Shamecast: Left 4 Dead

By Shamus Posted Saturday Mar 31, 2018

Filed under: Notices 44 comments

I’m a bit torn on this stream. On one hand, it was amazing to return to this game after so many years. This game is a joy. On the other hand, I’m really frustrated with my moment-to-moment decisions while playing.

Link (YouTube)

See, even though it’s been at least seven years since I played, I still have huge parts of the game memorized. I spent a lot of the stream running on muscle memory and auto-pilot. The thing is, that’s completely inappropriate behavior when you’re playing with a newbie and a couple of bots. You can see this in the subway when I get separated from the group. I run over to the ammo pile because everyone always runs over to the ammo pile because why would you go anywhere else? But of course Paul was just moving as felt naturally and wasn’t thinking, “we need to sprint to the next subway car because this tunnel makes us really vulnerable to ambushes and we need to get away from the witch”.

So then a wave of zombies showed up, and instead of running back to the group like I should have, I backed into a corner like you would in a normal game. I sat there for a second, seriously expecting the rest of the group to pile in around me. By the time I realized that this expectation made no sense, it was too late and we were all swarmed.

Now, in this instance it worked out. I died and we got to show off that part of the game and how death worked. But I kept behaving like that the entire stream. The moment I stopped actively thinking about it, I reverted to the usual behavior and resumed sprinting through levels, only to turn around and realize I’d ditched the team. Again. The whole point of playing with Paul was to take a sightseeing tour through the levels and point out the interesting details, and my constant pushing ran directly counter to that. And I couldn’t stop doing it.

I guess it didn’t hurt the stream, but I was really frustrated with myself for not being able to break old habits.

Also, the game feels very different compared to what I remember. Tanks go down in seconds. Witches seem incredibly rare. Waves of zombies seem rare. We hardly ever faced more than one special infected at a time. Maybe I’m remembering the higher difficulty levels, but I seem to remember Tanks being an ordeal even on normal. Maybe the game has been patched? I dunno.

Anyway. It was still a good time, despite me constantly playing in a way that undermined what I was trying to do. Maybe I just need to give it another try. But Paul also suggested Factorio multiplayer, and that might be fun too. We’ll see.

In any case, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to stream this week. My sleep schedule is madness. I’m living on a 26 hour schedule and sleeping 6 hours a night. This happens to me sometimes. It seems like it would be nice having the extra hours of productivity, but I’m actually pretty confused and scatterbrained when this is going onNow that I think of it, maybe that explains why my concentration was so bad in L4D.. It’s entirely possible that I’ll be sleeping during my normal stream time, and I’d hate to make plans and then stand you up later.

Anyway, thanks for showing up and hanging out.



[1] Now that I think of it, maybe that explains why my concentration was so bad in L4D.

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44 thoughts on “Shamecast: Left 4 Dead

  1. MichaelG says:

    “26 hour schedule and sleeping 6 hours a night”. I do that too. It even has a medical name — “N24 sleep schedule” — and is supposed to be rare. I don’t think it is as rare as they think.

    1. Droid says:

      Yeah, when I don’t have appointments or uni I just tend to let my sleep schedule drift away in front of me, slowly but surely skipping a day’s sleep (as compared to a 24h wake/sleep cycle) every 12 or so days, but not uniformly, but rather in large chunks at a time, then going back to 24h cycles for a bit to stabilize, etc.; usually even taking the last 6-8 or so remaining hours in a single day as I hate to sleep through the whole period of time that the shops are open.

      It’s probably horribly bad for my health, but it feels much more natural than a 24h cycle.

    2. I’m just content knowing what year i’m in.

    3. Soylent Dave says:

      Most people drift to a non-24 hour circadian rhythm if left to their own devices and without getting enough sunlight (because normal humans – and other mammals – use the sun to reset their clocks every day)

      The neurological disorder is when it affects even people who are getting enough sunlight – this is why it primarily affects totally blind people (depending on the specifics of their blindness).

      But most people who suffer from it intermittently just aren’t going outside enough (which is why nerdy types often default to it, as left to our own devices we stay indoors on our computers hiding from the daystar and the yellow face that burns usss) – although people who work underground, or who work night shifts at certain latitudes can end up suffering as well.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        I think even non-“nerdy” people will suffer from this, if the lighting in their office isn’t sufficient. For example, in my office[1], there’s only one or two sides of the building you can be on, to get some daylight without having the sun blinding you while you’re trying to work. My team happens to be in a room with blinding sun, so our options are 1) be blinded, 2) constantly fiddle with the blinds to get some sun, but not get blinded, or 3) leave the blinds half-open at an angle that doesn’t blind us, provides some sun, but is probably leaving us with a deficit of sunlight. We’re all fairly well-funcioning, so we’re probably getting enough, but who the crap knows, eh?

