Left 4 Dead 2

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Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead 2 cover
Developers
Valve Corporation
Linux Ryan C. Gordon
Publishers
Valve Corporation
Engines
Source
Release dates
Windows November 19, 2009
macOS (OS X) October 5, 2010
Linux May 3, 2013
Left 4 Dead 2 guide at StrategyWiki
Left 4 Dead 2 at Wikipedia
Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead 2008
Left 4 Dead 2 2009

Key points

A hack enabling split-screen co-op is available; see Local play.
Extensive modding community, including Steam Workshop integration.
Includes "Left 4 Dead 1" campaigns + all DLC campaigns.
Censored in some countries, see Low Violence/Censored Versions to override.

General information

Official Left 4 Dead Blog
Unofficial Left 4 Dead Wiki
GitHub Issue Tracker for Left 4 Dead 2 and other Source-based games
Steam Community Discussions
Steam Workshop for Left 4 Dead 2

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
Icon overlay.png
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Linux
GameStop
Icon overlay.png
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Linux
Steam
Icon overlay.png
Left 4 Dead Bundle also available.
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Linux
All versions require Steam DRM.

Version differences[edit]

Content is censored in some countries. For Australia, install the Left 4 Dead 2 - Uncensored DLC; for Germany and other regions see Low Violence/Censored Versions.

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

Use the -novid command line argument[citation needed]
Delete or rename video files
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\left4dead2\media
  2. Delete or rename l4d2_intro.bik and valve.bik.

Low Violence/Censored Versions[edit]

Due to censorship laws in countries such as Australia and Germany, versions of the game sold in these regions have no dismemberment, blood spatter, corpses, burning and more.
For Australia, install the Left 4 Dead 2 - Uncensored DLC as the ban was lifted;[1] for Germany and other regions, use Left 4 Gore.
Make a convenient shortcut to launch uncensored game[citation needed]
You may wish to create a script which executes Left 4 Gore and starts Left 4 Dead 2 afterwards.
  1. Open Notepad
  2. Paste the following and save the file with .bat extension
@echo off
start "" "left4gore.exe PATH"
ping -n 2 127.0.0.1 > NUL
start "Steam.exe PATH" -applaunch 550 /WAIT

Notes

PATH means you need to provide the actual executables folder tree

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\left4dead2\cfg\
macOS (OS X)
Linux
Steam Cloud settings are stored in <Steam-folder>/userdata/<user-id>/550/remote/.
It's unknown whether this game follows the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux. Please fill in this information.

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud
Approx. 1 GB available

Video settings[edit]

In-game video settings.
In-game video settings.
Graphics option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Multi-monitor
Ultra-widescreen
4K Ultra HD
Closed caption font does not scale with resolution and can appear small in 4K.
Field of view (FOV)
Changing the first person FOV is impossible. cl_viewmodelfov will only change the field of view for weapons and arms.
Windowed
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Up to 16 samples.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
HSAA, OGSSAA, and SGSSAA can be utilized through the anti-aliasing compatibility bits 0x000000C0 and with Antialiasing fix set to On under NVIDIA Inspector for NVIDIA graphics card.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS
120+ FPS
No frame rate or refresh rate cap.[2]
Color blind mode
Set in Settings, Multiplayer; affects crosshair, HUD and survivor outlines.

Split-screen without bezels[edit]

L4D2 split-screen mode was meant to be played on a single 4:3 or 16:9 screen. If you have a different setup, the image could not entirely fit the monitor(s).
L4D2's file which is going to be edited is packed. Minimal hex editing knowledge is required.
Edit split-screen aspect-ratio[3][4]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>/left4dead2/
  2. Open pak01_000.vpk with a hex editor such as HxD
  3. Look for "aspect"...."8 by 3" string (offset 0x1C4CCFB, just under hex 73 20 34 78 33)
  4. Change it according to your actual aspect ratio divided by 2

Notes

Like any other worthy hex editing, original and final file size must remain the same. Therefore if you add or subtract a digit, you'll need to remove or add a character elsewhere too (commented lines are perfect for this purpose)
If you are interested to horizontal split-screen aspect ratio, you should look instead for "aspect"...."32 by 9" string (value should be your actual aspect ratio multiplied by 2)
As long as the Valve pak file is modified, it may be impossible to join pure servers

Input settings[edit]

In-game control settings.
In-game control settings.
In-game key map settings.
In-game key map settings.

Mouse+Keyboard in split-screen[edit]

Bind controller to 2nd player[citation needed]
  1. Configure x360ce to force controller on the guest slot
  2. Copy x360ce.ini and xinput1_3.dll to the Left 4 Dead 2 installation folder
  3. Go to <path-to-game>\bin\ and rename xinput1_3.dll to something else
  4. Follow standard procedure

Audio settings[edit]

In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.
Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
Over-all game volume and separate music slider.
Surround sound
7.1, 5.1 surround sound, 4 speaker surround.
Subtitles
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost

Localizations

Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
German
Hungarian
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Russian
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish
Thai
Romanian

Network[edit]

In-game multiplayer settings.
In-game multiplayer settings.

