most mundane of days? Simple – the Left 4 Dead 2 demo’s available to Steam pre-orderers today! We’re just gonna queue up our download and… well, that’s odd. We’re sure the demo’s around here somewhere. Just, uh, hold on a sec. No, no – that’s Killing Floor. Hey, Valve, what’s the deal?
“The Left 4 Dead 2 Xbox 360 Demo is now available for those who pre-ordered and obtained early access to the demo," read a release from the company tonight. "The PC Demo is currently targeted for release on Wednesday, October 28."
Well, what are we going to do with all these party supplies now? Quick! Theme change! Now we’re celebrating, er, uh, Boss Tweed’s arrest on October 27, 1871. There’s something everyone can drink to.
If you just dropped a massive chunk of change on Doom creator id Software, what would you do next? Huh? Did you just say “Buy Valve”? No? No takers? Yeah, we’re not exactly waving our hands about and shouting “called it” on this one either. But, according to the latest stink-raising piece of scuttlebutt over at Eurogamer, Bethesda could very well be in the market for the house that Gordon Freeman built.
“However, it's also worth watching closely what happens to Steam in the coming months. Unconfirmed industry scuttlebutt suggests that Zenimax - the parent company of Bethesda, which made headlines back in June when it acquired legendary PC studio id Software - is still on the acquisition trail, and has been making eyes at Half-Life creators Valve across the bar,” reads the article.
We’ve contacted both Valve and Bethesda for comment, but so far, our questions remain unanswered. We’ll be sure to let you know if we hear more.
Sorry, Gabe Newell and co. You gave it your all, we’re sure, but in the end, Left 4 Dead 2’s true form proved too gore-splattered for Australians’ delicate palettes. Or at least, that’s how the Australian government sees it. Said a note from Australia’s Review Board:
“In the Review Board’s opinion, Left 4 Dead 2 could not be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification. The computer game contains a level of violence which is high in impact, prolonged, repeated frequently and realistic within the context of the game.”
“In addition, it was the Review Board’s opinion that there was insufficient delineation between the depiction of general zombie figures and the human figures, as opposed to the clearly fictional ‘infected’ characters. This was a major consideration of the Review Board in determining the impact of this game on minors.”
It’s true! We totally have friends who – if you squint really hard – are the spitting images of Boomers and Tanks. Oh, there’s also that one guy with the crazy-long tongue. But we don’t really talk to him. Wait. You say the Review Board was talking about "general zombie figures"? And here we thought our colossal, bile-spewing buddy had finally found a country that would accept him with open arms.
Ahem. Anyway, Australia’s still on track to receive a heavily censored version of Left 4 Dead 2, which is better than nothing, we suppose. Oh well. Aussie gamers, if our site hasn’t already been censored, better luck nex—[content blocked because we’re pretty sure it had a knife].
Is some Left 4 Dead 2 better than none at all? We’re thinking “yes,” but that probably won’t stop Australian gamers from wishing they could tear whoever censored Left 4 Dead 2 limb-from-limb.
See, while decapitation and dismemberment are apparently physically impossible over in Australia, neutering isn’t – as evidenced by Left 4 Dead 2’s sterilized state.
“The board notes that the game no longer contains depictions of decapitation, dismemberment, wound detail or piles of dead bodies lying about the environment,” said a note by Australia’s Classification Board. “No wound detail is shown and the implicitly dead bodies and blood splatter disappear as they touch the ground.”
Valve still hopes to eventually release an unedited version of the game as DLC in good ol’ Oz. That is, if it can find a way to sneak past the big, bag Classification Board.
For now, though, all those kangaroos, koalas, and Wizards Of are going to miss out on the Violence Orgy. But don't worry about it too much, Aussie readers; the violence was only there to hide the real meat of Left 4 Dead 2: the racism. Good thing the Classification Board missed that. It was so blatantly obvious to everyone else, too. Close shave, that.