        [1] It’s an RnD office full of nerds, but happens to not affect my example. :)

    4. Kathryn says:

      Yep, my sleep cycle appears to be about 24 hrs and 45 minutes.

      …Which is almost the same as the length of a day on Mars. Clearly I should be on anyone’s list for a colony :-)

  2. Asdasd says:

    This is a phenomena I’ve experienced with co-op games before, the person or people with more experience running ahead of the newbie who’s just trying to get a handle on everything. It’s even worse with co-op boardgames, which inevitably seem to result in the least experienced person having their turns played by everyone else.

    Competitive games at least keep everyone engaged, although if they have a player elimination or ‘screw you’ mechanic that brings its own set of newbie-unfriendly issues. This is my secret theory as to why Eurogames are so popular. Everyone effectively playing solitaire and adding their score up at the end looks like weird game design, but from a newbie’s perspective having that space to find their feet and learn the game is invaluable.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      It takes practice and patience to play with new people. Not everyone has it, but it can be trained.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    But Paul also suggested Factorio multiplayer, and that might be fun too.

    I agree.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Ten-person Factorio server! Rush to new-clee-ARR! Kill the ALIENS! :D

  4. Note to self, don’t do coop with Shamus he’s a solo player, but if you do play with him then make sure he’s the tank. *grin*

  5. Locke says:

    Is there any way to set up a Left 4 Dead server specifically for Twenty Sided, only accessible to people who’ve read a blog post for the server name or password or whatever? I’d be down for a Twenty Sided L4D revival.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      The forums would work. We’ve also technically got a Steam group, from before Shamus put up the forums? (But it’s super dead. :)

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    CRTs are still a thing in many places.Maybe not in the usa,but about half of the monitors in government buildings in my country are still crt.I have no idea why though,seeing how repairing them about three times equals the cost of a new flat one.And seeing how old these beast are,you have to repair them at least once a year.Meanwhile,a new monitor will give you at least 5-10 years of usage without the need for repairs.But hey,at least now you know that management is stupid and shortsighted everywhere,not just in video games.

    That does make me wonder:Have they made levels for cities in the third world for this game?I dont mean just official levels,but fan made stuff.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Couldn’t you just show your managers the calculations of how much money they could save by replacing this old equipment? ^^;

      1. 4th Dimension says:

        I’m guessing they tend to look at the short term price of ONE CRT monitor repair vs price of brand new LCD one.

        1. Echo Tango says:

          That’s why you need to work it out on paper / the whiteboard. Let’s say the cost of one new monitor is $300, and repairing an old display costs $100. In three years, you’ve broken even in monetary bost, and in the expected lifetime of the new monitor, you’ve saved $200 (plus the time and effort of the person doing the repairs). Multiply that by the number of displays in the office, and you get a large amount of money saved for this organization. The only thing I can think of that would have repairs like this, and competent management, would be if they had a lot of repair parts sitting on shelves already, that they’re trying to get used up. Otherwise, this is a huge waste of resources. :)

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        That rarely works.Usually the response is “Yeah,but we have X money NOW,so lets fix it now.And if it breaks NEXT TIME,we will use the money that we have NEXT TIME”.Its really stupid reasoning,but thats how it is.

        1. Philadelphus says:

          I was gonna say, if providing evidence like that actually worked I don’t think the meme of foolish and short-sided management would exist.

    2. Decius says:

      In the last decade I estimate that I’ve worked around CRT monitors for about 70 monitor-years and only one of them have failed. All of them were on for at least 16 hours daily, and some were on 24/7, with the brightness turned down when closed.

      The one that did fail was a relic from the 60’s, and had to be repaired with parts salvaged from other 60’s era relics.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,you dont grow your bullets in the sewers?Thats the best place for them to grow big and strong.Im surprised,I thought you americans knew everything about bullet horticulture.

    Seeing how so many zombies infected are facing the walls,doing something,I guess the answer to “what do they it?” is “scenery”.

    1. Paul Spooner says:


  8. Dreadjaws says:

    Hey, Shamus, the results came in. I’m pregnant, and it’s yours!

    Ha, ha, April’s Fools! I’m a dude, I can’t get pregnant, but you got scared for a moment, right? … Right?

    … No? OK, but next year I’m gonna get you, for sure.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      Hey, what happened to my avatar?

      1. Dreadjaws says:


        Edit: OK, why does it now display correctly but it doesn’t in the other comments?

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Counter april fooled by the gravatar site.

          1. Dreadjaws says:

            Curses! Hoisted by my own petard!

  9. Abnaxis says:

    What about Vermintide?

    1. Mephane says:

      I second this. The sequel came out recently and it is so much fun, I am quite surprised Shamus decided to play L2D instead of Vermintide 2.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The most surprising thing is that even though in this 10 year old game they solved the problem of griefing your teammates by getting them stuck in doors,or stealing the items they need in front of them,so many co-op games that came after were plagued by those problems.