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
2 Co-op
See Local play.
LAN play
8 Co-op, Versus
Co-op (4 players) or "Versus" mode (up to 4v4 Survivors vs. Infected).
Online play
8 Co-op, Versus
Co-op (4 players) or "Versus" mode (up to 4v4 Survivors vs. Infected).

Connection types

Type Native Notes
Matchmaking
Peer-to-peer
Dedicated
Self-hosting
Direct IP
Use connect [IP address here] in the console.
Server must have set sv_allow_lobby_connect_only 0

Ports

Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP (outbound) 27014-27050
UDP (outbound) 4380, 27000-27030

Local play[edit]

"SFKTeam - Kaotic" created an UI mod which should simplify even more these steps
A list of useful console commands is available below
Playing with 2 controllers[5][6]
If you want to play with only a controller and a mouse+keyboard, check Mouse + Keyboard in split-screen
  1. Download custom split.cfg
  2. Extract it inside <path-to-game>\left4dead2\cfg\
  3. Start the game and open the console
  4. Load up the map you want to play with the ss_map #map-name# command
  5. Type connect_splitscreen localhost 2
  6. Load second player keys bindings by typing exec exec split in console (all bindings are reset).

Notes

If loading bar is stuck quickly pause and unpause game
If you are not going to play L4D2 with a single 4:3 or 16:9 monitor look above

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native GG3D Notes
Nvidia 3D Vision
TriDef 3D
iZ3D

Issues fixed[edit]

Purple and black broken textures[edit]

A generic fix for this issue can be found on the Source engine page.

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
OpenGL 2.1 OS X and Linux only.
Shader Model support 2, 3
64-bit executable
OS X and Linux only.[citation needed]

Middleware[edit]

Middleware Notes
Physics Havok Heavily modified variant.
Audio Miles Sound System
Cutscenes Bink Video
Multiplayer Steamworks

Console commands[edit]

Games running on the Source engine can utilize Source Engine Console Commands for various tasks.[7]
Enabling the console in Source games[citation needed]
  1. Launch the game
  2. From the main menu select Options
  3. Select the Keyboard tab
  4. Click the Advanced button
  5. Check the box next to Enable developer console (~)
  6. Click Apply

Notes

Press ~ to open the console.
Some commands may first require you enabling sv_cheats. You can do so with sv_cheats 1.
Many servers will not allow you to play with cheats enabled, or will disable them upon entering the server.
Users without a US keyboard could experience some problems.

Creating your own CFG (to run multiple console commands together)[edit]

A CFG is a file that contains a list of commands that when run will attempt to execute them all

Open a text editor such as Notepad and type in all the commands you want separating each with a ;

When done save the file as filename.cfg in <path-to-game>\left4dead2\cfg\. To run the cfg file, open the console during the game and type in exec filename.cfg If you want the CFG file to run automatically, name it autoexec.cfg

Notable Workshop mods[edit]

The game has a huge variety of mods, however, what may be "better" is subjective and opinionated (so Shrek Tank won't be listed here, for example). These mods help improve the base game, though use them at your discretion.

Graphics

UI

Audio

  • Resident Evil Weapon Sounds (low mid) - Lowers the volume of gunshot sounds because constantly hearing loud gunshots can be annoying, but has a glitch with the combat shotgun where there is a very loud static noise after each shot.
  • Shut Up Survivors - Mutes some of the more annoying survivors' quotes. Important quotes are left intact.

Gameplay

  • Improved Bots - Makes the bots less stupid. The advanced version of this mod is not compatible with SFKTeam's custom main menu mod, but the basic version is.

Third person support[edit]

The game in third person.
The game in third person.
An instant mod is 3PS

Input these 5 commands in the console.

c_thirdpersonshoulderaimdist 360
c_thirdpersonshoulderdist 90
c_thirdpersonshoulderheight 0
c_thirdpersonshoulderoffset 20
bind "F10" "thirdpersonshoulder"

Alternate third person which places the player in the center under the crosshair and raises the camera higher.

c_thirdpersonshoulderaimdist 1000
c_thirdpersonshoulderdist 115
c_thirdpersonshoulderheight 15
c_thirdpersonshoulderoffset 0

Pressing F10 will toggle between first and third person. You will have a greater FOV.

Some warnings:

  • Some cutscene intros may be angled incorrectly.
  • You may see a weird inaccurate weapon shadow.
  • The crosshair may be slightly off-center. You can mess around with the "cam_idealyaw" function to correct this. This isn't usually a hindrance anyway.
  • Flashlight glows may be seen at your character's back.
  • When survivors heal you, their animations will look glitchy.
  • The camera may occasionally see through walls and objects.
  • The shotgun will sound very quiet. Try this, however, it may cause online games to crash.
  • The motion blur for the fire axe and possibly other melee weapons may look ridiculous. Here's a mod to remove melee motion blur.
  • Switching between first and third person in-game may cause the HUD to disappear.
  • Dying and entering new areas may revert it to first person.

