Graph-ick Violence: L4D Survival Mode Out Soon

The downloadable add-on “Survival Mode” for L4D is apparently out sometime this week, and Valve were kind enough to detail it on their L4D blog, last week. I was off being clever somewhere and so didn’t notice it until this morning. Anyway, it says that “given the extreme pace of Survival Mode, the number of zombies killed in a single round often outnumbers an entire campaign.” It also plots spawn-wave frequency against survival time to create the graph you see above. This, I suspect, is the science of game design. Full thing here.


  1. Helm says:

    I am looking forward to this mode because it was what I thought the game would mostly be about when I first heard of it. However I am also a bit skeptical now because the finales in the few maps that we have seen so far have become too regular, the worst part of the map for my group of friends.

    I hope that besides the new mode, we see some new maps as well soon.

  2. Dominic White says:

    I recall reading that the full SDK is due out shortly after this update (which is finally ‘completing’ L4D). You should see near infinite maps and mods from there – there’s already a whole bunch of maps waiting to be run through the official tools anyway.

  3. Evangel says:

    I seem to recall something about 4 versus maps on release… Why do we still only have 2?

  4. Abi79 says:

    @Evangel: I think they said they’d release the other two versus maps in this update.

  5. AndrewC says:

    I’m rubbish at graphs. Does that mean if you reach 15 mins you win? or that from then on there’s a new Horde spawned every 5 seconds?

  6. Dexton says:

    I think it means that the longer the round goes on for (x) the faster the respawn times of the zombies (y).

  7. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Good luck facing a tank every 5 seconds.


  8. MetalCircus says:

    its apparently impossible by the time you hit about 9/10 minutes, so anyone even getting to the 16 minute mark is godlike.

  9. Poindexter says:

    I remember reading somewhere that the dev team themselves haven’t even made the 10 min mark.

  10. Tei says:

    Don’t understimate the L4D community for inventing glitches and cheats to survive to the L4D-16 mark.

  11. Muzman says:

    Does the fact that the Specials don’t last past three minutes mean they only get to play one song before the zombies get them? Not even one song?

  12. Ian says:

    Does each dot represent an instance of that type of spawn happening?

    ‘Cause if so I read that as 11 tanks in 12 minutes(ish). :-X

    If I’m horribly wrong, forgive me. My knowledge of statistics from A-level maths (I failed) is shaky at best.

  13. Malagate says:

    No Muzman, the graphs mean that, at that length of the round, the spawns will be occuring at that rate and never faster than that. So after 3 minutes of survival time, the special will be continuously spawning with a gap of only a few seconds between spawns, a lot faster than before but it cannot spawn them any quicker than that.

  14. Chiablo says:

    All it takes is for someone to find another “Jesus room” (look it up on youtube) and it’ll ruin the leaderboards. I’d imagine that’s one reason it took so long to release, much testing for exploits.

  15. teo says:

    I think that curve is stupid because they basically put up a brick wall at a certain point. It makes much more sense for the second derivative to be negative

  16. indirectx says:

    wait, isn’t the y axis completely redundant here…

  17. nakke says:

    Yes, indirectx :) But it does make it a bit easier to read vs. just a straight line.

  18. Ben Abraham says:

    POPYCOCK! Game design is an art not a science! =P

  19. jonfitt says:

    No closet camping would work with this type of spawning. The Tank is the perfect combo breaker, he can’t be meleed and now his swipe can knock out everyone at once if they’re all bunched up.

    several Hunters spawning + Common mob + Tank(s!) = Dead Dead Dead

    I can’t see us getting anywhere near 15 minutes!

  20. BooleanBob says:

    “Areas open as the hordes come in, breaking down the doors to reach the survivors. In each room there are additional caches of vital pills, pipes, and Molotovs. By moving from location to location, using up the plentiful supplies as needed, a team can maximize their time in a game where [rescue] never arrives”

    Looks like Valve are taking rather a hefty dose of inspiration from CoD 5’s Nazi Zombies mode for this new Survival beeswax.

    Which I think is great – I really love both games. I suspected NZ was going to be a lazy L4D rip-off, but they took it in a very different direction, with clever elements of risk/reward and economy management, steadily (and panic-inducingly) escalating hordes of tougher, faster zombies, and maps so claustrophobic that you’d gladly spend precious resources opening them up – even if, in so doing, you were only creating more hazards for yourself in the long-term.

    If Valve are lurching towards that sort of gameplay with their new mode, L4D being a full-scale game and NZ being a two-map mod, I think that’s the highest compliment the NZ team could receive.

  21. Ginger Yellow says:

    Muzman: A Message To You, Rudy comes in at under 3 minutes, as does Dawning of A New Era .

  22. DrGonzo says:

    I don’t know about you lot but as soon as the SDK is out I’m gonna be making my flat for survival. :D

  23. a rob amongst many says:

    indirectx: not really, the y axis represents the ‘Time Between Spawns’. There is a clever clue hidden in the graph itself but few are brave enough to face the perils involved in deciphering it.


  24. suibhne says:

    That graph will give me nightmares. Heck, it’s already giving me daymares.

  25. clive dunn says:

    I’m really looking forward to this update. I stopped playing L4D a while ago as it got a bit samey and i like leaving games for a bit then coming at them fresh again. Did this for DOD:S recently and have been having a great time. Skill improves as well for some reason.
    Do you think they’ll ever introduce a new special class?
    Oh and wouldn’t it be great if at the start of the level it would play the intro to ‘ghost town’. That would be v classy.

  26. A Delicate Balance says:

    I understand release day is tomorrow (21st). I’m hoping to get some survival rounds in as soon as the game has updated. I’m still loving campaign and versus, but they do tend to take quite a while, so being able to play in 10 minute (or less) rounds sounds like it will be brilliant.

    As for whether anyone is “still playing this boring and repetitive piece of crap” I don’t know… I’m still working on expert campaign completion of Dead Air and Blood Harvest, having recently completed Death Toll and No Mercy. Each time was utterly epic and involved heroic one-man limp-to-the-safe-room scenes. And screaming. Lots of screaming.

  27. Rei Onryou says:

    Did anyone else read the blog and think its suggesting that we can play existing crescendos and finales in Survival mode, not just the new Lighthouse map? I hope so.

    I can’t wait for the SDK to bring in new maps as well. More L4D! It’s too great to forget!

  28. Vinraith says:

    Any word on the SDK release date? I’m sure survival mode will be fun for a lark, but I think some new levels are the only way I’m really going to come back to this game.

  29. Jahkaivah says:

    @Rei Onryou

    There are several videos showing that off so consider it confirmed.

  30. Lizard Dude says:

    teo: The second derivative there is negative.

  31. shinygerbil says:

    Well, it looks like the Survival Pack is out on Xbox Live. No sign of the Steamy version just yet.

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