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
Reception
Metacritic 89
IGDB 89
Taxonomy
Monetization One-time game purchase
Microtransactions None
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Action, FPS
Art styles Realistic
Themes Horror, North America, Post-apocalyptic, Zombies
Series Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead 2 on HowLongToBeat
Left 4 Dead 2 on IGDB
Left 4 Dead 2 guide on StrategyWiki
Left 4 Dead 2 on MobyGames
Left 4 Dead 2 on Wikipedia
Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead 2008
Left 4 Dead 2 2009

Warnings

The macOS (OS X) version of this game does not work on macOS Catalina (version 10.15) or later due to the removal of support for 32-bit-only apps.

General information

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
Steam
Icon overlay.png
Left 4 Dead Bundle also available.
Windows
macOS (OS X)
Linux
All versions require Steam DRM.
Includes the campaigns of the original Left 4 Dead and its DLC.

Version differences[edit]

Some content is censored in Australia and Germany. Install the official Uncensored DLC to remove the limitations.

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

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

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\left4dead2\cfg\[Note 1]
macOS (OS X)
Linux

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows <Steam-folder>\userdata\<user-id>\550\remote\
Linux <Steam-folder>\userdata\<user-id>\550\remote\

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Origin
Steam Cloud
Approx. 1 GB available
Ubisoft Connect
Xbox Cloud

Video[edit]

In-game video settings.
In-game video settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Multi-monitor
Ultra-widescreen
4K Ultra HD
Closed captions font does not scale with resolution and may appear small at 4K resolution.
Field of view (FOV)
75-120 in multiplayer settings.[2] Though the option is in multiplayer settings, it also applies for singleplayer. See Viewmodel field of view to adjust the weapon model view.
Windowed
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Up to 16 samples.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Up to 8x MSAA.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Capped at 300 FPS by default.[3] Use -refresh xxx command line parameter to set custom refresh rates.
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.
Color blind mode
Set in Settings, Multiplayer; Affects crosshair, HUD, and survivor outlines.

Anti-aliasing (AA)[edit]

Force SGSSAA (Nvidia only)[4]
  1. Download and run Nvidia Profile Inspector.
  2. Select the Left 4 Dead 2 profile.
  3. Change Antialiasing compatibility value to 0x000000C0.
  4. Change Antialiasing - Behavior Flags to None.
  5. Change Antialiasing - Mode to Override any application setting.
  6. Change Antialiasing - Setting to 4x [4x Multisampling].
  7. Change Antialiasing - Transparency Supersampling to 4x Sparse Grid Supersampling.
  8. Press "Apply Changes" in the top-right corner.

Notes

Antialiasing fix is needed.[5]

Ambient occlusion[edit]

Force HBAO+ (Nvidia only)[6][7]
  1. Download and run Nvidia Profile Inspector.
  2. Select the Left 4 Dead 2 profile.
  3. Change Ambient Occlusion compatibility value to 0x00000014.
  4. Change Ambient Occlusion setting to High Quality.
  5. Change Ambient Occlusion usage to Enabled.
  6. Press "Apply Changes" in the top-right corner.

Disable motion blur[edit]

Use the +mat_motion_blur_percent_of_screen_max 0 command line argument[8]

Viewmodel field of view[edit]

Works in multiplayer.
The default FOV value is 51.
Change viewmodel FOV
  1. Bring up the in-game console.
  2. Type in "cl_viewmodelfovsurvivor XX" to change the viewmodel FOV (replace "XX" with the desired value).

