Alien Swarm Is Up On Steam

Servers are a bit busy, mind. Alien Swarm, of course, is a free game from the Black Cat team, who happened to have been eaten by the Valve monster. They’ve been making a nice home for themselves in its belly, and working on this, which is a shiny remake of the original. And free. We’ll play it later, probably, and have some impressions up tomorrow, maybe. That’s for certain.


  1. Isometric says:

    Aye servers are packed full, no chance of getting it anytime soon. Very excited about this though as I thought the whole Source remake was long dead.

  2. qx says:

    Steam doesn’t even respond when I click “Install Game”:

  3. lethu says:

    Connecting Steam account…

  4. battles_atlas says:

    I had it downloading at 1.3k/sec for a while, but its up to a meg now so things must be calming down

  5. WantOn says:

    Man, been waiting up all evening for this and now its busy. Sob. Will see if I can get it early tomorrow morning. Shame there was no option to pre-load it; seems a bit of an oversight.

  6. The Innocent says:

    So stoked. It took a few retries to get it to install, but now it’s going strong. I’ll be playing within the hour, if all goes well. WOOT!

  7. suibhne says:

    Is it really, truly 2.5GB?

  8. absalom says:

    Shop around for a download server if you’re not getting through. I had to go through two or three, but finally found something that is running at about 500.

  9. xxstyxx says:

    1.3kb/s? 50kb/s?
    Wow, im lucky, i have 300-400kb/s. ^^

  10. Antlia says:

    DL’ing from Ukraine 400 kb/s! (I’m in Finland)

    • Lukasz says:

      How do you know you are downloading from Ukraine?

    • Optimaximal says:

      You can change your region in Settings, which decides which Content Servers you get served by.

    • NPC says:

      Hey, stop using our servers! Ah, I guess it is okay, I am happy we do have a server of our own, so am happy to share :)

  11. Fumarole says:

    A free co-op game from Valve? Yes please.

  12. pakoito says:

    20% in one hour…this is gonna take all night.

  13. KillahMate says:

    Now downloading at over 200KB/S, so things seem to be improving on the central European servers. I’ve never played the UT2k4 mod, and have found the new Alien Breed to be very disappointing (fond memories of the originals), so fingers crossed.

    Oh, who are we kidding. By this point, anything Valve puts out is guaranteed to be head and shoulders over almost everything else. Truly, they are the Pixar of computer gaming.

    Also, every friend I have on Steam is now downlading this. How’s that for exposure.

    • Andy says:

      I think it must be automatic because it’s telling me friends have downloaded it who I know haven’t been on Steam for years.

    • KillahMate says:

      Huh. Seems you’re right. Must be a Steam bug, they’ll probably fix that in due time. It did seem too good to be true… :-)

    • Alexander Norris says:

      It’s telling you they own it, not that they’re downloading it, and it’s not a bug; it just got added to everyone’s account, so it’s basically like everyone just bought it as far as the store is concerned.

  14. mlaskus says:

    Thanks, I switched the download server to the Ukrainian and it works brilliantly.

  15. Ginger Yellow says:

    Was going about 6KB a sec, now it’s just paused for me. I would try changing download servers, but since I won’t be able to play tonight anyway I’ll just try tomorrow.

  16. radomaj says:


  17. Shih Tzu says:

    There’s going to be a page or two of comments before anyone even gets the thing installed, isn’t there…

  18. Unaco says:

    Gah! I was playing X-Com Apocalypse (Sunday papers piece inspired). I can’t even get the download for this to start… Servers are too busy it seems. Oh well, back to X-Com.

    Would be nice though, if, when I click “OK” at the Servers busy message, the game got put in my library, and the download started automagically when the servers were a little less busy. Instead I have to go to the Store every 5 minutes, click install, wait for files to be prepared, wait a few minutes, get told they can’t handle my request… then repeat 5 or so minutes later. Just a small grumble.

