The end is nigh. The infected are lurking everywhere and chances of survival are slim. Left 4 Dead focuses on the story of 4 individuals and their harrowing battles against the hordes of the infected that roam the streets. What about other survivors? What would they look like and what kind of deformed monstrosities would they be up against?

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Our Left 4 Dead concept art contest has wrapped and it's by far been the most successful one to date. Although we've already unveiled the winners, there were many entries that deserved a proper showcase. As a result, this compilation of selected entries are ones that provided additional materials explain the ideas behind their concepts. One even went so far as to provide a whopping 32 page PDF file to document his characters backgrounds, motivations and special abilities. This is just a taste of all the entries submitted and does not include the winners showcased in a previous post.

Rhineville's entry was a hottie in her former life... shame:


Rhineville wrote: Sirens have developed over time to be a potent demoralizer and immobilizer. Their pulsating throat blisters contract as they force air through a modified voice box, emitting a damaging high-pitched squeal that is eerily different from the vocalizations of infected and survivors alike.

It seems that hosts for this strain of infection are usually those who are capable of loud screeches even without modification. Young women are selected more often than anyone else. If you've ever seen a beautiful girl screaming her lungs out at a rock concert, you have seen who is most likely to develop into a Siren. The fact that most Sirens are (or at least were) physically attractive and possess a screeching ability has led to their namesake, though to call their song anything but horrifying would be an error.

Noticeable changes to physiology include red air blisters clustered around the throat, the movement of the voice box into closer proximity to said cluster, and oddly enough the removal of the jaw. Aside from adding to the horror of their visage, the removal of the jaw seems to help increase the squeal's effectiveness. Once air from their powerful lungs is forced through their air blisters and in turn through the voice box the scream that is emitted is dangerously loud and piercing. Not only will this loud noise alert and attract other infected in the area, it will cause temporary damage to the outer and inner ear causing passing deafness and disorientation, often followed by nausea.

Typical Siren behavior revolves around locating prey, screeching and closing in, usually on all fours. Sirens hold low to the ground when in pursuit and offer a quick, small target. Thankfully their host body is not associated with hardiness and thus they are counted among the least durable of the infected. If a Siren is spotted it is recommended that it is destroyed before coming within 30 meters of you or your traveling group. If you see a Siren enter a standing position you should immediately cover your ears if it is safe to free your hands. If however you've been caught in the Siren's song it's best to ready a short range firearm or melee weapon, since targeting the Siren while you focus on remaining standing is an exercise in frustration and failure.

Zombielicious' entries prove that fashion doesn't matter when involved in the zombie apocalypse:


Zombielicious wrote: Before the zombie apocalypse, "Eli" was a freelance artist working primarily for video games. He is a former Marine and gun enthusiast. When the apocalypse broke out, he was busy sleeping and recovering from staying up all night to meet some deadlines. He woke up to the sound of someone or something forcibly entering his house. He grabbed his home defense, a Remington 870, and went to investigate. What he found, was something truly amazing.


Zombielicious wrote: "Lobber". He was a factory worker in a chlorine plant when he turned. falling into a chlorine mixture tank, he arose an undead, chemical horror. Now he grows giant chlorine and puss filled "balloons" between the dermal and muscle layers. He plucks these sores from his body and hurls them at the enemy from range. The corrosive puss does mild damage, but corrodes metal and causes a weapon jam that must be cleared immediately. He is slow moving, but from a range is a terrible annoyance to any zombie fighting party. He must be destroyed quickly.

Here's Hairwolf's progression of his boss infected concept and his survivor character, Eugene:

The Wailer The Wailer The WailerThe Wailer The Wailer The Wailer The Wailer


Hairwolf wrote: Wailers (Infected):

The delicate, highly strung flowers of the infected world--these guys are tricky. When encountering survivors they will invariably emit a wide band and horrifying wail which will alert every other infected in the area and bring them straight to the wailers location. The only way to stop the ensuing horde, which will continue as long as the Wailer is 'transmitting' is, obviously, to cut the noise off at the source. This however isn't easy Wailers are fast and will seek to out-manuevre the players while continuing to attract as much attention as possible. If cornered, Wailers will jump at the nearest aggressor and cling to him making him pretty hard to hit while all the time biting at the target and doing more damage.


