Zoey is the main focus for this mod for a number of story/design reasons. Your actions within the game determine if she finds and rescues the other survivors along with a variety of other story/gameplay altering decisions.
At its core, the mod is a single player campaign with a multiplayer version being added later. Its purpose is both as a medium to tell an interesting story with some new mechanics in addition to functioning as a "boot camp" of sorts for the L4D and Portal universes, training the player to be quick on their feet, aim true, and analyze situations and puzzles quickly.
The multiplayer version of this campaign wont be added until it can be made similarly challenging. There is little point to slapping on multiplayer to a game balanced around single player to trivialize content.
Challenging but fair, with a few different paths to increase or decrease difficulty from within the game itself.
Better question is: why not?
There are a variety of reasons why Zoey was chosen to be the players avatar in a world gone crazy. Sadly, most of them would bore you.
It works on a couple of different levels. From a developing standpoint, it provides new means to keep the player entertained. From a mapper's standpoint, it provides a couple of different types of environments (outdoors, portal gun rooms, damaged sections, "behind the scenes"). From a programming standpoint, it combines two seemingly disjunct game design ideas into a more interesting harmony. And from a personal standpoint, I got a few tricks up my sleeves that I want to set into motion.
You wont always have the portal gun at your disposal....or all your weapons stocked full of ammo. Think of the zombies as a...motivation....to finish puzzles properly or quickly, otherwise you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle. A Survivor who can think before they act is of much greater use than one who fires blindly.
At the time of this writing...
The first map is in the process of being redone in higher detail and scale. The majority of the work will be starting up again during the late fall/early winter as per University request. Some of the mapping and recruiting people will occur during some of the down time until then. Hopefully, barring unusual circumstances, there should be some more recent pictures of the maps in the coming weeks.
*Artists of the 2d and 3d persuasion.
Please view the news post the most up to date details on what we are currently looking for.
It has to do with another game that I've had on the back burner for some time while I work on other things, such as this mod. As that game is still in its infancy/brainstorming stages, it is difficult to talk about in the open at the moment.
In the mean time, Ive attended 2 conferences (PAX EAST and CCSCNE) one of which I presented a poster at discussing the mod, how varying game styles can come together in a nice harmony and discussing the concept of combining codebases (and the workarounds within) that are branches of the same derivative work. Honestly, I don't know how I ended up at that second one, poster and all, but it was a fun experience and the people closer to my own age seem genuinely interested (being one of 2 people presenting on anything game related at a Computer Science conference seems to be an oddity that bears only a cursory glance, no questions, and then walking on from most of the older generations, but I digress).
As for PAX East: that was quite the interesting experience. I was able to hobnob with developers for some time, win some awesome prizes and got to record audio for some of the IGDA panels (sadly time and technical constraints prevented me from recording all of them) FOR the IGDA.
You can find those Here
Aaron ( a good friend of mine and future Community manager, when we get to that point) managed to clean up the original files. Sadly, I was not originally anticipating anyone (outside of my professors) wanting or needing to hear the panels so I only had my personal digital voice recorder with me rather than something capable of a higher bit quality. None the less, they are worth a listen to if you didn't get to attend PAX or those panels specifically.
In regards to L4D:AI specifically: Ive made some headway in learning some of the more basic techniques for modelling and animating, although the class itself didn't quite cover character modeling as I was hoping it would. You can view a copy of the final reel in the Video's section.
Portal 2 has also come out (if you haven't given it a whirl, I would highly recommend it, especially Coop with a person who hasn't done the puzzles in it yet). Along with the Authoring tools. I'm not entirely opposed to certain things gameplay element wise being a part of the mod....in obvious compartmentalized puzzle areas. The catch, as always, is seeing which parts I can add and detract. Which brings me to my final point: Chances are the mod would be done in the Portal/Portal2 version of the Source engine.
Valve broke a few molds when they made Portal/Portal 2 and how they handle portals from a technical end. Implementing a pseudo-AI director (if the original cant be coaxed) within that derivation of the Source engine is a far simpler task based on how it was made. Getting it fine tuned to a level near the level of perfection that the L4D series holds will require more testing rather than more logic/physics equations.
If you are interested in how the two branches of the engine differ I recommend going through the commentary on each one and then try making a simple test map. It really is quite interesting.
Alas, Ive taken up too much of your time with my ramblings and must bid you all adieu.
You stay classy, ModDb.