  19. wakayoda says:

    Downloading from the Ukraine server at 187kbps


  20. Monkeybreadman says:

    I’m downloading at 1 MILLION kb/s! From the Gorgonzola Server

    Technically i’m at work and would like to play….

  21. Quijote3000 says:

    Is there a single player or is only coop?

    • Vinraith says:

      The UT2k4 version had pretty good bots, but then all things UT2k4 had pretty good bots. Valve’s history with friendly AI is… not so great. I guess we’ll see.

    • Fumarole says:

      The link to the Steam store page above answers that quite adequately in the affirmative.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      I remember in L4D1 watching Louis-bot insist that it was safe and fun to perch on burning barrels for no good goddamn reason. Good times. (It really was sort of hilarious, in a great-our-bot-committed-suicide-now-what kind of way.)

    • Samuel Bass says:

      Bots seemed pretty solid in Offline mode – plus you can switch to control to any of your team members if you want to take a more hands on approach.

    • Daniel Klein says:

      Actually I just played a little with the TF2 bots and they’re surprisingly good. Valve is getting there, bot-wise.

    • Vinraith says:


      I haven’t tried those yet, but that’s good to hear. I just wish they’d give us orderable L4D bots. I’m not talking about anything complex, either, just “stand there” and “follow me” (ala Brothers in Arms) would be sufficient.

  22. pakoito says:

    WTF? when changing the server twice the download got to “Suspended” grrrrrrrrr

  23. Dan says:

    The Canada – Toronto servers are working fine, 50-100KB/s. Not bad but its something

  24. Samuel Bass says:

    Downloaded and played – really well done, feels like the old UT mod with nifty modern tech and that Source-engine solidity. Kudos!

  25. SomeGuy says:

    played 2 rounds, so far seems great if sparse.

  26. MRL says:

    Played it for about an hour and a half and it is spectacular. Only one campaign but still the weapons feel good, it’s fast paced, looks gorgeous, and runs very well on my laptop.

    Well done Valve.

  27. ark says:


  28. Antsy says:

    My download just gave up.

    Its dead, Jim.

  29. SomeGuy says:

    we need a “rock paper swarm” group for this

    • Latterman says:

      what he says.

    • bleeters says:

      Yes, yes we do. Make it so, powers that be. Would be fun to try a harder difficulty without being shot in the back constanty or having the three other marines scatter to the winds.

  30. Meat Circus says:

    No dual stick support?

    But playing this with keyboard and mouse is foul. Stupid oversight.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Get the free (old) version of xpadder and set a stick to mouse emulation. Done!

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      No, YOU.

      Seriously though, Mouse is superior.

    • Norskov says:

      I found this on the Black Cat forums, I haven’t tested it though.

      It’s not really supported, but if you have a 360 controller, try entering these commands at the console:

      exec 360controller_PC.cfg
      asw_ground_secondary 0
      bind "JOY4" "asw_InvLast"

      The default controls are:

      Left stick – move
      Right stick – aim
      Right trigger – fire
      Left trigger – alt fire
      Right bumper – reload
      Left bumper – use offhand item
      A – roll
      B – melee
      X – use
      Y – switch weapons
      Back – Show map/objectives

  31. Meat Circus says:

    It looks and feels great, like a top-down Left 4 Dead.

  32. somnolentsurfer says:

    I know they always said Portal 2 would be their first game to launch simultaneously on Windows and OS X, but I can’t help being a little sad there isn’t presently a Mac version of this.

  33. Dominic White says:

    Finally got this bastich downloaded. It looks fantastic – this new-gen Source engine looks lovely. Gameplay is the same as the good old UT version, only tighter and flashier, and the setpiece at the end of the first mission, with you descending the cargo elevator as the bugs crawl up from the background is awesome. You can thin them out by shooting them before they climb overhead, too. It’s not just a gimmick.

    When Valve do co-op, they do not mess around. I’d have gladly bought this game for $15-20.

