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Left 4 Dead Modification Ideas

Ideas for making changes to Left 4 Dead.

Non-gameplay issues that can be fixed

The menus are a mess:

  • No option to cancel on configuration menus.
  • No option to cancel network connection attempts.
  • Very long timeout time on network connection.
  • Needing to restart the game after changing audio settings.

Plan 1: Pranks

I thought it would be fun to, before a LAN party,

  • replace the hunter model with a mudkip
  • modify the Tank's audio so he shouts “Falcon Punch!” when punching

However, I don't have the slightest idea how to modify the game and I have not taken the time to look into it.

Plan 2: Secondary Characters

Overview

When a character dies, he respawns in a closet about a minute later. It is very disconcerting to see the _exact same character_ come back to life.

The idea behind secondary characters is to consider the dead character dead, and replace the dead character with a new character. Only if you run out of secondary characters should the originals come back to life; or maybe there should just be no more survivor respawns. The new character should begin with reduced health (50-75%) both as a penalty to the player who died and because the character has been busy surviving.

Potential secondary characters

Andrea, the Shopkeeper

Someone who was just another civilian until the outbreak. Now everything she had is gone and she has no place to go back to. She might have a Midwestern accent. Begins with a basic shotgun. Inspired by the dead shopkeeper in Death Toll.

Sam, the Immune Soldier

Everyone else in his unit is dead but he made it. He begins with the best weaponry of any of the secondary characters, an M-16 or Uzi and a pipe bomb, but his health might be hit harder. Inspired by the dead soldier surrounded by pipe bombs in one of the missions.

Rosa, the Housewife

A Latina character who is hoping to reach what is left of her family a few states over. She might only have a stolen police pistol to defend herself with, maybe also a molotov. She may be shorter than the other characters, making her viewing camera origin slightly lower than the others.

Charlie, the Mechanic

He worked in an auto body shop and is still wearing the overalls. He is not quite as gruff as Bill but has a similar attitude of getting things done. Begins with just a pistol, perhaps also a pipe bomb.

Chris, the Nurse

A male nurse or medical technician who begins with full health and a health pack. The change in his life from healing to killing has been a shock, but the whole zombie attack has been a shock to everyone.

Why it would not work

Each new character would need new voice interactions for talking to each of the other characters in order to keep the game quality as high as it is with just four characters. In programmer terms, each new character increases the desired number of character interactions from O^n to O^(n+1).

  • With four survivors, the writing team needs to write O^4 interactions.
  • With nine survivors, the writing team needs to write O^9 interactions to keep up the same level of entertainment as with four characters.

Plan 3: New Weapons

New Weapon ideas

Weaker shotgun

Since shotguns in the game are overpowered, this beginner's weapon is a single-shot shotgun that needs to be reloaded and recocked every time you fire it. The regular and automatic shotguns would still be available.

Rocket launcher

A weapon that places a powerful explosion in the player's line of sight. Ammunition is limited to perhaps four rockets. This weapon would be very useful for countering Tanks and Witches or any boss at long range but would be useless against the most common close-range attacks. Shooting it at point blank range would definitely incapacitate and possibly kill a Survivor.

.22 rifle

A weapon so weak that a pistol would be better than it, a potential sole weapon for rescued secondary characters who will want to upgrade to something better fast. It does similar damage to the pistol but is aimed and fired like a hunting rifle, allowing for sniping headshots. For game balance it should have a clip.

Hand Cannon

A long-barreled silver pistol with almost as much piercing force as the hunting rifle. It fires at a slower rate than the usual pistol but does enough damage to make up for that. It might not be dual-wieldable, or one might be able to dual-wield it with a normal pistol.

Design Problem:

The game's pistols are already high caliber heavy-recoil weapons, .45 1911 Colts, but we can pretend they're not.

[EDIT: I've been told that the 1911 does not have heavy recoil for a handgun.]

Elephant Gun:

A bolt-action weapon that can only load and fire a single shot at a time, but that shot is a doozy. This gun has more piercing power than the Hunting Rifle and its shots do more damage, but its slow reloading time might make it unattractive in comparison to the other top-tier weapons. It is also harder to aim. The elephant gun may hit with such force that it slows down a Witch, or even a Tank if you hit it in the head.

New tertiary weapons

Rockets

If there is a rocket launcher, rockets might be available as separate items. They could be reworked into simple grenades that explode shortly after being thrown, like a Pipe Bomb with a shorter fuse and without the beeping zombie attractor. Since they would be the least useful of the thrown items and they are needed as ammunition by the Rocket Launcher, survivors might be allowed to carry two or three Rockets.

Sticky Pipe Bombs

Survivors may run across duct tape or a can of tar or something that can be used to make a pipe bomb (or thrown rocket) stick to a surface that it hits. The primary purpose is to allow bombs to be stuck to the side of a Tank. Since it does not make sense to put a sticky weapon away, a sticky weapon would need to be thrown after being made sticky; you can't switch to a different weapon. Alternatively, one might be able to carry duct tape and make the weapon sticky when needed, with a progress bar counting the time it takes to make it work.

