Left 4 Aliens? Well, Kinda.

There’s clearly going to be a lot of messing around to be done with Alien Swarm and its SDK, but one thing that can be messed about with immediately is the perspective. PCG spotted that you can play the game in first-person by enabling the dev console in the options and then typing:

asw_hide_marine 1
asw_controls 0

Video of it in action below. There’s no ceiling/sky, obviously.


  1. Out Reach says:

    I always reckoned alien swarm was free so people couldn’t boycott it for being L4D3.

    • megalomania says:

      I expect they’ll be selling DLC for it later. Either that or Valve has now completely rejected capitalism. That wouldn’t surprise me, some of the Steam sales are down-right Marxist.

    • Flaringo says:

      Yeah I’ve been thinking that too.

      There’s an Add-On section in the options menu, and there’s a campaign list with only 1 campaign in it.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      Um, the add-on option is for custom campaigns, it’s called the same in L4D2.

  2. Schaulustiger says:

    It’s not really useful, your projectiles don’t go where your crosshair is, grenades don’t work properly and you lack 360° view.

    Some games are not made to be an FPS and Alien Swarm is one of them. I wouldn’t be surprised if Valve even takes those commands out in a future patch.

    • Jayt says:


    • Jeremy says:

      It seems like this would create an even more tense atmosphere, and would really force you to place your trust in your teammates. I’m interested to try it in first person, could be a fun time.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Why would they? They clearly intend for people to muck about with the game.

  3. fuggles says:

    Why? FPS is part of the game, just login to a console and you get to use a turret in first person – doubt they are taking that out. It’s not hugely useful otherwise as you are super vulnerable.

  4. Malibu Stacey says:

    Source engine can be used for first person games? Seriously? Woah.

    Someone should make a mod where you play a physicist who weilds a crowbar and a “zero-point energy field manipulator” aka Gravity Gun set in a dystopian future police state controlled by a puppet leader for the machinations of extra-dimensional alien overlords.

    I’d pay money for that.

    • Veret says:

      Someone should make a sequel to that mod where the physicist and his sidekick take a helicopter up north to investigate a mysterious shipwreck, discover new portal technologies, and finally wrap up the cliffhanger from the last game. I’d pay money for that.

    • Mr_Day says:

      @ Veret

      I doubt there would be much demand for that…

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Someone should make a sarcasm machine that lasers people in the eyes from space when they get too obvious and therefore not really funny.

    • icdragon says:


      I’d pay to watch videos of that on YouTube.

  5. Dominic White says:

    Much more interesting console commands:

    asw_horde_override 1 = AI director activated.

    asw_tilegen = In-game level editor and random mission generator. (Requires sv_cheats 1 on, and the SDK installed)

    • pupsikaso says:

      Random mission generator? What do you mean?

    • Dominic White says:

      Exactly what it sounds like. Using various map-tiles, it generates a whole new mission (based on variables you input) from scratch, with objectives to complete and a dramatic escape to do once you’ve got the job done.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m definitely going to be giving that a try a little later (just downloaded the SDK for it, too). I love random generation – and I kind of dig Alien Swarm, too – so this I just have to see.

    • Lilliput King says:

      There isn’t a hell of a lot it can generate at the moment, as there is the only one tileset (the ‘example’ tileset) which in itself only has one start room, one exit room and 3 or so other objective rooms. It can also provide funky results if you don’t disable south growing and 1×1 rooms, and disabling these options makes the maps a tad samey usually (you either head up and to the left or up and to the right in every generation).

      Making tilesets is simply a case of making a set of rooms and saving them in the right fashion, though, and with suitable dedication, one could make a tileset that gives different objectives with each generation, as it’s possible to choose both mandatory (start, exit) and optional rooms, and objectives are laid down not as a part of the mission but as entities within rooms. A friend and I are trying to make a tileset inspired by the last bit of Aliens, and finding it surprisingly easy to get into. I imagine far more talented individuals or groups are also working on tilesets at the moment.

      Not to mention that the whole tileset system not only has the capability of random generation, but also makes making missions a hell of a lot easier, as you can use room templates as assets, repeating them or juggling their positions to taste after creation, which needless to say saves a lot of time.

    • Lilliput King says:

      NB: by funky I mean funky, not funkey

      Like entire sections of the map not being joined to eachother in any fashion. That kind of funky.