    And here’s something mindblowing: The game has a tile-based mission editor. You string together rooms to make missions, assign objectives, and (if needed) polish up in Hammer afterwards, but creating levels looks to be ridiculously fast and easy.

    link to

    There will be hundreds more levels out within a month.

  34. Justin says:

    Uhg I got work tonight 11:00pm-7:00am, so I would really like to at least start downloading it….

  35. Heliocentric says:

    Doh, i forgot about this and now i’m in no position to download it. Ah well, at least I’ll avoid the crush.

  36. sinister agent says:

    So has anyone actually played Alien Swarm, or are we all still talking about Imperfect Downloading Experience Tournament 2010?

  37. xxstyxx says:

    The Bots sucks. -.-
    and the worst, it has no Checkpoints.
    If you die at the END of the Level, you have to play the COMPLETE Level again.

    Ok, its free, have fun everybody. ^^

    • Vinraith says:

      I can’t remember, did the UT version have checkpoints?

    • xxstyxx says:

      I never play the UT Version.
      But its frustrating if you die at the End of the Mission and have to play it completly from the Start.

    • Lilliput King says:


    • xxstyxx says:

      I played the Offline/Singleplayer-Mode.

      @Lilliput King
      Say this to the Bots.

      At the half of the Mission all Bots died instantly.
      I beat my Way to the End with only one Character without Ammo and died at the End.
      Sry, this is frustrating. ^^

    • Midnight says:

      Absolutely. I mean, why can’t this game be more like a film, where you’re guaranteed to get to the end if you just sit there with half your brain switched off?

      Sorry, joking aside, I’m sure it’s frustrating when you lose, but you’re kind of missing the point of a game like this if you can’t see that the enjoyment IS the challenge of making it through a whole level in one sitting (after numerous tries of course).

    • Vinraith says:


      The complaint seems to be more that the bots are inadequate than that the game is too hard. Losing because you need to play better is one thing, losing because the friendly AI needs to play better is something else entirely. The former can make for an enjoyable challenge as you learn and improve at the game, the latter is a frustrating dead end. I’ve not played the game yet (still downloading) so I don’t know how valid the complaint is, but it doesn’t seem to be as simple as the “this game is too hard” whining you’re making it out to be.

    • Kid A says:

      Oh dear lord, it’s like the L4D bitching all over again, but 10000000 times less relevant.

      Alien Swarm is a co-op game. The original, as far as I remember, never even had bots for offline practice. If you are complaining about the bots, I can only suggest you go and find three friends, and get them to play. That’s the only way you’re going to be playing Alien Swarm as you’re meant to.

    • xxstyxx says:

      @Kid A
      I dont care about the “original” Alien Swarm.
      THIS game is (look at the Steam Description) a SINGLE- & Multiplayer Game.
      And i dont “bitching” about this Game.
      Or is every negative Comment or critique now “bitching”?
      If you like it, nice for you.

      BTW, i beat L4D 1&2 in Single- and Multiplayer without a Problem.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Kid A

      The original had fantastic bots. It was a good thing, too, as the community was awful.

    • Hyetal says:

      Are you kidding? According to Steam Schmeam. It’s called “Offline Practice Mode” for a reason. It’s so you can get the hang of that new weapon in order for you not to make a complete fool out of yourself in front of your lovely friends.

      Human friends.

      Sadly, it’s pretty clear this wasn’t developed as a singleplayer game.

    • xxstyxx says:

      Have you ever look at the Steam Description?
      Have a look:
      link to

      Oh, Fuck, Singleplayer, hm? ^^

      BTW, whats the Problem if i say “The Bots sucks”?
      Come on Kid, look for an other Guy to Flame. ^^

    • Earl_of_Josh says:

      What if you can’t get three of your friends to drop the cash on this game? Not everyone is made of money.