New item

Ammunition Packs

Taking the place of a medkit, an ammo pack allows a single Survivor to carry twice as much ammunition. This is different from the idea of the ammo barrel in that the ammo pack is used just like the normal ammo a player always carries, while a barrel would need to be put down before the player can pull ammo from it.

New weapon and ammunition restrictions

Most of these ideas are to address these gameplay issues:

  • Survivors can resupply instantaneously and ammunition dumps have infinite ammunition. This makes the Survivors overpowered when camping on an ammunition dump since they won't be cheap with their ammunition.
  • If one gun is found, all four Survivors can pick it up; this switches the entire Survivor group from weak to overpowered at once.
  • Since pistol ammunition is infinite, there is little incentive to aim carefully or conserve pistol ammunition; although for the sake of gameplay, this may be desirable.

Limited guns

If there is a gun, only one player can pick it up. The new gun only contains the ammunition that was inside it plus any matching ammunition that the player was carrying (shotgun shells carry over to the combat shotgun) and maybe an extra clip or two. Problem with this idea: existing missions expect all survivors to be outfitted with the best guns.

Another problem: missions that don't expect that can become too easy when the Survivors have done well and do have the best guns. That can be alleviated by growing the swarms of zombies to the players' weapon strength.

Limited ammo pile

The ammo pile now shrinks as people pull from it. A large ammo pile might contain 1,000 rounds in total. Fire will cause ammunition to go off, shrinking the pile rapidly.

Limited resupply amount

Before opening the safe room door, grabbing a weapon or pulling ammo from the pile will still refill the survivors' ammo to full. After the door has been opened, each pull will only add a clip or large handful's worth of ammo, so survivors have to pull multiple times to reload completely. Survivors will automatically continue pulling ammo until they are done or the player moves the view away from the ammo pile or issues another command.

Moveable ammo barrel

The ammo barrel might contain only 500-750 rounds and not be available at every safe room but could be carried from pile to pile and refilled. One might be able to carry the ammo barrel on one's back, in lieu of a medkit, or it may need to be carried in one's hands like a propane tank. Other Survivors can pull from the barrel while someone is carrying it.

Pistol ammunition restrictions

Survivors can carry a maximum of 8 clips plus whatever is loaded in their pistols, for a total of 120 to 150 rounds.

Problem with this idea

There are points in the game where it is very helpful to have infinite pistol ammunition. Also, the pistol is weak enough that you go through clips like it's nothing. 120-150 rounds would not last you very long at all.

Reloading incompetence

Survivors might not reload perfectly every time. Misaligning the clip or shell adds a fraction of a second to the reload time. There is a greater likelihood of making a mistake when moving than there is when standing still. Since the shotguns need to be reloaded the most, this will nerf these weapons a bit.

New concept: "ammunition units"

I've been counting limited ammunition in “rounds”, but shotguns and the M-16 need different numbers of rounds to do the same amount of damage. Because of this inconsistency, ammunition pile size will be measured in “ammunition units” which are the amount of ammunition gained in one pull, which should refill about a tenth to an eighth of a Survivor's ammo. The ammo pile size will be implemented as a decimal number, not an int, so that one can pull part of a unit when the pile runs out or they are at close to full ammo.

One ammunition unit is equivalent to:

  • One clip of any weapon that takes clips, no matter how many rounds are in the clip.
  • About ten shotgun shells.
  • One rocket for the rocket launcher, unless rockets are separate items.

Changes to weapon damage

Damage to common infected

I read somewhere that blunt damage is implemented as a counter rather than as generic damage; you hit the zombie X times to kill it and bullets don't matter to that count. Blunt attacks should instead do a semirandom amount of damage on account of that if you shoot a zombie several times, it should take fewer hits to go down.

Zombies who are barely killed, like by blunt force, might come staggering back to life several seconds later. They already somewhat do this before they die, as you can knock a zombie on its butt and it takes two seconds to get up. Imagine instead that one goes straight to the ragdoll physics death animation but rises up in a disoriented state about five seconds later unless you shoot it while it is down.

Common infected should spawn with different amounts of health, from 50%-150% of normal, so that zombies may take more or fewer hits to go down. The weaker ones would spawn with a weak behavior so that seeing one barfing in the street or leaning against a wall is a sign of a zombie with fewer hit points.

Damage to Tanks

The Tank might have “armour” that absorbs 5-10 points of damage for any shot you throw at it. This would make it more vulnerable to the hunting rifle and far less vulnerable to the shotgun. If the Tank is given armour, its hit points should go down to compensate.

| | | Shots to kill | | | | |

hp armor pistol m16 autoshot hunting rifle (rebalanced)
8000 0 229 250 27 89 (250, 211, 31, 89)
7000 5 233 259 30 83 (259, 213, 35, 83)
5000 10 200 228 28 63 (228, 179, 35, 63)
4000 15 200 236 34 54 (236, 174, 48, 54)

Conclusion: If Tanks are given armour, do not nerf the shotgun. Alternatively, armour could absorb a random amount from 0 to the armour value, but if armour is not strong enough to zero out some attacks then we might as well just cut the armour level in half.

