Talk:Your First Left 4 Dead Map

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Article Topic Suggestion (and a question)

First off, we need to narrow the focus of this article regarding my "first" L4D map. Right now this is more of a brain dump of all the various pages out there discussing L4D map editing.

IMHO there are three types of maps: the intro map (e.g. l4d_farm01_hilltop), one or more inner chapter maps (e.g. l4d_farm02_traintunnel), and the finale map (e.g. l4d_farm05_cornfield). For "my first map"-type of tutorial I would ignore any type of logic_choreographed_scene and env_fades entities and focus on creating just 3 rooms for the player spawn, a connecting hallway, and the checkpoint in the style of an inner chapter map.

Regardless of my suggestion, has anyone made a functioning map where the bots move along the ESCAPE_ROUTE to the CHECKPOINT?--Molaughlen 08:11, 4 Dec 2008 (PST)

I agree, it is mainly a braindump, but that's mainly because when I added stuff to this article there wasn't any detailed information to go by. Chet Faliszek said Valve was working on mapping tutorials, so I didn't want to put a ton of effort into this article when it might be completely replaced with another article anyways (assuming Valve releases something substantial). When I added the entity lists originally, I just listed the ones included for each part from decompiled maps in the demo. For the introduction sequence section, I was only thinking the camera zoom in on the survivors, it's easy enough to do ("point_viewcontrol_survivor" and "info_survivor_position") and makes so the players don't all start on top of each other. The logic_choreographed_scene could be removed, that might easily be a tutorial in and of itself, but I don't think any of the other sections should be eliminated. I'm not saying go into super detail on every section, but at least cover the basics of getting a panic event, crescendo event, etc, working.
As for the bots "moving along the ESCAPE_ROUTE to the CHECKPOINT", I'm not quite sure what your asking about. If you meant "create a basic map with the bare minimum entities to get rid of the "NAV ERRORS - Map is unplayable!" message, yes I've done that. --brandished 12:27, 4 Dec 2008 (PST)
Awesome, your vmf helped me figure out all my issues. I apparently put an invalid map name into the info_changelevel entity. You can't have a map change recursively onto itself.
The another problem was that I didn't include a func_changelevel brush entity (only the point entity info_changelevel). Including the entity allowed the map to end and also reduced the number of steps that I had to perform (e.g. marking the nav areas in the safehouse with CHECKPOINT and the spawn point with PLAYER_START). The nav system automatically connected the spawn point to the CHECKPOINT with nav areas marked as ESCAPE_ROUTE which I assume helps the bots continue towards the goal.
There's more work to be done, but now I feel more confident that I can design a proper level. Many thanks! --Molaughlen 09:16, 5 Dec 2008 (PST)
The info_changelevel was a mistake on my part, it should have been trigger_changelevel to begin with. I corrected it in the article, thanks for the heads up. --brandished 14:07, 5 Dec 2008 (PST)

Stop adding useless garbage

This article is turning into a list of console commands and entities. This article should be about adding and setting the things required in a map. Please try to keep it on track. --Sbrown

Do keep in mind this article is a work in progress and is nowhere near complete. I can assure you I've added no "useless garbage" to this article. All the console commands and entities I've listed here are either required or very, very useful when making a map for the game. The two I just added, 'director_stop' and 'director_start', can sometimes fix problems with infected refusing to spawn inside a map. If you going to accuse someone of screwing something up, you should have some proof to back yourself up first, don't make blind accusations based purely on assumption. --brandished 23:50, 30 Nov 2008 (PST)
I am not accusing you, I am saying to other people, don't add every console command and item. --Sbrown 23:53, 30 Nov 2008 (PST)
You seem to have caught on fast.--Gear 01:02, 21 Dec 2008 (PST)
"Stop adding", this implies the action has already been performed, something was added and shouldn't have been. If you check out the history there has been only 2 editors for this article after it was created, there is no one else you could have been referring to. "Useless garbage" is never a definition I'd apply to anything added to a WiKi article anyways, even straight vandalism; not only is it insulting, but "such a response is usually not constructive, does not clarify a discussion, and does not persuade others". --brandished 00:44, 1 Dec 2008 (PST)
Okay, maybe i was wrong, however I am just saying what is on my mind, it is sort of truning into a list, rather than a tutorial. I know it is just in the early stages --Sbrown 17:54, 1 Dec 2008 (PST)
Nothing to irrelevant here, move along. --Baliame (talk) 20:06, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

FAQ section

Can we try and clean up the FAQ section please? - Sbrown 22:07, 28 Nov 2008 (PST)

The VDC is a WiKi, you don't really need to ask for permission to clean-up or add content to a page unless it's locked, although it can be helpful to ask for comments before making huge changes to an article that involves removing valid content or changing the layout. --brandished 21:52, 29 Nov 2008 (PST)
I know that. I don't understand the rest of the FAQ, and i was hoping the editor could improve it. --Sbrown 11:54, 30 Nov 2008 (PST)
The original editor only created the page, I added the FAQ section. The questions I added in were for example only based off what I guessed people might ask. It won't really be possible to clean the section up until after the SDK has been released and Valve gives us more info on the map making process for L4D. The error messages I wanted to have in the article to catch google searches queries of those who don't know about the VDC. --brandished 17:57, 30 Nov 2008 (PST)
 :|--Gear 15:01, 30 Nov 2008 (PST)

New titles?

