Dawn Of The Left 4 Dead

Give a modder a first-person shooter, and he can mod for a year. Give a modder a co-operative first-person shooter about a zombie apocalypse and he can mod forever.

Yes, one of the first fruits of the Left 4 Dead modding scene has revealed itself, and it’s a doozy. Fancy slaying deadheads by the metric crapton in a Dawn of the Dead-esque shopping mall?

It’s actually a remake of a map for the old Half-Life 2 mod No More Room In Hell, but there’s hardly anything more appropriate for Valve’s top-notch zomb ’em up. In fact, it’s the kind of setting I’d guess Valve have considered themselves, and it’s vaguely amazing there wasn’t a mall in the initial L4D release. As the architecture for this Crossroads Mall map exists already, hopefully we should have it very soon. A beta’s due by Christmas, in fact. Until then, there’s a video beneath the cut.

Yeah, I know every movie/show under the sun now uses that Johnny Cash song to soundtrack scenes of disaster and carnage, but the surprisingly decent Dawn of the Dead remake was, I think, the first, and perhaps the best. I can’t believe I haven’t thought to have it playing during an L4D sesh yet.

More details on Crossroads Mall be here.


  1. Garreett says:

    Ehh, it’s too bright for my L4D liking.

  2. Nighthood says:

    I’m sure it could easily be darkened, and anyway, zombies exist in day time too!

  3. Mickiscoole says:

    That’s a simple skybox change away though.

    That Johnny Cash song is awesome, which is why it is used in everything.

  4. Rei Onryou says:

    If you’ve seen the Dustbowl conversion, you’ll have noticed that the director and L4D engine automatically darken everything a lot (or so I’m led to believe). This appears to be running in standard HL2 (the item manipulation gives that away), so there’s a lot more to expect from this. I’m glad the mod scene is moving swiftly!

    Not a shame!

  5. noom says:

    I figured one of the biggest reasons a mall wasn’t included in L4d originally was to help avoid the likelyhood of the American “OMFW THEY’RE TRAINING OUR CHILDREN TO COMMIT HATECRIMES!!” media-backlash happening. It’s one of those areas, like schools, that seem to attract that kind of attention in games.

    Sure there’s other reasons also. I’m probably just trying to cause an argument here ^_^

  6. Al3xand3r says:

    Why does every gaming website feel inclined to report on this two year old video? One could at least get the creator to show some new material, perhaps actually running in L4D, rather than recycle two year old material…

  7. Down Rodeo says:

    That’s kind of impressive, though the way he ran through it I wasn’t quite able to work out what the ‘flow’ of the map was; I assume since he’s remade a lot of the rooms there will be better hints as to the direction the player should go.

  8. Pags says:

    Looks better than Dead Rising anyway.

  9. Alec Meer says:

    Al3xand3r: because it’s interesting to L4D players, and because the guy’s said it’ll be out by Christmas. Stop being such an unhappypants again.

  10. Al3xand3r says:


  11. Nimic says:


  12. Mogs says:

    Cool, I’ll have to have a think about possible maps to make. What other viable/obvious scenarios are missing?

  13. Ginger Yellow says:

    I have similar concerns to Down Rodeo. A DotD map sounds awesome and I’ll trust this guy to come good, but DotD was all about being holed up in a sprawling yet easily defensible place, which is about as far from L4D as you can get. There doesn’t seem to be any way to easily funnel players in that map, although I suppose you could have something like a run from the parking lot to the roof or vice versa.

  14. Lobster says:

    Maybe one reason zombie game developers avoid shopping malls these days, is that the court case around Capcoms Dead Rising Mall vs the Dawn of the Dead people only just finished.

  15. Al3xand3r says:

    Varipus L4D maps have areas where you sit around defending from an onslaught for a while, then moving on to the next set piece. It could be like that, with more of those defending set pieces I guess. There’s not much in the way of barricading in L4D but doors and setting up “traps” with molotovs, gas tanks and other such objects works well enough for that impression.

  16. Flint says:

    Waiting for an Aliens mod.

  17. Down Rodeo says:

    I wonder if you can place “hints” for the director. It could be useful to block off certain areas of the map – if a player moves into this area, spawn a tank on him or her…

  18. hammedhaaret says:

    I for one think L4D could use a little brightening up. But maybe It was prophesied somewhere that the zombie apocalypse would also turn off the sun, I don’t know.

    the map will look great day or night….. now i think of it.. It’ll probably be ‘dawn’ anyway. eh eh?

  19. James Tao says:

    A brilliant song. It’s amusing/heartening to see that Johnny Cash got a posthumous heyday, even if it does seem to be taking the form of screen music rather than chart topping. He’s a worthy artist for it.

    And after seeing the DotD remake just the other week, I was extremely surprised about how solid it was. Not the greatest film ever made, but a respectable late-night horror flick nonetheless.

  20. Pags says:

    I hope someone does Shaun of the Dead next. English gardens, cornershops and a climactic battle in the local pub? Yes please.

  21. Jochen Scheisse says:

    You do not actually zomb ’em up, the game you are thinking of is one of these virus games. You rather shoot ’em up, actually.

  22. Jochen Scheisse says:

    And by the way, I’m not being a smart ass – I’m being pedantic. That’s a difference, y’know?

  23. duhreem says:

    Dear Diary,

    Today was the day when Alec Meer telling the internet to be happy replaced my mental image of King Canute on the beach.

  24. Tei says:

    Zombies sleep at night. Thats why the survivor escape at night.