Rebalanced weapon damage

Weapons can be rebalanced.

Original weapon strength numbers from: http://www.straferight.com/forums/left-4-dead/180063-l4d-weapons-infected-damage-stats.html

  • Pistol: 35 ⇒ 32 (pistols should do less damage than an M-16)
  • Uzi: 20 ⇒ 24 (improve Uzi damage, although it already is fairly balanced.)
  • Shotgun: 10*25 ⇒ 12*22 (slightly improve damage)
  • Hunting Rifle: 90 (keep)
  • Auto-Shotgun: 12*25 ⇒ 12*22 (match to regular shotgun)
  • M-16: 32 ⇒ 38 (Do more damage than a pistol)
  • Minigun/Chaingun: ??? ⇒ 75-90 (Whatever it does doesn't hurt the Tank enough but chews up commons.)

Proposed new weapons:

  • Blunt attacks: 5-20 damage (random)
  • Hand Cannon: 70 damage (slow rate of fire, though)
  • .22 rifle: 22 damage.
  • Rockets: 750 impact damage + up to 750 blast damage. Rocket impact damage would be a spawned slug with a very high piercing rate.
  • Elephant Gun: 270 damage.

Headshots should do either triple or quadruple damage instead of being instant kills. This would still make most headshots instant kills but it would be based on the damage they do.

Plan 4: Other gameplay ideas

New infected

Uncommon Infected

I'm short on ideas for boss infected, but here are a few that are not up to boss level. Since they're weaker, they could show up more often than the bosses, perhaps as part of random swarms. A player could play these in versus mode but should have the option to abandon the infected to the CPU and respawn as something else.

Toughie

A muscular infected that might be transforming into a Tank but still has a long way to go. It takes five times as much firepower to bring down as a common infected and does twice as much damage. Its attack may stun a Survivor in the same way a Survivor's blunt attack stuns a common infected.

Queen

An otherwise common infected who emits chemicals that common infected are attracted to, allowing her to round up a posse to attack the survivors. New common infected will respawn to the replace the ones that left their position to follow her. Killing the queen will disturb any zombies nearby her and cause a rush. Her appearance might be slightly bloated but not to the extent of a Boomer.

Chomper

An infected that has mutated a large mouth and teeth. It bites and latches onto a Survivor's arm or shoulder like a pit bull, doing 7 points of immediate damage and stunning the Survivor for a couple of seconds, then another 8 points of damage when it tears out. It has a charge attack that allows it to run in a straight line faster than the common infected, but not quite as fast as the Hunter's pounce. If other Commons are in the way of its charge, it just pushes them aside. Alternate names: Dasher, Sprinter.

Squealer

An otherwise common infected that issues a long, high-pitched scream that attracts a swarm of common infected to its location. The swarm begins in a hostile mood but does not target the Survivors until they are seen, and the horde may cool off if no Survivors are found. Infected who see the Squealer screaming will attack it instead of the survivors. Its appearance might include a sac on its throat to represent its mutated vocals. Killing the Squealer mid-scream will limit the number of infected that it draws.

General

An otherwise common infected that causes a limited number of common infected to approach and attack the Survivors just by standing still and having them in his unblocked line of sight. Inspired by movies where there is a Zombie Leader who stands on the high ground and watches the battle. The General's appearance is a random common infected model for every spawn since a special General model would make it too easy for the Survivors to pick him out. Consider merging his powers with the Queen.

Armored

A common infected wearing police or military body armour that absorbs 20 points of every shot to the torso. Inspired by similar units in the Zombie Survival Last Stand flash games.

Bleeder

A mostly common infected that takes a lot of damage before it goes down. It has a maximum health about half that of a Tank but without any better strength or speed than a common, and all its health is temporary. It can survive the loss of its arms and legs and having the top of its head blown off, but it may run out of ways to attack. The rate of how fast the Bleeder loses health is multiplied by the number of critical wounds it has suffered, counted as: the number of limbs it has lost, one count if it has had its head blown off, and one for whether it has taken damage to the torso as would cause the loss of a limb if it had hit a limb instead. If a Bleeder loses one or both legs it will crawl along the ground. If it loses both its arms it will bite if it still has a head or kick if it still has both feet. A bleeder that has lost its head cannot see anything except untextured level features within a meter of its position, and it can still see Survivors at any distance as fuzzy round shapes with the normal outline colour.

Scab

An infected that has grown a very tough hide all over its body, absorbing 15 points of damage from every shot it takes. This makes it mostly immune to blunt attacks and resistant to the shotgun, but it otherwise takes about twice as much firepower to bring down as a common.

Boss Infected

Reaper

Moves slowly, has claws like a Witch, smokes like a Smoker when shot. He can do a lot of damage if you let him sneak up on you, maybe 50% per hit, but he is easy to spot and kill. He can kneel down on downed Survivors and hit them with a kill shot that does 150 damage, killing them in one or two hits. He gives away his position by laughing or cackling. The Reaper does not run or scramble, he just walks slowly and methodically. He cannot attack when jumping, so surprise attacks are difficult to carry out.

