Valve does it again: The Spitter is from the community

As if this wasn’t a big enough slap in the face to the community, the reveal to the new Special Infected known as the Spitter is, yet again, a direct-from-the-community idea that Valve has put in for L4D2. The biggest kicker to it? It’s from one of the co-creators of the L4D2 boycott group. Here’s the thread where he kicked off the idea: [LINK]

“A friend of mine just DL’d the SDK and as started drawing up his plans for a short-ish campaign based off of some of his favorite zombie movies (i’m thinking he’s looking at Day of the Dead)

One of his ideas was to code his own SI in addition to the three (four if you count the tank) SI you can control. After spending an hour chatting about it, we came up with the idea of ‘The Spitter’

I know what the ‘No new SI are needed or wanted’ crowd will say about this, so please, save us from reading another post.

The idea with this SI is to force the Survivors to bring the AR and HR into play, instead of rocking all AS all the time.

Concept: an SI capable of lobbing a fair size glob of ‘saliva’ on an arcing path; at maximum (45* angle) on flat terrain, this glob of spit would travel roughly the same distance as a smoker’s tongue. Obviously, if the spitter has a better vantage point they can lob their projectile a fair distance further. To make this ‘fair’ the spitter would have to charge the attack up (holding down mouse 1 or something similar) for a predetermined length of time, and like a boomer, even an unsuccessful attack ends up in a 20-30 second (more or less) recharge of the ability, so it cannot be spammed. Furthermore, like Survivor’s weapons, movement would impair aim for the SI player. Obviously, this would have to be play tested for balance.

The Spitter would have health in the area of the hunter, but have movement speed similar or less than that of a smoker. As for helping the survivor find it, a ‘slurping’ noise when moving (i personally envision the sound you make when your mouth is full of freezing from the dentist…) and a very loud ‘hocking a loogie’ noise when the Spitter ‘fires’.

Possible effects of getting “slimed” or “goober’d”: The best that myself and my friend came up with was to have vision impaired in a similar fashion to a boomer attack, however getting hit would reduce movement speed for 3-8 seconds and cause low damage (3-5hp). A possible interesting mechanic would be to have a further 1-10 hp worth of damage caused by moving while under the effects of the Spitter’s ability. When discussing how much a survivor would be slowed, it was decided that ‘green’ and ‘yellow’ health level survivors would be slowed to a ‘red’ health level run and that ‘red’ health level survivors would be slowed to a ‘crouch’ level slow walk, or roughly half the speed of a ‘red’ health level run.

This means that it is possible to ‘blind’ a survivor and impair their movement, but cause relatively low damage.

The reasoning behind this SI type would be to provide the SI with a better long range class that is not quite as fragile as the smoker and can level a bit of hurt at a distance, forcing survivor groups to carry at least one HR or AR (making better use of Tier 2 weapons) and to help cut down on ‘rushing’ as if one gets hit and left behind, they’re vulnerable to boomers, hunters or even a horde.

I’ll welcome any constructive comments, but please leave flaming and trolling out of this thread. this is NOT a ‘valve should do this’ thread, we’re talking about a partial conversion modification that someone is looking at doing.”

Of course I’m sure one can debate that since this idea came so late into the community that Valve could have already had the idea on paper before it was proposed, but considering their track record so far and the name used for the idea, I have trouble believing that. At this point I imagine if we want to know what the third Special Infected is going to be then we should all start browsing the Left 4 Dead Steam forums for Special Infected ideas.

EDIT: To add more fuel to the fire, apparently the idea to a long-range “acid” attack was suggested as an additional attack for the Smoker by Scuzball in December 2008 (though not with the same aims as Walking_Target later suggested). Certainly puts the “Valve already had the idea in the works” argument down a few notches. Thanks Obiv for bringing that to my attention!

Originally written: June 2009

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About Agamemnon
Started blogging back in 2007 amidst that whole Hellgate: London fiasco on a blog known as flagshipped.com. Eventually moved on to do my own thing in December 2008 at gameriot.com and started Caveat Emptor there. Wrote there for six months, gained some notoriety, and then left. Now I'm back.

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