This article isn't public yet (there isn't any other articles linking to it) and was put on the backburner by the creator until after Valve released the official SDK. Valve is (supposedly) working on their own mapping tutorials for Left 4 to be released along with the SDK, so the original author might not even start working on this again if Valve releases something substantial. What was the specific reason for changing the titles from what was there before? --brandished 21:52, 29 Nov 2008 (PST)

Thats what they said about TF2.--Gear 15:01, 30 Nov 2008 (PST)
You wouldn't happen to have the source for that would you? I was too busy when the Orange Box came out to mess with the mapping side of things and didn't look into it until after the SDK was released. It might be somewhat different with L4D as it's a Turtle Rock game more so then a Valve game (or at least it was until Turtle Rock was acquired by Valve). The Turtle Rock guys have been fairly helpful in the past with documentation. --brandished 17:57, 30 Nov 2008 (PST)


Figured I'd put this somewhere... Someone supposedly found a way to get Hammer to work with Left 4 Dead by manually adjusting all settings. Anyone wanna give it a whirl and post back? [1] --CorporalAris GMT -6 4:23 Nov 30th

I personally would not recommend doing this. A because the new fgd will be different, and you will most likely have to redo your entities, and B valve said they will be releasing the sdk shortly. This will be integrated in, no pissing around. --Sbrown 11:58, 30 Nov 2008 (PST)
Yeah, I suppose. I just figured some people who couldn't wait would wanna see it. --CorporalAris GMT -6 15:08 Nov 30th
Not that it;s your fault, but people really need to learn how to Wait. Until then, I don't think we should encourage those tutorials, as we didn't even do so with TF2 when it came out, or Portal.--Gear 15:04, 30 Nov 2008 (PST)
I think it is retarded personally. I am not making any l4d maps until the final sdk is released. --Sbrown 15:54, 30 Nov 2008 (PST)
Meh, I'm not going to use it. I'm waiting for the SDK, in part because I am lazy. --CorporalAris GMT -6 22:45 Nov 30th
Amen to that.--Gear 07:14, 1 Dec 2008 (PST)
Even if the new FGD is different, we already know a couple of kvs, inputs and outputs for l4d entities, so unless they do a complete SDK rebuild, it's unlikely you'll have to redo the entities. Indeed the models, materials, and other stuff are packed differently, but that shouldn't cause problems either. Well anyway, I personally can't wait. Off to map. --Baliame (talk) 05:10, 6 Dec 2008 (PST)

Error Messages

Hey, so i've run into some of the error messages below, namely the one with the U:/dev/terror thingy, and i was hoping that we could get some info on those error messages, because i have no idea why its giving me that message. Thanks. --Worf66 08:53, 7 Dec 2008 (PST)

I have no idea what I causes the "assert" or "NULL name" error messages, the info for the "Null name" error message I found in the Steam forums, but I haven't been able to confirm it myself. I thought the error messages might have been related to the bsp file not having a nav file to go along with it, but this doesn't seem to be so. I've had the game still crash on newly compiled bsps even though I had already built nav files for them using older versions of the same map. --brandished 00:39, 18 Dec 2008 (PST)
Solved! --brandished 14:25, 6 Jan 2009 (PST)

Splitting the article

I only planned on leaving this article as a rough collection of notes for a week or two at max, thinking the SDK and whatever tutorials Valve was working on would be out before the holidays to replace it. Well now, nearly 2 months since L4D hit Steam, there is still no SDK or tutorials from Valve, and this article is still mostly a "braindump" of notes. I think it would be a good idea to split this article up into two articles for now, a "Your First Left 4 Dead Map" article and possibly a "FAQ and Error messages" article. As for the rest of the content, maybe move it all the other info to a "pre-sdk notes" page and possibly leave it unlinked from the rest of the WiKi until the contents are restructured into a more complete and understandable format. I have (what I think) would be a better version of the original article ready and waiting to go already, without the additional content on this page not related specifically to the tutorial. Anyone have objections or good alternatives to my restructuring idea? I don't want to remove the rest of the material arbitrarily, especially considering I wasn't the only contributor and this article now has almost 7000 views. If within the next few days no one brings up any objections or other options to this suggestion, I'll go ahead and start restructuring the article. --brandished 02:00, 15 Jan 2009 (PST)

As there were no objections or other proposals, I have gone ahead and split the article up into three separate articles:
The mapping notes section is rather rough and not very helpful for the novice mapper. With that in mind, please do not link it to the main L4D mapping page. --brandished 19:27, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Provide a linked vmf

Suggestion. I believe it would be helpful to have a linked vmf of the working map. I'm doing something wrong because the nav mesh errors persist (ie "Map unplayable" message), even after the first mesh build. I appreciate that this is probably I'm doing something that is preventing the "route finding" take place, but it's driving me up the wall trying to see what. minus_273c. 16:30G. 15 May 2009

Once the official tools are released, there will be a couple example maps included with it. The biggest issue with the nav mesh is to ensure you have an area marked CHECKPOINT at the start and one marked CHECKPOINT at the end and you have a fully connected path of ESCAPE_ROUTE. --Remmiz 16:53, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Don't you also need a PLAYER_START area for the game to know where to start the escape route? --NykO18 20:07, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
That's only in the first map of the campaign since from there on out you won't know where the players are standing in the safe rooms. I don't even know what exactly the PLAYER_START is for (it's only used on the single mesh where the spawn points are placed.) --Remmiz 21:03, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
The nav mesh error messages aren't really related to the vmf at all (at least not in an obvious way), seeing one won't help you know how to fix them. The nav mesh is done entirely in-game using the games built in nav editor. I've considered making a more in-depth tutorial on it myself, as this issue seems to stump a lot of people, but I'm waiting to see what Valve has to offer first. If you still want a vmf though, I linked to one at the top of this very page and there's also several included with Valve's "Official Level Design Docs" that's linked to on the "Left 4 Dead Level Creation" page. --brandished 19:47, 15 May 2009 (UTC)