Changes to the maps

Random Major Map Features

For all the procedurally generated content, the maps are still static and straightforward. New maps could have multiple possible locations for the safe room and the signs marking them. This will require slightly more hunting around to find the safe room and would give level designers a reason to make maps a little less linear. The next level would have multiple possible entrances corresponding to the last level's safe room locations.

Maps could also randomize major features such as a truck blocking off an alleyway to force the Survivors to go in a different direction.

Problem:

Players would quickly learn all possible variations of the safe room locations.

Alternative to instant death zones

There are a couple of places on the first level of Blood Harvest that instantly kill you if you jump down into them, and this annoys me enough to make an issue about it. The coal train area should have ladders leading out of it, so that is easily fixable within the parameters of the game. More troublesome is the creek area which has some rocks that look like you should be able to climb down onto them, but try it and you die. Again, the level designer could simply make it a sheer cliff.

An alternative way to declare a no-go zone is to start a large zombie rush if a Survivor goes down there and is seen out in the open, then toss increasing numbers of infected, already-enraged Witches and multiple tanks if needed until the player gets the point. Maybe there can be an Easter Egg item on the far side of the creek to reward players who insist on going in that direction.

Other map changes

Most closet walls should be destroyable. Infected should be able to get to survivors in a closet if they aren't rescued soon enough.

Survivors should be able to break down any wall or structure that the common infected can.

AI changes

Smarter ally AI

The allies will often refuse to pick up first aid kits or ammo no matter how much you yell at them, they will sometimes ignore high-priority threats like Tanks and Witches even when no other enemies are around, and they will rarely but once in a while ignore an enemy that is beating up on you even though no other enemies are around. These glitches should be fixed, especially the first since that affects the team's strength throughout the whole level.

Modifications to infected behaviour

Common infected should join in an attack if infected are rushing by them. It makes no sense that after a big rush, the zombies who were standing there earlier are still standing around as if nothing happened.

Shining a flashlight should not alert infecteds that are not looking at it, or if the ambient light level is high enough to make the flashlight useless. The flashlight should still raise suspicion among infecteds who see the light's reflection appear on a surface or who see the light's reflection moving.

Common infecteds should have a multi-leveled alert system similar to that of the Witch (they might already). It should be possible to get an infected suspicious without drawing an attack, and to then stand still until the infected goes back to normal.

Gunfire and shouting should disturb infecteds more than it does. Seeing someone running should disturb them more than seeing someone walking, and movement should raise suspicion more than standing still.

The pipe bomb's beeping flashing light should not be that distracting to infecteds that are already busy attacking a target. The explosion itself may distract infecteds or draw new ones to the location.

Plan 5: Alternate Gameplay Modes

New mission types

Non-linear play

In this series of missions, the Survivors have to go back and forth between safe rooms they've already been to and already-explored parts of the map. Inspired by countless RPGs and the map in Blaster Master. A new point of strategy is that areas already cleared out of items stay cleared out.

Build the safe rooms

In this mission, the Survivors have to clear a path for and escort engineers who carry the large steel doors for the safe rooms.

Zombie Bait

The authorities have constructed a well-defended barricade with the goal of encouraging the zombies to attack en masse so they can get wiped out. You have good weapons with lots of ammo, good lines of sight to the kill area, and lots of armed allies ready to shoot whatever comes at you. You just have to turn on the sirens and wait. After wiping out the bulk of the zombie horde, the authorities can send immune Survivors to pick off any remaining zombies and retake the area from the infection. It would be a great plan if the infection hadn't already flanked the barricade and if Tanks and Witches didn't exist.

Clear the Carrier

Three weeks after the infection, a group of Survivors are tasked with removing zombies from the lower decks of a U.S. Navy battleship or aircraft carrier. After the threat is gone, plans are that a biohazard team will clean the area and make it safe for normals again. Clearing the ship will involve lots of fighting in close combat, moving supplies down from the deck to continue the fight, and sealing doors to prevent zombie movement. Areas are cleared and zombies can no longer spawn there when their connection to any non-clear area is cut off by closed doors and/or the presence of a Survivor in the connecting room.

The Immune Platoon

Prequel

Eight days after the first infection, the faceless medics in their environment suits enter the room and give you an injection. When you wake up you are no longer strapped to the table, the door is no longer locked from the outside (although it is still barred from within), and the room now also contains a pistol, a camouflage coat that you can wear, and a razor that you can shave with. When you unlock the door, you see a hallway with several similar rooms and a single dead zombie on the ground. At the lit end of the hallway nearest your chamber is another room with a television and VCR where several other survivors have already exited and gathered. If you have left without shaving or wearing the coat and you don't halt when they tell you to, they will shoot you. There is a tape there which describes your new mission: as you are apparently immune to the infection, you are to go into the city as a special operations force to operate behind infected lines, rescue other immune survivors, and ultimately attempt to reconquer the city. The next room over from the TV room has a shower that you “use” to warp to the gameplay part of the mission; players can skip the video by going there first.

