I've hinted at it, guessed it would come out earlier but it never happened. Until now that is. Valve has finally released a beta version of the Left 4 Dead SDK so modders can now officially start creating their own maps with custom content, like music, models and skins.
Valve wrote: Using the L4D Authoring Tools, you may create your own campaign maps, character skins, 3D models, sound effects, and music and load them into the game.
Here's what's included:
- Updated version of Hammer, the source level editor
- Updated suite of command line compiling utilities
- Updated Particle editor
- Updated Faceposer
- Example maps, common infected, props, and explosives
This release also introduces a pair of plug-ins for SketchUp, a 3D modeling program you may download for free. You may use these plug-ins to create building blocks and props that can be imported into Hammer for use in game levels.
Right now you can download the update free if you own a copy of Left 4 Dead. Simply navigate to the tools tab on steam and start the download. As of right now you won't be able to play the custom maps just yet although they have their reasons...
Valve wrote: Our plan is to release a beta of the Authoring Tools now so the community can start working on maps in the full environment. In a few weeks we will then release the updated match making to allow users to play those new maps and campaigns.
FYI Valve, people started making maps a very long time ago. Aw well its a step in the right direction, so start preparing, as Left 4 Dead just got more popular.