Hairwolf wrote: Eugene (Survivor):

Eugene's been waiting for this! Hell, he even knew it was coming - he's read the 'Zombie Holocaust Survival Guide' and every comic with a zombie in it he could get his hands on, watched Romero's movies on a daily basis and voted illegally 300 times to get 'Shaun of the dead' nominated in the MTV peoples choice awards. His killing streaks in Doom and Half life are the stuff of legend. Now he's ready; he left his home armed with his copy of the survival guide, a six pack of Molotovs, his Dad's (R.I.P.) hedge trimmer (hey! it's not a chainsaw but it'll do) and his encyclopedic knowledge of undead spawn and infected monsters. See Eugene, unlike the others, LOVES this! It's his dream come true and now he's gonna whack him lotsa zombies...OH YES! Oh yeah, Prob has a major thing for Zoey, or any all...except infected ones of course...although there was this one hottie and if she hadn't been zombie scum..well..

KEEP_IT_UP!'s old blind man does more than just shake his fist at you and yell, "GET OFF MY LAWN!"

Blinder Info

The Blinder

outlawIIIwolf's entry is Zombie royalty:

The Monarch

Sentaro's survivor is homeless, but then again, isn't everyone in a zombie apocalypse?


Sentaro wrote: Oliver is a homeless guy. He lives in the street, and sleeps in the alleys. Begging, drinking and wandering is all he does. With no fixed goal, he lives day by day, trying to survive. He's got bad temper when he's drunk. When he's sober, he's even worse. Being a master of the bad language and having a doctorate in attitude, this bum is a tough dialectic opponent for anyone. Oliver loves alcohol. Any form of it; any flavor. Shaken, stirred or spilled on the ground. He doesn't care. “The higher the degrees, the better it is.”

There's only one thing that Oliver loves more than alcohol : his dog Napoleon. A strange Bloodhound-Chihuahua half-breed, found laying on the floor near a few carton boxes when it was a puppy. They are more than friends; they are brothers. Together until the end. He is not superstitious. Oliver can break a mirror while walking under a ladder at the same time that a black cat is passing by. No problem! Due to his bad temper and his love for alcohol, Oliver is always involved in trouble. He already is known by the police as “the agitator”; and he is proud of it!

Check out all the entries in the contest image gallery. As for our next contest, you won't have to wait long. This time it will be more along the lines of level design! Be sure to check the front page for updates as we'll be releasing more details soon.

L4D Concept Art Contest WINNERS!

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The release of Left 4 Dead is HERE, making zombie fans everywhere anxious and sweaty. As we ran this contest, we endeavored to get digital copies to the winners before the release date (which was formerly November 19th). However, due to Valve's speedier-than-expect delivery of the title (yippee!), winners probably won't be getting this news until a few hours after release. Sorry about that, we blame Valve — its all their fault. Although, I don't think any of the winners will deny it was totally worth it.

Judging this contest was no easy feat. The quality level across the bulk of entries was impressive. All of the judges were hard-pressed to vote for just one piece as their top choice. Over 70 entries qualified for entry and artists engaged in a healthy discussion over at the competition thread; providing critiques and comments for others submitting their works-in-progress. Alas, there can be only one grand prize winner. After all the votes had been tallied, here's how it all shook down:

Runner-up (tie - 2 copies of L4D on Steam each)

Spex84 with the 'Haggard'

Riot Infected
ChaoticKnight with 'Riot Infected'

Grand Prize Winner

Pastor Jakob aka P-Jay
KEEP_IT_UP! 's rendition of 'Pastor Jay'

The grand prize winner will take home a Steam copy of Left 4 Dead along with his choice of an Xbox 360 or a video card of equivalent value.

So there you have it, congratulations to all the winners (check your email, guys)! And also to all contestants (browse all the entries here), we had a blast running this and hope you learned a lot and enjoyed the process. All judges picked different entries (valve especially) so keep up the fine work because who knows what the future holds. Also to any future L4D modders out there, consider implementing these great ideas when you change the game.

Left 4 Dead Concept Art Contest

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Zombies have always had a home in the modding scene (just check out the latest mod countdown if you want proof). It should come as no surprise that one of the most anticipated games of 2008 is Valve's cooperatively driven take on the zombie apocalypse, Left 4 Dead. In it, the story focuses on four individuals and their harrowing battles against the hordes of the infected that roam the streets. What about other survivors? What would they look like and what kind of deformed monstrosities would they be up against?

We want you to tell us! Send in your concepts of what you think would a good addition to the L4D universe, be it another survivor or infected boss monster. Have your concept chosen as the winner win copies of Left 4 Dead for you and your friends plus more! Entries will have to submit works-in-progress to the competition forum thread and the submission period ends November 15th, so get crackin'!

For full details, check out the Left 4 Dead contest profile. Good luck!

Left 4 Dead concept art

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