Overview

Your group of ten to sixteen Survivors is overpowerful at first, especially as boss zombies are rare at this point, but you will eventually have to split up to conduct multiple simultaneous missions as the zombies advance and more demands are made of your group to be in different places at once. It would be possible to switch between different unit commanders so that you can, for instance, order your current unit to hold position and lead a rescue squad to resupply them.

You will have a truck full of supplies that can be driven around the city. There may be a base at which you can resupply the truck, perhaps at or near Mercy Hospital. Three might be several bases: Mercy would provide medkits for as long as it holds out, and the police and national guard bases would do the same for ammunition.

Eventually the zombies will overpower the regular forces and your supplies will run out, so you will have to evacuate. There will be a few different evacuation points, one for the truck to drive off from and a few on the tops of buildings.

If you have more than four people on a rooftop, there are too many people for the helicopter to take at once. It will load as many people as it can while leaving four or more behind to stay and fight until the next helicopter can arrive several minutes later.

Notes

There might be a medical location where wounded survivors can recuperate over time without using a medkit.

Smoker tongue attacks will be disabled for the first missions of the prequel campaign, so you will run across Smokers who burst into smoke but have not mutated their strongest attack.

The Immune Platoon campaign could lead into a No Mercy campaign where the number and quality of supplies and enemies depends on how long the Immune Platoon lasted.

The time to collapse for the normals might be fifteen to twenty minutes if you just sit and don't do anything. If you play well, you may be able to extend that time to more than five hours.

Plan 6: Crazy stuff

Crazy infected ideas

  • Imp: An Imp from Doom since L4D reminds me of that game. It can throw weak, slow fireballs and do a Hunter's crouch/pounce attack, but it can't climb walls the way Hunters can. Its claw attacks may do more damage than the Hunter's. It is also immune to all fire-based sources of damage.
  • Hydralisk: While stealing enemies from other video games, how about one that can threaten the survivors at range? I don't think this one would work. The imp at least looks humanoid, but the hydra doesn't. One stolen enemy character is funny, but two (out of six) is stupid. Furthermore, a powerful long-ranged attacker on the Infected side would change the game too much.
  • Goatse: Give the Boomer the ability to turn around, drop his pants, and Goatse.cx the Survivors, stunning any Survivor who is looking and forcing them to look in a different direction. This blocks off an entire line of sight for the Survivors, forcing them to retreat or look away from the direction they are advancing in. I like to think this could counter a Survivor closeting strategy, but it would probably take too much time for the Boomer to carry out the attack. The Boomer's own slime may grant the Survivors immunity to the Goatse by blinding them so they can't see it. The Goatse can also stun Infected. Darkness, obstructions, and distance can prevent anyone from seeing the Goatse.

Crazy Survivor Ideas

Wizards with magic powers!

This is totally not the l4d style, but it would shake up the gameplay a lot. These characters will require modifications to the game engine.

Wizards will have magic power that refills over time. It will refill at a faster rate if the Survivor is standing still or crouching, and it may refill faster if the Survivor is healthier. Casting a spell while out of magic power may convert deficit health to temporary health. Magic should refill at one percentage point per second if standing still and completely healthy, and it should never take more than five minutes to refill a completely empty magic store. Magic is fully recharged between missions.

Robert, the Generic Wizard

A mage specializing in long-ranged attacks, based on the player character in the old EGA game Catacombs Abyss. He has a cloak and staff and cannot use guns. His staff allows his blunt force attacks to have a longer range than those of most Survivors. He speaks in a well-enunciated English stage accent. He announces Molotovs as “Fire Potion Here!”.

Primary attack: Fireball

Robert can throw a large fireball that sets targets it touches on fire and will do extra damage on a direct hit, which causes the fireball to dissipate while knocking the target back the way a blunt force attack does.

Secondary attack: Fire Ring

Robert can shoot a ring of fire out in a circle around him, throwing nearby targets back and doing a fair amount of damage. The fire ring can wipe out a swarm of common infected surrounding him but will also damage any allies standing nearby. It requires more magic power than his basic fireball.

Tertiary attack: Fire Bolt

Robert also has a strong, long-lasting direct-fire attack which does a lot of damage but heavily saps his MP. This attack is best used on Tanks and Witches.

Spell table
Spell %magic damage etc
Ball 4 50 can throw 25 without recharging
Ring 25 up to 200
Bolt 5 + 8/sec 300/sec min 1s casting time

Tang, the Author's TJAB Character

A mage specializing in short-ranged attacks who can also use light guns. His main magic powers are a fire sword and a magic shield spell. As a malus, he has a lower maximum HP than most characters and he refuses to carry molotovs or pipe bombs because they can blow up on him. If knocked down, he does not fight back but covers half his body with a shield.

