Valve has announced the next downloadable content pack for Left4Dead will be released next week. The Survival Pack introduces the new Survival Mode in which you and your team of survivors must fight off never-ending waves of Infected. The goal is to record the longest survival time.
The development team aim to deliver a mode distinct from the Campaign and Versus modes – one which is shorter and will generally reach a conclusion within ten minutes. It’s also clear the developers have worked hard to create a reasonable difficulty curve, as explained in a blog post on the game’s website.
“Given the importance of pacing in Survival Mode, we need to define as precisely as possible how the difficulty ramps up during the course of a round,” says the post.
“We have numerous variables to work with: mob spawn frequency, special infected spawn frequency, number of each type of special infected, total number of special infected, tank spawn frequency, total number of tanks, and so on. We need all of these variables to work together to create a fairly smooth difficulty curve.”
“If the curve ramps up too sharply, we find that teams of all skill levels tend to hit a wall at the same time. There isn’t enough variation in the times to separate great teams from average ones,” the post continues.
“If the curve is too flat, then average teams will have a good experience, but really good teams can grind on long enough to cross the line from having fun to just getting worn out.”
There’s much more info on the difficulty curve in the blog post, with added graphs. Who doesn’t love a graph?