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Video: Designing mandatory co-op play in Left 4 Dead
December 16, 2013 | By GDC Staff

December 16, 2013 | By GDC Staff
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Indie, Design, Video

"If the players could find a way that they can win, at the expense of their friends, they will."
In this free GDC Vault video from GDC 2009, Turtle Rock Studios founder Michael Booth discusses overcoming the design challenges of required co-op that became part of Valve's multi-million selling Left 4 Dead's staple gameplay, along with why survival horror was the chosen genre and how procedurallly populated enviornments added to replayability, in the talk "From Counter-Strike to Left 4 Dead: Creating Replayable Cooperative Experiences."

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

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Maria Jayne
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"If the players could find a way that they can win, at the expense of their friends, they will."

I feel this is in a strict context, also loosely using the term "friend" to mean some random player you group with. When I play with friends I don't leave them behind, they're my's why I play with them.

Left 4 Dead did an admirable job of trying to convince players they couldn't survive alone, yet it never stopped countless players trying. Something I always found disappointing was that the zombies spawned to kill a straggler almost never seemed to spawn to kill a lone leader.

This meant it was better to rush forward rather than be left behind. Where as if the person rushing forward was more likely to be the one taken out, there may have been more focus on waiting for people rather than forging ahead.

Trying to get the last man killed may encourage that last man to keep up, but it will never encourage the leader to slow down.

Luis Guimaraes
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Theresa Catalano
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The constant shouting of "Reloading! Reloading! Reloading" made me WANT to kill my friends, or anyone I was partnered with.