    • Vinraith says:

      A random mission editor really is the best thing to include in a game like this ever. Kudos to Valve on that one.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      My god!

      Someone kidnapped Vinraith!

      Quick! I need a quirky but adorable sidekick, a big burly tough guy (race doesn’t matter, I am not Japanese), and a love interest character that I’ll ignore the entire time because damnit we’ve got a MYSTERY to solve!

    • gerafin says:

      Dominic, I just noticed that an article on XugoGaming linked to a post by you on the SA forums about the in-game editor. You’re famous!

      link to xugogaming.com

  6. Player1 says:

    Someone please make a Trap Gunner (or Trap Runner) remake with this for 4 or more players. Thank you!

  7. R3D says:

    YES!!! This is what I want!
    I tried playing it with a mate yesterday and the topdown perspective was unbelievably difficult.

    • Dominic White says:

      Erm. The game is about ten times harder in first person. This mode is pretty much for people who think Insane difficulty is too easy.

    • gerafin says:

      Some part of me enjoys top-down simply for the fact that it feels like my marine is a little marionette, and I’m some sort of evil overlord dragging him into danger and chuckling. This is also how I played Diablo and other isometric games, and I think it’s indicative of some sort of problem…

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      What am arcade style games?

      Seriously. Smash TV, or Robotron 2084? Anyone?

  8. DuckSauce says:

    I feel the game loses most of it’s charm in first person, the top down perspective just works well for it :)

  9. Joe Duck says:

    This is what I want to see them do… in the XCOM remake.
    A FPS perspective is modern, but I still miss the strategy, so why not combine? My idea is to play your FPS and give “audible” instructions to your AI mates. However, a “leadeship” bar is constantly filling up so that when it reaches a certain level, you can press a key, the game pauses and zooms out to classic XCOM perspective. You then give much more detailed and scriptable orders to your mates, Combat Mission style, and get back to FPS gaming. If you design levels where coordination is required (say for example, attacking a huge alien from the back).
    The RPG elements seem pretty obvious, you advance and fill up your “leadership” bar faster, maybe good mates can also fill it up. etc.
    I think it could maybe be fun?
    Or is it too complex?

    • c-Row says:

      Joe Duck, meet Space Hulk.

    • Joe Duck says:

      OMG, you’re right…
      I just invented something that was already invented and furthermore I already knew about…
      Very original and creative of me, yes…
      Ok, as soon as I pull my head out of my ass, I’ll go find myself a copy of Space Hulk and play the game I wanted to play, yay!

    • Sunjumper says:

      Go and have a look at Alien Assault.
      There you can go and hunt aliens in a turn based manner.
      There are also quite a few mods incase you like your aliens with a Warhammer 40k or even an Aliens taste.

  10. Fumarole says:

    This may work for a friend of mine who had trouble with the controls. Thanks for the heads-up.

  11. Headache says:

    That looks really good, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some mods making us of that first person perspective.

  12. laikapants says:

    It must be the perspective change, but for whatever reason Alien Swarm has me ridiculously excited for the mod possibilities. It even has me reading and watching Hammer tutorials to make my own terrible Trope-ridden attempt at a campaign which hasn’t happened since Neverwinter Nights.

    And the internet has read my mind with someone already had at work on a Warhammer 40k mod. (Theoretical correct link: link to google.com)

    • Rich says:

      Here’s hoping Games Workshop don’t stomp on this one.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      So far they ain’t stepped all over the other 40k mod on there that plays a bit like Natural Selection.

  13. Tei says:

    Well.. the sky thing is a real problem. But maybe a all-blank skybox can be loaded, or the texture on the game nuked to a black color. Is that really sky, or is a wall?
    Can more than 4 players connect?

  14. Heiper says:

    I said it in other comment, but I’ll say it again:

    The most useful command in AS is “openserverbrowser” to get rid of that pesky matchmaking

  15. The Innocent says:

    Eh, I don’t like the notion of an FPS mod for this game. It defeats the unique feel and turns it into a sub-par shooter.

    Also, we should embrace the best acronym ever: Alien Swarm Source: ASS.

  16. Al3xand3r says:

    Let’s not have a post for every console command, motivise people to make good stuff with the SDK!