    • xxstyxx says:


  38. Psychopomp says:

    The individual levels are all of 5-10 minutes long.

  39. The Great Skratsby says:

    The original mod didn’t have checkpoints, half the fun was retrying missions and watching everything go wrong again.. and again.

  40. Froibo says:

    Awesome game didn’t play the original but I’m having a blast

  41. Dominic White says:

    Here is something of mindblowing importance:

    There is an in-game editor which can randomly generate missions.

    In Steam Tools, install the Alien Swarm SDK.
    Run the game as normal.
    Activate the console.
    Open it.
    Type ‘SV_Cheats 1’
    Type ‘ASW_tilegen’

    There you go. One level editor. I just tested it. Without hyperbole, it took me three minutes to generate and compile a whole new level from scratch. And then I was playing it. And died really quickly because there were no bots to help me, but whatever, it WORKS.

    I repeat: THIS GAME HAS A RANDOM MISSION GENERATOR AND IN-GAME EDITOR. The number of missions is officially infinite without ever touching Hammer. Have fun.

    • Vinraith says:

      A point of clarification: were there no bots because you neglected to add them, or can you not get bots in the randomly generated missions? Regardless, that’s a very cool feature.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’m fairly sure it’s because I just don’t know how to add bots. Although they may need navigation meshes generated.

      Either way, here’s the full guide on using the Tilegen editor:
      link to

      Apparently you can invite friends straight to generated levels, and it’ll send them the raw generation data so that they can compile it on their end (took me about two minutes to compile a decently sized level), saving you trying to upload the whole map to each of them.

  42. Tauers says:

    Awesome game. Having fun hacking terminals while the autogun covers me and the other three guys try to stop the swarm ;)

    Valve rules!

  43. Radiant says:

    This game.
    Is hilarious.

    Couple of things to note:

    #1 People who pick the heavy weapons specialist ARE FUCKING CRAZED MURDERERS.

    #2 When you, as a medic, throw down a heal you’re basically throwing down a ‘shoot me’ beacon as all your team will run towards you guns blazing.

    #3 The techie needs to be renamed RAMIREZ.
    Stay alive,seal the door, open the door, crack the computer, start the generator, STAY ALIVE.

    #4 You really should have at least one person who knows what to do.

    #5 Seriously… one person on your team needs to have the game manual open at page 1.

    Great game.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      This is why I elected to play Sarge from the beginning.

      Because then, I at least have a chance that mindless chicken syndrome will take a backseat to mindless drone syndrome.

      And drone syndrome doesn’t get me killed!

      Still have no idea what the hell Leadership does.

    • bleeters says:

      @ DJ Phantom

      You can scroll your mouse over the stat bars for a brief description of what they do. Leadership apparently increases the damage and damage resistance of nearby squad members.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      The problem is that there is no game manual and I still don’t know what half the fucking character stats do.

      Is Leadership a passive buff? To what? Damage? Health? Is it a multiplier to certain items like Explosives is for tripmines? If so, which items? What does it multiply? Does it just make the bots react to your orders faster and is therefore completely useless with human players? Who the fuck knows? I certainly don’t, but I’d like to.

    • tome says:

      Alexander: Mouse over each stat for explanation. Leadership’s a buff aura to damage shielding and damage dealing.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      tome: is this on the lobby menu or the character selection menu? I’ve tried it on both and don’t seem to be getting any popups, but it might just be that I’m not waiting long enough or whatever. Thanks for the info either way.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      tome: huzzah, found it. It’s indeed on the character selection menu rather than the lobby (a bit daft of it to only work on the character selection screen, if you ask me), but I’ve found it.

      Sadly, this has led to me discovering that one of my favourite characters (Frenchman-actually-voice-by-a-French-man Bastille) has a rather rubbish skill. Combat Drugs only applies to Adrenaline, which is a shame as it’s a rubbish item that no one ever picks. Should’ve had it give a small damage and damage reduction buff for a little while after teammates are healed or something.