Fire sword

He can choose to cast one, two, or no swords. The swords take a moment to cast and can be swung across a wide range if enemies are near, hitting multiple targets at once, doing lots of damage and possibly setting targets on fire, but they do not knock enemies back. If enemies are out of sword reach, Tang can throw his sword a short distance as a tongue of flame which sets the target on fire but does not do much direct damage. The fire sword can cut a Smoker's tongue, so Tang does not stay caught for long.

While each sword swing can hit multiple targets, the damage is halved for each subsequent target hit.

Shield

The shield is instantaneously cast to block a frontal attack if he has a free hand and is not moving fast. He cannot walk when the shield is active or move the hand that he uses to cast it, but he can turn his body.

Chaos wave

Tang has a secret attack. If other survivors are standing to rescue him, his health is all temporary and below 20, he has at least 30% magic power, and and he is in dual fire sword mode and under stress and with a serious threat in front of him, and no allies are in front of him, and he is not moving, and the player holds the attack button, Tang will launch a powerful medium-range attack with a fairly wide area of effect. This attack will disable him when he is done casting it.

Spell table
Spell %magic damage etc
shield 1 automatic instant; requires free hand; slows movement
sword 1 + 1/10s 65 can set target on fire; can cast two at once
flame 1/2 up to 50 right-click with sword active
chaos wave 10+10/s up to 700/s drains MP to zero and disables him

Ceres, the Fighter Mage

A woman warrior who carries a sword and shield, based on Celes from FF6 but we'll give her a helmet too. She can also cast a large number of spells, making her versatile but relatively weak offensively.

Ceres needs a free hand to cast magic, so to this end she can sheath her sword or move her shield from her arm to her back. Her offensive spells are stronger if both hands are free.

Melee combat

Her armor reduces the damage Celes takes, and she can block many attacks with her shield. Her helmet may be knocked off, reducing her armor strength.

Her sword does more damage than the average melee weapon. When attacking with both sword and shield, she can bash enemies with the shield as a second melee attack while she is drawing back her sword. Moving the shield to her back might block blows from that direction. The shield can block Witch and Tank attacks, although the force of the Tank's attack would still knock her back and a Witch might be able to maneuver around the shield.

Ice

Ceres can cast a wide medium-range ice spell which will slow and then freeze common undead in place depending on how long she casts it. Frozen zombies can thaw out, but the ice damages them to the point of death and they make easy targets for melee attacks. The ice also puts out fires.

The ice spell has full effect over a core area and a diminishing effect as distance increases. The spell is blocked by walls but can pass through open doors and windows.

Blunt attacks will undo some of the effect of freezing, and fire will undo the effects twice as fast.

Lightning

Ceres can also cast direct-fire lightning bolts that do moderate damage over time and may arc between targets.

Float

Ceres might also be able to cast Float and fly around the map like Duke3d's jetpack.

Scan

Ceres can cast Scan on an area in front of her to view the outline of hidden Infected, with Boss Infected a different outline colour. Casting Scan will also render the area immune to Infected spawns for a few minutes for the obvious reason that something spawning there afterwards is cheating.

Heal

Ceres might be able to heal other players with magic, but it would cost a lot of MP given how valuable that skill would be.

Other spells?

The most powerful FF spells like Ultima and Meteo are unworkable since they would take too long to cast and they would need to be able to break the scenery to be worth having.

Spell table
Spell %magic damage etc
Scan 5 shows all zombie outlines for 5s
Float 5+1/s
Heal 25 heals 10 perm HP, 1/2 rest as temp
ice1 1/s up to 15/s commons freeze at 50 ice damage
ice2 2/s up to 30/s commons freeze at 50 ice damage
lit1 2/s 100/s can arc to nearby targets for half damage
lit2 5/s 200/s can arc to nearby targets for half damage

Awesome Man, the Stereotypical Superhero

A tank for the survivor team, Awesome Man brings the awesome power of his awesomeness to the fight. Unfortunately for the survivors, that's about all he brings. Awesome Man has a lot of hit points and he can attack zombies with a powerful punch that will throw them back like the the Tank's punch, but he is bit slower than the other survivors and about all he can do is punch zombies. If he can use weapons, he would be the least competent with the worst aim and slowest to reload.

Awesome Personality

Awesome Man often complains about not being able to fly like other superheroes.

Quotes:

  • Hanging on a ledge: “I can't fly!!!!”
  • Getting barfed on by a Boomer: “That was not awesome!”
  • Getting roped by a Smoker: “I'm too awesome for this!”
  • Punching out the witch: “Did I just hit a girl?”
Resistance to boss attacks
  • The Smoker cannot drag Awesome Man as quickly as the other survivors.
  • A hunter pounce will make Awesome teeter over for a few seconds before he finally falls, giving allies the opportunity to knock the Hunter off before Awesome takes any damage. The animation differs depending on whether he is attacked from the front or back.
  • The Tank's attacks will not throw Awesome Man as far or stun him for as long, and Awesome's punches may stun the Tank for a short bit of time.
  • The Witch cannot knock Awesome down in one hit; it takes several.
Awesome Punch

Awesome Man can charge a punch for more damage. This slows down his movement to walking speed. He shouts “Awesome Punch!” in a direct shout-out to Captain Falcon from Smash Brothers.

