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Just one gripe (which is already covered and being worked on.. so I know it doesn't belong here): But, I have to critique something for some balance.
Getting stuck in the chopper debris was frustrating making god mode necessary for a try or two until I could get around it and rapidly through the house to test my "stay right of the downed chopper" theory (which has only worked twice, for all I know helicopter debris is scattered randomly thus cutting of that seemingly reliable route. Since you didn't post that solution I'm supposing it isn't ALWAYS so easy to avoid. Writing any kind of code which is what a map or has is SO much easier if you know what TO do… go far to the right of the chopper. It is the "idiot proofing" (i.e. stopping people from doing, entering any data incorrectly which is what takes half (or more!) of the work of a programmer. (I do enough casual programming to have learned this. e.g Not allowing letters in an all digit field for such as a phone number). Many extra lines must be added to double check to stop idiots from doing what we KNOW (as the designers) you naturally should do.
Onto the "thoughtful praise". This is my first non standard map and, obviously I chose well! (Okay but you get the credit for creating it all) and I will repeat some praise, like multiple choices of routes which felt MUCH more like real life. Also, unlike the game standard maps, the characters don't "hint" (actually... tell you exactly .e.g. "There's a pawn shop ahead!" where to go. You should consider it high praise that Valve or others are promoting this particular map (I'm sure I've seen that).
1) I loved all the details. You must have created (and of course copied) some of the "safe house wall graffiti, which I always take a minute to read, because it has the look of a bad forum with a combination of brilliant, just plain wrong, and "flame reply" text, not to mention ominous warnings and the wry humor or touching depth (like the poem in one v. The Bible quote in yours (and I'm not particularly religious but wow, it was a perfect quote for the situation). All your map graffiti is at least as good, often better than "official" maps. As with all games made from modules of course some were simple copies so you could concentrate of other parts of the map.
a) I loved the mansion and (despite other peoples 'arrow direction criticism' they helped me at least on the way up. (Of course getting down is a cinch.) Also mansions are typically featured in any good horror story so it was very fitting to add one. (i.e. I was tired of simple dwellings like the typical farm houses.)
b) That one could see remnants of older broken down "safe room doors" was more realistic and also ominous.
2) The lightening effects at the end were amazing animations. It may seem trivial but I missed it when they took it out of the CS Source Aztec map to improve performance. (And those were just flashes).
3) I was glad to find some glass I could finally break, the juvenile delinquent in me loves doing this. (Of course you had to cut back so MANY of the "windows" which were just "set dressing" and, of course, didn't break) which, I'm sure was designed to keep down the "performance budget."
4) The fact that for the final third of the game I was able to use a sniper rifle A LOT (standard maps give you 5 minutes instead of 15 to 20) with LOTS of "wandering aimless" was excellent & FUN target practice. Sniping is still a challenge (as the infected move randomly much of the time) it's fun blasting heads the way we FPS loving gamers like it, nice and a tab sanguinary.
5) I did the maze twice as I playing late at night I found myself too tired to complete it in one sitting and accidentally restarted before the underground part but did it anyway to see if I would, like the first run through, was not MUCH hopeless wandering, while still a challenge, ultimately not too difficult to stumble to the right place (out of blind luck at first) although the pipe is a nice hint) Soon I'll be running through it like any map on normal or, gasp, advanced.
6) Also unique at the final "onslaught" radio call event (although perhaps I didn't look around much) there was really nothing to "PREPARE, yet again, a refreshing change from hunting down either pipe bombs or cocktails, gas canisters, just have health and ammo.
a) No mini gun (which is nearly always less useful than one expects as one is either rapidly flanked or simply caught from behind by the infected), I didn't have to run back to a load of pipebombs or molotovs (perhaps the luck just bad luck on first draw, which, if I find on later play-through, well then I'll "take back" this particular paragraph of praise.)
It kept one to the basics, staying on one's toes, shooting accurately and carefully as possible to save bullets (with rifles and invariably pistols) and, at least, initially, not knowing if I was to expect a helicopter, boat, or armored car. A original exit transport (unsaid as to not spoil "the plot" was a nice touch!) All that and I noted no degradation my fairly basic computer.
Bravo, well done! I suppose I could come up with some constructive criticism but that one post hit any major points and I get that your working within the limits what sound like, oft times, very limiting SDK tools and slipshod game design (While seeming polished, Valve is in business and cranks out stuff and, if "good enough" then onto the next $$$ making venture). Perfection, while they do fix bugs, is obviously not a HUGE priority for them.
Yep, I can see why even the experts are in awe of this gift to the L4D world.
p.s. I love the tag line on your splash screen "movie poster No Camping…. No Marshmallows… etc."
.......excuse me while I kiss the sky!
- Jimi Hendrix
As this is mostly a complimentary remark, there's not much we can say other than thanks. Most of the little issues you noticed should be gone with the next and final version... which should come out earlier than the end of the world, probably.