Every now and then I get an idea for a Left 4 Dead campaign, but since I don’t know anything about mapping, they just get filed away never to be used.
The most prominent of my ideas was that I want to do a Left 4 Dead campaign set in space. The Left 4 Dead survivors awaken from cryogenic sleep to discover they are on a CEDA research station orbiting the earth; literally the last safe zone. Left 4 Dead suggests these characters are carriers of the zombie disease, so being awake means the entire facility is infected. Over the course of the campaign, video logs on various consoles spell out the moments leading up to the quarantine break. Maps would sometimes, but not always, feature low gravity and dank areas inspired by the Alien movies. The finale would involve the survivors boarding a transport back to the planet’s surface; the transport would be huge (to accommodate for the fact it would contain zombies you’d fight as you re-entered earth’s atmosphere). Upon winning the finale, the transport’s doors would open to reveal… something. I never quite decided what.
Tonight while playing, though, I got another great idea: while fighting their way through the city, day turns to dusk. Street lights blink on… and then immediately go off. They are plunged in to a blackout. At key checkpoints throughout the map, survivors can stop and gas up a nearby generator to light the way forward (at the risk of alerting the horde)… or brave total darkness with nothing but their flashlights. Would create an interesting dynamic, especially for Versus mode, I think.
The only problem is, as per the Valve map design, they typically use light as a way to point players in the right direction. Obviously that’s what the generators do, but how do you do that if they skip (or can’t find) a generator? Fire, I guess? Car headlights? Maybe the blackout only effects certain buildings, certain streets? Hmmm…