Input[edit]

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

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Remapping
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller
Controller support
When gamepad is in use, the game prevents keyboard and mouse controls to prevent autoaim exploits. However, this becomes inconvenient, because the chat and voting keys become unbinded. See Text chat with keyboard in controller mode.
Full controller support
The gamepad option in the keyboard/mouse settings first needs to be enabled and saved.
Controller remapping
Controller sensitivity
Controller Y-axis inversion
Controller types
XInput-compatible controllers
Xbox button prompts
Impulse Trigger vibration
DualShock 4 controllers
Officially supported via Steam Input.
DualShock button prompts
Both DualShock 4 and DualSense prompts.
Light bar support
Static Yellow. Doesn't have any gameplay purpose.
Connection modes Wired, wireless
Generic/other controllers
Any controller supported by Steam Input.
Button prompts
Additional information
Button prompts
Steam Input must be enabled for all supported prompts else Xbox prompts are shown instead.
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
Steam Input must be enabled for all supported controllers to enable haptic feedback
Simultaneous controller+KB/M
Steam Input
Steam Input API support
Official controller preset(s)
Steam Controller button prompts
"Gamepad" option in Keyboard/Mouse settings menu is to enable legacy Xinput controller mode. Enabling this erases all keyboard bindings.

Audio[edit]

In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Game and music volume sliders.
Surround sound
7.1, 5.1 surround sound, 4 speaker surround.
Subtitles
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Royalty free audio

Localizations

Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
Not all original voice lines have been completly dubbed, including some unused original ones.
German
Hungarian
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese
Russian
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish

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 27014-27050
UDP 4380, 27000-27030
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

Local play[edit]

A list of useful console commands is available below.
If using a single 4:3 or 16:9 monitor, see Split-screen without bezels.
If loading bar is stuck, quickly pause and unpause game
Playing with two controllers[9][10]
If you want to play with only a controller and a mouse+keyboard, check Mouse + Keyboard in split-screen
  1. Download custom split.cfg file
  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).
Alternative method: use Kaotic's UI mod

Mouse and keyboard in split-screen[edit]

Bind controller to second 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
Use Kush's menu[citation needed]

Split-screen without bezels[edit]

The file which needs be edited is packed. Minimal hex editing knowledge is required.
Edit split-screen aspect-ratio[11][12]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>/left4dead2/.
  2. Open pak01_000.vpk with a hex editor such as HxD.
  3. Look for the "aspect"...."8 by 3" string (offset 0x1C4CCFB, just under hex 73 20 34 78 33).
  4. Change it according to the desired aspect ratio divided by 2.
  5. Save the changes.

Notes

After hex editing, the original and final file size must remain the same. Therefore if a digit is added or removed, it may be necessary to add or remove a character elsewhere as well.
For horizontal split-screen aspect ratio, change the "aspect"...."32 by 9" string according to the desired aspect ratio multiplied by 2.
As long as the Valve pak file is modified, it may be impossible to join pure servers.

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native GG3D Notes
Nvidia 3D Vision
TriDef 3D
iZ3D
vorpX
G3D, DirectVR
Officially supported game, see official vorpx game list.

Issues fixed[edit]

Purple and black broken textures[edit]

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

Improper sniper scope on 1366x768 resolution[edit]

Set resolution to 1360x768
Download the Default Scope: OVSF Mod

No music playing in main menu on Linux[edit]

Caused by shared library filename bug in Linux depot of the game.
Rename library file[13]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>/bin/
  2. Rename the file libmiles.so to libMiles.so.

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
OpenGL 2.1 OS X and Linux only.
Vulkan 1.0 Need to run with -vulkan in launch options. Uses DXVK wrapper (DXVK-Native on Linux).
Shader Model support 2.0, 3.0
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes
Windows
macOS (OS X)
[citation needed]
Linux
[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.[14]
Enabling the console in Source games
  1. Launch the game
  2. From the main menu, select Options
  3. Select the Keyboard/Mouse tab
  4. Set Allow Developer Console to Enabled

Notes

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

Creating a custom CFG file[edit]

A CFG is a file that contains a list of commands that will be executed when called.