  17. Peanut says:

    I must say, one thing that is certainly easier for me in first person mode is meleeing, I find it so much easier to judge the distance they are from me in first person than in the top down perspective.

    • Jaz says:

      I know what you mean, and you’d think the reverse would be true.

  18. Chris K. says:

    Given how valuable ammo is and how much ammo I waste due to my mediocre aiming ability, having a FPS mode means more frag for my LMB.

  19. Poltergeist says:

    Having an X-Com mod for this, with big open-ended maps and X-Com style aliens_weapons would be amazing.

    • Froibo says:

      This is exactly what I was thinking while playing it. If they wanted to take X-Com in a new direction this is the game it should have been. Hopefully some clever modders will pick up on this idea.

  20. Froibo says:

    The bright ceiling definitely kills the mood in FPS perspective

  21. Edgar the Peaceful says:

    I can’t get into a game. Just searches for yonks. Anyone got any tips?

    • Lilliput King says:

      First of all I’d try the server browser.

      (‘openserverbrowser’ without the punctuation in the console, for the uninitiated)

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      Thanks LK. I figured out how to get the console open and got to the rather buggy browser. Still everything I click drops out. Weird because TF2, L4D etc runs fine. I’d like to play this game but perhaps life’s too short.

    • itsallcrap says:

      Try the categories with as few games running as possible. No idea why that would work, but I almost always get through on the ‘2 games’ listings, and almost never on the ’10 games’ ones.

      Also, you should go from ‘Establishing connection’ to ‘loading’ in less than ten seconds. If not, give up and try another.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Yes I’ve found that if it doesn’t connect almost immediately then it aint connecting at all

  22. Pentadact says:

    Why did someone rip my video from YouTube and re-upload it to GameTrailers? The internet is strange. This version doesn’t play right for me, as if it’s trying to play at a larger size than the embed frame.

    • Pod says:

      I always get this as well with Gametrailers videos on RPS.

  23. Al3xand3r says:

    GameTrailers is bugged like that, if you first click play on a video, then refresh the page, the next time you click play it will refit itself and look right. And yeah the internet is strange, duno why anyone would even make a video of this to show off when anyone interested can find the console commands.

  24. Disto says:

    AFAIK this is a “trainee” project for some of the talented mod community they have hired.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      Similar to the PORTAL crew. PORTAL was thrown into the Orange Box basically as an added bonus and extended demo before they put the crew to work on PORTAL 2. Wouldn’t surprise me if this was a similar thing and a few years down the line we get ALIEN SWARM 2 as a much bigger, more elaborate, L4D-but-IN-SPACE, style title which you pay for.

      Valve, you mad geniuses you.

  25. Fraser says:

    Oh good! FPS games are just too rare these days.

  26. thinsoldier says:

    Since we’re trading mod ideas

    16 player multiplayer
    4 teams of 4
    the map is shaped like a cross (east west north and south)
    the teams start at the 4 ends and work their way to the middle as fast as they can to reach the escape pod/drop ship or something else of value.
    if they get there at the same time they can fight over it
    if only a few people are left (4 or less) then can share the escape pod.

    maybe have 4 escape pods that have had their countdown timers accidentally started by the security system 5 minutes apart. If everyone gets their on time they all live. Maybe 3 times get to the end but there are only 2 ships left on the ground so they fight for them (while still fighting the alien swarm)

    Maybe there’s a 2nd launch pad further away with more ships. Rather than fight over the last 2 ships at launchpad A the remaining team members could band together to reach launchpad B where there are enough ships waiting. But these ships won’t be ready for take-off so the survivors will need to do a couple more objectives to prep the ships for launch. Maybe they split up to do multiple objectives simultaneously or they do each objective as 1 large group….

    … too bad I don’t have time to learn how to make this stuff :(

  27. Dani McJami says:

    Not as good as LOL!

    (League of Legends)

    I lol regularly lol. Now if we get an adjective that can be substituted with lol we can make a sentence entirely out of lol! kind of like buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo.

    • Dani McJami says:

      that was supposed to be a reply to:

      “Eh, I don’t like the notion of an FPS mod for this game. It defeats the unique feel and turns it into a sub-par shooter.

      Also, we should embrace the best acronym ever: Alien Swarm Source: ASS”