Awesome Mode

Awesome Man can power up into Awesome Mode where his punches are more rapid and do more damage.

Awesome Mode will end early if Awesome man stands still without attacking for three seconds.

Spell table
Spell %magic damage etc
Charge Punch 2/s Adds 200/s to damage of next punch
Awesome Mode 20 + 2/s doubles punch damage

Garret, the guy from Thief

A stealthy Survivor who is invisible to Zombie Vision. His main weapon is a sword, and he also has a bow and infinite arrows: fire arrows that can start fires, water arrows that can put out fires or clear a Boomered ally's vision, and rope arrows that spawn ropes that can be climbed by Survivors as if they were ladders. With Garret on the team, you don't have to use the lift! He can also help himself up from a ledge to get to places where his rope arrows can only hit the ledge near the top. He has a backstab ability which does headshot damage to most targets or ten times damage to a Witch. For a malus he would be unable to use guns, making him the worst fighter on the team.

If a rope arrow leaves a great deal of slack, the rope end may be picked up by a Survivor and moved or thrown over a ledge. This allows the rope arrow to be planted into the ground where Garret is standing and the rope to be thrown over the edge for climbing down. If Garret fires a rope arrow while falling, he will automatically hold onto the end and may be able to swing out of the fall. Rope arrows can also be fired into zombies and a Survivor can pick up the rope to slow the zombie down, although a Tank will just drag Survivors along with little difficulty. If paired with Ceres's ice spell, Garret's water arrows will contribute 1 second's worth of freezing to an enemy under the spell and his fire arrows will take 3s off any iced enemy.

Stinger, the Druggie Misanthrope

Stinger Medina from the dark, dreary, graphic-novel hellhole of MINNEAPOLIS is a parody of Spider Jerusalem and noir comic books in general. He has a scorpion tattoo on his bald head and he runs around in a bathrobe, boxer shorts, bunny slippers, and a pair of 3-D movie glasses. He already thought life was as horrible as it could possibly be before the zombies attacked, and he's not going to start changing his views now. As he tells it, whatever zombie-wrecked city he finds himself in is not as bad as MINNEAPOLIS was before the outbreak, and MINNEAPOLIS is probably better off with the zombies.

Hallucinations
  • Stinger sometimes hallucinates that the other survivors are zombies.
  • He will sometimes hallucinate seeing zombies where there are none on the map. They look real to him and he can shoot and kill them.
  • He might not see zombies that are actually attacking him
  • He will sometimes hallucinate getting hit from out of nowhere
  • The player playing Stinger may not get an accurate reading of his health.
  • Strange things happen when Stinger takes pain pills: the whole screen goes to a pastel Super Mario look, dancing flowers pop up and start moving around, major landscape features appear and disappear, and his hallucinations just get weirder.

Cletus and Buford, the Idiots

Like the Ice Climbers in Smash Brothers, the Survivors get two for the price of one with Cletus and Buford but each individual one sucks. The characters are modeled after Beavis and Butt-Head with all the snorting, laughing, insulting each other, screaming when they get hit, et cetera, with the addition of redneck stereotypes like in Redneck Rampage. The player plays as Cletus so he can pick up Molotovs and set the zombies on “FIRE! FIRE! Heheheh! FIRE!”. Buford is controlled by the CPU until Cletus dies, at which point the player can take him over.

Maluses include bad aim, low maximum health, slow to reload, forgetting to reload when their guns run out of ammo, not being able to use health packs correctly (it takes longer and not as much health is recovered), and pausing between successful shots to cheer, wave their gun, and say how great they are. Instead of rushing to immediately help a downed ally, Cletus and Buford will stand over them and say “You suck.”

Each of Cletus or Buford can whack the other with a melee attack to deal one point of permanent damage to the other and gain five temporary health. If the other does not have any permanent health, this just steals four temporary health from them.

How Cletus and Buford would begin No Mercy:
  • Helicopter: ”… Proceed to Mercy Hospital for evacuation …”
  • Buford: “Uhh.. I hear that they have, like, TV at hospitals.”
  • Cletus: “TVs that work? 'Cause our TVs don't work no more.”
  • Buford: “Yeah. I've seen TVs in a hospital before and they were working.”
  • Cletus: “Cool! Let's go! Uh, how do we get there?”
  • Buford: “Uh, I dunno. How about you jump off the roof and I'll call an ambulance?”
  • Cletus: “Okay. No, wait. You first.”

Wendy, the Half-Witch

“Don't shoot me! I'm still alive!” Hiding her corrupted claw-hand behind her back when the Survivors find her in a closet, Wendy knows something is wrong with her but she is still sentient… for now. Although most signs have her turning into a witch, a few things such as a band of colour in her hair suggest she might be changing back, or even back-and-forth. She does not talk about what she has had to do to survive and she might honestly not know. When she is wounded and under stress, she sounds frighteningly similar to a Witch. She may turn into a Witch if knocked down, badly wounded, and abandoned for a time. The zombies see her as a Survivor and not one of them, so the Survivors choose to see her that way also, though they probably tie her up when they get to a safe room. Because of her claw-hand, she may be unable to use any weapon other than her claw in melee and perhaps a single-handed pistol in her regular hand. She might not be able to use medkits or pain pills either.

