The lovely and talented Kerry Davis and Scott Dalton whipped up a story on the Left 4 Dead Blog called Surviving the L4D Survival Pack. In it, as you might have guessed, they outline next week's big release: Survival Mode pits your team against never ending waves of infected. Sounds simple. Just trap the survivors in a small part of a map, unleash the hordes, and record the longest time. Survival Mode, which will be released next week, is actually a bit more than that. Our goals for Survival Mode are to deliver a mode of play distinct from Campaign or Versus, have games that regularly last under ten minutes, and emphasize competition with team play through leaderboards. Survival Mode draws on the planning and communication aspects of a successful Finale or Crescendo event, while taking it to another level. It rapidly hits a fever pitch that only a well coordinated team will be able to successfully survive. Everything from simply covering a reviving teammate, to making every shot count to minimize reloads becomes crucial in Survival Mode. 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. 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. Read the rest.