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L4D (Left 4 Dead) Multiplayer LAN with Single Account

Written by: NetworkError, on 15-04-2011 20:52
Last update: 15-04-2011 21:20
Published in: Public, Things that go Boom
Views: 28595


I love playing Left 4 Dead. I love throwing Left 4 Dead LAN parties from time to time. However, I only have 1 steam account, and many of my friends do not have a copy. What's a geek to do? How shall I go about spreading the Left 4 Dead addiction?

Do you remember the good old days of StarCraft and Warcraft; back when you could install a spawn and play a LAN party on one game disc? Well you can do something similar with Left 4 Dead.

Before I dive into the technical details, let's spend a few sentences on ethics. Is playing a LAN party on one account against the EULA? Probably. Is it stealing? No. Is it a great way to turn friends into paying Steam customers? Absolutely. I have gotten a number of friends to purchase a copy after playing a few LAN parties with me. Now that that's out of the way...

What you will need:

  • 2+ PCs
  • A LAN (or VPN)
  • A steam account with a valid license for Left 4 Dead

To pull this off, you need to get all your Steam clients/L4D installs on the exact same version. You have to update one computer at a time since you can't be logged into Steam more than once with a single account. Do this on each PC.

  1. Install Steam, if necessary.
  2. Log in and install the game, if necessary.
  3. Launch the game once to ensure it is up-to-date.
  4. Restart Steam once to ensure all client updates are applied.
  5. Put Steam in offline mode.
  6. Launch Left 4 Dead. Go to Options -> Keyboard/Mouse. Enable the developer console.

Next, you need to run some console commands. First, bring up the server:

  1. Press the ~ key. (It's to the left of the number one.) This will open the developer console.
  2. Type "sv_lan 1" [ENTER] (This turns LAN mode on.) Note: Leave the double quotes off.
  3. Type "sv_allow_lobby_connect_only 0" [ENTER] (This allows a game without a lobby.)
  4. Type "net_start" [ENTER]
  5. Type "map ". Press the down arrow until you find the map you want. Then press [ENTER]. This will start the game.
  6. If you want to allow users to use cheats or change characters, type "sv_cheats 1" [ENTER]

Clients need to run a few commands before they connect:

  1. Press the ~ key.
  2. Type "sv_lan 1" [ENTER]
  3. Type "sv_allow_lobby_connect_only 0" [ENTER]
  4. Once the server is up, you should see an icon appear at the bottom of the screen. Hit ~ to get out of the Developer Console, then click the icon and join the game. (The icon will only appear if broadcast is working. If it's not, use the console command "connect [IP ADDRESS OF SERVER]" [ENTER].)

Here are some other useful commands. Most of these are only usable by the server:

  • sb_takecontrol [Namvet, Biker, TeenGirl, Manager] (Ex: "sb_takecontrol Namvet" [ENTER] changes you to the Bill character, assuming no one else is using him. sv_cheats must be set to 1 for this to work.)
  • maxplayers [1-8] (change number of players the server will accept. Default is 4, I think.)
  • director_no_human_zombies 0 (turn on versus)
  • director_force_versus_start 1 (Start versus mode.)
  • Note: Press 'm' during the game to change teams.
  • z_difficulty [easy, normal, hard, impossible]
  • z_comon_limit [0+] (how many common zombies do you want in a regular horde event?)
  • z_mob_spawn_min_size [0+], z_mob_spawn_max_size [0+] (How big do you want your mobs to be?)
  • z_background_limit [0+] (How many common zombies do you want wandering around?)
  • sb_all_bot_team 1 (Play versus by yourself.)
  • spectate (Useful if you're trying to shuffle who is using what character.)
  • jointeam [1-4] (2 = Survivor, 3 = Infected.)

This is hardly a comprehensive list of console commands, but that's not what I was going for. This is the list of commands I scrounged up from various sources to easily run a LAN game. (I couldn't find a single source that put them together in an easy set of instructions like this. That's why I'm writing this guide.) If you want to find more console commands (there are a ton of them), I suggest googling for them.

Happy Zombie hunting!

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