So.....I may have lapsed....a teensy bit... on the info while focusing on my studies.
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.