As you may know, Valve’s latest game, Left 4 Dead is the an intense run-away-from-zombies cooperative game that brings a breath of fresh air to gamers that have been craving a decent PC-Coop game since Doom 2. In that sense, it’s a great game… but because it’s a cooperative game, it’s unlikely that it will replacing any of the major shooters.
*UPDATE* Don’t miss the new Left 4 Dead VERSUS strategy & tips article *
*UPDATE 2* Make sure you download the new Hunter Training map from the Training Section !
So if you’re more of a purist, and want to play this as a single player game, with the best graphics on and the most immersion, then you might want to skip this article.
If however, you’re ready to tweak the game, learn the little tricks and rip everything to shreds, then read on.
The Tricks you NEED to know
1. Server Browser
First, if you’re looking to play with other people, you can use the new more limited friend finder that’s included in the game. If you’d prefer the OLD FASHION server browser, simply
1. Enable the developer console (in the options),
2. Press ~
3. Type: “openserverbrowser” in the console.
2. Increase Responsiveness and Reduce Mouse Acceleration
With hundreds of zombies flying your way, you’re likely to need to do some quick firing. If you’re going to be doing “twitch shots”, then it’s better to make your mouse as responsive as possible and reduce all the mouse acceleration that you can.
To make your mouse movement more responsive in Left 4 Dead,
1. Go to your video options
2. Clicked on Advanced
3. Find the “Wait For Vertical Sync” option and set it to DISABLED.
4. Then go to options
5. Set the “Mouse Filter” option to ENABLED.
But wait, we’re not done! To reduce mouse acceleration even further (which will make it easier to aim!), you must add a few commands to the launch options in Steam.
To those who how to add launch options, simply add:
-noforcemaccel -noforcemparms -noforcemspd
in your Left 4 Dead launch options. If you’re wondering how to do this, I made a quick video for you.
3. Tweaking Your System for Left 4 Dead
The default settings that Valve picked for my system made everything look great, but I was averaging 50-60fps instead of my usual 120+. Not happy with that, I ran through the entire list of possible variables in Left 4 Dead to find ways to tweak the appearance.
Shockingly, I found that nearly EVERYTHING is cheat protected! That means that custom configs are SEVERELY limited and therefore, you won’t be seeing many “MAX FPS CONFIGS”.
However, simply going to the video options and putting EVERYTHING on “Low” gave me a tremendous boost in speed. Remember to disable Anti-Aliasing as well.
Surprisingly, the game still looks great even when everything is on low settings.
It just runs better, provides smoother mouse movement, and makes it much it a much more enjoyable experience.
I did find ONE secret variable that allows you to see everything better. Start by going in the video settings and putting your brightness to the max.
Then, open the console and type:
For even MORE brightness. If properly set up, you’ll be able to see in even the darkest areas without a flashlight.
4. Tweaking your Network Settings for Left 4 Dead
Unlike most first person shooters, Left 4 Dead does NOT require huge network requirements to run fast. This is probably because the computer controlled monsters are rushing you instead of real human players. Even if your teammates lag around a little, it won’t make such a huge impact.
In fact, playing around with the interp (usually critical in FPS games) seemed to have a more negative impact.
Therefore, for the time being, the only network settings I would recommend are:
5. Strategies for Left 4 Dead
First, if you’re inexperienced, take the machine gun. If you have semi-decent aim, take the shotgun. The shotgun is much more effective at killing hordes of enemies as long as you take your time to aim. Every shot counts, so instead of shooting quickly, make sure you are accurate.
In Left 4 Dead, it’s strongly discouraged to rush out alone… and even though I enjoy doing anyways, if you want to stay alive on expert, it’s strongly recommended that you stay near your team.
Because most zombies simply rush towards you, it’s usually recommended to simply walk backwards towards your team when you’re being rushed.
Usually the process goes: “Spot a pack of zombies… they see me…. they ALL start running towards me, I walk backwards towards my friends, we all kill them, repeat.”
As a team, the ONE thing you want to concentrate on is always making sure that your back is covered. If you can get into a corner or even a tight corridor, that’s a good thing. That way, they won’t be able to sneak up behind you. Seems obvious, but that’s really the key to winning.
If you’re looking for more in-game specific strategies, check out extra tips at Left 4 Dead 411.
6. Trick for the first level of the demo – First level in 34 seconds
It’s possible to do the first level of the L4D demo in 34 seconds if you do it right. First, pick Howie, which is the closest character to the edge, then simply pause on the ledge for a split second before walking off onto the garbage can. If you do it correctly, your team won’t stop you from jumping off and you’ll make it with minimal damage.
Here’s my rough speed run through the first level of L4D in 34 seconds.
7. Full list of commands and variables for Left 4 Dead
If you’re ever looking for a command in Left 4 Dead, you can simply go into the console and type: cvarlist and it should give you a full list of commands.
Even easier, you can START by writing a letter and then press the up or down arrow to scroll through the commands.
Finally, I’d like to give a big thanks to Dave Parker for creating PDF of all the settings for L4D. Download the L4D Cvar List
Update – Bonus Demo Tricks
How to try Infected in the Demo
Taken from Scuzball in the Steam Forums, Thanks Scuzball!
This works for single and multiplayer as of now, and is of course an incomplete feature, so don’t even think about bugs or balance! This is purely for fun and curiosity!
There are scraps of Versus mode inside the demo. If this post is somehow against the rules, delete it at your leisure.
1. From the starting screen, click Options, then Mouse/Keyboard, and enable the developer console.
2. Start a single player game and open your console with the ~ key.
3. Type “sv_cheats 1” This will enable cheat mode.
4. Type “ent_fire !self setteam 3” to join the Infected team
You get to choose where to spawn as a baddie, but the AI controlled survivors will not leave their starting room and the game will not start on its own.
5. Type “director_force_versus_start 1” in your console to begin the round.
The survivors will start hacking their way through the apartment building and you finally get to try your zombie character!
6. When you die (and you probably will), you will not respawn. Press space to cycle through different spectating modes till you are in in free flight mode. You must then use these commands in the console.
These will spawn you as that infected at the spot you are currently “flying” as a spectator. (If you use these commands while you are alive, it will spawn a computer-controlled boss of that type where you are aiming. z_add will spawn a regular infected. z_spawn witch also works, but she is always computer controlled)
In Multiplayer, this will only work if you are the lobby leader and you choose to host the game locally; it will NOT work on other people’s dedicated servers!
Many people including me have been unable to get the AI survivors to leave the safe room in the subways. Unless someone gets a work around, this only works on the apartment level.
I was iffy about my pre-order to be honest, but now that I’ve gotten 3 of my friends to try the zombies, they’re all buying the game today!
Don’t scare the witch !