  25. Pattom says:

    @Flint: That would be epic. My one concern is that if normal Aliens are that scary, how do you up the ante with boss Aliens?

  26. James Tao says:


    Extending the length of those mouth-mouth things they’ve got to Smoker lengths, perhaps? They can bite your face off from across the block!

  27. Flint says:

    Pattom: Facehuggers and queens of course! And maybe praetorians too.

  28. TheDeadlyShoe says:

    Ugh. The last two minutes of the video have no music. FAILURE.

    I like the mall exterior and mall proper but the generic service corridors of doom are a bit mind exploding.

    The lighting is an important concern… one point Valve makes in the commentary is that they use lighting to guide players down the path, since players naturally gravitate towards lit areas.

  29. Frosty840 says:

    Surely giving modders this game means that they can mod for slightly less than a year, seeing as the first mod for any game these days seems to be a multiplayer zombie mod…

  30. born2expire says:

    Lets hope for a mod to: slow the zombies down to a shuffle, remove the “special” infected, and have only headshots stop zombies, to please traditional zombie fans such as myself.

  31. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    @duhreem: It’s not the first time it’s happened. But if you keep pointing it out it might be the last. Let’s not draw attention to it, lest Alec feel the need to re-establish his curmudgeon cred.

    And, also, didn’t Canute do the beach stunt to prove a point?

  32. oxnard montalvo says:

    @Pags: link to left4winchester.net

  33. phuzz says:

    left4(the?)winchester == WIN

    I’d hazard a guess that Valve didn’t make a mall level because they’d heard about Dead Rising being sued for being too much like Dawn of the Dead. (they only just won the lawsuit) and didn’t fancy the same happening to them.
    A mod should be able to get away with it. (although Simon Pegg doesn’t like fast zombies, Charlie Brooker disagrees)

  34. Lu-Tze says:

    “DotD was all about being holed up in a sprawling yet easily defensible place, which is about as far from L4D as you can get.”

    Except for the finales. This to me seems like a finale map all over, and a simple goal like “the buses will arrive at the garage in 15 minutes, but they wont wait long.” ala Dead Rising would suit it perfectly.

    A large sprawling mall works well for a finale, as there’s no real requirement to go in any direction, merely to survive until the evacuation arrives.

  35. Dexton says:

    “the surprisingly decent Dawn of the Dead remake”

    If by decent you mean rubbish and surprisingly you mean predictibly, then I agree.

  36. Bobsy says:

    Thing about an Aliens mod would be the hordes – Aliens are far tougher than squishy humans so you couldn’t have them dropping in a couple of hits, and a thousand screeching Aliens would wipe you out in no time.

    But yes, it’s a great idea.

  37. Hermit says:

    Could be they left out a Mall-based campaign so that the idea can form the first major content update, after the one where they add in a proper server browser and Versus mode on all the current maps.

    I also think there’s milage in an Amusement Park overrun with zombies, which I’ve seen suggested elsewhere. There should be tiny cars from which hundreds of zombie clowns spew forth when you set its alarm off.

  38. JonFitt says:

    I wonder how well this map would work with the way L4D adds actors?

    I think the director relies on lots of twisty passages and closets which keep the players funnelled and gives it places out of sight to spawn deadies. Even the most open of L4D areas have lots of out of sight places for spawning close to the player.

    It doesn’t do a sea of shamblers like Dead Rising does.

    I don’t know what the limit is on number of actors at once, but I think it’s surprisingly small (around 30), and I think small clumps of zombies in a rush will look silly in these open halls.

    Still looking forward to it though.

    I wonder how custom maps will work within the lobby system where players choose maps not servers, so how do they choose a server which has the map? I guess you use the server browser only.

  39. Fumarole says:

    I wonder if you can place “hints” for the director. It could be useful to block off certain areas of the map – if a player moves into this area, spawn a tank on him or her…

    That’s rather missing the point of the Director entirely.

  40. Colin Hansen says:

    I feel like the problem with malls is that as you’re running through, gunning down hordes of zombies, there’s the temptation to be using that weight set or shopping cart or power tool or lead pipe or baseball bat or… and that capability is not in the L4D engine. That would be a sick mod, though.

  41. Christian Otholm says:

    Someone mentioned the words murder simulations in regards to why they didn’t include a mall in LEFT 4 DEAD and now all I can think about is the idea of a mod going progressing from a kindergarden to a university setting. It would be like getting an education, except you’d be allowed to shot these zombies.

  42. Erlam says:

    “Waiting for an Aliens mod.”

    I was saying in another thread, this game proves you can do a small, squad-based Co-op game in that type of setting and not fuck it up. Like the “press x to avoid the, oh you failed” upcoming Aliens game.

    “Thing about an Aliens mod would be the hordes – Aliens are far tougher than squishy humans so you couldn’t have them dropping in a couple of hits, and a thousand screeching Aliens would wipe you out in no time.”

    If you think about certain parts of the movie – I.e. when they are running to the transmitter, they take out a fair amount of Aliens on the way. Basically, you could ‘mod’ it so that instead of spawning 30 aliens, it spawns five, and most of the game consists of ‘special’ aliens, like the ‘bull’ alien, or whatever.

    I think it could be done, and done really well.

  43. AndyK says:

    Aliens… mmm I can hear those smartguns firing now!!

  44. Moonracer says:

    This looks pretty good for an early version. Actually a few daytime maps would be welcome to mix things up when mods/maps for L4D start surfacing.

    It is too bad No More Room in Hell never got completed. I know it’s still technically alive, but damn.