    Shamus,Im surprised sending zombies off the building there is not something you do every time,seeing how you like pushing people off high places.Though technically,these arent people,so maybe thats why.

    The ultimate achievement should be:Get 3 bots to be rescued with you on realism difficulty.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    On the subject of co-op games:Shamus,have you tried lovers in a dangerous spacetime?Sadly,its only local co-op(unless theyve changed it recently),but its really good.Especially in ships that are physically separated,so only one person can operate one side.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      That’s actually a pretty sweet[1] game. Actually, Shamus could probably play it with Paul, if they set up some kind of VPN. Googling around a bit, shows that theres several open-source / free pieces of software for it. So, I guess it’s not too hard nowadays? Hmm. They’d need to get some kind of KVM…or something? Usually that’s to share a keyboard / mouse between computers, but in this case, I think you’d want to share an XBox controller or similar. Should be do-able, but would take some tinkering. :)

      [1] I guess in both meanings of the word. It’s romance-themed (and I think it released on / near Valentines day?), but it’s also very fun!

    2. Ander says:

      I’ll second (edit: third) this game as a fantastic co-op experience.

  12. guy says:

    Yeah, the tanks seemed weirdly wussy, even for normal. Maybe the apparent HP was skewed by bots targeting performance, though. According to the wiki, a tank on Normal has 4000 HP and takes a total of 2550 from emptying an auto shotgun into it at optimal range, so you’d have chipped away a big chunk by yourself.

  13. Hal says:

    Man, I miss playing this game. It’s a shame there haven’t been any real successors.

    1. Guest says:

      Vermintide 1 and Vermintide 2. They basically imitate it to a T, with Hunter, Smoker and Tank analogues, and the 2nds tendency towards melee builds. They include similar team based gameplay, with enhanced challenges for drop tables. If you’re looking for that special teamwork blend that Killing Floor just doesn’t provide, Vermintide is the one.

    2. Decius says:

      I’ll second the Vermintides as worth successors. They even fixed the bot griefing problem- the bots will teleport to you if you get too far ahead of them, and the bot characters don’t need to reach the mission exit for “victory”.

  14. I’ve done that too if it’s any comfort. Apparently, a year spent doing ICC hardmode (Icecrown was the last raid of Wrath of the Lich King, and was current content and the main/only current raid for over a year) means I still automatically act like that (and explain the fights that way). I confused about 5 friends who were just going through for the title during the next expansion, but on the plus side when they decided to try for the hard mode achievements all that stuff I’d told them was surprisingly helpful!

    I’m still not allowed to tour guide new raiders though. Damn my like of knowing things and teaching others those things (I overload them with info by accident).

    1. Droid says:

      It’s not only that you overload them with info, but you also give them info they don’t (necessarily) want to hear at all from someone else beforehand. I haven’t played WoW, so I might misinterpret the situation, but a lot of players enjoy exploration a lot, including finding something they did not expect, trying out some semi-hidden passageway and getting rewarded with some minor loot item (it doesn’t have to be much, it’s usually enough that your effort and curiosity were acknowledged at all). That all gets taken away if they are instead shown the way there and told to pick it up, instead.

      1. Syal says:

        I would assume if they wanted a completely spoiler-free experience, they would try it without a guide first.

        Although maybe you can’t actually do that in WoW, the high-end bosses are usually made to sound like murder walls.

        1. Phill says:

          But even if you are not after the spoiler free version of a boss fight, trying to explain the tactics might just be mostly a waste of breath until people have tried it and have some context of what you are talking about. It is much easier to understand fight instructions when you know what the fight feels like and can interpret it in that context. All you need for the first attempt are some pointers for what to look out for so you understand what killed you…

        2. Ander says:

          Some games are assumed (by the player base at least) to be played in the community/knowledge culture of the internet. In many cases, you might be considered a troll simply for daring to play without reading the wiki for the fight/dungeon/character class before logging on. That can typically be avoided when playing with friends, but in a larger group or anonymous group it can come up often.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            In many cases, you might be considered a troll simply for daring to play without reading the wiki for the fight/dungeon/character class before logging on.

            I really wish such elitist fan clubs did not exist.

  15. ccesarano says:

    I believe Left 4 Dead adjusted the frequency and strength of the Tanks and Witches based on number of human players. They knew A.I. companions wouldn’t be as reliable and thus allowed for an easier time. The game also modifies itself based on how well you’re doing, and it might have detected you guys weren’t teamworking so hot.

    Also also, if you played Left 4 Dead 2 more frequently more recently, the amount of special foes as a whole was cranked up in that. The sequel’s balancing could be throwing you off.

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