  44. bleeters says:

    This is indeed excellent fun. The unlockable flamethrower brought a tear to my eye.

    Infestation is a bit of a pain to deal with though.

    • Radiant says:

      It kept making the screen shake like crazy so we couldn’t aim.

    • Fumarole says:

      The healing beacon and healing gun are both perfect for this situation, provided the infected party doesn’t run about like a headless chicken.

  45. Sir Derpicus says:

    Goddamn this game is good.
    I hope valve releases some mappacks. I’d even pay for them.

  46. mod the world says:

    It’s a nice little game. Only needs some more variety in aliens and more maps. Worth a try!

  47. dethtoll says:

    This game rules all ass forever, but don’t even bother playing offline practice for more than 5 minutes- just enough to get some of the basics down, really, but that’s about it. Unlike Left4Dead it’s pretty much unplayable by yourself.

  48. Out Reach says:

    left it downloading overnight.

    This was of course the night I had a power-cut ><

  49. Alexander Norris says:

    I can’t help but think Valve has some sinister ulterior motive, here. The final product is so polished they could have easily sold it for £15/20€/$25 and it probably would have sold like candy. It’s not like Valve to just throw a full game at us like this – they make you pay then give you loads of updates (or not, depending on whether they didn’t or did promise to give you those updates).

    So yes, I imagine they’ll be selling additional campaigns as DLC at £5 a pop while grossly overcharging the euro zone as always. Or something.

    • Vinraith says:

      They may very well, although I do think there’s a compelling argument for “it’s a tech demo.” Of course, something like this is also bound to bring more people to their distribution platform, and it’s not like once Steam’s installed it’s likely to get uninstalled.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Not necessarily either of those reasons. There’s a fairly good reason for them to offer free games over the steam platform – more users of the platform, more compelling argument to download the platform, etc. Once they’ve got people using steam, they’re one step closer to investing in a game.

      And once people have a game on the platform, they’ve got ’em. Not that I’m complaining. They’ve already got me.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Didn’t see sigma’s post there, hmph.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      You think I’d be used it by now but it constantly amazes me how the commenters here miss the point with such regularity.

      The devs of this mod (Black Cat) were working on this mod for the Source engine.
      VALVe hires these people because they’re pretty good at this game making malarkey.
      VALVe gets them to work on other games already in production like L4D & Portal.
      During this time VALVe asks/encourages/gives permission for them to continue making their Source mod.
      …time passes…
      VALVe release a Source mod for free which I believe was to be released as a free mod had the developers finished it in their own time rather than while working for VALVe.

      I like how you’re all hopelessly cynical about everything anyone anywhere ever does but try taking a step back once in a while.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Except AS was released as a full stand-alone title that uses the very latest Source engine and is distributed by Valve with Valve credited as developer and publisher.

      Try again?

    • Joe Duck says:

      @Alexander Norris:
      So if I understand your reasoning, what you’re saying is that Valve cannot be that good as to release this for free, so they are surely hiding something, and then you proceed to invent the something that they are surely hiding and going to do to us when we lower our guard.
      Well seen sir, Alien Swarm is obviously machiavellian plot to overcharge european customers.
      Yes, the bastards are releasing a free game.
      As we all know, when you start a reasoning with a biased unverifiable premise and then logically follow said premise with two or three steps of gut feeling, you always arrive at the hidden truth.

      So, to say it in other words, I hope your wrong and I regret that instead of playing a free game with glee, you are spoiling this to yourself.

    • Lilliput King says:


      I’m not really being cynical, just suggesting reasons why they may have done it. Altruism is certainly one of those possible reasons, but I don’t find it the most convincing. Doing it for good PR doesn’t make Valve evil.

      Incidentally, the Black Cat had every intention of releasing Alien Swarm for cash, and insisted that those on its forums referred to AS as a ‘game’ rather than a ‘mod.’