Creating a custom CFG file
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\left4dead2\cfg\
  2. Create a .cfg file.
  3. Open the file with a text editor and type in all desired commands, separating each with a ; character.
  4. Save the file.
  5. To run the .cfg file, open the console during the game and type in exec [filename].cfg

Notes

To run the .cfg file on every launch, name it autoexec.cfg

Third-person view support[edit]

The game in third-person view, featuring multiple other modifications
The game in third-person view, featuring multiple other modifications
Pressing F10 will toggle between first and third person after enabled.
A simplified setup can be achieved with the 3PS mod.
Command set 1
  • Input the following commands in the console:
c_thirdpersonshoulderaimdist 360
c_thirdpersonshoulderdist 90
c_thirdpersonshoulderheight 0
c_thirdpersonshoulderoffset 20
bind "F10" "thirdpersonshoulder"
Command set 2 (camera centered on player, higher zoom)
  • Input the following commands in the console:
c_thirdpersonshoulderaimdist 1000
c_thirdpersonshoulderdist 115
c_thirdpersonshoulderheight 15
c_thirdpersonshoulderoffset 0
bind "F10" "thirdpersonshoulder"

Warnings

  • Some cutscene intros may be angled incorrectly.
  • Several graphical glitches may occur: an inaccurate weapon shadow, flashlight glows seen at character's back, motion blur for melee weapons looking broken (see mod to remove this effect), and potential others.
  • Switching between first and third person in-game may cause the HUD to disappear.
  • The crosshair may be slightly off-center; use the cam_idealyaw function to correct this.
  • The camera may occasionally see through walls and objects.
  • The shotgun will sound very quiet. Try this mod (may cause online games to crash).
  • Dying and entering new areas may revert it to first person.

Text chat with keyboard in controller mode[edit]

If playing using a controller and the text chat needs to be used (press Y) online, there are several methods. This also applies to the voting keys.
Enable Steam Input from game porperties from Steam's library.[citation needed]

This allows simultaneous input from both keyboard, mouse and controller.

Edit .cfg file[citation needed]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\cfg.
  2. Open 360controller.cfg in a text editor.
  3. Find the line which starts with unbindall and comment it out by adding // before it (resulting in //unbindall).
If this still does not work, it is possible that the key bindings were unbound, so re-binding them in the settings menu is required.

Remove item/character glows[edit]

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

Create a custom .cfg file
  1. See instructions on creating and running .cfg files
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 the screen refresh rate (Hz). Example: -refresh 60.
-noborder -window Launches the game in a borderless windowed mode. This may result in a minor performance loss. Windows Aero (Vista/7) may cause stuttering.
-novid Skips intro videos.
-high Sets the game's process priority to High.
-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.
-vulkan Forces the Vulkan renderer.[15]

Useful split-screen commands[edit]

Relevant only when using split-screen mode.
Parameter Description
connect_splitscreen localhost [ip-address] 2 Connects to a LAN or Internet server. Direct connections must be allowed
[cmd/cmd2] jointeam (2/3) Assigns selected player (cmd) to either survivor or infected team
ss_map <map-name> [realism/survival/versus/mutation#
ss_splitmode (0/1/2) Toggles horizontal and vertical screen split (0 is auto selection)
z_difficulty (Easy/Normal/Hard/Impossible) Changes game difficulty
setinfo name Max
name2 Tony

Mods[edit]

Graphics[edit]

UI[edit]

Audio[edit]

  • Resident Evil Weapon Sounds (low mid) - lowers the volume of loud gunshot sounds, 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[edit]

System requirements[edit]

Windows
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 7, 8.1, 10
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz
System memory (RAM) 2 GB
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
Sound (audio device) DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
Windows XP and Vista were previously supported. As future updates for this game and Steam occurred, the support was dropped, even for retail copies.
macOS (OS X)
Minimum
Operating system (OS) 10.7
Processor (CPU) Intel Dual Core 2 GHz
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) Intel Dual core 2.8 GHz
AMD Dual core 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)
OpenGL versions require the GL_EXT_draw_buffers2 extension.[17] A hacky workaround exists.
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.

Notes

  1. When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).

References