Useful split-screen commands[edit]

Since Split-screen mode in Left 4 Dead 2 isn't officially supported, there are multiple important key settings which aren't immediately available.

Command Description
connect_splitscreen localhost [ip-address] 2 Connect to a LAN or Internet server. Direct connections must be allowed
[cmd/cmd2] jointeam (2/3) Assign selected player (cmd) to either survivor or infected team
ss_map <map-name> [realism/survival/versus/mutation# Play the selected map in the desired mode
ss_splitmode (0/1/2) Toggle horizontal and vertical screen split (0 is auto selection)
z_difficulty (Easy/Normal/Hard/Impossible) Change game difficulty
setinfo name Max Change player 1 name
name2 Tony Change player 2 name

Text chat with keyboard in controller mode[edit]

If you play using a controller and want to use the text chat (press Y) online, you must do this.
Edit .cfg file[citation needed]

Open the 360controller.cfg file, which can be found in the cfg folder in the installation folder. Make it "//unbindall" at the top.

If it still doesn't work, it's possible the bindings were unbound, so go into the in-game control settings and restore the defaults.

Enabling HBAO+ for Nvidia graphics cards[edit]

Use the Ambient Occlusion flag 0x00000014 with Quality or High Quality.
Using Ambient Occlusion flag 0x00000014[citation needed]
  1. Download and run NVIDIA Profile Inspector.
  2. Under Profiles select Left 4 Dead 2.
  3. Under Ambient Occlusion compatibility insert the flag 0x00000014.
  4. Under Ambient Occlusion usage select Enabled.
  5. Under Ambient Occlusion setting select your quality of preference, but in order to use HBAO+ you must use Quality or High Quality.
  6. Click Apply changes.

Remove item/character glows[edit]

Some players may wish to remove the item glows and/or character glows since they are unrealistic and makes knowing where other players/items are too easy.

In the installation folder, in the "cfg" folder, in the "autoexec.cfg" file in Notepad, add these lines. If there is no "autoexe.cfg" file, then copy and paste "autoexec.360" and rename it.

Copy and paste the following lines:

//Glow of barfed survivors
cl_glow_survivor_vomit_b 0
cl_glow_survivor_vomit_g 0
cl_glow_survivor_vomit_r 0

//Glow of survivors
cl_glow_survivor_b 0
cl_glow_survivor_g 0
cl_glow_survivor_r 0

//Glow of incapped survivors
cl_glow_survivor_hurt_b 0
cl_glow_survivor_hurt_g 0
cl_glow_survivor_hurt_r 0

//Glow of items after you are in black and white mode (after 3rd incap)
cl_glow_thirdstrike_item_b 0
cl_glow_thirdstrike_item_g 0
cl_glow_thirdstrike_item_r 0

//GLOW from FAR distance:
cl_glow_item_far_b 0
cl_glow_item_far_g 0
cl_glow_item_far_r 0

//GLOW from UP CLOSE:
cl_glow_item_b 0
cl_glow_item_g 0
cl_glow_item_r 0

cl_glow_ability_r 0
cl_glow_ability_g 0
cl_glow_ability_b 0

Command line arguments[edit]

See command line arguments on how to use the following options.
Parameter Description
-w X -h Y Sets screen resolution (or window resolution if using -window). Example: -w 1920 -h 1080.
-refresh X Sets your screen refresh-rate (Hz). Example: -refresh 60.
-noborder -window Launches the game in a borderless fullscreen window (i.e. very alt-tab friendly). This may result in a minor performance loss. If you experience stuttering, disable Windows Aero.
-novid Skip intro videos
-autoconfig Restores video and performance settings to default for the current hardware detected. Ignores settings inside any .cfg files until this parameter is removed.
+mat_motion_blur_percent_of_screen_max 0 Removes motion blur.

System requirements[edit]

Windows
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) XP, Vista, 7
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz
System memory (RAM) 2
Hard disk drive (HDD) 13 GB
Video card (GPU) ATI Radeon X800
Nvidia GeForce 6600
128 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Shader model 2.0 support
ATI Radeon X1600
Nvidia GeForce 7600 GS
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Shader model 3.0 support
Sound (audio device) DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
macOS (OS X)
Minimum
Operating system (OS) 10.6.4
Processor (CPU) Dual core Intel processor, 2 GHz or better
System memory (RAM) 2 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 13 GB
Video card (GPU) ATI Radeon HD 2400 Pro
Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT
Intel HD Graphics 3000
Linux
Minimum
Operating system (OS) Ubuntu 12.04
Processor (CPU) Dual core from Intel at 2.8 GHz
Dual core from AMD at 2.8 GHz
System memory (RAM) 2 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 13 GB
Video card (GPU) ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600
Nvidia GeForce 8600/9600GT
OpenGL 2.1 compatible
Sound (audio device) OpenAL Compatible Sound Card
Other (Graphic Drivers: Nvidia 310, AMD 12.11)
Not supported: OS X 10.5.x (Leopard), ATI Radeon X1600 or X1900 graphics, NVIDIA GeForce 7 graphics or Intel graphics less than Intel HD 3000.

References