Apr 302009

Starting this Friday at 12:01 AM GMT (Thursday at 5:01 PM Pacific and 8:01 PM Eastern), Steam is opening up the PC version of Left 4 Dead for FREE access for 24 hours. This includes the new Survival Pack DLC which introduces a new multiplayer game mode entitled Survival, plus two complete campaigns for the Versus Mode.

spotlight_freedayThe new survival mode is incredibly challenging with even experienced teams typically lasting only 4 or 5 minutes as wave after wave of Zombies throw themselves at your team. Apparently even Valve employees have only managed to last about 9 minutes in this new mode. The Survival Pack DLC dropped on April 21st and is free of charge to all of the 2.5+ million L4D players. It has been generally well received.

Left 4 Dead features some gaming innovations including multiple game AI elements controlling different aspects of gameplay and environmental effects. Rather than using fixed spawn points or fixed timing elements, one of the AIs spawns enemies and items based on the player’s current situation, status, skill, and location. This AI also adds contextual emotional cues such as character communication, visual effects, and dynamic music. In addition, there is another AI that creates an individual dynamic musical score for each player that sets the tone based on current gameplay elements and location. This dynamic approach means that gameplay varies considerably from map to map, round to round, and player to player.

This game is highly recommended but some players find it more stressful than rewarding. If you have been considering getting this game, be sure and take advantage of this free play session and get to Steam early to preload the game so that you’ll be ready to roll.


About Ken Trough

I'm a maker geek, computer modder, personal electric vehicle designer, homesteader, and cyberpunk. Gibson is good, but Stephenson has the vision and Snow Crash/Diamond Age are the clearest versions of the future I have seen yet. Knowledge is doubling every 18 months. As the rate of change increases the technology singularity approaches and our ability to predict the future utterly fails. What unimaginable future awaits us? This is a fascinating time to be alive.

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