Last year (2009) we previewed our campaign beta to the public. Since then we have had allot of feedback from users and we have been working on finding the correct balance between our game-play events and the left 4 dead pacing ever since.
Because it has been a long time since we showed some updates, we decided to do this news items where you can find the optimizations that we have done and tested in the last 2 months.
Here is a summary of most of the important changes we have made and tested per 7-7-2010:
packaging and vpk:
- Removed dated source engine models preventing us from creating a vpk (due to a crash related to these models)
- Campaign size reduced around 600 Mb
- Removed unused mission audio files and music
- Weapon spawn placement updated trough-out all maps
- Random items placement tweaked trough-out all maps
- Proper implementation of Rescue closets on all maps (Coop only)
- Proper optimization of crescendo areas (nav optimization)
- Corrected miss-pronouncing in the map 3 mall entrance area
- Boosted volume of all audio that was too quite trough-out the campaign
- Removed some of the music cues and updated several location music arrangements
- Now using the correct boomer vomit custom music wave file
- The intro music is called using the correct mission start music convention
- Starting in the safe-house now correctly plays "safe-house music" (due to nav optimization)
- We drastically cut verbose CJ information to facilitate the removal of many story locks.
- Randomized some mission audio at script level (with previously unused CJ alternatives)
- Custom sound-scape in the mall (maps 5 and 6)
- Removed story locks in Anna's house and allowed all relevant doors to be breakable by zombies as well as active for survivors
- Drastically reduced the second mall entry story locks so players can run proceed to the warehouse while CJ is talking
- Removed lock on roof access door in map 3
- Made it clear by instruction messages and light guides where players have to go trough-out the maps
- We allow players to throw the (map 4 safehouse) toilet trough the window while CJ is talking
- In general, doors that were locked while CJ was talking, now open up when players approach. We solve the problem of overlapping CJ voices by delaying subsequent dialog lines, should players arrive at key locations early
- Created clear instructor messages to indicate custom events. and "things you shouldn't shoot in DBD"
- Subliminal icons may appear to illustrate other kinds of danger trough-out the campaign
- Made map 1 explosions and destructions purely cosmetic. (no penalty for players)
- Smoothed and optimized the helicopter event in map 2
- Optimized the barricade event at the end of map 2 (no SI spawning behind the barricades)
- Split the west "hold button to close door" event in map 4 in 2 parts. Progress of the event is now visible in the environment by the movement of the doors and subsequent shutter gates
- Removed the "search Paulie's key-card" event for the sake of a better flow experience in map 4
- Optimized the north entrance (1 mio customer counter) event the same way as the west door by visually indicating movement of closing doors and shutter gates
- Optimized "failure to hold back zombies" event by tele-porting survivors to a fake safe-house and give them another chance (only in coop)
- Removed random server activation puzzle in the staff offices of map 5 and created regular l4d flow inside this area
- Added a mandatory map 5 crescendo event
- Removed food court area and optimized map flow to be more "left 4 dead"
- Because the Food Court is gone, the "get 6pack of beer" mission does no longer exist
- Created lots of new vertical and horizontal space in maps 2 and 3 in order for propper hunter movement
- Created lots of extra catwalks, infected ladders and behind the scenes (breakable) infrastructure for infected to spawn
- Maps 4 and 5 now have walkable vents for the infected so they can distribute themselves more quickly to set up attack positions
- Players who reach the end of the warehouse via the wooden catwalk can open the door at the bottom to relief the smoker threats for team mates
Map layout optimizations:
- We don't want to reveal too much in this category because you are going to be pleasantly surprised by some changes. We CAN tell you that confusing map flow has been optimized for a more semi linear "left 4 dead" experience
- Obviously, death triggers are avoided by fences, instructions and visual augmentations of our map
We have new optimizations and tweaks coming in every week and we will play-test and perfect this campaign until we feel it's right to release the campaign.
Before we check out, here is some more audio: You'll hear one version of the safe-house music that will play at map start, followed by one of our random in-game news items you can find on radios trough-out the maps.