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Valve spills the beans on custom content for the popular game, Left 4 Dead.

Posted by Henley on Jun 20th, 2009

Some more news has been released via the Left 4 Dead blog about how exactly the new user created custom content is going to be implemented into the game. This will all be done by using an add-on platform and the new VPK file system.

Valve wrote:Third party campaigns are designed to be installed using a new Add-On framework. Content authors will be able to package up their new maps, along with new posters, models, and textures, into a single .VPK file. To install and activate this content in-game, players need simply download the .VPK and double click on it. Alternatively, they will be able to drop it into a new "addons" folder. The list of installed add-ons will be viewable from a new item on the 'Extras' main menu flyout.

It's nice to see that Valve has decided to make installing and playing custom content as easy as possible, and with the update to the matchmaking system if players do not own the VPK files needed for the custom campaign then it will be offered to them to download.

Valve wrote:When creating or searching for a lobby, a new option named "Add-on campaign" will let you select from among the add-on campaigns that you have installed. You can then find games or lobbies as well as create a lobby for that campaign. You can invite your friends, too. If they do not have the campaign installed, they will automatically be offered and an option to download it. We've also made it easier to create lobbies by adding a 'Create Lobby' option directly from the 'Play Online' menu. Once you're ready to go, the new matchmaking system will automatically try to find any dedicated servers nearby that have the custom add-on campaign installed, or you can make your own local server.

On my quest for answers on what exactly the VPK file is I managed to find that everyone's favourite Source SDK development program GCFScape now supports VPK files too. It turns out VPK is just a another variation on the GCF file that populates most Valve games, so being able to use others work looks like its possible, not sure what the copyright would be on that either. The last piece of news from this update is that as of this patch going live the L4D Authoring tools/SDK will go live as well. I would still like Valve to give modders access to a full SDK for L4D as the director in modding hands could see some great things be developed, but as of right now it does not look like it's going to happen. A shame really.

Post comment Comments
CptKaboose Jun 20 2009 says:

I cant wait!

+2 votes     reply to comment
gizzle Jun 20 2009 says:

Yeah really a shame after all that happened, well perhaps we will se it a year after l4d2´s release :=)

-4 votes     reply to comment
SneakySoft Jun 20 2009 says:

so the only way you can download a l4d campain you don't have, is searching for it on the internet or getting an invitation from a friend?

0 votes     reply to comment
Midnitte Jun 20 2009 replied:

Thats about the same as every other source game, except now you download the map while in the lobby instead of while a game is in progress.

+5 votes     reply to comment
KEEP_IT_UP! Jun 20 2009 says:

sounds great... so MOD-DEV's LETZ GO! ^^

+3 votes     reply to comment
myles Jun 20 2009 says:

That's nice.. most games come with an add-on system as standard.

-2 votes     reply to comment
NGS616 Jun 20 2009 replied:

No, not most.

+5 votes     reply to comment
pheiz Jun 20 2009 replied:

Most should :O

+9 votes     reply to comment
Asskicker Jun 21 2009 replied:

Most don't :)

+4 votes     reply to comment
gizzle Jun 20 2009 says:

Why did you delete the first post ?

+2 votes     reply to comment
zawmbabwe Jun 20 2009 says:

Valve slow.

0 votes     reply to comment
medve Jun 20 2009 buried:


new piece of **** valve matchmeking system. how the hell can we play a newly released addon? no server will have it...and i wont ****** host the game with the worst netcode EVER.

-10 votes     reply to comment
DuckSauce Jun 20 2009 replied:

worst netcode EVER?
it's got many npc's being dynamically spawned, it's a wonder it's not even more laggy, there's only so much that can be done without turning the graphics down(like with Iron Grip Warlord, good game and the graphics suit it fine but apparently not as graphically advanced due to many NPC's)

Must say though, the matchmaking system is rubbish, what was ever wrong with the server browser?

0 votes     reply to comment
RockerFox Jun 20 2009 replied:

it was put in for the X-box people and then ea went to Valve and said " Durrr wE On Wat Cp Peopel Mies Outzzz" and that is why we have the current match maker system. Also they wanted to make it so you don't game no the same server with the same ppl so you could meet new players of your level of play(Easy, Medium, Advanced, Expert). But aside from that the add-on thing sounds good.

-3 votes     reply to comment
MrMattWebb Jun 20 2009 says:


Who cares. We wont get it until after L4D2's release and Im tired of waiting and hearing about L4D in general.

-3 votes     reply to comment
Ryswick17 Jun 20 2009 replied:

it says its coming out next week

+2 votes     reply to comment
ghost_rider Jun 20 2009 replied:

Where does it say that?

+2 votes     reply to comment
sbnewsom Jun 20 2009 replied:

In a Steam News post.

0 votes     reply to comment
Orion Jun 20 2009 replied:


2nd Paragraph down it states it'll be released next week.

0 votes     reply to comment
Cobra_D Jun 20 2009 says:

Valve doesn't want people modding the AI Director because then it would be easy for them to recreate the "AI Director 2.0" or whatever, thus proving that L4D2 is just an expansion pack (and robbing them and EA of more money)

+3 votes     reply to comment
RockerFox Jun 20 2009 says:

I got a thought about why the full Sdk isn't released yet. Maybe its because its ten times less user friendly then Microsoft Excel right now so they are still trying to make it easier to use and less of a pain. Yes it may sound like I'm in a dream world on that one but still you never know and I'm not saying that it will be that, just wishful thinking for a change instead of the "everything is crap" treatment.

+2 votes     reply to comment
purplehaze412 Jun 20 2009 says:

Hmm, From my pretenses, This will not reach the Xbox 360 Version, Although I am hopeful.

+1 vote     reply to comment
mastersrp Jun 21 2009 replied:

This IS going to be PC only. Unless Valve does some weird update thing, which i HIGHLY doubt. But one can always hope eh? :]

+1 vote     reply to comment
Lucífer Jun 21 2009 replied:

**** the console users.


+2 votes     reply to comment
Martanz Jun 20 2009 says:


+2 votes     reply to comment
Earthbound_X Jun 21 2009 says:

Awesome, I didn't know there would be an option like that to add extra campaigns.

+2 votes     reply to comment
vfn4i83 Jun 21 2009 says:



+2 votes     reply to comment
Asskicker Jun 21 2009 says:

This is going to be epic!

+3 votes     reply to comment
Afnopo Jun 21 2009 says:

Dead Before Dawn, here we come!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Dug Jun 21 2009 says:

Epic, simply epic.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Darkieus Jun 21 2009 says:

I'm skeptical this is going to work out as planned, We'll see.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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