    • Lilliput King says:


      I disagree with Alexander, but his argument isn’t unverifiable. If Valve start releasing paid add-ons, he’ll be able to nod his head knowingly.

    • AndrewC says:

      But it isn’t falsifiable because they could always be secretly be planning to release one next week. Or the week after.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @Joe Duck:

      while grossly overcharging the euro zone as always

      Maybe you don’t live in the euro zone and you’ve never noticed anyone rightly complaining about regional pricing fucking European customers over, but this is something that’s been the case for a while. So no, AS is not Valve’s ploy to fuck European customers over. Valve and every other publisher under the Sun has been doing that for years. But it’s nice of you to assume that I’m fabricating a “Machiavellian plot” on Valve’s behalf; would you like to share any other of your completely spurious opinions?

      Valve is not your best friend. Valve is a company, the primary motive of which is to accrue profit. True, they happen to believe this is best done by being considerate of their customer base. This doesn’t make them saints, your friend or anything other than a company interested in selling you and as many people as humanly possible their products. It’s frankly idiotic to assume that Valve are doing this out of the goodness of their saintly hearts; or have you learned nothing from Left 4 Dead?

      Just because something is provided for free does not exempt it from valid criticism, and I find the culture of corporate worship that makes people think freebies ought never to be questioned absolutely sickening. At least for the RPS crowd it doesn’t go hand in hand with the “mods are bad because developers are gods and the only ones capable of making games” attitude I see all too often from console players. :/

    • Joe Duck says:

      Why yes, thank you, I want to share some opinions! Let’s get to it, shall we?

      – For example, I have the opinion that you do not have a single fact to prove your theory, that is that this free game is actually a product designed to sell DLC and specially, at an unfair price to europeans… Talking about europeans, I live in Holland and yes I pay in euros in Steam, but where is the connection?
      What has Alien Swarm, a free game of all things, have anything to do with taxes and regional markets and games pricing?

      – I also have the opinion that fun is important, and that games are about fun. As a consumer, I would like to have my fun untainted by politics as much as possible, and that’s simply what my post was about, about enjoying a free game the day it comes out and having a lot of laughs over teamspeak with the mates while killing aliens. I prefer naive glee over deep conspiracy theories and I encourage you to do the same, it’s more fun!

      – I think you’re going to like my third completely spurious opinion:
      I loved L4D, played 200 hours of it and I (gasp!) liked L4D2, less than the first but had good times with it. And you know what? No comment from you will take those 200 hours away or convince me that my experience was not good enough.

      But in any case, what had to be said has been said, you think they are going to release non free DLC for Alien Swarm, against all past evidence and with no facts to support your statement. I disagreed.
      Now let’s let events take their own course. If Valve asks for money for DLC for Alien Swarm, I’d propose that when said news comes to RPS you write a full “I told you all first and Joe Duck is full of shit” post. I’ll promptly acknowledge said assertion as true and we’ll both criticize Valve for their sneaky ways. I’ll play the “betrayed trust rage” role and you can do “untainted zealot who saw this coming all the way”.
      While you get ready, I’ll be on Steam, killing zombies and aliens with my mates.

  50. sigma83 says:

    Their ulterior motive is simpler than that: Get people to install steam. The larger the steam install base, the more people buy games through steam and the more money they get.

    • Dominic White says:

      Possible tangential-ulterior motive: If the Alien Swarm Source SDK lets you make full mods, then it’s effectively a Source equivalent to UDK. A whole engine with a complete toolset and extensive documentation that everyone has access to for free.

    • Clovis says:

      I was thinking that this could be a new direction for Steam. Like, they might try to become Kongregate++. It’s like Kongregate, but the games are high quality. So, install Steam and play good games for free! Oh, and while you’re here, check out our great deals! Oh, and while you’re doing that, check out our selection of new AAA games that you can download right now!

      Or maybe they just thought giving away a game would make everyone love them.