Left 4 Dead 2 Favaela

Try / Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Left 4 Dead 2 Rochina Favela survival map


Rochina Favaela is a map for the survival mode in Left 4 Dead 2. The map takes inspiration from the favela Rochina in Rio de Janeiro.
Up to four players must fight the hordes of zombies and survive for as long as possible. I wanted to make a map where players could be agile and jump between roofs. The rooftops would be where the players can make their stand.  When the ammo and medical supplies run out players have to go down to the street level, where there is a high chance of getting seperated from the group and pushed into a corner by the swarms of zombies.


  • Left 4 Dead 2 Survival map
  • Tools: Hammer SDK and GCFScape
  • Made in three weeks half-time

Research and paperdesign

The favelas feelt like a area defined a lot on the structure of the rooftops.
I felt this was the perfect setting for agile movment and elevated defense points I was aiming for.
I watched a lot of documentaries and talked to people who lived or visited Rio de Janerio. The thing that struck me was the cultural phenomenal coming from the diffrent favelas in Rio.  Through enviromental art I wanted to convey this side of the favaela with grafiti, colorfull buildings and of course a fotball field. Usually when I see the favela in a game or movie it is just potrayed as a poor slum with criminality and problems. I wanted to convey a more vibrant enviroment where people lived.

My first overview of my level

Make the player manouver around.

The high ground gives the player an advantadge over the zombies. It is also the area with the fewest Bottlenecks. But having the player camping on the same location the whole match would not be as fun so I also wanted to mix up the gameplay and make the players explore the lower levels of the map.
I placed all the recources all across the map except on the roofs, forcing the player when in need of ammo or medical supplies to go down.
I have three locations with diffrent types of recources around the rooftops.
A pharmacy with all medical supplies. A police car with small caliber weapons. For the bigger guns i placed them by a military truck. All the melee wepons where spread across the map. Having wepons and medical supplies in locations that explains why they are there is important to me when I create levels. I think it is a great tool for telling stories and not breaking the impersion.
To make the lower levels of the map more excessible I created some intersecting paths so players would not get cornerd by zombies to easily. I always wanted atleast one escape route. Adding intersecting paths would also raise the risk of the team getting seperated.

Fall height

Early in the production I was able to playtest my map. With the a blockout and zombies spawning was great and gave me a clear feeling of the areas that was overpowerd and where I should open up more escape routes. Having playtesters was a good tool for balancing out the rooftops where a lot of the feedback was that is was to easy to be up there. With this in mind I made some of the jumps harder and made zombies spawn from more directions to make it  more challenging. 

With gameplay revolving around high ground jumping and manovering I wanted to find a nice balance where the player would not get to punished for falling down from the roof. Being seperated by falling down is hard as it is and taking away 20 % of the player health would make the rooftops to big of a risk to be on.

I made sure that some walls where low enough so that players would not take fall damage, and didn’t have any fences at these spots so the player would be able to move around a lot. For the heights that would damadge the player if they fell down, I placed fences to make shure that players wouldt acidentaly fall down. 

Creating defined map borders

Some red light and a large street sign
The military trying to hold of the zombies
The police trying to hold of the zombies
Cars jamed together in panic

Closing Thoughts and feedback

It was superfun to create a map for a game I have been playing for such a long time. From a gameplay point of view I am really happy with the map.
I think I succeeded on delivering the design goals I had set up for myself. Making the rooftops fun to play on and sometimes force the players to run around to be able to survive. As with every level there is always more that you can do. I would like to spend more time on the navmesh that would have made the zombies behave more effectively. The light in the level was also a bit rushed and i would wanted to create more natural light and define areas more with light.

What I am proud over is the fact that I playtested for a long time with my blockout. Realized what worked and what didn’t and then I gave it more time and didn’t stop until the gameplay goals I have set out to accomplished where achived. I think I found a nice balance in improving the design but also setting some design in stone and move on.  I was happy that I could create a favela in Rio De Janeiro. It was certainly a challenge to create a map set in South America with assets from Left 4 Dead 2 witch was made for North American locations.