Talk:Left 4 Dead Design Theory

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I'm starting off this page to go around with. I know theirs quite a lot of impatient mappers waiting to map for L4d, as the way I feel. However I think we can solidly work on this when the SDK comes out, and after seeing some decent maps be released by the Public. More or less the same process we took for the TF2 Design Theory Page.--Gear 13:41, 16 Nov 2008 (PST)

When you said "If the player is failing or having a hard time progressing, neither should the map. Always make the map universal to all kinds of Players." I think you meant to say "If the player is failing or having a hard time progressing, so is the map. Always make the map universal to all kinds of Players." Or something with that effect. I am changing it now but please correct me if I am wrong.


About "Map are Designed, not made". If you don't understand this, It mean that every aspect of the map must be chosen and not created on the fly. In the case of a Finale, you must design where the infected comes from. Do not create entry like this. You must have reasons to place the entries here (or the survivor might find a way to resist the wave easily). Or when you want to make something comes out from the other details, find a way (Like direct a light toward it or else)


Some thoughts and need for your input

The article is currently incomplete, overly biased, and mostly a copy of the TF2 article. Here are some ideas I've caught up with what I've observed so far. Some are just my own interpretation from my experiences and looking through official maps. I want to incorporate but they feel half-baked at the moment.. and I think there's a lot more to this than what I'm aware of. Much to learn!:

  • The standard campaign or single map is expected to be replayable. On the other hand, if the designer wants to create a Single Player-like experience (with or without coop bots), it is technically possible to dynamically change the structure, pacing, etc. of the map if it is Single Player mode in L4D2.
  • Accommodate every infected throughout a map. In terms of space, consider the needs of the common infected, uncommon common infected, Boomer, Charger, Hunter, Smoker, Spitter, Jockey, Witch, and tank. Typically, they require places to spawn out-of-sight of survivors while close enough to reach them in a reasonable amount of time. What are the advantages/disadvantages of this type of infected in this space?
  • This game is highly dependent on AI and is therefore dependent on a highly reliable navigation mesh. This is usually achieved by having a firm grasp on the tools and features available for nav mesh editing.
    Note.png Note: That final line is vague for multiple reasons, mainly because I doubt that I know everything that is available. The other reason is that there are a lot available! Read through nav_mode.cfg article and go through the L4D1 tutorials provided directly from Valve as a good start. There are a lot mysterious tools that don't appear to be fully functional on the surface.
    • There are also technical restrictions that the navigation mesh cause, especially when it comes to flow. To do: There's a need to collect all the technical restrictions known. For example, a linear pathway is expected for a proper flow. As an example for that, a proper flow (one way can be seen as an auto-generated string of nav areas with the escape_route attribute that leads players to the end of the map / goal) needed for elevators to work properly (in order for bots to walk in).
    • To elaborate more on AI: Bot navigation is crucial in L4D for both Survivors and Infected. This is very true for many reasons. Players will not always have four people on a team, coop or versus. All the AI common, special, and boss infected depend on the navigation mesh to find a path to the survivors. There are cases in maps, even in official ones, where infected can get stuck in a discreet area of the map for a long period of time, unable to reach the survivors. Although the game may decide to kill the bot eventually, those types of occurrences should be rare. Ideally, survivor bots should able to navigate space as freely as a human survivor but it doesn't have to a point where they can do "surfing", for example.
      Note.png Note: for more info about surfing maps, search with keywords "surf CSS" on your favorite search engine
  • One rough way to look at design is to assume that it is a versus map first where it coop mode is a simulation of Versus. To do: This claim seems very, very rough and requires aggressive expansion.
  • According to Valve, one thing to consider is that distance can be used to reward/punish players. Of course, this is only on factor to consider when designing a map that is part of a multi-map campaign.
  • Ideally, be aware of all the tools and options at your disposal. Another way to think of it is to figure out what the constraints of the game are, at least roughly, while assuming that the game still continues to evolve in terms of "mod-ability". While the community still continues to learn more about what is possible to mod in L4D2, there is already a lot to discover. Please see Left 4 Dead 2 Level Creation for a superficial overview of the current state of community-based L4D2.

--ThaiGrocer 15:47, 26 March 2011 (UTC)