Lucky, the Target

“I lost my lucky watch! We have to go back to get it!” Of course, you can't go back to get it. Lucky is like a normal survivor except that once he joins the team, the Survivors will be attacked by more zombie swarms who make it a priority to attack Lucky. Car alarms will go off and witches will be disturbed when Lucky simply walks near them. Molotovs and pipe bombs have a 1/8 chance of not going off when thrown, or 1/4 if Lucky is throwing them. The respawn time for bosses might be shaved a little as well, and there is no requirement for bosses to spawn far away from Lucky as long as the spawn point is out of his line of sight. If Lucky is knocked down, the Survivors' luck immediately goes back to normal until he gets back up. I picture Lucky looking and sounding like Simon Pegg.

Dooney, the Priest

Dooney is a religious figure of some kind – be it Christian, Yalortian, Pastafarian, or whatever – who has sworn an oath of nonviolence so he won't carry a weapon or ammunition. The most he will do is smack zombies with his Bible while yelling stereotypical medieval curses at them. He will be happy to carry a medpack and heal people. He might be able to pause to read from his holy book to give nearby greyed survivors some temporary health and the willpower to keep from dying on the next knockdown. His speeches may cause downed allies to lift themselves up in half the time that it would normally take to lift up a downed ally.

As a nonviolent person, Dooney would be the most useless Survivor in the game but players may take pride in surviving with him on the team. Others might intentionally kill him so they can grab a better player out of the closet.

Dooney might be able to put Witches to sleep by boring them with a holy reading. No, I think they'd just kill him.

Bun-Bun, the evil rabbit from Sluggy Freelance

Another flagrantly stolen character with some interesting potential effects to the gameplay. Bun-Bun is short so the player's camera view is six inches off the ground. His small size makes him hard to hit and a lower priority for zombies that might not notice him. He can crawl into certain small spaces that other Survivors can't get to. He is light, so he goes flying if the Tank hits him. Bun-Bun can still carry a medkit, bomb, and pain pills, but you would barely be able to see him under all of the gear and it might slow him down. He would have a harder time getting wounded Survivors off the ground since all he can do is tug at their clothing and shout at them. On the other hand, Survivors can immediately pick up a wounded Bun-Bun and run away with him while he recovers. Survivors can also pick him up and throw him at an enemy. He can sit on a Survivor's head or shoulder and shoot his pistol while the Survivor is moving.

Bun-Bun's main weapons are a switchblade and a pistol, and he would not be able to carry anything heavier except for the rocket launcher. His switchblade attack will do more damage and knock the target back if he is jumping. The switchblade attack might be a jumping attack, with Bun-Bun jumping and swinging the blade as long as the player holds the attack button down.

Bun-Bun's attitude is his usual obnoxious self, constantly hitting on the female characters, calling Robert the wizard “Dorco”, wondering why Ceres isn't wearing a chain mail bikini, etc. If Bun-Bun dies, somebody has to say “Dey killed da wabbit. Poor widdle bunny.” I think Awesome Man would get that line. Others might chime in with “we got the hare off our chests” type puns.

Killbot 9000, the Combat Robot

The most powerful Survivor, Killbot comes equipped with jump springs, 360-degree vision, belt-fed dual assault rifles with infinite ammunition, and whirling sawblades for close combat. Its guns reload once every 240 rounds. Reloading takes several seconds. While Killbot rotates and fires smoothly, its other movements are slow and jerky so it takes a small amount of time to start moving or carry out a jump. Killbot cannot hang off a ledge so falling off a building is instant death. Killbot cannot use or carry medkits or pills, and medkits can not be used on it. Killbot's appearance is like a five foot tall, two foot wide Roomba of Death. Killbot may explode when it dies. Killbot is unable to raise or lower its guns more than 70 degrees from center. Killbot may be able to plug itself into a wall outlet to slowly replenish its lost health with temporary health.

I'm not sure how Killbot would handle stairs; it may be able to walk up them since it would be too much trouble to make it have trouble using them, or it make go up stairs slowly at an angle. Killbot would need to be able to lower itself to duck into places like the sewers in No Mercy. I have no idea how Killbot would handle ladders. We might just give it four arms with clamps for that.

Killbot cannot help downed allies. If all other survivors are down, the game ends regardless of whether Killbot is still standing.

The Worst Possible Team

The worst possible team would be Dooney, Garret, Awesome, and Wendy. Dooney can't fight. Garret is the weakest of all the ranged fighters, and he would be the only character on this team with a ranged attack. Once he is Smoked, it is up to Awesome and Wendy to fight the horde at close range where repeated attacks will wear them down, with the better fighter Wendy going down first. I doubt if the four of them by themselves could even bring down a Tank.

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left4deadmodifications.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/29 18:56 (external edit)