Left 4 Dead 2 is more challenging to work with compared to other Source games. The engine has been modified substantially and a number of core features have been removed. While L4D is a great game with a unique look, I would not recommend trying to work within the engine itself. If you’re looking to create a L4D machinima, you should extract the assets and use them elsewhere (Garry’s Mod, etc).
Differences between other source games
– There are no NPC entities to work with.
– The animations can NOT be decompiled.
– Additional workarounds are needed when setting up basic scenes compared to other Source games.
– Some idle animations will override any custom animations. This can be fixed by turning off the character’s flashlight, making their arms drop to their side.
Useful console commands
– Removing the HUD: hidehud 4; r_drawviewmodel 0
– Take control of a bot: sb_takecontrol (bot name)
– Enable a trigger from the console: ent_fire (entity name) (value) (examples: ent_fire vcdtalk start; ent_fire camera1 enable)
– It’s a good idea to use small basic maps for testing purposes, as they wont require long compile times.
– Setting windowed mode in the launch options of hammer is helpful, otherwise the game may crash if you try to alt+tab.
Moving Camera Example – An example of how a moving camera effect can be done using path_track.
VCD Example – An example of how a VCD file can be added to a map. While in game, open the console and type “ent_fire vcd_talk_test start” to play the VCD.
A few examples of the different visual settings in L4D2.
L4D Map Tutorials