Talk:Common L4D Mapping Problems

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crash to desktop

I'm getting a crash to desktop with my new map. I am trying to test it, and it starts loading, but before the loading bar moves, it's dead. Any suggestions? --CorporalAris 04:17, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

If you're sure it's not the stringtables issue, I'd start with removing all the new entities that came with L4D and see if that fixes it. I've scene some of them (func_simpleladder, beam_spotlight, etc) cause random crashes before. --brandished 19:23, 23 February 2009 (UTC)
Wait, could this be the string tables crash? The map has already ran, and I didn't need to bother with it. I'll have to try that out first. --CorporalAris 12:27, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

It was the env_sun entity... --CorporalAris 20:29, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

crash to desktop: Reloaded

I am having an issue with a particular map; quite simply it loads to a point then crashes to desktop. Trying to load the map again results in a crash to desktop. There are no error messages or anything. I'm going to start looking for what is causing this, but if you have experienced something like this please tell me how to fix it.

Disregard - It turned out that there were an issue with a water brush. Once removed the map worked fine.--Alfonzo 02:21, 12 April 2009 (UTC)


I am having issues making functional ladders--either for survivors or infected, though the one I'm working on at the moment is intended for infected. The sv_showladders command present in other source games isn't available in L4D, so I can only see my ladders in Hammer. I don't have a visible ladder object, but from what I understand that's not technically necessary. --Draco18s 22:15, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Hammer not working...

I launch the "authoring tools", I then open Hammer Editor and it simply doesn't work... It freezes, uses 100% of my CPU and doesn't really open(it's there, but I can't use it, it's freezed)... Any idea? =] --Ruanito 22:02, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

L4D Hammer takes a few minutes to load. Let it sit there for 10 minutes before you give up. --Omnicoder 22:37, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Old Questions from the FAQ

The following are old questions found in the main article. They've been moved here for "historical purposes" if anybody were to want to keep track of the history of the Authoring Tools.

Why does a newly compiled map crash L4D after being loaded?
Left 4 Dead requires the file "stringtable_dictionary.dct" to be embedded inside the BSP to open it. If the file is not present L4D will pack the file inside the BSP, but will crash in the process. To prevent this from happening, you can configure Hammer to automatically pack a "stringtable_dictionary.dct" file into your BSP during the compile process. To do this, follow the tutorial here. The "stringtable_dictionary.dct" file itself can be obtained from that tutorial, or extracted from an official L4D map using a tool like Pakrat.
I followed the tutorial here to use L4D resources in Hammer, but some textures I use still don't show up in-game (they appear as purple and black checkers). Why is this?
Textures in the texture browser in Hammer aren't necessarily available resources in Left 4 Dead. Many materials in Hammer are found in the "source materials.gcf" and "source 2007 shared materials.gcf" files under "SteamApps", which Left 4 Dead doesn't mount. To test if they are readily available, click the "Open Source" button when in the texture browser. If the material is part of the L4D resources, some program should open with the VMT file you selected. If nothing happens, the material is likely not included with Left 4 Dead and should not be used inside the map.
Why does the copy of Hammer included with the L4D SDK take several minutes to launch?
L4D utilizes a different file structure from other Source based games. Hammer also searches through all the game's textures, models, VGUI materials and sounds as well as loading different shaders. These checks can equate to thousands of individual process events.
Why doesn't the game recognise/play custom sounds I place in the sound directory even though they are in the correct format?
Custom sounds in L4D require that you pakrat the sounds into the bsp file before they will play. If you are using a custom soundscape, pakrating will not work, instead you must rebuild the audio cache before the engine will read your soundscape. Ingame, type snd_rebuildaudiocache into the console. When it is finished your sounds will work ingame. Unfortunately every downloader of your campaign will need to manually enter this command for your soundscapes to work.
Tip.png Tip: Once you rebuild the sound cache, you may include your _master.cache and custom sounds within your VPK (pakratting the cache into the bsp may be more reliable), which will allow your campaigns custom sounds to work without them being bspzip'd or having clients run snd_rebuildaudiocache.